Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Amensalism (Ep. 8)

You Kuan and Ke Wei make some progress — with each other, if not with the investigation. They both realize that it’s better to face things together than apart. Meanwhile, they learn that someone is very determined to hinder their investigation into Ke Wei’s car accident, and You Kuan learns some heavy truths about his father.

Recap

Ke Wei and You Kuan check on his mother, who was the victim of a burglary. She got knocked over while the burglar escaped and sprained her wrist, but is otherwise fine. What’s strange is that no valuables were stolen, but her husband’s study had been rifled through.

You Kuan tells his mother not to worry too much about it, but when she’s out of the room, he and Ke Wei agree that the timing and odd circumstances of the incident are more than coincidental. You Kuan decides to bring his mom back to live at the SG headquarters with him, at least for the time being while she recovers. Ke Wei tells You Kuan that her landlady called and said her house repairs were done. She can move back in tomorrow. But she looks uncomfortable while she says it and You Kuan gives her a long look.

The next day, Ke Wei moves out with her luggage as well as the box of Papa Cheng’s documents. She asks the taxi driver to take her to the nearest real estate office and wait outside for her. Her search for a short-term rental is unsuccessful, and even worse, when she leaves the office, she spots her luggage sitting on the sidewalk, taxi driver nowhere in sight.

She pulls out her phone, but then You Kuan shows up and plucks it out of her hand, asking why she’s here with her luggage when she said she was going to move back home. He did his own research and found out from her landlady that her house isn’t ready yet. He guessed she would be at one of the nearby real estate offices, and he was right.

He guesses that she blames herself for his mother’s injury, but tells her that the one at fault is the person who is trying to stop her using these methods, not her. He wanted to give her some time to think about it.

Ke Wei is still unhappy that the taxi driver ditched her things and left without word. You Kuan says that he asked the taxi driver to leave, saying that he had an argument with his girlfriend and now wants to make up. He knows that she took his father’s documents because she wanted to put him and his mother out of harm’s way, but he also reminds her what he said before: he’s willing to exchange his life in order to protect hers.

Ke Wei is also reminded of what else he said that night: he had told Yao Qing that he liked her. She calls You Kuan out for confessing his feelings to other people, but not the subject of his affections. He quickly says that he called her his girlfriend just to make an excuse for the taxi driver. He doesn’t actually think they’re dating.

Ke Wei just says that’s good, because she can’t be his girlfriend right now. She turns away. He just nods sadly and says that he understands. What happened at the hospital — they’re both adults, he gets it.

Ke Wei says she has some stuff she needs to take care of right now, but — she turns toward him with a smile — she can be his girlfriend starting tomorrow. He looks at her with surprise. They smile at each other.

A man watches them from a white Mercedes. You Kuan notices him, but acts like he hasn’t.

Yao Qing runs into Ke Wei at his mother’s nursing home, outside her room. Ke Wei tells him that she already took care of his mother’s basic needs. He doesn’t need to do anything except chat with her.

After Yao Qing visits his mother, he finds Ke Wei waiting for him in the lobby. He knows she’s there to talk to him about something. She starts telling him about how important he is to her, because he’s her family. They may argue and fight, but they will never willingly leave each other.

He refuses to look at her and instead gives her a little cynical laugh. “So you’re choosing to be family?” He asks. Has she considered what family means to him? All he knows of family is that they can be cruel and that they are people you have no choice but to accept.

She should know that to him, family are people he feels shackled to. If she knows that, then why would she choose to trap him in this kind of relationship?

Ke Wei apologizes, not realizing that his scars about family ran so deep. Yao Qing says that the day You Kuan confessed he liked her, he already knew what choice she would make. She can reject him, but he can also reject her back; he doesn’t want to be her family. He walks away from her.

Ke Wei thinks back on all their memories together and how persistently he stayed by her side. She cries on the phone to her aunt, saying she messed up and now Yao Qing won’t come to their new year dinners anymore.

