Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 25)

Tang Xue struggles to deal with her newfound notoriety and status as Yu Bing’s girlfriend, not knowing where her own identity fits into all of it. She also has to dodge around Yu Yan’s feelings, while Yu Yan places all his hopes on winning his upcoming competition.

Recap

Outside the sports center, Tang Xue wonders if she really can do it. Can she win a competition? Yu Bing headbutts her, asking why she’s having doubts now. Even Coach Chu has acknowledged her ability. He tells her she should believe in herself. She pats him on the head for his pretty words.

Then he adds that his head does hurt a bit… out of worry that her father has found out about them. She solidly headbutts him back, saying that he already deleted his Weibo post and her parents never check the campus message boards anyway.

Da Jiang catches Jian Guo in the athletes’ lounge, showing one of the speed skaters a video. He admonishes Jian Guo for distracting the speed skater when she has a race coming up. Jian Guo points out that not everyone should be like Yue Wei, who is always training and always looks so serious. Happiness is important. Da Jiang wonders if there’s some way he can cheer Yue Wei up.

When Tang Xue returns to her room at night, her roommates ask if she’s okay. Social media is full of chatter about her and Yu Bing. Tang Xue says that she’s okay. Coach Chu normally doesn’t support her skaters dating, but today she defended Tang Xue.

Tang Xue’s parents video call her to check on how she’s doing. When her father mentions sending over a bunch of study materials for veterinary medicine, Huan Huan hops in to help Tang Xue distract him so that Tang Xue doesn’t have to outright lie about not reading the material.

Once she hangs up, Liu Ying says that she can’t keep hiding forever. The truth will come out whether she likes it or not. Tang Xue protests, saying she’s not intentionally lying to her parents, but she wants to at least have some results to show first.

Yue Wei takes out her woes on a punching bag in the training room. Da Jiang shows up with a fan dance routine, trying to cheer her up. He calls Yu Bing dumb for liking Tang Xue, but Yue Wei says that she’s happy that he’s with the person he likes. After all, isn’t a person most happy when they’re with the person they like?

Yu Yan texts Tang Xue and they chat for a bit. Then he asks her if she saw his video interview. She remembers how uncomfortable it made her, and responds saying that he exaggerated a bit and made her seem like she was special. She only did for him what she would do for any friend. But Yu Yan responds saying that she is special and he doesn’t view her as just a friend.

Tang Xue frowns, not wanting Yu Yan to like her and not wanting to deal with his confession. She responds saying that yes, they’re not just friends, they’re war buddies. She wishes him well on his upcoming training and competition and says they can chat more when he gets back.

Yu Yan sighs and stares at his phone. His mother finds him lost in thought. He asks her if she meant what she said when she said he could date whoever he wanted after he won a championship. She says yes, but he has to hold up his end as well. They pinky promise on it and he dashes off to train more. She sighs and frowns after him.

Now that Tang Xue has been outed as Yu Bing’s girlfriend, rumors and gossip follow her wherever she goes. Her friends tell her not to listen to the gossip and say that people are just jealous, but the rumors bother Tang Xue. Why is everyone acting like Yu Bing is the one who got the short end of the stick when he was the one who pursued her?

At lunch, the lunch lady gives Tang Xue an extra chicken leg, asking her to take care of their Ice God. But the special attention doesn’t make Tang Xue feel any better. Liu Ying says that bad news might turn into good news. Tang Xue gets a text from Yu Bing, asking when they can meet up because he’s gone a whole day without seeing her.

Yu Bing invites Tang Xue to a press conference he’s speaking at. She sits in the audience while the crowd and reporters are all hyper-focused on Yu Bing. Seeing his celebrity makes her feel bad about herself.

Afterward, he walks her back to her dorm and notices that she seems out of it. She claims that she’s just tired from training, but ducks away when he tries to kiss her goodbye. He frowns as she walks away, wondering what’s going on with her.

