Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Go Ahead (Ep. 21)

Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao each acknowledge their feelings for Jian Jian and decide to do something about it, but express it in very different ways…

Recap

Tang Can connects the dots about Ling Xiao liking a classmate who is two years younger than her and guesses… herself. No one else takes her guess seriously. Zi Qiu asks Ling Xiao who it is. Jian Jian finishes her toast and declares that she’s done eating, then escapes to her room.

Zi Qiu wonders what’s wrong with her. Tang Can suggests that maybe she’s still upset with Ling Xiao for not coming home in time for her mother’s death anniversary like he promised. They resume interrogating Ling Xiao about who he likes, but he doesn’t say anything.

Jian Jian paces her room, then listens at her bedroom door, but can’t hear anything. She thinks she hears the front door close and she smiles, thinking that she can finally leave. She checks to make sure the coast is clear, then slips out.

She’s waiting for the elevator when Ling Xiao leaves his apartment and waits next to her. She acknowledges him with a nervous laugh, but refuses to look at him. They make small talk about going to work.

The elevator arrives. Jian Jian tries to tell Ling Xiao to go down first, claiming that she left her phone at home. But Ling Xiao sees that her phone is in her hand drags her into the elevator. He stares down at her and starts to bring up last night, but she rushes to interrupt, saying she drank too much last night and doesn’t remember anything.

Ling Xiao ignores what she says and apologizes for last night, saying he didn’t control himself well enough. But she should understand what his intentions are. She tries to say there’s nothing to understand. They’re sister and brother, that’s enough. To Ling Xiao, that’s not enough. He wants to be her and Hai Chao’s family in the eye of the law. The only way he can do that is by marrying her.

Jian Jian protests, saying the two of them can’t get married. She tries to escape the corner she’s been backed into. He puts out an arm to block her way, then tells her to break up with Ran. She stomps her foot and says she won’t break up with Ran and she won’t marry him.

The elevator doors open on the ground floor. She gives him one last glare before ducking under his arm and running away. He sighs after her.

Jian Jian struggles to focus at her studio. She decides to call Ming Yue, asking if everything’s okay. Ming Yue still sounds dejected and keeps the conversation short.

Du Juan and Zhou Miao come by the studio after a shopping date together and act cute and couple-y, not realizing that Jian Jian is there. When they finally spot her, Jian Jian gives them an awkward smile.

Du Juan shoos Zhou Miao away and goes over to sit down next to Jian Jian, asking why she’s in the studio instead of out on a date with Ran. Jian Jian says that she just saw Ran a few days ago. Du Juan is shocked — to her, dating means wanting to be together all the time. But Jian Jian doesn’t feel the same way.

Zi Qiu frowns as he bakes a cake in his coffee shop kitchen. He frowns even more when Ran suddenly appears and asks why there aren’t that many people at the coffee shop again. Zi Qiu says that no matter how few guests he has, he’ll never welcome Ran. Ran asks why he hates him so much. Zi Qiu charges Ran with his spatula, saying that Ran should know why.

Ran claims he really doesn’t know, so Zi Qiu starts ranting about how Ran is always meeting with a new girl every day and talking about their body measurements. Ran claims that he has a research purpose for the meetings. He’s trying to understand how women view their own bodies because his latest work is an attempt to portray inner beauty.

Zi Qiu laughs derisively at Ran, thinking he’s full of shit. He warns Ran to break up with Jian Jian immediately, otherwise he’ll go to his studio and smash all his sculptures.

Ran tells Zi Qiu that Jian Jian already broke up with him — didn’t he know? She didn’t have any feelings with him, so they’re back to being friends. Now, Zi Qiu is free to pursue her. Zi Qiu responds that he’ll pursue her when he wants, then realizes what he said.

Ran says he saw through Zi Qiu early on. A man of his age who has no interest in women and instead is always following his sister around? There’s only one answer. Zi Qiu warns Ran not to tell Jian Jian and tells him to scram. Ran tells Zi Qiu that he should be careful not to scare Jian Jian away with his temper, before running away.

Once Ran is gone, Zi Qiu laughs to himself, suddenly in a very good mood.

Du Juan puts her arm around a frowning Jian Jian, telling her that there’s no reason to feel bad. If they broke up, then they broke up. Jian Jian says that she doesn’t feel bad — she’s just depressed and ashamed that she was dumped so quickly.

