Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Haunted Heart (Ep. 7)

Da Yong disappears and Xiao Ling searches desperately for him while also learning more about Shan Shan’s true story. Shi Yi Shao decides to prioritize his own happiness and his own resolution and goes rogue, causing chaos and heartbreak for everyone around Da Yong.


Recap

Xiao Ling watches as Qing Feng coaxes Shan Shan into eating some pudding by having her mimic him. Qing Feng tells Xiao Ling that Shan Shan used to be an award-winning advertising copywriter. Maybe that’s how she found her online.

Xiao Ling responds that she found Shan Shan’s blog. She saw the photos of them together. Qing Feng tells Xiao Ling that Shan Shan suffered from psychosis. He thought that she’d been cured. He suddenly seems teary-eyed as he tells Xiao Ling how Shan Shan fell in love with him and lied that she was all better. But once they got together, there was no hiding the truth.

Xiao Ling asks that just because they got together doesn’t mean he can’t keep treating her, right? Qing Feng blinks back tears and says that he had asked himself the same question before. But he — the person by her side, the one who should have understood her the most — didn’t notice that she had been secretly cutting back on her medication because she hated the side effects. He was unable to stop her from jumping.

It was only later that he understood — love can’t be built on dependence and wanting to save someone. Treating people is his job. Only when he approaches it with rationality and professionalism will he be at his best. So when she asks him to believe her, he has to tell himself that believing her won’t solve her problems; only he can if he maintains his rationality.

Xiao Ling tries to force a smile, but fails as she tells Qing Feng that she understands. She is his work and her hallucinations are her illness.

She gets up to leave. Qing Feng stands and grabs her wrist, warning her that her mental state isn’t good, but she tells him she’s fine. She just needs some time to think. Qing Feng lets her leave with a sigh.

On her way home, Xiao Ling walks by a group of masked choir singers who sing about needing to figure out how to live like a person if one is a person. (I can’t tell if they’re ghosts or not…)

When she gets back to Da Yong’s house, she runs around, calling out for him, but he doesn’t appear. She looks everywhere for him, but can’t find him. Eventually she ends up in the cosmic deck game room where she puts on a headset. An avatar version of Da Yong guides her in a breathing exercise to stabilize her brainwaves, then tells her to recite some digits of pi and gives her some encouragement.

“Shi Da Yong, you’re not a hallucination, are you? Please come out,” she says out loud. But he doesn’t show.

When Xiao Ling returns home, she’s alarmed to find Shi Yi Shao waiting for her in her room, but is slightly relieved that he’s still Shi Yi Shao. At least that much hasn’t changed. Shi Yi Shao shows off a photo he took at the hospital — it’s completely blurry. As she tries to figure out what it’s a photo of, he leans in closer. She notices and jumps away, pointing out that he’s not 10 meters away.

Shi Yi Shao claims that he’s been “practicing,” then makes a kissy face. Xiao Ling scrambles to put more distance between them. He tries to follow her. She finally settles for grabbing two bowls of instant noodles and threatening to smash them if he doesn’t leave. He thinks she’s bluffing and tries to convince her to just give it a try, making another kissy face. She throws the bowls to the ground and he finally agrees to leave, telling her to not waste food.

Xiao Ling wonders if Shi Yi Shao has seen Da Yong at all today and leaves her room to go ask him. She doesn’t find him and instead sits down to pour herself some water. Shi Yi Shao sneaks up behind her with a smile. When Xiao Ling gets up and turns around, he swoops in for the kiss.

Xiao Ling screams and pushes him away. Shi Yi Shao beams and looks up at the sky excitedly, thinking that he’s finally free now. But nothing happens and instead Xiao Ling grabs a frying pan and starts smacking him with it, chasing him around the house. Da Yong’s father spots them through a window and smiles.

Shi Yi Shao wonders why he isn’t dead yet. He accuses Xiao Ling of not being sincere enough, then reflects on his death and tries to think it through. Xiao Ling smacks him in the head with the frying pan. Shi Yi Shao blurts out that it must be because they haven’t followed proper etiquette. “Let’s get married!” he says, right as Shi Guang Yi finds them.

Shi Guang Yi is delighted by the declaration of marriage and starts calling everyone he knows to tell them the big news, ignoring Xiao Ling’s protests. Shi Yi Shao beams.

