The Queen of SOP Episode 17

Xiao Jie reappears in Shanghai, and her arrival in Huang Hai surprises Tang Jun. He doesn’t give her the warm welcome she was expecting, his recent misunderstanding of her is still fresh in his mind. Unfortunately, she has no inkling of that, and probably just thinks he’s being cold.

Tang Min calls Tang Jun to her office just as Xiao Jie was introduced to the colleagues. Tang Min warns him to keep things professional between him and Xiao Jie, saying that Xiao Jie has plainly stated that the two are just friends. Really? Do we need you to further drive a wedge between the two of them? Cos they’re doing that on their own just fine. To rub salt to the wound, Tang Min is confident that Xiao Jie will not be interested in Tang Jun – even Gao Zi Qi is not good enough for her, what more our puny Tang Jun? Awww, if only she knew.

Tang Jun obviously takes all these to heart, including Sis’s snide comment about not wanting him to be a lovesick fool in the office. He stands up, annoyed, and assures her that he won’t be the one embarrassing the family. Chu Chu eavesdrops on their conversation with glee, knowing that Xiao Jie is out of the picture. Or so she thinks.

She sidles over to Tang Jun as he leaves, trying to get the juice from their conversation (didn’t you just listen in to it?). No matter what, she will stand by him. And the expression on his face shows just how happy he is at that.

Meanwhile, Xiao Jie settles into the department and asks about their progress on the anniversary event. They have already prepared information for the bits she asks for. She doesn’t say more, but later on she goes to get some snacks for everyone.

When she returns, she overhears them in gossip mode about her. They are smug about how they’ve already managed to cover the details Xiao Jie was asking after, so they don’t need some outsider coming in and telling them how to do their jobs. Team Leader worries that she may be sent here to get rid of staff.

Xiao Jie walks off without making her presence known, and eats all the snacks she bought for them by herself. Poor thing. This is when Tang Jun would usually show up to cheer her up, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen this time. She finishes off the last bits of food and walks back into the office with determination, with Tang Min’s comments about not acting on emotions ringing through her head. She calls for a meeting tomorrow to give some feedback about the planning of the anniversary so far. Team Leader tries to object, but to no avail.

While the staff lament about having to deal with all these management changes, we see a bit of a romance subplot between the Team Leader Xue Shao and Su Li. Well, probably more like a one-sided thing from the Team Leader, but we’ll see where this goes.

We also see Zi Qi working through the night back in Taipei, for no other reason apart from reminding us that he still exists. In case we forget that he didn’t appear in the previous one. He takes a stroll through the supermarket in Hai Yue, and accidentally knocks over a beer tower, which leads him to reminisce about his encounter with Xiao Jie here. He broods (or at least tries to brood, it’s hard to tell) while putting it back together. He tells his imaginary Xiao Jie that everything seems to have a solution when she’s around.

At the dreaded meeting the following day, Xiao Jie tears into the team’s proposal for the anniversary event. She questions their ‘borrowing’ of the shopping fair concept from abroad – have they considered whether they can adapt the concept to the local buying patterns? She picks on the finer details of the proposal too, and tells everyone to think of a new one, even calling them primary schoolchildren at one point. Ooh, some fire in her now.

Tang Jun stands up for the team, backing the idea and asking Xiao Jie not to scrap it completely, because everyone’s put a lot of effort into it. They can work on the finer details and improve on it. Tang Jun steps up to take the responsibility, but Xiao Jie pulls him aside to have a word in private. After they leave the room, Chu Chu steps in to tell everyone that she’s organising a night out to welcome Xiao Jie. The staff refuse to go, not after she’s just tore them apart at the meeting.

Xiao Jie expresses her surprise that Tang Jun would allow the team to proceed with such a safe, lacklustre idea. He fires back at her, saying that his mum is lying in the hospital and his sister is now acting CEO, so the board of directors are just waiting for them to fail. Therefore, they picked a safer option. Xiao Jie disagrees, and points out that his mother would not want to see them play safe when they can think of something new. Xiao Jie is not impressed with the staff attitude and ability. Tang Jun is taken aback at her bluntness, asking her if she’s still Lin Xiao Jie. Maybe just not the one that he’s used to.

