Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Falling Into You (Ep. 13)

This finale to Falling Into You is basically everything you could want from a rom-com ending. A little bit of tears, a lot of kisses, and satisfying good feels to go around.


Recap

We revisit the accident that left Cai Feng unable to compete in taekwondo. She protects a young Zi Tong with her own body, taking the impact as a car hits them.

Zi Tong tells her that she used to think that she did taekwondo in order to complete her mother’s dream, because her mother was unable to compete again because of her. At some point, after her injury, she realized that she wanted to do taekwondo even if her mother wasn’t paying attention. Taekwondo is her own dream now.

She is where she is today not only because she’s trying to pay back what she owes her mother, but also because she doesn’t want to let herself down. She doesn’t want to let down the person who pushed and supported her into becoming who she is today. “Because I like you, too.”


Zhi Sheng arrives at work to find Ke Ting Wei there. Ting Wei has decided to listen to Zhi Sheng’s advice and wants to improve himself so Qian Ni will like him more. He’s decided that he wants to work for Zhi Sheng and learn from him. Zhi Sheng doesn’t want Ting Wei, but Ting Wei has also managed to convince his father to give all of their delivery business to Zhi Sheng’s company. He shows him the contract. Zhi Sheng lets Ting Wei join, but says he has to start from the very bottom.

Time passes as Zi Tong continues training. One day, Zhi Sheng bursts into Zi Tong’s room when he hears her yelling in pain. She clutches her leg with a muscle cramp. Zhi Sheng sits down and starts massaging her leg, which helps. He tries to move higher and uncover her knee, but she’s ashamed of how ugly her scar is and doesn’t want him to see.

Zhi Sheng surprises Zi Tong by kissing her scar, saying that it’s a symbol of her hard work and very beautiful. She stares at him. He thinks she doesn’t believe him so he threatens to kiss it more. She gets him to stop by lying that it hurts. He quickly apologizes and resumes massaging her leg while she watches him with a soft smile.

One morning at breakfast, Fang Qing is extremely distracted by her phone. She leaps up the moment it rings with a notification, ready to head out. Zhi Sheng teases her, reminding her that she needs to make sure to treat Xin Yan well on her date with Tian Lin. Fang Qing is embarrassed that he knows about her date.

Tian Lin, Fang Qing, and Xin Yan visit the resort where the two first met. At one point, Tian Lin tells Fang Qing she has some cotton candy on her cheek. He offers to remove it for her, but uses the opportunity to give her some heart fingers. (SO MUCH CHEESE.)

Later, at a coffee shop, Tian Lin goes off to order food while Xin Yan asks Fang Qing if she’s going to be her new mother. Fang Qing nearly chokes with surprise. Xin Yan says that she wishes she could have a new mom like Fang Qing. Her real mother remarried and is about to have a kid and no longer seems to care about Fang Qing. Xin Yan would love for Fang Qing to be her new mom and to have a little sister and brother.

Tian Lin returns with a tray and Xin Yan turns to him while Fang Qing glances sadly between father and daughter, recalling what her friend said about it being a bit weird for them to date if Zhi Sheng and Zi Tong get married.

Zi Tong and Qian Ni spar during training while Cai Feng watches approvingly. She praises them both during a break. After she leaves, Zi Tong and Qian Ni exchange small smiles.

Tian Lin drops Fang Qing off at her house at the end of the night. They smile and say good night to each other. As Fang Qing turns to head inside, Tian Lin gently grabs her arm, pulling her back. He leans in to kiss her, and she closes her eyes, but then at the last minute, she shrinks away.

“We’re not suited for each other,” she blurts out.

Tian Lin seems disappointed that this is her answer after all the time he gave her, and starts to say something, but she cuts him off. She doesn’t want to explain why — if they’re not suited, then they’re not suited. She says that from now on, they will be teacher and parent. If he can’t handle that, then she’ll transfer somewhere else.

Fang Qing closes the gate in his face. She turns her face away as she passes by Zhi Sheng, who seems surprised to see her back so early. She manages to choke out, “I’m so tired,” before hurrying inside. She cries inside her room.

Tian Lin leans against his car outside, looking defeated. He perks up when the gate opens, hoping it’s Fang Qing, but it’s just Zhi Sheng.

Fang Qing drinks by herself in her room as she curses Tian Lin. Why did he have to grow up and become so mature and charming? She cries as she hugs the stuffed bear he gave her, blaming him for leaving her heartbroken.

Tian Lin opens the door to Fang Qing’s room and finds her crying on her bed. She doesn’t notice him at first. Earlier, Zhi Sheng had patted him on the shoulder and asked him to take good care of his aunt before letting him in.

Tian Lin sits down next to Fang Qing and gently wipes away her tears. She turns to him blearily and touches his face, then smiles sloppily and murmurs that this dream feels so real.

