Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Arc of Life (Ep. 10)

Yi Nan tries to stay true to his principles, but doing the right thing isn’t always rewarded, especially when the truth isn’t welcome. Xiao Niao finds herself getting more involved with Lin Chuan Xiang while telling herself it’s all business-related. Mei Ji bristles at being overworked, especially after she finds herself a new boyfriend.


Recap

Jenny sets the dinner table for Yi Nan at his apartment, then watches sadly as Yi Nan follows after an upset Xia Zhi into the apartment, trying to console her. They don’t seem to notice her as Yi Nan tries to figure out a way to comfort Xia Zhi while she insists that she’s fine even though she’s crying. They fade away — it was just her imagination.

When Yi Nan actually gets home, Jenny is asleep on the couch. He tiptoes in, trying not to wake her up, but she bolts awake anyway. He eats the food that she prepared, not minding that it’s cold because she prepared it with love and so it’ll taste good no matter what, which makes her smile, but she insists on heating it up anyway.

The Little Bird women go straight to the office when they get back to the city. Xia Zhi gets a call from her father, who reminds her exactly how much money she owes him.

Mei Ji receives news that Lin Chuan Xiang has decided to give up his claim on the storefront space Little Bird wanted. She asks Xiao Niao if and when she agreed to go on a date with him, but Xiao Niao is looking at an article on her phone that Ah De sent her. Chuan Xiang has been accused of plagiarizing his artwork.

Mei Ji gasps and asks if her “boyfriend” was honest with her about this, then tells her not to feel bad. Xiao Niao glares at her.

Later, Mei Ji celebrates at the new, empty storefront that it’s finally theirs. She thinks it’s a karmic reward for doing good in her life, but no one is really listening to her. Ah De shies away from her fearfully when she approaches, struggling to process her exuberant flow of words, while Xia Zhi is caught up in nostalgic memories after flipping to a page in her design notebook containing sketches from her “Wonderland” project at Lutian Resort.

At night, Xia Zhi finds Xiao Niao contemplating Chuan Xiang’s situation. Xiao Niao explains that she thinks it could benefit Little Bird if they help Chuan Xiang clear up the plagiarism accusation. Xia Zhi responds that she doesn’t need to explain herself to her.

The stock price for S.U.N. Pluto, a subsidiary of the corporation, keeps growing rapidly. Yi Nan voices his concerns with the situation to Director Ding. They both know that S.U.N.’s ambitious growth and spending is exceeding their actual revenue. He seems concerned that S.U.N. is overvalued and that it signifies financial trouble for the company. In the end, it’ll be their bank that loses the most.

Director Ding waves off Yi Nan’s concerns, but calls Chen Huo Mu to ask about S.U.N.’s recent overseas investments. Chen doesn’t like his line of questioning and tries to avoid giving him a straightforward answer about S.U.N.’s financial decisions.

Xiao Niao tries to track down Chuan Xiang and finds him hiding in a playground near the hotel where he’s staying (and where reporters are waiting for him.) She wants to know why he won’t explain himself to the press. Is he really going to give up his child? (There’s a story about how he once told his professor that his artwork is like his child.) Chuan Xiang responds that he doesn’t care what other people think — as long as he knows his child is his own, that’s all that matters.

Xiao Niao heatedly responds that it’s a parent’s responsibility to look after and protect their child from other people. Chuan Xiang counters that there are some problems children must solve themselves. A parent can’t make all decisions for their child. Xiao Niao says that if Chuan Xiang doesn’t tell the truth, then his fans and supporters will be hurt. If he doesn’t call out and stop the person who is trying to defame, then they’ll only go on to hurt more people.

Xiao Niao knows that there’s proof Chuan Xiang was working on his supposedly plagiarized painting five years ago, when Mu Zi Li, the person whose artwork he “plagiarized,” was his assistant. Xiao Niao points out that all they have to do is figure out when Mu Zi Li made his painting and then the truth will come out. Chuan Xiang says that Mu Zi Li isn’t a bad person — he just wants to make a name for himself. But Xiao Niao says that if this person truly has artistic talent, then they need to stop him from making the same mistakes again. He can’t make a name for himself at the expense of others and if there’s a first time, then there will be a second time. Chuan Xiang lies down. He doesn’t have the ability or desire to want to take care of this problem.

