The few days Guangxi spent in Hua Tian Village has helped him rediscover his conscience. He’s learning words like “altruism” and “kindness” that his mother “accidentally” forgot to teach him. As he is all out of practice — the time when Mucheng reformed him was six years ago and, he’s got no memory of it — the concepts come slowly. Too slowly. By the time Guangxi starts to feel sympathy running in his veins, the villagers have also found out about his affiliation with the big bad company guys who have their dirty little paws on the land. So the angry villagers pick up their pitch forks and light their torches, they want Guangxi the traitor OFF their land.
Guangxi tries to explain himself but in the heat of the moment, villagers resort to violence. It ends with Mucheng getting egged in the head.
Mucheng’s getting hit adds guilt to Guangxi’s frustration. He laments that if he didn’t punch his client, he wouldn’t be sent to the village (which is, a forced plot device to make the characters meet — looks like the writer is all out of ideas.). If he wasn’t sent to the village, he wouldn’t be caught up in all the drama. (He’d be happily married and busy making babies!) Mucheng shakes her head and replies that the punch is the manifestation of his suppressed sense of justice. Deep down, Guangxi is a good person. (You can tell the good person comment worked because it worked in Brilliant Legacy and because Guangxi’s anger dissipated. I’m even going to make a case that he’s eyes seem to carry little sparkles afterwards.)
The talk prompts Guangxi to ask about Xiao Le’s father.
Mucheng hesitates for a beat, then she looks Guangxi in the eye and says, “He was terrible. He often did things no one understood. But came time for decisions making, he always did what’s right and what’s just.”
The moment is broken by the cauliflower uncle who storms in to take back the seeds he had given Guangxi. What stuns the old man as a white pot is handed to him is that the seeds have sprouted. He has a whole farm of those babies and they won’t sprout. Guangxi and Mucheng’s did? Now, if you’re thinking this is a sign that Guangxi and Mucheng are special and meant to be because the seeds sprouted, you’re thinking too much. No magical realism involved here, sorry!
What Guangxi thinks is happening is that Yiqian’s father’s factory has a pollution control problem. Too much pollution was dumped into the surrounding and has contaminated Hua Tian Village’s soil and water. Instead of addressing the problem, the Chairman is resorting to hushing the fact by buying the village.
Base on this hunch, Guangxi decides to investigate and in the process, redeem himself.
Tuoye is then given the responsibility of gathering water and soil samples from the factory and the village. These samples will be sent to a lab later for analysis. In the meantime, Guangxi takes the cauliflower uncle to his fiancée for treatment (he’s got metal poisoning from drinking the contaminated water).
Yiqian is extremely nice about Guangxi doing what’s right, even if it means her father will be afflicted by it. She listens to Guangxi recounting his experiences at the village: the five-year-old boy who taught him honesty and the single-mother landlord who struggled to make ends meet. The more she listens, the more she can feel Guangxi slipping away. But she chooses to do nothing, say nothing.
Chixin, however, takes a different approach. She knows Tuoye doesn’t see her in a romantic light but that only makes her harder. She may not get what she wants in the end, but at least she can say she tried.
The battle for justice is more complicated than it looks. After careful analysis at some of the data approved by the government, there is sufficient reason to believe that the statistics was tampered to give a misleading appearance. Zhang Zhengji, the man who helped the company conceal facts of pollution is a highly esteemed figure in the field of environmental protection. It would be difficult to discredit him and show evidences of bribery. It’s not impossible but it takes a helluva of strategist to come up with a good plan.
So the guys move on to dinner to fuel their brains with nutrients, there’s a long night of thinking ahead of them.
And dinner table turns out to be an extension of the alpha male competition.
It starts with the game of who sits with who. Success is measured by the proximity with which they are seated from Xiao Le, who holds the deciding power. Since Xiao Le chooses to sit by Guangxi, that means he prefers Guangxi over Tuoye, however weakly. That’s one for Guangxi. (On the other hand, Tuoye gets to sit by Mucheng! So that’s not really a loss is it?)
