Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 31)

Bian Cheng learns some big news about Yu Bing and has to decide what to do with it. Yu Bing tries to lend his friends a helping hand, but it backfires. Meanwhile, he and Papa Tang try to navigate their new relationship with each other. Yu Yan still struggles, but does anyone have his best interests in mind?

Recap

Huan Huan asks Zhen Yu for help preparing for her certification exam. Zhen Yu can tell that Huan Huan is stressed out, so he tries to cheer her up with cheesy displays of affection that embarrass her but work to make her smile.

Liu Ying and Jian Guo each go out on dates with other people they meet online. They’re both disappointed when their dates don’t even know who Zhu Sheng Hao is, and each find themselves wondering why the other seems to be the only person who understands them.

Yu Bing returns to his room to find Jian Guo and Da Jiang frowning over a news article. The article claims that hockey is unpopular, with a photo of one of the XDragons’ games, but the photo seems fake — they all remember there being more people in the stands. Yu Bing pulls up his version of the photo on his phone and verifies that the photo was edited. He sends an email reporting the fake news.

Bian Cheng is typing up a transcript of his interview with President Zhen when he suddenly freezes at what he hears. He calls Zhou Ran, saying he found out something about Yu Bing, but Zhou Ran is uninterested. She tells him that he should stop trying to get involved with Yu Bing and Tang Xue as well, otherwise he might regret it later.

Biang Cheng replays the recording. In it, President Zhen tells someone to prevent Yu Bing from playing in the game against the Black Scorpions. They can use whatever method they want.

Bian Cheng thinks about calling Yu Bing.

Tang Xue’s parents visit her on campus and tell her to take care of herself when she’s at the training camp. They won’t be there to help and Papa Tang grudgingly adds that Yu Bing won’t be there either, surprising Mama Tang and Tang Xue with his willingness to acknowledge their relationship. Mama Tang warns Papa Tang not to be too tough on Yu Bing when he talks to him later. Tang Xue says he can’t go too easy either, otherwise it’ll scare Yu Bing. Mama Tang and Tang Xue continue giving similar conflicting advice.

Yu Bing calls his parents, who give him a pep talk to get him ready for his chat with Papa Tang. They also give him conflicting advice.

Mama Tang and Yu Bing make small talk when he arrives. Finally, she elbows Papa Tang to get him to say something. He brings up the topic of hockey being unpopular. Yu Bing tells him that hockey is up and coming, but not unpopular. He mentions he read an article about hockey being unpopular that made him kind of angry because it was untrue. He doesn’t understand how the article had won an award.

Papa Tang realizes that the article was his and Bian Cheng’s. He starts to mention it, but gets interrupted by a phone call from a colleague informing him that someone reported Bian Cheng’s article as fake news. That person is Yu Bing.

Yu Bing asks how Papa Tang is related to Bian Cheng’s article. Papa Tang tells him that his paper published it. Yu Bing smiles awkwardly and says that he didn’t know. Papa Tang stands up abruptly and leaves, telling Tang Xue that he needs to go take care of this matter.

Tang Xue frets over the situation in her room. Huan Huan tries to comfort her, saying that it’s no one’s fault but Bian Cheng’s, but Tang Xue can’t help but worry about her father.

Yu Bing’s roommates also try to reassure him, but he doesn’t regret reporting the false news.

But later, both Yu Bing and Tang Xue lie awake in bed, unable to fall asleep.

Bian Cheng dramatically throws his trophies to the ground, shattering them, while yelling Yu Bing’s name.

Papa Tang returns home after dealing with the situation at his newspaper. He’ll have to publish a correction report and will have to work without pay for three months. His boss was only going to request the report, but Papa Tang voluntarily took the pay suspension as a way of accepting responsibility for his failure to review the article’s veracity.

He can’t reach Bian Cheng, but wants to try and meet with him. Mama Tang says there’s nothing worth discussing — it’s clear he’s trying to avoid responsibility. But Papa Tang still thinks he has talent.

Mama Tang tells Papa Tang that Tang Xue blames Yu Bing for harming him. Papa Tang shakes his head, saying she should know better than to blame Yu Bing. He decides that he needs to go to Lincheng, immediately.

Bian Cheng continues to brood in his apartment. He finally gets up off his couch and picks up his broken award, thinking of a message from Papa Tang reminding him to remember why he wanted to be a journalist.

