Love Around Episode 6

We start the episode with Xiao Shu and Zhe Xuan’s bus ride home, where she manages to avoid answering his question about whether she likes Zhou Zhen. She turns the question back on him, and he flaps a bit before telling her that he does like someone. That piques her interest and she offers her broadcasting services for him to confess his feelings. Aww honey, if only you knew.

The next morning in the Zhou residence, Zhou Zhen wakes up to a VIP treatment, with cute little handwritten notes. He’s not surprised at all that Ying Ying is behind it (obviously she got help from annoying Granny). After a few cringeworthy attempts to butter him up, he asks her straight what she wants. She tries to pretend that this is all genuine, but admits that she wants to start up a company, and she needs money. I love that he shoots her down straight away.

He eats his breakfast in his nonchalant manner, as Ying Ying goes on about how she wants to make someone see her in a different light. After a lot more annoying begging, he agrees to look at the risks before investing any money. He wants her to produce a business plan, which has her in a hissy fit. She obviously is averse to any sort of writing. Thankfully Zhou Zhen is sensible enough. No business plan, no money. He ain’t going to flush money down the drain.

Daddy joins the breakfast table and Zhou Zhen quite warmly passes him his favourite dish. Their heartwarming exchange does not go unnoticed by Granny, who smiles approvingly. Ying Ying tries to talk her way out of the business plan with Daddy, who backs Zhou Zhen. This scene is so satisfying if only we didn’t have to put up with Ying Ying.

Oh today’s work attire is blue and white, how suave. He meets Xiao Shu at the lift again (heh) and thanks her for her advice regarding his dad. Once the lift doors open, Xiao Shu is reminded of their embarrassing lift incident. She hesitates for a bit, and Zhou Zhen reassures her that they won’t be that lucky to meet with a malfunction again. I sincerely hope not, too.

She gets butterflies when she looks at him, as Zhe Xuan’s words about how she may feel about Zhou Zhen affects her. She backs into the corner and thinks aloud for the lift to hurry up. That startles Zhou Zhen, who is more concerned than anything. When the lift opens she hurries out. The colleagues notice them arriving together and tease Xiao Shu.

She’s a bit flustered and tries to avoid eye contact with Zhou Zhen. Jessica catches her on her own and checks on her to see why she has been acting funny. Does she have feelings for Zhou Zhen? I love how Jessica is supportive but not pushy or annoying, everyone needs a friend like her.

Zhou Zhen helps Yu Mi move a couple of box files onto Xiao Shu’s desk, and he notices that she keeps tabs on several public figures. He realises that she does not only dish out dirt on his dad, but to other people as well. (I guess it would have helped if he actually listened in to her programme more often other than to request for songs.)

The staff have planned to go to an old folk’s home for a visit in the morning to help out the home with chores and entertain the oldies. After a song and dance session with the oldies, Daddy Zhou arrives in the home. He seems to be a regular visitor, as the home manager and many of the oldies greet him warmly. Xiao Shu and her colleagues are surprised to see him here, while Zhou Zhen tries to hide…behind a ladder. Seriously, ex-gangster boy. Xiao Shu decides to do some impromptu undercover work to find out some dirt from the man first hand, thanks to some nudging from Zhou Zhen. He hopes that some one-on-one interaction between the two will allow Xiao Shu to see a different side to Daddy. Sweet, but I hope he doesn’t end up killing her.

Xiao Shu joins Daddy in the kitchen, dressed up in a Clark Kent-like disguise. She hilariously speaks in an even higher pitch than she usually does. He sets her about washing the vegetables, and she starts to do her digging by recognising him as the gangster Zhou Da Kuan, then asking him what he’s doing in an old folk’s home.

Daddy Zhou is surprisingly only a little gruff with his responses, even when her tone is prodding and maybe a bit rude. In the end he tells her that a lot of the oldies here are parents to his old mates who are still gangsters and are in jail. So now that he is out, he comes to the home to cook for the oldies and take care of them a bit on behalf of their sons. Xiao Shu is a bit taken aback by his answer.

She prods on about a land bid that Daddy’s company won recently, asking if the rumours are true that he won it by using backhanded tactics. He startles her by waving his cleaver right in front of her, but only to remind her to cut the pig trotters into smaller pieces or it would be difficult for the oldies to eat. He gets back to answer her question, saying that he used all his assets to get the land, and the rumours probably came from the disgruntled losers. He laments that there is even less compassion in business than in the mob. He says that the media likes to publish things to suit their agenda, so what you see and hear may not be the whole truth.

Xiao Shu seems quite taken aback by his frankness, and asks how would she know what is true. Daddy Zhou asks her to use her heart. They have a bit of a toast using coke in bowls (gangster style!) because Daddy Zhou thinks she’s worked quite hard. When in fact she barely seemed to have done anything other than ask him questions.

When lunch is served, the colleagues notice that Xiao Shu and Daddy Zhou are on good terms. They deduce a couple of possibilities, including one ridiculous suggestion that she’s joining the mob. Zhou Zhen looks quite pleased with his indirect meddling. He takes the opportunity later to ask Xiao Shu what she thinks of Daddy Zhou now. She thinks that he has guts, stands firm on his principles, cares for his family, and quite a nice guy. Zhou Zhen looks even more pleased, and Xiao Shu is baffled.

Ying Ying works on her business plan, which looks more like a portfolio of pretty pictures. She probably has no clue what a business plan is to begin with. She is fuelled with positive feedback from her useless best friend and Granny, so let’s just say this does not bode well for her.

