It’s the end. Wait, hold on a minute. Let me pinch myself. <pinch, pinch> Sorry for the late and untimely recaps for the past couple of months, but as promised, I did finish this series. I’m not sure if I’m going to be recapping anymore Chinese/Taiwanese dramas in the future, but I will if I find something worth writing about. I’m already gearing up for another project up my sleeve, which y’all will find out before the end of the year. This was a pretty ho-hum finale, with nothing spectacular. Yet it left me with a warm, satisfied feeling. Without further ado, shall we get this party started?
Episodes 11-12 Recap:
Xia Tian takes Ye Zi outside, and leads her to the dock where they had their first kiss, when the former was in a drunken state. Ye Zi glares at him, hurt and angry and vulnerable. Xia Tian reminisces back to the day he was drunk, and how he had vented his heart out. He recalls how she had approached him, unafraid. He now knows that no other person would have tolerated his behavior. It was at that moment that he had this epiphany that if he didn’t pursue her, he would have regretted it for the rest of his life. Like he’s said to her before, “As long as he believes in love, happiness will be close by.”
He bows and asks her if she’ll give him one more chance. She smiles at first, then flashes back to previous scenes where she is being ridiculed by those closer to her, including her mother, Flora, and the crew members. She frees herself from his grasp, as he straightens his back, her actions clearly palpable. She says,
I used to think that, even though our words were quite different, as long as I loved you with all my heart, I would be able to endure any hardships. But now it’s clear that I thought too simply. Xia Tian, I’m not going to change. You won’t, either. You have your world. I must also return to Ye Zi’s — a leaf’s — world. I’m sorry. I really, really tried my best. Thank you, thank you.
With that, she turns and runs away from him.
Xia Tian returns to his home, with a sullen face. He attempts to open his door and realizes he’s forgotten to bring his key. He tries to look for a spare in places he usually hides it, but can’t find one. Impatient, he kicks his door repeatedly, when a sound of jangling keys stop him. Holding his keys in her hand, Flora remarks that he’s still got a quick temper. Ugh, why haven’t you disappeared yet?
She’s come to confess that it’s difficult for her to release him. Can’t he give her another chance, especially if he looked at their past history? Bitter, he replies that it’s because of their love for each other that he waited seven years for her, and what have they to show for it. She counters, commenting that he’s never changed or tried to leave his comfort zone during these past seven years — was it really all for her? She sees a contract for him to photograph the wild in Africa, and scoffs at him. They’re so alike in so many ways, so these will all be just dreams for him. He will never be able to do what he really wants to do, to have control over his life. Xia Tian looks at her with a pitiful expression, and responds that they’re not alike; it’s time for them to move on.
Ye Zi walks slowly back to the shop and is greeted by an excited Yuan Yuan. The latter sees her teary face and comments on it. However, before Ye Zi can explain, Grandpa Zhang stops by, who brightens up the atmosphere until he announces that Grandma Zhang has passed away. (WTF?!) The girls are flabbergasted, with Yuan Yuan asking, “How can life be full of so many regrets?” Grandpa Zhang explains that it wasn’t until ten years ago that they were reunited. They had fallen in love when they were young, against the wishes of Grandma Zhang’s parents. She reluctantly was forced into a marriage she didn’t want, raising a family of her own. He also had his own family, but explains that although they didn’t reunite until ten years ago, it was also the happiest ten years of their lives.
He then presents Ye Zi with handmade bookmarks, which were engagement gifts that he made for Grandma Zhang. He hopes that she and Xia Tian will accept this gift. Ye Zi doesn’t dare to take such a gift, but the man insists, saying that the best memories he has are already tucked away in his mind. She must give these bookmarks to Xia Tian. Before he leaves, he gives one more word of advice: A couple must treasure each other so that there will be no regrets. Ah, sadness. But such a random turn of events.
At Yuan Yuan’s prodding, Ye Zi heads to Xia Tian’s house, bookmarks in hand. Who should come out of the door but Flora? The evil witch goes one step further, lying to Ye Zi that she and Xia Tian are leaving the country together. Therefore, Ye Zi has no reason to see him any longer. In the back of the house, Xia Tian is oblivious to this conversation, so by the time he nears the door, Ye Zi is gone. Wow, so it’s going to be another forced separation of the lovers, eh? I seriously just don’t understand why our gal won’t just march right past Flora to speak personally to her man. Aish, typical, so typical.