The real story: instead of kissing Ran like he wanted that day, Jian Jian left him hanging with his closed eyes and pursed lips until she literally snapped him out of it. She started making excuses for why the time and place wasn’t right for them to kiss, but then he said that they should go back to being friends. It felt weird for them to have the kind of relationship where they kiss all the time.

Jian Jian had been dismayed. This was her first relationship and it hadn’t even been a month yet. Ran pointed out that they weren’t even really dating — they were more just hanging out together. Friends like to do things together, but lovers should want to just be together.

Ran asked Jian Jian if she knew the different between doing things together and being together. She said yes, but he could tell that she didn’t really get it. He took responsibility for being the one to suggest a relationship when she clearly wasn’t ready, so he also took responsibility for ending it. She tried to ask if they could try kissing again, then tried to lean in, but he said no.

Du Juan smiles, saying she knew that Jian Jian and Ran would break up. Jian Jian asks why — she was being serious about the relationship! Du Juan responds that it’s not a matter of seriousness — they just didn’t have the right… aura. Jian Jian doesn’t understand.

Du Juan starts to explaining to Jian Jian how a couple should act with each other. Each partner should care a lot about how the other person views them. They should always want to be together and stay in contact even when they each return to their own homes. They’ll get jealous whenever the other person gets a little too close to someone else. Du Juan asks if Jian Jian ever felt that way. Jian Jian shakes her head. Du Juan says that Ran probably noticed that about her as well, and that’s why he broke up with her.

Du Juan continues with her explanation of what it’s like to be in love: you’ll feel a little nervous interacting with the other person, but also eagerly await it. Whenever you’re together, it’ll feel like you’re drawn to each other and find yourselves getting close together. Whenever they’re by your side, you’ll feel peaceful and happy.

Jian Jian says that Du Juan could also be talking about a sibling relationship. Du Juan responds that she’s not talking about a platonic relationship. Would her brother kiss her? Jian Jian doesn’t say anything to that.

Zhou Miao comes over, teasing Du Juan about a J-drama she likes that features sibling incest (reference to My Brother Loves Me Too Much). Du Juan claims that she just likes the lead actor, not the sibling incest. Jian Jian doesn’t understand what they’re talking about because they’re using euphemisms. When she asks, they both grin slyly at her. She hides behind a pillow.

Zi Qiu calls Ling Xiao at his office phone to complain about him not having a working cell phone and to report some good news: Jian Jian broke up with her boyfriend.

Xi Xi pops into Ling Xiao’s office to drop off a new uniform and overhears his conversation. She comments that it’s normal for brothers to dislike their sisters’ boyfriends, but he and his brother seem to have a special hatred for Jian Jian’s boyfriend. Ling Xiao corrects her: ex-boyfriend. Xi Xi tries to ask Ling Xiao out to lunch. Ling Xiao tells her that he confessed to the person he likes.

Xi Xi looks slightly relieved when Ling Xiao says that she hasn’t accepted him. He continues, saying that she’s been in one position for too long and probably needs some time to think things through and adapt to a new identity. Xi Xi asks if the person is Ming Yue. When Ling Xiao says no, she thinks it’s someone she doesn’t know. But then Ling Xiao tells her that she knows her — she even bought ice cream for her.

Xi Xi’s eyes widen in shock. His sister? Ling Xiao just smiles. Xi Xi walks through the halls of the office, chiding herself for being so dumb and not seeing the obvious.

Tang Can returns home at night to find Jian Jian hiding behind a pole outside their apartment building. She doesn’t want to go home alone and doesn’t want to see her brothers either.

Zi Qiu tells Zhuang Bei that he plans on pursuing Jian Jian in earnest. Zhuang Bei commends him but also teases him about it. He didn’t think Zi Qiu liked Jian Jian that much. Zi Qiu says he didn’t know either.

Zhuang Bei asks Zi Qiu how he plans on pursuing Jian Jian. Zi Qiu isn’t sure — that’s why he invited Zhuang Bei out to dinner. He says that he wants to marry Jian Jian so they can be on the same hukou (family registration). He thinks their existing relationship should give him a strong foundation to build off of. Zhuang Bei thinks the opposite — what if Jian Jian only sees him as a brother?

Zi Qiu hesitantly asks whether his feelings for Jian Jian are perverted. Zhuang Bei starts laughing in response.

He tries to give Zi Qiu some love advice, saying that he needs to give off a more masculine energy and take initiative to do things that make Jian Jian think they could be more than friends. He needs to do something out of the ordinary. When Zhuang Bei starts making kissing faces, Zi Qiu gets annoyed.

