Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Arc of Life (Ep. 7)

Jenny lives up to her promise and quickly helps Yi Nan find success in business. Meanwhile, Little Bird finds a little bit of their own success, but it comes with its own challenges. Xia Zhi gets to know Long Jie a little bit better, leaving Mei Ji and Xiao Niao to spend some quality time together.


Recap

Little Bird pitches their renovation proposal, which is focused on being sustainable and eco-friendly. Li Da Mu mocks the nature noises that they start with and gets kicked out by Long Jie’s dad. Long Jie and his father like Little Bird’s proposal and pick them to handle the renovation project, but there’s a catch — they’re requesting that Little Bird contribute NT$20 million as an investment in the project, in addition to financing for the actual renovation. If they can’t provide funding, then the Yus may need to look elsewhere.

With Jenny’s help and his new look, Yi Nan is successful in business and soon hits the NT$10 billion in loans mark. Director Ding praises him during a team meeting. Yi Nan humbly says he has a lot to learn, which gives Director Ding an opening to push a financing project on him that no one else seems to want. Ding says that if Yi Nan manages to sign the deal, then his promotion to manager is all but guaranteed.

After Ding leaves, a coworker asks Yi Nan if he did something to offend him. The project Yi Nan agreed to take on is essentially an impossible endeavor — the CFO of Zi Qun Co. used to work at Yi Nan’s bank but left after a conflict with the former CEO. He also has strong ties to the head of a different bank and rarely seeks funding elsewhere.

Xiao Niao is determined to somehow secure funding so they can execute their renovation plan for Lutian Resort. If they don’t, then they’ll forever have a reputation as a company that’s unable to execute on their plans. Mei Ji is much more practical. Where are they going to find the money for the initial NT$20 million investment and then another NT$80 million for the actual construction costs? She points out that Xiao Niao’s first business decision nearly made them go over and now she seems to be acting recklessly again.

Xiao Niao and Mei Ji both accuse the other of not thinking. Xiao Niao is thinking about the future and how the investment will be worth it for Little Bird — Lutian Resort has an estimated value of NT$200 million and Little Bird will be able to promote its brand with Lutian’s success. Mei Ji is thinking about the present situation — the Yus are NT$20 million in debt (the reason why they need the initial investment in the first place) and there are no guests in sight. Xiao Niao is more of the risk-taker, saying that they have to bet big in order to win big, while Mei Ji is more fiscally conservative, preferring small gains if it means preventing large losses.

Mei Ji tries to say something clever about how by the time Xiao Niao’s future comes, their company will be in the past. And to make something in the past in English, you just add “-ed”, right? So Little Bird will be… Little Birded? Mei Ji tries again and ends up with Littled Bird. Xia Zhi doesn’t seem to be paying attention about money issues and instead laughs at Mei Ji’s attempts to butcher the company name, to Xiao Niao’s annoyance. Xiao Niao decides that because she’s the decision-maker, she’ll decide what they do. She’ll figure out how to get the NT$20 million they need.

Mei Ji protests — this is her company, too. She cares about it now and it’s also the first company she’s ever voluntarily worked overtime at. She turns to Xia Zhi and tries to get her to back her up against Xiao Niao. Xia Zhi slowly says that Mei Ji has a point. Xiao Niao decides to put it to a vote.

Mei Ji declares that everyone who approves of giving up should raise their hand. She raises her own, but she’s the only one. She tries to force Xia Zhi to raise her hand, but Xia Zhi resists. Xiao Niao crosses her arms with a smug smile. Xia Zhi admits that she really likes this project and doesn’t want to give it up.

Long Jie shows up and Xiao Niao and Xia Zhi are immediately all smiles. Xiao Niao reassures Long Jie that they will follow through with the project. Mei Ji rolls her eyes, saying that Xiao Niao and Xia Zhi have fallen prey to a “charming body,” then declares that she’s off to do important things like find true love and texts Yi Nan. Xia Zhi gives Long Jie a big smile before they leave.

Yi Nan tries to meet with the CFO of Zi Qun Co. — or anyone in the finance department, really — but is predictably turned away. His phone buzzes and he sighs as he sees a screen full of notifications from Mei Ji.

Xiao Niao decides to take out a loan against her house in order to help pay for the Lutian project. Mei Ji is grumpy that her opinion was overruled and spends her time on her phone, texting Yi Nan. Xiao Niao makes her go out with her to try to secure the rest of the funding they need, literally dragging out Mei Ji by her hair. She lets go of Mei Ji in the stairwell and reveals that she wanted Mei Ji out of the office so she can’t interfere with Xia Zhi and Long Jie’s upcoming meeting. Xiao Niao sent some documents over to Lutian Resort and next thing she knew, the elder Yu had called and said that Long Jie was on his way into the city to meet with them. Mei Ji loves love and immediately starts gushing about how beautiful love is and speculating over whether Xia Zhi is still hung up over her disappeared boyfriend — isn’t that why she rejected Yi Nan so quickly?