Back at the meeting room, Chu Chu persuades the disgruntled staff to go to the night out by threatening to tell on them to Tang Min if they don’t. I suppose that’ll do. She then goes to find Xiao Jie and Tang Jun, only to find them still in the heat of argument. Xiao Jie doesn’t let on the true reason she’s in Huang Hai, probably to keep her word about separating work and personal feelings.

Xiao Jie is reluctant to go for the night out too, needing time to look over the proposal for the anniversary event. Chu Chu doesn’t really take no for an answer, so she tells Xiao Jie she’ll see her later. Then she says goodbye to Tang Jun like a girlfriend would to a boyfriend. Now where did she get that idea from? How dare she. Once she leaves, Xiao Jie and Tang Jun literally turn their backs against each other, as if they are having a standoff in primary school.

Tang Min asks Xiao Jie if she’s going for the welcome night now, but Xiao Jie tells her there’s no need to socialise with the staff – she’s here to get rid of them. I suppose it’s only normal to not want to form emotional attachment to people whose lives you are going to destroy, but Tang Min is disappointed. She reminds Xiao Jie what she said about not letting her emotions dictate her actions, and that there are no friends at work, only enemies. Whoa, okay, that’s harsh. So you really want to train her to be a mean, two-faced, ruthless machine then. Tang Min reveals that she’s especially asked for the night out to be organised. That explains a lot.

So their night out entertainment is a mash-up of spin-the-bottle and truth or dare, but with only the truth bit. The bottle is turned and the person it points to gets asked one question. This serves only to make Xiao Jie feel bad as she learns about some of their personal lives and troubles. With sob stories that are impossible to not feel for, when told with an ounce of sincerity and acceptance, especially Su Su.

Everyone gets excited when the bottle points at Xiao Jie, because they obviously have millions of questions for her. Xiao Jie takes liberal swigs from her glass, which only mean bad things to come. They fire loads of questions at her, including why she left Zi Qi, what’s her relationship with Tang Jun like, why she’s at Huang Hai, is she here to fire them etc. She’s sober enough to only deflect their questions at first. Multiple rounds later, after Xue Shao reveals that he’s never had a girlfriend before and that he’s a virgin, it’s Tang Jun’s turn to spin the bottle.

He doesn’t even bother spinning it and puts it straight to face Xiao Jie. Zheng Fan asks her why she keeps picking bones with their proposal. Xiao Jie tells them she wants to fire them all, but picks it up quickly by saying that if they keep giving her old ideas she can’t make a convincing argument to Tang Min to keep them. She then proceeds to point out each one of their major flaws, but not in as harsh a tone as she did earlier.

Xiao Jie wraps it up by saying that the person most in danger of being fired is Tang Jun, because his head will be the first on the chopping block if he continues to let others slack. Tang Jun asks her if she returned to Huang Hai for him. I don’t think she’ll admit it openly, not in front of all the staff anyway.

Drunken Xiao Jie says she returned for Gao Zi Qi. WHAT? That’s not the way to spite him, really. Chu Chu has to suppress her smile. Tang Jun is just, well. Where he was at the start of the episode anyway. Cold and annoyed.

After the party ends, everyone now despises Xiao Jie a little less. Tang Jun finds Xiao Jie squatting outside of the pub. Drunken Xiao Jie touches his eyebrow and calls him Tom (aww), and he tries to send her home. She walks away on her own. And he lets her?! He’s stalked her all over London while she was sober and now he’s letting her get home on her own. Logic, please.

 

He thinks back to what she said when she was making her birthday cake, about the birth of a whole new Xiao Jie. So that’s where the ‘are you still Lin Xiao Jie?’ came from. He also flashes back to what Drunken Xiao Jie said earlier, but his thoughts are interrupted by a man saying that a drunk lady being in a serious accident. Tang Jun runs back towards where Xiao Jie went.

Aww, they ended where they should. I have no doubt Xiao Jie will be fine, although i do hope that they both come to their senses soon and just be frank with each other as they have been all along.

 

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