We’re back to our regular programming of wholesome Zi Tong-Zhi Sheng moments! This week makes up for last week’s comparatively lackluster episode as parents and their secrets start to take center stage.
Zhi Sheng gets a call from Tian Lin, who wants to speak with him. It’s well-timed, because Zhi Sheng wants to talk to Tian Lin about something, too — what if the Mingtong investigation and Zhi Sheng’s father’s death all had to do with Tian Lin’s father? Would he want to keep investigating?
Zhi Sheng confronts Cai Feng about how Zi Tong is getting any real taekwondo training in, but Cai Feng just reminds Zi Tong that she has twenty minutes left. Zi Tong tells Zhi Sheng to wait for her in the car. He seems to want to protest, but listens.
On the car ride home, Zhi Sheng voices his concern that there isn’t much time left before the Olympic team selection and Zi Tong has yet to actually start sparring. But Zi Tong says that Cai Feng must have her reasons — she trusts her judgment. Zhi Sheng respects Zi Tong’s choice.
Later, Cai Feng nostalgically pulls out a box of her children’s old taekwondo uniforms and remembers training Tian Lin and Zi Tong when they were young. Tian Lin always looked unhappy, but Zi Tong was full of smiles and could be easily bribed to practice longer if promised food afterward.
Da Quan finds his wife hugging one of the kids’ old doboks to her chest and looking sad. He points out that if she has the time to go through their old things, she might as well seek out their children instead and talk things out with them.
Cai Feng doesn’t respond and instead looks at an old, stained shirt of Zi Tong’s. Da Quan sits down with a heavy sigh and regretfully says that it’s all his fault. If he hadn’t let go of Zi Tong’s hand that day, then Cai Feng wouldn’t have gotten injured saving Zi Tong from an incoming car. Everything would have been different. With her abilities, she definitely would have had another chance at going to the Olympics.
Cai Feng wipes her eyes and tells Da Quan that it’s not worth talking about anymore — it’s all in the past. But Da Quan still seems regretful. If not for the accident, then Cai Feng wouldn’t have pinned all her dreams on her children, and there wouldn’t be this massive misunderstanding between them. But Cai Feng says that there isn’t any misunderstanding. The truth is that she trained them hard.
Da Quan thinks that Cai Feng should let Tian Lin and Zi Tong know that she cherishes them and that she regrets how she treated them. “And then what?” Cai Feng asks. Should she ask for their forgiveness? She’s not shameless enough to do that.
Cai Feng sighs heavily and starts shedding tears again as she remembers how her children had rejected her, how Qian Ni had called her a failure of a mother, how upset she had been after Zi Tong got injured and after she had told Zi Tong she would never let her train again. She tells her husband that every person is responsible for their own actions. These are the consequences of her actions, and she’ll have to bear them. She has no regrets.
Da Quan tells her that there’s no need for her to punish herself like this, but Cai Feng interrupts. Her only regret is that she didn’t come to this realization until after Zi Tong got injured. Only now does she understand that her children’s lives are not hers. They don’t owe her anything. She takes deep breaths and tries to hold back her tears, but breaks down anyway. Da Quan pats her hand soothingly.
Zi Tong has fallen asleep by the time Zhi Sheng drives them home. He gently brushes her hair out of her face then carries her inside.
Fang Qing is grading homework when she realizes that she’s grading Xin Yan’s essay, which is all about her father. Fang Qing berates herself for making the essay prompt be about fathers. She can’t seem to get Tian Lin out of her head.
She frowns as she remembers a moment from earlier. She had run into Jiang Tao Zhong again. He guessed that she rejected him because of Tian Lin and pointed out that Tian Lin is ten years her junior. Has she ever thought about that? She can’t afford to be messed around with by someone so much younger than her. Fang Qing retorted that she didn’t think he’d be the kind of person who would be so rude after getting rejected. She added that being able to snag a man ten years younger than her is skill — maybe he should focus on himself and then he can find a woman ten years younger than him. Her dating life also isn’t any of his business. Now, Fang Qing pokes her stuffed bear in the nose, blaming him (Tian Lin, really) for making it so that she has no friends.
