A young Xie Zhi Qi asks his brother what he’s doing. Xie Zong Ru is preserving a beetle using some chemicals. He tells his younger brother that he’s preserving the beetle when it’s most beautiful so that it will be beautiful forever. Zhi Qi notices that the beetle is no longer moving. Is it dead? He asks Zong Ru if dying is painful. Zong Ru responds that it isn’t.
Zhi Qi goes home to his mother’s house, where she lets him play with the cat while preparing dinner. When she’s done cooking, she goes into his room to call him to dinner, but finds him bloody, the cat dissected on the desk in front of him and dripping blood onto the ground. She screams.
A blood-spattered Xie Zhi Qi smiles as he reads Yun Ru poetic yet depressed writing. She asks if anyone will remember her if she dies.
Zhi Qi smiles as he reads the words, then puts in the earphones and transports himself to the past, into his brother’s body.
He wakes up as Zong Ru in the moment after first attacking Yun Ru, rock in his hand. He wipes the rain out of his eyes and smiles, then raises the rock to attack once more. We don’t see whether it makes impact or not.
1998, Tainan: Zhi Qi as Zong Ru goes to school and recites Yun Ru’s words to himself with a crazed smile.
He goes to visit Yun Ru in the hospital, a bouquet of flowers in hand. He removes her nasal cannula and caresses her face, but before he can do more, he hears Li Zi Wei’s voice in the hallway.
Li Zi Wei leaves Mo Jun Jie a message, telling him he’s at the hospital visiting Yun Ru. He goes into Yun Ru’s room and open the curtains around her bed, casually chatting to her. He doesn’t notice Zhi Qi still in the room, hiding around the corner.
2019, Taipei: Yu Xuan wakes up in the hospital, confused to see Uncle Wu and two detectives at her bedside. They tell her that she was found drugged on her sofa and ask if she remembers what happened. She thinks back and remembers that Dr. Xie was the one who drugged her. Then she asks where Li Zi Wei is.
The detectives and Uncle Wei take her to the mortuary, where she’s allowed to see Li Zi Wei’s body. She collapses, sobbing.
Yu Xuan continues to cry in her hospital room, remembering the precious little time they had together, but then she pulls herself together. Uncle Wu asks the detectives to give her some time to recover before they ask her for a statement. But he turns toward the hospital room only to find Yu Xuan already in the doorway. She needs to get that Walkman back and go back to the past so she can save Zi Wei and prevent all of this from happening.
They go to the police department where they are shown security camera footage of Zhi Qi attacking Li Zi Wei in the alley. They ask her what’s so special about the Walkman and the journal that Zhi Qi would kill to have it.
Tainan, 1998: Zhi Qi continues to live life as Zong Ru, watching Yun Ru and waiting… he follows the three friends to the far corner of campus and eavesdrops that day that Yu Xuan told Jun Jie and Zi Wei what she suspected about her killer.
Zhi Qi is pinning up a dead butterfly for display when he gets a call from his mother, who is frantic. He goes to his mother’s house where she tells him about how his brother (the younger version of himself) killed their pet cat yet didn’t seem to realize he did anything wrong. Zhi Qi tells his mother not to worry. He’ll talk to his brother.
But when he goes inside, he tells his younger self that he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s everyone else who is wrong. But they don’t need the rest of the world to understand them, they just have to act the way the rest of the world wants them to act when they’re in front of them. Only then will they be able to continue to make their world beautiful. Zhi Qi tells his younger self that he’ll take him along the next time he makes an even more beautiful specimen.
Taipei, 2019: Yu Xuan realizes that the killer she has been looking for wasn’t in the past at all. He had come from the future. If Zhi Qi is also capable of traveling back, then Yun Ru might not be saved even if she survives the night of her death. Who knows how long Zhi Qi lived as Zong Ru after 1999? Yun Ru could still be in danger even if she survives.
Yu Xuan decides that she needs to meet with Zong Ru. She and Uncle Wu go to the mental hospital where he lives. She interrogates Zong Ru about what happened in 1998 and 1999, but he’s unresponsive.
Zong Ru starts talking, but more to himself than to her. He says that he could still hear and see what happened outside. He knew that he was still living, but the person that lived on the outside wasn’t him. He starts breathing heavily and repeats, “It wasn’t me.”
He suddenly looks up and screams, “Don’t!” In his mind, it is the rainy night in 1998 when Zhi Qi first attacked Yun Ru as Zong Ru. Right as Zhi Qi is about to bring down the rock a second time, he hears Zong Ru shout, “Xie Zhi Qi, don’t do it!” Zhi Qi freezes, then smiles eerily and says, “Brother, you stopped me just in time. She’s not at her most beautiful yet. If she dies right now, it won’t be perfect. It won’t be beautiful.” He caresses Yun Ru’s face, then stands up and backs away with a laugh.
The present day Zong Ru continues breathing hard as he says that he was clearly himself, yet he was stuck inside, hearing the other him speak words, seeing the things that the other him wanted him to see. He doesn’t know how he became like that. It wasn’t him. That him, wasn’t him. He would never do something like that.
