As the end of the semester approaches, Zhao Hua Guang continues to not know how to take no for an answer. Jian Jian continues to butt heads with her new classmate, Tang Can. Hai Chao continues to try to shield his children from the realities of the adult world, even though two of them are soon-to-be adults themselves.
Zhao Hua Guang doesn’t give up. He goes to Hai Chao’s noodle shop and continues to pester him about Zi Qiu’s future, telling him that he doesn’t have the means or the vision to push Zi Qiu to bigger places. Hai Chao remains admirably calm, but it’s only when Zhao accuses him of raising Zi Qiu just so he’ll have someone to care for him when he’s older that Hai Chao snaps back. Zhao only wants him back so that there will be someone to light incense sticks for him (when he’s dead).
Zhao says that the difference between them is that Zhao can leave him an inheritance. Hai Chao, on the other hand, is just wasting his time. Zhao claims he’s doing all of this for Zi Qiu’s benefit, which Hai Chao obviously doesn’t believe. Then Zhao thinks that Hai Chao is being obstinate because he thinks a million yuan is too little money. Hai Chao finally gets tired of Zhao and pushes him out the door.
Zhao makes a scene, yelling at Hai Chao from outside, which attracts the attention of Auntie Qian, who is walking by. She asks him who he is. When he says he’s Zi Qiu’s father and that his last name is Zhao, she starts cursing him out and tells Hai Chao to show him no mercy. She grabs a thermos of boiling water from the restaurant and threatens to dump it on Zhao, who runs away.
At night, Hai Chao quietly checks in on Zi Qiu, but he’s busy studying, so he slips back out.
Ming Yue finds Jian Jian sketching alone in a coffee shop. Ming Yue is exhausted from all the homework she has to do between school and her extra prep classes. Jian Jian is alone because her brothers are busy studying for the gaokao (college entrance exam). Ming Yue asks Jian Jian to come along on a task she’s been assigned by Teacher Huang: Tang Can has been absent from class because of her acting, so Ming Yue is responsible for delivering the class materials to her. The two joke about how it’s obvious why Tang Can was held back a grade with how often she misses school.
Tang Can makes Ming Yue and Jian Jian wait outside for a half hour under the hot sun. By the time she comes outside, Ming Yue is pissed off and snaps at her. Tang Can tries to make excuses, saying she was busy packing, doesn’t like to leave things half-done, and doesn’t want anyone to know where she lives. She asks for the notes, but Ming Yue doesn’t want to give them to her anymore and stomps off, leaving her empty-handed.
Jian Jian follows, but not without throwing a few more taunts Tang Can’s way, telling her that she should be careful not to be last in the world like she is at school.
After Ming Yue calms down, she worries about what she’s going to say to Teacher Huang. Jian Jian reassures her that she’ll be fine. She’s more impressed by Ming Yue’s show of aggression.
When Jian Jian gets home, she’s confused to find the noodle shop closed and the apartment empty even though it’s still early. She calls Ling Xiao and finds out that everyone is at the hospital — a customer fell ill with food poisoning.
When they get home, Jian Jian demands to know what happened. Does someone have a vendetta against her father? They keep the kitchen spotless, yet the past few days, cockroaches and flies have been appearing in people’s food, and now someone has food poisoning?
Ling Xiao reports that both customers have reported them and now the noodle shop is required to close for a week. Jian Jian is upset. Are they trying to kill this family?
Hai Chao tries to calm her down, saying that this can be a good thing. They can take the opportunity to replace some things around the restaurant. He tells his children not to worry, but all three still look worried. Ling Xiao suggests they install a camera inside the restaurant.
Hai Chao goes into the kitchen to whip up a quick dinner for the family. Jian Jian tries to follow, but Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao stop her, holding a finger up to their lips. They tell Hai Chao that they’re heading out to the corner shop. Hai Chao waits until they’re gone before letting himself cry.
Jian Jian tries to grab an ice cream bar at the corner shop, but Ling Xiao makes her switch it out for a different ice pop. He tells her not to bring up the restaurant matter with their father again. She bristles being treated like a kid, but he points out that he’ll be 18 soon and a full adult. She responds that it’s not like he’ll magically be able to handle everything that comes with being an adult the moment he turns 18.
Zi Qiu is quiet and sullen the whole time at the corner shop and on the walk home. Jian Jian asks what’s on his mind. He says that he wishes he could grow up into an adult in an instant, so that their father wouldn’t have to worry so much.
Ling Xiao says that growing up does happen in an instant, just not necessarily on your eighteenth birthday. It happens at a time that only you will know, when you suddenly feel and understand the weight of the world and of life.