Tang Xue admits that to her roommates that it bothered her to see Yu Bing at the press conference today. It reminded her of how much of a star he is, and how, when she’s next to him, people only view her as his girlfriend, not as Tang Xue, a person with her own identity. She wants to be able to stand next to him as an equal.

Liu Ying tries to encourage Tang Xue by saying that the distance between her and Yu Bing is nothing compared to how far away the Earth is from the stars. Huan Huan reminds Tang Xue that she started speed skating again because it was her dream and she was doing it only for herself. Huan Huan trusts that if she keeps chasing that dream, one day she’ll be as much of a star as Yu Bing, if not a bigger one.

Tang Xue feels inspired by her friends, and resolutely decides to focus on herself and her skating. But the thought of standing by someone as an equal seems to bother Huan Huan.

The next day, the speed skating and hockey teams cross paths when the speed skating team practice is right after the hockey team practice. Both teams tease Yu Bing and Tang Xue as they pause to greet each other. Tang Xue is smiling and back to her usual self, and Yu Bing is happy that his “little sugar cube” is back.

At practice, Coach Chu tells Tang Xue that she needs to improve her stamina. She tells her to look to Yue Wei as an example and put in extra training to focus on her stamina.

Afterward, Coach Xu gives Coach Chu some tickets to the hockey team’s season opening game. He wants the speed skating team to attend. Coach Chu counts one missing ticket. Xu responds that Tang Xue has her own special delivery. Chu blames Xu for enabling Yu Bing and Tang Xue’s relationship, and warns him that if Tang Xue’s performance slips, she’s going to blame him.

Huan Huan is overwhelmed with the amount of work she has to do at the animal rescue. Zhen Yu shows up with her favorite fish ball snack, which he waited in line for hours to get, and cheers her up a little. But then she remembers her conversation with her roommates about standing together as equals. She tells Zhen Yu he should do the things he wants to do instead of spending all his time helping her, but he says that this is what he wants to do.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing are leaving the library together when Yu Bing says he learned a new move today. Tang Xue says she also learned a new move today. She suggests they should show each other what they learned. She crouches down into her skater’s pose while he reaches his arms out toward her for an embrace. He quickly drops his arms and tries to act casual when he realizes he misread the situation.

Tang Xue teases him and asks what move he was trying to demonstrate. Embarrassed, he responds that he was trying to do the Victory Kiss (the famous V-J Day in Times Square photo). She tells him to focus on his training. How will he have a Victory Kiss without a victory? He responds that if he wins, then he’ll have his Victory Kiss. She agrees.

Zhou Ran and Bian Cheng meet. Zhou Ran seems unhappy and asks Bian Cheng what he’s done about Tang Xue this week. Has he given up? Is he going to become a mediocre journalist like her uncle? She shows him the message that Yu Bing posted, claiming Tang Xue as his girlfriend.

Bian Cheng doesn’t seem concerned. His end goal is to be a news journalist, and his end goal is also to have Tang Xue. Tang Xue’s father still doesn’t know about her return to speed skating. He can make an article out of that. Zhou Ran looks uncomfortable, saying she promised not to tell her uncle about Tang Xue’s skating. Bian Cheng smiles and says he only needs one small favor.

Yu Bing smiles as he showers and thinks about the promised Victory Kiss. When he gets out of the shower, he checks himself out in the mirror and starts taking some shirtless selfies. Da Jiang and Jian Guo watch him with raised eyebrows, but he doesn’t seem to notice them.

Tang Xue receives the shirtless selfie from Yu Bing and grins. She drafts a message auctioning off the photos of him, but sends it only to Yu Bing to mess with him. He sends a voice message back, saying that the photo was meant only for her eyes. Huan Huan overhears the message and struggles with Tang Xue over her phone, wanting to see the photos.

Yu Yan is backstage before his skating competition, trying to calm his nerves and repeating to himself a mantra of, “I can do this. Wait for me.” His phone rings with a notification and he checks it to find the campus message boards blowing up with the news that Tang Xue and Yu Bing are dating. Yu Yan is rattled. Coach Jin finds him and urges him toward the rink, but the world seems to spin around him.