He flashes to another memory. Zhi Qi as Zong Ru brings the young Zhi Qi to his school campus late at night. He wants to show him an even more beautiful specimen. He takes him into a classroom, where a crying Cai Wen Rou is blindfolded and bound to a chair. Zhi Qi tells his younger self to point the flashlight at Wen Rou’s face, while he takes out a syringe and injects her with poison. He smiles blissfully.
Present day Zong Ru continues to shudder, saying it wasn’t him. He starts to get more agitated. Yu Xuan slowly approaches him and asks, “That person was Xie Zhi Qi, wasn’t it?”
He turns to look at her, then freezes and calls her “Chen Yun Ru.” Another memory flashes: Zhi Qi as Zong Ru caresses Chen Yun Ru’s face. She cries and shakes her head, saying “no” while he moves to inject her with a needle.
Zong Ru gets even more agitated and stumbles out of the pavilion they were sitting in. He keeps repeating that it really wasn’t him. “It wasn’t me. He and he made me.” He continues to repeat that while Yu Xuan and Uncle Wu exchange an uneasy look.
Outside the hospital, Yu Xuan continues to look troubled. Uncle Wu guesses that she’s thinking about what just happened. Yu Xuan is confused by Zong Ru’s final words. What did he mean by “he and he made me”? Does that mean there was a third person? But why did he say “he and he” instead of “they”?
Yu Xuan and Uncle Wu get called back to the police department. They police have finally located and apprehended Xie Zhi Qi. Yu Xuan asks if they found the Walkman and if she can have it. They’re reluctant to give it to her because it’s evidence. They ask why she and Zhi Qi are so interested in the Walkman. She just says that it was a gift from Li Zi Wei and means a lot to her. They tell her that they’ll see what they can do, but warn her that the Walkman isn’t the way it used to be. There was an incident when they went to apprehend Xie Zhi Qi.
The police had to knock down Zhi Qi’s door with a battering ram. He didn’t respond when they spoke to him, and only woke up when one of the officers tapped him on the shoulder. He immediately tried to run away, but was tackled to the ground. He started screaming, “Why now? Why now?” Then he proceeded to smash the Walkman to pieces against the ground as the officers struggled to get him under control.
Now, Yu Xuan looks at the broken device in dismay. None of the buttons work and it’s completely falling apart. But they get distracted when the officers move Zhi Qi through the room she is in.
Upon seeing Zhi Qi, she immediately tries to attack him and starts demanding, “Why did you do this?” The officers have to hold her back.
Zhi Qi only smirks and says, “You’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking, ‘What did you do to Chen Yun Ru?'”
Desperate to return to the past, Yu Xuan finds someone to repair the Walkman. He’s able to restore it so that she can at least play the song.
“Please let me go back to 1998 and fix all of this,” she begs as she presses play and goes to bed.
Tainan, 1998: Yun Ru opens her eyes back at that moment in Li Zi Wei’s bedroom when she realized that Li Zi Wei was Wang Quan Sheng.
She stares at him, but sees the face of the future Li Zi Wei whom she lost. She hugs him, crying, making him very confused. He asks what’s wrong, but she tells him not to say anything and just let her hug him for a moment.
She’s unusually subdued on the motorbike ride back to her house. While dropping her off, Li Zi Wei asks her what happened earlier. She seemed fine one moment, but then the next she was crying and hugging him.
She slowly says that for a second, she had gone back to 2019 when she was in his house. But she can’t remember what happened. All she knows is that she found out something important while she was there, but she can’t remember what it is now.
Before she goes inside, Li Zi Wei says that he’ll give her a ride to school tomorrow morning. He claims that he’s worried after what happened to Cai Wen Rou, and will feel better if he knows she’s not alone. She nods and goes inside, still unusually subdued.
When she gets back to her room, she looks at herself in the mirror and smiles a small, no-teeth smile. The mirror is slightly warped, so that her reflection doesn’t look exactly like herself.
On the way home, Zi Wei reflects on Yun Ru’s earlier behavior. It seems to bother him, but he doesn’t know why.
The next morning, Yun Ru is very slow to get up. She lets her alarm clock beep for a long time while she looks at her hands, wiggles her fingers, then feels her face. She looks in the mirror and tries out a couple of different smiles that all look a little awkward. She finally settles on a toothy one that looks more natural.
She goes into Si Yuan’s room, turning off his alarm and raising his blinds for him. She tells him to wake up. When he doesn’t respond, she tries a sharper voice and shakes him. He gets up, but says that she seems strange today. He’s not sure what it is, but something is off.
Yun Ru goes downstairs and sees her mother sleeping on the sofa again. She gently puts a blanket over her then smiles at her tenderly.
Zi Wei picks Yun Ru up for school. During the ride over, she wraps her arms more fully around his waist.
Jun Jie spots the two of them arriving together, but he just smiles and acts like it’s perfectly normal, even though Zi Wei seems prepared for things to be awkward.
They’re walking up to the school gates when Yun Ru suddenly freezes. She bends down, claiming that her shoelace is untied, but it’s just an excuse because it’s tied just fine. She looks up shakily, seeing Xie Zong Ru just up ahead. When she stands back up, she pushes Jun Jie and Zi Wei in front of her, as if trying to form a barrier between her and Zong Ru.