Zi Qiu meets with Zhao and asks if he’s behind the noodle shop’s forced closure. Zhao claims he has nothing to do with it, but Zi Qiu doesn’t believe him. He asks Zhao to spare them and tells him about how hard his father works while never letting his kids go hungry.
Zhao says that if Zi Qiu understands how hard Hai Chao has it, then he should be even more considerate of him. Money isn’t easy to come by, and Hai Chao has to raise not one but two children. That’s expensive.
But Zi Qiu refuses to go with Zhao. Zhao just nods and says that they’ll see what happens. Zi Qiu is his only son; he won’t give up. “What else are you going to do?” Zi Qiu asks, but Zhao just smirks and leaves.
He Ping returns home early from work to find Hai Chao drinking and watching TV instead of remodeling the noodle shop. Hai Chao says it’s been a while since he had some time off so he’s giving himself a break. He also shares his plan to expand into the neighboring shop and open a bigger restaurant, so he can make more money to fund the kids’ education.
He Ping offers to help pay for the expansion, but Hai Chao says they should save that as an emergency fund. Instead, He Ping offers to pay for all of Zi Qiu’s living expenses. Hai Chao protests, saying a police officer like him can’t make much compared to a restaurant owner, but He Ping says it’s a done deal. Hai Chao agrees — but he’ll pay Ling Xiao’s expenses instead.
The morning of the gaokao, Hai Chao fusses over Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu, wanting to make sure they’re completely prepared. He seems more nervous than they are and wants to go with them to the school, but they tell him to focus on the restaurant. Jian Jian will be there to send them off.
Jian Jian rushes out of her room with her own preparations for the big day. She asks her brothers if they wore the lucky red underwear she bought them, and is about to check herself, but Zi Qiu stops her. He and Ling Xiao dutifully pull down the edge of their pants so she can see that they’re wearing it. Then Jian Jian gives them a very detailed description of the order in which they must enter and leave campus, which statue they should pray to, and starts drilling them on how to take the test (it’s important to kiss the exam paper after writing their names down.) She doesn’t let the boys open the door until a very exact time has passed, and reminds her father to light some incense for her mother so that she’ll watch over the boys while they take their test.
Tang Can is finally back in class for a brief while. She receives a round of applause from the class after reporting that she’s one of five finalists for a leading role and will be going to Beijing soon.
Ming Yue wrote one of the top essays in the class for a recent prompt called, “Someone I can learn from,” and Teacher Huang makes her stand up in front of the class to read it. She tries to avoid having to read her essay out loud by saying that she’s losing her voice, but then the teacher offers to read it in her stead. Ming Yue reluctantly hands over her notepad with a nervous glance toward Jian Jian, who looks bored.
Jian Jian yawns and is about to nap when she realizes who the subject of Ming Yue’s essay is: Ling Xiao.
Ming Yue hovers behind Jian Jian after class, trying to soothe her anger. Jian Jian is angry that Ming Yue made it sound like Ling Xiao was the only person there the day that they all first met. What about her? What about Zi Qiu? Jian Jian recites a flowery passage about Ming Yue and Ling Xiao chatting on the swings and pretends to vomit. Is Ling Xiao the only one deserving of Ming Yue’s admiration?
Ming Yue apologizes, saying she was wrong and that next time she’ll write about only Jian Jian. That’s enough to appease Jian Jian. Ming Yue asks her to keep the essay a secret from Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao. Jian Jian says of course — she knows Zi Qiu would be furious since he was the one who helped that day.
Tang Can and her parents celebrate her becoming a finalist. Tang Can is a little worried that she might not be chosen, but her parents quickly reassure her that there’s no way she won’t be chosen. They appreciate their current positions in life. Both of their families were very poor and neither parent went to college and were working menial jobs before Tang Can was discovered in first grade. Now, they’ve pinned all their hopes on Tang Can. When she makes it big, her father will become a house-husband and her mother will be her manager. Tang Can reassures them that when she becomes a star, she’ll hire caretakers for them so they never have to worry about a thing. Her parents exchange a smile.
What they don’t know is that Ming Yue, Jian Jian, and her brothers are in the same restaurant, on the other side of a divider, and have heard everything. Ming Yue and Jian Jian make hushing motions at Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu when they start to talk, confused why the two girls are so interested in eavesdropping on what Tang Can and her family are saying.
Jian Jian and Ming Yue wait until Tang Can’s family has left before going to the bathroom. They gossip about her as they wash their hands, saying that they never thought Tang Can was so fake that she would lie about what her parents did. Is she ashamed of them?
