We watch Huang Yu Xuan live a post-Wang Quan Sheng life on her own while she tells him about how she lived during that time.
She tells him that ever since his plane disappeared, everyone has been telling her to not be sad. Because one day, being alone will be normal, her wounds will heal, and her longing will disappear. Time will take away the sorrow and bring back happiness. But time passed and it wasn’t until her most recent birthday that she realized: time doesn’t take anything away except for more time. Time goes on, yet she was stuck in the place. Time goes on, but he had never left.
Yu Xuan finally meets Li Zi Wei in 2019. They hug and don’t let go.
Yu Xuan tours potential apartments to rent, but is disappointed with her options. None of them check off all her boxes, but she also knows that it’s unrealistic that she’ll fulfill all her requirements and stay in budget. Zi Wei says that maybe she won’t find a place that fits within one person’s budget, but what about two?
In 1998, Li Zi Wei asks Yu Xuan, “So, you and Wang Quan Sheng moved in together after that?” She nods, saying she was worried at first, because they hadn’t been dating long, but she soon realized that all her worries were for nothing. We see happy memories of them living together, scenes that Li Zi Wei now lives out as Wang Quan Sheng.
In 1998, Yu Xuan tells Zi Wei that living with Wang Quan Sheng allowed her to see just how good he was to her. He seemed to understand what she needed without either of them needing to say anything. They did everything together and looked forward to a future together. Even when they each got busy with work, they knew the other person was there supporting them. Yu Xuan and Zi Wei video chat each other when pulling late nights in the office.
Sometimes they argued, but they would always make up and it only made Yu Xuan realize even more how important she was to him. Until that day…
In 2017 (?), Zi Wei returns home one day from work to find Yu Xuan waiting for him. She tells him that she has something important to discuss with him. He looks like he already knows what’s coming.
In 2019, Li Zi Wei shows Yu Xuan his timeline, now drawn on a board in his room above 32 Cafe. He tells her that the night she told him she was moving to Shanghai, he realized his time as Wang Quan Sheng had come to an end. But he made a selfish decision. He decided to give up his hopes of changing the past, and instead he was going to do whatever it took to stay by her side.
That’s why he wanted to propose to her. He hoped that he could stay by her side and go to Shanghai with her. But he never thought that he wouldn’t even get a chance to propose, because she went to the airport without him. He hurried to the airport after her and bought a ticket on the next flight to Shanghai.
But it was only then that he realized all his attempts to stay by her side had only forced him onto the path that would make him leave her. He knew before he got onto the plane that it would crash. Sitting there, trying to decide what to do, someone approached him and said, “I know what you’re thinking.” It was the actual version of himself from that time, 2017’s Li Zi Wei.
2017 Li Zi Wei said, “You’re probably thinking: if you stop this plane from taking off, can you save these people and change everything? Sorry, but you can’t change everything on your own. The only thing you can do is choose to not get on this plane. I don’t know what will happen to the future, but at least you’ll be able to stay by Huang Yu Xuan’s side and won’t have to suffer everything I went through.” He handed Wang Quan Sheng/Zi Wei a ticket for the next flight to Shanghai.
But Wang Quan Sheng/Zi Wei, the one whose story we hear right now, asked, “But if I don’t get on this flight, then what will happen to you?” He realized that if he didn’t get on the plane and leave this time, then Huang Yu Xuan would never go back to the past, and he would never fall in love with her. What was he even trying to do here? The moment he decided to meet Huang Yu Xuan as Wang Quan Sheng, he should have known that this moment was inevitable. From the beginning, every moment has led to this.
The flight to Shanghai makes a call for final boarding. Wang Quan Sheng/Zi Wei nods resolutely and says he thinks he knows what he should do. He picks up his bag and heads toward the gate. But then he remembers something. He turns back and hands 2017 Li Zi Wei his phone with all the memories that Wang Quan Sheng and Huang Yu Xuan have shared. He asks him to hold onto it for him.
