Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Go Ahead (Ep. 17)

Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu each have their own ways of avoiding Jian Jian after her outburst at dinner. But an accident brings them back together. Meanwhile, Tang Can reluctantly lets her parents back into her life despite her best efforts to distance herself from them.

Recap

Jian Jian returns home after a long day and runs into Ling Xiao at the elevators. They make eye contact, but he walks out with a suitcase and ignores her.

She chases after him, asking if he’s moving back in with his father or going back to Singapore. She grabs onto his wrist to stop him when he doesn’t respond. He glances down at her hands on his wrist and she lets go.

Jian Jian assumes that Ling Xiao is going back to Singapore and starts telling him that he should stop making hasty decisions because of other people. He keeps walking so she tries to bar his way and apologize for her blunt words the other night. She says she’ll take them back and recognize him as her real brother.

“Who’s your real brother?” he asks, before laying the suitcase down on the ground and starting to unzip it. Jian Jian keeps rambling with her apology, then realizes that Ling Xiao’s suitcase is full of trash. He came down to throw out the suitcase and some other trash along with it.

Jian Jian laughs awkwardly as she realizes her mistake. Luckily for her, Ming Yue shows up, on her way back from the supermarket. Jian Jian rushes to hug her then volunteers to bring the groceries back upstairs as a way to escape the situation, leaving Ming Yue and Ling Xiao to talk.

Ling Xiao smiles at Jian Jian’s retreating back, suddenly in a good mood. Ming Yue beams when Ling Xiao says that they’ve reconciled and thanks her for her help.

Jian Jian exits the elevator on her floor, only to duck around a corner when she spots Zi Qiu wavering back and forth in the hallway, trying to decide what to do about a boxed cake in his hands. He ends up deciding to hang the box on Jian Jian’s door handle. Right afterward, his phone rings, and he’s so startled that he drops it and scrambles to retreat into his apartment. Jian Jian laughs silently from her hiding place.

Zi Qiu’s call is from Zhuang Bei, who looked into the car that Zi Qiu thought he saw his mother in. Zhuang Bei was able to track down the pickup and dropoff locations, but suggests that Zi Qiu enlist He Ping’s help in finding his mother. Zi Qiu doesn’t respond for a long moment. Ling Xiao returns home. Zi Qiu hastily hangs up.

Tang Can goes out and meets with her father at a hotpot restaurant. She doesn’t seem happy to be there. He tells her to eat more, putting food on her plate and telling her to use the satay sauce. Tang Can says she doesn’t use the satay sauce. He tells her that she doesn’t need to worry about getting fat — she’s getting too skinny. She points out that he and her mother were the ones who called her fat and started restricting what she could eat in middle school. He tries to give her money. She refuses it. He tells her that she should find a steadier job, then says that she should at least call home if she doesn’t visit.

Tang Can and her mother haven’t talked for months, and now Tang Can takes the opportunity to vent her frustrations at her father. Her father tries to defend her mother, but even he has a hard time sounding convincing. Tang Can points out how her mother doesn’t really care about her; she only cares that she’s making money. Tang Can resents that her mother calls her lazy when she was the one who never let Tang Can have an education because she was always scheduling work for her. Before, her mother loved to flaunt that she was an actress. Now, her mother is too embarrassed to tell others about what she does. But Tang Can says that she’s always put her own effort into her work, then and now. What’s so embarrassing about that? Her father doesn’t know what to say to that and pushes more food at her instead.

Tang Can’s father drives her home. Before she gets out, he reminds her that her mother’s 50th birthday is coming up. It would be nice if she came to the celebration. Tang Can responds that her mother would probably feel more embarrassed to have her there, given all the family and friends who will be present, but agrees to go. Before she gets out, she reminds her father that she doesn’t eat satay sauce because she’s allergic to it, not because she’s afraid of getting fat. He’s just forgotten.

When Ling Xiao gets up in the morning, Zi Qiu is just returning from making breakfast at Jian Jian’s apartment, sneaking around like a burglar. He’s made extra, which he and Ling Xiao eat. Zi Qiu asks if he can have some of Ling Xiao’s vitamin supplements. Ling Xiao tells him to go buy their own. Zi Qiu accuses him of being stingy and reminds Ling Xiao that he’s eating food that he made. Ling Xiao points out that he pays for half the groceries.

Jian Jian is on the bus when she gets a call that Zi Qiu is in the hospital after a serious car accident. She asks the bus driver to stop, but they’re on a long bridge going in the opposite direction and he can’t. Frantic, she calls Tang Can and asks her to grab her bank card from her room and go to the hospital.

When Jian Jian gets to the hospital, Tang Can cries and says that Zi Qiu’s face was covered in blood and the doctors tried their best, but… Jian Jian starts bawling in the middle of the hospital lobby. Tang Can tries to tell her that she was just kidding, but Jian Jian doesn’t hear her.