She hears Zhi Sheng returning home and opens her door to see him carrying Zi Tong back to her room. Fang Qing grins then quietly closes her door and looks giddy to see Zhi Sheng making such progress. Then she frowns as she looks back down at the stuffed bear and what it means for her own love life.
Cai Feng continues to have Zi Tong do weighted exercises. During a lunch break, Qian Ni confronts Zi Tong about taking taekwondo for granted and calls her shameless for having her boyfriend bribe her way into Chongyun with money. Zi Tong acknowledges that taekwondo used to be easy for her, so she did take it for granted, but not anymore. She also doesn’t feel shameless about what Zhi Sheng has done. She recognizes how much effort Zhi Sheng has put in and he’s doing this all for her. She won’t give up, because her return to competition isn’t about herself anymore — it’s about her and Zhi Sheng, together.
Qian Ni reminds Zi Tong that she can’t make up for two years of no training with a few weighted exercises. But Zi Tong smirks and borrows a line from Zhi Sheng: there isn’t anything she can’t do — there’s only what she doesn’t want to do.
Tian Lin happens to walk by a real estate office right as Fang Qing leaves after meeting with an agent. She lets out a small scream when she sees him, then tries to run away, but he whisks her into his arms and starts carrying her down the sidewalk. She’s embarrassed that he’s being so brazen in public.
Tian Lin traps her inside a ropes course on a playground — it’s the only way he can talk to her without her running away — and asks her why she’s looking for a house. She tries to run again instead of responding, but he blocks her way. He knows she can’t respond to his feelings for her, but can’t she at least respond to a friend’s concern?
He pretends to call Zhi Sheng when she still doesn’t tell him. She grabs for his phone. He dodges, then reveals that he was bluffing, but if she still refuses to respond, he’ll call Zhi Sheng for real.
Fang Qing eventually relents and admits that she was looking for a place because she feels like there’s no need to live with Zhi Sheng anymore now that he and Zi Tong have such a stable relationship. The house belongs to Zhi Sheng, and she already decided that once Zhi Sheng has a family of his own, she would move out into an apartment and happily live her single life. Fang Qing tries to maintain her smile, but can’t help but cry.
Tian Lin calls her out for stubbornly trying to act like she’s okay when she’s obviously crying. He wipes her tears away, then guesses that she’s trying to leave before Zhi Sheng asks her to so she won’t have to feel as bad. She denies it, but he knows it’s true and she finally admits it.
Fang Qing tells Tian Lin that every guy she’s ever dated has always claimed to not mind that she has to care for Zhi Sheng. They even say that it’s nice she cares for her family. But then in the end, they always use Zhi Sheng as an excuse to dump her, saying that she doesn’t seem to have time for their relationship. Maybe she’s been dumped too many times, but it hurts to know that she’ll be dumped again by Zhi Sheng.
Tian Lin says that he never thought Zhi Sheng would be this kind of ungrateful backstabber. Fang Qing quickly defends Zhi Sheng — he’s not that kind of person. Tian Lin points out that if she insists on moving out like this, she’ll make Zhi Sheng look like that kind of person.
He squeezes in onto the slide next to Fang Qing and tells her that she should go home and talk it out with Zhi Sheng. If after that, they decide she should still move out, she can look for a new place then. He puts an arm around her shoulders and promises to help her if the time comes, then teases her about still crying.
At night, Zhi Sheng confronts Fang Qing about moving out. She tries to deny it, but Zhi Sheng shows her a text he received from Tian Lin, spilling everything. He tells her that she can move out — if she marries someone, or if she finds some man she wants to live with.
He sits down next to her with a sigh. Why did she think he would make her move out? She cries that he’s grown up. He tells her that no matter how old he gets, that won’t change their relationship. She’s his only family and no place is home without her. Fang Qing cries. Zhi Sheng hugs her and says that in the future, Tian Lin can’t be the only person who knows about these things. He wants to know, too.
Tian Lin smiles when he sees an incoming call from Fang Qing. She asks him why he told Zhi Sheng about what they talked about. He says that it’s always better to talk things out than to keep them buried. She points out how ironic it is that he struggled so much with Xin Yan. He responds that it’s always easier to solve other people’s problems than your own. They both imagine that they’re actually talking face-to-face with each other.
