Jian Jian and Ling Xiao try to figure out ways to help Zi Qiu even though he doesn’t want to be helped. Hai Chao finds out about Ling Xiao and Jian Jian’s relationship.
Jian Jian asks Zi Qiu if he even considers her family anymore. He says of course. Jian Jian admits that she used to think blood was what made a family, but now she understands what really makes a family is loving and caring for each other. Zi Qiu thinks marriage is the only solution, but Jian Jian points out that marriage can be temporary. Once there isn’t any love anymore, then you become strangers and divorce. She uses his own biological parents and He Ping and Chen Ting as examples.
Jian Jian’s ties with Zi Qiu and Ling Xiao almost broke when they both left home. Zi Qiu thinks it’s because they didn’t come back, but Jian Jian says it’s because they stopped being honest with one another. They needed to share the good and the bad. Without hardships, happiness is meaningless.
Jian Jian and Zi Qiu start bickering like old times. Zi Qiu thinks he should be allowed to wallow in self-pity for a few days after learning that Jian Jian picked Ling Xiao instead of him. Jian Jian wants to know how much longer he plans on wallowing, because it pains her to not be able to see or talk to him. He gets so fed up with her prodding that he says, “Forget about it!”
Jian Jian, Ling Xiao, and Zi Qiu eat together at the noodle shop. Zi Qiu establishes some ground rules: Jian Jian must treat them equally; her boyfriend isn’t allowed to argue with him; if her boyfriend ever mistreats her, Zi Qiu will beat him up. Ling Xiao looks like he wants to protest, but Jian Jian smiles and nods at him and he looks back down without arguing.
The restaurant hostess comes by and tells Jian Jian about how Hong Ying is trying to pursue Hai Chao, but Hai Chao doesn’t seem interested. Jian Jian looks disappointed, but then Hai Chao and Hong Ying return from buying groceries together. Hai Chao is surprised to see all three kids there, and a little awkward to have been caught on a date. Hong Ying is delighted to meet everyone. She starts trying to invite Jian Jian over for dinner, and Jian Jian agrees, but Hai Chao seems uncomfortable with it and makes an excuse to talk to the kids alone.
Jian Jian teases her father about already being at the stage where they’re buying groceries together. He claims they just happened to run into each other at the market. Zi Qiu finds out that Hong Ying has two sons — does that mean Jian Jian will have two more brothers if they get married? He doesn’t approve. Jian Jian does.
Hai Chao thinks he’s too old to be dating and marrying and falling in love. He thinks what he and He Ping have are good enough. They support each other. But Ling Xiao says that what they have doesn’t seem that great. His father is always working — at most, he just gives Hai Chao money. Hai Chao tells them that they shouldn’t look down on money. Money is still important.
Ling Xiao reassures Hai Chao that he’s not like his father — if he has to choose between work and family, he will always choose family. Hai Chao nods and says that’s good. Ling Xiao puts his hand over Jian Jian’s and says, “So you can leave Jian Jian to me.” Hai Chao nods, smiling and saying of course, but then he spots their joined hands and stares.
Jian Jian eats her noodles without looking at her father. Zi Qiu slurps loudly and stuffs his face. Hai Chao’s gaze shifts from Jian Jian and Ling Xiao to Zi Qiu, confused. Zi Qiu reassures Hai Chao that if Jian Jian and Ling Xiao break up, he’ll step in. Hai Chao still looks confused.
Jian Jian reassures her father that they’ll figure it out among themselves. He doesn’t look convinced. He tries to talk to her about it, but she pushes him into the kitchen to go keep Hong Ying company.
Tang Can goes on a job where she dresses up as a young version of an elderly man’s British flight attendant wife and watches a movie with him. Afterward, she gets a phone call from Zhuang Bei’s mother. Tang Can lies and says that she’s too busy to take on more jobs right now and tells Mama Zhuang to apply for a refund, but Mama Zhuang insists on paying her.
Tang Can calls Zhuang Bei, demanding why he hasn’t told his mother yet. Zhuang Bei asks to meet and ends up asking her to keep going out with his mother for a short while. His grandmother’s birthday is coming up and Zhuang Bei’s mother has already told everyone that she is Zhuang Bei’s girlfriend. Tang Can refuses to do it and tells him to figure out it out on his own. She accidentally knocks his phone to the ground, then sees his phone wallpaper: Ming Yue’s face.
Tang Can goes straight to bed when she gets home and sobs under the covers.
Jian Jian and Ling Xiao sit in her father’s living room and try to figure out what to do about Zi Qiu and his refusal to take their money. Ling Xiao has a solution: they can just pay Zi Qiu’s credit card debt for him. He knows the number. Jian Jian wants to know. Ling Xiao tells her to act cute for it. She kisses his face, but he wants more and leans in to kiss her. But before he can, they hear the front door open and jump apart.
Hai Chao walks in and glances between the two of them. He sends Ling Xiao off on an errand, then fixates Jian Jian with a glare, wanting to know what’s happening with the two of them. Jian Jian is surprised that he seems so disapproving — she thought he would fully support them. Hai Chao admits that he has no problems with Ling Xiao, but it’s Chen Ting he’s worried about. He knows how much Chen Ting hates their family. Jian Jian reassures him that Chen Ting seems like a good person now. Hai Chao still looks unconvinced, but Jian Jian manages to change the subject to focus on him and Hong Ying instead.
