Tang Can struggles with feeling like a failure in all aspects of her life. Jian Jian slowly warms up to her relationship with Ling Xiao. Zi Qiu is forced to tell Jian Jian and Ling Xiao the truth about where his money comes from.
Tang Can tells Jian Jian and Ming Yue that the more they encourage her, the more ashamed she feels. Ming Yue mentions that she was a great actor when she was younger. Tang Can responds that childhood talent does not necessarily predict adult success — that’s something that Ming Yue’s mother said to her. How much does Ming Yue’s mother hate her? Every time she comes, she calls Tang Can an unemployed vagrant, and she always brings shacha sauce even though Tang Can’s mentioned multiple times that she’s allergic.
Jian Jian looks frustrated as she asks Tang Can why she keeps auditioning if she thinks she’s not up to par. She finds Tang Can hypocritical.
Tang Can stands up and exclaims that she just doesn’t want to tell them because she’s afraid of losing face. Is there anything so wrong with that?
Jian Jian doesn’t understand why Tang Can doesn’t try out for smaller roles. It’s not like leading roles are the only ones that exist. Tang Can yells that she doesn’t understand. Jian Jian is hugely successful; Ming Yue gets to do what she wants. She is the only one who can’t even afford the snacks that she eats. “You’re not the one who’s a total failure!”
Jian Jian also stands up, saying that she understands why Tang Can might feel unbalanced, but they’re her best friends. They’re not her punching bags and they aren’t her enemies. Her only enemy right now is herself.
Ming Yue tries to mediate, but Jian Jian sighs and says she doesn’t want to talk to Tang Can anymore. It’s too frustrating. She stomps across the hall.
Zhuang Bei is at Ling Xiao’s apartment, helping him and Zi Qiu look over Jian Jian’s contract. Ling Xiao tries to tell Jian Jian to sign the contract, but she ignores them both and stomps directly into Ling Xiao’s room. Tang Can follows her into Ling Xiao’s apartment, but then backtracks and pastes on a smile when she sees Zhuang Bei.
Zhuang Bei has something he wants to say to Tang Can. She offers to step out to talk, but then Ming Yue shows up and Zhuang Bei seems to melt. He says that they can just talk here.
He pulls out a box and holds it out to Tang Can, saying that he bought her a necklace to replace the one she lost to his mother when they were playing mahjong together. Tang Can glances at Ling Xiao, suddenly uncomfortable. Ming Yue takes the box for her and quietly admonishes Zhuang Bei, telling him he should handle this matter in private. He doesn’t see why it’s a big deal. Tang Can leaves without a word. Ming Yue glares at Zhuang Bei and follows her. Jian Jian pops out of Ling Xiao’s room to yell at Zhuang Bei for mistreating her friend, then goes right back in.
Ling Xiao checks on Jian Jian and finds her huddled on the floor by his bed. He sits next to her and asks if she argued with Tang Can again. She mutters that she’s trying to stop herself from saying the most hurtful things she can think of. He says that it’s very mature of her to hold back words in an argument. She angrily responds that Tang Can is the oldest of the three of them, but the most immature.
“Then why did you speak up for her?” Ling Xiao asks. He gets a call from his mother, but ignores it.
Ling Xiao tells Jian Jian that Tang Can has one especially good quality. Jian Jian thinks it’s her beauty, but Ling Xiao says it’s that she’s simple-minded. All her emotions are written on her face. Jian Jian isn’t sure whether that’s a compliment or an insult.
Ling Xiao’s mother calls him again. This time he picks up. She seems to ask him where something is, then checks on what he’s doing. When she finds out that he’s chatting with Jian Jian, she asks to speak with her. Jian Jian shakes her head vehemently, and Ling Xiao tries to make excuses for her, but Chen Ting insists, so he puts her on speakerphone.
But the conversation is surprisingly benign. Chen Ting makes small talk, asking after Jian Jian’s father and saying it’s good that she and Ling Xiao live across from each other and can look after each other. Then she says goodbye.
Jian Jian stares at Ling Xiao with wide eyes, saying that it seems like his mother has become a completely new person. He’s surprised, too, but thinks that maybe she’s thought it through.
Jian Jian admits that she’s considered the matter of his mother before. She knows that both his mother and his sister don’t like her, so if they were to be together, they would definitely oppose it. If they went public with their relationship, it would be like a meteor striking the earth.