Tian Lin asks if she called just to ask about that. He was hoping that she called to say that she reciprocates his feelings. Fang Qing abruptly hangs up, then chides herself for doing so. Is it really that hard to say that she wants to be with him?
Tian Lin smiles to himself, remembering how he had half-jokingly promised to marry her if she was 40 and still single back at the resort.
Zhi Sheng arrives at the dojang to find Zi Tong doing sit-ups while waiting for him. He offers to help her finish out the set by holding her feet. She insists she can do it on her own, but he says that this is a chance for them to get some quality one-on-one time. He reminds her that her responsibility is taekwondo, and his responsibility is their relationship.
Zhi Sheng counts down the reps for Zi Tong and encourages her. Once she’s done, he swoops in and kisses her.
A man clears his throat. Zi Tong stands up to greet her father. Zhi Sheng freezes when he sees Da Quan, recognizing him as the man who was arguing with his father when he was younger.
Zi Tong turns to Zhi Sheng with a smile — didn’t he want to introduce himself? Zhi Sheng hyperventilates and struggles to stay present. She frowns and asks if he’s okay. He makes up an excuse about being tired from work and rushes out. Zi Tong hurries out after him.
Zhi Sheng leans on his car as one of his childhood memories becomes sharper in his mind: Da Quan had asked his father to drop the Mingtong investigation and forget everything he learned about them. Xiang Tai had been unwilling to give up the story he’d been researching for over a year. Zhi Sheng remembers the two of them struggling over the laptop, then again that memory of seeing his father dead.
Zi Tong finds him and gently dabs at the sweat on his face, then hugs him, asking if he’s feeling better. He says that things have been really busy at the company and he’s not used to her not being there. She suggests he should hire someone else, but he shakes his head. He’ll be fine after he recharges. She asks how he’ll recharge. He says that if she kisses him, then he’ll find the energy he needs.
Zi Tong gives him a kiss on the cheek. Zhi Sheng claims that he only recharged 50% — he needs another one to get to full capacity. He closes his eyes and leans in, but Zi Tong just smiles and says, “Let’s go,” and goes to her side of the car.
At home, Zi Tong and Fang Qing watch TV together inside while Zhi Sheng works out on the patio. He gets a call from Tian Lin — it’s the same scene from the beginning of the episode.
Zhi Sheng tells Tian Lin that Da Quan came by his house the night his father died. The rest they can talk about in person. After they hang up, Tian Lin covers his face with his hands. On the screen in front of him is an email from Fang Xiang Tai to his father about the Mingtong article he was working on.
Tian Lin brings his father to Xiang Tai’s grave, where Zhi Sheng is waiting. Da Quan stares at Zhi Sheng, finally realizing exactly who he is.
Tian Lin tells Zhi Sheng that he won’t give up on the Mingtong investigation and is dedicated to reporting the truth, no matter what it is. Da Quan turns to him, alarmed. He’s investigating Mingtong?
Tian Lin apologizes to his father for bringing him here without telling him beforehand, but he trusts that his father wouldn’t do anything illegal. Da Quan looks shaken as he stares between Tian Lin and Zhi Sheng. Zhi Sheng guesses from his reaction that perhaps Tian Lin is mistaken in his belief of his father. Tian Lin defends his father — he hasn’t said anything so it’s not fair for Zhi Sheng to speculate. Zhi Sheng asks Da Quan if he killed his father.
Da Quan stammers, saying he would never. But then he apologizes. Zhi Sheng doesn’t want an apology — he wants the truth. Why did he come over the day that his father died?
Da Quan tells them his version of the truth. He went to Xiang Tai that day to try to convince him to drop the Mingtong investigation — it was too much for a small paper like them. Xiang Tai had resisted and at one point wanted to send the article to a different paper. Da Quan tried to convince him not to — it was too dangerous. He left after Xiang Tai agreed to drop the matter. Little did he know that four days later, he would read about Xiang Tai’s accidental death.
Zhi Sheng asks why his father’s laptop was erased. What does he know about that? He accuses Da Quan of killing his father and then trying to destroy the evidence. Tian Lin defends his father. If he said he didn’t do it, then he didn’t. He vows to find proof that his father wasn’t the culprit.