Ling Xiao hears Jian Jian crying and immediately rushes over, taking her head in his hands and trying to calm her down, telling her that Zi Qiu is okay. He finally manages to get through to her, but she keeps crying. He hugs her tightly while glaring at Tang Can for her ill-timed prank. Tang Can looks ashamed.

Hai Chao and He Ping hover over Zi Qiu’s hospital bed while a nurse tells them that Zi Qiu is lucky that he wasn’t hurt more seriously. Going out on his moped after taking such a high dosage of sedatives was dangerous. He’s lucky that he crashed into a tree and was only mildly concussed. If he hit a car, it would be a different story.

Once the nurse leaves, He Ping and Hai Chao gently chide Zi Qiu for taking sedatives. Zi Qiu blearily mutters that he didn’t take any sedatives. But then he realizes what happened. He had gone into Ling Xiao’s room earlier and taken two of every pill, figuring that more supplements wouldn’t be a bad thing. Except they weren’t supplements.

Zi Qiu murmurs that now he understands why Ling Xiao wouldn’t let him eat his supplements. He always thought Ling Xiao was up late because he was reading, but it seems like it’s actually because he can’t sleep.

Hai Chao and He Ping look stricken and stare at Ling Xiao when he enters the room with Jian Jian. Ling Xiao stares back, confused. Jian Jian also looks at him, confused.

Hai Chao and He Ping have to head back to work. He Ping pulls Ling Xiao into the hallway to ask about the sleeping medication and to tell him that his mother called. He Ping thinks that Ling Xiao needs to come clean with his mother — he can’t lie forever. But Ling Xiao says she’ll never agree. He Ping says that he can help talk to Chen Ting. After all, he still has custody of Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao reminds him that he’s an adult now — no one has custody over him anymore.

Ling Xiao says that he’ll talk to his mother himself. He Ping seems relieved that he won’t have to talk to Chen Ting. But then he asks Ling Xiao to tell him what’s going on in his life from now on, no matter whether it’s good or bad. He might not be able to help, but as his father, he at least wants to know. Ling Xiao nods.

Zi Qiu teases Jian Jian about crying over him when she thought he was dead. She asks him what’s going on with Ling Xiao. He doesn’t know, then points out that Ling Xiao used to tell her everything, until she decided she didn’t want to listen anymore.

Ling Xiao returns to the hospital room and smiles to see Jian Jian forcefully feeding Zi Qiu a slice of orange. Zi Qiu tells him that Jian Jian wants to know why he has insomnia at such a young age. Jian Jian gets annoyed that Zi Qiu outed her, but Ling Xiao says that it’s not uncommon for young people to have insomnia. He chides Zi Qiu for eating other people’s pills. Zi Qiu retorts that he shouldn’t have put his pills in vitamin supplement bottles.

Ling Xiao admits that he hid his pills in those bottles to hide them from his mother and Mei Yang. Because he’s the one person in their family who isn’t allowed to be ill. Zi Qiu and Jian Jian look at him sadly. Ling Xiao eats a slice of orange that Jian Jian handed him and turns away.

Ling Xiao and Jian Jian go to a coffee shop together, where she refuses to get him coffee, criticizing his lifestyle choice of drinking coffee during the day and eating sleep medication at night. He ruffles her hair like he used to, and she protests, saying she’s not a kid anymore, but he says she’ll always be that that little kid to hi. It’s almost like old times between them as they banter and Jian Jian asks him about the parts of his life that she missed out on. Does he have a girlfriend? He says no, but responds that there is someone he likes: she’s very pretty and very cute. Jian Jian frowns slightly, assuming that it’s someone she’s never met, but then asks him about the burn on his shoulder. He explains how it really was an accident — he spilled some congee on himself — but that he didn’t notice how bad of a burn it was until later when he went to shower. By that point, his skin and shirt had stuck together.

Ming Yue visits Zi Qiu with flowers from herself and Tang Can, who is too ashamed to show her face. Zi Qiu says that he’s actually grateful toward Tang Can — if not for her prank, he would have thought that Jian Jian hated him. Ling Xiao and Jian Jian return from the coffee shop with a coffee for Ming Yue. Ming Yue tattles on Jian Jian, telling Ling Xiao that she adds sugar even to her caramel macchiatos.

Jian Jian walks Ming Yue out of the hospital. Ming Yue worries about Ling Xiao’s insomnia and wonders if it’s related to his mother. Jian Jian responds that of course it’s related to his mother. Ming Yue warns her to be careful — who knows when Ling Xiao might be called back to Singapore? After all, his sister is extremely attached to him. Jian Jian glares at her, then says that she has no claim to Ling Xiao. He’s free to go wherever he wants. One day, some wild woman is probably going to ensnare him and steal him away. Ming Yue suddenly looks uncomfortable and forces out a laugh, saying that it’s bound to happen eventually.