It’s unclear how many days have passed when Ye Zi takes Xiao Lu on a walk. They stop by the ice cream stand, and the dog refuses to budge. Exasperated, especially since this place contains another memory with Xia Tian, Ye Zi is about to drag Xiao Lu away when Flora appears.
Before she can leave, Flora immediately apologizes for lying to her the other day. She thought Xia Tian was hers, but now realizes that they really are too different. Perhaps the only person compatible with him is Ye Zi. She hands Ye Zi a slip of paper, containing Xia Tian’s blog address. Ye Zi opens it in front of Flora, tears instantly streaming down her face when she recognizes the address. Ahhh!!! Deux ex machina has come to play. Show, have you started to run out of ideas now?
In his study brooding, Xia Tian is all packed up and ready to head to the airport. He has decided to accept the job offer to Africa. Before he leaves, he stops by Ministop in hopes to see Ye Zi one more time. Yuan Yuan is surprised to see him and tries to call Ye Zi, but of course, she has left her cell phone behind. So where is she? Oh, at Xia Tian’s house, of course. Running out of time, he hands Yuan Yuan a heart-shaped box for Ye Zi. He leaves, parting with a message of wishing Ye Zi well and hoping that even without him, she will continue to pursue her dreams. With that said, he leaves and pauses for a fleeting moment before stepping into the taxi, just as Ye Zi runs back to the store.
Yuan Yuan immediately presents her with Xia Tian’s gift: his camera packed among green flowers and leaves. She doesn’t have much time before Yuan Yuan pushes her out the door to catch Xia Tian at the airport.
His mind heavy, Xia Tian doesn’t notice Ye Zi running after his taxi. It’s a nice parallel to their first meeting, when she had given him extra change and started running after him. We see that on the night he was supposedly passed out in a drunken state, he was fully awake. He had known that it was Ye Zi who put him to bed that night, but he had remained silent.
He arrives at the airport, checks in, and hears a voice calling out his name. Omgomgomg! Please please please let them meet. However, it’s just his imagination. He lingers and walks around the airport for awhile, waiting for Ye Zi to show up. Finally, he boards onto the plane, just as she appears in the background. The two miss each other by mere seconds. Giving up, Ye Zi plops herself on the floor and sobs. NOOO!!! Curse thee, drama god!
Once she returns to the store, she searches fervently for the store laptop until she finds it. She opens the laptop to Xia Tian’s blog, reading what he wrote. Yuan Yuan and Store Manager try to guess what’s going on, with the latter asking Yuan Yuan for her opinion on the matter, since she has a lot of experience in the dating department. It’s at this point that Yuan Yuan confesses that she’s never had a boyfriend before; all the “boyfriends” she’s had were a part of her imagination.
Reading Xia Tian’s blog with new eyes, Ye Zi can’t stop crying. She finally understands that some of his posts were about her, and it was his words to her that was encouraging her all along. She cradles the camera and cries.
Three months later, we see that Ye Zi’s life has returned to normalcy, greeting familiar faces on the streets and also working diligently at Ministop. Although her life is back to normal, Ye Zi has also expanded her interest in photography, opening a blog titled “Summer’s leaves,” which is a play of words on Xia Tian and her name. In her spare time, she constantly returns to the places she first learned photography from Xia Tian, now confident in her own skills after much practice. Carrying that camera with her, Ye Zi uploads all the photos she takes to her blog, so that her photos can encourage others. It’s been months since she’s heard from Xia Tian, but Ye Zi still thinks of him from time to time. Her new life motto is to pursue her dreams, following the last words of advice Xia Tian relayed to her.
One day while Ye Zi is overseeing the shop, Yuan Yuan bursts into the store and drags her outside, where Store Manager, Bao Qiang, and others are waiting. They congratulate her on her promotion to shop manager, because the boss has created a chain of other stores and is now referred to as General Manager. Everybody also congratulates Ye Zi on her first photography exhibition, a secret her friends kept to surprise her on this special day. Just as Ye Zi says her words of thanks, she sees her mother, who is proud to see her daughter all grown up. In celebration of Ye Zi’s first photography exhibition and the opening of new stores, Store –now General– Manager declares that there will be a 5% discount on everything in the store. The celebration is a huge success, with everybody taking a group photo to end the momentous occasion.