Xiao Ling turns to Shi Yi Shao and tells him that he needs to clear things up with Da Yong’s father. They can’t get married. She’s not even his type. Shi Yi Shao tries to explain that he wants to get married so he can figure out what the obsession tying him to this world is. Xiao Ling is unwilling to let him experiment with her life. She starts chasing him around with the frying pan again.

Shi Guang Yi calls Ding Yu to ask her for help in planning for the wedding. She agrees, then asks Guang Yi who exactly is getting married. He realizes he forgot to mention who in all his excitement, then reveals that it’s Da Yong and Xiao Ling. He can already imagine what his grandkids will look like. Ding Yu is stunned.

She sits frozen in the same place all night until her father finds her early in the morning. She tells him about Da Yong’s upcoming marriage. His first words are to call her useless. She can’t even beat Xiao Ling? When Ding An Wei finds out that Ding Yu heart from Shi Guang Yi, he says that Guang Yi is crazy and unreliable. They should verify whether what he said is actually true, first.

Ding An Wei calls the hospital where Da Yong’s grandfather is being kept and is furious to discover that someone let Da Yong in to see him. He demands to see all the security footage from that day.

Shi Guang Yi brings Shi Yi Shao a wedding gift: it’s a special light-up wedding veil he invented that responds to soundwaves, specifically singing. Shi Guang Yi sings “Feng Qiu Huang” (a famous ancient love song) very badly. Shi Yi Shao teaches him how to sing it correctly.

Later, Shi Yi Shao tries calling Xiao Ling, but she keeps ignoring his calls. Ding Yu finds him under their tree with his wedding dress box and asks what’s troubling him. He’s just worried he won’t be able to find a guqin player to do his wedding song justice. Ding Yu reassures him that she’ll take care of it. He also asks her to help alter the wedding dress to fit Xiao Ling.

Ding Yu asks if she can open it. Shi Yi Shao lets her and she takes out the dress, holding it up to herself. She hugs it and looks up at the sky, asking if he remembers how the three of them used to play wedding games when they were younger. She would be the bride, he the groom, and Qing Feng the minister who would marry them. Now, looking back, they were so naive. She tries to force a smile, but can’t help but cry.

When Shi Yi Shao returns to Da Yong’s house, he finds Ding An Wei waiting for him. Ding An Wei explains to Shi Yi Shao that Shi Tian Yu was ill for a long time before his hospitalization, but didn’t want to announce it in order to avoid unrest at the company. He watches Shi Yi Shao carefully, impressed by how he doesn’t even react. Has he matured that much?

Ding An Wei points out to Shi Yi Shao if he gets married, that’ll make hiding Shi Tian Yu’s hospitalization difficult. Everyone will expect Da Yong’s grandfather to be at the wedding. But Shi Yi Shao insists on going forward with the wedding and says that afterward, the future Shi Da Yong can figure out what to do about his grandfather. Ding An Wei takes this as evidence that he’s trying to cause trouble and reveal his grandfather’s condition.

After he leaves, Ding An Wei calls his daughter and tells her to try and delay the wedding for as long as possible.

Shi Yi Shao visits Shi Tian Yu in the hospital. Some monitors start beeping and doctors rush in to try and keep the man alive. Shi Yi Shao is pushed out into the hallway where he watches sympathetically at how Da Yong’s grandfather is suffering. He silently apologizes — he’s hiding the truth from Da Yong for now, but once his own obsession is resolved, then the real Da Yong will be able to visit him.

Xiao Ling is distracted at work, still wondering why she hasn’t seen Da Yong. She can see other ghosts just fine. Ah Wu and Ya Zi try to invite her out to eat. She tries to claim that she’s busy, but they’re persistent and she eventually agrees to get lunch with them sometime soon.

Xiao Ling returns home to find the wedding dress in her room. She angrily calls Shi Yi Shao and tells him to go marry himself. While she packs her suitcase, he calls Ding Yu and asks for a favor.

Xiao Ling goes back to her apartment, but her fob no longer works to let her into the building. She slips in the front door after another resident leaves, then waits around and is surprised when Ding Yu shows up. Is she the new tenant? Ding Yu tells her that Da Yong calls her and asked her to buy Xiao Ling’s apartment, then move all her things over to his house.

Xiao Ling is furious with how overbearing Shi Yi Shao is being. He’s already trying to force her to marry him, and now this? She wants to go to the police, but Ding Yu stops her. If she goes to the police, then it’s just Ding Yu will get into trouble. She points out that Da Yong’s behavior is kind of romantic. Isn’t he just being an overbearing CEO in an attempt to get Xiao Ling to marry him?