Zhi Sheng and Zi Tong bring Xin Yan home. Da Quan and Cai Feng are surprised to see them instead of Tian Lin. Zhi Sheng mentions that Fang Qing and Tian Lin still have some business to take care of. Da Quan obliviously asks what other business they’d have, then laughs awkwardly when Cai Feng gives him a look.

Cai Feng asks Da Quan what kind of lessons he’s been teaching their son. Da Quan just shrugs and responds that they’re all adults now, then takes Xin Yan to bed, leaving Cai Feng alone with Zi Tong and Zhi Sheng.

Zi Tong and her mother stare at each other silently. Zhi Sheng glances between them and clears his throat, saying they should head back. Cai Feng tells Zi Tong that she should stay the night — they can head into the dojang together the next morning.

Zhi Sheng gives Zi Tong a worried glance, but when Cai Feng asks if there’s a problem, he hastily says there is none and says goodbye. Cai Feng curtly says she won’t see him out.

After Zhi Sheng leaves, Cai Feng gruffly tells Zi Tong to get some rest, then sits back down on the couch with her arms crossed.

Fang Qing wakes up in the morning to Tian Lin gently touching her face. She smiles blissfully at him, then suddenly bolts upright with a small shriek when she realizes that they’re both naked and that he shouldn’t be here. He points out that she was the one who pounced first last night.

Fang Qing starts to deny it, but then remembers what happened last night. She drunkenly said that she just wants the people she loves to be happy. He asked if she was saying that she loved him. She put her arms around his neck and smiled, saying that she loves him. A lot. Then she kissed him.

Fang Qing smacks her head, saying she was drunk. Tian Lin tells her that if she did it, she has to acknowledge it. She starts to protest, but he puts a finger to her lips. “The only person who can make you happy is me,” he says.

He pulls out the coin she once gave him, saying that if she can’t decide, they can bet on it. He bets heads. If he wins, then they’ll be together. If he loses, he’ll give up. She nods.

He flips the coin — it’s heads. He tells her that he won — it’s fate. She picks up the coin and realizes that both sides are heads. She starts to protest, but he says they’re even now. He reminds her that she was the one to originally give him the coin, after betting that he should go back home. He had been upset that she messed with him. She responded that if he didn’t want to be messed with, he should hurry up and grow up. “Be a man,” she said.

Tian Lin also reminds Fang Qing that back then, he’d said that if she were 40 and still single, he would take responsibility for her. He’d been joking then, but now — he looks deep into her eyes — he’s serious.

He asks her to stop saying things like they’re not suited for each other. If what she’s worried about comes to pass, he’ll take care of it. All she has to do is be by his side and let him and Xin Yan be happy. She nods.

One night, Zhi Sheng finds Zi Tong icing her knee, which is red and swollen. He asks for how long it’s been this way. Do Hao Ping and her doctor know? Zi Tong tells him that it’s been this way for half a month. Earlier, Dr. Du had expressed concern that she wouldn’t be able to walk again if she kept pushing her knee like this. He had advised her to withdraw.

Zhi Sheng says that if that’s what the doctor advised, then that’s what they should do. There’s always next time. But Zi Tong says there is no next time. Her condition will only get worse.

Zhi Sheng is upset that she hid something so serious from him for so long. He thought that he was closest to her, that she would discuss with him if she had any problems. But clearly he thought too much of himself, because she doesn’t think anything of him at all.

He gets up to leave, but Zi Tong grabs his hand to stop him. She apologizes, acknowledging that she didn’t consider his feelings. She was afraid he would stop her. She’s already lost taekwondo once — now that she has another chance, even if it’s only one chance, she’s not going to give it up.

Zhi Sheng turns to her, asking if she would still do it even if it means she’ll never walk again. “Yes,” she responds.

Zhi Sheng asks if she would really exchange her leg for a medal. Zi Tong is, because to her, that’s everything. “Then what about me? Is it more important than me?” Zhi Sheng asks.

Zi Tong looks away and doesn’t say anything. Zhi Sheng gets up and leaves.

Zi Tong cries as she silently apologizes to Zhi Sheng. But she’s persevered this whole time because she wanted to get back to competition. Even if she can compete in only one match, even if it’s for the last time, she’s willing to do it.

Zhi Sheng returns to Zi Tong’s room and kneels down in front of her. He slides a ring onto her finger. “Let’s get married,” he says. He won’t let her break up with him using a lame excuse like not being able to walk and not wanting to hold him back. She can compete if she wants. He just wants her to give him the right to share her burden for a lifetime.

“Are you dumb?” she asks.

“I love you. I’m willing to be dumb for a lifetime,” he responds.

She kisses him.

The day of the tournament dawns. All of Zi Tong’s friends and family show up to support her. Zhi Sheng looks nervous, which Ke Ting Wei teases him about.

