Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Skate Into Love (Ep. 40)

We’ve reached the end! Yu Bing’s friends, teammates, and coaches all band together to try and figure out a way to keep him on the team. We get a glimpse of whether everyone gets a chance to pursue their dreams.

Recap

Da Jiang tells Yu Bing that he will be fired. Jian Guo also runs up, late to the party but here to give his support nonetheless. Yu Bing reassures them that he’s been through so much, he’ll be able to handle anything.

He gets a call from Tang Xue, saying that “we” are all waiting for him. He, Da Jiang, and Jian Guo all go to the sports center lounge to find Tang Xue and Manager Ma waiting with a group of their teammates, friends, and coaches.

Everyone wants to pitch in to help cover the breach of contract fine. Song An Jie is to the first to offer money. Yu Yan and Coach Jin offer to pawn their medals. Coach Xu and Coach Chu offer up the money they had saved for their wedding. Huan Huan, Zhen Yu, and Liu Ying offer their extra allowance.

Yu Bing refuses to take anyone’s money. There must be another way, but there’s only five days left before the fine is due. Tang Xue comes up with an idea: Manager Ma once told her that the most desirable men on campus were all on the ice hockey team. Why not sell their faces? They could have a photo shoot with the team and sell the photos printed onto a variety of different things.

Manager Ma pulls some strings and gets Xu Feng to volunteer to participate in the photo shoot as well. The hockey team players stumble over themselves to try and get a photo with him.

During a break, Xu Feng chats with Yu Bing and Tang Xue. He tells Yu Bing that he’s very lucky to have so many people around him who support him. Xu Feng believes that with their support, Yu Bing will be able to succeed.

Bian Cheng finds Zhou Ran at the beach. They bond over how they both enjoy listening to the waves. Zhou Ran easily won a competition that she had expected to see Bian Cheng at, but Bian Cheng recognized that likely no one would have wanted him to participate, given his recent scandal.

Zhou Ran acknowledges that they’ve both made mistakes, but they’re still young. It’s not too late for them. She has her own regrets about hurting Tang Xue in pursuit of something that she later realized wasn’t what she wanted. Now she knows what she really cares about. What about Bian Cheng? What does he really care about?

In his apartment, Bian Cheng slides a box into an envelope addressed to Tang Xue. Then he puts his recorder into a separate envelope addressed to the local police department.

The hockey team calendar is wildly popular and Tang Xue and co are easily able to generate the contract breach fee. When Manager Ma presents the money to his father, he’s surprised when his father tells him to keep the money and that he’s responsible for his own problems in the future. He abruptly leaves.

Manager Ma follows, protesting, but his father’s secretary stops him. The advertiser heard about the calendar sales and decided that they wanted to keep their contract with Yu Bing. Not only that, they also want to extend the contract to cover the rest of the XDragons team as well.

Manager Ma is offended, thinking that his father created this whole situation just to test him and cause him stress.

Tang Xue receives the package from Bian Cheng. Inside the box is the paper crane she folded for him back in high school. Included is a letter from him, apologizing for not having the courage to apologize to her face. He says that by the time she receives this letter, a separate report to the police should have already been filed. He admits that he once thought he would never make a mistake, but in the end, he is the one who made the biggest mistake. He can only hope that it’s not too late, that Yu Bing will recover, that she will continue speed skating.

Bian Cheng writes a new article with a sensational headline declaring that the truth behind Yu Bing’s attack has come out. He’s walking outside when he also gets cornered in a stairwell by baseball bat-toting thugs and gets beat up. After they leave him, bloodied and battered, he rolls over and laughs, probably because… karma.

President Zhen gets arrested by the police in his office.

Jian Guo tells Yu Bing that there’s a new viral article about him. This time, it’s dissecting everything behind his injury and his attack. It’s written by Bian Cheng.

Yu Bing finds Bian Cheng on his university campus and asks why he wrote the article. Bian Cheng says that he didn’t do it for Yu Bing; he did it so that he could find himself. Yu Bing asks what his goals is. Bian Cheng responds that his short-term goal hasn’t changed: to report the truth. To his surprise, Yu Bing holds out his hand to shake and says, “Thank you.”

