Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 28)

Tang Xue’s father’s disapproval bothers Yu Bing more than he thought it would, and he struggles to figure out how much he’s willing to risk for the sake of his hockey dreams. Meanwhile, Yu Yan is struggling under pressure, but no one seems to notice.

Recap

Bian Cheng angrily crumples the school form his professor had written “rectify your heart” on. He tells himself that it’s okay, there’s always next time. He believes there’s no goal he can’t reach.

He looks at a schedule pinned on his wall and silently tells Yu Bing that he won’t be happy for long. On Monday, he’ll be interviewing the manager of a rival hockey team, the Black Scorpions

Tang Xue confronts Zhou Ran about her role in outing Tang Xue’s speed skating secret. Zhou Ran doesn’t seem remorseful at all and tells Tang Xue she doesn’t care if she tattles to their grandmother or Mama Tang. She says that being Tang Xue’s cousin is the worst thing that’s happened to her and lists out all the ways in which Tang Xue has constantly overshadowed her and her achievements throughout their lives.

Tang Xue is stunned, having never realized that Zhou Ran felt this way. She says that she never intended to take away from Zhou Ran’s accomplishments. Zhou Ran says it doesn’t matter whether she intended to or not — it doesn’t change the fact that she did. And that’s why she detests her.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing hang out with their roommates. Tang Xue looks melancholy while everyone else chats about Bian Cheng’s underhanded tactics. She’s still feeling bothered by what Zhou Ran said to her.

Liu Ying quotes Shakespeare and suggests that Zhou Ran is jealous of Tang Xue because she wants to be like her. Tang Xue doesn’t say anything and Yu Bing changes the subject by praising Jian Guo for catching the culprits. Jian Guo says that it’s all thanks to his soulmate’s advice.

Liu Ying chokes her on her drink at the words. Jian Guo sounds confrontational as he asks her why. Liu Ying responds saying she thinks his soulmate is… and she trails off, raising her arms. Jian Guo mirrors her movement in confusion.

Zhen Yu points out that they always seem to be butting heads whenever they meet. Do they like each other? Liu Ying and Jian Guo immediately jump as far away from each other as possible, but it only makes their friends tease them more.

Tang Xue tracks down Zhou Ran between classes. Zhou Ran is busy, rushing to turn in an entry form for the school’s “Most Beautiful TV Anchor” competition. Tang Xue grabs the form and runs off. By the time Zhou Ran catches up to her, she’s already turned in the form for her.

Tang Xue tells Zhou Ran that she’s been overshadowed by her, too. Zhou Ran was always held up as the perfect, virtuous student by their family and always had all the boys’ attention at school. Tang Xue asks her to show some restraint and stop trying to steal Tang Xue’s praise, then makes her shake hands, because in the end they’re still family.

The hockey team prepares to face the Black Scorpions, a notoriously physical team, by practicing rough hits. Yu Bing takes a particularly hard hit from Da Jiang during practice, and favors his shoulder afterward. (Product placement opportunity?)

He remembers Papa Tang’s words about how his career is dependent on his health, which seems to bring down his mood. That night, he dreams that he’s on the ice, taking hard hits from an invisible enemy that repeatedly knocks him down. Tang Xue pounds at the plexiglass, crying as she calls out his name. He wakes with a start.

Coach Xu finds him the next day brooding in the stands at the rink. Yu Bing confides that he dreamed he was seriously injured and that Tang Xue was sad. He’s never been worried about getting injured before. Coach Xu tells him that it just means he’s matured.

Yu Bing asks Coach Xu if he and Coach Chu split up because she was afraid of his getting injured. Coach Xu is in denial that they’ve split up, confident that she will fall for him again. He says that Coach Chu viewed worry as a weakness. She was there supporting him every game. Xu suggests that Yu Bing try talking to Tang Xue and see what she thinks instead of spinning in circles on his own.

Yu Yan meets with Coach Jin in the coach’s office. He still looks like he’s in low spirits, but Coach Jin just tells him how he wants Yu Yan to bring his technical skills and competitive mindset to a new level this season. Coach Xu shakes his head disapprovingly, and after Yu Yan leaves, Chu says that he shouldn’t put so much pressure on Yu Yan. It’s not good for him.

Jin claims he’s just taking responsibility and looking out for Yu Yan. The upcoming competition is very important for him. Xu calls him out, saying that it’s probably important for him.