Ming Yue writes up an application letter to the Beijing position at her news station, but before she sends the email, she gets an incoming video call from her mother. She quickly sets up at her desk with one of the exam prep textbooks and manages to keep the video call brief. After hanging up, she tears up the textbooks and throws them on the ground. She pulls out a beer from the box she keeps stashed under her bed and drinks a few sips, crying, but then throws the half-empty can onto the ground in frustration and sinks to the floor.
Jian Jian and Ling Xiao spy on Zi Qiu at the buffet, but he catches them. He asks if they’re stalking him, but they don’t need to. Ling Xiao installed a tracker app on his phone when he was showering and now knows where he is at all times. Jian Jian gleefully reports that Ling Xiao also paid off all of Zi Qiu’s credit card debt without either of them knowing. They all bicker for a little bit — Zi Qiu makes sure to throw in some jabs about “Jian Jian’s boyfriend” — before Zi Qiu heads back to work.
He Mei shows up with her son at Hai Chao’s noodle shop after it closes. She tells him that Zhao Hua Guang has another son who is now five years old. That explains why he was willing to let Zi Qiu come back. She also tells Hai Chao about Zi Qiu’s second job at the buffet.
He Mei demands Zhao Hua Guang’s phone number from Hai Chao, then immediately calls him. She yells at him over the phone and threatens to tell his family the truth about how he became rich if he doesn’t tell her why Zi Qiu has no money. Then she puts him on speakerphone so Hai Chao can hear.
Zhao Hua Guang describes how he cut Zi Qiu off because he wouldn’t call him “dad.” He Mei is furious and tells Zhao Hua Guang that she can be more shameless than him, so he better give Zi Qiu every cent that he deserves.
After she hangs up, she realizes that Dong Dong, her son, has disappeared. They turn to find him playing with dog and trying to eat the dog’s food. Hai Chao picks him up and takes him into the kitchen to wash his hands. He Mei smiles a little regretfully at the sight.
Later, He Mei and Hai Chao drink together. He asks about her son’s autism and says it must be difficult. She responds that it must be if everyone tells her it is, but she doesn’t really think about it — she just puts her head down and keeps going. Hai Chao sighs sadly that there are a lot of things he hasn’t noticed either, such as how much Zi Qiu was suffering overseas. He feels useless and unable to help, as a poor noodle shop owner. But He Mei says that no one can compare to him — he single-handedly raised three kids. Hai Chao humbly says that’s no skill. All he knows how to do is cook. He Mei toasts him and they drink.
At night, Zi Qiu gets a notification that his bank account has received a large sum of money. He calls Zhao Hua Guang and repeats that he doesn’t want his money. Zhao Hua Guang asks why he can forgive He Mei, but not him. Zi Qiu says he doesn’t even know her, but Zhao Hua Guang asks how she knew that Zi Qiu needed money. She was the one who called him and shamed him into giving Zi Qiu the money. Zi Qiu is stunned and hangs up.
Jian Jian pops into Zi Qiu’s apartment with some watermelon, but finds him on the verge of a breakdown. He wordlessly smashes his phone to the ground, then shoves past her and runs out of the building.
Ling Xiao, Jian Jian, and her roommates search the streets for Zi Qiu. Ling Xiao tells Tang Can and Ming Yue that they should head home first. He and Jian Jian will figure it out. Jian Jian notices that they both look like they’ve been crying, but mistakenly thinks that they were crying because of Zi Qiu.
Hai Chao and He Mei continue to drink together. He shares stories of what Zi Qiu was like growing up, and gets a bit tipsy. Jian Jian calls him and he quickly sobers up when he hears that Zi Qiu suddenly ran out.
Zi Qiu ends up at He Mei’s beauty shop, still in his house slippers. He bangs on the glass, yelling her name, and tries to break in but is unsuccessful. Eventually, he sits down outside, crying, as he remembers the last time he talked to Zhao Hua Guang.
Zhao Hua Guang had come to the coffee shop where he worked and mocked him for working menial jobs to get by. Then he had given him an ultimatum: he now had his own biological son with his current wife, but if Zi Qiu was willing to cut off all contact with the Li family, Zhao would allow him to split his inheritance with his younger half-brother. If not, then Zhao would have nothing to do with him, and he wanted to make it clear that it was he who did not want Zi Qiu, not the other way around.
Now, Jian Jian and Ling Xiao find Zi Qiu outside the beauty shop. Jian Jian retrieves his lost slipper and puts it on for him. Ling Xiao tries to ask him what happened, but Zi Qiu only has eyes for Jian Jian. He suddenly hugs her, squeezing so hard she can barely breathe. Ling Xiao has to help pry his arms away, but even after Zi Qiu lets go, he continues to stare only at Jian Jian. She takes his hand in her own and smiles encouragingly back at him.
Hai Chao has always been so awkward around He Mei that I could never tell if he actually liked her or if he only felt for her because of Zi Qiu. To be fair, he does talk a lot about how he’s too old to be in love and how even when he was younger, love was never really in the equation. But now I think that he definitely feels something for He Mei. If not love, at the very least compassion.
I find He Mei to be pretty interesting, if only because we don’t know much about her. She was very hard to read in the childhood era and seemed to barely have a personality, which made it jarring when she reappeared and was so cold, but now that we get to see more of her soft side, it all makes a little more sense. I love that Zhao Hua Guang couldn’t stand up to her.