But no! Tuoye is catching up! Mucheng made Tuoye’s favorite dish (chicken soup with bitter melon), which means between Guangxi and Tuoye, Tuoye’s taste takes precedence. (Oh c’mon, little Xiao Le is SICK of the beef broth Mucheng always makes when she misses Guangxi.) 1:1
When the boys start digging in, Tuoye makes mention of Xiao Le’s dislike for carrots (since it’s encouraged by Guangxi, who also dislikes carrots). Carrots are good sources of Vitamin A and fiber blah blah blah. The verdict: Xiao Le should eat carrots. (One point for Tuoye) Seeing this, Guangxi chimes in. Bitter melon, which Tuoye always eats for Xiao Le, is a demulcent. It alliterates constipation yada yada yada. Therefore, Xiao Le should eat bitter melon. (That’s another point for Guangxi) In the end, poor Xiao Le is left with a bowl full of both carrots and bitter melon. 2:2, no alpha male tonight.
When night gives in to day, Guangxi has a plan in mind. He has Mucheng dressed as his secretary; together, they return to Sheng De University. (In case you’re wondering about the set up, Zhang Zhengji is giving a talk at the school this morning. Plot contrivance much?)
Coming back after six years, Mucheng feels conflicted. Memories keep flooding to her eyes, haunting her with their constant nagging. She brushes aside the nostalgia, business comes first.
Following Guangxi’s direction, Mucheng bumps into Zhang Zhengji, dropping the Hua Tian village file for Zhang to pick up. Having done that, Guangxi enters the talk pretending to be one of his ex clients, Li Wangcai (the one charged with sexual assault, whose face had the honor of taking in Guangxi’s fist).
Zhang sees the dropped file and gets worried. Why wouldn’t he be? He has falsified data; if news gets out, his reputation will be ruined. He approaches Guangxi broadly, acting like the proper host but secretly fishing for Guangxi’s intent. Guangxi, knowing this, puts on a winsome smile. He sends Mucheng to fetch some drinks and leans in to talk about getting help from Zhang. To clear himself of suspicion, Guangxi mentions Xu Fangguo, the ex A student that’s now Yiqian’s father’s lowly sidekick. Lying smoothly, Guangxi tells Zhang that Xu Fangguo referred him.
At this time, Mucheng encounters some trouble of her own. An alumnus working on staff spots Mucheng and recalls seeing her before. To avoid unwanted attention, Mucheng denies. But the alumnus persists. Being the gentleman that he is, Guangxi waltzes to Mucheng’s side and sweeps her away by the waist, proclaiming her his.
He brings Mucheng forward and formally introduces her as his woman girlfriend, AKA secretary. Zhang Zhengji gives Guangxi a knowing nod.
Trouble follows one after another, the real Li Wangcai suddenly shows up. Guangxi didn’t work so hard so he can be compromised at the end. He excuses himself to “talk” *ahem threaten* Li Wangcai, leaving Mucheng to entertain Zhang Zhengji. (Mucheng’s “you gotta be kidding me” look is absolutely hilarious.)
In any case, Guangxi gets an audio recording to prove Zhang is guilty. Satisfied, he and Mucheng head out. Not long after they left, their identities are revealed. (The real Li Wangcai finally got around to expose them, albeit unintentionally.) Zhang Zhengji sends out guards to stop Guangxi and Mucheng.
The two run away hand in hand and wind up in the old piano room. The guard follows them to the room and gives a cursory glance at the deserted place. He finds nothing and locks the door behind him. Déjà vu?
Alone in the room again, Mucheng sits down on the chair that overlooks what used to be the piano. Guangxi glances around the room curiously, as if seeing it for the first time. He looks towards Mucheng, suddenly, blurry memories come rushing at him. “I remember this place…” he starts uncertainly. Thinking hard, Guangxi points to where Mucheng is facing, “A piano used to be there. I remember a girl playing piano over there… But I can’t remember who she is…” He sighs in exasperation. Mucheng shoots up from her seat as Guangxi’s fuzzy recollection starts to make her uneasy. (What is she afraid of? Her heart should be rushing with joy! Oh wait, I forgot that Guangxi is already taken. Damn the writer!) She finds the door locked and looks to Guangxi for help.
Spooked by the sense of familiarity, Guangxi continues pacing around the room. Inspired by a fleeting memory, he looks down and sees a white mark on the pavement. Bending down to touch it, a smile lights up Guangxi’s face.
First of all, a happy picture for the holiday season:
It’s been awhile since I last written a recap for this drama. I want to say thank you all for your patience, I just haven’t been able to sit down and watch an entire episode without being distracted. Despite my dwindling interest, I have to give this episode credit for being one of the better ones. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s solid but it’s got cute little moments here and there.