Xiao Niao tells Chuan Xiang that it’s not his responsibility to take care of problems like these — it’s his agent’s responsibility. Chuan Xiang asks if she wants to be his agent. She responds that she won’t charge him for this job, but in the future, she wants him to have a 60/40 split with Little Bird. He tries to hug her, but she dodges away. She tells him that she’ll deal with the media and business side of things for him from here on out. He asks if he can move in with her so they can work together more easily. She warns him to stop following her.

She pauses outside an elementary school, waiting by the gates for a moment before turning around and leaving right as the students start heading outside.

Yi Nan sleuths around for more information on some of S.U.N.’s building projects, calling Xiao Niao and confiding in May that he thinks something big will happen at S.U.N. soon. He regrets not pushing harder to stop the contract with S.U.N., but May points out that has a newcomer to Ding’s team, he could hardly defy his boss. All the paperwork with the specific project Yi Nan funded looks okay, but he still seems concerned.

Yi Nan’s concerns are well-founded, because it’s not long before news breaks that Chen Huo Mu has been embezzling from S.U.N. Multiple banks are impacted by the multi-billion dollar loss in fall-out, including Yi Nan’s bank. Ding comes under fire for not scrutinizing the S.U.N. contract more. Yi Nan is also questioned for his role in securing the specific project contract and learns that some of the documents provided during the appraisal process were forged.

Yi Nan goes straight to Ding upon learning about the forgery and demands to know how much S.U.N. gave him to keep him quiet and push the contract through. Ding is offended at the bribery accusation and claims he just wanted to get the contract signed. They argue while employees outside watch through the glass walls. Ding tells Yi Nan that it’s not the process that matters — only the result. He can avoid taking the fall if he can push the blame onto someone else. Later, Yi Nan watches grimly from a distance as May comforts a sobbing coworker.

Yi Nan shares with Jenny his secret recording of one of his earlier meetings with Ding about the S.U.N. contract. She frowns and tells him that someone like Ding probably won’t care about these recordings. He’ll have better luck asking a lawyer to give them a listen. But Yi Nan doesn’t want to involve lawyers. Jenny tells him that he was too impulsive in confronting Ding. He’ll probably find some way to make it impossible for Yi Nan to stay. He should have told her earlier about his problems with S.U.N.

“I don’t need to report everything to you, do I?” he asks.

Jenny says that she should go, seeming to not want a fight. She tells Yi Nan that she’s just trying to look out for him. She doesn’t want him to lose his job at the bank — doesn’t he like it there?

Yi Nan apologizes to Jenny for lashing out. He shouldn’t have taken out his frustration on her. She responds that their priority should be figuring out a way to minimize the impact of this problem on Yi Nan’s career. That makes Yi Nan frustrated again. She’s not going to try to make someone else take the fall for him, is she? He knows that he was the one who signed the contract and is the one responsible, but he also wants the truth to be known. Jenny says that the truth isn’t important. Experiencing some grievances in the workplace is inevitable.

Yi Nan interrupts her. He doesn’t care if he has to deal with arrogant clients or unreasonable bosses, but he can’t stand to see how Ding Zhi Jie makes life difficult for hard-working small businesses who need money while using corporate money to line his own pockets with bribes and supporting financial crimes.

Jenny tries to reason with him. She understands how he’s feeling, but if he’s too stubborn he’s just making life difficult for himself and his clients in the future. He responds that she’s just afraid he’ll make life difficult for her business connections. She denies it — she’s just trying to look out for him. He thinks she’s just trying to look out for herself, worried about how she’ll look in front of her family if her boyfriend is no longer a successful financier.

Jenny heads home for real, not wanting to fight. He asks her to stop getting involved with this matter. She leaves without responding.

Xiao Niao manages to resolve Chuan Xiang’s plagiarism situation while also getting herself and Little Bird’s name out to the media. After a successful press conference, she returns to the Little Bird office to find Chuan Xiang in a back room working on a painting. He broke in through a window and decided to move his studio here so he can see her everyday. Xiao Niao gives him an unamused look and doesn’t say anything.

Yi Nan drinks by himself and stares up at the night sky, as if trying to summon the courage or drown out any doubts for what he’s about to do next. The next day, he heads into the office and reports Ding, but ends up getting suspended and put under investigation. Coworkers whisper behind him about how he’s committing career suicide by going after Ding, who is favored by the higher-ups. If James couldn’t do anything about Ding, how could he?

Ding runs into Yi Nan and taunts him — he gave him a way out, but he didn’t take it so now he has no choice. Yi Nan responds that he believes in right and wrong and leaves with his head held high. Ding looks happy to see him go.