The flight crashed like he knew it would. By the time he regained consciousness, it was 2003 again and he was back in his own body, two weeks after the car accident. Only then did he start to understand the suffering that 2017 Li Zi Wei had went through and wanted to save him from. The car accident injured him more grievously than he could have imagined. It took him two years to learn how to walk again.
But worse than the physical pain was the knowledge that he lived in the same time and space as her, yet could not see her. He had thought that he would be able to endure it, but he never imagined that every second of not being with her would be so painful. He only had his memories, and otherwise could only live alone, waiting for the moment they could meet again. While he waited, the only thing that kept him going was the motivation to use this second chance to fix the past that had yet to happen.
But he missed his chance. He knew that Mo Jun Jie would commit suicide, yet he still was unable to stop him. “I let him down,” he sobs, as Yu Xuan hugs him.
Yu Xuan takes him back to the apartment they had shared when he was Wang Quan Sheng. It’s largely the same as the way he had left it. The string lights are still up from that one night when she had held an at-home Wu Bai concert for him when he got sick and they had to miss the real concert they had tickets for.
He stares at the apartment around him with tears in his eyes. Yu Xuan hugs him, saying, “I’ve been waiting for you to come home.”
Yu Xuan is shocked when Zi Wei tells her to not do anything when she goes back to the past as Chen Yun Ru. He doesn’t want her to try to find Yun Ru’s killer or try to tell him or Jun Jie about the future. Zi Wei thinks the most important thing is to help Yun Ru live a good life and figure out some way to help her survive that fateful night of 1999. As long as she lives, that’s enough.
Yu Xuan is still confused. Didn’t he wait this long in order for her to stop all of the past from happening? Zi Wei is worried that the past is inevitable because they are all so desperate to change it. For example, he had tried to stop himself from getting on that plane as Wang Quan Sheng. But in the end, he was still the one who chose to get on that plane.
For the past 15 years, all he has done is think about every moment of their lives that has happened thus far. He can’t help but think that maybe this scene has already played out a million times in an infinite time loop that they’re unable to escape. That every time he falls in love with the her who comes from the future. That every time he chooses to find her when he is Wang Quan Sheng. That every time he will leave her, and that she will always go back to the past with the hope of seeing him again. Every time, they meet in different time periods, always finding each other, but never at the right moment. And it will never end.
If he’s right and everything is inevitable, doesn’t that mean that everything they’ve experienced so far, including his 15 years of waiting, is all meaningless? Yu Xuan asks.
Zi Wei nods and tells her that two years ago, he went to the airport to find Wang Quan Sheng, wanting to help him break out of this endless loop but in the process saying the exact same words that he had once heard himself, and thus unintentionally continuing the loop. But then, there was a change. That Wang Quan Sheng/Zi Wei responded with a smile and said, “How could I do that? If I don’t get on that plane, then how could you be standing in front of me?” He says with confidence that if he does as the current Zi Wei suggests, then no one would be able to return to the past. No one would be able to go back and save Yun Ru, Jun Jie, and the two of them. With a weariness that seems like he knows what’s about to happen, Wang Quan Sheng/Zi Wei says, “Even if Huang Yu Xuan isn’t able to change the past, at least in the future, she’ll have you, who will always be by her side.”
Quan Sheng/Zi Wei still says, “I think I know what I need to do.” He still starts to walk away, then remembers something and turns back. He still gives the current Zi Wei his phone. But there’s also something else, something new: he gives him a ring. It’s a matching ring with the one that Yu Xuan wears. Quan Sheng/Zi Wei says, “Even if we’re unable to change anything in the end, please take care of Huang Yu Xuan for me.”
In the present, Zi Wei tells Yu Xuan that the differences are minuscule. It’s just a few words, a few expressions that are different. But it was different from the timeline he had experienced. That Wang Quan Sheng was braver than him and believed more than him that Yu Xuan would be able to accomplish what she needed to do.