But when she goes outside, eyes still red from crying, she’s surprised to find Yao Qing waiting with a lollipop and a smile. “How was my acting?” he asks. He teases her about crying and acting like she’s the one who just had her heart broken instead of him.

He’d rather be her friend than her family. Friends can still support each other and eat new year dinners together. But friends are a choice, not an obligation.

She asks why he didn’t mention this earlier. It could have saved her a lot of tears. But he confesses that he was hurt and wanted to retaliate a little.

Ke Wei starts crying again, saying she already told her aunt that he wouldn’t eat with them anymore. What is he going to do now? She makes him call her aunt and fix things. He does, saying that Ke Wei must have misunderstood him earlier. They both know how she can be. Ke Wei continues to cry but smiles through her tears as she silently apologizes and thanks him.

Ke Wei is walking back to SG that night when someone suddenly grabs her and pulls her into a walkway. It’s You Kuan. He motions for her to be quiet and then takes her to his SUV, which is hidden away off the street. The rest of SG is waiting in the back.

He tells her how earlier in the day he noticed a car following him. He set up a trap, pretending to acquire some important documents from a former driver for Chairman Xu, then bringing them back to the SG headquarters. He got the rest of the SG employees to leave the building, and sent his mother to a doctor’s appointment. Now, they lie in wait, watching their security cameras for the perpetrator to appear.

But Mama Cheng suddenly appears on screen, home early from her appointment. Ke Wei decides to go in after her, thinking that her appearance will be less threatening and less suspicious than if You Kuan or another SG employee were to appear. They don’t want the perpetrator to run.

Ke Wei goes inside SG and doesn’t find Mama Cheng on the first floor. She goes up to the second floor, where there are no security cameras. Worried, You Kuan sends Ace to check on the car. He finds out that it’s empty. You Kuan immediately rushes back to the SG headquarters, where he hears sounds of a struggle from upstairs.

Ke Wei is in his bedroom, trying to blink pepper spray out of her eyes. She says the attacker ran out, and they suddenly hear another yell — Mama Cheng. You Kuan rushes to her to find that the attacker has escaped via her balcony and is nowhere in sight. She didn’t get a good look at him.

Ace runs into the man near his car and they start fighting. Ace is finally able to wrestle him under control: it’s Chairman Xu’s secretary.

They interrogate him, but he points out that they have no legal basis for trapping him here. They can’t prove that he had trespassed on their property: he wasn’t caught on any of the video cameras, and neither Ke Wei nor Mama Cheng can concretely identify him as the person who was in the house.

Even if they can’t prove that the secretary was in the house, they can prove that he was following Ke Wei and You Kuan. You Kuan asks why. The secretary claims that he thinks Ke Wei is pretty and is following her because he’s attracted to her. There’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing. After all, You Kuan is always following Ke Wei too. If it makes her uncomfortable, he’ll just not do it anymore.

They all know he’s lying but they can’t do anything about it, and You Kuan grudgingly lets him go. Before he leaves, he reminds Ke Wei that he’s waiting for her. It seems almost threatening.

The SG team is troubled by how the secretary entered the house undetected.

Late at night, You Kuan continues to go over every moment of the night in his mind, wondering if he missed something. He gets a text from Ke Wei, asking if he’s still awake. It’s already tomorrow, which means she can be his girlfriend now. He offers to make some midnight snacks.

But while You Kuan waits for Ke Wei at the base of the staircase, he overhears his mother on the phone. His father has been spotted again.

The next day, Mama Cheng nervously enters the loan shark’s office with You Kuan and Ke Wei in tow. But the man they find isn’t You Kuan’s father. It’s just someone pretending to be him. When You Kuan outs him as a fraud, he takes off running. You Kuan gives chase.

He eventually catches the man, who tells him that he found his father’s ID card on a mountain. You Kuan remembers his childhood dream.

You Kuan and his mother go to the mountain trail that You Kuan once dreamed of, with a search team. As they walk through the woods, the scenery becomes familiar. You Kuan picks a path in the opposite direction of the primary searchers. His mother follows him.

