After so many episodes where Fei Yang and Ai Sha get plenty of face time together, this episode is about them individually as they each go through some major, life-changing events. The drama doesn’t stop as all of our characters are forced to take a good look at themselves and consider why they are who they are today.
Qi Zhen Kai returns home early from work and insists on seeing his father even though Fei Yang’s mother tells him he’s already asleep. He silences her with a look.
When he gets upstairs, he closes and locks the door to his father’s room. His father is indeed asleep and doesn’t wake up when he calls him. Instead, Zhen Kai decides to rummage around his father’s desk and files, searching for that elusive will.
He looks up to find his father awake and staring at him. He tries to dab some water on his father’s lips, but the elder Qi closes his eyes and purses his lips and refuses to accept it. Zhen Kai gives up and angrily tells his father to stop staring at him like that. He can’t tell whether his father fears him or hates him.
Then he drops his facade and says he doesn’t really care whether his father fears or hates him. Zhen Kai thinks his father should have died five years ago.
The elder Qi starts getting agitated. Zhen Kai leans in and feigns sadness, asking if he feels bad. Then his face becomes an emotionless mask and he says that he understands, because this is how his mother passed away all those years ago. Elder Qi’s health monitors start beeping, but Zhen Kai only continues to stare at him and does nothing until his father passes out, unconscious.
Ai Sha falls over the edge of a steep slope while searching for phone service. She catches herself on a tree root. Her phone starts chiming and she manages to claw her way back up to the top of the slope and pick it up. A notification from Ocean’s Heart says that “Killer Whale is right next to you.” (Ah, that must be what the app update last episode was about…)
She’s confused, but then her grip suddenly slips and she starts sliding back down the slope. A hand shoots out and grabs her wrist. It’s Fei Yang. He pulls her back onto solid ground. He goes to check on her car once he’s certain she’s fine. She looks at her Ocean’s Heart app notification and eyes him suspiciously.
Fei Yang is chatty but Ai Sha is quiet as he walks her to her front door at night. Before she goes in, she thanks him for rescuing her, but then she says that she’s finally realized why he always seems to be following her. She pulls out her phone and pulls up Killer Whale’s profile on Ocean’s Heart. A recent app update allows users to see the location of people they’re matched with when they’re near. Can he tell her who Killer Whale is?
She messages Killer Whale, and Fei Yang’s phone beeps when she does, but he doesn’t move to check his phone. He tries to explain himself, saying that he developed Ocean’s Heart independently when he was trying to do market research. When he found out she had downloaded it, he —
She interrupts him: he spied on her, followed her, and intentionally got close to her, then tried to tell her he was sincere? She thinks that his picking the screen name Killer Whale was very apt — orcas are a shark’s natural enemy. They’re known for hunting sharks and dealing fatal blows with a single bite.
Fei Yang doesn’t say anything. Ai Sha just nods and starts to turn away. Fei Yang tries to grab her arm, but she shakes him off, saying, “Don’t touch me. You disgust me.” She slams the door in his face.
He sighs and lingers, but then gets a call from his mother.
Ai Sha angrily deletes the Ocean’s Heart app from her phone and tears apart Fei Yang’s shrine to himself. She throws the shark charm into the trash.
When Fei Yang goes to his parents’ house, his mom immediately throws herself into his arms, sobbing. Zhen Kai approaches and gives the somber news: their father doesn’t have much time left.
Fei Yang rushes upstairs to his father’s bedside. His father is unconscious and unresponsive. Fei Yang sobs next to him. Finally, his eyes slowly open. Fei Yang wants to go get his mother, but his father’s grip is surprisingly strong and he keeps him there.
With dwindling strength, elder Qi signs on Fei Yang’s palm. “I know,” Fei Yang responds, “I’ve always known.” Then his father’s eyes drift shut.
The next day at Golden Man-Chic, the office atmosphere is tense and quiet. Xi Jun and Ni Mo, unable to stand the silence, awkwardly stand up and try to rally the employees, saying they’ll all continue to try and help each other locate the missing money and data. But Vicky stands up and says that they don’t have to pretend. She knows everyone blames her. Yuki says they’re just trying to help, but Vicky lashes back, saying that no one wanted to help her before when she was left with tasks that no one else wanted to do. She’s skeptical that they actually want to help now.
