Last time, which was only a little over three weeks ago, reader Sarah asked the question: What’s written on the calendar that Shan Bao hid from Zu An?
The answer is revealed at the beginning of this episode:
Rainie Yang – Cold War
Not very exciting.
Well, not very exciting for us but mucho “exciting” for Zu An. After all, she just found out that her father used her to get at her boyfriend; her boyfriend has a new girlfriend; and that she went through alllll the trouble in the world to come back from LA, but there’s nothing for her here either. What else could’ve bummed her more than to see her ex-boyfriend wrapped in stickily sweet, sugary happiness and realize how hollow the hole she feels in her heart. Man, even I’m a little inclined to emphasize the empathy she effectively deserves — even if I don’t really know her. I mean, none of us do. She’s only had, what, four or five cameos in… 15 episodes?
But it’s all good — because one, being dumped isn’t the end of the world — and who says she got dumped? She tried to dump him, remember? Two, helping Wu Di gain back his ownership to Tian Xiang Lou is more pressing than some mind-boggling questions of who loves who. (And mind boggling it is.) And lastly, there is a perfectly potent man in front of her — he may be a little soft, but at least he’s the kind of man who will bring her a cup of warm milk before bed and most importantly, he’s probably the kind that’s decent enough to flip down the toilet seat after each usage.
No matter how saint-like, no one is exempt from jealousy. Shan Bao is the same. She’s not green with envy towards Zu An, but there’s still a thin veil of unease that keeps her from feeling completely secure. But Wu Di is no fool. He senses Shan Bao’s concern and promises her that no matter who he is, be it the rich owner of Tian Xiang Lou, or a penniless waiter at Guang Ji, he still loves her and only her.
Shan Bao returns to her room later that night and makes a long wish:
Dear Buddha, God, Ginger God, please help Wu Di tomorrow and let him take back the ownership of Tian Xiang Lou. And… Zu An… please make it so that her father takes good care of her. Maybe send her out of the country to heal — but don’t let her take the boat again, she’ll be scared… Umm, the plane will do. Hopefully she can meet her Mr. Right on the plane. That Mr. Right should look like Wu Di — no, not necessarily — but hopefully, they will fall in love and, Zu An will be as happy as me.
Having made her long and convoluted wish, Shan Bao lies down and closes her eyes. Soon, she’s fast asleep… But sleep doesn’t come to Wu Di so easily. He lies awake at night, going through everything that has happened to him in the short month: Zu An, uncle, Tian Xiang Lou, and his own deceased father.
The Big Day finally arrives. Early in the morning, the Guang Ji four hand him a repaired Tian Xiang Lou banner while Shan Bao presents him with the advice Wu Di’s father carved on the banner so he can put it in his office and look at it when he misses his father. Before Wu Di is qualified to go, each of the Guang Ji four wishes him luck in their own way: Da Dao dresses Wu Di in a black suit; Chi Xing spoon feeds Wu Di a large bowl of soup, made with love; Xiao Sa slides a pair of sunglasses on him for look; and Chief Guang pats him on the shoulder for encouragement. Shan Bao is of course the last to bid him goodbye. She hands him his cellphone, attached is a Buddha doll decor that she’s giving him as a good luck charm, and unwillingly she watches him leave in the car. Little does she know, this will be the last time she’ll see him for a while…
They arrive at uncle’s office in Tian Xiang Lou. Zu An kneels down before her father, begging him to turn back — that way, she can feel less guilty towards Wu Di; that way, she can feel proud of her father again. But he refuses, telling her there is nothing he can do now. “If that’s the case”, she gets up slowly and takes out the recorded evidence of her father’s confession, “Then I will do what I have to do…” “That’s enough,” interrupts Wu Di. He takes the USB from Zu An and hands it to uncle, “I have received the answer I came here for — to verify that Zu An indeed did not betray me — and I’m satisfied. If regaining the ownership of Tian Xiang Lou means I have to see you two split, I rather not have it back.”
A look of surprise sweeps across everyone’s face. Uncle’s sidekick first breaks the silence, “We won’t be fooled. You can stop pretending, Sun Wu Di. I know you probably have duplicated the evidence before coming here.” Wu Di gives him a look of indifference and turns toward the uncle, “You may think I have nothing, but in my eyes, you are the one who has lost everything. Remember the day Tian Xiang Lou was taken from me, you told me that now is the time for me to think about what went wrong in my life? I have been doing a lot of thinking ever since and I realized what was the problem. I used to think everything revolves around me. I take everything — love, concern, loyalty — for granted…. After leaving Tian Xiang Lou, I have found my true home. If me coming back means both you, uncle, and Zu An will lose everything, then uncle, you can continue to look after Tian Xiang Lou for my father.” The uncle is shamed.
But things can’t be that simple. Sun Wu Di can’t just say “I don’t want it” and walk out empty handed. Some drama has to ensue to complicate matter a little. Otherwise how in the world will the episode hold out for the 105 minutes of reserved time slot? So what happens? Well, uncle suddenly has an epiphany of how wrong he has been and takes a U-turn to officially retire himself and hand Tian Xiang Lou back to Wu Di. (Oh yes, old people aren’t stubborn at all. They don’t dogmatically hold the belief that because they have had a richer life experience, they must be Right, especially in embarrassing situations.) Sounds great right? Um, no. We know Tian Xiang Lou’s ownership has been transferred to Wei Qing the night prior… So, what does the uncle think he’s giving back to Wu Di? Ah, right, Wu Di’s name stamp that he temporarily stored at Zu An’s place. But let’s pretend Tian Xiang Lou’s returned to Wu Di, for the sake of being able to burst the bubble later.
