Love Around Episode 7

This episode really tired me out. I think where this drama fails is that the conflict that it creates for the characters always seem so laughable. There doesn’t seem to be anything really at stake here, which leaves me asking, “can we move on now?” constantly.

Recap:

Zhe Xuan makes his confession to Xiao Shu. He’s even more certain now after meeting her again that all his feelings from when they were younger still remain. He doesn’t want to just be her friend. We can see Xiao Shu struggling to give a response. Zhe Xuan gives her some time to think over her feelings, whether they can become more than just friends. She shoves the box of secrets  back to him and leaves awkwardly.

Ying Ying is still working on her business plan, and when she sees Zhou Zhen hovering, she yells at him to remind him that the deadline is tomorrow morning. He rolls his eyes at her. But eventually ends up helping her out, giving her important points to include and refining her content. She makes a lot of whiny sounds in between. I don’t understand why he has to give her answers to a task that he set for her; it completely defeats the purpose of getting her to do it in the first place! Even he acknowledges that the entire business plan consisted of his own ideas, and he approves of his own business plan. DUH.

Xiao Shu finds Zhou Zhen already at the office when she arrives early. He tells her about securing another year-long advertisement for the station, and she’s genuinely happy. Until he brings up her bad mood from yesterday. She starts to act awkwardly again once reminded of seeing him all chummy with another girl. He buys her coffee and a sandwich, which takes away her excuse to get away from him. She tells him that it’s that time of the month, instead of telling him the real reason. He actually sounds relieved.

When he reaches for her forehead to check her temperature (and I really don’t know anyone who would do this), his hand brushes against hers and he notices that it’s really cold. That of course leads to a bit of awkward hand-holding and jacket-lending. This whole scene just kind of annoys me, because this OTP doesn’t need these tropes to go on just for the skinship. Find some other way for them to be close, hopefully something that involves some form of communication.

The colleagues arrive to witness Xiao Shu wearing his jacket, and she quickly returns it (further proving the whole scene to be absolutely pointless apart from getting us to sympathise with Zhou Zhen). Jessica gruffly tells Yu Mi to turn down the A/C.

Jessica takes Xiao Shu for lunch at a posh restaurant, which Xiao Shu recognises as the one they reported on air for allowing Daddy Zhou to book the entire restaurant for his personal use. They come across an unhappy customer complaining about not getting seated despite there being empty tables in the restaurant. After they get seated, Jessica points out Daddy Zhou dining with Granny at a nearby table. They notice that the tables around him are all booked but empty. (It’s exactly like what Zhou Zhen did in Episode 1 by booking his adjacent batting cages as well. Like father, like son, eh.) Xiao Shu stomps over to ask if Daddy Zhou booked 3 extra tables, which he admits to. She asks him to let the crowd of waiting customers to take those tables, but he refuses, saying that he doesn’t like to be disturbed while dining, plus he has paid for the other tables as well.

Xiao Shu takes a photo of him, much to his dismay. He stands up to argue with Xiao Shu, and the restaurant manager comes over to ask Xiao Shu to leave. The argument just goes on and on, and it just becomes a bit tiring. Jessica and Xiao Shu eventually decide to leave. Xiao Shu is a bit disappointed after this encounter, as her opinion of him had started to change after their meeting at the old folk’s home.

She decides to out him on air, and this time she doesn’t even bother to censor his name. Daddy Zhou is furious, while Granny thinks that the photo Xiao Shu posted of him looks really good. Zhou Zhen comes back to the station too late to stop this from happening.

Meanwhile, Zhe Xuan gets summoned to the conference room by his boss to be introduced to a new client who has requested for him by name.

It is Ying Ying of course, who has sacrificed her beauty sleep just so that she could get back at him first. He asks her where she plans to get the money from, how is she going to find a shop, all of which she answers that her family will help. He laughs at her for proving him right, that she’s still a spoilt little brat who has to depend on her daddy.

He refuses to even look at her business plan, as he has no time to waste on someone like her. She tries to make him read it, but he won’t give in, saying that he’ll quit if he has to. Ying Ying yells at him some more, then passes out. Zhe Xuan thinks it’s another trick (and I don’t blame him), but she did collapse because of exhaustion.

While waiting for her to come to in the emergency room, he reads through her business plan. She wakes up surprised to be in the hospital, but she’s even more surprised that he’s read her business plan. He’s impressed, and apologises to her like a gentleman. She’s thrilled that he’s agreed to help her out.