Mei Ji has a new boyfriend, Da Tian (oh hi Bryan Chang), whom she met online. He seems like Mr. Perfect, complete with a romantic dip and kiss (…in front of a car wash?) on one of their first dates. Her phone blows up with texts from him while she works with Xia Zhi to set up their first storefront.

Xia Zhi heads out to meet with the senior home director, who praises her dedication and consideration in her plans for renovation. Yi Nan also shows up and tells the director that he may lose his job with the bank soon, but he won’t give up on helping her acquire a loan.

Afterward, Xia Zhi commiserates with Yi Nan over having difficult-to-work-with bosses in the corporate world. They share a laugh over how they each wish they could beat up Ding and Ken, but they couldn’t. Yi Nan comments that everyone seems to have these kinds of inner demons that come out whenever they feel powerless. Xia Zhi wonders if it’s better to follow instructions for the sake of a salary, or to try your hardest to not be changed by the world around you?

All of these issues becoming public should at least be a positive turn of events, right? Yi Nan says that all he wants is for the truth to be known. He hopes that the world can become a better place, even if just a little bit, because of him.

Xia Zhi scoots closer. The world already is a better place because of him. Can’t he feel it? Yi Nan thanks her for her encouragement, but she says that she’s just telling the truth. He’s the best.

Chuan Xiang is so exhausted after a gallery opening that Ah De has to carry him back to the office because he stayed up all night. Xiao Niao lectures him for not taking care of himself, saying that self-care is a professional obligation, then lectures him on his messiness in the office. Chuan Xiang just smiles derpily, saying this must be Xiao Niao’s way of showing her love. Xiao Niao adamantly claims she only cares from a business perspective as his agent.

Later, Xiao Niao quizzes Mei Ji on the names for different types of tableware that they’re planning on displaying and selling in the Little Bird storefront, but Mei Ji struggles to get any of them right. Xiao Niao is annoyed since the store opening is right around the corner, but Mei Ji is also irritated by how overworked she is. She storms out and calls Da Tian, trying to meet up, but he says he’s busy. Mei Ji firmly believes dating makes life better and is a motivation for working hard. She complains to herself that Xiao Niao wouldn’t understand because she’s a workaholic without a love life.

Chuan Xiang challenges Xiao Niao to a bet — if she wins, he’ll tidy up every day. If he does, she’ll have to willingly tidy up after him. It’s really just an excuse to ask Xiao Niao out on a bowling date. Chuan Xiang strikes every time, while Xiao Niao struggles a little more. He gives her some pointers, which helps, but she still loses in the end.

In the morning, Chuan Xiang eats breakfast on the couch while Xiao Niao cleans up around him. He beams, commenting that they seem like a married couple right now. Xiao Niao doesn’t seem to agree.

Jenny cooks breakfast for Yi Nan, having taken a few days off before her hotel’s grand opening because she knows she’ll be busy afterward. She asks Yi Nan if he wants to go somewhere together today, but he says he’s busy. He pauses briefly before telling her what he’s up to — he has a meeting with Xia Zhi to discuss the senior home renovation plans. Jenny is surprised. She didn’t know that Xia Zhi is the designer working on the renovation. Yi Nan invites her to come along — they can check out Little Bird’s first store on the way — but Jenny makes up an excuse about having some work to take care of at the office and says she’ll meet up with him later.

Xia Zhi and Ah De are setting up the shop before opening but realize that a bunch of the price tags are incorrect. When Xiao Niao arrives and sees what’s wrong, she demands to know who labeled the items. Xia Zhi doesn’t say, but it’s enough for Xiao Niao to guess that it was Mei Ji, who is nowhere in sight.

Mei Ji is with Da Tian, having helped him out with some of his work at the daycare he’s involved with. She offers to work overtime with him, but he politely declines her offer. He doesn’t want their relationship to disrupt their work — that would be irresponsible of him. Mei Ji beams, finding him so different and special. Out of all the guys she’s dated, he’s the first one who hasn’t slept with her within their first three dates. Da Tian looks aghast at the suggestion that they would sleep together before marriage. He won’t sleep with her until they’re married.

Mei Ji coos over how much Da Tian truly loves and respects her, but when he’s not looking, she makes a puzzled face.


Commentary

I’m glad Mei Ji’s happy, but something about Da Tian seems too good to be true. I’m just waiting for it to be revealed that he already has a girlfriend or something and that’s why he’s established so many boundaries.