Pleasantly surprised at how the meeting is turning out, Wu Di leaves after handing the resignation paper to Zu An, trusting her to take care of everything. (OMG did I just use “trust” on Sun Wu Di? Unbelievable.) Uncle observes that even after the truth is revealed, Wu Di still doesn’t seem to warm up to Zu An the way he used to. Zu An replies gloomily that some things, once missed, cannot be recaptured.
Uncle calls Wei Qing and asks him to destroy the ownership transfer document signed the night before, naïvly believing that Wei Qing will do as told and return to the life of poverty willingly — after all, why would anyone disobey him and act upon self-interest? This of course, will be the first of three miscalculations he is destined to make.
Realizing Wu Di has forgotten to take his name stamp with him, Zu An chases out with it, determined to return this to its rightful owner. It’s almost like, “this little stamp has caused me numerous amounts of grief and misunderstanding, I don’t want anything to do with it! Eww, get it out of my sight! I said, get it OUT of my sight! Ack he’s gone! Fine! I will run out this very minute and get myself tramp over by a car so I don’t have to return it to him the next time he comes to Tian Xiang Lou!” — Oh, did I just spoil the “dramatic” build up of Zu An getting hit in order to protect Wu Di? Oops. (Oh come on, don’t give me that sour face, you’ve seen it in the previews!)
Zu An is sent to the ER, the father called, and diagnosis made. Wu Di stays behind to look after Zu An and receives a call from Shan Bao, who is, undecided of which cake to buy for a celebration party at night as she eagerly awaits Wu Di’s return. (Hmm, think he’s in a mood for cheesecake?)
Zu An’s father overhears Wu Di cooing to Shan Bao, telling her, in his sweet Alto voice that anything she chooses will be liked by him. The uncle looks away from Wu Di and lets his gaze fall on his slowly awakening daughter and sighs. Miscalculating for the second time, uncle approaches Wu Di after the phone call, sits him down, shakes his head from left to right, and finally lies says, “Wu Di, Zu An is two months pregnant.” The effect is immediate. Wu Di’s face pales as the news sinks in and sucks away the happiness of being newly in love. He is so overwhelmed by it that he doesn’t stop to think how lucky the embryo must be to survive the blow of the accident. (Seriously, did he think she’s going to give birth to Hancock? At least, I’m happy to announce that this obvious flaw is for once Not a loophole in the plot! You wait and see.)
Wu Di musters the courage to tell Zu An the supposedly happy news. Her reaction echoes that of Wu Di’s own not a minute ago. She laments that this is what she has been waiting for years — to finally settle down and start a family of her own. Unfortunately, it arrives at the wrong time. In a moment of vulnerability, she begs for Wu Di to stay and start anew with her. To her plea, Wu Di looks away, troubled. He will take full responsibility for the baby, he assures her, but, it’s impossible for them to be together again. Twisting her face away, Zu An sobs in silence.
That night, Wu Di doesn’t return home to Guang Ji. That night, Shan Bao spends the night waiting, receiving not even a single phone call from Wu Di. That night, Zu An reflects much and decides fervently to do the right thing, for all three four of them.
When Wu Di wakes up in the morning, Zu An quietly asks him to leave. “What?” Wu Di looks at Zu An, puzzled. “You can’t stay with me forever. Does it make a difference if you leave now or later?” (It most certainly does! You get your guilty pleasure, you give the engaged viewers an excuse to curse at you, you make Shan Bao flip out, and you help drag out the drama for another week or two.) Still befuddled by her sudden change of attitude, he opens his mouth to protest. She cuts him off promptly and yells, “Leave. Now. Stop caring about me!” “How can I leave you alone to face the pregnancy?” He raises his voice to overshadow hers. “Then can you forsake Hu Shan Bao?” They both sink into an awkward silence. The answer is too clear.
Zu An swallows hard and breaks the awful reticence once more after a brief moment of deliberation, “If you can’t stay, then just leave. Guang Ji is your home. Shan Bao is still waiting for you to come back to her. Go home.” “Zu An…” Wu Di starts. “Just. Go. Home!” she yells again, half begging, “I don’t need your pity. And I don’t want to be a selfish woman to bind you with the child in my womb.” Wu Di looks taken aback at first, then he picks up his jacket and walks out of the door. Once the door clicks shut, Zu An slumps her squared shoulder and lets all defense fall. The trapped tears gush down the corner of her eyes and wet the pillow behind her.
Zu An? Shan Bao? Who should he choose, what should he do? Deeply disturbed, Wu Di takes out his anger on the flake soothsayer that jinxed his happiness and ends up in the police station. When it comes time to call friend or family to bail him out, Wu Di is stuck again. There is no one he can call — he’s not prepared to tell Shan Bao about Zu An’s condition. Not yet.
Fortunately, Da Dao comes to the police station to deliver the ordered lunch boxes and sees Wu Di. Together, they get a call from home saying uncle has brought gifts to Guang Ji — a third and last of his miscalculations.
Uncle is initially not well received at Guang Ji, but once he makes small talk centering on the fact that Wu Di will be coming back to Tian Xiang Lou as its new old owner, Guang Ji’s animosity turns into curiosity: what’s the purpose of uncle’s visit? He has come to ask Chief Guang to cook for his daughter’s wedding, as if Tian Xiang Lou isn’t a more suitable choice. God knows, his only intension is to discourage Shan Bao from this love triangle he forcibly imposed on them.
Viola! That’s the recap for this episode. A little late, but hey I was busy! The next recap will come in approximately one week, gotta catch up on the other recaps I’ve lagged behind on.
Can’t believe it’s the middle of December already, 2008 is slipping by so fast!