Yu Yan gets a text from his mother, asking him to stop ignoring her. She’ll be back next week and will be ready to help him get into the right mindset. Yu Yan’s ears suddenly start ringing as Jin’s words about technical difficulty start echoing in his head. He clutches his head and props his elbows on his knees, breathing heavily.

Coach Chu trains the speed skating team hard for the upcoming championships which, if the skaters perform well, can mean spots on the national team. She gives Tang Xue a new, more difficult training regimen, one that will involve putting in extra sessions with Yue Wei.

Yue Wei is unhappy that she has to lead Tang Xue in extra training sessions and asks Coach Chu about it. Yue Wei has a lot riding on this upcoming championship and thinks that training Tang Xue will be a distraction. But Coach Chu tells her that putting her and Tang Xue together is just as much for her as it is for Tang Xue.

Coach Chu says that Tang Xue joining the team has pushed everyone to work harder. Yue Wei is every coach’s dream student, but she also needs to be pushed, and that’s what Tang Xue is for. Yue Wei is Tang Xue’s goal. Tang Xue is Yue Wei’s catalyst for progress.

Sure enough, Tang Xue and Yue Wei push each other hard during practices and training sessions. One day, while taking a break during a workout, Tang Xue asks Yue Wei about the red thread around her wrist. Yue Wei evasively says that family gave it to her. She tells Tang Xue that she’s pretty fortunate — she has parents who come to see her, even if they’re only here to yell at her. They share a smile and a laugh. Tang Xue jokingly says, “What, your parents don’t come and yell at you?” Yue Wei’s smile fades, but then Da Jiang invites her out to their usual hangout spot and she leaves.

Once Yue Wei is gone, Tang Xue catches one of her teammates, Jin Yuan, handing Hong Shuang a soy milk. Hong Shuang reveals that they’ve made a bet on her and for every day that Tang Xue doesn’t drop out, Hong Shuang wins a soy milk. Tang Xue tells Jin Yuan to give up. There aren’t enough soy milks in the vending machine to give to Hong Shuang.

Yue Wei and Da Jiang meet up with Yu Bing at their usual restaurant. Yu Bing mentions he heard that Yue Wei and Tang Xue are now training together. He starts to say something, but Yue Wei interrupts him, saying that Tang Xue doesn’t need to be looked after anymore. But that’s not what Yu Bing was going to say. Instead, he jokingly says that he hopes Tang Xue isn’t holding Yue Wei back. Yue Wei jokes back, saying that he’s seriously underestimating his girlfriend if he thinks that. Da Jiang tries to act like he’s not hanging onto their every word.

Yu Bing glances at the restaurant’s bulletin board and notices that there’s a note next to the photo of the three of them. He gets up to take a closer look, but Yue Wei jumps up to block his way, trying to come up with an excuse to stop him. She gets lucky when their chef friend arrives with the food. When they sit down to eat, Da Jiang sneaks glances at Yue Wei while she surreptitiously looks at Yu Bing.

Tang Xue and Huan Huan run into each other outside their dorm building. Huan Huan is preparing to be certified by the Animal Protection Association, but shares with Tang Xue her worry about Zhen Yu. She’s afraid that Zhen Yu is giving up on doing the things he actually wants to do for her sake. Tang Xue has an idea of how to get him on track: scaring him.

Bian Cheng does some research on the Black Scorpions, the XDragons’ rival, and smirks as he reads a headline describing their physical playing style. Then he reads another headline about the fistfight with a Redbeards player that Yu Bing was involved in (the first episode) and notices with interest that the opposing player is the son of the Black Scorpions’ manager.

Zhen Yu follows Huan Huan around and apologizes, thinking she’s mad at him. She finally turns to him, exasperated, and asks what he’s apologizing for. She’s not mad at him — she’s mad at herself. She feels like he’s putting his life on hold because of her. How can he pursue his own dream of being a doctor if he’s always helping her and nearly failing his classes? Zhen Yu tries to reassure her that that’s not the case, but Huan Huan doesn’t agree. She uses Yu Bing and Tang Xue as an ideal example of what their relationship should be: they’re supporting each other while each pursuing their own dreams. Huan Huan suggests that they should take a break to reflect on themselves.

Zhen Yu tries to follow her, pleading that he’ll do his best to change himself for her, but that’s not what she wants. She warns him to stop following her, otherwise she’ll break up with him on the spot.