Cai Feng gives Zi Tong and Qian Ni a pep talk prior to the start of the competition. Afterward, Qian Ni teases Zi Tong, telling her not to lose in the first round. Zi Tong holds out her fist, saying that they’ll see each other in the finals. Qian Ni smiles and fist bumps her.

Zi Tong wins her matches, but not by much. Cai Feng frowns, concerned by Zi Tong’s struggle. She notices that Zhi Sheng doesn’t seem excited about Zi Tong’s win either. Zhi Sheng admits that he’s worried she’ll get injured. Cai Feng responds that when he chose to date an athlete, that’s what he signed up for. What Zi Tong needs isn’t his worry, but his support. Zhi Sheng obediently starts loudly cheering for Zi Tong.

Zi Tong makes it to the championship round, but during a break, Cai Feng sees how poorly her knee is doing and is furious that Zi Tong hid this from her and that everyone seems to have known except for her. She declares that Zi Tong should forfeit, but Zi Tong refuses. Her mother reminds her that her word as a coach is final. Zi Tong calls her mother, and cries as she begs her mother to let her have this one last chance.

Cai Feng orders Zi Tong to sit down. Then she kneels down and personally reapplies sports tape to Zi Tong’s knee while they both cry. Cai Feng looks up at Zi Tong and says that if she dares fall, she’ll have her immediately forfeit. Zi Tong nods and thanks her mother through her tears. Cai Feng stands up and walks away.

Zi Tong enters the ring to cheers from her friends and family. She smiles. Whoever said that athletes are alone in the arena is wrong. Because she has them, her friends and family, who have been by her side this whole time. She’s not alone. She silently thanks her mother for believing in her and Zhi Sheng for supporting her.

Zi Tong and Qian Ni face off against each other. Zi Tong takes an early lead, but neither Cai Feng nor Zhi Sheng look excited during the first break. Both are worried about Zi Tong’s knee.

Qian Ni makes a comeback in the second round. Zi Tong limps off the floor during the break, clearly in pain, then limps back on for the final round.

During the third round, Zi Tong collapses to the ground, clutching her knee in pain after she and Qian Ni knock knees. A doctor checks on Zi Tong when she doesn’t stand up. Hao Ping and Zi Tong’s other trainer turn to Cai Feng, silently asking if they should withdraw.

Cai Feng makes eye contact with Zi Tong, silently asking if they can just end it here. Zi Tong shakes her head, silently begging to have this one last chance. Cai Feng finally nods, then tells Zi Tong to do her best. Zi Tong nods and climbs to her feet.

She’s essentially one-legged for the rest of the match. At one point, Qian Ni seems concerned that Zi Tong shouldn’t continue, but Zi Tong is determined to win. They’re tied in the last ten seconds. Qian Ni goes on a kicking offensive to try and break the tie. Zi Tong remembers how her mother once told her when she was little to not underestimate a straight punch, then punches Qian Ni in the last second and notches the win.

Her friends and family celebrate. Zi Tong manages to quirk a smile before she collapses to the mat.

Zi Tong opens her eyes and finds herself standing in a dark and empty dojang. In her hand is the first gold medal she won. A child version of her runs up and takes the medal out of her hand, saying it’s hers. Then she turns and gives it to her mother. Cai Feng hugs child Zi Tong and says that she will always be her pride.

Zi Tong watches the memory. She didn’t disappoint her mother. She’ll always be the daughter she’s proud of.

Zi Tong wakes up in the hospital to find only Qian Ni sitting by her bed. Qian Ni looks upset and calls Zi Tong really quite dislikable. She hid her injury and competed, then ran away after winning, leaving Qian Ni to fill her spot as an alternate. Who does she think Qian Ni is?

“My strongest opponent,” Zi Tong responds. She wanted her last match to be against Qian Ni, to make up for the match from two years ago. Qian Ni responds that she’s still the same: selfish and loathsome. Zi Tong smiles and says she knows. Qian Ni says that the Olympic gold medal is hers. She’ll come back and flaunt it in Zi Tong’s face. Zi Tong says that she needs to follow through now that she said it, and that she’ll be waiting.

Later, Cai Feng glares at Zi Tong and asks if she’s happy now that things have turned out like this. She tells Zi Tong she deserved this by continuing to train when she wasn’t supposed to and making the choices that ended with her in this hospital bed, potentially unable to walk again.

But Zi Tong just smiles slightly and says, “Mom, thank you.”

Cai Feng breaks down sobbing. Da Quan tries to comfort his wife while she continues ugly crying, scared that Zi Tong might never be able to walk again.

Zi Tong looks at Tian Lin, who shrugs.

When Zi Tong wakes up again later, Zhi Sheng is sitting by her side. He helps her sit up and she smiles at him as he pours her some water. She apologizes: he never got to see her winning smile. He tells her that she can kiss him if she wants to apologize, showing her his cheek. She grabs his face and kisses him on the mouth instead.