Zhou Zhen receives a warning text from his Granny that the volcano (Dad) is about to erupt, so be prepared. He lets out a sigh. He brings Xiao Shu a cup of hot chocolate and a heat patch. She tells him that he doesn’t need to take good care of her just because of her recent breakup. She’s gotten over it already, plus someone else might misunderstand his actions. It’s worded so vaguely that it baffles him. She doesn’t offer any explanation and he leaves for home.

When she finally leaves the office, Xiao Shu gets a call from Zhe Xuan, asking if she’s still at the office. She lies that she’s already on the bus home, obviously trying to avoid having any awkward conversation with him. But she walks out just in front of him. Oops. Cue to the most awkward silence ever as they wait for the bus. The look on Zhe Xuan’s face is heartbreaking.

Xiao Shu tries to break the silence by apologising. She admits that she doesn’t know what to say to him after his confession the previous day. He says that he’s given her time to think of her answer, but she tells him that she’s just trying to find the least painful way to say no to him. Poor boy. Rejection is always difficult to swallow.

He can’t pretend to be okay, so he tells her that he won’t send her home today, and he won’t appear in front of her in the meantime. He needs time before he can go back to being her friend. Fair enough. She apologises, which seems like rubbing salt into his wounds. He gets on the bus without her.

Zhou Zhen returns home to what seems like a sobbing Granny, and he heads over, concerned. Except she’s not crying, she’s laughing at a funny video. He asks about Daddy, and she points him towards the karaoke room. Ying Ying is already doing Daddy duty with her song-and-dance routine to entertain Daddy.  Zhou Zhen takes over from her, and she’s more than glad to hand over the job after the day she’s had.

Zhou Zhen brings up the incident with Xiao Shu today, but Daddy gestures for him to stop. Zhou Zhen doesn’t need to defend her, because Daddy Zhou plans to keep to his word to allow for 3 months for Zhou Zhen to change her opinion of Daddy. That’s reassuring. However, Daddy reminds Zhou Zhen that he won’t be the only one to be offended by Xiao Shu’s radio show.

Zhe Xuan gets a care package when he comes it to work, which is an omelette prepared by Xiao Shu. She hopes that this will cheer him up a bit and he will reappear in front of her soon.

At work, Zhou Zhen (in a yellow shirt today!) notices the heat patch he gave to Xiao Shu yesterday sitting in the rubbish bin, unused. He’s probably starting to think why he went to all the trouble to help her out and protect her from his dad in the first place. He gets a surprise visit from his sister, and his injury from the bicycle race with Peter starts to trouble him. He pulls her out of the office and she asks him for money for her shop. Slow at everything, but quick to ask for cash. Haha.

He balks at the amount (NTD500,000), but really, he should know the start-up amount she needs from the business plan he did for her, shouldn’t he? Hello, have you got a brain haemorrhage, scriptwriter? She negotiates for 400,000 in her annoying aegyo manner, and again Xiao Shu and Jessica come across the pair.

This time, Jessica marches straight over and tells Zhou Zhen off for using company time to deal with personal issues. He apologises, but Ying Ying is about to kick up a fuss, so he puts his hand over her mouth. Xiao Shu says it doesn’t matter, he can take care of his issues with his girlfriend before going back to work. Both Ying Ying and Zhou Zhen pipe up in unison to set her straight – they are brother and sister.

Well, am I glad that the angst from this silly misunderstanding didn’t carry on for two more episodes. Zhou Zhen properly introduces his sister to them, and both Jessica and Xiao Shu smile at her, partly in embarrassment and partly relief. Ying Ying recognises Xiao Shu’s name (obviously from Daddy’s constant complaining at home), but Zhou Zhen shuts her up before she gets any further.

Ying Ying obviously gets the cash, because she calls Zhe Xuan to meet her for some urgent accounting work. She hands him a handbag full of money (lol at how gangster this is), saying that he’s the accountant, he has to take care of her money for her. Which involves him going to various shops for ‘research’. Cue shopping montage!

She does a whole load of shopping, and his accounting skills come into good use when he helps her haggle, too. He also gets mistaken for her boyfriend, much to their dismay. Even her friend Pei Li agrees that he’s quite capable. 15 shopping bags later, he stops her from buying any more, because if she spends all her money on ‘research’, she won’t have any money left for other important things for the shop. He tells her firmly that if she wants to shop, she can do it with her own money, not the money for the business. She storms off in a huff, but doesn’t carry on shopping.

Xiao Shu and Jessica meet Feifei as they try to get a taxi to bring some old books and CDs over to a primary school. Feifei brings her contribution and they get a bit of cute banter before Zhou Zhen pulls over. Jessica is back on the Zhou Zhen train, and she immediately agrees to let Zhou Zhen take her there. Feifei chimes in, and in no time Zhou Zhen is moving all the stuff into the car. Jessica urges Xiao Shu to take the opportunity to see if there’s a chance between her and Zhou Zhen. I love Jessica too much to hate her for her meddling. Feifei smells love in the air too. I love this bunch of people.

