It’s morning and Huang Yu Xuan is still stuck inside her weird house room while Yun Ru’s consciousness is returned to her own body. Yu Xuan is forced to watch as Yun Ru relives her memory from last night.
“Chen Yun Ru, that’s enough!” Yu Xuan shouts.
Yun Ru’s eyes snap open and she goes over to the mirror. “Shhh,” she says. “Quiet down. Don’t make a sound.”
Tainan, 1998: Yun Ru finishes getting ready in the morning and is about to leave with her bangs down, the way she always used to wear her hair, but at the last minute ties her bangs up the way Yu Xuan always wore it.
Yu Xuan continues to yell at Yun Ru from within her, saying she knows Yun Ru can hear her. Yun Ru hears her, but tries to ignore her. She tries to act like Yu Xuan toward Si Yuan and smiles to see Zi Wei.
When she puts her arms high up around Zi Wei’s torso, he seems to find something off, but when she asks what’s wrong, he says nothing.
Yun Ru tries to avoid Zong Ru at the campus gates by asking Zi Wei to get breakfast with her. But Zong Ru spots them and purposely makes up an excuse to talk to Zi Wei. Yun Ru goes to buy breakfast by herself. Zong Ru (but really, Zhi Qi) smirks as he watches Yun Ru walk away.
Yun Ru walks stiffly. Inside, Yu Xuan suddenly sees flashes of her own memories in Yun Ru’s mind. Images of Zhi Qi laughing evilly and Zi Wei’s dead body. Yu Xuan asks Yun Ru if she knows that Zong Ru is Zhi Qi. But why isn’t she telling Zi Wei? Yun Ru doesn’t respond and instead resolutely stares ahead.
She’s startled when someone taps her on the shoulder. It’s just Mo Jun Jie.
Jun Jie has noticed that Yun Ru is different. He purposely followed her earlier after seeing her walk away from campus, her body language much more reserved than Yu Xuan ever was. He thinks about it in class, and gets called out by his teacher for not paying attention.
Zi Wei skips class and ponders the previous night with Yun Ru on the rooftop. Something about their interaction bothers him, but he doesn’t seem to know what. Yun Ru suddenly appears in his field of view, and says that she’s there to skip class with him.
But they’re trapped between two teachers as they try to sneak off campus. Yun Ru decides to take off running, and they keep running even as the teacher shouts at them. Zi Wei grabs her hand and they go toward the back wall he always uses to sneak out.
Internally, Yun Ru wonders, if I were Huang Yu Xuan, what would I do? What expression would she wear? Would she keep holding onto his hand? Where would she look? What should she say?
They finally escape over the wall and pause to catch their breaths. They’re suddenly very close, and Yun Ru smiles, but Zi Wei backs away slightly when he notices, and lets go of her hand.
He asks her where she wants to go. She asks him to take her to the beach. At the beach, Zi Wei notices her smiling happily and asks her why she’s so happy. She responds that she wouldn’t have come by herself. She slowly slides her hand into his. He seems surprised, but holds on.
Yun Ru asks Zi Wei to bring her back to the ocean often in the future. He says of course. They stand and watch the sunset together.
Yun Ru goes back to her room at night and writes in her journal about her day. It’s the first time she’s really experienced the warmth of companionship, and it gives her a little more hope of finding happiness in this world.
But Yu Xuan watches and is confused. She never saw a journal entry like this from Yun Ru when she looked through it before. What happened?
Yun Ru seems to hear her, then rips out the journal entry. Instead, she writes on one of the pages in a sloppy imitation of Yu Xuan’s messy handwriting: he is Wang Quan Sheng.
Yu Xuan demands to know why she’s doing this. Yun Ru walks over to a memory and then says to herself, and to Yu Xuan, “Isn’t this the original reason you came back? If you didn’t come back, then how could Li Zi Wei like the current Chen Yun Ru?”
Yu Xuan realizes that perhaps this set the whole cycle in motion. But it also doesn’t matter. She pleads with Yun Ru that if she knows what happens in the future, she should also know that everyone, including herself, will die unless she tells them the truth. But Yun Ru just tells her to not worry, “I won’t let myself die that easily.”
She goes over to look at the framed photo of her, Zi Wei, and Jun Jie, and says, “Your dream is over. But my dream… has just begun.”