The speed skating team has an off-ice conditioning practice. Yue Wei is clearly the leader in terms of physical fitness and much faster than the rest of the team. Tang Xue stares in disbelief as Yue Wei hops straight onto an exercise bike once the practice is over. Is she made of steel?

Yu Bing comes in and catches Tang Xue staring at Yue Wei. He teases her, asking if she’s jealous. Tang Xue asks if Yue Wei ever gets tired. Yu Bing responds that even some male athletes can’t keep up with Yue Wei’s physical fitness. He tells Tang Xue to rest and he’ll catch up with her later.

Tang Xue resolves to train just as hard as Yue Wei. No, she needs to train even harder.

Yu Yan’s mother finds him in his bedroom, sitting on the ground in the dark. Tears slip down his face as he asks his mother whether she’s disappointed in him. She calls the result unexpected, and is about to say more when she notices his tears. Instead, she tells him to rest. They’ll return to China tomorrow.

He asks if he’s really supposed to return to China with a result like this. He had four falls in a row in his program earlier today. His mother says that she understands his desire to win, but that he needs to not pressure himself so much. He looked tense the whole time he was skating. He didn’t look like he was enjoying himself. He wasn’t his old self.

Yu Yan repeats that sentence to himself. He isn’t who he was before.

Zhou Ran is filming by the track with a classmate. They look for new subjects to film and her classmate spots Tang Xue working out and suggests her. Zhou Ran manages to dissuade him from the idea, saying that Tang Xue isn’t the star on the speed skating team, and most of the people focusing on her are the campus equivalent of tabloids. Interviewing her will distract from their main focus.

She goes over to Tang Xue to make some snide comments on how she’s been acting more masculine lately. No wonder Yu Bing doesn’t want to acknowledge her as his girlfriend and deleted his post from social media. Tang Xue is more annoyed than anything and purposely sprays her with some water from her mouth. Zhou Ran leaps away after daintily calling her gross and telling her to watch herself.

Yu Bing watches their whole interaction with a frown and silently tells Tang Xue that he will explain himself.

The day of the opening hockey game, Tang Xue tells her friends to go ahead and find their seats in the stands while she heads backstage. Yu Bing is trying to give his team a pep talk — their opponent happens to be Song An Jie’s team — when his whole team gets distracted by Tang Xue showing up in the locker room behind him.

They go out into the hall, where Tang Xue hands him the pink tape she bought for him. He smiles and pulls her into a hug. She tells him that he’ll get a reward if he wins. He asks if his reward is the Victory Kiss, but she just smiles and tells him to win first, then runs off.

The crowd cheers loudly as they wait for the hockey teams to enter the rink and take the ice. Tang Xue and Zhou Ran are sitting near each other and make eye contact. They smile at each other, but seem insincere.

Commentary

Yu Bing and Tang Xue continue to be adorable as they support each other. Sometimes the self-realizations feel a little pedagogical, but overall I like that Tang Xue recognizes that she doesn’t need to worry about what other people say or how they perceive her. She needs to just focus on herself.

The banter over the Victory Kiss is cute and in this context, it’s viewed as romantic and sweet. Yu Bing and Tang Xue have a very healthy relationship, and I don’t want to take away from that, but I think it’s worth acknowledging that even though the V-J Day kiss photo is iconic and popular and viewed as “romantic,” it is also problematic because it’s romanticizing and normalizing a nonconsensual kiss. (Just Google it!) I’m sure that when Yu Bing and Tang Xue reenact this kiss, it will be totally consensual.

Yu Yan continues to be a sadboi, which makes me sad. I have never been a professional athlete, but I have been a competitive one, and I feel like competitive athlete 101 is to never let yourself be distracted by your phone before big competitions. Just put it on silent mode, airplane mode, or whatever! I guess Yu Yan has never had a smartphone before so I should cut him some slack?

Bian Cheng continues to give me bad vibes. Does he really even care about Tang Xue if he’s thinking about weaponizing and using her secret to his own advantage?

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