Next Stop, Happiness Episode 5 Recap

Did I mention Ren Guangxi has a brain tumor? Well, he has a tumor and it’s 5 cm in diameter; big enough, bad enough, that if he doesn’t surgically remove it, he’ll have only a few months to live. If he does decide to remove it, there is only a 15% chance for survival. Say, he does the surgery and survives it, he’s still susceptible to blindness, paralysis, or become a vegetable. Oh, just so you know, the aforementioned conditions are only a few of possible byproducts of the operation.

It’s no wonder Guangxi is spotted staggering out of the hospital, running like a mad man.

He has every reason to do so.

For 25 years, Guangxi’s been wasting his life away shuttling between women, hockey, and self-imposed misery — all because of a childhood incident that scared him for life. But Mucheng’s existence changed everything. Through her, he found kindness, a purpose and most of all, love.

If he was diagnosed earlier, before he met Mucheng, he might not have cared. Life was a monotonous drag then. But now? When he’s just discovered happiness? When he’s ready to change, ready to treat life seriously for once and for all?

This is a cruel joke (and an overused Kdrama plot device).

Unaware of the fate that’s befallen Guangxi, Mucheng is patiently awaiting Guangxi’s return for dinner.

When Guangxi’s initial anger dies down, so does his will to live. If he were to die, he will die with dignity, not as some postoperative half-wit. Surgery is out of the question.

When Mucheng finds Guangxi at school the following morning, Guangxi’s demeanor is that of cold indifference. He pretends to have forgotten about his dinner date with Mucheng and tells her that he went out with three (imaginary) hot chicks and partied till sun rise. What? Did she think one trial will change the way he is? Don’t be absurd. The confession is simply a tactic, employed to win the sympathy of the jury. Now that the case is over, they don’t have anything to do with each other anymore.

Mucheng is hurt but persistent. She had promised to make food for him if they win. They did and now, she is fulfilling her promise.

She hands him a bento and for what it’s worth, tells him, “Whatever your intention, I thank you for your help. I… I made you my father’s favorite food, because it contains my most valuable memory. I hope you’ll like it.” He takes it but makes sure she knows he’s accepting it only to get rid of her. Once out of the door, he makes a point to toss the bento in the trash.

Mucheng sees Guangxi’s nonchalance, sees the love crumbling, but she doesn’t see the pain written all over his face once he turns away…

She keeps a strong face in public but once alone, the force holding back the tears retracts. They fall like raindrops into the soup. (Let’s ignore the fact that it’s been a day and she still hasn’t refrigerated that pot of soup.)

Two women are sad because of Guangxi and what is our playboy doing?

Let’s see… Sexing up and wasting away. But hey, I’m not judgin’.

Once or twice? Fine, his friends can play along. But after n days of repeated indulgence, they start to worry. Finally, Jacko just couldn’t hold it anymore. He lets it all out: Mucheng’s gone back to her old place; with Ah Cai still on the loose, isn’t Guangxi the least bit worried about what might happen to her? With Hua Tuoye gone and Guangxi turning his back on Mucheng, the poor girl has no one left. And a storm is about to come, can Guangxi really bare the thought of Mucheng struggling alone in the rain in order to earn a meager living?

In the face of genuine concern, even Guangxi has to budge. He rushes out to Mucheng’s side…

Mucheng is helping out at the fish market. When her hirer senses that a storm is coming, he hurries away with the fish, leaving Mucheng to take care of the rest.

Now, my sophisticated readers, do you know what happens next? (Hint: she’s near the water) Mmmhmm, Mucheng falls into the water while retrieving the fish net. Following the golden rule of Kdrama logic, her foot gets tangled and she needs help. So she remembers Guangxi’s promise that he’ll come when she speaks the magic words: Open SESAME! Ren. Guang. Xi. “Ren… Guangxi… save me…” gathering her last strength, she yells.

And sure enough, the gallant hero shows up, jumps in the water, and saves the damsel in distress. Ta-da!

Okay, let’s get serious.