Yun Ru asks her uncle to teach her how to use his film camera. She proceeds to go around, taking photos of Zi Wei and Jun Jie, and living out her happy dream life with the two. They study together and celebrate midnight of the new year together.
Zi Wei tries to wake up Jun Jie just before the sunrise, but he’s a heavy sleeper. Yun Ru tries to get him to leave Jun Jie be and watch the sunrise together. But Zi Wei persistently tries to wake Jun Jie. It’s only when the first rays of sunlight start creeping over the horizon that he turns, mesmerized, and stands up. Yun Ru slips her hand into his. He doesn’t smile, but says yes when she asks him to come watch the sunrise with her again next year.
Zi Wei goes with Yun Ru pick up some of the photos she had printed and get some more rolls of film developed. He notices the neatness of her handwriting when she fills out a form.
Afterward, it suddenly starts pouring on their way home. He tells her to run ahead of him because she’s worried about the photos in her bag. While she runs up ahead, he stares after her, remembering a different rainy day with the same girl. But instead of embracing the rain and laughing freely like Yu Xuan did that day, Yun Ru seems to shrink into herself, and tries to shield her face from the rain.
When Yun Ru gets home at night, her mother notices that she seems different. Yun Ru’s mom whispers with Si Yuan, trying to see if he agrees. He says it’s probably because of her new boyfriend. But Yun Ru dries herself off and returns in time to hear Si Yuan about to reveal Zi Wei’s identity and quickly interrupts.
Yun Ru browses through her new photos and smiles. Yu Xuan watches too, dismayed, and asks Yun Ru if she really plans on pretending to be her for the rest of her life. Yun Ru sighs and then smiles and says, “Why not? If I can have all of this while being Huang Yu Xuan, why would I ever want to be Chen Yun Ru?”
Zi Wei showers and thinks back to how different Yun Ru was today compared to the previous day in the pouring rain. The next day at school, he tries to avoid hanging out with Yun Ru after school, making an excuse about wanting to go buy some study materials.
Jun Jie guesses that he’s trying to avoid Yun Ru and asks him why. Zi Wei admits that Yun Ru has seemed different lately. She doesn’t seem like Yu Xuan anymore and seems like her old self. He doesn’t know how to ask her about it, but feels like he should.
Jun Jie asks him what he plans on doing after. What if he finds out that Yu Xuan is gone? Is he going to keep avoiding her or keep making her pretend to be Huang Yu Xuan?
Zi Wei realizes that Jun Jie never believed Yu Xuan’s story about being from the future. Jun Jie admits that he went along with the lie because he knew it was the only way to keep the three of them together. We see that he actually woke up during that new year sunrise and saw Zi Wei and Yun Ru holding hands. So why can’t Zi Wei make the same sacrifice and keep on pretending too? Why can’t Zi Wei see things from Chen Yun Ru’s perspective and realize how difficult it is to completely change oneself?
But Zi Wei responds that he truly believes Yun Ru and Yu Xuan are two different people. He reminds Jun Jie of what he told him the night that Yu Xuan told them the truth about her time traveling. He had said that there was something about the way she acted and the way she looked at him that was completely different. It was like she was a completely different person. And now he feels that she is back to being the old Yun Ru.
Jun Jie thinks that he’s just blinding himself to the truth, and their argument may have escalated even more if not for Yun Ru interrupting them.
Zi Wei continues to feel bothered by the situation at night. He looks at his own photo of the three of them and notices Yu Xuan’s handwriting on the back.
It gets late and Yun Ru goes outside the records shop, looking for Zi Wei and wondering if she should send him a text asking if he’s still picking her up after work. But then she thinks back to earlier in the day, when she eavesdropped on Zi Wei and Jun Jie arguing about her, and decides not to send the text.
She’s just gone back inside the shop when someone opens the door behind her. She turns with a smile, perhaps thinking it’s Li Zi Wei. Except it’s not. It’s Xie Zong Ru.
Her smile immediately drops and her whole demeanor changes. Her eyes drop to the ground, her shoulders hunch forward protectively. Neither say anything as he slowly enters the store, and she backs up. She continues to sit stiffly while he browses around. Finally, he comes up to the front and puts down a cassette: it’s Wu Bai’s The End of Love.
He pays and as she starts to make change, he says, “It’s you, Chen Yun Ru? I’ve been waiting for you to come back.”
She freezes, still not making eye contact. He holds out his hand for change, but she puts it on the table instead.
