Sometimes, we want our man to be a little forceful, take the initiative, make the (inconsequential) decisions, and come forward with his feelings. Because then, we can feel protected, wanted, and compelled to show our own affection in return.
How did we get from “I’ve never loved you” to kissing under the street lamp? Okay, let’s back up a little… *rewinds*
… … … …
… Oh, here it is:
What?! Grandson running out on grandpa for a girl, who is, by the way the daughter of the company spy?!?! That’s like watching 10 pages of Qing Yao‘s ceaseless sufferings from one of those hopeless romance novels unfolding before your eyes. (Or one of Nicholas Sparks‘ trademark sappy love stories. You get the idea.) Wayyyyy too dramatic for grandpa’s old age and elephant-sized ego. Of course he wouldn’t have it. So he sends out his troop of loyal Agent Smith wannabes to stop Xiang from leaving.
Oh that takes up too much screen time. We need to get to the meat of this star-crossed liaison, wrap it up, and get out of it before the rating plummets. So Wu JiZun steps out in front of Xiang’s car and offers to block the troublesome sidekicks to buy Xiang (and us) some time. Wait, when does WuJi Zun ever do anything for free? Of course he doesn’t just offer to help without wanting anything in return. This feisty boy wants his duel with Xiang (doesn’t everyone?) and if letting Xiang chase after his soul girl can help him return to his normal condition, then Zun will happily do whatever it takes. (C’on Wu Chun, stop slouching!)
In order to keep JieEr long enough for Xiang to make it on site, DaYing drags JieEr to a couch and tells her the story of last generation — a truth he daren’t tell Xiang in fear of losing this best friend. At the end of the story, he tells JieEr that Xiang is on his way here. She shoots up and runs out of the door. But it’s too late. Xiang has already sped to DaYing’s home town. The three of them face one another for the first time in a long time. There is much to be settled. But first, Xiang must convince JieEr that it’s ok to give in to the yarning of being with each other.
While JieEr regurgitates her “Begone! I do Not love you” monologue with a handful of tears, Xiang cuts in, unveiling her lie with the hard evidence that she is, indeed, Qiu Kui. A wave of shock possesses her at first, then she runs away in horror for she can no longer hide under the hooded presence of her second identity. Xiang remains rooted at the spot, shocked at her reaction and simply doesn’t know what to do next. DaYing has been watching the entire exchange silently. At this point, he turns to Xiang, expecting him to be running after JieEr. But Xiang only stares back at him. “What are you waiting for? Run after her! RUN!” DaYing reminds Xiang. Seeing no reaction, he hurries towards Xiang and pushes him towards the direction JieEr had gone off. It finally clicked inside of Xiang, without saying thanks, he runs after JieEr.
Watching his best friend and the girl he has feelings for stepping closer and closer to the goal of being a pair, DaYing yells after them,
Although it’s sad to be the one that pushes JieEr and Xiang together, DaYing doesn’t have time to wallow in self pity. He gets a call that completely takes his mind off the drama at hand and pushes him into another. (Life only gets better.)
Xiang catches up to JieEr, baffled by her (old fashioned) logic of why they shouldn’t be together and why they would never work, he drags her to see grandpa. Grandpa isn’t surprised to see JieEr. Instead, he grows angry at JieEr’s inability to keep a promise and reveals the shocking news that JieEr’s father is an espionage. (Well, shocking because how on earth did the writers wrap their mind to come up with this one?!) Grandpa had kept the knowledge a secret in order to leak wrongful information to his business competitors through JieEr’s father. (Doesn’t that make JieEr’s father a double spy, intentionality exempted.) Now that things are out in the open, grandpa is going to withdraw his support to JieEr’s family cold turkey and the evidences of Mr. Zhan’s criminal act will be sitting on the desk of the local police officer in no time.
But nothing matters to Xiang. As long as he can be with JieEr, he wouldn’t blink an eye if the sky is falling right before his eyes. He doesn’t care. At all. Even if JieEr came to him with an agenda in mind, he is too desperately in love to care. And so, he swore before grandpa that if the old man dares to lay a finger on JieEr, he will get to the bottom of it.