The silence in the air between Zhou Zhen and Xiao Shu is thankfully filled with the banter from the radio. When a motorcycle cuts in front of Zhou Zhen’s car quite suddenly, he give the motorcyclist a honk but the motorcyclist just waves back nonchalantly. This riles up Xiao Shu, who asks if there’s a black box or any sort of fancy equipment in his car to report the motorcyclist. Zhou Zhen is not too bothered about it. Xiao Shu explains that her father used to be a policeman, so he raised her to have a strong sense of justice. Which is why she uses her radio time to bring public figures to justice in her own way.

Zhou Zhen asks if that’s why she hates gangsters, and she nods. What if a gangster is trying to change their ways? Zhou Zhen tells her that he’s met someone like that before. Not everything is black or white – things you see or hear are not always true. The only way to know the truth is by using your heart. This is exactly what Daddy Zhou said to her in the old folk’s home, and she wonders at that, plus they both have the same surname…

Zhou Zhen quickly diverts her by saying that there is no absolute right or wrong in the world. She thanks him for the life lesson, and the mood seems to lighten a bit now as they both smile.

They bring the gifts to the school, and are invited to come along to an excursion with the children at the stream. They have a good time messing about with the kids. When Xiao Shu and Zhou Zhen step aside to dry off, she realises that he’s never experienced that as a kid. (Of course, he was too busy beating up other kids…) She teases him a bit, and he avoids answering her by getting up to leave. We are again reminded of his injury, which I expect will be the cause of something serious later, now that we are shown it for the nth time (plus flashback).

Xiao Shu goes to get a drink while Zhou Zhen gets the car. She meets one of the children, Xiao Wei, on her way down. He gives her a bottle with one of the fishes he caught today.

While on the phone with Jessica, a white car drives really quickly past Xiao Shu, startling her. She then hears some honking and a loud crash. She turns back and sees the white car stopped in the middle of the road. She sees Xiao Wei lying on the road, and the blue balloon he was holding is now floating up into the air. The image of the blue balloon turns into one of a yellow balloon, and this stirs something in Xiao Shu. This might be how her brother died.

She recognises the driver as Zhou Sheng Min, one of the people she rats about on air. She runs up to him and smells alcohol in his breath. She tries to stop him from getting back into his car, but he shoves her aside and drives off. Jessica manages to catch some bits of their exchange over the phone. Xiao Shu runs after the car and gets in through the back seat door. She wrestles with him, trying to get him to stop (which surely will be more dangerous?), and in the process they almost collide headfirst with Zhou Zhen’s car. Xiao Shu is flung back as Zhou Sheng Min swerves to avoid hitting him, and she’s knocked unconscious.

Zhou Zhen finds Xiao Wei on the road, and a passerby has rang for an ambulance. Jessica rings Zhou Zhen to ask where Xiao Shu is. He doesn’t know where she is, but spots her phone on the other side of the road. Jessica fills him in on what she knows, that Xiao Shu went after the hit-and-run guy. He puts everything together and figures that Xiao Shu has been taken by Zhou Sheng Min. And we have Zhou Zhen to the rescue.

***

Now, let me get this off my chest: how in the bloody world is it acceptable for Xiao Shu to run after the culprit instead of tending to the boy first?! How is that her first instinct? The writer has got it all wrong here. If Xiao Shu is as righteous as she is, she should care for the very people she’s trying to stand up for, not run after the culprit. She has no right to arrest nor prosecute the man. She didn’t even check to see if the boy was okay, if he was still breathing. And there were no other people around for her to assume that they’d call for help. I find this absolutely unacceptable and I can’t believe that not a single person involved in the script or the shooting pointed this out before it was aired.

I thought bratty Ying Ying was the worst character that the drama has to throw at us, but now it seems that Xiao Shu is starting to grate on me. At the essence, both these characters are quite sheltered girls, well taken care of by their parents. Yes, Xiao Shu had experienced a tragic loss in the case of her brother which may explain her overly righteous personality, but doesn’t take away the fact that she fails to see the big picture. It is difficult to judge what is socially acceptable in the case of the restaurant incident with Daddy Zhou, but in the case of the car accident, it is painfully obvious that she was wrong.

I was so agitated after finishing the episode that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stomach the next one. If everyone acts like she’s the victim and no one gives her any comeuppance for her actions, I shall be very disappointed indeed.

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