Finding no reason to keep him here, Guangxi packs and readies himself to leave — that is, until he gets a call from Mucheng, telling him about Xiao Le’s kidnap. Now empowered with an ego-preserving mission to stay, Guangxi drops his traveling plan and rushes to Mucheng’s side.
The couple ends up in a charming little church, anxiously waiting for the kidnapper’s instruction. Sure enough, it comes in the form of text messages. The first one requests the man and wife to walk into the church hand in hand. As proof, they must first take a picture of themselves doing the act and send it to the kidnappers.
Though Mucheng has suspected that Tuoye and his mother are behind the kidnap scam, she would never have guessed that the real mastermind is her own son. Very clever. Nonetheless, she is a good sport and follows through with the instructions. Grabbing Guangxi’s hand, Mucheng promptly enters the promise land of holy matrimony. Symbolism much?
The usually sharp lawyer becomes, for the purpose of willing suspension of disbelief, uncannily dense and suspects nothing unusual with the peculiar requests. He does note however, that it’s an odd sensation for him to be holding hands with a woman whom he’s only recently divorced. But lo and behold, Mucheng hasn’t actually signed the papers and is still his wife. This piece of information stuns the lawyer, rendering him tongue-tied.
When he recovers from the momentary stupor, he insists that when she signs it, she can leave it to his assistant to handle the details. Mucheng’s response cuts off Guangxi’s passive-aggressive stammering at a felicitous time, “Sorry to inform you this but I’m not going to sign it. I don’t want a divorce.” Off Guangxi’s blank look, she continues to explain,
“This time, I want to be honest with myself. Circumstances have forced me into lies in the past but if I were given the choice to start over, I would be honest with you. The truth is, I was madly in love with you six years ago. I pretended that I didn’t and left when I badly wanted to stay. During these six years, I told myself that life was fine without you, but it wasn’t. I acted like I was happy for you and Yiqian, knowing deep down, I was jealous. When I saw you again, I didn’t know how to act around you so I faked bravery to conceal my vulnerability.”
Guangxi’s sharp intake of air exposes his distress. “I’ve given you many chances and yet you failed me each time. Now that I’ve decided to finally let go, you start opening up to me. What do you expect me to do?” Mucheng starts to answer but the beeping of the phone saves her.
The second set of requests ask the couple to lift up the cover of the piano and retrieve two rings. Then they must exchange the rings and send back a picture for proof. Fingering ring box in one hand, Guangxi realizes this kidnap is but an excuse for the two of them to reconcile. He lets the matter drop and shifts his attention to a question that he’s been dying to ask.
“That night at the villa, what was your real decision? Stay? Or leave?” To this, Mucheng answers with complete candor, “If time were to reverse, I’d still choose to leave. But this time, I would tell you why I’m leaving. Because…” She takes the ring box from Guangxi’s hand and slips the ring on Guangxi’s finger “… I believe that you still love me.”
He takes the other ring and slides it onto Mucheng’s finger, next to her wedding band. “Now it’s my turn to ask”, Mucheng takes advantage of the moment of silence, “If Xiao Le returns home now, will you still leave us to go to America?” Guangxi opens his mouth to answer but the sound stays on the tip of his tongue. After a pregnant pause, he answers gravely,
“I don’t have a reason to stay. (Playing hard to get eh?) You once said that our love story is like the game Monopoly; there is half chance, half fate. The restoration of my memory is like fate’s second chance for me to start the game anew. I gave it a try but ended with the same result. There’s too much mistrust between us. Perhaps we both need a little more time.”
A look of disappointment sweeps across Mucheng’s face but she brightens up almost instantly. “Then leave. I will wait for you to return again,” she says. Taking a seat in front of the cross, she reminisces, “Do you remember six years ago when we first came here to pray? Want to know what I wished at the time? I wanted God to forgive me for not saying the words I wanted to say to you.” “What was that?” “I do.” Guangxi’s eyes starts to redden. But Mucheng continues, “That’s the promise I made to you six years ago. And that’s my promise today. I do. I want to give our love another chance. You said this, ‘Don’t let go of something you want; that includes people you care about’. If I tell you I love you, will you stay for that reason?” She reaches out a hand tentatively.
He doesn’t take it but instead says, “I’ve given you two chance. You left me each time. This time, it’s my turn to leave.” She drops her hand slowly…
He grabs it and completes his sentence, “I will leave, if you let me down again.” With that, he breaks into a wide grin and twirls her into a hug. What comes after the hug? Un bisou! And a snapshot to memorialize the moment, à la opening episode.
Walking out of the church hand in hand, Mucheng asks testily, “So, you’re not going to the U.S.?” “Of course I have to go.” Guangxi replies nonchalantly. Pouting ever so slightly, Mucheng drops his arm. He chuckles, “The conference only takes a day. I will be back in three.” To Mucheng’s befuddled expression, Guangxi explains, “I’ve already forgiven you. I planned to talk it out with you after the conference. Who knew you’d be this forward? So I happily obliged.” “Then why did you give me the divorce paper?” “The first time we got married, I forced you into it. So I’m giving you the divorce papers hoping to give you a chance to choose. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want you. I just want you to stay with me willingly this time.”
The rest of the story wraps up pretty well.
First it’s Chixin, now released from police custody. Tuoye of course, picks her up. As the two of them walk towards home quietly, Chixin breaks the silence first, “Tuoye-ge are you not happy that I’m released on pleas of not guilty?” “Of course I am.” “But you’re awfully quiet.” “Well, I’m wondering why your Mandarin has become so good all of a sudden.” Chixin smiles, “My Mandarin was always this good. It’s just that mom doesn’t speak perfect Mandarin so I adopted the same accent to seem more like a family.” Tuoye smiles. After a moment of awkwardness, he hands Chixin a bag — present to celebrate her safety.
She opens it and sees that it’s water lily. “Do you know what’s awesome about water lily? It grows out of mud yet it retains its pureness. Just like you.” Pleased with the half-compliment-half-confession, Chixin teases, “Then… next time, can you give me roses?”
Tuoye nods and smiles.
The other loose ends fall into place as well:
- Gary the assistant gets a raise.
- Guangxi accepts a case of a woman — auntie, Mucheng’s auntie — looking for her missing daughter (and that would be… Mucheng!).
- Guangxi’s mother finds her happiness and her bastion on the shoulders of the royal family lawyer and long term friend.
- Yiqian is doing very well as a doctor.
Short and sweet, the ultimate feel-good ending.
The tone of this episode felt cheery and consistent but the same cannot be said about the drama as a whole. Although its tagline is melodrama, there’s a marked feeling of separation before and after the six-year turning point in the story. While the first storyline, taking place six years prior, felt contrived and dramatic, the second half took a sharp turn and became something akin to a romantic comedy with elements of angst as a driving force to keep the story intact and moving. I think if the writers had more time to chew on the details instead of churning out the script week after week, the overall quality of the drama would be much higher. That said, this drama is neither terrible, nor an excellent work of gem. There are parts that felt sluggish and demanded liberal use of the fast forward button but there are also parts that deserved appraisal.
Cases in point: Chris Wu’s solid acting that often drove the raw emotion home. The thoughtfulness to bring Auntie, a key character in Mucheng’s life that unfortunately faded away, back in the last episode. The familiar act of taking snapshot of the kiss to echoes the first episode in an effort to consolidate the notion that their love is sealed — and re-sealed — by the kiss. It gives a feeling of completion and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we’ve been waiting for all along.