Ling Xiao smiles, surprised that she cares so much about what they think. She says that it’s not so much that she cares what they think, but the fact that they exist. He says he never realized she considered so much.
Jian Jian suddenly giggles as she asks Ling Xiao when he started liking her. He says that it was in high school, and that’s why he wouldn’t let her into his room. She’s surprised that it started so early, but to him, it was too late.
She asks what he would have done if she had gotten married when he was in Singapore. He says he has thought about it. He would wait for her to get divorced and help out with her kids. Or if she didn’t get divorced, he would be her brother forever. She covers her mouth, finding his idea too pessimistic. There are plenty of great women everywhere.
Ling Xiao says that she doesn’t understand. For someone like him, it’s impossible to develop deep feelings with strangers. Being with her is instinct to him. It’s his way of saving himself. He holds out his hand to her and says that if she doesn’t hold on, he’ll sink.
She stares at his hand and says that she doesn’t quite understand. He seems disappointed and starts retracting it, but then she grabs his hand with both of hers. She might not understand, but whenever he holds his hand out to her, she will always take it. She can’t develop strong feelings for strangers either — she’s spent it all on him and Zi Qiu.
Ling Xiao pulls Jian Jian into a hug. She stays there for a moment before pushing him away, saying it’s too hot. He caresses her face, then leans in. She closes her eyes.
But before he can kiss her, Zi Qiu opens the door. Ling Xiao quickly pushes Jian Jian’s face away while still holding on, squishing it. Zi Qiu asks what they’re doing. Jian Jian and Ling Xiao exchange an alarmed look, then Jian Jian squeaks out a, “Playing,” and holds up a peace sign. Zi Qiu gives them a weird look, then closes the door.
The next morning, Ming Yue walks out of her room, reading Jian Jian’s faux incest manga. Jian Jian chokes when she sees the cover and tries to take the book, but it’s too late — Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu have already seen the cover. Ming Yue fans the flames by saying she found it in Jian Jian’s room. Jian Jian tries to hide the book, but then Zi Qiu grabs it and is immediately offended when he flips to a page where the main couple is kissing.
Jian Jian tries to explain that the main characters aren’t biological siblings — their situation is like their own family’s. Then she realizes what she said and tries to backtrack and write it off as shoujo manga. Ming Yue and Ling Xiao both smirk. Ling Xiao asks Jian Jian what she thinks of the manga. She splutters and says that she finds it uninteresting and meaningless and boring. Zi Qiu calls her out for reading the second volume when she thinks it’s bad and decides to confiscate the book.
Jian Jian glares at Ming Yue, who tries to hold back a laugh. Zi Qiu chides Jian Jian and tells her to focus on eating.
Jian Jian continues to glare at Ming Yue while they clean up after breakfast. She accuses Ming Yue of trying to start drama, but Ming Yue laughs and insists that she really just wanted to finish the book and didn’t have other intentions. But she thinks that Jian Jian needs to tell Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu about each other sooner rather than later. If she waits too long, it could ruin their relationship.
That’s exactly what Jian Jian is afraid of and why she hasn’t said anything yet. Ming Yue points out that the longer she waits, the worse it’ll be. But Jian Jian shakes her head. She can’t. Something like this needs to be handled carefully.
Zi Qiu shows Luo Hong, the auntie his father introduced him to, around his coffee shop. She compliments the quality of the food and drink, but suggests that he change his menu to feature more lower priced options. Even if he can afford to operate at a loss, he can’t do it forever. His business can’t survive on feelings. She can prepare a business plan for him. Zi Qiu interrupts her and thanks her for her suggestions, but firmly says that he can handle it from here. He doesn’t want to trouble her. She tries to say that it’s no trouble — she’s a friend of his father’s. But Zi Qiu says that his memory is good. He remembers her from his childhood and knows that she’s a friend of his mother’s. She should know about his family situation as well. Luo Hong tells him that his mother means well, but he politely rejects her.
Du Juan catches Jian Jian giggling over her manga at the studio. She repeats her warning to Jian Jian to not read the manga because it might give her ideas. When she tells Jian Jian that her brothers won’t dote on her anymore once they get girlfriends of their own, Jian Jian manages to turn the conversation to focus on her instead. Does that mean Zhou Miao dotes on her when she works overtime for him?