She’s saved when a couple enters the shop, and Zong Ru takes his cassette and leaves.
After work, Yun Ru is reluctant to leave the shop and walk home alone. She thinks about calling Zi Wei, but then decides against it. She nervously locks up and starts walking home when she’s sure she doesn’t see anyone around.
But she doesn’t notice Zong Ru hiding in the shadows. He starts following her, and she seems to sense that there’s someone behind her. She tries to lose him in the alleys, but he ends up finding her and starts walking briskly toward her with a crooked smile. She starts running and makes it onto a larger street, where she runs into Zi Wei on his motorcycle.
She hugs him in a panic and tells him about the person following her. He goes to check the alley but doesn’t see anyone. As Yun Ru gets onto his bike and they start to head off, Zong Ru steps out of the shadows and walks away.
Zi Wei takes Yun Ru to the pavilion where they first talked, and asks her if she remembers what they talked about the first time they went there together. She says of course she remembers: they talked about how her parents were splitting and how he was moving to Canada. It doesn’t look like it’s the answer he wanted to hear.
He tells her that he brought her hear because he wants to know what her secret is. Right now, is she Chen Yun Ru or Huang Yu Xuan? Yun Ru doesn’t answer immediately. Yu Xuan pleads with her to tell the truth and stop lying to them both.
But Yun Ru just smiles and says of course she’s Huang Yu Xuan. She hasn’t returned to her world yet. It’s not the right answer. Zi Wei tells her that if she were really Huang Yu Xuan, she would say that it was when she told him about her dream, or when she told him about the future. He guesses that she’s not Yu Xuan at all.
Yun Ru tries to wave it off, saying that she and Yun Ru shared memories, but Zi Wei doesn’t buy it. He asks her about the handwriting on the photo, then asks when Yu Xuan left. Where did she go? Yun Ru doesn’t answer. Yu Xuan continues to plead while Zi Wei demands an answer as well. When she kissed him, that was her, not Yu Xuan, right?
Yun Ru finally stands up and says, “Enough! Stop talking!” It’s directed at both Yu Xuan and Zi Wei, it seems like.
Yun Ru asks Zi Wei what he would do if she told him that Yu Xuan left and is never coming back. Would he still stay by her side and talk to her? He looks away and doesn’t answer.
She starts crying and tells him he doesn’t need to say anything. She starts walking away. Zi Wei follows, calling her name. He begs her to tell him if Huang Yu Xuan is coming back. What does he need to do to see her again?
Wrong question. Yun Ru laughs sadly while she cries. Doesn’t he know that Huang Yu Xuan and Wang Quan Sheng were just stories she made up? Huang Yu Xuan never existed. It was just a dream. A dream in which a person she liked also liked her back.
She walks away. Zi Wei looks defeated.
Yun Ru is slow to get up in the morning. She neatly makes her bed and leaves her hair down instead of tying it up. She wordlessly turns off the TV, where the news tells us it’s February 14th, the night she’s supposed to die, and gently carries her mother to bed.
Si Yuan gets up and asks why she didn’t wake him up. He almost overslept. She just says a quiet sorry and starts walking away. He asks what’s wrong with her. Did her boyfriend break up with her? Why does she suddenly seem like her old self?
She asks him, “You didn’t like my past self?” He says, of course he didn’t. He asks her to not turn back into her old self. He had just started liking her and they had just started to get along with each other.
Jun Jie spots Yun Ru walking quietly through the school halls, earphones in, head down, and is reminded of the old her. The one who seemed to walk through like she was invisible.
Yun Ru quietly goes to her desk and continues to listen to her music. Her basketball friends suddenly notice her and tap her on the shoulder, asking why she didn’t say hi. They ask her if she’s okay. She’s seemed different lately, more like her old self. She asks them if they didn’t like her past self. They say of course they didn’t. She never talked to anyone and kept everyone at a distance. But once they got to know her, they realized that she was actually quite warm. Like her brother, they also tell her not to change back to her past self.
She doesn’t make eye contact but smiles a little sardonically and says, “I’m like you, I also don’t like my past self.” Then she puts her earphone back in and turns back to her music.
Jun Jie goes to class and notices that Zi Wei’s things are there, but his person is not. He goes off to find him.
Zi Wei sits alone in the auditorium on the piano, playing a few notes while remembering the last time he was there with Yu Xuan. He stares at the shadow of her memory and reflects on his confrontation with Jun Jie earlier.
