Jian Jian is busy, but doing just fine with her life as an artist. She still gets toothaches, but has Ming Yue to mother her now. Everything is fine, until she gets a couple of unexpected and not entirely welcome surprises on the same day.
Jian Jian wakes up early in the morning for an art exhibition that her work is being shown at. Her fridge is empty so she ends up grabbing a cucumber and eating it raw, but she still gets toothaches and her tooth hurts so much that she can barely eat. She gets a phone call from Ming Yue — her ringtone sounds like a dog barking. Ming Yue has finally returned from a work trip and is on her way to get a new car before picking someone up at the airport.
Jian Jian sketches on the crowded bus to the exhibition, then notices that the man sitting next to her is trying to pickpocket a straphanger. She “accidentally” bumps into her seatmate, thwarting his theft attempt. He glares at her, then gets up to stand near the door, where he continues to glance grumpily at her. She stares back.
On her way off the bus, she sticks a doodle with the words “I’m a thief!” on his back, without his noticing. She looks pleased with herself and doesn’t notice that someone is following her.
Hai Chao’s noodle shop is incredibly successful and busy. He has several employees now and the tables are always full. Auntie Qian walks in and notices a new banner among the banners commemorating Jian Jian’s various awards wrapped around a column in the shop. She asks Hai Chao how much the prize money is this time, then makes comments about how Jian Jian should find a more secure line of work, and how Hai Chao’s children have all left him now. She’s eager to set him up with a woman. Hai Chao has finally managed to extricate himself from Auntie Qian when an employee tells him that he has a phone call.
It’s He Ping, reporting that Ling Xiao is returning today, but he forgot.
Ling Xiao’s phone buzzes incessantly as he exits the airport, but he ignores it. He doesn’t wait long outside before Ming Yue shows up to pick him up. He tells her that she didn’t need to come — he could have called a taxi — but she says it’s no big deal.
Ming Yue seems to have been in contact with Ling Xiao enough to help him find an apartment. He offers to take her out to dinner as a sign of gratitude. She blushes and acts like it’s no big deal, but seems pleased. She tells him that Jian Jian has an exhibition today and that she got an extra ticket for him, but Ling Xiao says that he has other plans and asks her to let him nap when she tries to chat more.
Jian Jian finds Du Juan when she gets to the exhibition. Jian Jian is nervous about her sculpture’s chances of winning an award, but Du Juan reassures her that the people who came by have only had good things to say. Jian Jian also wants to check out a work made by a friend of hers. Du Juan points her toward a sculpture that looks like a headless, naked bust of a woman. There are a lot of people crowded around the sculpture. Jian Jian tries to stick her head in to take a peek, but one of the onlookers bumps into her and she loses her balance, falling backward…
Ling Xiao downs a bowl of noodles at home while Hai Chao gently tells him not to eat too quickly. Hai Chao is sentimental upon seeing him back at home as an adult. Sometimes he still stands behind his noodle shop counter, staring at the doorway and thinking that his three kids will burst in as the children they once were. But now, none of them are home.
Ling Xiao reassures Hai Chao that this time he’s back for good. He won’t leave again. Hai Chao cautiously asks if his mother is okay with it, but Ling Xiao says that with Hai Chao and the others here, there’s no way he would’ve stayed in Singapore forever. He’s already lined up a job here and starts tomorrow.
Hai Chao is overjoyed and immediately calls Jian Jian, needing to share the good news. He tells her that she should make a trip back home and starts to tell her about Ling Xiao, but is interrupted by her telling him that she’s at the police station.
A man hides his face with his hand while sitting across from an angry police officer who tells him to stop hiding. He slowly removes his hand — it’s Zi Qiu. He’s been accused of groping a woman’s breast. Zi Qiu tries to explain that he didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident — he was trying to catch her when she fell, but the police officer doesn’t seem to believe him. Earlier at the exhibition, Jian Jian had fallen backward into him. He was the person following her.
