Ling Xiao and Jian Jian continue to dance around Chen Ting in exchanges of fake politeness, wary about her intentions. Meanwhile, Ming Yue deals with her own family issues.
Zi Qiu establishes some ground rules for Mei Yang if she’s going to be spending more time at the coffee shop. She’s not allowed to eat durian anymore, and she can’t sit around all day. She can work at the shop instead.
Mei Yang doesn’t want to work, but Ling Xiao says if she won’t work, then she can accompany their mother furniture shopping instead and listen to her. Mei Yang pouts, asking if Ling Xiao is really going to let Chen Ting move here. Can’t he do something?
Ling Xiao says there’s nothing he can do. It’s obvious Chen Ting doesn’t care about his feelings. If she did, he wouldn’t have had to wait until now to return. After he leaves, Zi Qiu asks Mei Yang what Ling Xiao meant about waiting until now to come back. She changes the subject, asking what’s expected of her at work.
Chen Ting sits in the waiting area of Ling Xiao’s office, thinking about what He Ping said about Ling Xiao having depression and anxiety. She remembers seeing the signs: how he would pop pills before bed, but claim they were vitamins; how she had seen him pacing his room at 3 AM.
Xi Xi spots Chen Ting and comes over to chat. Chen Ting fawns over how pretty she is, asks if she has a boyfriend, then asks what she thinks of Ling Xiao. Xi Xi hesitantly says that Ling Xiao has a girlfriend — does she not know? Chen Ting lies and says that Ling Xiao never mentioned it. She exchanges numbers with Xi Xi, saying that she’ll be settling down here and telling her to come over often.
Mei Yang gets trained at the coffee shop and nervously takes an order from her first customer. Zi Qiu smiles to see how nervous she is, then snaps a quick photo of her when she turns around to send to Ling Xiao.
Du Juan and Jian Jian interview candidates to replace Zhou Miao at the studio. Their latest candidate is a very enthusiastic female student who lacks formal training. But Jian Jian likes one thing about her — she’s a girl, so there’s no risk of Du Juan getting led astray by her love-addled brain. Du Juan starts talking about how Zhou Miao has been especially good to her lately. Jian Jian tunes her out and checks her phone.
Ling Xiao meets with his mother, looking like he wishes he could be anywhere else but there. She smiles at him and makes idle chatter. When she tries to put her hand on his, he shifts to avoid her. She apologizes, saying she should have mentioned the move to Ling Xiao before, but says she thought he would be happy to have her and Mei Yang nearby. He doesn’t acknowledge it and instead asks when his aunt will arrive.
Chen Ting repeats that she knows she and Mei Yang have caused trouble for him. He finally looks her in the eye and asks her to stop saying that. What does she want him to say? She looks surprised and says she doesn’t need him to say anything. She just wanted to come back. Ling Xiao responds that he doesn’t mind.
She looks at him with sad eyes and asks why he’s always like this. Why can’t he just tell her what’s on his mind?
Ling Xiao looks her in the eye and says that he’s going to marry Jian Jian. That’s not what she expected. She looks down and forces a smile, commenting that it seems so sudden. Then she looks back up and says she’ll support him in whatever he wants to do, but he doesn’t have a house or a car — how does he expect to marry someone?
Ling Xiao returns to staring out the window and looking like he doesn’t want to be there. Chen Ting suggests that if he waits until next year, she can sell her Singapore house and buy him a place here. She just wants to reduce the stress in his life. Ling Xiao doesn’t respond and continues to look around.
Ming Yue meets up with her father, who asks her about Beijing and reveals that he’s been staying at a hotel the past few days. He thinks it’s good that she’ll be in Beijing for a couple of years: after he and her mother get divorced, he doesn’t want her mother to bother her. Ming Yue is shocked that they’re still going through with the divorce. She thought that after her mother agreed to not buy the condo, everything would go back to normal.
But Ming Yue’s father says that he can’t take it anymore. They both know how controlling Yu Xiang is. At least when Ming Yue was around, her mother focused a good portion of her attention on her. Now that she’s moved out, all of Yu Xiang’s attention is on him. When Ming Yue was younger, he stayed with her mother for her sake, but now that she’s grown up, he doesn’t have to worry about her anymore.
Ming Yue borrows a barista’s cell phone to call her mother and tells her that she saw her father. Her mother thinks that Ming Yue and her father are colluding to infuriate her. She tells Ming Yue to tell her father that if he wants to get divorced, he should come home and get his hukou and they can go file for divorce together, then she hangs up angrily.
Ming Yue returns home to find Tang Can stressing over what to wear to the event with Zhuang Bei’s mother later that night. Ming Yue tells her that her parents are getting divorced. Tang Can doesn’t believe it and thinks that Ming Yue’s parents are probably conspiring to try to get her back on their side.
