Oho the writer’s gotta be playing counter strike while brain storming for the script to be manufacturing a heightened reality of romance mixed in with (repetitive) gang fights like this. (Maybe the writer simulated a digital doll house of Sims characters called Yuan DaYing, DongFang Xiang, and W, before penning the story and calling it Hot Shot — after watching all 101 episodes of Slam Dunk, of course. 😉 )
Whatever it is, you gotta admit, the spot light is on Xiang the moment he cracked his knuckle to throw the nth Agent Smiths out of the parking structure and casually flinging the jacket over his shoulder. Before Xiang walks away stealing the show (and your heart) completely, Grandpa’s car screeches into sight and brings a piece of dark cloud with him. The mighty old man gets down and warns, “Don’t make me do anything to embarrass you.” Xiang defies, “If I have to give up JieEr to play basketball, then I’d rather not be a member of the DongFang family.” “How dare you!”, DongFang Shuo takes a half step forward and probes, “You want to take me on?” (Oh man. This is TOO funny.)
They stared at each other. In the distilled quietude of this soundless battle, their determination arise like a pair of golden phoenixes, animatedly flocking toward each other, trying, struggling to will the other into acquiesce. Finally, Grandpa’s penetrating glare dissolved Xiang’s frustration and anger into a puff of pathetic smoke. Xiang gives in. Satisfied, Grandpa reaffirms his authority by grounding Xiang and leaves with a lazy wave of arm.
JieEr watched the entire exchange afar with the docility of a wounded panther and made no attempt to intervene — clearly JieEr-like, but unequivocally uncharacteristic of Qiu Kui.
Just as Xiang tries to habituate the life of confinement, he receives a call from JieEr. Ecstatic at first, his bubble was soon burst when he learns that JieEr “did not want to see [him]”. But that’s not all, the same needle that popped his bubble pricks into him, stabbing him deep and hard, a string of perfectly spherical blood droplets oozes from his prickled thumb like a harp seal’s tear. JieEr had just told him she doesn’t want to be his girlfriend. That, she’s never liked him. That, she’s in love with Yuan DaYing. That, he should let it go. Let her go. The sleeping beauty falls into a deep, long nightmare of sadness…
Li ZiPing enters Eastern Enterprise to sign the agreement, finalizing DongFang Shuo’s purchase while W collects her players to announce DaYing’s decision to opt out of the team and her early retirement as PiLi’s coach. The news are ill received by the players, but it’s not within their power to make any large scale changes. On the other hand, DongFang Shuo is also informed of DaYing’s intention to leave PiLi. Although he recognizes it as a loss, his decision to buy off PiLi college remains intact, much to the principle’s dismay.
Life is hard as it is, and it continues to become more difficult for those who must endure and live through it.
W fainted on the bridge. She was discovered and taken to the hospital. Although her situation has stabilized since hospitalization, the cancerous cells inside of her are still metastasizing at amazing speed.
Not only is W and her father preoccupied with W’s health, DongFang Shuo is wondering whether Tie Lan had taught DaYing her famous dribbling technique. (The flowery name of which, loses its poetic beauty during translation.) Xiang and DaYing each have a sandbag full of entanglements to clear up as well.
JieEr’s last words encircles Xiang’s thoughts, smothering him with repressed anger and a tint of annoyance as he stares at the green and red fabrics sewed onto his jersey. (Am I color blind or does the fabric look yellow?) Had she really been in love with DaYing all this time? He doesn’t want to think about it. Not now.
DaYing has been contemplating too. There is no doubt that seeking revenge for his grandma on Xiang is unfair to his best friend, but he’s gotta do it. If it weren’t for grandma, who knows where he would be now? But how should he even mention the intent for a bull fight without explicitly reproduce a feasible reason? To reveal the truth would perhaps endanger their friendship, not to reveal the truth would make him seem feisty and unreasonable all together. “To be or not to be”, Shakespeare has clearly had the same kind of headache before.
Finally, DaYing picks up the phone to call Xiang. Perfect timing. Xiang is in the midst of an episode of mind numbing irritation, as JieEr’s cold hearted “The man I’m in love with is DaYing” plays through his head for the hundredth time.
DaYing: It’s me. DaYing.
Xiang: I know. *sighs* What do you want?
DaYing: Are we best friends?
Xiang covers his face, not this. He asks: Why you ask?
DaYing: Just answer me. Yes or no? Are we best friends?
Xiang: I guess so.
DaYing: Then, whatever I say after this point, just take it at face value and believe I have my reasons. Don’t ask questions. Okay?
Xiang: Just say it.
DaYing: Ok. That is, I’ve decided to withdraw from PiLi and, I want to duel you. And I want to win, completely.