Later, she shares her worries with Liu Ying that maybe she was too harsh on Zhen Yu. Liu Ying suggests that her behavior and feelings indicate that she’s actually deeply in love with Zhen Yu and deeply cares about him. Huan Huan notices that Liu Ying seems to be full of philosophical quotes on love lately and teases her, asking if she’s dating someone. Liu Ying denies it, but then asks Huan Huan if she has experience talking to internet friends.

Bian Cheng interviews the manager, Zhen, of the new Black Scorpions team and specifically asks about his opinions on Yu Bing and whether the Scorpions will target Yu Bing with their strategy. Zhen is evasive but takes a liking to Bian Cheng and hands him his business card.

Yu Bing and Yu Yan run into each other at the infirmary. The doctor tells Yu Yan that he showed signs of fatigue during his exam. Is he under too much pressure? On his way out, Yu Bing tells Yu Yan not to put too much pressure on himself. It was just a competition. He leaves Yu Yan with a friendly pat on the arm.

Yu Yan watches him go, thinking that other than skating, there’s nothing else worth putting in effort for. Yu Yan mentions to the doctor that he’s experiencing tinnitus, but the doctor says that his exam results looked normal. Is he getting enough sleep? Yu Yan lies to the doctor, saying he’s sleeping earlier now and maybe that will help. He’s afraid he won’t be able to compete if he tells the truth.

Tang Xue packs some fresh strawberries to deliver to Yu Yan and Yu Bing. They chat for a bit, Yu Yan lying again about how he’s doing pretty well and often resting early because he gets tired from practice. He asks Tang Xue if she and Yu Bing are doing well. She says that they’re doing pretty well, too. She starts saying that there are some issues, but then says that they’ll figure it out. It’s not a problem. She says that they should all get together and go to the aquarium sometime when they’re free, then gives him a pat on the shoulder and leaves.

Huan Huan finds Zhen Yu at their animal rescue to deliver his strawberries. He has a flowery speech prepared for her, saying that from now on he will pursue his dream of being a doctor so he can be the perfect match for her. He compares them to foods that go perfectly well together — Huan Huan is offended that she’s always the vegetable — but the main point is that he’s even prepared a rigid schedule for the upcoming semester. He promises that he’ll follow through.

Tang Xue and Yue Wei continue to train hard, staying later than the rest of their teammates. Da Jiang shows up with a bag full of athletic tape for Yue Wei. She and Tang Xue both make fun of him for buying so much. After he leaves, Tang Xue teases Yue Wei about him, suggesting that this is an act of love from an athlete. Yue Wei is quick to wave it off, saying that a true act of love from an athlete would be a gold medal.

Then she grows slightly more serious and says to Tang Xue that what she has — to have the person you like, like you back — is the most romantic thing in the world.

Yu Bing continues to brood about Papa Tang’s words as he drives the Zamboni around the rink. Tang Xue finds him driving the Zamboni and calls out to him.

Commentary

The only character I actively dislike on this show is Bian Cheng. He has yet to show any redeeming qualities and is always scheming in harmful ways. No, thank you.

Zhou Ran isn’t necessarily likable, but we’ve seen enough of her and Tang Xue’s relationship for her to be understandable. Sure, she can be self-centered and she never says what she means, but I also respect that she was blunt when telling Tang Xue her grievances and Tang Xue was blunt right back. They conflict because they’re so different, but in the end they’re still family.

I’m starting to have more sympathy for Yu Yan, especially after this episode. He’s under so much pressure from the parental and authority figures in his life. Everyone is so focused on Yu Yan, the skater, that no one is noticing or caring about Yu Yan, the person, the boy who wants to be seen as a man. Both Coach Jin and his mother are projecting themselves and their own goals onto him, instead of listening to what he wants, and he’s so used to being told what to do that he doesn’t seem to know how to push back.

I also love the friendly rivalry that Yue Wei and Tang Xue are developing with each other. I wanted to like Yue Wei from the start, and I’m glad that I have more reasons to like her.

What really stood out about this episode is that Tang Xue and Yu Bing are never together — only once in the beginning and once at the end. Huan Huan and Zhen Yu aspire to be like Tang Xue and Yu Bing, yet they are communicating with each other much more openly and directly than Tang Xue and Yu Bing are.

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