Zhuang Bei’s mother fawns over Tang Can when she and Zhuang Bei show up to pick up Tang Can for his grandmother’s birthday dinner. Zhuang Bei also stares at Tang Can, at one point forgetting to unlock the car door for her, but she largely ignores him.
During the car ride, Mama Zhuang asks Tang Can if she’s really dropping her acting career. She thinks that Tang Can could still make it as an actress and made Zhuang Bei watcch everything that Tang Can acted in with her. Zhuang Bei asks about a show Tang Can filmed that never aired. Tang Can tries to put on an optimistic face and says that her museum job is good, too. She got unlucky and it’s not in her fate to be an actress. But when no one is looking, her smile falls.
Jian Jian returns home at night to find Mei Yang looking around for the TV remote. She asks Mei Yang when she’ll return to her mother’s. Mei Yang responds that if Jian Jian doesn’t want her here, she can always just sleep on the couch across the hall. Jian Jian says there’s no need — if she stays with Ling Xiao and Zi Qiu, she knows that Zi Qiu and Mei Yang will fight.
Mei Yang asks Jian Jian if she’s slept with Ling Xiao, then warns Jian Jian that she shouldn’t sleep with him, otherwise it’ll be awkward for them later. Their relationship is impossible. Chen Ting will never let them be together. Jian Jian doesn’t seem to believe her, but Mei Yang sits down across from her and earnestly says that it’s true.
She asks Jian Jian if she’s ever thought about why Ling Xiao didn’t come back right after his college graduation. At that time, it would have been reasonable for her and Chen Ting to come back with Ling Xiao and move to China. But Chen Ting didn’t want Ling Xiao to see Jian Jian, Hai Chao, or He Ping. The three of them are the three people Chen Ting hates the most. Mei Yang tells Jian Jian that Ling Xiao can’t win against Chen Ting. He’s never been able to, and he won’t be able to. She’ll never be able to win against Chen Ting, either, because Chen Ting is their mother.
Auntie Qian and Hong Ying are eating at the noodle shop when He Mei shows up, looking for Hai Chao. Auntie Qian invites her over to sit with them. He Mei looks uncomfortable, but can’t say no. Hong Ying sizes her up.
Hai Chao gets back and He Mei stands up to greet him. Hai Chao explains to everyone else that He Mei is here so he can teach her how to make some of Zi Qiu’s favorite dishes. Hong Ying cattily says that it now makes sense why Hai Chao said they weren’t well-suited for each other. It’s obvious that he only cares about appearances.
Auntie Qian suddenly gets offended that neither Hai Chao nor Hong Ying told her that they didn’t work out. Hong Ying decides to make a few more passive aggressive comments about how Hai Chao should have just told her if he already liked someone. He Mei gets offended on Hai Chao’s behalf and speaks up in his defense, saying that he’s just a nice person, and manages to shut Hong Ying up with a few polite but pointed sentences.
Hai Chao and He Mei head back to his apartment to cook. She asks about Hong Ying. Hai Chao explains how Jian Jian kept trying to get Auntie Qian to introduce women to him. He mentions that Jian Jian also wants Zi Qiu and He Mei to reconcile. He Mei finds it amusing, because she remembers Jian Jian not liking her very much. Hai Chao says that Jian Jian only behaved that way because she didn’t want her to be her stepmother. “But if I became her stepmother now, she wouldn’t mind, right?” He Mei asks. Hai Chao says yes before he realizes what he’s saying, then gets embarrassed, but He Mei just laughs.
Zhou Miao shows Du Juan a school newspaper interview with one of Jian Jian’s senior classmates, Yu Fei, who suggests that Jian Jian’s well-known “Three Innocents” sculpture is derivative of his work. He smirks while Du Juan shows Jian Jian, offended on her behalf. Jian Jian tries calling Yu Fei, but he doesn’t pick up.
Jian Jian holds her face in her hands while Du Juan heatedly says that they can just release the original photo of Jian Jian and her brothers as proof that the work is original. She tells Jian Jian to go home and cool off — she’ll take care of it.
Zhou Miao gets excited about the media attention this case will bring, but Du Juan snaps at him, upset that he seems to be completely ignorant of Jian Jian’s feelings.
Chen Ting calls Ling Xiao at work, asking for the passcode to his apartment so that she can let herself and his aunt in for a drink of water. Ling Xiao doesn’t want to give it to her, and she tries to guilt him into it, but then Jian Jian returns home and Chen Ting tells Ling Xiao that there’s no need for him to tell her anymore. Ling Xiao looks alarmed to hear that Jian Jian and his mother are in such close proximity, and abruptly leaves work right as his next patient walks in, claiming he has a family emergency.
