Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 27)

Tang Xue deals with the aftermath of her father finding out about her skating. Bian Cheng tries to take advantage of the situation to make moves on Tang Xue, but Yu Bing is suspicious of him.

Recap

Tang Xue’s father is furious when he finds out that Tang Xue has been speed skating, and gets even more angry when he realizes that he was the last person to know. He yells at his wife, flips a bowl, and storms out of the house to go to Lin Da and confront Tang Xue.

Papa Tang finds Zhen Yu and Huan Huan and demand to know where Tang Xue is. They awkwardly try to cover for her, but Papa Tang doesn’t buy it and intimidates Zhen Yu into confessing that Tang Xue is at the sports center. He also accidentally lets slip that Yu Bing spent 50,000 yuan to help Tang Xue. Mama Tang looks uncomfortable with Papa Tang’s behavior. The three of them trail Papa Tang to the sports center. Huan Huan tries to do damage control and make excuses for Tang Xue, while also calling Yu Bing to warn him to go to the rink.

Papa Tang bursts into the rink, causing a scene, right as the speed skating team starts practice. The whole team watches as he yells at Tang Xue for speed skating and transferring majors without telling him. Mama Tang tries to calm him down and make him see reason, but he shakes her off. He thinks she’s skating again just to get closer to Yu Bing and calls Tang Xue headstrong, reckless, and ill-mannered. She takes offense to that, saying she might be headstrong, but she’s not reckless. And she didn’t expect her father, who raised her, to call her ill-mannered. Even if no one else liked her, she thought that her parents, at least, would support her.

Papa Tang tells Tang Xue that they’re leaving now, and that she’s not going to speed skate anymore. He grabs her helmet, but she resists and they start struggling over it. Mama Tang, Zhen Yu, and Huan Huan all jump in to help.

Coach Chu, who has been watching with a frown, runs over to intervene and manages to break them apart. She asks to speak with Tang Xue’s parents in her office, where she can explain things to them. Mama Tang convinces Papa Tang to go. The rest of the speed skating team returns to practice, but not without sympathetic frowns for Tang Xue.

Tang Xue slowly starts to weep, clutching her helmet. Huan Huan and Zhen Yu start to try and comfort her, but make way when Yu Bing rushes in, having missed the worst of the fight. He puts his arms around Tang Xue and doesn’t say anything, just lets her cry.

Coach Chu shows Tang Xue’s parents some data demonstrating her significant performance improvements since she started skating. Contrary to what Papa Tang said, Coach Chu finds that Tang Xue is a very driven athlete with a lot of potential. She has dreams and isn’t afraid to put in all her effort to pursue them. Coach Chu wants to give Tang Xue an opportunity to prove herself at the upcoming university national championship.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing eavesdrop on the conversation from out in the hallway.

Coach Chu tells Tang Xue’s parents that their support is important to Tang Xue. Papa Tang says that he doesn’t want to stand in the way of his daughter’s dreams, but — tears start slipping down his face — he never wants to see Tang Xue get hurt again. Outside, Tang Xue also cries.

Papa Tang says he knows how hard it is for athletes to make it in the sport. For someone like Tang Xue, how likely is it that she will make some sort of athletic breakthrough? At best, she’ll only be as good as she used to be. As her parent, he wants her to be happy, but he’s afraid she won’t be able to handle failure. He doesn’t want her to sacrifice her happiness in pursuit of a championship she might never win.

Coach Chu acknowledges that championships are few and far between, but for athletes, the process of working for that trophy can also bring joy. If speed skating again was just an impulsive decision, Tang Xue might have some regrets later, but if she doesn’t even try, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life.

Mama Tang pats Papa Tang on the wrist and says that she also felt concerned when she first learned that Tang Xue was skating again, but she thinks it’s also time they learned to let Tang Xue make her own choices. She reminds him of how he used to be the one who brought Tang Xue skating and encouraged her and would talk about how happy Tang Xue looked on the ice. What happened? Papa Tang opens his mouth, but doesn’t have a response. Mama Tang says she’d rather be worried than have Tang Xue be unhappy.

Coach Chu tells them that she believes in Tang Xue. Even if they want Tang Xue to quit, they should at least wait and see what happens in the upcoming competition before making a decision.

Papa Tang looks unhappy, but doesn’t say anything. Mama Tang thanks Coach Chu and says that they’ll talk it over at home.

They’re surprised to find Tang Xue waiting outside in the hallway. Tang Xue doesn’t make eye contact with her father, but apologizes for thinking only about herself when it came to skating and not them. But speed skating again is not an impulsive decision; it’s a gamble with fate. She hopes that they will give her a chance, too. If she wins, then it’ll mean that she is destined to be an athlete. She finally looks her father in the eye. If she loses, then she’ll accept that it’s fate and give it up.