Papa Tang visits Tang Xue again and delivers some dumplings. Tang Xue apologizes to her father on Yu Bing’s behalf. But Papa Tang tells her that Yu Bing did nothing wrong. It was his own oversight. Yu Bing did what he should have when reporting the truth. Papa Tang admits he was critical of Yu Bing before, but after this situation, now he thinks highly of him.

Yu Bing shows up and cautiously greets Papa Tang. He starts to sit but Tang Xue snaps at him to stay standing — who gave him permission to sit? She asks him if he knows how much trouble he caused. Papa Tang facepalms and turns away. Tang Xue also turns away to hide a smirk.

Yu Bing starts to say he was wrong, but Papa Tang holds up a hand to stop him. He plays along and asks Yu Bing if he really thinks he was wrong. He doesn’t want Yu Bing’s empty apology.

Yu Bing apologizes, then says he thinks he did nothing wrong. He would make the same choice if he had to do everything all over again.

Papa Tang slams a hand to the table, drawing attention. He starts off acting like he’s angry, but then tells Yu Bing that he did the right thing. Yu Bing looks confused. Tang Xue snickers and Papa Tang breaks into a smile. He tells Yu Bing that he should never give up his principles for anyone.

Papa Tang says he needs to finish what he wanted to say the last time he was here. He wants to apologize to them. He shouldn’t have used protecting them as an excuse for trying to stop them from pursuing their dreams. Now he wishes them the best and encourages them to support each other.

Zhou Ran shows up at Bian Cheng’s apartment, where he’s nursing an actual wound. She looks disappointed with him and tells him that everyone has been looking for him. Bian Cheng can’t bear to see the way people will look at him, so he’s in hiding. Yu Bing may mean nothing to Zhou Ran now, but to Bian Cheng, Tang Xue is the most important person in his life.

Zhou Ran points out that Tang Xue hasn’t acknowledged that. She and Yu Bing have become better people because they like each other. But what about them? Have they become better people as they like Yu Bing and Tang Xue? She tells Bian Cheng that she used to think he was the most outstanding of all their high school classmates.

Bian Cheng acknowledges that he might not be a better person now, but once he and Tang Xue are together, everything will be better. Zhou Ran frowns — he’s still not going to let go of Tang Xue? Bian Cheng says there’s no goal he can’t reach. He tells Zhou Ran to leave if she only came to tell him this.

Zhou Ran tells Bian Cheng about how her uncle got into trouble because of him. But her uncle doesn’t blame Bian Cheng; he thinks it’s okay for young people to make mistakes. He thinks it’s a shame, but still believes Bian Cheng is smart. Zhou Ran knows that Bian Cheng understands what he did wrong, but if he doesn’t change anything, that means he’s not smart enough.

After Zhou Ran leaves, Bian Cheng stares out the window, blaming Yu Bing for his demise. It’s only fair if Yu Bing also gets a taste of what he’s feeling.

Da Jiang runs into Manager Ma at the vending machine. Manager Ma apologizes to Da Jiang, saying he brought up the topic of signing Da Jiang onto the professional team, but the president didn’t agree. Da Jiang didn’t even know he was under consideration, and guesses that Yu Bing tried to intervene.

The knowledge makes Da Jiang unhappy, and he confronts Yu Bing in the locker room later, saying that he doesn’t want his place on a hockey team to be because of connections. Yu Bing doesn’t understand why Da Jiang doesn’t want his help. After practice, Da Jiang continues to cold shoulder him.

Yue Wei catches up to Yu Bing and points out that Da Jiang doesn’t love hockey any less than Yu Bing, but just trying hard isn’t enough sometimes. Is staying at the XDragons really what’s best for him? Not everyone who loves hockey needs to be a great athlete.

Yu Bing says he knows Da Jiang wants to play. Yue Wei responds that as Da Jiang’s friends, they should be helping him figure out what he wants rather than blindly trying to clear a path for him.

Jian Guo senses the tension in the dorm room between Da Jiang and Yu Bing. They childishly talk to each other through Jian Guo, but get increasingly confrontational until they’re in each other’s faces. Da Jiang tells Yu Bing that how and where he ends up playing hockey is none of his business. Yu Bing responds, “Good, no matter what you do… I will support you.” Da Jiang blinks, surprised.

