Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 29)

Yu Bing finally talks to Tang Xue about his injury concerns and what that means for her. Everyone has important competitions to prepare for, but Yu Yan struggles under the pressure.

Recap

Tang Xue hops onto the Zamboni with Yu Bing and drives around the rink. She’s in a good mood, but notices that Yu Bing seems pensive and asks him what’s wrong. At first, he tries to say nothing, but she knows him too well.

He asks her if she ever gets afraid that he’ll get injured during one of his hockey games. She responds that she wants him to win, so she’s afraid that he’ll lose. And while playing hockey, injury is always a possibility. But then she kisses him on the forehead, blessing him with the Tang family’s special armor. Nothing can hurt him now, as long as he wholeheartedly pursues his dreams. They can face anything, as long as they’re together.

The hockey team practices taking hits and making hits. Coach Xu calls Yu Bing over and asks if he talked things over with Tang Xue. Yu Bing tells him that they didn’t discuss much, but she did give him some special armor.

Over lunch, Tang Xue tells Huan Huan and Liu Ying that she’s training so hard but feels like she isn’t getting better. Liu Ying says that what Tang Xue’s experiencing is pretty common for anyone looking to make change, and that she just has to push through. Tang Xue sees a photo of Wu Da Jing winning yet another gold medal. Huan Huan suggests she ask him for advice.

Tang Xue likes that idea and texts Wu Da Jing later, asking for advice on how to tackle her turns. He quickly responds with a video demonstrating his own technique, then gives her some words of encouragement. Tang Xue beams and puts the advice to work at practice. It helps, and Coach Chu praises her on her improvement.

Tang Xue’s speed skating teammates want to know how she improved so quickly. She shows them Wu Da Jing’s video.

Later, Tang Xue and Yu Bing hang out in the athletes’ lounge. He asks her if she’s nervous for her upcoming race in Beijing, but she’s just determined, because of the agreement she made with her parents. He has his own hockey game, so he won’t be there to cheer her on.

Yu Bing has also heard about Tang Xue’s rapid improvement on her turns and asks her about it. She shows him Wu Da Jing’s video. He tries to act like it’s no big deal and she teases him about being jealous. Yu Yan spots them joking around, and when he overhears Tang Xue calling Yu Bing her boyfriend and sees them acting cute and couple-like, he gets triggered.

Yu Yan’s ears ring and his vision flashes. He determinedly walks past the lounge without looking at them, and is so locked inside his own head that he walks past Manager Ma, ignoring his greeting. Manager Ma doesn’t seem to notice anything wrong with Yu Yan and instead just mutters that he has no manners.

Yu Yan is doing some weight training with Coach Jin when he suddenly collapses, unable to complete his squat rep. Coach Jin criticizes Yu Yan, saying that there’s no way he’ll win anything in his current condition. Their club is under a lot of pressure right now, all because Yu Yan is the only person who stands a chance on the world stage. Jin starts comparing him to Yu Bing; Yu Yan stands up and suddenly yells at Jin, telling him not to compare him to Yu Bing.

Jin is stunned by the sudden outburst, but then warns Yu Yan to watch his tone. Yu Yan doesn’t seem to care, saying that his only competition is himself and he can’t be compared to anyone else. Jin humors him, saying okay. Anything is okay — once he wins the world championship. Yu Yan says he doesn’t want to train anymore today, ignores Jin blustering about how they haven’t finished the schedule for the day yet, and walks out.

The team doctor finds Coach Jin and shares her concern that Yu Yan’s mental health is suffering. He seems to be exhibiting symptoms of anxiety. She advises that Yu Yan go see a psychologist, but leaves it to Jin to decide what to do. As an experienced, gold medal-winning coach, she thinks he’ll know best.

Yue Wei goes to see the team doctor, who wants to check on an old injury she has. The doctor warns her to take it easy and not push too hard. The speed skating team travels to Beijing for their competition. Coach Chu also reminds them to not do anything — no training or anything else — and focus on getting ready for their races.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing call each other to wish each other luck before their respective competitions. Yu Bing’s roommates try to eavesdrop on his conversation, then tease him after he hangs up.

Yue Wei re-injures her knee trying to put in some extra training, against Coach Chu’s orders. The doctor advises her to not compete in the race, but Yue Wei asks for a cortisone shot. She needs to compete. She needs this gold medal. She starts to get off the table, but Coach Chu holds her by the shoulders to hold her back. The doctor refuses to give her the shot, saying that she must rest if she wants to compete again.

Coach Chu tries to make Yue Wei see reason. Would she rather miss a single competition or suffer a career-ending injury? It’s just one gold medal. But Yue Wei’s voice breaks as she says that it’s not just about the gold medal. Coach Chu nods, saying she understands. She also starts tearing up as she tells Yue Wei that this isn’t what her grandmother would have wanted. Does she really want to throw away all her hard work for this?