Mama Tang looks beseechingly at Papa Tang. Coach Chu also looks at him to see what he’ll say. Papa Tang sighs and agrees, saying this is her last chance. Tang Xue allows herself an almost-smile.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing have an awkward coffee meeting with her parents. Yu Bing and Mama Tang awkwardly smile at each other while Tang Xue and her father both frown and stare at the table. After being elbowed by Papa Tang, Mama Tang passes a debit card over to Yu Bing, saying that it contains all the money Tang Xue owes him.

Yu Bing tells them that Tang Xue already paid him back a portion of the money. Tang Xue explains that she skimmed it off of her monthly allowance from her parents. Yu Bing then explains how Tang Xue originally didn’t know that he paid for her training fees, but that when she was accepted onto the team, it was purely because of her own ability, not money.

Papa Tang says he wants to talk to Yu Bing alone. Tang Xue looks concerned, but her mother drags her off to go see the campus.

Papa Tang tells Yu Bing that he doesn’t approve of him being with Tang Xue. He didn’t before, because of how Yu Bing lied to Tang Xue, and he disapproves now, because Yu Bing plans on being a professional hockey player. Papa Tang thinks it’s too dangerous and doesn’t want Tang Xue to know the feeling of someone she loves getting seriously injured.

Yu Bing acknowledges that hockey can be dangerous — that’s why his mother is afraid of watching his games. But if he stopped playing because he was afraid of getting injured, he’d still be the kind of person who ran away from his problems and would be no different than the twelve-year-old boy he used to be who lied to avoid Tang Xue.

Papa Tang is forced to acknowledge that Yu Bing is right and that he’s doing well now, but what about in five or ten years? An athlete’s career is more unpredictable than the average working professional’s. Yu Bing knows that he doesn’t know how far he’ll go, but he has to keep trying. Then he adds in a patriotic speech about how people like him are necessary to help prove that Chinese people can play world-class hockey.

Yu Bing and Tang Xue send off her parents. Her mother has smiles and words of encouragement for them. She prods Tang Xue’s father, who still looks disgruntled, to say something. He finally says that he doesn’t want Tang Xue to win, because then she’ll give up. Both Tang Xue and her mother frown and chide him for saying such a thing, but then he adds that if she does win, she should put her all into her training.

Tang Xue hugs her father with a bright smile, and he hugs her back.

At night, Yu Bing and Tang Xue are walking back to her dorm when he asks her how her parents found out about her skating. She says that they found out from Bian Cheng’s post on social media. He asks to see the post and finds it odd that Bian Cheng used an old photo from last semester. Why post it now? He thinks Bian Cheng did it on purpose, but Tang Xue isn’t as suspicious. Bian Cheng wouldn’t know that her skating was a secret from her parents; only Zhou Ran knows.

Huan Huan is shocked when she finds out that Tang Xue made such an extreme bet with her father. Is she really that confident about the race? Tang Xue admits that she doesn’t know why she made the bet, but in the moment that’s what she did. What she’s more concerned about, though, is Yu Bing. Her father looked at Yu Bing like he wanted to murder him.

Tang Xue gets a phone call from Bian Cheng, who apologizes for his post that sent Papa Tang looking for her. He claims he didn’t know that Tang Xue’s father was so opposed to her skating. He wants to do something to make up to Tang Xue, so that he feels better, and Tang Xue reluctantly agrees to dinner. After they hang up, Bian Cheng smiles to himself.

Bian Cheng and Zhou Ran meet up for coffee. Zhou Ran compliments him on his move and thinks that Tang Xue got what she deserved for stealing her “Ice God” away from her. Knowing her uncle, he probably gave Tang Xue a good tongue-lashing. She smiles slightly at the thought that Tang Xue might have to give up skating for good if she loses next time.

Bian Cheng calls out Zhou Ran for only talking about Tang Xue this whole time. Does she even actually like Yu Bing? Zhou Ran says that she does, then switches the focus back to him and Tang Xue. Is he having regrets now that he knows that Tang Xue suffered?

Bian Cheng claims he never wanted Tang Xue to be reprimanded. He wanted Papa Tang to oppose Yu Bing and Tang Xue being together. Zhou Ran asks what his next move is. He says that what other people think probably doesn’t matter to them. He wants to focus on what they think about each other next.

As they get up to leave, Zhou Ran notices someone on the other side of a shelf behind her, covering their face with a magazine. She thinks it odd but doesn’t say anything. Once they’re gone, Jian Guo removes the magazine from his face. He had cut out an eye hold in one cover so he could spy through it.

Jian Guo feels bothered by what he’s discovered and texts his internet friend (Liu Ying) for advice about what to do if he knows a secret and that secret is harmful to someone else. Liu Ying suggests that he should listen to his conscience and do what it tells him. Jian Guo nods resolutely to himself.

He goes to find Yu Bing and tells him that he knows why Tang Xue’s father suddenly showed up on campus. He tells them about Bian Cheng and Zhou Ran’s conversation and says he’s not Zhou Ran’s fan anymore. He didn’t think she would do something like this. Now he’s worried that they might be up to something. Yu Bing says that he won’t let them do anything.