Du Juan says that Zhou Miao isn’t very considerate, so he doesn’t, but that’s okay, she likes him anyway. She’s happy, even though he isn’t considerate, because just looking at him makes her happy. Jian Jian shakes her head in disgust.
Jian Jian gets a text from Zi Qiu, suggesting that they go home to Hai Chao for lunch. At lunch, Hai Chao hesitantly asks Zi Qiu how the meeting with Luo Hong went. Zi Qiu catches Hai Chao in his lie about Luo Hong being his friend. He’s not angry, but doesn’t want to involve his mother in his business and asks Hai Chao to break contact with her. Hai Chao agrees to not mention it again.
Hai Chao turns to Jian Jian and criticizes her for eating her shredded potato one strand at a time. She points out that he always gets mad at her when Zi Qiu gets mad at him. Zi Qiu claims he wasn’t mad at Hai Chao, he was just trying to talk reason. They exchange a look.
Hai Chao watches them interact and asks if they’re dating. Jian Jian quickly says they are just brother and sister. Zi Qiu seems embarrassed and asks Hai Chao to stop prying. Hai Chao says he’s not trying to pry, but that he’s just worried that something will go wrong. Jian Jian tells Hai Chao that Zi Qiu had gone temporarily insane because he wanted so badly to be on the same hukou as them, but she cured him.
Hai Chao asks how she cured him. “With love,” Jian Jian says with a cheesy smile. She makes a finger heart and flies it over to Zi Qiu, who shrinks away in disgust. She tries to give her father a finger heart too, but he starts to run away.
Zi Qiu sits on a swing, bored, while he waits for Jian Jian to finish chatting up Auntie Qian. When she’s done, he asks what they talked about. Jian Jian whispers in his ear. He doesn’t seem to like whatever deception Jian Jian has brewing, but she reassures him that it’s fine.
Jian Jian goes with Zi Qiu to the bank, where he withdraws a large sum of cash. When she asks why, he claims that he needs to pay his employees. She asks why he doesn’t just do a bank transfer, but then he drops a card and she picks it up and notices that it’s a credit card. He’s using a cash advance? Zi Qiu claims that he didn’t even notice he was using a credit card, but she doesn’t believe him. Is he out of money? Why doesn’t he just ask Zhao Hua Guang for more? Zi Qiu tells her that his money doesn’t come from Zhao Hua Guang. He starts walking away and she rushes to catch up and stop him.
If his money didn’t come from Zhao Hua Guang, where did it come from? He says that the money is his own. He earned every cent working when he was abroad.
Jian Jian tattles on Zi Qiu to Ling Xiao when they get home. Zhao Hua Guang only paid for the first two years of Zi Qiu’s education. The rest of the time, Zi Qiu had to work to put himself through school.
Ling Xiao asks Zi Qiu to explain it himself. Zi Qiu says that Zhao Hua Guang wanted him to call him “Father” and change his last name. Zi Qiu refused, so Zhao Hua Guang cut him off. He didn’t tell Hai Chao because he didn’t want him to worry, and he warns them to not tell him now, either.
Ling Xiao wants to know what Zi Qiu plans to do, now that he’s resorted to using cash advances for money. Zi Qiu thinks he has enough to survive the next few months, but Ling Xiao says he should close shop because it seems unsustainable. Zi Qiu doesn’t want to, and Jian Jian doesn’t think he should either. She offers to lend him her own money. Ling Xiao doesn’t like that idea, saying that they can’t try to use more money to make up for the coffee shop operating at a loss.
Jian Jian tells him that he should at least try to think of a solution. Ever since they were little, he was always the one to shoot down their ideas. Ling Xiao fixates on how she separated herself and Zi Qiu from him. Jian Jian tells him to not take her so literally; that’s not what she meant.
Ling Xiao says he isn’t trying to shoot them down, but that they need to be realistic. His only idea is the same one Zi Qiu has, to try and adjust and see if that helps. Zi Qiu says that he wants to at least make it through the peak season before making a decision. Ling Xiao offers to lend his own money, but Zi Qiu doesn’t want it.
Ling Xiao glances at Zi Qiu and Jian Jian, then tells them that they can keep brainstorming while he, the one who shoots down ideas, will leave. He goes to his room. Zi Qiu and Jian Jian bicker over who should go talk to him. Jian Jian loses.
When she opens the door to Ling Xiao’s room, it’s dark inside. She flips on the light, but doesn’t see him. When she walks in, he closes the door with a smile — he was hiding behind it. “27 seconds,” he says. She let her boyfriend be angry for 27 seconds before checking on him.