Zi Tong thanks Zhi Sheng for helping her fulfill her dream. He says that the end of one dream just means the beginning of another. He believes there are many dreams left in her future. If she doesn’t know what dream to chase, she can help him complete his dream. He wants to be at the head of a global company. She can be his wife and they can have ten kids — enough to field their own basketball team.

Zi Tong turns away, saying she must be dreaming. He crawls into bed next to her suggesting that maybe she just needs to see it in a dream first.

Zi Tong shows up at work, fully recovered and walking on her own two feet. Mi Ya hands her an envelope, saying she needs to rush it to Zhi Sheng and go save him. Apparently, the clients he’s meeting with refuse to believe that he’s getting married and keep trying to push their daughter on him. Jia Qi pushes a dress into Zi Tong’s hands before she leaves, saying she needs to be dressed appropriately in order to get her man.

Zi Tong arrives at her destination, but doesn’t see anyone there. While she rummages around in her purse, Zhi Sheng sneaks up on her. She reacts quickly to elbow him, then stops when she realizes who it s.

Zhi Sheng reveals that there is no business meeting. Instead, this is a proposal. He opens the envelope to reveal a ring, then kneels down in front of her and asks if she’ll marry him. He might make her angry sometimes, but he promises to always be by her side supporting her.

He puts the ring on her finger and leans in to kiss her while their friends and family reveal themselves and celebrate.

Zhi Sheng laughs to himself as he tells the gathered friends and family his plan. They look at him a bit skeptically, but it’s too late to say more because Zi Tong is rounding the corner.

Zhi Sheng tries to sneak up on Zi Tong, but she turns at the last second and instead he loses his balance, teetering at the edge of the pool. She turns to stare at him as he pinwheels his arms. He suddenly recognizes her from the night at the park when he tried to “save” her from jumping in the river and fell in instead. Then he crashes into the pool. Their family and friends rush out to celebrate, then smile awkwardly when they realize that the proposal didn’t quite go as planned.

After Zhi Sheng gets fished out of the water, Zi Tong asks why he tried to drown himself in the river the other night. Zhi Sheng immediately protests, saying that he was save her, then realizes that she also remembers. She smiles and says that his yells left a deep impression on her.

Zhi Sheng pouts and starts to walk away. Zi Tong stops him and says that if he keeps throwing a tantrum, she won’t marry him anymore. She shows him her hand, where she’s already put his ring on her finger.

He’s surprised she put on the ring before he had a chance to propose. She responds that she needs move fast in order to catch a good man. He’s not just a good man though — he’s the best. She kisses him.

Their family and Yu Qian watch with smiles. Fang Qing sighs and leans her head against Tian Lin, glad that Zhi Sheng has finally found his happiness. Tian Lin says that means he can now give her her own happiness, right?

Xin Yan pipes up and says that she wants to be happy, too. Tian Lin covers her eyes, then kisses Fang Qing.

Cai Feng elbows Da Quan and points out Tian Lin and Fang Qing kissing. Da Quan gapes, then covers his eyes. Cai Feng laughs, then covers her eyes, too.

Yu Qian looks at his own engagement ring box and smiles. It’s finally his turn.

Zhi Sheng realizes that he never gave his proposal speech, but Zi Tong says he doesn’t need to. He’s already proved himself with his actions and she guesses exactly what he would have promised — to support her in her goals, always. And she promises to do the same for him — except for one thing. She won’t have ten kids.

They hold hands and join their family.


Commentary

This finale is all good feels and I love it.

I feel like I’ve been ignoring Tian Lin and Fang Qing this whole time, but that’s because they’re so cheesy and sappy, yet feel-good that I have nothing to say except enjoy the trajectory of their relationship and how much Fang Qing gets inside her own head. Fang Qing has always been so selfless and trying to take care of everything herself, and I love that Tian Lin is making her be selfish for once.

I can’t get over how every time it seems like the drama is about to devolve into a cliche misunderstanding, Zhi Sheng defies every stereotype and insists on being the ideal partner. He gets upset for valid reasons, but he also recognizes that they’re just challenges to overcome, not reasons to give up. Zi Tong refuses to give up on taekwondo and Zhi Sheng refuses to give up on her. I cried a little watching his first proposal with his makeshift ring.

So often dramas make it seem like love is doing what’s best for someone, even if it’s not what they want. But I love how in Falling Into You, we get a bit of the opposite. Here, love means supporting Zi Tong in the choices she’s made, even if it’s not necessarily what’s “best” for her in the long-term. It’s recognizing that Zi Tong is an adult who can make her own decisions about her life and respecting and supporting her in those choices.

And in the end we get happy endings for everyone! Yay!

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