“So..” uncertainly, JieEr exclaims, “This is the place where we planted the red and green cloths… A tree actually grew out of it.” DongFang Xiang merely looks on. “That’s strange…” JieEr continues, as if talking to herself, “if we really did bury the cloths here”, she takes out Xiang’s jersey, “Then where did these come from?”
Looking innocent, Xiang answers, “I dug them up.” Keeping his gaze straight, he continues gently, “There was one year where the typhoon attacked. The sea water raised so high that this area was submerged in water.” He steals a glance at her, half orienting his body towards her, Xiang continues, “So then, I ran here and dug them up and planted a tree while I was at it.” After a brief pause, Xiang adds to lighten the mood, “It grew better than I expected.”
Turning towards Xiang now, JieEr reluctantly inquires, “So… you believe little red and little green can continue to be friends?” (Me: yeah, once they get past the master-servant status differences) Without turning, Xiang answers with all the sincerity he could muster, “Even if reality states otherwise, to me, they’ve already been together. And will be for an eternity.” Hearing his truthful confession, JieEr throws herself into Xiang’s arms.
DaYing finds Xiang and JieEr at the beach. He approaches them with his usual high spirited enthusiasm, unawarely brings a fresh breath of air with him that somehow punctures the perfect harmony between the serenity of a pair of age-old friends. They exchange a brief salutation, then Xiang invites DaYing to visit JieEr’s father in the hospital with them. Walking away together, DaYing notices that JieEr and Xiang are now holding hands together.
In a love triangle (or a fuzzy quadrilateral), while two people holding hands typically signals for the other to back down, the kind of social rules and constraints that govern other people seems to have no affect on DaYing. To his simpleminded optimism, if Xiang can hold JieEr’s hand, so can he. In a most natural gesture, DaYing catches up with them and holds JieEr’s other hand.
None of it bothers Xiang as he is content to be able to hold JieEr’s hand. He looks at JieEr then straight ahead, eyes full of laughter. DaYing, in his simple nature, is happy to have JieEr by his side. JieEr looks from Xiang to DaYing, knowing an inevitable decision is going to place her in a rough spot.
Back in the hospital, JieEr’s father feels unwell once again and is sent into surgery. While Xiang leaves to talk to the doctors for the details of JieEr father’s condition, DaYing stays to provide emotional support to JieEr.
(warning: distracting side comments ahead. for your convenience, they are in parentheses so you can easily skip ahead. don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
DaYing turns to JieEr and asks her, seriously, “Do you believe in angels?” (I could if you deliver it right.) She gazes at him in unsureness, “Angels?” He nods, “My grandma told me about them while she was in the hospital. She said that a hospital is the place where angels aggregate gather. (like a herd of bloodthirsty vampires, waiting for the right moment to attack.) There are many angels, (vampire angels.) but two main categories. (Yes one feasts on human blood, the other doesn’t. Like the Cullen‘s.) One is the healing angel, the other is the death angel. (I guess the vampires fit under the death angel category.) Those who will recover are surrounded by the healing angels. The healing angels bring positive energies to people around them, so if you walk straight ahead and the first person you see smiles at you, then that means your father is protected by a healing angel and you can make a wish. (I thought the angel will be protecting the patient, not the patient’s family.) JieEr dubiously walks onward. The first person she sees indeed smiles at her. She makes a silent wish and is hopeful.
Xiang returns to deliver JieEr the good news of his father’s condition. Between the exchange, DaYing wraps his arm around JieEr’s shoulder. Xiang’s half crooked smile vanishes at the gesture and a more rigid expression replaces the former warmth. He reminds DaYing of the competition ahead, hinting it’s time to go. Before leaving, Xiang reminds JieEr that if she needs him, she can call him anytime anywhere. Although an apparent display of kindness, it’s in fact a furtive show-off of intimacy. Unfortunately, DaYing is way too dense to read between the lines. To add to Xiang’s annoyance, DaYing shadow’s Xiang’s reminder with a seemingly innocuous “Me too, call me too” and lingers by JieEr’s side. Irritated, Xiang pushes, “Are you leaving or not?” then he turns to leave.