She storms out angrily, brushing past Ai Sha, who is on her way in to see Fei Yang. Fei Yang hasn’t come into the office yet, so Ai Sha ends up talking to Steven, who has been left in charge. She hands off her remaining projects to him. She doesn’t plan on working with Fei Yang or Chic-Golden Man anymore.
Steven asks what happened between Fei Yang and Ai Sha. Ai Sha claims nothing happened, and doesn’t seem to care that “something big” happened to Fei Yang last night, until she finds out what it is: his father passed away.
Fei Yang holds vigil over his father’s empty bed as he remembers some fleeting happy memories from before his father’s accident. Zhen Kai sees him mourning and is about to go over to him, but then decides against it and instead calls him out to his study.
Zhen Kai tells Fei Yang the board of directors is ready to kick him out of EC Group. Fei Yang offers to try and talk to Uncle Wu, their father’s best friend who is a key board member, but Zhen Kai tells him that his words won’t hold any weight when it comes to EC. Fei Yang wouldn’t be able to convince the rest of the board — they don’t know who he is.
Zhen Kai takes Fei Yang by the shoulders and says that their father might be gone, but they need to stick together as brothers. Fei Yang asks what he can do. Zhen Kai says that he needs to transfer Chic-Golden Man over to him immediately, so he can have some leverage. Fei Yang nods and says he’ll take care of it immediately. Zhen Kai embraces him, but he looks like he’s scheming.
On his way out of the house, Fei Yang gets a call from Uncle Wu, asking to meet. Zhen Kai frowns and has one of his lackeys follow Fei Yang.
Uncle Wu tells Fei Yang that his father had arranged his will five years ago. Right afterward, he had gotten into his nearly-fatal car accident. Uncle Wu finds it suspicious. Fei Yang views Uncle Wu as an antagonist and blocker to his brother’s ascension to power. But Uncle Wu tells Fei Yang that he watched him grow up and knows his father better than anyone. He knows that his father wanted to publicly recognize Fei Yang and his mother as his family. His father spent the last of his strength trying to protect Fei Yang.
Fei Yang doesn’t understand what he means. Uncle Wu warns Fei Yang that the people closest to him are often the most dangerous. He is certain that Fei Yang’s father wanted to leave half of his estate and company stocks to Fei Yang. But he had only ever heard Fei Yang’s father speak of it. No one can find the will.
Zhen Kai’s lackey eavesdrops from the adjoining room using a sound amplifier that directly streams the conversation to Zhen Kai. Zhen Kai angrily throws his tablet on the ground.
Five years ago, he overheard his father speaking to Uncle Wu, saying that Fei Yang would join EC Group one day. His father said that Zhen Kai had inherited the best and worst qualities from him and his first wife. If Zhen Kai were to lead EC, it would crumble.
Zhen Kai had reeled from that revelation and then made the most significant choice of his life. He told one of his lackeys, the same one who has stayed with him until now, to tamper with his father’s car.
Now, the lackey checks on Zhen Kai, who sees not him, but his own father. He grabs the lackey by the throat and yells, “Why? Why are you blocking me even in death? Have you not seen everything I’ve done for EC Group? You’ve already ruined mom’s life. Do you want to ruin mine too? All for that woman?” He throws his secretary to the ground.
Ai Sha is troubled by the news of Fei Yang’s father’s death and remembers meeting his parents and how they had both immediately taken a liking to her and been convinced that Fei Yang liked her. She starts drafting a text to Fei Yang, then deletes it. Before she can decide whether to write something else, she gets a call from Ye Xuan. He tells her that her mother’s check-up did not go well and she should go home.
Ai Sha returns home to find her mother and Nan Cheng fighting. Nan Cheng insists on taking their mother to the hospital to get a more thorough exam like the doctor recommended, but Mama Fang adamantly refuses. She starts hitting Nan Cheng when he doesn’t listen to her, something she has never done since he was little.
Ai Sha’s arrival silences everyone. Her mother is upset that she’s come home. Nan Cheng tells her to convince their mother to go to the hospital. But Mama Fang thinks everyone else is crazy — one check-up and now they want her to undergo surgery? She knows her body better than anyone else and she says she’s fine. She locks herself in her bedroom.
Nan Cheng tells Ai Sha that their mother was feeling dizzy so they took her to the hospital for a check-up. They thought it was high blood pressure, but it turns out she actually has stage 2 colon cancer. Ai Sha is stunned. How did Nan Cheng and Dong Xue not notice that their mother was ill when they live at home with her?