But Xiao Ling isn’t a willing recipient of his affection and says that it’s impossible she and Da Yong will be together. She refuses to go back to the Shi household. She starts to say more, but Ding Yu interrupts. She knows. This isn’t the first time Xiao Ling has said that she and Da Yong are impossible.

Ding Yu says that she’s too busy to be concerned with whatever issues Xiao Ling is having with Da Yong. If she has a problem, she should go to Da Yong about it. Ding Yu doesn’t have time for this.

Xiao Ling wanders the streets with her suitcase, trying to find a hotel within her budget. She ends up sitting outside on her suitcase, begging Da Yong to show up. She promises to stop teasing him about Ding Yu. But Da Yong doesn’t show up and it starts pouring instead.

Xiao Ling takes shelter outside a convenience store and decides to call Qing Feng, but her phone dies right after he picks up. A kid comes out of the convenience store, eating some bread. Xiao Ling’s stomach growls. He holds the bread out to her, but when she reaches for it, her hand passes straight through. The kid is just a ghost. Xiao Ling thanks him for his generosity. He bows and disappears.

She digs through her purse and suitcase and realizes that she’s left her wallet at Da Yong’s house. So she goes back into the rain.

Xiao Ling somehow ends up back at Da Yong’s house. (Without a wallet? Did she walk the whole way?) She imagines strutting in, grabbing her wallet, and standing up to Shi Yi Shao, but in reality she just stands outside, drenched and frustrated.

She goes in and finds her wallet, then hears the sound of Shi Yi Shao singing. She finds him soaking in a bubble bath while listening to music. She’s upset that he’s so carefree while she was starving and being rained on. Xiao Ling angrily sprays him with the showerhead and yells at him, then stalks away. He bolts up, telling her to wait. She slowly turns. He realizes he’s naked and bolts back down into the water.

Xiao Ling decides that she’s not going to leave anymore. If anyone is leaving, it’s him. She demands to have the showerhead; he refuses to give it to her. They struggle over it.

Later, Xiao Ling is forced to eat with Shi Yi Shao, Da Yong’s father, and Da Yong’s aunt and uncle. Shi Guang Yi gushes over how Xiao Ling and Shi Yi Shao already look like husband and wife (they both have two eyes and a nose.) Da Yong’s aunt asks whether they want to have a Chinese-style or Western-style wedding. Shi Guang Yi cuts in and says a Chinese-style wedding, of course.

But Da Yong’s aunt, Shi Guang Mei, pulls out an album of wedding ideas she’s compiled. She starts gushing over her ideas. She and Guang Yi start bickering over wedding plans and memorable weddings and how he ruined her wedding. Everyone seems completely oblivious to how unhappy Xiao Ling looks.

Xiao Ling finally can’t take it anymore and stands up, saying that there’s been a misunderstanding. She doesn’t want to marry Da Yong.

Everyone stares at her. Then Shi Guang Yi assumes it’s because she wants a Western-style wedding. Guang Mei smiles hopefully and claps her hands.

Xiao Ling looks frustrated, then looks behind her and sees that Qing Feng has shown up and heard everything. She yells at Shi Yi Shao to clear things up himself, then storms off. Da Yong’s father and uncle tell Shi Yi Shao to hurry up and chase after Xiao Ling.

Guang Mei says that this behavior is perfectly normal. Xiao Ling is just getting cold feet, but their marriage will be fine. She went and got their marriage fortune told already and shows Qing Feng the pink paper with their fortune.

Shi Yi Shao follows Xiao Ling out onto the street. She tells him to stop following her and continues running away. Qing Feng follows them outside and watches with a frown.

Xiao Ling flees to the brainwave measurement room, where she finds herself surrounded by memories of her previous conversations with Da Yong. “Where are you?” she asks the room around her. Why did he leave her all alone?

In Shan Shan’s room, Da Yong sits in a wheelchair, eyes open but unresponsive. A memory: Da Yong takes a break from playing video games to grab a drink from the fridge. He spots a woman walking away with a suitcase, then finds a note on the kitchen counter from his mother. She tells him to forget her; his aunt will take care of him. Da Yong rushes out the door to chase down his mother, but by the time he gets outside, all he sees are the taillights of her taxi driving away.

He returns to his house to find his father deep in a handle of alcohol. Shi Guang Yi says that if Da Yong’s mother wants to leave, they should let her go. He shreds a marriage fortune paper.

