Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Go Ahead (Ep. 15)

Jian Jian continues to try and maintain her distance from her brothers even as they do their best to insert themselves into her life. None of Jian Jian’s friends approve of her choice of boyfriend, especially Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu, who grow suspicious of their lack of in-person interaction, but Jian Jian seems unconcerned.

Recap

Ming Yue rushes through the city with her cameraman during her day job as a reporter. During a break, she beams when she sees a missed call from Ling Xiao and eagerly calls him back. Then she’s stunned when he tells her why he called — Jian Jian has a boyfriend?

Tang Can takes a call from Ming Yue and reassures her that she knows nothing about Jian Jian’s new boyfriend. She’s also at her job, pretending to be a kid’s mother, and the teacher she’s supposed to be in a parent-teacher conference with is annoyed that she’s on her phone instead of participating in their meeting.

Du Juan stares at Jian Jian in disbelief. She started dating her boyfriend without even knowing what he looks like? What if he doesn’t fit her aesthetics? But Jian Jian says that she doesn’t care about appearances; what’s important to her is that their souls are aligned. She’s hoping that changing her relationship with him will give her a spark of inspiration. One of her employees overhears and teases her about dating just to find inspiration. Du Juan applauds her for being a true artist.

Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu both stalk Jian Jian’s boyfriend’s artist page and fume upon seeing his erotic sculptures accompanied by steamy captions that sound straight out of a romance novel.

Ming Yue and Tang Can also have unfavorable opinions of Ran based on his social media. Ming Yue can accept his fascination with women, but is disturbed by how several of his pieces seem preoccupied with death. Jian Jian seems unconcerned. She explains to them that he wants to be a master sculptor, the kind whose work gets displayed in museums. In the meantime, he only participates in exhibitions and competitions and doesn’t actually sell his work.

Ming Yue and Tang Can are even more appalled to hear that he doesn’t actually have a job — he just lives with his parents. Does she not have any doubts about him?

Jian Jian forces a too-bright smile back at them and asks through gritted teeth why her brothers are here. Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu stand there silently with crossed arms and frowns.

“I don’t approve,” Zi Qiu says.

Later, Zi Qiu tells Ling Xiao that he needs to do something about Jian Jian’s boyfriend as they set up their apartment. Ling Xiao finds it suspicious that Jian Jian’s boyfriend knew her for years and suddenly asked her out. He thinks that he might have seen her at the most recent exhibition and asked her out because he liked what he saw. That’s bad news for Zi Qiu — he was hoping they would break up after meeting each other in real life.

But Ling Xiao says they can still break up after meeting each other in person. Zi Qiu’s coffee shop is having its grand opening next weekend. They should tell Jian Jian to invite her boyfriend and then they can control the situation.

Ling Xiao unpacks some pill bottles. Zi Qiu asks what they are. Ling Xiao hides the labels from him, but says that they’re just vitamin supplements.

Jian Jian, Ming Yue, Tang Can, and Ling Xiao all arrive together at Zi Qiu’s coffee shop on the grand opening day. Ming Yue and Tang Can admire the space and say that they wish they had a man who would open a coffee shop for them. Jian Jian responds that Zi Qiu opened the coffee shop to try and do business, and for her. But when Jian Jian walks up to the register, the cashier greets her as “Boss.”

They’ve sat down at a table when Zi Qiu appears with a colorful cake on a platter. Some other female customers whisper to each other about how handsome he looks. Both Ming Yue and Tang Can stare at him as he walks over, something that Ling Xiao notices and teases them about.

Jian Jian presents Zi Qiu with a congratulatory gift: a money toad carved out of wood that she made just for him.

Tang Can asks Jian Jian where her boyfriend is and whether she’s nervous to meet him for the first time. Jian Jian admits that she’s a little worried — worried that he won’t like her. Everyone at the table looks away, seeming just short of rolling their eyes.

Jian Jian gets a call from Ran, who tells her that he had a sudden stroke of inspiration on his way to the shop and decided to head back home. Ling Xiao scoffs; her friends look incredulous.

Tang Can stays behind at the coffee shop while Jian Jian, Ling Xiao, and Ming Yue head out. Ling Xiao puts his arm around Jian Jian, offering to drop her off at her studio. She flinches away from him and quickly says that she can get there on her own, then promptly runs off. Ling Xiao watches her go, looking disappointed.

He and Ming Yue pay a visit to his landlord, the one who tried to double-cross them with Zi Qiu. Ming Yue threatens to report on his predatory rental practices while Ling Xiao records in order to negotiate his rent back down. The landlord agrees to return the money. Ming Yue suggests to Ling Xiao that he treat her to dinner as a thank you.