Chen Ting smiles pleasantly at Jian Jian, but pointedly introduces her to Ling Xiao’s aunt as “the neighbor’s daughter.” She asks Jian Jian to let her into Ling Xiao’s apartment. Jian Jian evasively offers to let Chen Ting into her own, but Chen Ting refuses the offer, so Jian Jian reluctantly lets her in with her fingerprint.
Jian Jian brings over some fruit and turns on the air conditioning for Chen Ting and Ling Xiao’s aunt. Ling Xiao’s aunt makes small talk about Jian Jian living across the hall. Jian Jian starts to call Ling Xiao her brother, then catches herself when Chen Ting gives her a sharp look and refers to him by name instead.
Jian Jian tries her best to be hospitable to Chen Ting, but Chen Ting politely rejects all her attempts. Chen Ting pointedly starts telling Ling Xiao’s aunt about how Ling Xiao was always at Jian Jian’s place and acts like her family is his own while making the point that they clearly weren’t. Jian Jian says that because of that, Chen Ting can be at ease knowing that she will take good care of Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao’s aunt catches on to the implication that they’re dating and asks Jian Jian about it. Jian Jian smiles and acknowledges that they’re dating, while Chen Ting glares. Ling Xiao’s aunt says that Ling Xiao seems to have liked Jian Jian from an early age — whenever he was at their place, he was always talking about her.
Chen Ting doesn’t like where the conversation is going and pointedly but courteously tells Jian Jian that she shouldn’t let them disrupt her anymore. Jian Jian is excessively courteous back as she excuses herself. After Jian Jian leaves, Ling Xiao’s aunt sighs and asks Chen Ting what she thinks she’s doing — she’s seen through Chen Ting’s faux courtesy. But Chen Ting keeps up the act, laughing and waving it off and saying she’s not trying to do anything.
Jian Jian goes back to her apartment and slumps down on the couch, dejected. When she hears someone opening the door, she quickly sits up and tries to wipe away her tears. She’s surprised to see Ling Xiao, who looks tense and breathless. He tells her to stay there while he goes back to his own apartment to confront his mother.
Ling Xiao storms into his apartment — where his mother is laughing and chatting with his aunt — and demands to know what she said to Jian Jian. His aunt reprimands him, saying that he shouldn’t speak to his mother with that tone, but he ignores her. Chen Ting asks what Jian Jian said to him, but he says that she didn’t need to say a thing — he saw with his own eyes. Chen Ting can do whatever she wants to him and Mei Yang because she’s their mother, but he won’t let her do anything to Jian Jian.
Jian Jian continues to sniffle and wipe away her tears, then realizes that Ling Xiao must have misunderstood her expression. She rushes over to Ling Xiao’s apartment and tugs on his wrist, saying that there’s a misunderstanding. But Chen Ting zeroes in on her and demands to know what she said to Ling Xiao.
Jian Jian claims that she didn’t say anything and that Chen Ting had nothing to do with anything, but Chen Ting stands up, saying they should just get everything out in the open right now. She knows that Jian Jian doesn’t like her, but she begs Jian Jian to stop trying to get between her and Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao interrupts, snapping at his mother to stop trying to reverse the facts. Will she really ever be able to like Jian Jian? He points out that Jian Jian did everything right with her hospitality, yet was crying in her apartment. Chen Ting must have said something to make her cry.
Ling Xiao’s aunt comes to Chen Ting’s defense; her words might sound ugly but she holds no ill will in her heart. But Ling Xiao doesn’t know and doesn’t care what’s in Chen Ting’s heart.
Chen Ting yells that she knows what’s in Ling Xiao’s heart: she knows he hates her and wants to be as far away from her as possible. She knows she can never do anything right. But she blames him for Mei Yang’s rebelliousness, saying if he showed her just a fraction of the concern he has for Jian Jian, maybe she wouldn’t rebel so much.
“Fine, it’s all my fault,” Ling Xiao responds. “Is that enough?”
But Chen Ting turns self-pitying again, saying that it’s not his fault, it’s her fault. It’s not his fault he hates her or that he puts all his attention toward his father, toward his neighbors.
Ling Xiao snaps that at least they care about him. Why can’t she?
He looks down and apologizes to his aunt for arguing like this in front of her. Then he grabs Jian Jian’s hand and leads her out of his apartment.
This show is really testing my patience with Chen Ting. Perhaps it’s meta in that way, the ultimate test of how much patience I have and how much of an adult I am based on how much I tolerate Chen Ting.
In the end, the problem with Chen Ting is that she has not changed a bit. Maybe she’s better at faking politeness, but at her core, she remains unchanged. The way she wages psychological warfare with Ling Xiao is the same way she would self-pityingly argue with He Ping twenty years ago. Even worse, she still manages to blame Ling Xiao for problems with his younger sister. That was one of the most painful parts of their argument because it was an echo of how she blamed him for killing his younger sister.