Xiao Niao claims that she doesn’t care about their private lives. Mei Ji gasps — is Xiao Niao trying to use Xia Zhi to seduce Long Jie? Xiao Niao says of course not — she just wants Xia Zhi to help them understand Long Jie better. Then she tries to get Mei Ji to meet up with Chen Huo Mu and work her connections to get money. Mei Ji doesn’t want to, but Xiao Niao manages to send a text to Chen from Mei Ji’s phone after tricking her into handing it over on the pretense that Xiao Niao would help her arrange a date with Yi Nan.

Xiao Niao meets with several people but has no luck finding an investor. Mei Ji grudgingly meets up with Chen Huo Mu, dodging around his attempts to get physical with her. When he keeps trying to hit on her, she finally gets to the point and tells him that Xiao Niao is the one who wanted her to meet up with him. She just wants his investment. Chen demands to know who she thinks she is. Mei Ji responds that she’s Mei Ji — has Chen forgotten her already? He’s clearly not cognizant enough to be an investor. She leaves.

Yi Nan’s phone keeps chiming when he’s out eating with Jenny, but he ignores it. Jenny hands over a Louis Vuitton bag and asks him to hold onto it. He looks inside and notices that the clothes inside don’t look like something she’d wear. He asks what’s up with her today — why did she want to come out and eat dry hot pot and drink red wine? Jenny just smiles and holds out her glass for a toast.

Jenny’s glass of wine bumps into a woman walking by, splashing red wine all over her skirt. The woman is at first very upset, but then Jenny recognizes her as “Auntie Lora” and she recognizes Jenny. Jenny apologizes profusely and offers to buy Lora a change of clothes. Lora is all smiles upon recognizing Jenny and tries to act like the spill wasn’t a big deal. Yi Nan remembers Jenny’s conspiratorial smile earlier about the clothes and grabs the Louis Vuitton bag, offering to give it to Lora. They do the usual back and forth game of offering and declining, but finally manage to get Lora to accept it.

After Lora goes to join her dining party, Yi Nan comments that she looks vaguely familiar. Jenny smiles. Lora is the Zi Qun Co. chairman’s wife. She’s the real decision-maker behind Zi Qun — her husband is just the face of the company. Jenny knows that Lora comes to this restaurant every Thursday with her friends. It doesn’t matter if the CFO has ties to a different bank — at the end of the day, he’s just an employee and follows orders.

Yi Nan doesn’t understand why they had to go through all these hoops just to engineer a meeting with Lora. Why not go through the front door? Jenny shakes her head with a smile. Why go through the front door when you don’t have to?

When Lora is headed out, Jenny makes a point of greeting her again and commenting on how she didn’t change clothes. Lora says that she’ll invite Jenny over one day to see her try on the clothes, then tells Yi Nan he should come, too.

When Long Jie arrives at the office, Xia Zhi rushes to open the door. They end up awkwardly saying “hi” to each other back and forth while smiling shyly. (I’m cringing from secondhand embarrassment.)

Long Jie finally manages to say something else by pulling out a pen and asking if it’s hers. Xia Zhi asks if the pen is really the reason he came all the way out here, but makes a show of checking to see whether it’s actually hers.

Long Jie admits that the pen is a lousy excuse. He’s here because he can’t stop thinking about her. Life’s too short to waste time waiting and the looking at the moon is more meaningful when there’s someone else to look at it with. Xia Zhi smiles and says that she’s listening. But that’s all Long Jie had to say. He loudly talks about how hungry he is. Xia Zhi smiles and hands back the pen, saying it’s not hers, then goes to grab her things.

As they head out from Xiao Niao’s apartment/the Little Bird office, Long Jie grabs Xia Zhi’s hand. She smiles, wondering why she doesn’t feel her heart racing or the electricity that usually comes with holding someone’s hand for the first time. Instead, all she feels is a sense of familiarity. Long Jie comments out loud the same thing, then suggests that maybe it’s because she grabbed onto his hand all night on the mountain and refused to let him go, while calling him Wu Shu. Xia Zhi is embarrassed to hear she did that, but Long Jie says it’s okay. He likes holding her hand. She does too.