Yu Xuan gets ready to sleep and go back to the past. But she’s worried she won’t be able to fall asleep and asks Zi Wei to chat with her. They lie in bed together and stare at each other without needing to say anything. She’s suddenly reminded of the inscription in her ring and asks Zi Wei what it means. He shows her his own ring, which has a matching inscription that says, “Our meeting will be meaningful to me” in English.
Together the rings say, “Only if you asked to see me, our meeting will be meaningful to me.” He explains to her the intended meaning, which is more of something like, “Our meeting is only meaningful if you wanted to see me.” As in, when they each first met the other, only one of them had known who the other was; the other person didn’t want to see them. It’s only now, that they’re together, wanting to see each other, that it all means something.
They kiss and smile at each other, finally together. She shares an earphone with him, the same earphones he had gifted her when he was Wang Quan Sheng all those years ago, and they fall asleep nestled together.
Yu Xuan wakes up. It’s still 2019 and she’s in her apartment, but the bed is empty next to her.She looks around and hurries into the living room. Zi Wei is in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. He smiles when he sees that she’s awake and turns back to cooking.
She goes over and hugs him from behind. Sensing that something’s wrong, he asks if she’s okay. Did she go back to the past? Did something happen?
She shakes her head and says that when she woke up and didn’t see him, she was afraid that everything that had happened the day before was just a dream. He hugs her and tells her to not be afraid. This isn’t a dream. He won’t ever leave her again.
Yu Xuan and Zi Wei meet up with Uncle Wu at his coffee shop to talk next steps. They try to figure out the parameters of time travel. Why was she unable to go back last night? The only common parameters they can figure out are the Walkman and the song, but that wasn’t enough last night. What was missing?
They’re interrupted when Yu Xuan gets a call from Dr. Xie’s office. She was scheduled for an appointment earlier that afternoon, but she completely forgot and never showed up. The mention of Dr. Xie reminds Yu Xuan of something she forgot: she saw him at school in 1998 when she was Chen Yun Ru. She finds it odd because when she told him about her dream of being Yun Ru, he didn’t show any indication of any of it being familiar. But even if he didn’t know Yun Ru, he should have at least recognized Zi Wei and Jun Jie’s names because they were in the same class.
Zi Wei doesn’t know a Xie Zhi Qi, but when Yu Xuan shows him a photo, he’s able to name a different name: Xie Zong Ru.
Dr. Xie is polishing the rock on his desk and puts it down when there’s a knock at his door and Yu Xuan enters. He casually asks her about how she’s doing and how her sleep medication is working out. But she’s not there for a check up. She reminds him about the dream she had of becoming a girl named Chen Yun Ru, and asks if he knew her. He says no. She watches him carefully and asks, “Are you sure?” He says of course not, isn’t she just a girl from her dream?
Then she asks if he’s heard the name Xie Zong Ru. He freezes and stares at her, then stands up and turns away, asking how she knows that name. Yu Xuan asks if Dr. Xie went to Feng Nan High School. Dr. Xie responds that she’s talking about his brother, who is six years older. He and his brother look very alike, so alike that one would say the look… exactly the same.
Dr. Xie explains that he and his brother were close when he was younger, but were separated after their parents divorced. The last time he saw his brother was in 1999, when he was put in a mental hospital. They think that he probably cracked under the pressure of school, but toward the end, he kept saying that there was a voice in his head telling him to kill people, so he locked himself up because he was scared. Now he show signs of being mentally disabled.
Yu Xuan asks to meet with his brother, but he’s hesitant. He asks how Yu Xuan knew about his brother. She tells him everything about how her dreams were actually real. He’s still reluctant to let her meet his brother, but she asks him to consider it. After she leaves, the smile drops from his face and he goes back to his box in the hidden closet, where he looks through the photos of Yun Ru again. Including the ones of her changing.
He thinks back to his own memory. When he was younger, he sneaked into his brother’s room and found his stash of photos of Yun Ru. His brother found him in his room and guessed that he was looking at the photos. “Do you think she’s pretty?” Zong Ru asked him. He nodded. “Do you want her?” He asked. “Don’t be afraid, you can tell me. You think she’s pretty, right? You want her? Don’t rush. One day, she’ll be yours.” Dr. Xie smirks at the memory.