He eventually finds the place where he saw his father get hit, and he reels from what he sees. His mother soon catches up and holds onto him for support when she sees the same thing. The remains of a human skeleton can be seen in the dirt. She stumbles back and steps on something: her late husband’s wallet. A photo of the family is still intact, protected within the plastic casing.

Ke Wei hears about the news and goes to support You Kuan while he waits for the results of forensic tests on the remains. They find out that it is his father, but because it’s been so long, they can’t determine the cause of death. All that’s left of his possessions is a car fob, his wallet, and a money order stub for $300,000 NTD.

Ming Fei goes to see yet another neurologist to try and figure out why she keeps seeing and hearing car crashes. This doctor tells her that it may be related to memories she has lost. Has she ever been in a car accident? Ming Fei shakes her head, saying her family would have told her if she had been. What about other serious injuries?

Ming Fei says that when she was younger and visiting England, she fell and hit her head and lost about a month’s worth of memories. Her doctor suggests that she may be able to recover those memories if she tries to find triggers, such as sights, sounds, or smells that might remind her of those times.

Ming Fei goes to find her mother, Amber Lin, a well-known photographer who lives in England and is in Taipei for the opening of an exhibit. Ming Fei sits with her mother while she’s interviewed by a journalist. We learn that her mother was a globetrotter and didn’t spend much time with her. Even though Ming Fei spent a year in England, her mother was only with her for a few months out of the year. The journalist attributed Ming Fei’s acting success to her mother’s connections to the European creative scene, but it turns out that Ming Fei actually found those opportunities on her own.

The journalist asks Ming Fei to take some photos of her mother. While her mother teaches her how to operate the DSLR camera, she suddenly remembers her mother teaching her the same thing when she was a teenager.

As she takes photos of her mother, she suddenly remembers more from that day. She had insisted on taking some family photos of You Kuan and his parents, including one next to a car. It’s the same photo that was in You Kuan’s father’s wallet. She wonders what else she forgot from that month-long gap in her memories.

You Kuan and his mother hold a funeral banquet for his father with Ke Wei, Ming Fei, and SG in attendance. Mama Cheng puts on a smile, telling everyone to eat, but can’t hide her sorrow.

At night, she dreams of her last words to her husband, and wakes up. You Kuan hears a door closing in the night and is worried it’s his mother, but when he opens his door, he finds Ke Wei. He checks his mother’s room — she’s gone, and her cell phone as well.

He and Ke Wei roam the streets in their PJs, searching for Mama Cheng. Ke Wei finally spots her sitting forlornly at a bus stop across the street. You Kuan approaches her.

Mama Cheng says that she wants to go home. You Kuan’s father is waiting for her there. You Kuan gently tells his mother that his father is already gone. It’s late, they should go back. He bends down to take his mother’s hand, then sees the divorce papers crumpled in her hands.

Mama Cheng starts crying, saying that she didn’t mean it when she told him she wanted to get divorced. She didn’t mean to push him away. She tears up the papers, saying, “I killed him. I need to go back. He’s waiting.” She stands up, but You Kuan wraps her into a hug, saying, “Dad knows. He understands you.”

After You Kuan puts his mother to bed, Ke Wei finds him and offers him some hot cocoa. He puts his hands over hers and drinks some, then sits down with her on the couch and apologizes for dragging her into this mess. This wasn’t his intention when he asked her to move in. He had wanted to protect her.

She looks down at their hands and asks if she remembers the first time they held hands. He had told her that sometimes one person’s life bears the weight of two. They are like that now. He worries about her, and her heart aches for him. But even if they don’t know what lies ahead, at least they’re not alone. She’s glad that she moved to be with him, that she likes him, that she’s liked by him.

He pulls her in for a kiss.

Then he thanks her. She tells him he shouldn’t keep all his worries to himself. What does he plan on doing next? She knows he won’t let the matter of his father’s mysterious death rest.

He smiles and says he’ll sleep a deep sleep.