Back at home, Ye Zi is online when she gets a call from Yuan Yuan, asking her to come join her at a party. There’s a lot of hot guys there, and it’s been a long time since Ye Zi has had fun. Of course, Ye Zi rejects the offer but promises to join her next time. She gets another call, and assumes that it’s Yuan Yuan calling again. Instead, it’s a call from the Yuan Exhibition Center representative, inviting her to participate in the photography exhibition titled “Shanghai 2010” next month. Ye Zi is incredulous with disbelief, joyous with the happy news.
The next day, Bao Qiang Ge arrives with a parcel mail for her from South America. Could it possibly be from Xia Tian? Ye Zi quickly tears open the package, and it’s a box. She opens it to find another box inside, and opens it again, to find another box. It’s the same pattern until she finally opens the last box, to find a slip of paper inside. On the piece of paper, it’s his blog address, which prompts Ye Zi to fetch the store laptop. Xia Tian has uploaded a bunch of photos of her, adding his own comments underneath each picture. I’m not gonna lie, that was pretty cute.
Underneath one of the last photos, Xia Tian writes,
You thought that I was drunk, but I knew you were the one who stayed with me the whole night. I really wanted to say “thank you,” but I was overcome with so much happiness, I couldn’t say it in time. It was at that moment that I… started liking you.
With that, Ye Zi runs out of the store in tears, stopping at the point where she first chased him down in his car. As she’s walking underneath the forest trees, her phone rings. She answers, but no one responds. She guesses that it’s him and asks, “Is it you? Is it you? You sent that card, didn’t you?” Xia Tian finally speaks up, “The food here isn’t as good, and there are no dogs here as cute as Xiao Lu.” They talk about what she’s been doing as she continues to walk, unaware that a taxi car is following her. Ye Zi warns him that he better decide quickly whether or not he’s staying in Africa or not. At that moment, Xia Tian steps out of the taxi, yelling, “I’m here! Is it too late?”
He slowly approaches her, hugging her fiercely.
Next we see them back at the shop, sitting side by side with their laptops open, and the bookmarks from Grandpa Zhang sitting on the table between them. Pausing from their work, they smile contently at each other before continuing on with blogging.
So in the end, our couple gets one of those happily ever after endings. I wasn’t expecting much from this drama other than pure entertainment and eye candy. It was really adorable from the get-go, with pretty cast members to stunning cinematography. But it wasn’t just about the pretties. I was surprised to find the little slices of life in scenes. It’s true that TLC oversimplifies the characters and that the drama depended on flashbacks to scenes to emphasize its point. It was harder to finish this series towards the end, but that was only because I felt the drama was trying to create more angst, instead of riding on its OTP’s chemistry. If they had just showed our OTP hanging out for the last four episodes, I would have been just as happy. I could watch them for hours, doing absolutely nothing but photography. Really.
Anyway, this was well done for a Chinese drama. I say that without sarcasm, only because this was the second Chinese/Taiwanese drama I finished in 2010. I admit I didn’t sample most of this year’s offerings from this particular genre, yet I just didn’t find the other stories appealing.
Personally, I thought the drama lost steam in the last four episodes with plot setups that were all quite clichey. Flora and Bao Qiang turned out to be completely useless characters, only mere plot devices to add some kind of angst to this drama. I didn’t care much about them, and Bao Qiang seemed more like a big brother from the beginning than a love interest. Towards the end, I thought the misunderstanding between Xia Tian and Ye Zi was anti-climatic, since they had so many of those in previous episodes.
Overall, it was well done because the directing was so assured and the actors were heartfelt with what little plot was given in this series. The writing was the weakest aspect but at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter. Xia Tian and Ye Zi as a couple, played by Joe Cheng and Li Fei Er, made up for any flaws this drama had. I loved their performances, and as the OTP, they killed it with the chemistry. I enjoyed watching this drama as a viewer, although recapping made watching this series much more fun. Thanks for embarking on this ride with me. See you next time!