Sunny Happiness is like an exquisite layer cake, to borrow the pastry analogy from our heroine Yong Yong’s love of baking. The cake itself is delicious when eaten as a whole, all the different flavor layers blending together into its own unique dessert. But I also like to nibble on each layer separately, to taste the original yet disparate flavors that each represent its own sensory goodness. SH as a whole is a completely satisfying drama, and in taking a look at the various elements separately, I reach a deeper appreciation for how well-crafted it is. Episodes 19-20 contain moments of clarity that show how all the characters continue to try to figure out their lives and loves.
Episodes 19-20 Recap:
Yong Yong heads inside the house, thinking to herself that the parents of a child meeting is not unusual at all, and good for the child. She’s making jewelry, likely as a way to keep herself busy, but her mind continues to think through what is happening recently. She’s losing control of the steering wheel when before she knew where to go. This is the first time that she wants to be like the princess in a fairy tale, that the prince will choose her. But the fairy tales ultimately are just for dreams, and she’s a woman who is not allowed to fall in love with the prince.
Yun Jie and Wan Lan are sitting at a cafe, and he apologizes to her first for what he accuses her of the last time they talked. She’s not that kind of person, and he should have known better. Wan Lan downs her wine, and and tells him that she still loves him. She asks for another chance with him. Yun Jie says that he thought he made things clear last time, but she tries to asks him to reconsider. They won’t make the same mistakes now that they are older and wiser.
Yun Jie firmly tells her not to live in the past and to move on. They are not the same people they were 8 years ago, and their story is over now. They head outside, and she declines his offer to drive her home.
As he walks away, she grabs him for a back hug, sobbing into his back. He looks upset, but he firmly grabs her hands around his waist and removes its grip and shakes her off him. He walks away without a backward glance.
Second sister wakes up and asks Yong Yong why she stayed up all night making jewelry. Her excuse was that she was not sleepy and used the opportunity to make some money. Second sister asks why Yun Chao dropped her off last night, and not Yun Jie. Yong Yong tries to brush her off by saying Yun Jie had other matters to take care of. Second sister tells Yong Yong that she’s about to cause a commotion which will wake up the parents and first sister, unless Yong Yong comes clean with her about what is going on.
They head outside to talk, and second sister is told that Yun Jie went to see Wan Lan but kept it from Yong Yong. Second sister thought things were going well, especially now that they are having a baby. Yong Yong says that she needs to keep pretending for the sake of the baby, but she is planning to get a divorce after the baby is born. Second sister starts to cry, bemoaning that stuff that Yong Yong has to endure. She tells Yong Yong to get rid of the baby and not to get married, because its too unfair for her.
Yong Yong refuses to consider that, as the baby is innocent, and she will do anything for the baby. She just wants to safely and peacefully have the baby. Second sister tells her to just be Yun Jie’s real wife, since she’s having his baby. Yong Yong says that Yun Jie feels gratitude and concern for her only, but there is no love. He shouldn’t be tied to an ordinary woman like her for life just because of a baby. Second sister keeps wailing about how poorly Yun Jie is treating Yong Yong.
Yong Yong tries to defend Yun Jie’s duty to see Wan Lan for the sake of Xiao Nian. Second sister presses her, asking if indeed she really doesn’t care? Yong Yong says that Wan Lan, Yun Jie and Xiao Nian are a family. She is just an employee at the hotel, and he is the President, there is no way they would have any future together. To Yun Jie, she is like an accident, and the baby is an even more unexpected accident. Second sister wants to hear her swear that she will never fall in love with Yun Jie. Yong Yong promises second sister that she will never fall in love with Yun Jie.
Yun Chao is in his office and thinks back to the night before, and Yong Yong’s non-reaction when they saw Yun Jie with Wan Lan. He heads to a board meeting, and during the board meeting, Yun Chao raises issues with Tian Yu Group’s poor earnings in the last two quarters. The two brothers have a decidedly clipped face-off at the board meeting, and their dad arrives to join the meeting. Yun Chao thinks a report should be commissioned to determine why the last project Yun Jie helmed is in the red for the company.
