This was a markedly slow episode, low on the zany antics and fast-paced story progression, but high on the rich emotional forward momentum. The ending of this episode also guaranteed that each and every single Drunken to Love You addict would be gnawing on our right arm for next week when we get to episode 6 which promises us, in one word, OMGTHATISSOHOT. After tackling some professional hurdles in episode 4, it’s time for our Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru to tackle some of their long simmering and festering emotional scars.
While Jie Xiu on the surface seems wiser and more mature, his emotional paralysis is much deeper than Xiao Ru, who rages, vents, and gets drunk again, all in hopes of just letting it all out once and for all. When the person you love makes you feel like the shittiest human being on this earth, how lucky are you to have someone by your side that takes care of you. Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu not only do this for each other, they see and understand that the other person is doing it for them. To watch them falling in love is like watching a tossed ball fall back to earth – how can it ever hope to defy gravity?
Cup 5 Recap:
Jie Xiu tries to to explain the model home interior design to his client, who shushes him because he’s embracing the feeling of comfort that the house brings to its residents. The president is thrilled with the model home results, and compliments Jie Xiu on outdoing himself once again. He extends the compliments to Mrs. Song, having heard that she contributed to getting the house done. Xiao Ru downplays her involvement, which the president takes as humility and is further impressed with her.
The president informs Jie Xiu that he’s recently purchased a resort in the Eastern part of Taiwan, and he’s looking to renovate shortly. He offers a resort voucher to Jie Xiu, asking that he take a trip to the resort in the near future and look around, offering a potential renovation plan to the president. Jie Xiu is about to turn him down, perhaps ending any future collaboration between them, when Xiao Ru steps in and takes the voucher, explaining that they would love to visit and offer renovation plans. The president finds Xiao Ru totally adorable and wants to pinch her cheeks when Jie Xiu steps forward and agrees to visit the resort tomorrow.
On the walk home, Xiao Ru is dismayed that Jie Xiu won’t take her with him to the resort. He claims that he’s going there to work and won’t be able to take care of her. She reminds him that she still has tons of vacation days left, and she’ll be fine taking care of herself. He reminds her that it’s one room only, and is she okay sharing it with him? Xiao Ru stops, telling him to to go book another room for himself. Jie Xiu refuses, but Xiao Ru reminds him that he initially wanted to turn down the voucher.
Xiao Ru’s most hated thing in the world, tumbling from first place to second place now, is waste. She finally got two weeks worth of vacation, and if she doesn’t get to use it all, it’ll go to waste, and this voucher is perfect for her. Jie Xiu asks her what the new most hated thing is? Xiao Ru concedes that she feels very useless lately, unable to protect what is hers. She’s made a vow that what she just lost (Yi Xian) is the last time it’s going to happen to her. She hates anyone stealing things from her now.
Xiao Ru takes the voucher and puts it down the front of her shirt, giving Jie Xiu an “I dare you” expression. Jie Xiu assures Xiao Ru that he’s totally able to reach in there and grab it, whereby the two of them engage in a game of chicken, but with heightened attraction and tension.
Xiao Ru finally blinks first, and Jie Xiu starts to say that Xiao Ru is always like this….but he stops himself from finishing the sentence. Xiao Ru finishes it for him….she’s always like this, totally spineless, which is why she got dumped by her boyfriend in such a devastating way. Xiao Ru derides herself as bringing this pain on herself, and she’s just a total fool. She asks Jie Xiu why he’s not laughing at her, since she finds herself laughable as well. Jie Xiu is about to discuss this morning when he gets a call from his boss and Tony, calling them out to celebrate the successful completion of the model home.
At a modeling agency party for Avril to celebrate her casting in the movie, everyone is having a good time. Avril is a good sport and jumps in the pool wearing her dress when another model teases her. At the club, Xiao Ru is happily getting drunk while Jie Xiu is surprisingly quiet. The boss thanks Jie Xiu for saving this project, raging at their client for attempting to blame everything on Jie Xiu.
Xiao Ru enourages Tony to keep pursuing his dreams, while Jie Xiu asks them to stop drinking so much with Xiao Ru. The boss tells Jie Xiu to take Xiao Ru to the resort tomorrow, especially since they haven’t gone on their honeymoon yet. Xiao Ru happily drinks more because alcohol makes her get rid of the things she dislikes – such as Peggy taking away Yi Xian, and Jie Xiu because of Avril……..which is when Jie Xiu drags Xiao Ru out of the bar, calling it a night.