Nan Cheng asks Ai Sha if she’s trying to blame him for their mother’s illness. He tells her not to act like she cares more than him about their mother. If not for him taking her to the hospital, they never would have discovered the cancer. Ai Sha says she’s not trying to blame him, but… Nan Cheng interrupts. Does she think she doesn’t have to take any responsibility for their mother’s health because she’s always busy with work and making money? The money she gives seems to be enough, so she doesn’t need to trouble herself with their mother’s health now.
Dong Xue listens from the top of the stairs, looking troubled.
Ye Xuan leaves, and Ai Sha apologizes again for always troubling him with her family. But he says that her mother has always treated him well — like family. He invites her to his restaurant; he has something he wants to give to her.
All the tables and chairs at Ye Xuan’s restaurant have been pushed to one side and most things are packed in boxes. It’s clear that he hasn’t been open for business for a while. Ye Xuan gifts her a set of silverware, teaware, and cookware that she had long admired from his restaurant.
She asks why he hasn’t opened the restaurant the past few days. Ye Xuan says he plans on closing his restaurant, or selling it to someone else. He doesn’t know who he’s cooking for anymore. Learning to cook, going to Le Cordon Bleu — that had all been for Ai Sha. Now, he’s decided that he needs to go somewhere else and do something else. He needs to live a life without her.
Ai Sha looks sad and concerned, but Ye Xuan tells her to not worry. This is all part of the process. He says that he should treat the gift as his parting gift for her. She can use it to sharpen her own kitchen skills and cook for Fei Yang. He tells her that nothing can compare to cooking for someone you like.
She smiles and jokes that if she becomes too good at cooking, she’ll open another “Leaves” (his restaurant). They both sigh in companionable silence.
Ye Xuan laughs in a self-deprecating way and confesses that his biggest wish was to be someone Ai Sha could depend on without worry. They both know what kind of men she used to date. He would silently wait and hope, but then Fei Yang appeared and was able to do for Ai Sha everything that Ye Xuan wanted to do. “I’m really envious of him,” he admits, “that he can be there when you need him most.” Now it’s time for Ye Xuan to let her go.
Ai Sha teases him about going off to “find himself” as a thirty-something year old when it’s usually something a college kid would do. He agrees to have one last drink with her.
They’re interrupted when Xiao An angrily slams a food container down onto a table. Ye Xuan and Ai Sha turn, surprised to see her. Xiao An cries and runs out of the restaurant. Ye Xuan gives chase.
Xiao An decides to run out into an intersection and stand in front of an oncoming car. Ye Xuan grabs her and pulls her out of the way. She tries to charge back out onto the street, but he holds her back, telling her not to treat her life like a joke. If she tries to use her life to threaten him, he will lose all respect for her.
Xiao An just yells that he’s never actually cared about her. He looks down her. He’s closing Leaves because of Ai Sha, and he didn’t think to tell her? She thought their relationship had changed.
Ye Xuan tries to apologize, but Xiao An puts her hands over her ears and says she doesn’t want to listen to him. She starts running away. Ye Xuan follows her. She notices and smiles as she keeps walking.
Ai Sha sits on a swing at the playground and she reflects on everything that happened that day. She looks up and sees Fei Yang sitting on the park bench looking back at her. But it’s just her imagination. There’s no one there.
Ai Sha goes to her mother’s home to find her getting all her affairs in order. She puts sticky notes up on all the cabinets so Dong Xue and Nan Cheng know where to find things, and gives Ai Sha the important documents, like the title and deed to the house. She makes Ai Sha promise to never sell the house under any circumstances. She knows that Nan Cheng might want to sell it to make up for his monetary losses, but Ai Sha must not sell it.
Ai Sha says that her mom seems to have her brothers’ business all figured out, but what about her? Mama Fang responds that Ai Sha is smarter than her brothers and can take care of herself. Mama Fang knows she doesn’t have to worry about her.
Ai Sha suddenly starts ripping down her mother’s sticky notes, saying that they’re going to the hospital to get her a more thorough exam. But Mama Fang says she doesn’t want to go. Ai Sha says that getting surgery is nothing to be scared of, but her mom tells her to shut up. She’s not the one who is sick. She doesn’t understand.