Yun Chao’s pointed remarks about how Yun Jie is refusing to acknowledge his mistakes is clearly not all work related, and even Yun Jie can tell that his younger brother is exceedingly on his back today. Yun Chao wants to handle the study about why the project is not succeeding. But dad stops the brotherly bickering, deciding that Yun Jie can handle the report himself.
Yun Chao heads back to Yun Jie’s office, and asks him where he was last night. He tells Yun Jie that they saw him with Wan Lan last night. Yun Chao accuses Yun Jie of mistreating Yong Yong, and he’s embarassed by his brother’s behavior. Yun Jie is furious and tells Yun Chao that he has no right to berate him about his personal or professional conduct. Yun Chao gets right up into Yun Jie’s face, and tells him that he doesn’t deserve Yong Yong.
He grabs Yun Jie by the collar, and says that Yong Yong may accept being treated this way, but he is going to stand up for her. Yun Jie tells Yun Chao that Yong Yong is his wife, and that Yun Chao has no right to be here arguing for her sake. He demands that Yun Chao leave right now, and the brotherly stare down ends without either blinking an eyelash.
Yun Chao heads to the construction site for the new shopping center. Xin Jie arrives and is happy to see him, but he totally walks right past her and ignores her. Xin Jie is pissed, and takes it out on the architect and construction team at the site. She thumbs down the current project design. Yun Chao is not interested in coddling her, telling Xin Jie she’s irrational and that he’s not dealing with her hissy fits. Back at the office, Yun Chao’s subordinate reminds him to treat Xin Jie better, because he needs her father’s investment power to get himself promoted to President. Ooooh, power play!
Yun Chao brings flowers to Xin Jie and tries to placate her. He tells her that he will work harder to change himself, and listen to her ideas about the shopping mall project. She asks for his hand, and takes a bite of it. She asks him if it hurts, and she wants him to remember the hurt because she’s been hurting like that for the last few days. He asks her to endure it for a while longer, and uses the opportunity to convince her to have her dad support him to become the President of the Tian Yu Group so that he can control his work flow and spend more time with her.
Yong Yong is getting ready for her wedding ceremony tomorrow, and she’s going through her things in her room. She finds an envelope in a shoebox, and she opens it to find old birthday cards that her dad wrote to her, always promising to come back and get her when he made enough money. Yong Yong reads one after another, and starts to cry. Her dad comes in and asks why she is crying?
He sees the cards and wonders how it got here? She asks why she never go the letters during those 8 years she was in the orphanage? He tells her that because he didn’t have money to buy her a present, if he only sent a card, he worried that she would think he wasn’t capable. He told her that he’s glad he didn’t send the cards, because she would have been so disappointed in him. Yong Yong cries, saying she didn’t want a capable dad, she wanted a dad who cared about her and sent her cards.
Her dad apologizes for being a horrible failure, but she tells him not to say things like this. He gave her life and has taken care of her the only way he knew how. He tells her not to cry, and she wipes her nose on his shirt. Oh what a wonderful scene. The groom and the best man have arrived to pick up the bride. The men sit down in the living room while second sister goes to bring Yong Yong out. Yong Yong confesses to being nervous, and her sister tells her that she is Miss. Capable and shouldn’t be nervous now.
Yong Yong, looking resplendent in her wedding dress, tentatively walks out with a smile on her face. Yun Jie turns around and sees her, his face registering the moment. They get down on their knees to pay their respects to the elders. Her dad believes that it is Yun Jie blessing to have such a kind and wonderful girl as his wife, and he acknowledges that. Stepmom tearfully says that she will miss Yong Yong, who she has always treated as a real daughter.