Jessica catches Xiao Shu gazing at Zhou Zhen at work, and teases her again about it. Zhou Zhen gets a phone call from Sis, no doubt to show off her great achievement. He leaves the office to meet her, and Jessica nudges Xiao Shu to go get coffee with her, no doubt to do some snooping in the meantime.

He looks at her business plan/scrapbook, which only has the headings “where”, “what does it look like”, and “what we sell” coupled with pictures. He all but rolls his eyes and tells her it’s rubbish. No one will want to read it twice. He wants to see some content in it, not just read a magazine. Oh honey, that’s a lot nicer than I would have put it. She pulls out her aegyo trick on him, grabbing his arm and begging him. Furrowed-brow Zhou Zhen makes a brief reappearance, but I don’t blame him.

And of course, Xiao Shu and Jessica come down to witness this bit unfolding before them. Xiao Shu’s face falls as she says to herself that Zhou Zhen has a girlfriend already. Jessica asks if she’s okay, but Xiao Shu just says that she needs to stop over-thinking things. Jessica is outraged on her behalf.

She didn’t think that someone like Zhou Zhen would be a player. Xiao Shu says that she can at least treat him just as a friend now, but when she reaches for the same bottle as Zhou Zhen, things become really awkward. Jessica pulls her away and Xiao Shu avoids all eye contact with him again. Poor Zhou Zhen doesn’t catch on, and looks so hurt.

Xiao Shu is so affected that she doesn’t do her usual programme, but chooses to talk about a listener, Mark, who keeps missing out on the opportunity to confess his feelings, and so can only remain friends. Zhe Xuan looks on as she plays the song, thinking of his own missed opportunity with Xiao Shu.

Meanwhile, Zhou Zhen listens in to the station in the car, saying aloud that Xiao Shu sounds like she’s in a bad mood and wondering why. And he’s interrupted by the singer of the song she plays Peter, another one of Zhou Zhen’s many contacts.

Zhou Zhen cuts to the chase and asks Peter to advertise with the station. They end up with their bikes on a hilly trail. If Zhou Zhen wins Peter will buy an advertisement slot with the station for a year. If he loses, he has to tell Peter if he’s doing all of this for a woman. (Why do you even have to place a bet to know?! Have you been living under a rock? Maybe.)

Zhou Zhen falls off his bike when he tries to avoid running over a dog. It looked like a dog to me, and goodness knows why a dog would hang around there, except maybe it belongs to Peter. He is hurt from the fall (and is that drool I see?) and Peter rushes over to check on him. Zhou Zhen wants to do it over, but Peter says that Zhou Zhen’s tried so hard today, he’ll just sign for the advertisement anyway as a gift to him. More because he feels for his mate than anything. Zhou Zhen quite graciously accepts.

Zhe Xuan informs Xiao Shu that the station is in the green for now, thanks to the furniture advert that Zhou Zhen scored in the previous episode. Xiao Shu’s face falters at the mention of him, and Zhe Xuan notices something wrong. He asks if she wants to run away from home. They go back to their old school and reminisce over old times. Xiao Shu rediscovers hop scotch and Zhe Xuan sees her smiling, thinking that whenever she smiled, all his problems seemed to go away. After he left Taiwan, he realised how much he missed her. So he was determined to go back to her to keep her smiling.

As they play rock-paper-scissors, his monologue carries on, as if building up to his confession. Except when he actually speaks, Xiao Shu gives up on the game because she keeps losing. Poor Zhe Xuan and his bad timing. She goes to get them ice lollies. Zhe Xuan asks her why she’s in a bad mood. He guesses that it’s because of Zhou Zhen, and she tells him that Zhou Zhen has a girlfriend already, so she must have misunderstood him. She laments at how complicated the adult world is. Zhe Xuan reassures her that even if the world changes, he will never change. Xiao Shu agrees happily, and lists out all his habits. She’s lucky to have a best friend like him, and poor Zhe Xuan can only look sadly at her from the friendzone.

Zhe Xuan and Xiao Shu pull out their box of secrets from their old hiding place. It’s filled with little notes that they have written when they were younger, from naughty things they did to sad things to lucky things. The last note is Zhe Xuan’s, and he knows exactly what is written on it as he mouths it before Xiao Shu reads out, “I like you”. He tells her that the person he likes is the one who is holding that piece of paper. No matter what happens, one thing will not change – he will always like Xiao Shu.

***

I want to be happy about this episode after how good Episode 5, but it just didn’t carry on with the feel-good moments. Maybe it was because of the lack of OTP for me, and Zhe Xuan-Xiao Shu just doesn’t do it for me as a pairing. The two of them seem to have quite a bit of an age gap that it’s hard to even buy them as a pair of classmates. And their chemistry is more brother-sister than anything else.

Judging from Xiao Shu’s expression as he confessed, I don’t think much good is to come from it. But it’s better to break little Zhe Xuan’s heart now than to have him meddle later on with the OTP. The only shame is that he will now appear more with the intolerable Ying Ying, whose scenes I cringe at. It’s not so much the character, because a lot of tw-drama girls are written as bratty and annoying, but I think the poor acting makes it worse.

The only silver lining in this episode of the Daddy Zhou moments with Xiao Shu and Zhou Zhen, and Xiao Shu’s colleagues. The camaraderie between the colleagues is fun and believable, and never fails to bring a smile to my face. More of the good, less of the idiocy, please.

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