Mama Fang says that if exams show she needs to get surgery, her chances of living are already cut in half. After surgery, there will be recovery, chemo, and radiation treatments. If it works, that’s good, but what if it doesn’t? What kind of life will she be living? Hospital stays and treatment require money. Who’s going to take care of the house while she’s in the hospital? Who’s going to come to the hospital and take care of her?
Ai Sha insists that she can, but her mother finally exclaims, “I don’t want to burden you! You’re already thirty. You just started your own business. How will you have the time and energy to look after me? You’ve already done enough for this family. If you have any spare money left, spend it on yourself. Don’t worry about me anymore.”
“You’re my mom, how can I not care about you?” Ai Sha responds. “Ever since we were little, you gave Nan Cheng the best of everything. You gave all your love and attention to Dong Xue. You never remembered what I liked and didn’t like. I don’t care. I know you’re biased. I know you favor sons over daughters. I don’t care that you use me for my money. But I’m begging you, can you give your remaining time and health to me?”
There isn’t a dry eye in the house. Dong Xue is upstairs, listening in, and even Nan Cheng, who had listened at the door, quietly closes it and turns away.
Later, Ai Sha’s mother hugs Ai Sha’s lone second place award and cries while remembering those defining harsh moments in Ai Sha’s childhood: telling Ai Sha that no one remembers second place finishers; throwing her things at her and telling her that her father didn’t want her.
At Chic, Vicky asks Yuki if she thinks the company might collapse. Fei Yang hasn’t shown up for days, and Ai Sha suddenly left. If the company collapses because of them, then the lost money won’t matter anymore, right? It won’t be her fault anymore.
Steven comes over to the marketing team, angry that they’re behind on a project and asking who is responsible. Jing Jing overhears and helpfully chimes in that Director Tang is usually the one in charge of restaurant and food-related projects. Everyone looks at Xiao An, who doesn’t say anything. Yuki jumps in with an excuse, saying that the company usually collaborates with Ye Xuan on these projects, but now that he’s gone…
Xiao An loudly stands up and says that she’ll find an influencer to replace Ye Xuan. She grabs the project documents from Steven and stomps out of the office.
After work, Xiao An is about to throw away Vicky’s money pouch, but Jing Jing grabs her wrist. She takes the pouch and sees Vicky’s name on it, then loudly accuses Xiao An of stealing. But Xiao An just grabs it back with a crazed look in her eyes and says that Jing Jing doesn’t have any evidence that she stole it. She quickly shoves the pouch into the trash can and tells Jing Jing she can dig through the trash to retrieve the money if she wants — then she’ll be the one who saved Chic by digging through trash. But if she doesn’t, then it still works out for Xiao An, because Vicky will have to leave.
Xiao An starts walking away. Jing Jing follows, asking why she’s picking on Vicky. Xiao An responds that Vicky started it. If she were more careful, she wouldn’t have lost the money pouch either. Jing Jing grabs Xiao An’s arm to stop her, saying she never thought she would stoop this low. Xiao An fires back, saying Jing Jing was willing to do whatever it took when she competed with Ai Sha. She shouldn’t act like she’s so much better than Xiao An.
Jing Jing tells Xiao An that she’s young. She still has a chance to turn back and correct her mistakes. But Xiao An shakes her off and says that she doesn’t care what she does as long as it gets her the results she wants. She can’t turn back. She knows that everyone is waiting for her to fail and hoping for the chance to drag her down. She can only go forward. She can’t go back. She doesn’t care if the path forward is right or wrong, as long as there’s somewhere to go, she will keep going forward. Even if all that’s in front of her is a cliff, she will jump.
Xiao An gives Jing Jing a final glare, then walks away. Jing Jing lets her go with a sad look.
Ai Sha accompanies her mother to the hospital for her exam. Before they go inside, her mother gives her a gift: a jade bracelet that her own mother gave to her when she got married. She knows that Ai Sha might find it old-fashioned, but she’s worried if she doesn’t give it to Ai Sha now, she won’t have a chance later.
The bracelet reminds Mama Fang of growing up with her own mother, who would hit her whenever she was in a bad mood, saying that girls are useless and a waste of money. When they grow up, they’ll just belong to other people.
Mama Fang wanted to prove her mother wrong and prove that she could be useful and successful. After she got married, she thought that being a good wife would prove her worth. But then her marriage failed.
