Tang Xue emerges from her fall unscathed, but it only serves to remind her of how far she hasn’t come. To make things more complicated, she learns how much of a hand Yu Bing had in helping her make the speed skating team, and has to figure out how that makes her feel.
Tang Xue slams into the boards while Yue Wei crosses the finish line in first place. The speed skating team and coaches immediately surround Yue Wei with congratulations, but Yu Bing only has eyes for Tang Xue. She’s slow to get up and he almost hops the boards to check on her, but then the competitor who knocked her over helps her up.
Tang Xue slowly starts skating away. Everyone looks relieved to see her standing, and someone in the audience starts a slow clap for her. Her teammates yell words of encouragement to her, and Yue Wei does, too. Even Zhou Ran looks like she feels bad for Tang Xue, but she doesn’t forget to remind Bian Cheng that Tang Xue could use some comfort right now. He should go to her.
Coach Chu asks Tang Xue if she’s okay while she unlaces her skates. Tang Xue forces a smile and says that she’s fine. It’s not like she hasn’t lost before. There will be another chance. But she quickly rushes toward the locker room. Yu Bing hurries after her. Yue Wei tries to maintain her smile as she watches him leave.
Bian Cheng trails Tang Xue by several yards as she winds through the hallways of the sports center, but he quickly ducks around a corner when he sees Yu Bing waiting for Tang Xue. Somehow he beat them both to the locker room.
Yu Bing pulls Tang Xue into a hug, telling her she’s okay. She starts to cry, saying that she thought she could beat herself after working so hard, but she couldn’t. Why?
When Tang Xue pulls away, Yu Bing gently turns her around and then puts the snowflake necklace around her neck. He tells her that this is her medal for all the work she has put in. As long as she doesn’t admit defeat, she will always be a winner.
Zhou Ran finds Bian Cheng hiding around the corner from Tang Xue and Yu Bing. She notes that he seems to have fallen behind in this race. But winter break is coming up, and Bian Cheng says that a lot can change in a month. Besides, he has Zhou Ran to help him, and he addresses her as “cousin” (with an implied “in-law”).
Tang Xue joins the rest of the speed skating team in the lounge. Yue Wei is the first to ask if she’s okay, then teases her about the bet they made. Yue Wei doesn’t feel the need to enforce the bet, but Tang Xue starts barking, always one to keep her word.
Huan Huan and Zhen Yu poke their heads around the corner to check on Tang Xue. They spin her around and make sure she’s okay. She smiles and tells them that she’s fine. She might not have won today, but she gave herself an award for her courage.
Yu Bing and Coach Chu chat outside about Tang Xue’s progress. Coach Chu is glad that Yu Bing convinced her to give Tang Xue a chance. She recognizes Tang Xue’s work ethic and potential now, and Yu Bing no longer needs to pay for her training fees. The team will cover it. She asks Yu Bing if he plans on telling Tang Xue about his role in her getting on the team, but he says that there are some things better left unsaid.
Yu Bing gets called away by a phone call. He heads downstairs, revealing Tang Xue behind them. She seems to have heard everything.
She approaches Coach Chu, who admits that Yu Bing was the one who has paid for her training fees and equipment — including the shoes that Tang Xue is currently wearing. He was the one who convinced her to let Tang Xue try out for the team. Tang Xue seems a bit shell-shocked as she walks away.
Yu Yan sees an article and photo of Tang Xue’s crash on the school message boards and frowns. His mother comes into his bedroom to check on him, and he quickly hides his phone screen. She tries to show him some affection, offering to massage his legs and tuck him into bed, but he rejects her. When she leaves, he looks at a photo of Tang Xue on his phone and asks her to wait for him. He’ll become a better version of himself for her.
Tang Xue is uncharacteristically quiet during a celebratory team dinner that night. She’s still brooding over her newfound knowledge that Yu Bing got her onto the team. She thought she had proven herself with her ability, but it turns out it was just Yu Bing.
Yu Bing notices her glum demeanor and creates an excuse so that they can leave early. After a brief silence in which they each look at the other while the other looks away, Tang Xue finally asks why he never told her about paying for her training fees. Yu Bing tries to feign innocence, but she tells him that she overheard his conversation with Coach Chu.
She sends him some money, but he refuses to accept it, saying she can pay him back once she becomes a world champion and wins prize money. “What if I don’t become a world champion?” she asks. He says that’s impossible.
Yu Bing tells Tang Xue that he knows the past few months have been tough on her, trying to balance training with classes. She’s probably felt upset, irritable, frustrated, scared. Tang Xue looks away, blinking back tears. The conversation is hitting too close to home, so she just thanks him and starts walking away.
She turns back and asks if he’s bought tickets to go home yet. They should go back to Hucheng, their hometown, together. She’ll buy his ticket for him. He can treat it as interest for the training fees she owes him. He’s surprised, but smiles and hurries to catch up with her as they walk back toward campus.