After Zhi Sheng leaves, Da Quan tells Tian Lin that he really didn’t do it. Tian Lin believes him, but wants to know if there’s anything he didn’t want to say in front of Zhi Sheng. Da Quan just repeats his request for Tian Lin to drop the Mingtong investigation, looking scared. He should let the past be the past. Tian Lin says that it was never the past — Mingtong’s corruption and Xiang Tai’s death will never be in the past until the truth is brought to light. But Da Quan just asks again for Tian Lin to stop.
Zhao Feng Liang wakes up on a park bench to a call from Wang Xin Hui. She asks if he’s interested in stealing a scoop from Tian Lin and reveals that it’s about Mingtong Group, though she doesn’t know why Tian Lin would be investigating them. Feng Liang’s eyes sharpen and he tells Xin Hui that he’ll let her know if he finds anything, but makes her promise to not let anyone else know. He smirks to himself.
Feng Liang goes to the Mingtong Group offices, where he runs into a man he greets as Lawyer Zhao in the lobby. The lawyer greets him as “paparazzi.” He turns to his assistant, You Ren Jia, Zi Tong’s convenience store coworker’s friend, and tells him to go ahead without him. Ren Jia glances back at the two men with a curious frown.
Fang Qing overhears Zhi Sheng on the phone with Tian Lin, angrily saying that he just wants the truth. She knocks and tells Zhi Sheng that she wants to invite Tian Lin over for a meal tomorrow. She wants Zhi Sheng to play nice and resolve whatever issues he has with Tian Lin, but Zhi Sheng says he won’t allow Tian Lin to come to this house.
Fang Qing decides to ignore Zhi Sheng and asks Zi Tong to invite her brother over.
Tian Lin shows up with a bouquet for Fang Qing. Zhi Sheng is unhappy when he wakes up and come downstairs to see Tian Lin. He turns to his aunt — didn’t he say Tian Lin wasn’t allowed? Fang Qing looks to Zi Tong for backup. Zi Tong puts a hand on Zhi Sheng’s shoulder and pushes him back up the stairs.
At lunch, Zhi Sheng is quick to try and start a fight with Tian Lin, first commenting on how great a dad he is to leave his daughter at home (after which Zi Tong tells him that Xin Yan is at training camp), then insisting on stealing Tian Lin’s soup and bickering over their respective professions.
Fang Qing and Zi Tong work together to force Tian Lin and Zhi Sheng outside, then lock them out until they can figure out their issues.
Tian Lin asks Zhi Sheng if he really wants his father to be the culprit. Zhi Sheng responds that of course he doesn’t want Tian Lin’s father to be the culprit, but it’s clear he’s hiding something. Tian Lin tells Zhi Sheng that he’s trying to figure out what it is. He points out that he and Zhi Sheng have the same goal: he also wants to find out who killed Xiang Tai. He wants to prove that his father is innocent.
Zhi Sheng glances toward Zi Tong. For her sake, he hopes the same. Tian Lin also looks at Zi Tong and Fang Qing and tells Zhi Sheng that regardless of the truth, they need to do it for them. He holds out his hand. Zhi Sheng shakes it.
Zhi Sheng walks Tian Lin out and asks him to keep Da Quan’s potential involvement in Xiang Tai’s death a secret from Zi Tong. He’s worried it’ll affect her mood and distract her from her training. Tian Lin agrees and promises to try and figure out what his father is hiding.
When Zhi Sheng turns to head back to the house, Zi Tong is standing behind him.
She holds a teddy bear in her hands, which she says is for Xin Yan. She starts to go after her brother, but Zhi Sheng stops her, asking how much she heard. She asks if he suddenly felt unwell the other day was because seeing her father reminded him of the past. He says yes. Zi Tong tells him that there’s no way her father did it. She’ll go ask him herself. Zhi Sheng stops her; he and Tian Lin have already asked her father about it. He reassures her that they’ll take care of it. She should just focus on herself. Zi Tong stares at him, remembering what Fang Qing said about Zhi Sheng pretending everything is fine in order to make others not worried. Zhi Sheng smiles and tries to make a joke about how he’s invested a quarter of his wealth into Zi Tong and his retirement depends on her. Zi Tong looks unconvinced, but they’re interrupted when Zhi Sheng gets a call from Yu Qian: something urgent has come up at the company.