By the time Guangxi sends Mucheng home, it’s thundering outside. He seats Mucheng down on a chair and wraps a towel around her, rubbing her, giving her warmth, and checking to see if she’s okay. He spots a cut and quickly fetches the first aid kit. Gently balancing her wrist on his knees, he fidgets how best to treat it. “Why were you there?” Mucheng asks sharply. (I beg your pardon, didn’t you call out to him?) Guangxi freezes in mid-motion, then averting his gaze, he mumbles, “You seem fine. I should get going.” He gets up to leave but Mucheng stops him, “You haven’t answered my question.”

He refuses to answer and steps out but she follows stubbornly, “Are you going to tell me you passed by accidentally? Are you going to convince me you didn’t take me home because you care about me? Or are you going to make me believe that I’m mistaken about us?” “What happened there… What I did was something anyone who happened to be there would do. I should really get going–.” “This is my last night here.” Mucheng cuts him off. “The new vendor will move in tomorrow. So no matter how much my presence annoys you, I’ll be gone by tomorrow. But before I leave, I have one last question for you: what happened to you?”

Guangxi coldly replies that he shouldn’t have to waste time answering pointless questions like that, it’s none of her business anyway. But she stops him a third time, “It’s too late. I’ve already fallen for you.” He denies his feelings for her but she reminds him of the 101 incidents where he fought to protect her, “If you plan to reject me, give me an explanation instead of pushing me away.”

The thunder roars outside.

Barely suppressing the tears, Guangxi replies, “I’m dying.”

Disbelief overwhelms Mucheng but something deeper, stronger, takes over. She grabs him and kisses him. When their lips pull apart, she teases, “This is the worse rejection I’ve ever heard.” “Maybe tomorrow I’ll…” She cuts him off with another kiss. “Mucheng, do you not understand, I…” And another. Smiling faintly, she moves his palm to her cheek and leans against it adoringly. “I heard you,” she says, “loud and clear.” He pulls her into an embrace, and with all the tenderness he could muster, he kisses her.

“Even with my condition, are you willing to be with me?” “Yes, silly.” With that, she stands on her tip toe and kisses him one more time. But this time, more fierce and more passionate than the rest. After that, they feel their way to bed and made love.

In the morning, Mucheng asks Guangxi to show her here his tumor is. He points to a patch of hair and asks her, “Are you scared?” She replies by kissing his head. Their lovey-dovey moment is interrupted by a knock at the door. It turns out to be Guangxi’s mother. Although she disapproves of Guangxi’s choice (mainly due to her prejudice against Mucheng’s socio-economic status), ostensibly, she remains civil. Her goal in coming here today is to persuade Guangxi into accepting treatment; to her surprise, Guangxi agrees instantly. Mucheng has convinced him that every opportunity to live is a risk worth taking.

Once alone with Mucheng, the mother makes it clear that the only reason she’s tolerating Mucheng is so Guangxi will go through with the treatment. Then abiding by the second golden rule of Kdrama logic, she offers Mucheng a check to buy her service during Guangxi’s hospitalization. Mucheng declines.

Mucheng praying for Guangxi

In private, president Fang proposes for Guangxi to undergo proton therapy. Problem is, the only provider on the island (TW is an island!) is President He, Yiqian’s father. Guangxi refuses point blank. “Look,” he says, “If this is your plan to push Yiqian and I together, then no thank you.”

Treatment starts the following day. Guangxi is overwhelmed with MRI scans, CT scans, EEG, and even a spinal tap (owie!). And yet, his condition seems to only worsen. The first observable sign of deterioration is his lack of control over motor function. Guangxi is experiencing involuntary tremor, bad enough that he can’t shave himself.

Mucheng steps in and offers to shave Guangxi, delicately putting it as a girlfriend-type duty that she’ll happily oblige. They enjoy a brief couple-moment as Mucheng carefully shaves Guangxi but the implication of Guangxi needing help on a simple everyday-activity hangs heavily in the air. At last, Guangxi breaks down and sobs in Mucheng’s embrace.