Back in her dorm room, Tang Xue buys the bus tickets home for her and Yu Bing. She plays with her necklace and finds herself smiling, then immediately asks herself why she’s smiling. It’s not like she likes Yu Bing. Or does she?
Da Jiang waits outside the speed skating locker room for Yue Wei. He tells her that his parents are abroad for break and he has nowhere to go. Will she take him? She tells him he’s free to come hang out with her. He smiles and then cancels his ticket home.
Tang Xue gets 82 points on her final exam for Hawkeye’s class and excitedly runs off to submit her major change form. He signs and stamps it and tells her he doesn’t want to see her again… until she comes back with a gold medal. He admits that he admires her dedication and compares her to the sun, shining brightly on everyone around her.
Tang Xue sprints over to Coach Chu’s office to report the good news. Coach Chu warns her that she’s left the wolf’s den for the tiger’s lair, and reminds her that she needs to keep up her training over winter break. Tang Xue nods excitedly. Nothing can dampen her mood.
Tang Xue and her roommates eat takeout in their dorm room and share their biggest accomplishments to celebrate the end of the semester. Liu Ying was the top student in all of her classes. Huan Huan is proud of her animal rescue. Liu Ying prays to get a boyfriend next semester. She’s even willing to give up her top student status.
Huan Huan and Zhen Yu walk around campus for the umpteenth time. Zhen Yu is reluctant to leave her because once they part, they won’t be able to see each other again until next year. They’re hugging when Huan Huan suddenly spots Yu Bing and Tang Xue walking together. They don’t notice her or Zhen Yu as they chat and smile each other. Both Huan Huan and Zhen Yu look betrayed. Neither of them knew that Tang Xue and Yu Bing were leaving together. But then Zhen Yu smiles. It looks like Huan Huan is going to lose their bet.
While Tang Xue and Yu Bing are getting settled into their seats on the bus, another passenger brushes by roughly, forcing the two of them close together. When they sit down, there’s an awkward silence, and then they awkwardly both start to say something at once. Yu Bing asks Tang Xue if she was able to successfully change majors. She has, but is worried about how her parents will take it. She may be fearless, but she’s still afraid of her parents’ sorrow. Yu Bing says that no matter what happens, he’ll be with her.
On campus, Yue Wei continues to train hard. Da Jiang watches her, thinking to himself that he’ll be happy just being able to silently support her. Yue Wei is surprised to find her water bottle on a bench behind her when she turns around. She wonders if there’s a ghost; she remembers that her water bottle was farther away before.
Tang Xue naps on the bus. Yu Bing props up her head on his shoulder with his hand, switching hands when one side gets numb. An auntie sitting across the aisle notices with a smile. When it’s time to get off, the same pushy passenger forces Yu Bing to get off first. The auntie gets off with Tang Xue, and tells her all about how Yu Bing was so thoughtful during the bus ride. Tang Xue glances at Yu Bing with a scared look.
Inside the bus station, Tang Xue greets her father with a flying hug. He’s overjoyed to see her, but immediately frowns and looks at Yu Bing suspiciously, asking who he is. He doesn’t look thrilled when Tang Xue volunteers him to drop off Yu Bing at his house.
Yu Bing sits uncomfortably in the back seat while Tang Xue’s father tries to suss out their relationship. Tang Xue insists that they’re purely platonic, then asks Yu Bing where he lives. If he went to the other middle school, that means he must live somewhere around where they’re driving right now, right? Yu Bing tells them to just drop him off on the corner up ahead.
After they drop him off, Tang Xue wonders pityingly if Yu Bing has to split time between two homes now.
But Yu Bing’s parents are still happily married. When he gets home, his father greets him with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, uncharacteristically affectionate for a Chinese father. While they eat, Yu Bing’s parents ask whose family dropped him off. He’s surprised when his mother remembers Tang Xue. She remembers that Tang Xue almost disfigured Yu Bing’s face, and at the time, Tang Xue’s mother had offered up Tang Xue as a daughter-in-law in exchange for the trouble.
Yu Bing almost chokes on his food. This is news to him.
Those were some smooth moves from Yu Bing in the beginning when he gave Tang Xue the necklace. But I also thought it was the perfect moment. To give her the necklace at any other time would almost seem self-serving for him, because the intent would always be for her to like him. In this moment, though, he made the situation all about her and the necklace was entirely for her and a show of support.
Yu Bing being supportive is pretty much the theme of this episode! So many great moments between him and Tang Xue, though Tang Xue seems to be firmly trying to push him into the friend zone. I like that Tang Xue is willfully oblivious and tries to ignore romantic notions, though. She has important things to focus on and can’t afford to be distracted by boys!
I’m curious about Papa Tang’s reaction to Yu Bing. Is it just natural fatherly protectiveness? Or does he have other reasons to be suspicious of Yu Bing? He acted like he didn’t remember Yu Bing, but his response to hearing that he was Tang Xue’s former deskmate seemed like suspicious recognition. Tang Xue and Yu Bing must have gotten into enough trouble together that there’s no way Papa Tang would not remember him!