When Zhi Sheng gets to the office, it turns out that the “urgent matter” is President He asking which wedding dress suits his daughter the best. Yu Qian and Zhi Sheng exchange a confused look, but give him their opinions — Yu Qian says all of them look good; Zhi Sheng says none of them are good enough for someone of President He’s status. That’s the answer President He was looking for. He gets to business, asking about the Mingtong Group contract. Zhi Sheng reassures him that they’re just waiting for Mingtong’s approval.
President He reminds Zhi Sheng that he has a lot riding on this contract. If it doesn’t go through, then… he leaves it hanging, because it looks like failure is not an option. Zhi Sheng forces a confident smile and reassures President He that he always follows through on his word and he’ll get it done. Yu Qian gives Zhi Sheng a worried look.
Zi Tong returns home, surprising her father who is delighted to see her and immediately wants her to sit down and try some mung bean soup he just made. But Zi Tong isn’t home for a casual visit. She asks her father why he was with Zhi Sheng’s father that night. Da Quan freezes. He asks her if Zhi Sheng asked her to come. She explains that she accidentally overheard him talking to Tian Lin and came because she wants to know the truth. What exactly happened that night? What is he hiding? Da Quan stares at her, but seems unable to say anything.
When Zi Tong leaves, she’s surprised to see Zhi Sheng parked on the street in front of her scooter. He approaches her and takes her hands, reminding her that he said he would take care of this. She knows, but she also wants to share some of his burden, since he’s already done so much for her. She’s certain that there’s a misunderstanding here and a reason that he’s unwilling to explain himself.
Zhi Sheng is just glad that she didn’t shut herself away. His first thought when he found out that her father was involved with his father’s death was what if she found out? What if because of this, she would find it painful to be with him and be distracted from her training? What would he do? When he was younger, he used to be afraid of his father and his relatives. After he grew up, he was determined to not be afraid of anything, but there is one thing he is afraid of: that she would leave him.
Zi Tong responds that she would never. She was afraid that he would… she trails off and instead says that her father didn’t tell her anything. All he said was that he’s trying to protect them and he asked her to not ask him about it anymore.
Later, Zhi Sheng shares this knowledge with Tian Lin, who guesses that someone used him and Zi Tong to threaten his father. Zhi Sheng agrees, and the most likely culprit is someone involved with Mingtong Group. Tian Lin guesses that this person first threatened his father, then went to look for Zhi Sheng’s father. He must have gone to Xiang Tai after Da Quan left. Does Zhi Sheng remember anyone?
Zhi Sheng isn’t sure, but then he remembers the lighter he picked up when he left his room, before he found his father. He finds the lighter in the box of his father’s possessions and sends a photo to Tian Lin, asking if it belongs to Da Quan. Tian Lin doesn’t know, but says he’ll find out.
I’m really glad that we get to see more of Cai Feng’s vulnerability and internal struggle this episode. She’s the kind of mother who is easy to dislike, but from the start, I think it’s been clear that her treatment of her children is borne out of stubbornness and pride. It doesn’t make her right, but I do have sympathy for her.
This episode really emphasizes how much Zhi Sheng doesn’t really ask much of Zi Tong beyond letting him be there for her. I love it. And I really like how Zi Tong lets him do that and also reciprocates by being there for him. It’s such a departure from who she was at the start of this drama as a sullen, lonesome girl, and it’s rewarding to see that slow, gradual growth from her. I love that they don’t push each other away when things get difficult and that Zhi Sheng doesn’t hold Da Quan’s secrets and issues against Zi Tong. I love that they both refuse to let their fathers’ mistakes get in the way of their present happiness, because so many dramas are about exactly the opposite.
It seems pretty obvious that Zhao Feng Liang is the person Tian Lin and Zhi Sheng are looking for. I just hope that they figure out who Feng Liang is before Feng Liang can get to them.
I also adored the chemistry of having all four of our leads together!