When Zi Qiu finds out that the person who reported him — Jian Jian — is about to show up, he begs to be released. He’s willing to confess as long as it means he doesn’t have to see her. But the officer is unsympathetic and makes him wait.
Jian Jian dashes over; Zi Qiu turns away to hide his face. She identifies him as her assailant and accuses him of squeezing her chest. He tries to mask his voice while saying that he thought it was her stomach. The officer makes him explain himself and Zi Qiu mutters something about squeezing her stomach often when she was younger. Jian Jian finds his voice familiar and forces him to show his face. She’s stunned when she sees him.
They leave the police station together and stand in awkward silence outside. Jian Jian asks Zi Qiu when he came back and why he didn’t let them know. He says that he wanted it to be a surprise. Jian Jian says that she won’t tell her father; he can surprise him himself.
Ling Xiao comes sprinting into the police station, but skids to a stop just inside the doorway and backtracks, having recognized Jian Jian. Then he spots Zi Qiu. Jian Jian equally as shocked to see him and takes a few steps back. The three form a triangle of staring at each other, before Jian Jian turns away.
They end up sitting together on a bench in the park, still awkwardly silent. Uncomfortable, Jian Jian forces a smile and starts to say something, but then Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao simultaneously ask each other when and why they came back without saying anything. They both say they wanted it to be a surprise. More awkward silence. Jian Jian awkwardly makes some small talk, asking Ling Xiao how his mother is, then turning to Zi Qiu to ask more of the same, but they make eye contact and Zi Qiu hastily says that he’s fine. More awkward silence.
Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu simultaneously lean in toward Jian Jian and start to ask something, but she hops up from the bench and hastily makes an excuse about needing to buy a new toaster. She says that they should schedule to catch up some other time, then rushes off, leaving the two men alone.
Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao trade pointed barbs about where they’ve been, what they’ve been doing, and why they haven’t spoken for so long; Ling Xiao seems to be the winner of that battle of words. Zi Qiu continues to maintain his air of nonchalance until Ling Xiao leaves, then he breaks into a small smile.
At night, Ling Xiao eats hotpot with his fathers and offers to drink with them. He Ping wonders where Jian Jian is; Hai Chao says she called and said she had a last-minute thing come up at work so she can’t make it anymore. They both seem so happy to have Ling Xiao home. Hai Chao sighs and says only Zi Qiu is left. Ling Xiao suggests that Zi Qiu might show up and surprise him one day.
Zi Qiu watches the three from outside the restaurant with a sad smile. One of the restaurant workers walks by and sees him looking in, then tells him that the restaurant is closed for the night. He mumbles an excuse and hurries away, trying to hide his face. She watches him go, wondering out loud why he keeps coming back.
Zhuang Bei is on the phone with someone (probably Zi Qiu) and reports that the contract is signed. Zi Qiu invites him out to eat hotpot. After hanging up, he bends down to tie his shoe. His pen falls out of his pocket.
Tang Can walks out of the elevator and slips on the pen. She starts to fall, but Zhuang Bei catches her before she hits the ground. They stare into each other’s eyes and then smile, each finding the other vaguely familiar.
A couple of kids show up in another elevator. The brother tells his sister to cover her eyes. Tang Can and Zhuang Bei realize that they look like they’re in a compromising situation and hastily spring apart. Zhuang Bei scrambles to the elevator and escapes, ignoring Tang Can, who tries to stop him. She smiles when she spots his pen on the ground.
Ming Yue is cleaning around the apartment when she gets a call from Ling Xiao. She beams and clears her throat before picking up and asking if he needs anything from the convenience store. After she hangs up, she collapses onto the couch with an infatuated giggle.
Tang Can returns home and dramatically declares that she met a man. Ming Yue excitedly shares that she also met someone, but Tang Can says it’s not the same. She met someone in a meet-cute way that only happens in movies. Her moment is finally here. But when Ming Yue realizes that Tang Can didn’t get a name or phone number, she quickly loses interest. Tang Can says she’s done her sleuthing — the resident in the apartment across the hall just moved out, so she’s pretty confident her mysterious beau lives there.