Papa Xia tries to throw his ex-wife out of his restaurant after she shows up, complaining that Xia Zhi isn’t picking up her calls and blaming him for turning their daughter against her. Xia Zhi and Long Jie can hear them arguing from the street. Xia Zhi tries to walk them past, but her parents immediately spot them and immediately zero in on their clasped hands. Papa Xia pulls Long Jie into the restaurant while Xia Zhi’s mother blocks her way, trying to talk to her about some business plan.

When Long Jie introduces himself as Yu Long Jie, the man who rescued Xia Zhi, Xia Zhi’s parents gush over him and start bickering over who is allowed to be closest to him.

Mei Ji shows up at Xiao Niao’s apartment with fried chicken and beer. Xiao Niao tells her to go anywhere else, but Mei Ji can’t drink at home because she lives with her father and sister and she’s tired of being hit on out at the bars. She doesn’t have any other friends and she thinks Xiao Niao could use some company. Xiao Niao says she doesn’t, but unpacks Mei Ji’s fried chicken and puts it on a plate for her, all while complaining about now she has extra dishes to do.

Mei Ji is already a little drunk and wonders out loud why Yi Nan doesn’t pay her any attention. There are plenty of men who want to date her — she pulls out a bunch of business cards as proof and throws them into the air, much to Xiao Niao’s annoyance.

After arranging some chicken and fries in a heart shape on one of Xiao Niao’s poufs and after Xiao Niao repeatedly tells her to hurry up and go home, Mei Ji finally stands up. She heads to the bathroom first, almost forgetting where it is in her inebriated state. While she’s there, Xiao Niao picks up the scattered business cards and notices Mei Ji’s account book. She takes a peek and see that Mei Ji has over NT$5 million saved up — exactly the amount of money they need.

When Mei Ji gets back, Xiao Niao grabs a beer and says she’ll drink one with her.

Long Jie tells Xia Zhi that her parents are cute as they walk, holding hands, after escaping from her father’s restaurant. Even if they bicker, it’s nice that they each have someone to bicker with. He regrets abandoning his father to be by himself when he left to pursue a new life. Xia Zhi points out that at least he came back when his father faked an illness, and it’s a good thing that the illness was fake — with advances in medicine today, he still likely has a long life ahead of him to spend with Long Jie.

Long Jie suddenly stops walking. Xia Zhi turns back to him questioningly. He hugs her and says that he hopes he can be brave for her.

The next morning, Xia Zhi arrives at the office to find Mei Ji sleeping there, hungover. Xiao Niao soon returns with a large breakfast and soy milk for everyone. Mei Ji notices that her account books and business cards are out in the open and suspiciously asks Xiao Niao if she took them out. Xiao Niao admits that she looked at the account book, but only because Mei Ji was the one who took it out in the first place.

Xiao Niao asks if Mei Ji is willing to lend them her NT$5 million as an investment. Mei Ji shakes her head. She’s been working since she was 11 and only has this NT$5 million saved up. Xiao Niao responds that she needs to invest the money in order to make more. If she just leaves it in the bank, it’s just dead money. But Mei Ji shakes her head, thanks Xiao Niao for the soy milk, and scurries home to take a shower.

After she leaves, Xiao Niao seems impressed that she has so much money. “I told you she has her strengths,” Xia Zhi responds.

We soon see why Mei Ji isn’t willing to invest her money. She returns home to give her sister her monthly allowance, but her sister turns it down, saying she still has some money left over from last month. Mei Ji puts the money — as well as her father’s living expenses — in a tin in their shared apartment. She’s singlehandedly helping support her family.

Xiao Niao continues seeking financial support but struggles to find someone willing to invest in Lutian Resort. Xia Zhi goes to the resort to work on the renovation plans, but is distracted by Long Jie’s absence. Yi Nan and Jenny visit the Zi Qun Co. chairman’s family for a barbeque; Lora takes a liking to them and invites them out to other social gatherings.

Xia Zhi tries casually asking Long Jie’s father where he is. He says that Long Jie went to visit some friends after his meeting with Little Bird. Xia Zhi wonders why he hasn’t responded to the voicemail she left a few days ago.

Mei Ji tries to ambush Yi Nan outside his office. He jumps away from her when he sees her and tries to keep his distance, clutching his briefcase. Mei Ji tries to ask him about a corporate loan, but he rushes into a taxi while saying goodbye.

She goes back to Xiao Niao’s apartment with more fried chicken and beer. Xiao Niao tries to ignore her and tells her to go home, but Mei Ji makes heaving sounds and pretends she’s about to vomit on Xiao Niao’s doorstep. Alarmed, Xiao Niao opens the door — Mei Ji rushes in, pleased that she tricked Xiao Niao.