At the restaurant, Ming Yue notices that Ling Xiao seems lost in thought and isn’t eating. He admits to her that he’s concerned by how distant Jian Jian seems. Ming Yue reassures him that Jian Jian is happy to have him home, but that nine years of not seeing each other is a long time. Ling Xiao asks her to help keep an eye on Jian Jian and her internet boyfriend. He thinks the guy flaked at the last minute because he wanted to meet her alone, without the rest of them present, and finds that concerning. Ming Yue is happy to help and asks Ling Xiao to treat her to more meals. Then she smiles to herself, thinking that she’ll eventually be Jian Jian’s sister-in-law, so it’s only natural that she help mend the relationship between him and Jian Jian.

Ming Yue and her roommates watch her latest news segment on TV. Tang Can points out how messy she looks and says that her mother is sure to chide her about it. Right on cue, Ming Yue gets a call from her mother.

Ming Yue’s mother is as critical of her as she used to be when Ming Yue was in high school. She brings up Ming Yue’s poor gaokao scores (only good enough to get into a local university) and her career choice, then reminds her to sign up for the civil service exam. Ming Yue lets her rant, and is saved when Tang Can calls her name, saying that dinner is ready. Ming Yue’s mother asks why they’re eating so late. Ming Yue says it’s because Jian Jian gets home late. Her mother asks to talk to Jian Jian.

Jian Jian reluctantly picks up the phone. Ming Yue’s mother tone changes immediately when Jian Jian shows up on screen. She beams and compliments her on one of her latest sculptures, then tells Jian Jian to work on Ming Yue. If only Ming Yue were as outstanding as her.

After they hang up, Tang Can and Jian Jian tell Ming Yue that she needs to stand up to her mother about the civil service exam. But Ming Yue says she isn’t as brave as Tang Can when it comes to opposing her parents.

The doorbell rings and Jian Jian goes to answer it. Ling Xiao is outside, crouched beside his front door. He tells Jian Jian to come register her fingerprint so she can get in. She declines, but he grabs her hand and presses her thumb to the door handle. His hand lingers on hers as he remembers holding her hand when they were younger. Jian Jian looks slightly uncomfortable and asks if he’s done. Ling Xiao startles out of his memories and lets go of her hand. Jian Jian tries to hurry away, but Ling Xiao stops her, asking if she wants to go to the hospital together for her follow-up appointment the next morning. She says she can get there on her own, then slips into her apartment.

Ling Xiao lingers in the hallway, looking at his hand that was holding hers, then also goes inside. He stays up late, still thinking about Jian Jian.

Jian Jian also stays up late, working on ideas for her art, but struggles to design something she feels good about. Instead, she ends up sketching images of her brothers. But once she looks at her finished sketch, her smile drops and she covers her face with her hands.

The next morning, she wakes up to find several dishes of beautifully-plated breakfast laid out on the dining table. She smiles and asks Ming Yue if she made all of this for her, then her smiles drops when Zi Qiu responds from the kitchen that he made all of this for her.

Zi Qiu beams at Jian Jian as he watches her eat, then offers to make breakfast for her every day. She immediately rejects the offer, saying it’ll be too much of a hassle for him. He tries to feed her an apple slice. She distracts him by pointing out a loose thread on his shirt.

Zi Qiu tells Jian Jian that Ling Xiao scheduled her follow-up exam for later that morning. She frowns and groans, not looking forward to going to the dentist.

During her appointment, her fists remain clenched as Ling Xiao prods around her mouth. She looks around and asks where the nurse is — it’s just the two of them in the exam room. Ling Xiao teases her, asking if she really finds it that awkward to be alone with him. She says no, but he notices her nervous tic that indicates she’s lying and calls her out on it.

Feng Xi Xi introduces herself to Jian Jian and offers her some ice cream while Jian Jian is waiting for Ling Xiao in a waiting area. Xi Xi takes the opportunity to ask Jian Jian about her family and how she’s related to Ling Xiao. Jian Jian explains how they were raised together. Xi Xi frowns slightly and mutters to herself that their family seems quite complicated — how is she going to explain it to her parents? Jian Jian asks what she means, but Xi Xi changes the subject and asks whether Ling Xiao likes anyone.

Ling Xiao interrupts and responds that there is someone he likes. Jian Jian hurries to excuse herself and run off. Ling Xiao stops her to put some medication in her bag and remind her of follow-up instructions for her teeth.