DaYing grimaces and turns to follow, JieEr stops him. “Do you know what I wished while I was walking down the isle?” “That your father will be healthy and live a long life?” “Not just that…. I wished…” Xiang returns to fetch DaYing from the elevator, he grabs DaYing’s collar, ready to drag. JieEr raises her voice for the two of them to hear, “I wish that Yuan DaYing, DongFang Xiang and I will always be friends. I wish you guys will win the competition. I wish the basketball team will hold up. I wish that the two of you will always share a piece of the brotherhood that keeps you together now.” (Since the healing angels are around, it’s not asking too much to make 99238402343 wishes at once right?) Xiang lets his mouth parse in a wide yikes look while DaYing drops his jaw completely. The two of them drop their head simultaneously in disappointment. Sighing together, the two of them turn to leave. In unison.
Leaving JieEr to be, the two of them meet up with Xiang’s ninja secret friend. (Guess it’s not JieEr after all.) Xiang wants his ninja friend to help introduce DaYing to bull fighting. Or, so called street-basketball style. DaYing watches and absorbs as Xiang demonstrates with his ninja friend.
They showed DaYing all the classic moves they can demonstrate in the short hours before dawn breaks. Soon after the ninja friend left, Xiang falls asleep. Watching Xiang’s sleeping face in the car, a strong sense of respect arises within DaYing. At that point, DaYing decides, Xiang will be the kind of friend he wants to keep. But does being friends with Xiang mean he will lose JieEr? DaYing waves that idea away before the mind boggling thought can venture any further.
A new round of competition starts. This time, the Wolves are competing with the Black Leopards, whose specialty is in bull fight. Surely enough, DaYing starts to embarrasses himself even before the game starts. Who would ever thought being boastful could be a useful tactic?
The Wolves score the first three points, the Leopards returns the 3-pointer shot in the next round. Back and forth, no one is leading. The opponent coach calls for a break at that point, taking notice of Qi XiaoYun’s injured foot, determined to take full advantage of it. It works. The distances are becoming apparent, and the leopards are starting to lead.
Fortunately, Xiang’s effort and DaYing’s last minute lesson on bull fight starts to kick in at the right time. First half ended. The good news is that there is a one point difference between the two teams. The bad news is Xiang injured his ankle after a slam dunk.
The second half starts. The opponent team opens fire and starts to play dirty (well technically, in street-basketball, there’s no such thing as “playing dirty”). With two people injured, and the constant luring to make DaYing commit fouls, the Wolves aren’t looking good. (The WuJi brothers aren’t stalking this time?!)
The Wolves changed strategy to make DaYing the soul of the game (as usual). This time, Qi XiaoYu (XiaoYun & XiaoYu, one letter difference.) and Du Fei are taking the offense. Although they have been overshadowed by Xiang and XiaoYun’s dominance, in a situation like this, they start to shine and contribute to the score board with a fierce ferocity. The scoring distance is shortening. Last three seconds, DaYing passes all defense and scores a critical three points, winning by the slight difference of a single point. The last words of his grandma still echoing in his ear.
They are now the champions in the province.
Exhilarated. Shocked. Exalted. And relieved. All these emotions weave into one and washed through DaYing as he rejoiced in tears. DaYing stands up and makes a run towards Xiang, hugging him before the rest of the teammates joined them in equal exuberance.
And they do a little victory dance in the middle of the court. 😀 The opponent team is provoked. W is endlessly amused. 😀
The real amusing thing is yet to come. 😉 Once in the locker room, DaYing calls JieEr to share the good news. They talk for a bit when Xiang calls JieEr to do the same. She hangs up with DaYing to talk to Xiang. DaYing, feeling paranoid, calls Xiang. Xiang ignores the call. DaYing pouts his lips like a boy who just lost his favorite toy. Xiang wants to go see JieEr. JieEr finds it unnecessary since she will be going to school the next day for a test. “We have finals tomorrow, you’ll be able to see me then.” she says. “Really?” Xiang lets out a wide grin and bounces up and down in an unsuppressed giddiness. (If you haven’t seen someone looking forward to a test before, you have now.) Then he turns and sees DaYing, his smile fades, replaced by a failed pretense of indifference. The two big man send compliments toward each other in awkwardness.