Ai Sha’s mother takes her hand. She tells her that she was so harsh on her as a child because she didn’t want her to become like her. She didn’t want her to be just a housewife. No matter how good Ai Sha was, her mother never let herself be satisfied. Every time Ai Sha succeeded and did something she was never able to do, Mama Fang wanted to tell her how proud of her she was, but she couldn’t bring herself to do that. Maybe there are some words that, when left unsaid, can never be said.
“As you became more independent and didn’t need me anymore, I became afraid. I was afraid you would look down on me and discover that I’m a useless woman. Now I’m more afraid that I won’t be able to tell you how proud of you I’ve been.”
Ai Sha packs a suitcase for her mother for an upcoming hospital stay. She remembers her mother’s words as she folds her clothes and cries.
Ai Sha gets home after a long day and suddenly remembers her shark necklace, which reminds her of Fei Yang. She re-downloads Ocean’s Heart and looks up Fei Yang’s location.
Fei Yang cries as he continues to sit vigil by his father’s empty bed and remembers his last words. He falls asleep like that, sitting next to the bed, until the next morning when his mother gently wakes him up and tells him it’s time.
This episode wrecked me. The drama never stopped! Even when I thought we were getting a brief reprieve with Ye Xuan and Ai Sha’s reconciliation, the drama just came right back with Xiao An’s intrusion.
So it turns out my first instinct about Qi Zhen Kai being the evil older brother was correct. I just didn’t realize how twisted he was. I’m not exactly surprised that he tried to kill his own father, but I certainly hoped that there was more to him than that.
Xiao An… I don’t even want to waste words on the turn she’s taken. Her behavior this episode really showed her emotional immaturity. She acts like a spoiled child. What really stood out to me about her was that her words to Jing Jing were an exact echo of words Ai Sha once said. How she has to keep moving forward and can’t turn back and how everyone is waiting for her to fall. But it’s clear that Ai Sha and Xiao An have very different interpretations of what those words mean and how far they’re willing to go. I think it’s interesting to consider what it is that makes Ai Sha and Xiao An so different when they seem to believe the same basic principles about being a professional woman.
To be fair, Xiao An has been used by everyone around her. Ai Sha used her as an assistant and barely gave her the recognition she deserved. Jing Jing acted like she was boosting Xiao An’s confidence and giving her career advice, but really was just trying to use her to undermine Ai Sha. May manipulated her with false promises of promotion in order to keep Chic’s acquisition a secret. Ye Xuan used her because she was there when he was heartbroken over Ai Sha. There are reasons to sympathize Xiao An. She manipulates because she was manipulated and thinks that it’s the only way she can survive. I get why I should feel bad for her, but it doesn’t mean I do!
But what really got me this episode was Ai Sha’s relationship with her mother. It moved me to tears, but I also think it was the highlight of this episode, and possibly one of the highlights of this show.
So far we’ve only seen Ai Sha’s family through Ai Sha’s eyes. We’ve seen how frustrating and irritating they are. How her brothers are basically good for nothing and mooch off the family. And that might be true, but I liked that Nan Cheng called Ai Sha out with words that hurt because they were also true. None of the family members are completely in the right. Ai Sha has often acted like she’s above her brothers because she provides for the family and occasionally drops in for the occasional dinner and cleans up around the house. She does a lot for her family, but she has also acted like giving money is enough, because she doesn’t want to deal with the annoying parts of her family. She didn’t follow through with taking her mother to the doctor the first time she noticed her being unwell — though to be fair, her mother did push her away — and she also missed the ball the second time, after Ye Xuan advised she take her mother to get a check-up. On the one hand, it shouldn’t all be on her, but on the other, she also shouldn’t act like she’s absolved of all responsibility.
I also really liked how the show highlights Mama Fang’s autonomy and power of choice when it comes to getting treatment. She’s scared, but also for good reason. It broke my heart when she finally admitted to Ai Sha that she doesn’t want to be more of a burden on her, and I loved the scene in which Mama Fang finally opens up more to Ai Sha about her own flaws. I think it’s been pretty clear all along that Mama Fang has wanted to say nice things to Ai Sha but they always came out wrong. Over time, sometimes not saying nice things becomes a habit. Sometimes you’re so used to not saying something that it’s hard to say it at all. I’ve definitely felt that way toward my parents, and also felt that my parents have done to the same to me growing up.