Jian Jian returns home, looking dejected. Tang Can hurries over to dramatically greet her and ask her what happened. Jian Jian looks unamused. Tang Can and Ming Yue have already heard about Jian Jian’s assault, thanks to Du Juan, who spread it across all their social media circles. But Jian Jian tells them that it was all just a misunderstanding.
Jian Jian goes to grab a lollipop. Ming Yue, clearly the mom of the three, tries to stop her because of her tooth problems, but ends up losing. Ming Yue glares at Tang Can, who seems a bit oblivious, but then says that the candy is probably harmless.
Jian Jian changes the topic away from her teeth and tells them to guess who she saw downstairs just now. Ming Yue looks slightly nervous as she asks who, then relieved when Jian Jian says she saw the old basketball captain, the one who looks like a gorilla.
At night, Jian Jian frowns in bed, recalling a memory from her childhood. Her father had compared her, Ling Xiao, and Zi Qiu to corn, beans, and pumpkin: three best friends who grow up together and support each other out in the world.
Zi Qiu drinks by himself along the waterfront. He drafts several different versions of text messages to Jian Jian, but doesn’t end up sending any of them.
Hai Chao helps Ling Xiao get settled in Zi Qiu’s old room for the night. He’s ready to clear out Ling Xiao’s old room tomorrow, but Ling Xiao tells them there’s no need. He’s already found an apartment. Hai Chao looks disappointed, but then smiles when Ling Xiao says he’s moving into the apartment across from Jian Jian. Does Jian Jian know? Ling Xiao admits that he didn’t have a chance to tell her. She hurried off after asking about his family. He thinks that maybe she just felt less familiar with him than before.
Hai Chao sighs and says that it makes sense — it’s been so long. She was a kid when they last saw each other and now she’s an adult. They’re both adults, almost at a marrying age; Hai Chao feels old now. Ling Xiao suggests that he should remarry, but Hai Chao says he won’t. He asks Ling Xiao if he dated anyone in Singapore. Ling Xiao says he never had the time.
Hai Chao heads to bed; Ling Xiao gets his permission to look around Jian Jian’s room.
The next morning, Hai Chao makes breakfast for Ling Xiao and He Ping, who returns home after spending the night at the office. The two fathers reminisce about when the children were younger and how rowdy breakfasts were back then. He Ping starts talking about how he needs to fix up Ling Xiao’s old room, and looks disappointed when Ling Xiao tells him that he’s moving out. Hai Chao excuses himself to head down to the shop so that the father and son can have some time alone.
But their meal is mostly stilted small talk. He Ping doesn’t seem to know what to say other than offering to help out (only to be politely turned down by Ling Xiao) and urging Ling Xiao to eat more.
Ming Yue accompanies Jian Jian to the dentist’s office. Jian Jian gets more nervous the longer she waits. She tells Ming Yue she needs to go to the bathroom, but Ming Yue knows she’s trying to escape. Jian Jian’s name gets called by the nurse; she tries to flee at the last minute. Ming Yue physically grabs her and drags her to the exam room, then shoves her in and holds the door shut so she can’t escape.
Jian Jian glares at Ming Yue through the door, then turns around in surprise when the dentist tells her to lie down in a very familiar voice.
Why do I have the feeling that Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao are going to inadvertently end up living in an apartment together?
I am adoring this friendship/roommate dynamic that Jian Jian, Ming Yue, and Tang Can have with one another. We haven’t seen much of Tang Can’s personality yet, but I already find her hilarious and love that she and Zhuang Bei are getting paired up. I also love how Ming Yue is sometimes the apartment mother, but also just a sister fighting with her sisters.
But of course, the most interesting thing to unpack and see will be how Jian Jian reacts to Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu very much becoming an unavoidable part of her life again. Her response to them continues to be a lukewarm dance of avoidance, and that’s always fun. Perhaps she just can’t handle the awkwardness of not knowing exactly what their relationship is now? Or something more?