Hanging up with Xiang, JieEr’s smile fades. Knowing the defeated team play street basketball, she is worried for Xiang and DaYing’s safety. Already, W is warned by one of the players from the losing team.
PiLi celebrated in a local eatery. They are ambushed (oh doesn’t the word sound so familiar for the past few episodes?) by a group of street ball players. To leave successfully, Xiang must play with a giant covered in tattoo and he must play by their rules.
Off they go. To a dark alley (where vampires loiter viciously. just kidding. :D). The WuJi brothers are hiding in a dark corner, watching the show.
The giant seems impenetrable with his strength and his size. Xiang struggles to keep up with him, yet he stays calm enough to remind DaYing to observe closely.
Last shot. Xiang has one last chance. He holds the ball and recalls his first encountering with DaYing. If he can’t pass the giant, why dribble? Xiang throws the ball overhead, then he jumps up, using the giant’s knee as a ladder and grabs ball, slamming it into the basket – the same way DaYing won the crucial point in the game.
A feeble but clearly audible cheering erupted. Xiang’s ball. This time, the giant pays more attention and bothers to bend down to set up a defense. Xiang circles behind the guy, aims his foot at the giant’s rear and gives it a kick. The giant crashes into the barbed wire while Xiang, using the force of the kick, scores easily. More cheering. DaYing is awestruck.
Repaying what the giant had done to him, Xiang puts the basket into the hoop one after another. One more shot. Xiang holds up a finger and smiles a wicked, victory’s half crooked smile.
Dribbling, Xiang couldn’t help but to wonder to himself why he is more concerned about whether DaYing is watching closely than the current competition at hand. Is it really because DaYing saved him once? Or is it the spirit of camaraderie? Or..
He jumps up and uses Kang-Long-You-Hui, just as DaYing had predicted. He scores. He falls. Taking down with him the giant and the basketball frame. Xiang wins, but a fight is inevitable. Xiang’s Ninja friend Qiu Kui comes with a group of followers to break up the fight.
PiLi left. The mob is ready to go their separate ways when WuJi Zun challenged the giant. He shows off the fact that he knows Kang-Long-Bu-Hui as well and leaves the defeated giant sweating on the pavement. (And that accomplishes what? We already know he can do the moves and we already know he’s overly confident. Is it another attempt to make Wu Chun look pretty on screen for the rating war?)
During the finals the next day, sitting besides JieEr, DaYing suddenly feels the distance between them. He admits willingly that perhaps Xiang is the better choice for a boyfriend. But he, being Yuan DaYing, will not give up without trying.
First of all, the preview showed at the end of last episode lied! Where’s the confession I waited for?! Secondly, although it’s a sports drama, somehow the mention of Hot Shot evokes memories of the oh-so-familiar interior designs of a hospital. Let’s see, first DaYing’s grandma, then DaYing himself, after that was JieEr, followed by JieEr’s father. The next episode, it’s W’s turn. Asthma of course. Not the irrational obsession over a hospital or the idea of being in the hospita. At all.
I’m very glad that DaYing and Xiang’s friendship is showing signs of evolving into something that won’t be stopped by things like a love triangle.
Onto recap-related ramblings:
I know that in a desperate state, you would be willing to believe in everything, however insignificant, cling to every last shred of hope. But the acting is just not there for me to feel the kind of desperation, and hence, I can’t take it seriously when JieEr is worried about her father’s well being. DaYing’s way of providing solace makes me want to smack his head. Who on earth came up with that?! *clears throat and recomposes myself*
On a side note, I hope the ninja friend is using real Taiwanese sign language just because it’s immensely interesting for me to make comparisons with ASL.