The speed skating team waits up late to find out how Yue Wei is doing. Yue Wei comes out on crutches, and Coach Chu tells everyone that she won’t be competing in the upcoming race. Yue Wei warns them they shouldn’t be like her — they should listen to their coach. But even though she can’t compete, she encourages all of them, saying that they have to put in their best. The team responds with their own words of support for her.

Yue Wei looks Tang Xue in the eye and tells her that it’s all on her tomorrow. Lin Da needs a champion. Coach Chu also focuses on Tang Xue, reminding her of the promise she made her father that she would finish on the podium. Chu doesn’t want her to just make the podium — she wants her to win.

Tang Xue nods resolutely in response.

The day of the competition, everyone tunes in eagerly to watch. Papa Tang tries to act like he doesn’t care, but his hand shakes as he pours himself a glass of water and Mama Tang calls him out on his nervousness.

Tang Xue lines up at the starting line and remembers what Coach Chu said to her the night before. Tang Xue had asked if Coach Chu really believed she could win. She did.

Tang Xue spends most of the race in third place, but moves up to second in the final lap. In the final stretch, she catches up to the leader. When the cross the finish line, it’s too close to call. After some suspenseful video analysis, the winner is revealed: Tang Xue’s blade crossed the finish line just centimeters ahead of her opponent. She wins.

Yu Yan watches Tang Xue win on his phone and smiles, saying that she did it. But then his smile fades as he remembers his mother saying that one day, Tang Xue might become a champion. When that happens, will he have the qualifications to stand by her side?

Yu Yan’s mother returns and is surprised to find him in his room instead of out training. He stands up and tells her that she was right: he isn’t good enough yet. He needs to train harder. She smiles and hugs him, saying that progress comes from pressure.

Tang Xue isn’t the only one who wins a medal. Hong Shuang, formerly the slowest on the team, has also won a bronze medal. Tang Xue’s teammates pass her medal around to admire it. When it gets to Yue Wei, Tang Xue starts to say something, but Yue Wei stops her. She tells Tang Xue that she didn’t steal her medal. She deserved gold today with her performance. “I admire you,” Yue Wei says. They smile at each other.

The team asks Tang Xue who she wants to thank most. Tang Xue goes over to Coach Chu and says, “Mama Chu!” But Coach Chu teases her, saying that she knows who she actually wants to thank even more.

At night, Tang Xue calls her parents and hesitantly asks if her father watched the race and whether that means he’ll support her skating now. Her father admits that his only reason for stopping her from skating was because he wanted her to be safe and happy, but now he’s realized that she needs skating in order to be happy. All he and her mom want is for her to live a happy, fulfilled life; they support her.

After the speed skating bus returns and once the team has left, Coach Xu pokes his head around the corner of the bus and approaches Coach Chu with a congratulations and a small bouquet of flowers. Coach Jin also comes sprinting down from the sports center, calling Chu’s name, with his own words of congratulations. He opens his arms and approaches Chu with a hug, but Xu intercepts him and hugs him instead.

Jin tries a few more times to sneak in a hug, but Xu blocks him every time. Chu just laughs.

Yue Wei broods at her restaurant hangout spot. The chef wordlessly hands her a pad of sticky notes and a marker. She writes a note, “Grandmother, are you disappointed?” and posts it up on the board with a sigh.

Da Jiang finds her in the restaurant and asks what’s on her mind. She asks him if he’s ever thought about the future. He says that all he knows is that he will play hockey for as long as possible. Yue Wei says she used to be the same way with speed skating, but now she’s not sure anymore. She’s worried about her age and whether her body can handle it. Da Jiang tells her that as long as her heart is still in it, nothing can stop her. He’ll support her.

Yu Bing makes Tang Xue close her eyes and takes her out to a secret location. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself in a clearing, surrounded by string lights draped over trees. She marvels at how beautiful it is. Yu Bing tells her it took him a long time to prepare — he started when he first started liking her.

Tang Xue gives him her own gift: her gold medal. She can speed skate now and she has him, which means she has the world. They look at each other for a long moment, smiling, each seeing only the other. Then Yu Bing pulls Tang Xue in and they kiss under the lights.

Commentary

All of the Yu Bing and Tang Xue parts of this episode were so wholesome and feel-good! They are surrounded by supportive, healthy relationships, which is so encouraging to see. Even Tang Xue’s father, who seemed like her biggest obstacle, ended up being so reasonable.

Unfortunately, as warmth gathers around Yu Bing and Tang Xue, Yu Yan just seems to be getting more and more isolated. He is clearly caving under pressure and not making progress like his mother believes, but no one around him seems to notice. I’m skeptical that Jin will make sure Yu Yan’s mental health issues are addressed. When Yu Yan had his outburst in the training room, Jin should have asked if he was okay, but instead he just applied more pressure.

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