In this episode of The Wonder Woman, Ai Sha is forced to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice for her company. She also realizes that in order to save Chic, she will need to work with Fei Yang and Golden Man. But she’s going to do it on her own terms.
Ai Sha tells the media that she’s at the gala at Fei Yang’s invitation. When asked about a potential collaboration between the two companies, she admits that Chic is considering collaborating with Golden Man, positioning herself as the one who wields the power.
Ai Sha tells Fei Yang that the contract is in her car. He can sign after the gala when they go for a midnight snack. He says she’s being presumptuous, thinking that he’ll agree to the partnership when he hasn’t said anything. She points out that he hasn’t rejected her yet either. She guesses that he is more likely to want to sign with her than with Jing Jing because he’s afraid Jing Jing will still his clients.
The lights dim and a tango starts playing. Fei Yang invites Ai Sha to dance and discuss. She agrees. The crowd parts as they step into the spotlight and dance while negotiating the terms of a contract. They’re able to come to an agreement, until Fei Yang names his final term of the contract: he wants Ai Sha to be on Golden Man’s team.
She doesn’t need to join the company, but he wants her to be the director of Chic and Golden Man’s combined internet platform, and to sign a contract saying she won’t leave for five years.
Ai Sha pulls away. She didn’t approach him in order to sell herself. He stares at her and says that what she wants is to make up for Chic’s loss. What he wants — he pulls her in — is her.
She slowly backs away from him, then without saying a word, grabs her purse and leaves, with everyone watching. As Ai Sha leaves, she suddenly gets swarmed by the media, demanding to know if she has any connection to the My Way CEO’s recent overdose.
Ai Sha silently pushes through the crowd of reporters, maintaining her stony-faced expression, and manages to get into the elevator unscathed. Fei Yang sees the commotion and sprints up the staircase after her, but by the time he gets to the top, the elevator doors have already closed.
At Chic the next morning, the marketing team gossips about Ai Sha. Vicky thinks Ai Sha is done for and will take the fall for the fiasco with the My Way CEO. She says that Jing Jing is sure to make partner and that she’s always treated them well, so it’ll be a good thing. But Xiao An, Ai Sha’s staunch supporter, “accidentally” spills her water on Vicky and reminds everyone that Ai Sha is the reason why Chic is successful. Without her, how long do they think Chic will last?
Ai Sha finds May on the rooftop. The CEO wants to know what Ai Sha’s plan is for dealing with the My Way CEO. Ai Sha initially planned on holding a press conference to reveal the hacking, but May brings up the point that then Chic would have to admit they were hacked. Chic’s reputation is already suffering, with manufacturers wanting to cancel contracts, and social media users calling for boycotts.
May and Ai Sha have a long history together. Ai Sha followed May in resigning from the previous company they worked at together in order to build Chic from scratch. May suggests that Ai Sha will need to publicly apologize to the My Way CEO to save Chic, but also says it’s up to her. If Ai Sha doesn’t want to apologize, May will support her, but that means Chic will fail and they’ll have to rebuild.
The Golden Men watch a video of Ai Sha crashing My Way’s launch party and Xi Jun gushes over how cool she is. Fei Yang isn’t paying attention to their chatter and instead is thinking about how Ai Sha will handle the situation. Steven tells Fei Yang that now is the perfect time to act on acquiring Chic. But Fei Yang isn’t listening and instead bolts to Chic’s office, looking for Ai Sha.
But Ai Sha isn’t at the office, which is concerning for everyone because she’s supposed to speak at the press conference in an hour. Fei Yang takes off running again, this time to get in his car, but gets stuck in traffic.
Ai Sha strides into a hospital, holding a bouquet of flowers and looking like she’s on a mission.
Everyone is trying to reach Ai Sha, but no one is able to. Ten minutes before the press conference, Ai Sha is still nowhere to be found and doesn’t pick up Xiao An’s calls to her. Jing Jing is furious, thinking Ai Sha is trying to shirk responsibility onto her.