At night, Zi Qiu sits outside on a bench between Ling Xiao and Jian Jian, looking wistfully at their roasted yams that they refuse to let him eat. He looks up at the sky and comments on how dark it is. They used to be able to see the stars, but now they can’t see anything. The three of them joke around about going back to the countryside to try and see the stars.

They switch to the topic of old relatives whom they don’t see as much anymore. Zi Qiu finds that there isn’t much to say when he does call them. Jian Jian comments that it’s inevitable when you don’t live with someone anymore. All you talk about is what it was like when you were younger. Both Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao stare at her. She just shrugs and keeps eating.

Zi Qiu confesses that he really struggled to adjust to England when he first got there. He constantly butted heads with Zhao Hua Guang and every time he saw a plane, he wished he could hop on and come back home. Jian Jian teases him, saying she’s heard this story before about the rich second generation kid who is dissatisfied with his life. She volunteers to live that life for him. He jokes that she can spend all his money once he makes some.

Jian Jian responds that she can’t trust men; men tell lies. Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu tell her to dump Ran. At first, they just joke around, and Jian Jian says she’s just dating, not trying to spend the rest of her life with this guy. But then Ling Xiao gets a bit more serious and asks Jian Jian whether she sincerely likes Ran. Jian Jian evasively responds that she’s happy right now. Ling Xiao doesn’t seem to believe her.

But then the three start joking around again, Ling Xiao and Jian Jian taunting Zi Qiu with their yams that they won’t let him eat.

Zi Qiu gets a fever. Jian Jian and Ling Xiao meticulously care for him. Once they put him to bed, Ling Xiao pulls out the picture book he frequently flips through when he can’t sleep at night. Curious, Jian Jian goes over to take a look. He explains to her that it’s a story about two lonely kids trying to escape the city they live in.

Jian Jian flips through, the characters in the story reminding her of her and Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao falls asleep on her shoulder as she reads.

The next morning, Ling Xiao is displeased when he runs into Ran in the hallway. He frowns even deeper when Ran greets him as “Brother,” but shows Ran to Zi Qiu’s hospital room, where Jian Jian is wiping Zi Qiu down with a towel. Zi Qiu also frowns when Ran shows up and grabs Jian Jian’s arm, preventing her from greeting Ran. He snaps back when Ran asks him how he’s doing. Jian Jian chides him for being rude.

A nurse comes in to check on Zi Qiu. Ran’s eyes immediately fixate on her butt, something that Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu notice. After the nurse leaves, Ran pulls out his sketchbook and starts sketching while Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu stare at him incredulously. Jian Jian laughs awkwardly and tries to explain it away as art.

Ling Xiao walks Ran out and invites him out to grab lunch. Over lunch, he questions Ran about why he likes Jian Jian and points out that she doesn’t seem to have the physical proportions he finds attractive. Ran acknowledges that, but says that their souls match, which is what’s important. Ling Xiao also points out that everything Ran is describing seems to be what he’s looking for in a sibling or friend, not necessarily a significant other. He tells Ran that he’s allowed to be friends with Jian Jian, but he should think more carefully about dating her.

Ling Xiao tells Ran to think hard about whether he’s willing to lose a soulmate friend for the sake of a short romance.

Commentary

Ling Xiao with the burns. Earlier against Zi Qiu, we saw Ling Xiao deliver sizzling one-liners that silence his opponents and Ran is clearly no match.

Ling Xiao is clearly protective of Jian Jian as a friend/brother and as someone who obviously likes her, but I wonder how much he feels the truth of his words. How sure must he be of a potential romantic relationship with Jian Jian before he’s willing to sacrifice his brotherhood for her?

That shift from brotherly affection to more romantic attention on Jian Jian seems inevitable, but it’s also going to be very painful. Right now, I am enjoying the purity of the relationships between Jian Jian, Ling Xiao, and Zi Qiu. There are moments between Jian Jian and one brother that, if viewed from a non-platonic perspective, would be sure to induce jealousy in the other: Ling Xiao catching Jian Jian feeding Zi Qiu, Zi Qiu watching as Jian Jian and Ling Xiao read his picture book close together. But instead, the second brother just smiled to see the family repaired. That’s bound to change as the tone of the relationships shift.

I’m happy we got more insight into Tang Can’s relationship with her family this episode and it’s always interesting to compare different families and see how it’s not really fair to compare. Each family has their own issues and they’re not necessarily better or worse than any other’s. Both Tang Can and Ling Xiao have frosty relationships with their mothers and complicated ones with their seemingly absentee and ineffective fathers. Their fathers both want to be pacifists and show that they care, but don’t seem to know how.

Last episode, Ming Yue’s mother put all of the roommates on edge. She made Tang Can cry. She can be infuriating, but also, at least she’s present and she cares. Is she better or worse than Tang Can’s mother, whom she has cut off from her life? I don’t know that there is a right answer to that question. Isn’t that what makes family complicated?

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