Mucheng had considerately recorded “Air on G-String” on her cell phone for Guangxi, both to remind him the story behind the music and to encourage him to fight on. That night, Guangxi falls asleep with the music, clenching the cell phone close to his heart…

Comments

The plot is very formulaic and presents no element of surprise (meaning it’s not what one would consider well written). In a case like that what distinguishes a drama relies heavily on the acting and the chemistry between the characters. With that regard, this episode feels a little two-dimentional.

Ady An expressed her anxiety filming intimate scenes and it definitely showed in the acting. With that said, there are a couple noteable scenes (examples: 1) when Guangxi symbolically held the phone to his heart and drifted asleep with the music in the background and 2) the glum undertone in the shaving scene). But not enough to make one sigh at the end of the 70 minutes and marvel, “it’s a good episode.”

12 thoughts on “Next Stop, Happiness Episode 5 Recap”

  1. thanks for the fast review…
    and well i thought it was a good episode.. but then again i’m biased towards Guangxi =P hehe
    though yeah I agree the plot does seem to be contrived from cliches and doesn’t really add its own elements…
    i can’t wait to see the episode when their son is a toddler and they all play together.. though i’m assuming that’ll be towards the end when they live happily ever after if they even show it at all? hopefully they do

  2. Drama’s are notorious for their cliches and predictable story lines… Why so many people still religiously watch them is a question that, I think, doesn’t have an answer. Maybe the actor/actresses? Or the fact that when we watch it, we feel like we’re in a different world, watching them go through all that. OK, that was rambling…

    What I was really going to say is that I do like reading your reviews and yes, I did notice the awkwardness in filming the intimate scene.

    I’ve also given up looking for good story lines in dramas. It’s all redundant – it’s up to the actors/actresses to make an impression on the viewers.

    1. ideas get recycled but they don’t have to come out as contrived. they can be charming, they can be fresh, and they can evoke the feeling you haven’t felt for a long time.

      it gets harder and harder to find one like that, but that doesn’t mean we should stop looking.

      and I do hope when the story resumes six years later, it will remind me of the potential i saw in episode 1.

  3. Actually this is my favorite episode so far. Story wise, it has everything on it – all the cliches and drama and the plotlines that kept me stay tuned and not even blink. There’s finding out about the tumor, Guangxi rejecting Mucheng, and then he went on with his rebelling mode again and then he has to save her when she was drowning, the tenderly-but-strategically-and-well-choreographed bed scene, and encounter with the Guangxi’s mom. And then the ordeal of the treatments that they both faced together … All this can make up for one separate story! So what if it has been used and reused over and over. It can still work over and over.

    And not to mention, Vaness Wu showcased a lot of skills in this episode – his dancing, kissing women and showing off his shirtless body, and thank all things good, his acting improved! If he was still the cutey-smiling-face-flipping-his-long-hair-actor like he was in ‘Meteor Garden’ or even ‘Peach Girl’, this episode would not have worked. And luckily for this drama, Ady An is a good actress and they are equally good looking. If she was inferior looking to Vaness Wu, if HE was prettier than her, I wouldn’t like watching them together, much less in the tender moments of the drama, which this episode has a lot of.

    I really enjoy reading your recaps!

  4. The previous episodes actually made me want to watch the upcoming episode, but this one really turned me off to the show. The preview didn’t help either (Overbearing Mom wants girl to leave boy in order to save him. She obliges and leaves. He’s sad and screams hysterically, she’s sad and cries uncontrollably… —> I usually dig this kdrama-esque story arc, but it’s not working for me here) I think the editing might have been part of the problem here. The scene from when Guang Xi went back to his partying ways to when he saves Mu Chen was very rushed. There was not enough time for me to feel bad for him despite his behavior because he turned around and dove into the water to save Mu Chen. Even though they’re living in drama-time and there’s a time ga between the scenes, everything just felt too fast. It was as if the station wanted to speed to the sex scene so that it the show could beat the other shows airing at the same time.