Yu Bing and Da Jiang are back on good terms. Yue Wei updates Tang Xue on the brief feud between them. Tang Xue teases them, marveling that even good friends like them could get so upset with each other. She wonders where Zhen Yu is — shouldn’t it be his first day?

Zhen Yu is sending off Huan Huan, who will be away for a few days for her certification. He seems more nervous than she is. Afterward, he nervously reports to Manager Ma’s office for his first day. Coach Xu and the team doctor are waiting for him, and tell him that he’ll be officially accompanying the hockey team to games and other activities from now on.

Jian Guo spots Zhou Ran as he walks across campus, but quickly pulls out his phone and acts like he doesn’t see her as they cross paths. Zhou Ran seems surprised to find him ignoring her, and calls out to him. He’s forced to turn and acknowledge her.

Zhou Ran apologizes for her past behavior, saying that she knows she wrongly took advantage of Jian Guo’s feelings for her for her own personal gain in trying to get closer to Yu Bing. But she hopes that they can be friends moving forward. She holds out her hand to shake. He takes it, then holds on a little too long and a little too hard.

He lets go when Zhou Ran points it out, then explains that he wasn’t trying to bother her — he was just trying to figure out why his heart wasn’t racing, even though he was finally holding his goddess’s hand. Zhou Ran suggests that maybe he has someone else he likes.

Huan Huan takes her certification exam. Her study session with Zhen Yu helps — when she comes across a word she struggles to translate in the English section, she remembers Zhen Yu’s silly charades and remembers the translation.

Zhen Yu studies in the library and gets a bit sleepy, but then sees a heart-shaped note from Huan Huan he’s used as a bookmark. Her encouraging words give him the strength to continue.

Yu Yan wakes up from his familiar nightmare of falling, being taunted by Yu Bing and Tang Xue, and being trapped under ice. After waking up, his ears start ringing and echoing with words from previous conversations — Tang Xue and Yu Bing’s chat, Coach Jin’s pressure.

During practice the next day, Yu Yan pauses for a moment after a spin, breathing hard. He sees an image of himself trapped in the ice underneath him. Coach Jin notices that something is wrong and calls him over, but Yu Yan claims he’s fine. Jin tries to get him to take a break, but Yu Yan shakes him off and skates back out. Jin frowns, hoping that nothing will go wrong.

Yu Yan’s mom arrives at the rink, just in time to see him falling during a spin. She asks Jin what’s up with Yu Yan. Jin shows her into his office to chat.

Jin tries to convince Yu Yan’s mother to let Yu Yan take a break because he seems exhausted, but Yu Yan’s mother just laughs it off. Yu Yan has it easy compared to the training conditions she and Jin had to endure back in their younger days. They can’t trust Yu Yan to take initiative in his training. Didn’t they only train because their coaches forced them to? She tells Jin that he can use whatever method he wants to get Yu Yan to listen. He can be as harsh as he wants — she won’t mind.

Jin stands up, exasperated, then fetches Yu Yan’s medical report from his desk. He hands it to Yu Yan’s mother, then says he’s afraid something will happen to Yu Yan. Yu Yan’s mother flips through with a frown.

Commentary

I could talk about the conflict resolution and supportive romantic relationships and Zhou Ran’s maturing, or about how Bian Cheng is unhealthily obsessive and his unfounded possessiveness over Tang Xue is creepy. (I have dealt with one too many guys like him before…) But I think the real story right now is Yu Yan, his mental health struggle, and how he is so isolated and no one is really addressing it.

Watching the extent to which Yu Yan’s mother involves herself in his training and skating career has felt especially relevant because a few weeks ago, a controversial article came out about a rising Chinese figure skater (An Xiangyi) and her mother’s “tiger mom” involvement in her skating. There are a lot of parallels between what was reported in the article and what’s being presented in the show here, such as the mother pushing for training beyond what’s healthy. A few days ago, another internationally-competitive figure skater, Jessica Shuran Yu, who trained in China but represented Singapore, came out and described the toxic and abusive coaching atmosphere she experienced in China. Of course, these toxic cultures aren’t just a Chinese issue, but an issue in sports like figure skating and gymnastics worldwide. (America has had its own reckoning with toxic gymnastics culture in the past few years.)

I appreciate that this show is showing and addressing just a small subset of unhealthy skating culture with Yu Yan’s story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s