Ye Xuan gets a frantic phone call from Ai Sha’s mom, who asks if he’s seen the news about her and asks if he’s heard from her. He doesn’t know about the news articles, but then overhears some customers gossiping about how Ai Sha has been embarrassingly slow to apologize.
Xiao An is still trying to reach Ai Sha with Jing Jing breathing down her neck when May strolls out of her office and tells them that it’s over. She shows them her phone. Everyone’s eyes widen as they see whatever is on the screen.
Fei Yang seems to have gotten the same news from Ni Mo, because he slams his head in frustration against his headrest, still stuck in traffic.
Ai Sha is at the aquarium, stoically watching the shark tank, when a staff member tells her that the aquarium is closing. She smiles ruefully to herself and looks up to fight back tears. She turns and is surprised to see Ye Xuan, who immediately pulls her into a hug, crying for her. She leans into him, closing her eyes.
Fei Yang sees them hugging, just a few minutes too late, and looks down before walking away. Ai Sha doesn’t see him because her eyes are closed. By the time she opens them, he’s gone.
Afterward, Ai Sha and Ye Xuan go for a walk. She asks him why he’s being so quiet, and he says that he’s still trying to figure out what to say. She tells him not to worry about her. She’ll be fine. Soon, something else will grab the headlines and no one will care about this anymore.
Ye Xuan tells Ai Sha that he knew her before she became a shark. She doesn’t have to pretend in front of him. She can let him comfort her. She smiles and tells him that she doesn’t need comfort, though her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes.
He asks her if he can be the first to know when she decides to no longer be a shark one day. She agrees and tells him to go home. He waves and starts to walk away. She holds her smile until she turns away.
Both Xiao An and Fei Yang were nearby and they each saw the whole thing.
When Ai Sha gets home, she collapses, exhausted, onto her entryway bench and finally looks at her phone. She has a ton of missed calls and texts. Even her mom was worried, calling fifteen times and sending texts asking if she’s okay, why she’s not answering her phone, why did she kneel and who did she kneel to, and a threat to go look for her at her office.
Ai Sha pulls up the video that has every shaken and sighs. Earlier that day, she had gone to visit the My Way CEO at the hospital. He had been fine and in high spirits, and disappointed that Ai Sha hadn’t fallen for the lie about the drug overdose.
Ai Sha told him that she would do whatever he wanted if he released a statement saying that Chic had nothing to do with his overdose. He wanted a heartfelt apology from her. He wanted her to kneel.
She wasn’t going to do it and was about to leave, when he reminded her that if she stepped out of the room without kneeling, Chic would be finished. She thought about what May told her on the roof in the morning. Was she willing to give up the past three years of blood, sweat, and tears she poured on Chic just for her pride and this man?
So Ai Sha turned back to the My Way CEO and kneeled.
Now, she looks at the video of herself with self-loathing. Her screen suddenly lights up with a call from her mom, but she ignores it.
Ye Xuan broods about Ai Sha while drinking a glass of wine by himself in his restaurant, not noticing Xiao An, who watches him through the window.
Ai Sha’s younger brother Dong Xue watches the video of his sister kneeling before the My Way CEO and frowns. He ignores his mother, who knocks at the door, and instead opens up the My Way app and starts hacking.
Meanwhile, Fei Yang has his own way of dealing with the My Way CEO, who knows him as Fei Yang-ge. He challenges the My Way CEO to a drinking competition, and wins. The My Way CEO ends up extremely drunk and stumbles around the hospital campus, harassing people walking by, while Fei Yang captures it all on video.
Ai Sha ices her tender knees with a beer and gets a ping from the Ocean’s Heart app, claiming that it has found a 99% match for her. She says out loud that it’s obviously fake but opens the app anyway, where she has a message from “Killer Whale.” Killer Whale is actually Fei Yang.
The two exchange a few messages. When Ai Sha asks Fei Yang he’s a killer whale, he’s stumped for a bit. She thinks he’s left her on read, but then he responds with, “Killer whales are smart, stylish, and the ideal romantic partner.”