Second sister warns Yun Jie to take care of Yong Yong or else he’ll have to answer to everyone in the family. Yong Yong says goodbye, and tells her two stepsisters to find their own happiness, too.
She gets into the car to leave, and first sister tells Yun Jie that in their house, Yong Yong has taken care of everyone. But now that she is getting married, she is simply their previous youngest sister, so he better treat her and the new baby right. He promises to take good care of her.
It’s nighttime, and Yong Yong is laying in bed with a frozen look of fear on her face. When Yun Jie walks over, she shrieks and asks him what he is doing! He says that he’s just getting a pillow, and he walks to the sofa. He tells her that they are just roommates inside the bedroom, while they pretend to be married to the outside. There is suddenly a knock on the door, and it’s Xiao Nian. Yun Jie quickly rushes into bed, and Yong Yong curls up right next to him.
Xiao Nian gets into bed between them, asking for a story to help him sleep. He agrees to go back to his room to sleep after the story, since he knows they are going to have a wedding night. Xiao Nian asks what a wedding night is, and both Yun Jie and Yong Yong take turns telling the most nonsensical story about Adam and Eve and cupid’s arrow. Xiao Nian is perplexed and tells them he didn’t understand a word of that. The new family of three end up falling alseep in the big bed, and Yong Yong drapes her leg over Yun Jie.
Yun Jie wakes up alone in bed, and he smiles as he pulls the drapes open to let in the light. As he brushes his teeth, he sees a pink toothbrush in the holder. He heads downstairs, where Yong Yong is making breakfast for the family already.
He tells her she should sleep in more, but she would rather take care of her family’s most important breakfast needs. Xian Nian comes downstairs, and both dad and son compliment her on the beyond delicious food.
Yong Yong cleans the house and writes in her journal. She wonders how she’s changed since she met Yun Jie, and whether he’s changed since he met her? She thinks she’s 99% the same, and there is just 1% of her that has changed irrevocably. That 1% is very important to her, but she keeps it hidden in a corner of her heart.
At the full board meeting, Yun Jie takes full responsibility for the last Tian Yu condo project being a failure. Xin Jie’s dad speaks up and suggests that the brother switch roles, and have a new leader manage the company. The board approves it, and Yun Chao is now the President of Tian Yu Group. Xin Jie congratulates Yun Chao, but Yun Chao confesses that he’s not sure what he ultimately wants to accomplish.
Yong Yong is waiting for Yun Jie to come home, when Yun Chao walks through the door rather drunk. He starts plunking on the piano, and she rushes to stop him from waking up the family. Yun Chao tells him now to bother with him, since she should be concerned about her husband not being home so late. Yong Yong says she doesn’t need to worry about Yun Jie, since he’s not a kid.
Yun Chao smirks, laughing at this absurd marriage he sees before him. He doesn’t know what Yong Yong sees in Yun Jie, and whether she understands what it means to love someone. She shakes off his arm and tells him that he is the new President of Tian Yu Group, so shouldn’t he behave better since he has many people who depend on him now.
Yun Chao thinks Yun Jie is off licking his wounds, since he’s always been on top of Yun Chao his whole life, so this reversal must chafe. Yong Yong defends Yun Jie as always wanting Yun Chao to succeed, and she’s saddened that he sees Yun Jie as his imaginary rival.
Yong Yong gets a call and she heads out to meet Yun Jie. He’s sitting outside looking at the stars, and she sneaks up and surprises him. She asks why he’s out so late, and she leans in to smell the alcohol on him. She wonders if he really is off drinking away his frustration at losing the President position, but he says its the exact opposite. He’s been waiting for this day for years, and he’s happy for Yun Chao.
He was out drinking because he went to see a lot of the company’s clients and vendors to reassure them that Yun Chao will be a great new President. Aww, Yun Jie, you are an awesome older brother, and Yong Yong compliments him as such. He tells her not to compliment him so much, he did this for himself. Now that he’s less busy, he can spend more time with Yong Yong, and be by her side every step of the pregnancy.