Later, Ding Yu drags Da Yong out to a picnic she prepared under their tree. He’s glued to his video game and tries to leave, but she reminds him that it’s her mother’s death anniversary. They silently eat crackers and smile at each other.

But suddenly, instead of Ding Yu, Da Yong sees Xiao Ling sitting beside him.

Xiao Ling continues to brood and wonder where Da Yong is while their memories float around her. Suddenly, she hears Shan Shan’s distorted voice. She swipes the memory orb away, but it’s just replaced by another one.

Xiao Ling flips through Shan Shan’s photos while in a cab. Photos of Shan Shan doing various activities turn into Shan Shan at various award ceremonies for her advertising copywriting work. One award photo has a large red X drawn through it. Xiao Ling suddenly hears Shi Yi Shao call out her name. Then she hears Shan Shan’s distorted voice again.

She looks around, startled, then notices a folded advertisement tucked into the seat pocket in front of her. She unfolds it and realizes it’s the same advertisement from Shan Shan’s photo with an X through it — one that she won an award for. Xiao Ling wonders how Shan Shan and Da Yong are connected. Why do they both show up in her mind at the same time?

Xiao Ling visits Shan Shan and finds her sitting alone in her wheelchair by a pond. Xiao Ling asks her if she knows Da Yong. Shan Shan doesn’t respond. A spigot nearby leaks drops of water. Xiao Ling turns it off. Shan Shan starts screaming.

A nurse rushes over and turns the spigot back on so that it drips water again and tells Xiao Ling that listening to the dripping water is Shan Shan’s hobby. Then later, when Xiao Ling sits with Shan Shan inside, the nurse says that Shan Shan has enjoyed eating pudding ever since Qing Feng came and had some with her. Xiao Ling notices Shan Shan’s ghost flitting around nearby, but isn’t able to get a good look.

When she goes outside, she sees Shan Shan’s ghost staring right at her from across a street. Xiao Ling drops her bag in surprise and takes a step toward her, but a car drives past and Shan Shan disappears.

Xiao Ling bends down to pick up her bag. The advertisement that Shan Shan created has fallen out. When Xiao Ling touches the poster, she suddenly sees a car’s bright headlights coming toward her and falls into a memory.

A car loses control and crashes into a pole. A bleeding woman sticks her arm out her half-open window and begs for someone to save her, but her car door is jammed up against the pole. Xiao Ling recognizes the woman as the lady who spoke to her at the bus stop.

On the sidewalk, someone screams — it’s Shan Shan. She’s bleeding and says that she needs to go save her mother, but passersby hold her back.

Xiao Ling comes face-to-face with Shan Shan’s ghost again. Shan Shan says that the commercial she created killed her mother. She killed her own mother. Xiao Ling tells Shan Shan that it was just an accident, but Shan Shan glares and says that everyone has been lying to her. Why is her mother the one who died? The car explodes and Xiao Ling flinches, closing her eyes.

When Xiao Ling opens her eyes again, she’s back in reality. She looks around, but the street around her is empty.


Young Xiao Ling wakes up early in the morning and sneaks out. Later, Wen Sheng is woken up by a phone call. He goes to wake Xiao Ling up for her first day of school, but she’s disappeared. He searches the house for her while the girl ghost stares at him, then calls his mother to tell her that Xiao Ling has disappeared. After he hangs up, he retrieves Ah Ji’s shell from the door ledge and then tosses it out.

Xiao Ling wanders by herself outside, crying while telling herself that she can’t cry, otherwise bad people will be able to tell that she’s lost. Wen Sheng finds her and tries to bring her back, but she defiantly says that she wants to go home. Exasperated, he tells her that she can go off on her own if she wants.

Xiao Ling bends down to talk to Ah Ji, her turtle, but as far as Wen Sheng can see, she’s talking to empty space. He sighs and crouches down in front of her, then tries to convince her to come home with him, reminding her that she won’t be able to go home until the “treasure” sprouts.


Commentary

This show has such an interesting concept and shows so much potential in certain moments. It reminds me of Legion a little bit with the way that it can make the viewer question reality in the same way that Xiao Ling is forced to question reality. But then there are also so many repetitive moments — like Xiao Ling moping and going in circles. And the acting, especially Xiao Ling’s portrayal, is so mediocre, which kind of puts a damper on everything. Otherwise, this could be so good. But I guess I’ll keep watching.

I don’t blame Qing Feng for wanting to maintain his rationality and professionalism — I blame him for clearly allowing himself to fail in that regard while still refusing to acknowledge it.

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