Sighing to himself, Xiang replies: Yuan DaYing, whether you want to stay in PiLi or not, it’s your choice. I won’t say or do anything to change that. But the duel, it’s pointless.
DaYing: What? What do you mean?
Sighing again, Xiang closes his eyes: I ss-said. This duel is pointless. Be-cause, JieEr has chosen you.
DaYing: Chosen what? I don’t understand.
Xiang has already hung up. “Why did JieEr choose me? What’s he talkin’ about?” ponderously, DaYing looks up and sees… JieEr. Standing by his door with a backpack on shoulder.
Having lost JieEr, DongFang Xiang agrees to follow his grandfather’s command — because he’s got nothing else. (Take up a secondary hobby, mate.)
The next day, PiLi meets their new member — WuJi Zun.
WuJi Zun Bio:
- Previously known as XiMeng Zun. DongFang Shuo renamed him WuJi Zun, where Wu Ji means limitless.
- Tian Wu Ren (see last recap for clarification.)
- Champion for three consecutive high school MVP Basketball Legend (whatever that means)
Unfortunately, Xiang is unimpressed. So used to showering in attention and appraisal, WuJi Zun sees this as a sign of provocation and challenges Xiang. Grandpa watches the interaction with a self-congratulatory amusement and brushes aside Zun’s eagerness to prove himself. There’s still chance.
JieEr explains the entire situation to DaYing, including using him as an excuse to reject Xiang. DaYing wonders to himself, if he has already lost the duel, because JieEr’s heart is obviously on Xiang. Disappointment aside, Xiang’s business is still his business, too bad they are best friends. He puts on the mediator hat and reasons with JieEr, “Come on, what generation is this now? Who cares about socioeconomic differences nowadays?” “DaYing, that’s not all. Even if Older Master doesn’t object, I still can’t be with him. Because… because… aye, I can’t explain. Just know that I have my reason.”
Sighing to himself, DaYing inquires, knowing the answer before he even spoke:
If loving DongFang Xiang brings you such torment, then stop loving him. You can, try to … accept me. JieEr, I’m serious. Consider me, please.
WuJi Zun’s resume is impressive, but his personality is unlikable. In fact, a reciprocal loathing is felt between the trio and Zun immediately following introduction. The trio pressures Xiang into calling DaYing, believing Xiang is the only person that can make DaYing come back — they really, really don’t want to be on the same team with a snob, no matter how well he plays. Xiang isn’t ready to face DaYing after a heart-throbbing break up with JieEr (although, they’ve never been together, so it shouldn’t be called a break up). Right when Xiang is being pushed into making a decision, a sneaky sidekick motions to tip Xiang off about JieEr.
The man wanted a promotion, Xiang isn’t interested and politely excuses himself. “Did you know JieEr has another identity?” The man calls out. (Isn’t your blood boiling?) Xiang stops. “Interested now?” The man walks towards Xiang and pulls out a handful of pictures.
Immediately after viewing the pictures, Xiang drives to the basketball court where Qiu Kui used to play street basketball. No one knows where Qiu Kui is; no one knows who Zhan JieEr is. Half piecing together the puzzle, Xiang drives back home to talk to JieEr’s father. The father gently advises Xiang to give up, hinting that Grandpa’s presence and their status differences makes it impossible for them to be together.
The brief conversation with QiuKui’s dad clears things up a little. Now Xiang knows everything. JieEr’s repressed feeling towards him, QiuKui’s identity, the reason she rejected him, and the truth that the one she’s in love with, is really him.
After spending an entire night thinking about JieEr, Xiang is completely out of it during the practice the next day. Finally, Grandpa’s seen enough. He calls Xiang out for a private talk (AKA to chastise him). In the middle of the preach, Xiang receives a call, informing him of JieEr’s location. Suddenly, nothing else matters anymore. Xiang promises Grandpa he will treat basketball seriously, but now, he must go find JieEr.
Man. I should put the time, creativity, AND word count I invested here to my NaNoWriMo novel. (That would be 1775 here plus the 1711 from Bloody Monday to add to my pathetic word count. 😦 ) But at least, I’m not as behind on the recaps. (Even though the three recaps I’ve written in the past two days have all been on the short side.) There’s only four more unfinished recaps sitting in the draft box. Woohoo…
It’s funny how way back when, JieEr made a wish, hoping that the three of them can stay friends forever. Ever since then, the three of them have been doing everything they can to preserve this balance and their friendship with one another. All up until the point JieEr lied that she’s in love with Yuan DaYing. I understand DaYing is the logical candidate but it’s bad for the relationship and just begging for drama. So, thank Goodness Xiang finds out about QiuKui before more angst can be injected into the episode.
Last rant of the day: I’m sorry, but Wu Chun’s accent really takes away from the aura his character is supposed to give. I know he’s improved and I’m impressed by that, but it really marrs the overall feeling for me.