Tang Can and Jian Jian are working at the dining table — Jian Jian is sketching a portrait of Ling Xiao — when Tang Can suddenly asks about Zhuang Bei’s ex-girlfriends? What were they like? Were any of them like her? Jian Jian says that anyone would want to date Tang Can, but Tang Can says that’s where she’s wrong. The prettier you are, the less likely men will pursue you because they think that there are tons of other men pursuing you.

The doorbell rings. Tang Can goes to answer while Jian Jian tries to hide behind her sketchbook. It’s Ling Xiao, looking for her. She tries to act casual as Ling Xiao comes in to remind her to get a follow-up exam tomorrow. Jian Jian looks up, but doesn’t make eye contact, and says that Xi Xi told her she doesn’t have to get a follow-up if she feels okay. Ling Xiao leaves.

Tang Can feels the chilly atmosphere and asks if Jian Jian is really going to hold such a grudge against Ling Xiao for being one day late to her mother’s death anniversary. She starts to bring up Ling Xiao’s anxiety, but Jian Jian snaps that it has nothing to do with her.

Tang Can decides to drop the matter and starts texting Zhuang Bei with a silly smile. Jian Jian suddenly groans and stands up, startling Tang Can into dropping her phone. She mutters that she must owe him in a past life, then storms out of the apartment.

Tang Can picks up her phone and realizes that the text accidentally sent, but with a typo. She quickly sends a correction.

Zhuang Bei is also texting, but he’s texting Ming Yue to invite her out to dinner. Ming Yue broods by herself outside, hugging her knees.

Jian Jian paces back and forth in the hallway between the two apartments. She thinks about knocking, hesitates, then decides to sneak in inside. She turns on the lights, then is startled to find Ling Xiao standing in the dark by the door.

Jian Jian claims that she’s here to retrieve the half watermelon she left in the fridge. While he gets it for her, she starts giving him her rehearsed response, saying that they’re so close, he probably mistook their closeness for romantic love. Ling Xiao takes several steps toward her and she backs away. He says that he’s not her — he doesn’t insist on dating someone who is clearly just a friend.

Jian Jian tries to turn the conversation back to him, suggesting a whole host of reasons why he may have mistakenly believed he likes her. Ling Xiao says that when he was a senior in high school, he said he would marry her. Jian Jian gets flustered. She thought he was just joking around.

He backs her toward the counter, leaning in as she leans away. He grabs a spoon and scoops out some watermelon, then feeds it to her as he talks about how he always left the best parts of every dish for her to eat. When they were younger, she took him home. Now he’ll be hers forever. She splutters.

Jian Jian is still annoyed and flustered as she storms back into her apartment. She slams her watermelon onto the table and beelines for her room, continuing to mutter about how she must have owed Ling Xiao in a past life.

He Ping drops by at night during a break between work shifts to tell Hai Chao that he found He Mei, and easily. She returned two years ago and opened a beauty shop.

In the morning, Zi Qiu heads over to Jian Jian’s apartment to make breakfast, but finds a note on the door saying that she’s going out for breakfast.

Zi Qiu asks Ling Xiao why he was up so late at night again. Did something happen when he was in Singapore? How did he convince his mother? Ling Xiao isn’t sure why his mother let him return. At first, she resisted, but then she agreed.

Zi Qiu suggests that maybe she planned on killing herself once he left. Ling Xiao retorts that his mother killed herself. Zi Qiu says that there’s no way his mother killed herself — she’s alive and doing well. Ling Xiao looks up sharply; he’s seen his mom?

Zi Qiu tries to backtrack, saying that someone like his mom would probably do well anywhere. He’s sure she’s doing fine. Ling Xiao suggests that maybe she remarried and now Zi Qiu has a younger brother or sister.

Zi Qiu waits on his moped across the street from an apartment complex and subway station, looking for his mother. She doesn’t show, so he rides away, passing by a bus that drops off Hai Chao at a bus stop nearby.

Hai Chao follows his phone to a beauty parlor, then asks the employees if their boss is named He Mei. He Mei shows up shortly afterward. They look stunned to see each other, though Hai Chao’s eyes are almost immediately drawn to the young boy holding He Mei’s hand, who hides behind her when he sees Hai Chao looking.

They go to a coffee shop, where He Mei looks disinterested while Hai Chao awkwardly makes small talk and updates her on Zi Qiu’s return and his life. He Mei interrupts him, pointedly saying, “Congratulations.” She continues to look bored while Hai Chao asks if he can tell Zi Qiu about her returning the money. Then he hesitantly asks if she’d be willing to see Zi Qiu.