Jun Jie asked him how long he plans on avoiding Yun Ru. When will he forgive her?
Zi Wei responded that there’s nothing to forgive. He’s not angry at Yun Ru, he just doesn’t know how to face her. Yun Ru told him the truth the other day, that Huang Yu Xuan was just a story. But even after he found out the truth, he didn’t ask her why she lied to him and pretended to be someone else. He asked her how he could see Huang Yu Xuan again.
Jun Jie angrily grabbed the front of Zi Wei’s shirt, but he let go when he sees saw pain in Zi Wei’s teary eyes. Zi Wei knows that Yu Xuan was all just a lie, yet even after knowing that truth, every day when he wakes up, his first thought is always, “I really miss Huang Yu Xuan.” He calls himself an idiot, because he knows she’s not real, yet she’s all he can think about.
Zi Wei continues to cry in front of the piano.
Yun Ru walks dejectedly through an empty school campus. She runs into someone: Xie Zong Ru. He stares at her. She stares back at him then smiles back in a resigned way.
At night, she stands on one of the upper floors of the abandoned building, looking over the concrete barrier at the courtyard floor below. She turns as Zong Ru emerges from the shadows behind her. They hold eye contact, then she slowly approaches him and takes a breath, as if about to speak.
This episode, again, is nothing happy. On the one hand I kept on trying to piece together timeline and figure out whether this was all what was supposed to happen, or if anything’s changed. It doesn’t seem like that much has changed…
But it’s hard for me to figure out how Zi Wei and his knowledge and his changes fit into all of this. He seems to know that the things he’s experienced with Yun Ru since she hugged him that day in his bedroom are with the real Yun Ru and not Yu Xuan. Yet it also seems like some of the photos he was so fond of as Wang Quan Sheng and some of the things he remembers about Yu Xuan are from his time with Yun Ru pretending to be Yu Xuan. And he told Yu Xuan to not say anything to him about the truth or 2019. Is that because he thought that this current Yun Ru was Yu Xuan? Is it only in this new timeline Zi Wei that notices something different? Or is this always the way it was supposed to be, so that some of Zi Wei’s impressions of Yu Xuan are actually of Yun Ru? Are we still stuck in the same cycle?
But I mainly just feel so conflicted about Chen Yun Ru as a character! I think her character is so tragic and while I feel really conflicted, that’s also a great feeling when it comes to this being a great drama.
It’s really easy to want to vilify Yun Ru. She’s stealing Yu Xuan’s identity and life and purposely ignoring her and sabotaging not only her but Zi Wei! That seems so antagonistic! But also, as Jun Jie tells Zi Wei, it’s important to see things from her perspective. Isn’t Yun Ru just doing to Yu Xuan what Yu Xuan did to her?
It’s frustrating watching Yun Ru pretend to be Yu Xuan and live out all these beautiful memories that we really wish could be Zi Wei and Yu Xuan together. But at the same time, doesn’t Yun Ru deserve to experience this happiness as well?
This whole show I’ve wondered what happens to those whose lives are stolen by their doppelgangers. We catch a glimpse of it with Zong Ru, and it didn’t really give me a lot of hope. To be fair, Zhi Qi appears to have some serious mental illness, so that probably affected Zong Ru a lot. But what about the real Wang Quan Sheng?
For Yun Ru, Yu Xuan’s hijacking her life wasn’t a good thing. She comes back and finds that as much as tries to be her, to be someone completely different from herself, it’s impossible and exhausting. And she also finds that no one likes her the way she was before. No one likes her for who she is. That’s a pretty terrible feeling. Everyone in her life tells her that they like Yu Xuan better, they like this other her better. Uncle Wu once warned Yu Xuan against sabotaging Yun Ru’s life. But that’s kind of what she did.
So while I don’t agree with Yun Ru’s choices, I still understand why she made the choices she did. She just wanted to believe that she could be different. But I just wish she could realize that she can choose to be more like Huang Yu Xuan without having to be her. That time that she pretended to be Yu Xuan, she was happy. She can choose to be happy without being Yu Xuan. And not everything is about a boy. Was she not listening when Jun Jie told the Yu Xuan version of her that she didn’t have to pretend to be someone she’s not? What’s most frustrating about Yun Ru is that she seems to think she can’t be friends with the boys without being Yu Xuan. But that’s not true.