Yun Jie says that she needs him, since she comes running when he calls. She says that she doesn’t need him, she was worried about him, and she can’t sleep unless he’s back. He says that a pregnant woman shouldn’t be out so late, so he offers to piggyback her home. She declines, but he says that he just wants to piggyback her tonight. He gives her one second to accept the offer, and when she’s a bit slow, he gets up and walks away. Of course, she runs after him and he piggybacks her home.
The next day, Yun Jie takes Yun Chao around the company to meet certain employees who are great assets to the company. Yun Chao accepts the guidance, but is still a bit wary of Yun Jie’s help. He finds out from clients that Yun Jie visited them yesterday to help pave the way for Yun Chao to take over as the new President.
Yun Jie is teaching Xiao Nian to play the piano, and Xiao Nian wonders why his dad suddenly has all this free time to spend with him? Xiao Nian asks his dad to check on his mom, who refuses to answer his calls recently. Yun Jie goes to Wan Lan’s house, and runs into Si Han, who tells him that Wan Lan has gone back to China. Xiao Nian got an email from his mom, telling him that she got an important new job that requires her to be back in China. Xiao Nian is upset, especially since his mom just left without saying goodbye.
Yun Jie thinks that the email doesn’t make sense, since she quit her job to come to Taipei, and now she’s heading back for a job. Yong Yong wonders if maybe Wan Lan is made at her, and her marriage to Yun Jie. He decides to go check on Wan Lan since he’s headed to China to handle other matters. Yong Yong and Yun Jie are at the airport together. He asks whether she is happy since her roommate will be away for a few days and she can monopolize the room.
He reminds her not to sneak food in the room, which she blames it on the baby. He tells her to take good care of herself and the baby. She asks him to be safe when he travels. Yong Yong hands Yun Jie a card that Xiao Nian made for Wan Lan.
He has to head to the gate, and before he leaves, he reminds her not to miss him too much. She smiles as he walks away, and he turns to look back at her. They keep waving at each other as Yun Jie slowly walks away, turning around multiple times to keep looking at Yong Yong.
Yun Jie meets with his lawyer friend in China, who is looking for another investor to get a restaurant project off the ground. Yun Jie suggests that he has the perfect person who could be the pastry chef at this new restaurant. Yun Jie asks if Wan Lan is back, and is told she must still be in Taipei since she hasn’t been on TV. Yun Jie goes to her apartment, and he asks her to please open the door for him so they can talk.
He enters her apartment and finds her sitting on the couch typing (okay, An Affair to Remember, anyone?). She’s curt and abrupt with him, and suggests that she’s not going to see Xiao Nian anytime soon. He asks her why she’s suddenly changed, and she says that she changed because of him. The night he rejected her, she was left with only her dignity. She asks Yun Jie to leave, and once he walks out, she breaks down completely.
Yun Jie is leaving in a cab when he realizes that he never gave Wan Lan the card Xiao Nian made for her. He returns and Wan Lan refuses to let him in. Si Han arrives and tells Yun Jie to please leave. Yun Jie wants to remind Wan Lan that Xiao Nian misses her terribly. Si Han decks Yun Jie with a punch, accusing him of destroying her life by splitting her and Xiao Nian up.
Thoughts of Mine:
There is so much I want to talk, I’m at a loss as to where to start. Let me get the easy out of the way first – Wan Lan (1) clearly had something happen to her that is not just her pride talking, and (2) I’m not sure how much she really still loves Yun Jie, or its that she loves the thought of reassembling the perfect family again. I loved how the drama handles her attempt to get Yun Jie back – with Yun Jie’s response being the requisite honesty and matter-of-factness. He leaves her no room to doubt or misunderstand the words “No way, it’s over and ain’t ever happening again.”