But Zi Wei stops to tease Zong Ru, who critiques his uniform. Yun Ru tries to duck behind Jun Jie. When Jun Jie and Zi Wei start walking off, she studiously tries to avoid making eye contact with Zong Ru and hurries after them. He stares after her with a dark look in his eyes.
Yun Ru still seems troubled and is startled and looks a little surprised when a classmate says hi. Her two basketball friends have been waiting for her. They overheard Cai Wen Rou’s friends being interviewed by the detectives, and they mentioned Yun Ru’s name. As if right on cue, Wen Rou’s friends shuffle back into the classroom, looking alarmed when Yun Ru makes accidental eye contact, and then Detective Yang comes in with a teacher, asking to talk to Yun Ru.
Detective Yang asks Yun Ru if she knew anything about the secret photos of her changing that Cai Wen Rou took. Yun Ru doesn’t make eye contact and says no. Yang asks her a few more questions, seeming to not believe that she didn’t know anything, but Yun Ru continues to shake her head and look down.
Yang finally lets her go, but before she leaves, Yang says that she seems completely different from when they last spoke at the police department. It’s almost like she’s a different person. Yun Ru just looks around nervously and doesn’t respond. Yang puts a hand on her shoulder and asks if there’s anything wrong. Yun Ru just shakes her head, continuing to look down.
Jun Jie and Zi Wei find Yun Ru afterward and ask what the detectives wanted. She lies and says that they just wanted to tell her they suspected Wen Rou’s killer and her attacker were the same person, and were warning her to be careful. But she’s not worried, because she trusts that Jun Jie and Zi Wei will keep their word and protect her.
Zhi Qi spots them talking from a distance and smiles.
Detective Yang’s colleagues ask her why she let Yun Ru go when she was obviously lying about not knowing anything about the photos. Yang responds that she doesn’t think Yun Ru is the killer. Cai Wen Rou’s autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a lethal poison that can be extracted from common household chemicals. She doesn’t think Yun Ru has the chemistry knowledge necessary to derive the poison herself, so she’s unlikely to be the killer. But she also has a nagging feeling that Chen Yun Ru is hiding something.
At night, Yun Ru’s mother rushes home in the middle of work, having just heard about Cai Wen Rou’s death. She’s worried about Yun Ru, but Yun Ru acts like it’s not a big deal. Si Yuan picks up a phone call on the landline and tells Yun Ru it’s for her: there’s a boy on the other side.
Yun Ru goes out to meet up with Zi Wei, who gives her a cell phone. He and Jun Jie can’t be with her 24/7, so he wants her to have a cell phone in case of emergencies. He shows her how to use it and she stares at his face while he explains.
She suddenly asks him a question: what would he do if she turned back into the old Chen Yun Ru? What if the current her went to 2019 and never came back, so the old Yun Ru was left in her place?
Zi Wei says that if she did go back to 2019, that doesn’t mean she’s gone. It just means she’s experienced a future he has yet to see. He would go to that future and find her, continue to be good to her, and continue to like her.
Yun Ru suddenly kisses him.
Yu Xuan finds herself in the weird house room Yun Ru used to be in. On the screen walls, Zi Wei’s face is up close and personal. She runs up to the wall and pounds on it, yelling, “Chen Yun Ru!”
Yun Ru pulls away from Zi Wei, who looks confused, and says, “You don’t need to go to the future to look for me. Because I, Huang Yu Xuan, am here now. And I won’t ever leave again.”
Yu Xuan continues to yell at Chen Yun Ru from within her box, then finally collapses to sit on the ground. Zi Wei’s face is all around her.
I didn’t dislike this episode. But it definitely lacked any happy or light moments. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Or maybe… has gone right? Perhaps this is the way things are meant to be? Who knows. But I was on the edge of my seat and anxious for our characters the whole time!
I think it makes a little more sense now why Chen Yun Ru or Yu Xuan or whoever she was at that point in time asked Jun Jie to kill her… but how does that line up with Zong Ru’s memory of injecting her with something at the abandoned building?
This episode leaves me feeling so conflicted. On the one hand, Yun Ru is finally living a happier life. But she’s stealing Yu Xuan’s identity in order to do so. She’s being the person that Jun Jie though Yu Xuan was — changing herself to be the kind of girl Yun Ru will like. I don’t like this. I don’t want Yun Ru to be a villain! And she probably doesn’t know that Yu Xuan is still locked away somewhere, just like Yu Xuan didn’t know that she was locked away somewhere deep inside. Or maybe Yun Ru does? Because she experienced it herself?
It seems like Yu Xuan was never Yun Ru. When Yun Ru’s eyes re-opened in 1998, she might have had a flash of Yu Xuan’s memories, but her every action after that seemed more like Yun Ru than Yu Xuan.
Is it possible that there’s some sort of third doppelganger personality? Some sort of evil spirit that exists in the spirit realm? To be honest when we first saw Zong Ru hearing voices, I thought he was being haunted/possessed by a demon rather than some sort of mental illness. The evil spirit route still seems like a possibility TBH…