Bian Cheng stares for a long moment, not taking Yu Bing’s hand. Zhou Ran and Tang Xue show up, asking what they’re waiting for. They force the two to shake hands. After Zhou Ran says that they’re all friends now, Yu Bing agrees, and he shakes hands with Bian Cheng for real. Zhou Ran and Tang Xue put their own hands on top.

The kid who says that he would call Da Jiang “coach” races into the lounge and finds him, then gives him a hug. He gifts Da Jiang with a sketch drawing of Da Jiang playing hockey. Da Jiang ruffles his hair affectionately and says that once he graduates, he’ll coach the kid every day.

Once the kid is gone, Yue Wei asks Da Jiang if he’s looked at her answer yet. She leaves for national team training the next day. He says he hasn’t. She purses her lips and nods, looking disappointed, before saying goodbye.

Da Jiang sighs and starts scratching off the card. The first character is “xie“, which could be the start of “thank you” or could be the start of “decline.” He remembers something Yue Wei once said to him: when you see the first xie, you know you’ve already lost — why bother continuing? He hangs his head in defeat.

But Da Jiang keeps scratching and he stares wide-eyed at the final message, then breaks into a smile. He’s won. He sprints out onto campus, looking for Yue Wei, and accidentally mistakes someone else for her for a moment. Then he spots her looking right at him with a smile. He runs up to her sheepishly and holds out the scratchcard, asking where he can get his prize.

Tang Xue and Yu Bing finally finish their puzzle. She gives him a kiss on each cheek as a reward.

The next day, before Tang Xue leaves for training, Wu Da Jing finds her on campus, following up on an earlier promise he made that he would come eat corn with her if she made the national team.

Two years later…

Zhen Yu is doing labwork when he gets a call from Huan Huan, who is working with animals abroad. He gets briefly jealous when one of Huan Huan’s foreign classmates puts his hands on her shoulders and greets her, but she’s returning home in a week anyway.

Liu Ying gives a lecture to a class full of students. Once class is over, she’s greeted outside by a bouquet of flowers from Jian Guo. They walk away, hand-in-hand. Jian Guo thinks to himself that he might not be the master of love, but he has the love of the person most important to him and that’s enough.

Yu Yan pays for a classmate’s drink at the campus store when she doesn’t have a smartphone, much like how Tang Xue once paid for him. He politely refuses when she offers to pay him back, saying that she reminds him of someone he knows.

Yue Wei presents Da Jiang with a box full of gifts, including a water bottle with heat retention capabilities, a phone case that she personally designed, and a stuffed toy version of the mascot costume he once wore, complete with a voice recording that says that he’s not just her friend, he’s her boyfriend. She looks physically pained by how cheesy it is, but Da Jiang pulls her into a hug.

Bian Cheng looks over a brochure for the University of Cambridge by the shore. He overhears Zhou Ran, who shows up nearby on the phone with her grandmother. She tells her grandmother that she’s going to the University of Cambridge but that she’ll visit often. After she hangs up, Bian Cheng approaches her, finding it quite a coincidence that they both are going there for graduate school. The smile at each other and each silently remark that they seem to be fated.

Yu Bing is now… a hockey performer? Either before or after a game, he gives a solo performance involving images of dragons and sharks projected onto the ice. After the performance is over, he holds his stick out, pointed toward Tang Xue in the stands. The crowd starts chanting “rock sugar,” their couple name. Tang Xue races down to the boards, where they each form a half-heart that makes a whole with their hands pressed up against the glass.

Tang Xue narrates how she, Yu Bing, Yue Wei, and Yu Yan continue to persevere in their respective sports and achieve greater heights while asking the audience: what are you passionate about? What are your dreams?

<Insert montage of China’s Winter Olympians.>

Commentary

I made it to the end! From start to finish, this show has been cheesy and fluffy, but also just so dang pleasant. Even in the tougher moments, such as Yu Yan’s downward spiral and anxiety, it has managed to be nice. It’s cheerful and feel-good and everyone gets their happy ending. But ultimately, for me, there were just a few too many faux-inspirational, ultra-patriotic moments and it became all too clear that in the end, this is essentially a hype piece and a really long commercial for the Winter Olympics.

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