Yun Chao’s brotherly issues flared up with Yun Jie in this episode, and I’m glad he got to tell off Yun Jie because boy clearly needs to get some stored up frustration off his chest. It’s pretty clear that Yun Chao has got a lot of things on his mind – his professional validation, his relationship with Xin Jie becoming an emotional burden that requires his attention, and his percolating feelings for Yong Yong lurking in the background.
What I love about the alterna-OTP of Yun Chao and Yong Yong is that it doesn’t feel forced or contrived. He doesn’t take one look at her and falls madly in love for her, and fights his brother for her. Through it all, meeting Yong Yong likely reinforces the feeling of always being second for him when it concerns Yun Jie. Think about it – once again, he’s too late to the game. By the time he met her, she was already married and pregnant with Yun Jie’s baby (not that anyone knew it then). It’s all part and parcel of Yun Chao’s identity, living under the shadow of a dominant older brother, and trying to forge his own place in their family.
Which makes what Yun Jie did for him, and how Yun Jie reacted after he was ousted as President, so unbelievably touching to see. Instead of feeling loss and frustration, Yun Jie the older brother who loves his younger brother, is supportive and mindful of how to help with the transition. And the drama doesn’t drag out any lingering brotherly issues, because Yun Chao immediately can see how much Yun Jie supports the transition, and what Yun Jie did for him without telling him. Great plot driven development with a rational and measured execution.
The biggest moment of these two episodes was of course the official and second wedding of Yun Jie and Yong Yong. I loved how the drama chooses to focus not on the romantic beats between Yong Yong and Yun Jie, but rather focus on how their marriage touches upon Yong Yong and her family. My eyes started misting the moment Yong Yong found the birthday cards her dad wrote but never sent. Her dad initially showed up as the guy who dropped Yong Yong off at the orphanage and then picked up her 8 years later, just like that. But what we’ve seen since her dad came back a few episodes ago is a man who isn’t a one-dimensional bad parent.
He loves Yong Yong, he sees and understands her wonderful traits, and he tried the only way he knew how to take care of her. SH doesn’t have any characters who had lingering or deep rooted personality issues stemming from childhood trauma. Yong Yong has a fear of abandonment and a desire for family, but these wants don’t control her behavior as an adult. Her experiences serve to influence how she feels, but ultimately she logically chooses her next steps each time she is faced with a problem.
Back to Yong Yong’s family, which was initially set up so much like a wink at the Cinderella and her stepmother and two stepsisters, and turned out to be so heartwarming and unexpectedly full of love. Second sister has always looked out for Yong Yong, but on her wedding day, we saw first sister come out and warn Yun Jie to take good care of their littlest sister otherwise he will have to answer to the family. If Yong Yong’s dad did anything right, it was remarrying his silly goose of a wife and giving Yong Yong a mother and two sisters.
SH deftly balances the tender and tearful moments with the laughs and the smiles, transitioning from Yong Yong’s wistful goodbye ceremony to her family to the LOL (second) wedding night. I love how the drama never focuses on any one scene, but instead allows the story to flow naturally. Usually you can pinpoint in rom-coms the OMO moment where the leads fall for the other person. But in SH, it’s just not there, and you realize that somewhere along the way, Yong Yong and Yun Jie fell in love.
And now that they are falling in love doesn’t mean the narrative takes a break for cute fangirly scenes. Slightly tipsy Yun Jie made a appearance, and made me melt with his conversation with Yong Yong about being happy that Yun Chao got a chance to succeed, even if it’s at Yun Jie’s expense. The subsequent piggyback ride was so perfect I simply have no words.
But it was Yong Yong sending Yun Jie off at the airport that had me swooning from head to toe. It was extraordinarily beautiful to watch them tentatively say farewell, their longing palpable, but the moment restrained. Yong Yong perched on the railing waving, and Yun Jie can’t stop himself from turning around time and again as he walked to the gate. It’s what people in love who are about to spend time apart would do, and SH captures that feeling of tremulous tenderness perfectly.