Xiao Niao watches Mei Ji with a frown as she pulls out her fries and opens a beer. Mei Ji asks if Xiao Niao hates her, then says that she understands if she does — it seems like all women in the world hate her. Xiao Niao starts unpacking Mei Ji’s food and says that she doesn’t understand why Mei Ji keeps bothering Yi Nan. She should love someone who can make her life more beautiful and not like someone just because their appearance is beautiful.

Mei Ji responds that Xiao Niao doesn’t know a thing about love. Mei Ji believes that true love is worth waiting for. As long as you persist, it will be yours. She’s not like her mother, who thought that her husband had fallen in love with someone else and jumped off a building. Xiao Niao stares at her.


Commentary

As we’ve been talking about in the comments, Little Bird’s business model is super vague. But I suppose as a three-person start-up, there’s a lot of room for them to pivot and figure out what exactly they should be doing. Still, I like how this episode showed us more of the professional dynamic between the three women and how well they balance each other out. Mei Ji has quickly shown that she’s an essential part of the business, keeping Xiao Niao’s big ideas in check and saving everyone’s asses when one of Xiao Niao’s big ideas does fail.

Ooooh I like Jenny. She’s definitely a schemer and not afraid to use people, but that was so smooth what she did with the wine and the clothes and the Zi Qun chairman’s wife. She’s so easily the kind of character who can wreak manipulative havoc if she’s on the wrong side, but right now, she’s on Yi Nan’s side and that’s what makes her fun!

Long Jie and Xia Zhi are SO CHEESY but they make me smile. I’m like Mei Ji — I love the idea of love and being in love — and Long Jie and Xia Zhi’s adorable awkward puppy love makes me simultaneously want to hide in shame from the secondhand embarrassment but I also can’t help but smile. I respect that he isn’t afraid to just go for what he wants with Xia Zhi and is ready to make his own happiness instead of wait around for it to come find him. (Ahem, Yi Nan.)

Long Jie seems like a great rebound for Xia Zhi; I’ll be surprised if he ends up being more than that and I’ll feel so sad for him if he does end up just being a rebound. But it seems like Xia Zhi’s attraction to him has a lot to do with his similarities to Wu Shu, the trauma he saved her from, and her emotional vulnerability from finding out that Yi Nan had been lying to her and the truth of Wu Shu’s departure. That’s not to say her feelings aren’t real, but will they last?

But I have a feeling that Long Jie’s illness is a bit of a ticking time bomb. I just hope that it’s not Xia Zhi who gets her heart broken again.

It looks like we’re going to learn more about Mei Ji’s life soon, and I am all for that! There seems to be a lot of darkness and pain in her past, which makes sense with the overly-sunny personality she projects to the rest of the world. Sometimes she acts ditzy, but it seems like a defensive maneuver for her. She just lets the insults slide right off, because she seems to know from experience that it’s not worth dwelling on. I love that she’s kind of forcing her way into Xiao Niao’s world, perhaps sensing that they’re both lonely souls in their own ways.

3 thoughts on “Recap: The Arc of Life (Ep. 7)”

  1. Thank you for the recap! Again, I think Little Bird needs help with their finances, it was sneaky of the resort to not disclose the terms for renovation before they bid. A start up trying to secure 80 million+ is very difficult considering that they haven’t managed to built their brand enough yet.

    Xiao Niao should really consider using her family contacts to secure funding, at least until they secure themselves. I am glad we are seeing more scenes with Xiao Niao and Mei-ji, I think they are similar in a lot of ways and it’s a shame that XN looks down on MJ.
    Jenny will be a tough enemy but I loved her smooth tactics to win over Auntie Lora. I did laugh a bit when Roy commented that Auntie Lora looks familar (she played his mother in Marry me or not)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for pointing that out about Auntie Lora! I haven’t watched Marry Me or Not, but I love the fun meta touches that these kinds of dramas leave for the seasoned drama watcher 🙂

      Like

    2. I thought Xiao Niao was deliberately not contacting her family because she’s had a falling out, or has a point to prove that she can make it on her own or some such thing.

      I didn’t know about the Auntie Lora connection. That’s funny 😂 Another viewer also pointed out that the Xia Zhi – Long Jie storyline is similar to what Ivy Chen (Xia Zhi) played before, in the film “More than Blue”, with Jasper Liu (I haven’t watched myself, but the synopsis sounds about right).

      I’m not in favour of the XZ-LJ pairing, though. It’s clearly a rebound. Also LJ is too much like Wu Shu. It’s all moving so fast. XZ doesn’t seem like she’s thinking things through rationally; she’s just letting herself get lost in the moment. This is not a bad thing in itself, but in the circumstances, it might do her damage.

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