Jie Xiu is piggybacking drunken Xiao Ru home, asking if she’s sleeping. When she doesn’t answer, he apologizes for the hurtful words he said before to her. Xiao Ru, who is not sleeping, tells him that not every apology elicits a response of “it’s okay.” Jie Xiu calls Xiao Ru stubborn, and she returns the same impression to him. Xiao Ru explains that she used to hate her birth mother for abandoning her, but once she started to consider how difficult her mother’s life must have been for her to discard her baby, then Xiao Ru learned not to hate her anymore. Jie Xiu didn’t get the same lesson from his mother, who lived like the wind, coming and going as she please, thinking the world revolved around her.
Jie Xiu has tried hard not to live like his mom, but he supposes there are parts of him that resemble her. Xiao Ru asks to be put down, and tells Jie Xiu that his mom was very unique, and taught him a different perspective on life. Jie Xiu would rather his mom be more conventional. Growing up she never made him any school lunches, and he grew up eating bread from the cafeteria. One day for art class, he was asked to draw his mom. He really couldn’t remember what she looked like, so he drew actress Maggie Cheung instead. Xiao Ru thinks that this made Jie Xiu grow up to be so independent, to which he responds that no one would seek to become independent if they had someone to lean on.
Xiao Ru thinks Jie Xiu is being too nitpicky now. Jie Xiu asks Xiao Ru if she’s willing to forgive him. She thinks they should stop arguing now and just be good roommates. Xiao Ru suddenly realizes they have been married for 7 days already, and their time together is dwindling. She asks Jie Xiu to continue piggybacking her, and he picks her back up and continues walking with her resting on his shoulder. He thinks back to what they have been through in the last 7 days, wondering why time has passed so quickly.
Avril is drunk and hanging out with two models in her agency, one of whom keeps pawing at her. Jie Xiu is driving Xiao Ru home, who is drunk in his backseat. He suddenly sees a convertible pass his car, remarking that the three people cuddling in there should just get a room. Avril’s car gets pulled over at a police check point, and Jie Xiu sees her standing on the street with another guy all over her. He pulls over and gets out of the car, pushing the guy off Avril. Avril is happy to see him, but tells the other guy that Jie Xiu is her friend. Jie Xiu drags Avril off to talk privately, accusing her of flirting with another man in the car and now on the street.
Jie Xiu accuses Avril of living up to her reputation of a flirt in front of him. Jie Xiu is done with doing everything to accommodate Avril for the past ten years. Avril promises that she will never cheat on Jie Xiu, all of that was just for show. Jie Xiu doesn’t know anymore what to expect from Avril, all he knows is that his professional career just encountered a critical crisis, and Avril was nowhere by his side to help him. Avril correctly tells Jie Xiu that he never told her his job was in jeopardy. Jie Xiu is done with her excuses, and tells her that he’s finally made up his mind – he doesn’t need Avril anymore, because there is someone else who cares about Jie Xiu more than she does.
Avril asks him what he means? Jie Xiu tells Avril that when his career in jeopardy, when he wanted to give up his career, the person by his side and encouraging him was not Avril, it was the drunken girl he married Lin Xiao Ru. Avril asks if the proximity of living together has made them develop feelings for each other? Avril accuses Jie Xiu of picking a fight with her today over an insignificant thing, all because he’s trying to evade the real truth that he’s falling in love with Lin Xiao Ru! Jie Xiu cannot answer and Avril wants to know how Jie Xiu can have feelings for someone who has just been spending the past few days with him, compared to the years they have spent together.
Avril insults Xiao Ru as just a girl who gets drunk and randomly marries a man, to which Jie Xiu tells Avril that she can insult him any way she wants, but she is not to speak thusly of Xiao Ru. Avril refuses to back down, wondering how Jie Xiu has changed so much in the last few days. Avril then reminds Jie Xiu of their shared traumatic past (an incident where Avril was almost sexually assaulted, that somehow Jie Xiu feels guilt over). Jie Xiu concedes all that, but tells Avril that he’s through suffering for it.
Avril breaks up with Jie Xiu right then and there, wondering what Jie Xiu can do with a fake wife by his side and without her. The male model comes to get Avril, telling her their boss is looking for them. Jie Xiu wants Avril not to leave with that guy right now, his patience has its limits. Both Avril and Jie Xiu look like they are about to cry, but Avril turns around and walks away with the other guy. Jie Xiu thinks back to the other time he watched Avril walk away, when she turned down his proposal.
In the cab, the model keeps trying to get fresh with Avril, who finally shakes him off and warns him to stop bothering her, otherwise she’ll get their boss to cut him from the agency. Jie Xiu thinks back to college, when Avril was sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, and Jie Xiu came to save it. Turned out that Jie Xiu forgot that he was supposed to meet Avril that day, which lead to her being vulnerable to the attack by her ex.
Jie Xiu suddenly snaps out of his memories when he hears drunken Xiao Ru outside in the living room talking to herself and drawing over the couple pillow picture of herself. He takes the pillow away before she can scribble on his face, and she screams at him to give it back because she hates people taking her stuff now.