He goes to confront Bian Cheng, interrupting an interview about ice hockey with a sports commission official. Bian Cheng takes him into a side room to talk. At first, he denies doing anything when Yu Bing accuses him of subterfuge, but when Yu Bing quotes part of his conversation with Zhou Ran, he owns up to what he did. Bian Cheng claims that he did it for Tang Xue, because he agrees with Papa Tang that she should give up on speed skating.

Yu Bing argues that the choice should be left up to Tang Xue to make. Bian Cheng accuses Yu Bing of doing the same thing: he paid for Tang Xue’s training fees so that she would keep skating. Didn’t he also make a choice for her? Wasn’t that out of selfishness, so that she would like him?

Yu Bing says that he’s not as selfish as Bian Cheng and vows to never let Tang Xue be with Bian Cheng. Bian Cheng says that he knows his actions won’t affect what Tang Xue thinks. His goal was to let Papa Tang see how bad Yu Bing is for Tang Xue. As long as Yu Bing plays hockey, the potential for him to be hurt will always be hanging over his relationship with Tang Xue.

Bian Cheng is still hooked up to his microphone, meaning everyone in the other room can hear their entire conversation.

Bian Cheng tells Yu Bing he didn’t have a way of stopping him and Tang Xue from getting together, but he does of a way of breaking them up. He knows how Papa Tang views him versus Yu Bing, and he’s willing wait to wait for Tang Xue. They’ll see who gets the last laugh.

Yu Bing moves to punch Bian Cheng, but Tang Xue suddenly runs into the room and pulls Yu Bing away. Bian Cheng is surprised to see her. She looks furious as she tells him in a low voice that she never thought he was this kind of person. Even if she weren’t dating Yu Bing, she would never date him.

Tang Xue leaves, pulling Yu Bing with her. Outside, Yu Bing tells her that Bian Cheng worked with Zhou Ran. She was the one who told Papa Tang everything.

When Bian Cheng returns to the interview room, the professor tells him that someone else will be taking over the interview. When asks why, the professor asks in response if he knows what’s important in a good journalist. He hands Bian Cheng’s proposal back to him. It’s been annotated with a single thing that the professor thinks Bian Cheng has yet to accomplish, “Rectify your heart.”

When one of the crew members removes Bian Cheng’s microphone from his jacket, Bian Cheng realizes what happened.

Bian Cheng walks across campus, dejected, and rejects an incoming phone call from Zhou Ran. When he looks up, she’s standing in front of him.

Zhou Ran asks if Yu Bing went to find him. Bian Cheng responds that Yu Bing ruined his interview. Zhou Ran wonders if someone overheard them talking, but Bian Cheng seems done with it all. He tells Zhou Ran he can’t help her anymore. Zhou Ran says she believes that he won’t be defeated by this, but he tells her that she doesn’t understand him and he doesn’t want her reassurance. He turns to leave.

Zhou Ran stops him, asking if he’s really going to give up like this. He says that he’ll find his own way, but she can’t help him. He thinks that she doesn’t actually like Yu Bing — she’s just jealous of Tang Xue and wants to beat her. Zhou Ran counters, saying that he doesn’t like Tang Xue either. She’s just another goal he wants to achieve.

Bian Cheng says that she’s one of his goals because he likes her. Zhou Ran points out that liking someone should mean wanting them to be happy. What will he choose if he has to choose between her happiness and accomplishing his own goal?

Bian Cheng doesn’t respond and walks away. Zhou Ran watches him go.

Bian Cheng continues to do no good in my book. Everything he does is so manipulative and slimy! Even when he invited Tang Xue out to dinner — he claimed he was trying to make things right with her, but even then he was making it all about himself, saying that he wanted to feel better about wronging her, so she should go to dinner with him. How did he end up making his “apology” to her all about him instead?

He managed to make his failed interview into Yu Bing’s fault, when really it was his own actions that backfired. I feel no sympathy. The only part I like about him and Zhou Ran is that they call each other out on their bullshit, perhaps because they’re so similar. Neither of them seem to actually like the people they’re pursuing. At this point, Tang Xue and Yu Bing seem like shiny trophies that they won’t to possess as a point of pride.

The skeptical part of me that refuses to just accept nice things acknowledges that a lot of this show is an obvious an attempt by China to push interest in ice sports ahead of Beijing 2022. In fact, a reporter in the first episode actually says this. I also recognize that media is a tool of propaganda (not just in China, but in governments everywhere), so whenever Yu Bing or someone else boldly declares that they’re doing this for their country and to prove that China is just as good as anyone else in sport on the world stage, a little propaganda alarm in my head goes off.

The skeptic in me also views most of this episode — and a lot of this show — as didactic. It’s teaching “how to be a good, supportive parent” and “how to pursue one’s dreams for one’s country.” It’s not good or bad — I probably just took one too many cultural criticism classes in college — but once I notice these things it’s really hard to not view the whole show with a grain of salt.

That doesn’t take away from the cute, supportive moments between Tang Xue and Yu Bing, though!

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