He Mei tells him he’s good to a fault. He tries to laugh it off, saying that everything he does is for the children. She must have done what she did for her child too, right? But He Mei tells him he should stop trying to believe everyone else is like him. She left for herself, and she came back for herself. In the future, they should pretend they don’t know each other. She leaves.

He Mei wavers for a moment as she walks away along the waterfront, remembering how she saw Zi Qiu running after her in the car that day (she asked the driver to go faster), and how she had dropped by his coffee shop and watched him through the window. “Don’t turn back,” she repeats to herself as she lifts her chin and picks up her pace.

Zi Qiu looks at his mother’s compact in the kitchen, lost in thought. His employee interrupts him to update him on some coffee beans that need refilling. The power suddenly goes out. Zi Qiu guesses it’s because the money on his electricity card has run out. He goes outside to look for the backup, running into Ran and Jian Jian, who are sitting at a table. He chats with them for a moment, then heads back inside to check on his cakes in the oven after the power turns back on.

Jian Jian notices that Zi Qiu and Ran suddenly seem to be on good terms. Ran tells her that after they went back to being friends, it was only natural that Zi Qiu would warm toward him. Jian Jian is upset that Ran told Zi Qiu that they broke up. She’d been hoping to put it off until later, still embarrassed that their relationship hadn’t lasted even a month. Ran points out that he’s the one who should be embarrassed because they didn’t do anything that a couple would normally do. Even right now, they’re doing the exact same thing they used to do as a couple. Jian Jian is forced to admit that he’s right.

Jian Jian heads into the kitchen, where she finds Zi Qiu decorating a cake. He offers to teach her how, wrapping his arms and hands around her as he guides her in the motions to squeeze flower petal icing onto the cake. She starts asking him about Ling Xiao and whether he knows what Ling Xiao said to his mom. Zi Qiu tells Jian Jian what he knows, but she finds it unbelievable, knowing what Chen Ting is like.

Zi Qiu asks why Jian Jian doesn’t just ask Ling Xiao herself — she was always closest to him. Jian Jian tries to deny that, saying that she treated both her brothers equally, but Zi Qiu points out all the ways in which that was false. She used to pack his suitcase and kick it down the stairs. But when Ling Xiao dumped all of her walnuts down the stairs, she picked them all up without complaint.

Jian Jian tries to claim it’s because Zi Qiu’s mother almost became her stepmother, whereas there was never that kind of threat with Chen Ting. Zi Qiu gets distracted, suddenly realizing how close together they are. His heart pounds and he smiles, leaning in toward Jian Jian. She doesn’t notice, but accidentally stabs the cake with the piping bag, ruining the moment.

She asks Zi Qiu if she can have the cake. She wants to bring it home to Hai Chao since she plans on staying with him tonight. Zi Qiu asks why. Jian Jian claims she just wants to spend more time with her father. Zi Qiu declares that he’ll stay over for the night too — there’s something he wants to discuss with Hai Chao.

Jian Jian waves goodbye to go see an art exhibition with Ran. Zi Qiu smiles after her.

Commentary

Can I just say that Ran is such a benign sweetheart with a weird fetish? For someone with such a fetish for women’s sexualized body parts — but also, is he really that different than most men who have been socially conditioned to believe that the only choices are boobs or butt? — he also has a ton of respect for real women like Jian Jian. He never pushed her and very respectfully broke up with her. He even let Zi Qiu believe that Jian Jian broke up with him.

The rest of this tension between Jian Jian, Ling Xiao, and Zi Qiu, though! I don’t know if I can handle it. There isn’t even any tension with Zi Qiu in the equation yet. But I just want everyone to be happy!

I like how the show is poking fun at itself with the whole faux incest angle. To be fair, I’d say this show is barely faux incest. Though the trio refer to themselves as siblings and used to insist that they were siblings, it’s also always been very clear to everyone else and themselves that they’re not actually related. The question has always been more of a “what does it mean to be family” and I hope we don’t lose that theme in all of this faux incest drama.

Also, why are all the mothers in this show either dead or portrayed in such a selfish, negative light? I feel like the message we should get is that motherhood is difficult and complicated and we expect a lot of mothers in our society. But what’s coming across right now is that mothers are selfish women who ruin their children’s lives when they pick themselves over their children (and it’s always an either/or, not a both/and when it comes to mother and their children.)

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