Chuan Xiang is a huge man-child and not the kind of person I would think of as Xiao Niao’s love interest. Already, there’s this dynamic where she has to (literally) clean up all his messes. He’s way too laissez faire for someone like Xiao Niao, but I suppose that’s also something positive he brings to their relationship. He forces her to be a little looser and view things in a fun way instead of being tense all the time.

Meanwhile, I’m glad Xia Zhi is doing better and has rediscovered her easy friendship with Yi Nan in a way that doesn’t feel one-sided anymore. Her relationship with Long Jie feels like a necessary intermediate step after Yi Nan and has allowed both her and Yi Nan to “find themselves” more. Wu Shu seems like he was just a trash person. Long Jie was a huge step up, someone who wasn’t nearly as selfish and wanted to do some good in the world (but a lot of that mindset was probably because of his terminal illness.) And then a fully-realized Yi Nan is probably the best kind of person she could find for herself. Someone who genuinely wants to do good in the world and has the ability and confidence to do it. Yi Nan used to never be true to himself, but now he’s starting to.

I feel bad for Jenny, though, because she’s clearly feeling a bit insecure with Xia Zhi in the picture but is also trying really hard not to be the jealous girlfriend. Yi Nan also seems to be trying really hard to make this relationship work, but it seems like the biggest issue between them will still be the way that Jenny pushes her ambitions onto Yi Nan. Yi Nan can use a bit of pushing outside his comfort zone to do bigger things, but Jenny also doesn’t seem as principled as he is. She’ll do whatever it takes to get and maintain power, but Yi Nan wants to do things the right way, even if it makes life difficult.

5 thoughts on “Recap: The Arc of Life (Ep. 10)”

  1. Thank you for the recap, all I can remember from this episode is Yi Nan strutting through the office in that white shirt 😉
    I think I’m going to stop the drama here because I am frustrated with how the story is developing.

    Like

    1. Hi Ayan ,

      I understand and I am not looking forward to the rest of the drama as I did up to ep.9.

      I have had a preview of ep 11 and 12 and I can say that I don’t take their business venture too seriously. There are way too many holes in their business plan (if they have one) and the three “principals” are just not focused enough to make it a success. The timelines are a bit fuzzy but in the real world, they would have gone “belly up” in no time flat.

      At the same time, I don’t put much store in their sisterhood – too jarring set of personalities. If Mei Ji were not there, I could definitely see it.

      1. Xiao Niao was a cool, efficient executive secretary in the first few episodes. Now she is running around trying to do business with two ditzy buddies. Complete change. With her connections and knowledge, she should be knocking the ball out of the business park despite her two tagalongs.

      2. Xia Zhi is unfocused and dwelling in self-pity but not in a believable way (I blame the director and writer for this – is this even the same writer?) . Okay girl suck it up. Life is crappy and you lost someone very close to you. Most people who have gone through a similar thing either throw themselves into work, or hide in their house for a while. But your business is on the line here. Do or do not. The in-between is sadly lacking in believability (hello, director)

      3. Mei Ji, Don’t even get me started on her. I personally would never go into business or even have her work for/with me. She has only one tone and that is shrill, loud and stupid. I blame the director for her characterization also.

      4. Yi Nan. I like him a lot and he is the one focal point that brightens up the whole drama. Serious, honest, struggling with integrity and morals.

      5. Jenny. Don’t like her. Annoying. Sad person. Probably excellent businesswoman, although we don’t get to see much of that. Can’t really believe that she loves Yi Nan.

      I can recommend several Chinese dramas that are in the same vein business/family/sisterhood that are much better.

      1. Nothing But Thirty (3 urban women who encounter difficulties in love and work, family relationships) starring Maggie Jiang and Tong Yao

      2. All is Well starring Yao Chen (her business and work are interrupted all the time by her crazy family. Yao Chen is awesome in this drama.

      I don’t get a chance to see Taiwanese Dramas all that often.. so I will likely persist but may need to make up my own story and ending.

      Episode 9 was the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Molly, thank you so much for the recommendations! Will try to check them out soon.

        I guess I got my hopes too high from the first episode of this drama. I’ve not seen a lot of dramas about a start up and one that features three women with very different personalities. I was imagining it would be something like Search WWW.

        I think Mei-ji is my favourite character so far because she seems to be the most developed. I can empathize with her situation and she is talented at sales/ motivating people.
        Xiao Niao and Xia Zhi, I don’t think the writer knows what is going on.

        I don’t mind Jenny and Yi Nan, they care for each other but you can tell their principles and work ethic clashes a lot.
        I think Xia Zhi relying on Yi Nan will also put a wedge in their relationship.

        Like

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