She jumps on his back to get the pillow back, and when they both fall back on the sofe, Xiao Ru grabs Jie Xiu’s back in a desperate hug. She asks him to please don’t move for a moment – she’s happy that his job is successful because he can keep giving her a home and pin money, so Xiao Ru is happier than anyone that Jie Xiu saved his own career.
Xiao Ru notes that Jie Xiu is so like Yi Xian right now, who used to take care of her when she got drunk, just like this. Jie Xiu tries to get Xiao Ru to stop her drunken antics and go to sleep now. Xiao Ru shows Jie Xiu how the US cops test drunk drivers, something Yi Xian showed her. She remembers getting drunk on the day she got promoted to head waitress, and Yi Xian piggybacked her home and used his jokes to keep her in line. She remembers that day as the happiest day of her life.
Jie Xiu is finally fed up, telling Xiao Ru that she ought to just drag him back and keep him chained to her side. But she can’t do that, all she can do is sit here and wallow in her misery. Someone who can’t let go of the past can never reach the future, and right now all of Xiao Ru’s misery is self-inflicted because she won’t let Yi Xian go.
Xiao Ru rages back at him – why does everyone tell someone else in pain to just move on? Xiao Ru says that if she can live in the past, then she would rather never reach the future. Jie Xiu reminds her that it is possible to erase her memories, but Xiao Ru is sitting here just wallowing in pain, refusing to make the effort to move on.
Jie Xiu shows her the pictures and keychain of Yi Xian that she still keeps in her possession. Xiao Ru rifles through the pictures, smiling and crying, talking to her Yi Xian, until she remembers that he doesn’t want her anymore because there is another woman who needs him more right now. Jie Xiu tells Xiao Ru that she can keep wallowing in her past, but Yi Xian has no right to take Xiao Ru’s future and bury it with his own past. Xiao Ru cries, wanting to know why Yi Xian gave her so many promises if he never intended for them to come true.
Xiao Ru rips up all the pictures and takes her precious keychain outside and tosses it into the swimming pool. Xiao Ru cries, asking Yi Xian to please return her heart to her. She cries, whispering “my heart is broken into pieces, don’t you know?” Jie Xiu walks up to her and wraps his arms around her, answering her question to Yi Xian, telling her that he knows that her heart is broken. He knows…
Jie Xiu puts Xiao Ru to bed. On his way out, he sees that she has been diligently marking off the days on the calendar since their marriage. He tucks the blanket snugly around her and sits down on the bed to just look at her. Jie Xiu concedes that he really has no right to say what he just said to Xiao Ru, because his situation is even more laughable than Xiao Ru.
Compared to himself, Jie Xiu concedes that Xiao Ru is the braver one. But they are the same, all the love they give is treated just like trash by the other person. Jie Xiu apologizes for forgetting how much Xiao Ru is in pain, and for taking the warmth she gives for granted. Jie Xiu picks up Xiao Ru’s hand and takes her wedding ring off and looks at it.
Xiao Ru wakes up the next morning pretty hung over. She falls off the bed and stumbles outside. She sees a glass of honey water Jie Xiu left for her, and a note asking her to drink the beverage and listen to her voicemail. Xiao Ru sees the couple pillow with her face all doodled over, wondering whether they had a fight last night? She turns on her voicemail to hear Jie Xiu tell her that optimistic people always find the value in life, whereas pessimistic people always count their losses. He’s happy that last night, Xiao Ru was willing to make a choice. He is looking forward to seeing Xiao Ru turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly, and regain her wild boar strength.
Then Jie Xiu drops the bomb – he’s decided to divorce Xiao Ru, since this marriage has made them both so miserable. He’s got the NT1 million prepared, and asks that Xiao Ru come to fill out the paperwork. But first he wants her to go to the bathroom and change into the clothes he left for her, as a way to pay her back for the way she dressed him that one time.
Xiao Ru’s outfit consists of a t-shirt and boardshorts, and she gripes that Jie Xiu is getting revenge on her. She opens a drawing he left for her, which is a sketch of a wild boar laying on a cloud of money, but he reminds her than a wild boar is not happy just to have money. He then asks her to go to the fridge and bring his favorite snacks, asking whether she knows his tastes now that they have been living together for a week?
Xiao Ru grabs raisins and a pudding cup, wondering why she has to do this just to go fill out divorce papers? Xiao Ru walks outside, thinking everything is going to end today. She sees Jie Xiu waiting for her outside, wearing his t-shirt and board shorts. Jie Xiu opens his trunk and a giant batch of balloons emerges from the interior and floats away.