    I’m still going to watch this show since I like Ady (have you seen the new version of 倚天屠龙记 with Deng Chao? So many Jin Yong remakes these days) and Vanness has his moments. Hopefully episode 6 proves to be more than the preview shows.

    If you have time, you should watch the Korean drama You’re Beautiful. It’s about Idol Bands, but the Hong Sister’s are doing a great job with the script. I really need to be more productive with my time instead just watching dramas :0

    1. Hah funny you should mention You’re Beautiful. Life’s so hectic right now, I don’t think I could’ve held it together without You’re Beautiful to look forward to every week. It will not do my mental health good when it ends though. 😦

      You don’t know this but the Hong sister’s Hong Gil Dong is the reason this blog exists. And of course, GJS was in HGD. So voilà, there is no way I would let You’re Beautiful pass like that. 😀

      1. Oh yeah, I do recall seeing your recaps for HGD here too. I LOVE Kang Ji Hwan and and the Hong Sisters are awesome, so I definitely watched all 24 episodes. JGS wasn’t really my cup of tea in as Chang Hwi because KJH was overshadowing him in the emoting department. But he’s SOOO good as Hwang Taekyung in You’re Beautiful 🙂

        I think YB is the first Hong Sister drama that combines a good script with good acting and good directing. Their previous dramas only consisted of one or two of the elements, but never all three. Have you seen any of their other dramas other than HGD? I really liked Delightful Girl Choonyang even though that was their first script. Without a doubt, YB is their best script to date, and they’ve improved quite a bit.

        I didn’t have much confidence in the cast when I first heard about the drama since 2 of the 4 band members are real idols with no previous acting experience (not withstanding MVs and CFs). Minam and Taekyung are adorable together, but I was really surprised with Jeremy and Shinwoo!

        Sorry for the random rambling 😦 Can’t wait for this week’s episodes! I don’t know what I’m gonna do when it ends either…

        1. Oh no don’t worry about the “rambling”. It’s good to have someone to rave about You’re Beautiful! 😀

          And, wasn’t the ending of episode 10 just. fantastic.!? *suffocating a squeeeeeal* (Poor Shinwoo, I like you very, very much but… you don’t stand a chance against my Taekyung!)

          Anyway…

          Gil Dong and Chang Hui were an even split of affection for me. I love how the Hong Sisters are so skilled with their characterization that you can’t help but fall in love with the characters!

          1. Teehee! YB is definitely one of my favorite dramas this year 🙂 It cracks me up when I’m feeling a little lonely in the UK away from my fam kudo to the subbers because when I watched earlier ep recently, the English subbing is really good.

            What do you think about the Minam-Taekyung birth secret? Birth secrets and incestuous love are the kinds of kdrama ciche that the Hong Sisters poke fun at, so I don’t see Minam and Taekyung being related. They better not be! Unless… the writers are breaking kdrama rules and giving the 2nd lead the girl (Towel Guy already lost his 1st gf due to his accent) As much I like Shinwoo (cutest pseudo-date with MN EVER!!), if TK didn’t get the girl, I want to see the writers fast-forward to 2 years later and bring MN’s bro’s best friend back from the army! He was adorable!! I can totally see MN as a pharmacist’s wife in the country 🙂

            1. They can’t be siblings! There will be angst to anticipate (I mean that in a good way) but, they can’t be siblings!

              You know, to me, Shinwoo is one of those typical “I’m in love with the female lead but I’ll recede in the background” kind of gentleman. I’ve seen similar roles before and although I sympathize, his arc wasn’t something I paid a lot of attention to. But the pseudo-date really hit the spot and my attitude towards him totally changed.

              Side comment: The scene where Shinwoo told Minam to turn around and waited expectantly for her to discover him is especially well shot. Whether it’s the capture of emotion or the camera angle. *sigh*

  5. Maybe you should make changes to the blog subject Next Stop, Happiness Episode 5 Recap brickwall to more specific for your subject you create. I loved the the writing still.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s