Ai Sha shakes her head and responds, “Looks like you don’t understand women.” She goes offline, leaving Fei Yang flummoxed.
He looks into the camera and does his version of Ai Sha’s earlier spiel, telling us how much he understands women while we watch a montage of Ai Sha getting ready in the morning.
According to Fei Yang, women are the most mysterious and hardest to figure out creatures. Historically, they are physically weaker and have less muscle mass than men, but they can go from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye. They can multitask without making an error and are highly efficient. Their sense of balance is extraordinary: they can outrace dinosaurs while wearing high heels, and use their high heels as weapons as well. In short, women are highly dangerous creatures.
So a man, when facing a woman, has only two options: keep your distance or figure out a way to make her your woman.
Ai Sha strolls past the window of a coffee shop near her office building. Fei Yang, sitting inside, watches her as he sips his coffee.
Just before getting into the office, Ai Sha watches the latest viral video on her phone. The latest hot gossip is that the My Way CEO faked his overdose to try and get back at Ai Sha, and there’s footage of him harassing female students in public. The video immediately has everyone sympathizing with Ai Sha.
May greets with Ai Sha with a hug and fawns over her, saying she’s been wronged and she handled the My Way CEO situation so well. She gives Ai Sha a gift, a new luxury watch, and puts it on her wrist, saying that once she becomes partner at Chic, she’ll need a nice watch to match her station.
Jing Jing watches through the window of May’s office, jealous and scheming.
Steven and Xi Jun are upset that Golden Man has missed out on another opportunity to acquire Chic. They call Fei Yang for helping Chic instead of figuring out a way to acquire them. Is he having trouble handling Ai Sha?
Fei Yang laughs and says of course not, he helped her because… and then he can’t figure out what comes next. He finally settles for not wanting to profit off of someone else’s misfortune. There’s no honor in that. But Steven and Xi Jun don’t believe him and give him skeptical looks.
They drink their coffees then immediately wince. None of their coffees are to their taste. When is that person, what’s-her-name, coming back to work?
That person is Golden Man’s lone female employee, Sui Lin. She’s finally back, but looking ghostly, sending chills down the spines of everyone she glides past. (Earlier, we were told she took some time off after a bad break-up.) But clearly the office can’t function without her: Ni Mo struggles to fix a coffee machine, and the rest of the Golden Men have given up on his coffee skills and instead have started getting coffee outside the office, yet it’s not to their taste there either.
Chic holds a company meeting assessing how the business has recovered. Jing Jing reports that Ai Sha’s public apology has stopped the bleeding, but it’s not enough to make up for the deficit from the hack and Chic’s recently slowdown in growth. She shows May her co-marketing proposal with Golden Man, saying that this contract is the key to covering the loss.
May nods thoughtfully. The contract isn’t the answer to everything, if they can grab some of Golden Man’s users in the process, then it may be enough. She asks Ai Sha for her opinion.
Ai Sha remembers everything Fei Yang told her during their negotiation, then says that they can’t sign the contract with Golden Man. Jing Jing is upset that Ai Sha seems to suddenly be acting hypocritical — just a few days ago she had also been talking to the media about a Golden Man collaboration. May asks for a reason, considering Jing Jing worked so hard to get the contract.
Ai Sha says that she’s suspicious of Golden Man’s motives. They’re a very new company, only a year old, that suddenly shot to the top. After they moved next door, Chic starting running into all these issues.
Jing Jing thinks Ai Sha is being underhanded and scheming, since as of right now, there isn’t any real competition between the two platforms. But Ai Sha responds that Jing Jing is scheming just as much, since she seems especially eager to unify both companies’ advertising platforms.
May stops them before they can start bickering too much and says that what she needs right now is a solution. Jing Jing passive aggressively says that she did come up with a solution, but they don’t seem to like it. Does the marketing department have a better idea?
Everyone on the marketing team ducks their heads and avoids eye contact. Ai Sha thinks for a bit, then starts to say something, but Xiao An speaks up at the same time, to everyone’s surprise. May lets Xiao An talk.