It’s the first time Ling Xiao has referred to himself as her boyfriend, and Jian Jian is unused to it, but then she giggles and nods. Ling Xiao says that they probably shouldn’t tell Zi Qiu about their relationship for now. Jian Jian agrees. She initially wanted to tell him today, but then everything happened. Now, it’s better to not add to his problems.
Zi Qiu calls out from the living room, saying he’s heading out to buy some fruit. Jian Jian rushes after him, telling Ling Xiao that fruit is really expensive right now — she can’t let him pay.
At the supermarket, Jian Jian sends Zi Qiu off to fetch some bananas before he pays at the register. She takes advantage of his absence to pay instead. When Zi Qiu gets back and sees what she’s done, he storms off without a word.
Jian Jian hurries after him. He doesn’t like being treated like a charity case, but Jian Jian says that if they really are one family, then she has just as much of a right to take care of him as he does taking care of her. They argue, but then Jian Jian gets frustrated that they’re going nowhere and leaves.
Tang Can was standing nearby and heard the whole thing. She asks Zi Qiu what’s going on — why does a rich second generation like him need money? He lashes out at her and tells her to mind her own business. She tells him he should stop acting like a porcupine, stabbing everyone when he gets angry. He says she should do the same.
Tang Can starts to leave, but then turns back, asking Zi Qiu to pass on a message to Zhuang Bei. She was forced to lose her necklace to his mother, but she’s not like Jian Jian — she won’t use her own money to help support men. She doesn’t plan on seeing him again, to spare him from his unrequited love.
Jian Jian returns to the apartment in a bad mood and tells Ming Yue about Zi Qiu’s situation. Tang Can returns shortly afterward. She and Jian Jian exchange a glare and she’s about to keep walking past them, but then she decides to sit down at the table. She tells Jian Jian that she heard everything, but not because she was trying to eavesdrop — Jian Jian and Zi Qiu were just too loud. She says that if she’d known Zi Qiu was so tragic, she would’ve been a bit more polite to him in the past.
Jian Jian just sighs and says that Zi Qiu didn’t tell anyone because he was afraid people would treat him differently because of it. He hates being pitied.
Tang Can suddenly holds out a piece of candy to Jian Jian. It’s a peace offering. Jian Jian moves to take it, but before she can, Tang Can rips the wrapper open with her teeth, then holds out the unwrapped candy with a bright smile. Ming Yue laughs at her, saying she’s always doing the same thing, but if it works, it works. Tang Can knows that they can’t hold a grudge against her for long. Besides, as the heartbroken one, they should be more considerate of her.
But when Ming Yue asks about Zhuang Bei, Tang Can acts like she never cared about him at all. There are plenty of men out there.
Du Juan and Zhou Miao plan a celebratory hotpot meal and invite Jian Jian’s friends. No one really listens while Du Juan gives her speech. Instead, Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao both load up Jian Jian’s bowl until she has to physically cover her bowl to stop them. They switch to putting food in each other’s bowls instead.
Tang Can catches Zhuang Bei outside the restroom to remind him to tell his mother to not reach out anymore. Zhuang Bei apologizes for returning her necklace in front of everyone. She tells him that he didn’t do anything wrong — it’s not his fault he doesn’t like her. She asks him what he didn’t like about her. He says that she’s pretty and a great person, but he already likes someone else. She puts on a brave face and magnanimously suggests they should all hang out sometime.
But when she gets into the bathroom, her smile drops and she cries by herself in a stall, devastated.
This episode had so many great laughs, but also tears. I almost died laughing during the awkward breakfast with Ming Yue and the manga. Definitely the top comedic scene in this show so far.
I think we all knew that Zi Qiu had some secrets, but the truth of his time abroad is simultaneously better and worse than I thought. On the one hand, it’s unlikely Zhao Hua Guang will come after him now, since they’ve been estranged for so long. On the other, Zi Qiu had to suffer a lot of hardship and even more after coming back with everyone assuming he was just living off of “daddy’s money” when he wasn’t.
Ever since he was a teenager, Zi Qiu has been a strange mix of jaded and naive. He still seems to be that way, but perhaps his naivete is also a testament to his unwavering idealism despite the hardships he’s experienced. He’s always been pure heart, but like his mother’s friend’s said, you can’t survive on heart alone.