After Jian Jian has rushed off, Xi Xi comments that Ling Xiao is extraordinarily good to his sister. Ling Xiao responds that compared to how well Jian Jian has treated him, he isn’t nearly good enough to her. He tells Xi Xi that she wouldn’t understand.

Jian Jian is waiting for the bus when she gets a call from Ran, asking to meet right now. She doesn’t like his choice of location and instead suggests that they go eat desserts at a location she’ll text him.

Tang Can goes on a blind date with a man who asks her what her salary is, asks her about her dating history, assumes she lived with her last boyfriend, and says some unflattering things about that. Tang Can is clearly feeling done with the date, but the guy is persistent. Finally, a fellow coffee shop patron cuts in to defend her, saying that according to the law, the other man is harassing her. It’s Zhuang Bei.

Zhuang Bei introduces himself as a lawyer and manages to chase off the other man. Tang Can beams at him, eyes glowing. He finds her familiar and she takes off her glasses. He recognizes her as the flight attendant from outside the elevator. She explains that she runs an online store where she dresses up as different roles for her clients.

Tang Can returns Zhuang Bei’s pen to him. When she finds out that he has many similar pens, she asks if she can keep it — it might come in handy when she dresses up as a lawyer. He agrees, then looks thoughtful and asks her for a favor.

Ming Yue scrolls through her social media feed while on a lunch break with her cameraman. She sees a post from Ran of an ice cream cone with a cryptic caption about ruining good things being an inherent human weakness. When she zooms in on the photo, she notices Jian Jian’s face in a reflection. She scrambles to call Jian Jian, whose phone goes straight to voice mail.

Ming Yue calls Ling Xiao, reporting that Jian Jian met up with her boyfriend and is now unreachable. Ling Xiao rushes out of the office, saying he’s on his way.

Zi Qiu rushes to find Tang Can and tells her about the situation with Jian Jian. Only then does he notice that Zhuang Bei is also there. He looks surprised that the two know each other.

Du Juan also gets a worried phone call from Ming Yue, asking for Ran’s phone number. Du Juan doesn’t have his number, but also thinks that his cryptic captions are normal for an artist. She doesn’t think there’s anything to be worried about.

Tang Can studies Ran’s photo, then tells Zi Qiu that she thinks he’s overreacting. Sure, Ran might seem a little weird, but there’s nothing wrong with the two of them meeting. Zi Qiu impatiently asks if she recognizes where the photo is from. Tang Can easily identifies a gelato store. Zi Qiu rushes off, ignoring the rest of what she says.

Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu go to the gelato store and ask the cashier if she saw Jian Jian, then rush around looking for her. They finally end up at He Ping’s desk at the police station, asking him to investigate. He Ping thinks that they’re making a big deal out of a perfectly normal situation. Ling Xiao is worried that her boyfriend has tricked her into going to a hotel. He Ping says that he’ll call Hai Chao first. If Jian Jian has a boyfriend, it’s very likely that Hai Chao already knows.

Hai Chao picks up He Ping’s phone call and asks where he heard that Jian Jian got tricked to going to a hotel. Jian Jian is sitting at one of the tables in the noodle shop, laughing with a guy.

He Ping laughs and tells Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu that Jian Jian is with a boy at the noodle shop. The two immediately run off.

Hai Chao brings bowls of noodles out to Jian Jian and Ran. Ran introduces himself to Hai Chao as Zheng Shu Ran. Now that he’s met Jian Jian’s father, Ran suggests that maybe she should meet his parents tomorrow.

Hai Chao pulls Jian Jian away for a moment and asks why she didn’t tell her brothers that her phone broke. They’re worried about her. She thinks they’re overreacting. Hai Chao asks her to be a bit more patient with them.

Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu barge into the noodle shop, demanding to know why Jian Jian brought Ran here. Jian Jian casually responds that they’re here to eat noodles. Hai Chao comes over to try and smooth over the situation, introducing Ran to Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu.

Both Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu ask for noodles, then plant themselves right next to Jian Jian and Ran. Zi Qiu gets up close and personal in Ran’s face.

Commentary

Yes! Gotta love some petty jealousy from the boys. And we finally have an episode that is mostly fun with no tears.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the pill bottles that Ling Xiao had. It wasn’t clear to me whether it was product placement (I don’t think so, because the labels weren’t very clear) or Ling Xiao intentionally misleading Zi Qiu, but I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. More secrets.

Something that really came across to me this episode is how similar Zi Qiu is to Hai Chao when it comes to food and providing it for the people he cares about. The way in which he presents breakfast to Jian Jian is so similar to how Hai Chao calls his kids to breakfast. It’s a small nuance, but it’s important in how it shows that Hai Chao is truly a father to Zi Qiu.

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