The trip taking JieEr home was spent in deafening silence. The two of them are both deep in thought. JieEr breaks the ice first. “Now you know why we can’t be together, please just let go.” Xiang considers it with all due seriousness and replies with a hint of bewilderment, “But I don’t mind.” “But I do!”, she snaps. He emphasizes again and again that he doesn’t mind a bit. Even if she is involved, so what? It doesn’t matter to him. Exasperated by Xiang’s persistence and ashamed of what she has become to him — the daughter of an espionage, she runs out of the car.
This time, he chases after her immediately, knowing exactly what he wants.
Let me go! Let me go!
No, no, no, No, NO! I won’t let you get away from me again! Not now, not EVER! How many times do I have to tell you? I. Don’t. Care. I’m willing to exchange everything I have right now for you. Don’t you understand? JieEr, I’m your DongFang Xiang. I’m your young master. I’m your little green…
While Xiang is driving away, a thought occurs to him…
DaYing come to the hospital to find W on the brink of death. She doesn’t regret using the time she could’ve spent doing chemo training PiLi, instead, she’s grateful that before she dies, she is able to find a dream worth fighting for.
Each time I stand at the side line, watching the five of you grow and give your best, I can feel a sense of hope and pride swelling inside my chest. Maybe it’s this hope that kept me alive…
JieEr packs all her belongings and opens the door, Xiang is waiting at her door. “You are leaving me after all.” He exclaims. She looks down to avoid his gaze, “I said we are not possible. After what my father has done to your family, how do you expect me to face you?” “Didn’t I make myself clear that none of these matter to me?”
And so, he drags JieEr to grandpa a second time. (Is there no end to this?! This is worse than my NaNoWriMo novel!) Facing grandpa’s fury, Xiang lightly replies, “If you don’t want us together, then I’m willing to give up my identity as the young master of the DongFang family. That way, you will be in no position to deny us the happiness of being together.” (Dude, lineage is not something you can just throw away.) Grandpa is a shrewed man. He asks Xiang if Xiang has any bargaining chip to wager. Xiang nods and explains:
The reason DongFang Shuo has bought PiLi College isn’t because he feels partial towards the basketball team. Rather, DongFang Shuo has developed a computerized system to improve anyone’s skill in a very short period of time. (He should put his money and effort into better use. Say, investing in BCI.) The purpose of buying PiLi is to formulate his military base to attract excellent players so he can eventually build his invincible dream team.
Xiang’s wager is himself. He knows clearly that if grandpa were to implement the plan, he needs Xiang to first attract players with potential and when the dream team is finally formulated, it will be centered around him. If grandpa won’t allow him to be with JieEr, then he will simply refuse to participate in the plan. But the problem is, whatever Xiang can do, WuJi Zun can too as well. Without Xiang, DongFang Shuo still has WuJi Zun to keep the plan from falling apart. (Now we’re finally talking business.)
To convince grandpa, Xiang must prove he is better than Zun and consolidate grandpa’s need of his skill. Without thinking, Xiang challenges WuJi Zun’s team, vowing to defeat the dream team in a week’s time. (On a side note, why does the old man wear sunglasses indoors? Just in case we can’t recognize him without his signature shades?)
Grandpa accepts the challenge but the punishment for losing is severe. Aside from losing JieEr, grandpa will disintegrate PiLi, make sure no basketball team will ever accept any of his teammates and cost them their basketball career.
WuJi Zun over hears the conversation at the doorway and feels sorry for Xiang if he were to cost his basketball career because of a girl. Zun lingers long enough to try his luck to “persuade” Xiang into giving up the challenge. The inner beast stirs in Xiang when Zun verbally analyzed Xiang’s tactic before using Xiang’s method against Xiang himself and successfully cut to the basket and slam dunk before Xiang’s very eyes.