Zi Wei goes to Tainan to do his own research on Zong Ru and visit his old high school. He’s still not back at night and Yu Xuan can’t reach him.
Instead, she’s surprised when the doorbell rings and it’s Dr. Xie. He tells her that her story bothered her and asks if she can share more details about the time travel aspect. She agrees and shows him the Walkman, answering his questions, and even shows him Yun Ru’s journal as proof that what she’s saying is true.
Dr. Xie asks if she’s so interested in his brother because she suspects he was the one who killed Yun Ru. She gives a small nod and looks away. But he says that it’s not possible. His brother wasn’t the kind of person who could harm anyone.
She gets a phone call from Zi Wei, who is on his way back to Taipei. He’s also found out that Xie Zong Ru is now in a mental hospital. She shares what she learned from Dr. Xie, but can’t be sure that Zong Ru was the one who killed Yun Ru. She tells him they can discuss it more when he gets back.
When she goes back inside, Dr. Xie is listening to the Walkman, eyes closed. He doesn’t respond when she calls his name. It’s only when she taps him on the shoulder that his eyes snap open. He claims that he was just curious so he gave it a listen, then got caught up in the song.
He suddenly asks her for another cup of coffee. While she prepares the coffee, he stands up and pulls a syringe out of his jacket. “I think I now understand how my brother became a completely different person,” he says as he approaches Yu Xuan from behind and stabs her with the syringe.
Zi Wei stops by a restaurant on his way back home, wondering if Yu Xuan has eaten yet. He calls her, but she doesn’t pick up. She’s lying unconscious on the floor of their kitchen while Xie Zhi Qi reads Yun Ru’s journal with a smirk. He caresses the Walkman, and we see what happened after Yu Xuan went to take the phone call from Zi Wei.
Zhi Qi puts in the earphones and listens to “Last Dance.” The music glitches and he wakes up as Zong Ru with a concerned Chen Yun Ru standing above him. He has a memory of moments earlier: Zong Ru was walking home and saw a car bearing down on Yun Ru. He ran to save Yun Ru, getting there just in time to tackle her out of the way.
Now, he wakes up as Zhi Qi in Zong Ru’s body. Yun Ru checks to make sure he’s okay, then turns to leave. He asks where she’s going, then says that it’s not safe for her, a girl, to be out alone. He offers to help her look for her family. She doesn’t respond, just turns and starts walking, and he follows.
Eventually, they end up in the pouring rain outside the abandoned building. Yun Ru is still walking several steps ahead. Zhi Qi suddenly gets a hallucination of Yun Ru whispering in his ear, “You want me, right?” He looks at the real Yun Ru. The rain has soaked her white uniform so that it’s transparent and he can see her bra underneath. He remembers his own high school days, when he would masturbate to the photos of Yun Ru changing.
Zhi Qi suddenly runs at Yun Ru, grabbing her from behind and carrying her into the courtyard of the abandoned building. He has her pinned to the ground, ignoring her protests for him to let go, when he suddenly has another hallucination and freezes. The Yun Ru above him taunts him and tells him to kill her if he wants her. This gives the real Yun Ru a chance to shove him off and run away.
But he’s hot on her trail. When he sees her trip, he grabs a nearby rock and hits her in the back of the head, knocking her back down. He’s about to finish the job when someone calls his name. It’s Yu Xuan, calling his name in 2019 and waking him up, just in time.
Now, with Yu Xuan unconscious, Dr. Xie bends to gently caress her face with a smirk. But there’s suddenly a sound at the door. Zi Wei is back.
He smiles to see Yu Xuan sleeping on the sofa and tries to wake her up, but he starts to get worried when she doesn’t respond. Zhi Qi tries to sneak out behind him, Zi Wei notices and starts to give chase. He’s torn between checking on Yu Xuan and going after the mysterious assailant in his apartment, but settles on running after Zhi Qi.