Xiao An suggests doing a joint promotional event with Golden Man as a trial run for collaboration. May likes the idea and puts the marketing department in charge.
After the meeting adjourns, Jing Jing compliments Xiao An on her idea, then snarkily says that it looks like the student is surpassing the teacher. Xiao An watches worriedly as Ai Sha returns to her office without a word.
Ai Sha swaps out the watch May gave her with the smart watch she usually wears. Xiao An comes in and apologizes for speaking during the meeting without running it by Ai Sha first. But Ai Sha praises her idea and says that she doesn’t need to apologize. She stands up to look through some of her files.
Xiao An continues to stand in Ai Sha’s office, still looking uncomfortable. Ai Sha says that she knows that Xiao An is very capable. She believes that as long as Xiao An puts in the effort, she can accomplish more than anyone else. If she doesn’t go for what she wants, it will never be hers.
She gets back to business and gives Xiao An some tasks for planning the upcoming collaboration. Xiao An nods and smiles, suddenly seeming way more confident than she was before. Ai Sha watches her go back to her desk, then smiles.
Yuki and Vicky prep some products for the promotional event (and slide in some product placement while they’re at it). Vicky purposely makes some snide remarks about Xiao An when she’s within hearing distance, accusing her of getting all the credit for the idea while making the marketing team do all of the work. Yuki looks uncomfortable and tries to tell Vicky that’s enough. Xiao An, instead of ducking her head like she used to, confronts Vicky directly, saying she was just trying to do what’s best for the company.
Vicky hits back by loudly asking Yuki if she smells a fishy smell. It’s clearly a jab at Xiao An. Yuki sees that Xiao An looks upset, and quickly suggests going out for lunch, trying to steer Vicky away before she can do more damage. As they gather their things, she asks Vicky why she said those things — there’s nothing wrong with Xiao An’s family selling fish.
Xiao An fumes as they leave. Once they’re gone, she spots Vicky’s phone left behind on the table. She picks it up and tosses it in a trash can. Zhen Zhen sees her and gapes in astonishment.
Ai Sha personally goes to Golden Man to propose the joint promotional event to Fei Yang. The rest of the Golden Men watch them with arms crossed. Fei Yang laughs awkwardly and then pulls Ai Sha out into the hallway to escape their judgment. The Golden Men shake their heads in disappointment once they leave. Didn’t Fei Yang say he already had Ai Sha under control?
In the hallway, Ai Sha tells Fei Yang about what she has planned. He points out that he hasn’t agreed yet, and she gets annoyed, saying they had already agreed earlier that they would collaborate.
But what about his last term?
She tells him that she will never join his team, for three reasons. One: she doesn’t trust him. Two: she’s not like him. She doesn’t know who he is and how he has all this funding to help him climb to the top spot in just a year, but she worked herself up from an assistant position over the course of eight years to get to where she is now. Three: Chic isn’t just a job to her. It’s her dream. Would he give up his dream to join someone else’s team?
He watches her with a smile, saying he didn’t misjudge her. But she can’t deny that Chic has a deficit that needs to be fixed. If she can’t fix it, then her dream will forever be just a dream. He guesses that Chic has some ulterior motives for this joint promotional event and she admits to it with her head held high. He says that’s okay, men should be generous. He’ll give her an answer after he meets with his company.
He asks if she’s okay after seeing the news this morning: sometimes people pretend for so long that they’re okay that they start to lie to themselves. She tells him that his words are very moving — too bad they came out of his mouth. He watches her go with a smile.
Suddenly his phone vibrates with a notification. His AI assistant has sent him a listing of a shark necklace, but it’s not quite the right one.
Xiao An helps film another cooking promo video with Ye Xuan. He’s clumsy as usual and accidentally burns himself. She immediately rushes over to make sure he’s okay and yells uncharacteristically at the camera crew when they keep filming instead of helping look for a first aid kit.