The chance to win is close to zero. But close to zero doesn’t mean it is zero. So the team invests its last hope on DaYing’s decision, giving him no chance to say no. But DaYing is torn. One side of him is grabing on to his grandma’s grudge with DongFang Shuo, on the other side, it’s Xiang and JieEr’s happiness. After much consideration, he asks a question, “Tell me, who does this team belong to right now?” “The DongFang family of course.” XiaoYun replies without thinking. “Then, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” DaYing walks out without providing any explanation, carrying the dead weight of his teammates’ misunderstanding with him.
In the end, it’s W’s determination to walk out of her hospital bed to do the little she can for the team before her last breath that touched DaYing. He isn’t convinced yet, but his choice to not meddle with events occur within the DongFang family is slowly dissolving.
JieEr fills the team in on the Tie Lan story. After knowing the entire story, the teammate feel remorse for mistreating DaYing. Although Qiu Kui is temporarily replacing DaYing, without DaYing himself, there really is no chance for them to win. If only W is there to brainstorm strategy…
“Is this the only time you guys ever think of me?” still weak and pale from the recent hospitalization, W walks in and brings with her the hope that has eluded the team for so long.
New strategies are thought up, new methods adopted. Right when things start to look hopeful, W starts to run out of time. Right then, DaYing returns to bring back a smile on everyone’s face and W finds the strength to carry on again.
With DaYing’s return, the sun seems to shine on PiLi again. Laughter is back, frown is gone, and things appear to revolve around their usual axis again.
Zun pays Can a visit. Ever since Can put down his hatred towards Xiang, he has lost the meaning in life — the sad, sad inevitable. (Personally, it’d be more convincing if Can is unshaven. And Michale pulled off the look rather well in A Game About Love.) Zun provokes Can, urges him to put his talent into better use and leaves with a wave of “see you at court.” (Er, for clarification purposes, “court” refers to basketball court, not the courthouse court.)
Ever since W points out that DaYing has used his grandma’s special dribbling technique unconsciously in one of the games, he’s been trying everything to reiterate what he had done at the time. Only, a supposedly graceful dribbling move now resemble something like a wild boar roaming the streets and it’s virtually ineffective in terms of passing the opponent’s defense. But if your goal is to look like an idiot while waving the ball left and right, yelling “ahhh” and hitting all your teammates in the face as you move, then viola.
In any case, W believes that Tie Lan must have left a record of her technique of some sort and decides to accompany DaYing to his home town before the game starts. She believes that if there is the slightest hope, they should try it. (Ironic how it isn’t the case for her when it comes to treating cancer.) Before they set off to leave, Xiang asks to have a private talk with DaYing. (Uh oh.)
Looking DaYing in the eye, Xiang asks, “Why did you decide to return to the team?” DaYing gives a typical Yuan DaYing-ian answer and beams widely to lessen the edge he sensed in Xiang’s tone.
Really? If we lose this game, JieEr and I won’t be together anymore. Isn’t this what you wanted?
Or, did you come back to participate in the game so that it can go the way you want it to go?
Insecurity and fear are kicking, DaYing takes a step forward and snatches Xiang’s collar…
This episode is when the writers realize, “Geez, what a gigantic hole we’ve dug ourselves into? Must fill it with dirt and wrap things up.” The result? A boring but necessary episode. (By necessary I mean setting up the challenge between PiLi and the WuJi brothers. The other stuff, ie the angst that’s been hogging half of the episode, is completely unnecessary.)
The whole “first love is your only love, nothing else matters” premise ticks me off. Come On, no matter how much you hope it’s true, it won’t be. Especially in the society today. So let’s stop flooding the dialogue with promises like “a life time” and “forever” and get real for once!
Finally, the kiss after Xiang’s nth assertion that letting her go is the last thing he needs seems so, so, SO abrupt, if not awkward. A hug would suffice and bring about the same outburst of emotion. But noooooo, affection is only shown through intimate contact that involves some kind of fluid exchange (although more so in Hollywood productions). What happened to the art of subtly? Yah, yah kiss goodbye sounds better than last hug, but it’s a drama. And in dramas, the quality of graphical representation is what counts.
One more episode.