Tang Can suddenly comes storming out of a bathroom stall, accusing them of eavesdropping and asking what they heard. She says that she never lied about what her parents did — her friends just had their own misconceptions after Tang Can broadly mentioned the industries her parents worked in. She blocks Jian Jian and Ming Yue’s way as they try to leave, holding out a warning finger that they can’t tell anyone at school, otherwise they’re dead.
Jian Jian doesn’t take well to threats and charges at Tang Can, threatening her back. Ming Yue struggles to hold onto Jian Jian as Jian Jian warns Tang Can that the last person who crossed her didn’t fare so well. Tang Can looks kind of flustered, but then holds out another warning finger before running out of the bathroom.
Once Tang Can is gone, Jian Jian and Ming Yue fall apart, tired but giggling.
The next morning at school, Tang Can waits nervously for Jian Jian to arrive in class. But once Jian Jian shows up, Tang Can lifts up her chin. They lock eyes and glare at each other.
When Jian Jian gets to her desk, she finds a box of chocolate inside with a note on it: “Don’t tell anyone.” Jian Jian rolls her eyes and looks up to find Tang Can staring at her. Jian Jian pretends to look annoyed, but then makes a show of eating one of the chocolates and then motions that her lips are sealed. Tang Can giggles before catching herself and putting a frown back on. But the moment she turns away, she smiles again, while Jian Jian fully enjoys her chocolate.
Zi Qiu massages Hai Chao’s bad shoulder while offering to help out with the new restaurant renovations. Hai Chao tells him to go enjoy himself now that the gaokao is over and offers to give him some money so he can hang out with his friends. Zi Qiu tells his father not to work so hard. Once he gets to college, he can work part-time and earn his own living expenses, but Hai Chao doesn’t want him to work.
Hai Chao sees the time and jumps up to get back to the restaurant. Zi Qiu offers to make lunch. Hai Chao asks if Zhao has reached out to Zi Qiu again. Zi Qiu lies and says no.
Jian Jian yawns while doing her homework, but Ling Xiao is supervising and gently flicks her on the back of the head to wake her up. Zi Qiu comes in to take requests for snacks and to charge a delivery fee.
After he’s gone, Jian Jian asks Ling Xiao if he wants to go out now that the gaokao is over. He doesn’t want to, but she does. He tells her to finish her homework first. She still has final exams coming up and if her scores continue to be this abysmal, she won’t get into any college. He looks at her homework and reprimands her with another flick on the head for getting a problem wrong. She protests being hit on the head; is he going to marry her when she becomes dumb?
He responds saying he will marry her. She stares. He repeats what he said. She looks at him with narrowed eyes then grabs her homework and gets back to work, making a face.
He Ping rushes into the apartment, calling for Ling Xiao. His grandmother had a heart attack and is in the hospital. They rush to the emergency room and meet up with Ling Xiao’s uncle, who says that the earlier flight Ling Xiao’s mother could get was for the next morning.
Ling Xiao is asked by doctors to remain at the hospital overnight along with his other relatives. His grandmother slipped into critical condition four times. He Ping also decides to stay with them, in case he can be of any help. Jian Jian relays all of this information to her father and Zi Qiu with a sigh.
I know Jian Jian and Ming Yue are just teens, but they’re so mean! They’re the main characters, so maybe we’re supposed to be more sympathetic to them, but they kind of just started picking on Tang Can for no reason. It’s not like Tang Can ever did anything to them. To be fair, it was pretty rude of her to leave them outside for so long, so Ming Yue’s anger was justified, but from the start, Jian Jian has always been the instigator, trying to taunt Tang Can. Now I understand why so many child actors drop out of school after being bullied…
Tang Can can be kind of self-absorbed and oblivious, but she also seems very insecure and it’s very obvious that she and Jian Jian are both just putting on a show of hating each other. I love that they’ve reached a kind of truce now.
I don’t feel like giving Zhao Hua Guang more words than he deserves. His pompous arrogance makes me so angry. What’s most infuriating to me is the extent of his hypocrisy: even though he accuses Hai Chao of being motivated by greed, in reality he’s the one who is greediest.
Also that moment when Ling Xiao looked at Jian Jian so seriously and said he would marry her! The romance and love triangle have yet to begin, and I kind of like it that way so far. There’s too much else going on for us to have additional drama and Jian Jian is still such a kid (despite wanting to be seen as otherwise) with her head in the clouds. It’s hard for me to not ship them when they’ve clearly been set up since day one.