His bad leg slows him down, but eventually he finds Zhi Qi hiding and tackles him to the ground, demanding to know what he did to Yu Xuan. He then notices the journal and Walkman and the two struggle over it. Zi Wei wrestles the notebook free, but the Walkman goes flying. While Zi Wei is distracted by it, Zhi Qi grabs a nearby flower pot and uses it to bludgeon Zi Wei’s head.
Zi Wei reels and falls back onto the ground, stunned and bleeding from the temple. Zhi Qi stumbles to feet and grabs the notebook and Walkman. He starts to walk off when Zi Wei turns, still conscious, and calls out, “Xie Zong Ru! Or are you… Xie Zhi Qi?”
Zhi Qi turns back around to finish the job with a second flower pot. He walks away, leaving Zi Wei lying on the ground, a pool of blood forming around his head.
Xie Zhi Qi sits in his apartment, eyes closed, listening to the Walkman, blood still spattered across his clothes and face. It’s light outside.
WHAT DID I JUST WATCH. THIS IS SO TWISTED.
In the best way of course.
Xie was always the missing puzzle piece, but I never imagined it would be something like this.
Where do I even start?
This whole episode, I was wondering the exact same thing that Zi Wei was constantly thinking about. He and Yu Xuan seem to be stuck in an infinite loop. What if they’re just living the same thousands and millions of lives over and over again with no change? Time travel is such a tricky genre to get right. There’s a reason why in time travel, a person is never supposed to meet themselves. Not only does it create a rupture, it also creates a mess that writers have to attempt to logically untangle.
I’ll buy the idea that Zi Wei experienced a slight change in his narrative, with the assumption that there are multiple parallel universes/concurrent timelines and that any decision, no matter how small, can shift things when time travel is thrown into the mix. Otherwise none of it makes sense, because everything seems inevitable. I think we just have to believe that we’re seeing one specific version/timeline out of a million different possibilities that have theoretically already “occurred”. Like what Doctor Strange said in the Avengers, there are 14 million different possibilities and we’re hopefully watching the one in which they win.
At first, I wondered if changing the past was even the best scenario. At best, they are able to save Yun Ru and Jun Jie, but then… what happens to Quan Sheng and Zi Wei and Yu Xuan? We don’t know. Maybe they would never meet. Maybe the real Quan Sheng drowns. It could be a happy ending for Jun Jie and Yun Ru, but not Yu Xuan and Zi Wei. But at the same time, not changing the past would also not work… because we don’t know what happens to Yu Xuan when Yun Ru dies. Maybe she dies too. We still don’t know.
But now, it feels like Yu Xuan must change the past. There is no happy ending in this existing timeline. Zi Wei is most likely dead. And this was all inevitable, because this is what led to Yun Ru being attacked. Yu Xuan’s only option is create radical change and force a different outcome. And we’re led to believe that it is possible, because of what Zi Wei said about meeting himself in 2017. I just have a strong feeling that any sort of change in history will mean that Zi Wei and Yu Xuan’s love story won’t exist. Or if it does, it’ll be something like, they meet for the first time in 2019.
I’ll admit that I never thought the two Xies were doppelgangers, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. I just wanted it to only be Zi Wei and Yu Xuan because they’re fated. But I supposed there needed to be some extra third supernatural element to really add to all the death and mystery. I loved that Yu Xuan saved Yun Ru by waking up Xie at just the right moment. But it also adds this sense of inevitability, like everything is happening just the way it’s meant to be and nothing is changing.
I’m still curious about where the original inhabitants of the body go when they’re hijacked by their doppelgangers. Based on what Xie said, it sounds like his brother eventually thought he went crazy? Or is that just Xie locking his own brother up? And what about Quan Sheng? His body perished… where did his soul go? Where is Yun Ru now? Is there no happy ending for Yun Ru and Jun Jie? Will Yu Xuan just continue to live in Yun Ru’s body if she saves her?
I’ll be really curious to see how this show ends. It seems really challenging to make it end in a satisfactory way, but if they can pull it off, then it’ll really be a masterpiece.