While treating Ye Xuan’s burn, Xiao An suddenly asks if he likes Ai Sha. He doesn’t deny it, then asks if it’s really that obvious.
Xiao An looks disappointed as she asks, “So you like her?” He responds that it’s been twenty years — he doesn’t even remember why he started liking her in the first place, just that he does. Xiao An asks why he hasn’t told Ai Sha. He responds that it’s probably because he wants to stay by her side.
Ai Sha strolls out of her office and tells Yuki and Vicky to take photos of their promotional products. When she looks up, she realizes the office is empty. It’s late and everyone has gone home. She ends up doing the work herself.
Ever since he’s known Ai Sha, she’s always aimed for the stars. But he’s different. He’s always revolved around a single star, and that star is Ai Sha. He wants to cheer for her when she succeeds and be there for her when she fails. He wants her to know that he’s always backing her up, will always be there if she turns to look back, because he’s her only friend. But he also knows he can’t tell Ai Sha any of this, because she’ll worry that she’s burdening him, and then she’ll be all alone.
He apologizes for rambling to Xiao An. She just shakes her head and says she’s envious that Ai Sha has a friend like him. She tries to force a smile, but struggles.
Later, she picks up Ai Sha’s dry cleaning, still reeling from the confirmation that Ye Xuan is in love with Ai Sha. She turns to look at her reflection in the shop window, then holds up Ai Sha’s dress in front of her, takes off her glasses, and lets down her hair, as if imagining she were someone else.
I really loved all the little things in this episode.
One was the whole bit with Sui Lin. She’s the only female employee at Golden Man and they can’t remember her name, which seems very dismissive of them, but also, the office and the men literally can’t function without her. They can’t figure out their own coffee or their own coffee machine, and she glides around unseen, but her presence (and absence) is definitely felt.
Another thing I really liked was how Ai Sha’s family had her back when she was being wronged by other people. It’s still unfortunate and unhealthy that Ai Sha’s mother clearly favors her the least and tries to shuffle her into a subservient role as the daughter of the family, but it was also nice to see the texts and the phone calls showing how offended Fang-mama was to see someone forcing her daughter to kneel. We haven’t seen much of Dong Xue, the youngest brother yet, and what we have heard of him so far makes him seem pretty spoiled and ungrateful, but it’s heartwarming to see that he also can be offended for his sister and act on her behalf. We don’t know what exactly he’s done, but I’m guessing that he acted in Ai Sha’s defense.
And third was the interaction between Xiao An and Ai Sha where Xiao An was so afraid of overstepping her bounds after speaking up in the company meeting, but Ai Sha ended up praising her. I love that Ai Sha doesn’t tear down Xiao An just to maintain her own place in the food chain. There’s definitely a toxic stereotype of professional women (especially women in power) viewing other women as the competition or buying into misogynistic views of other women in the workplace, and I’m glad that Ai Sha doesn’t fall into that stereotype. She may be strict and hold her employees to ridiculous standards, but she also holds herself to those standards and recognizes talent as something that should be developed rather than torn down. I suppose that’s also because Ai Sha is confident and self-assured — it’s usually the people who are the most insecure who feel the need to make others feel equally insecure.
I love that Ai Sha boosted Xiao An’s confidence, but I’m also a little afraid that Xiao An will take Ai Sha’s words to heart, but in the wrong way, and lose her way. We’re already seeing a little bit of that in how she dumped Vicky’s phone in the trash. Ai Sha has her own petty moments, but I feel like Ai Sha would find a more subtle yet meaningful way of taking a rival like Vicky down a peg or two. The danger with Xiao An is that she’s already so insecure, and that might make her lash out in negative ways. We know how much she envies Ai Sha. She expressed some of that to Ye Xuan, and we saw how she imagined herself wearing Ai Sha’s clothes. How far is she willing to go to become Ai Sha?
How Xiao An’s character arc develops will really make or break this show for me. My biggest gripe with some of this writing team’s past dramas was the second leads, particularly the female second leads, so let’s hope that Xiao An’s arc goes in the right direction!