You Kuan’s psychiatrist, Doctor He, learns from his assistant that You Kuan already dropped by in the morning to pick up his prescription without stopping by to chat. You Kuan picked up a week’s worth of medication, more than normal, and Doctor He finds it odd, because You Kuan usually stops to talk.

Ke Wei enlists Chun Xiong’s help in enhancing the photo quality of the photos of past personnel that Yao Qing took for her. Chun Xiong says it’s not easy to get access to the files. Does he know that he’s putting his job in jeopardy? Ke Wei looks troubled at the possibility.

Mama Cheng asks what they’re up to, and sees one of the photos, which is of her late husband. She tells Ke Wei that persisting in her search these past nineteen years must have been hard, but Ke Wei just smiles and says now that she has people to help her, it doesn’t feel as lonely anymore. Mama Cheng tells Ke Wei that she’s sure Ke Wei will soon find her answer.

As she walks away, she remembers first meeting Ke Wei nineteen years ago, when she was just a little girl wandering around, looking for the car with the license plate AX-8217. She shakes her head and says to herself, “I can’t go on like this.”

Ke Wei picks up a call to SG from Doctor He, who is looking for You Kuan. She finds out that You Kuan picked up an unusually large amount of medication. She remembers what You Kuan said about wanting to sleep a deep sleep and looks worried.

You Kuan sits in his mother’s house, contemplating his large bottles of pills. He picks one up and starts pouring all the pills out onto the table, wondering if he’ll be able to see more of the reality in his dreams the longer he sleeps.

You Kuan dreams of his father sitting in his broken chair at the head of the dining table, folding paper airplanes. He asks his father all the questions he has. Why did he disappear? Who killed him? Why did he have a car fob for such a fancy car in his pocket? What about the money order? But his father only answer his questions with more questions.

You Kuan hears his name being called, and his father disappears. He wakes up. Ke Wei is banging on the door.

She rushes inside and immediately checks his pill bottles, but they’re sealed. She guesses that he wanted to take pills to sleep longer and dream more. He admits that he has thought of it. He is frustrated by his dreams and how they only show a piece of the whole picture: Yao Qing’s dad but not his mom, his own father’s death but not his killer, and… he thinks of his dream of Ke Wei, but he can’t let her know. If he could dream deeper, maybe he could find the whole truth.

Ke Wei grips him by the shoulders and tells him he shouldn’t burden himself with the destinies of the people in his dreams. He shouldn’t have come to his childhood home alone. What if something had happened to him? What about his mom? What about her?

He reassures her that he only took a normal amount of sleep medication, and he came back to help clean the house for his mom.

You Kuan hasn’t had any luck tracing the car that matches the fob his father had, but Ke Wei has an idea. She can’t help, but Yao Qing can. She forces the two of them to talk.

When she gets back to SG with lunch for the employees, she accidentally knocks Papa Cheng’s old wallet to the ground. She opens it and, seeing the family photo, takes it out for a better look. It’s folded. She opens it up, revealing a car with the license plate AX-8217.

I think we all knew where this was headed and we all know where this is going.

I won’t lie, I did hold out some hope, like Mama Cheng, that maybe You Kuan’s father was still alive. Maybe his dream was incomplete — maybe his father did get bludgeoned, but somehow survived with a severe head injury and was running around out there, perhaps with a faulty memory, perhaps intentionally keeping his distance for the family’s safety. If he were alive, he could provide a crucial missing piece of the puzzle.

But there are still a lot of pieces left to play. Ming Fei clearly was involved in the accident, what with her missing memories and abrupt year spent abroad. But how involved? Everything we’ve seen so far seems to suggest that maybe she was driving, and that’s why Chairman Xu has been so touchy about the subject.

How much does Mama Cheng know? She clearly knows about the car, but why has she been hiding that knowledge? Is there something she’s afraid of? When she thought her husband was alive, I could see why she would keep her knowledge a secret, not wanting to implicate him in anything, but what about now that he’s deceased? She doesn’t want to tarnish his memory? Or something else?

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