Xiu Ru wants to know what is going on right now, aren’t they getting divorced? Jie Xiu says yes, but just not right now, because right now they are headed on a honeymoon trip. Jie Xiu calls her clueless for falling for his trick. He then takes out her wedding ring, chiding her for not even realizing someone had taken it. Jie Xiu initially thought the ring only came in a lady’s style, but he went to the store first thing this morning and confirmed it was also made in a matching men’s style. He takes out his matching wedding ring and puts both rings on himself and Xiao Ru, respectively.
Jie Xiu holds up their matching rings and says that they finally look a little bit like a real married couple. He tells her that he was just jerking her chain on the divorce trick. Jie Xiu promises that, while he can’t be sad in her place, but at least he can lend some of his happiness to her in the future. Xiao Ru’s eyes are rimmed with unshed tears listening to Jie Xiu explain how they need to let their minds rest and make a happy memory together during this trip.
Xiao Ru smiles as she steps foward and embraces Jie Xiu, who smiles and asks whether she’s secretly fallen in love with him, which is against the rules. Xiao Ru pretends that she was crying because she thought she was getting NT1 million today. Jie Xiu asks if they can head out now, and Xiao Ru nods her head.
Jie Xiu’s speeding car zips right past the paparazzi, who’s car has broken down on the street. He calls his editor, who tells him to bring back the pictures of Avril and Xian Ting Wei, her new co-star in the movie. Jie Xiu pulls over and they get out to enjoy the view of the ocean. Xiao Ru is happy to enjoy the scenary, and Jie Xiu teases her for being as excited as a kid who sees the ocean.
Jie Xiu teases Xiao Ru, who sasses right back that she perhaps shouldn’t go on this trip. Right now Jie Xiu’s affection for her is at an all-time high, but what if after the trip is falls to an all time low? She doesn’t want to risk them fighting during the trip. Jie Xiu promises that he won’t fight with her during the trip, and all she needs to do is be his perfect Mrs. Song for the time being.
They continue on their way. A movie production is unloading equipment at a resort, and Avril is sitting in the lobby getting instructions for today’s scene to be filmed. When she is alone, she calls Jie Xiu, reaching his voicemail. She wonders if he is still mad at her? She texts him, telling him that she is still mad at him, but wanted to remind him to not forget to eat. Our big movie star Xian Ting Wei or Rickie (played by Tom Price) sits in his tub and watches a homemade video of himself and his ex-girlfriend, who looks just like Avril. Oh really?
His manager comes in and sees him watching the video, telling him to stop thinking about his ex Sandy. Turns out Rickie got really famous and couldn’t maintain his relationship with his Sandy, and something unexpected happened with Sandy afterwards, which explains Rickie’s guilt. The manager correctly determines that Rickie insisted that Avril be cast in this movie in hopes of finding some resemblance with Sandy. Rickie doesn’t want to talk about it, insisting that Avril and Sandy are totally different people. The manager says that since Rickie stared filming with Avril, he watches the video of Sandy less, and is sleeping more without need of sleep aids.
The hotel staff assembles to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Song, promising to do everything they can to make their stay memorable. The manager reveals to Xiao Ru that Jie Xiu call last night to request special items for their stay, and the manager finds Mr. Song to be such a perfect husband. Xiao Ru teases the manager for eyeing Jie Xiu, implying the manager has a crush on her husband. Jie Xiu plays along with Xiao Ru, leaving the poor manager stammering to explain himself, which also gets him in trouble with his wife, another employee at the hotel.
Avril walks out of her room just when Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu walk down the hallway to their room. Avril sneaks behind them and see the two of them happily joking with each other about playing a joke on the poor manager in the lobby. Jie Xiu teases that he’s laughed so much his chin has been dislodged, which leads Xiao Ru to jokingly push it back, and the two of them look at each other when her hand lingers on his chin. Avril wonders why Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru are at this resort? Jie Xiu wonders how it’s even possible that he can laugh at a time like this? Is it Xiao Ru who is making him forget the pain caused by Avril? Avril want to go investigate further when her assistant comes to the set.
In the guest room, Jie Xiu has Xiao Ru’s favorite flowers arranged on the bed in the shape of a heart. He read her journal and saw her pressed flowers, realizing that it was the flower of her hometown region, and surmised it was her favorite. He also had the room filled with numerous balloons. Xiao Ru worries it was all money spent for naught, telling him to give it to her instead. Jie Xiu offers to sleep on the ground, but Xiao Ru tells him the bed is so big, they can just share. Jie Xiu wonders why Xiao Ru trusts him, and she says that Jie Xiu has such elevated tastes in liking a movie star for a girlfriend, he’ll never desire a girl like Xiao Ru.
The manager arrives to deliver a package, who has to hurry up and explain to Xiao Ru that he didn’t touch Jie Xiu’s hand when he delivered the package. Xiao Ru opens the package to find it filled with sex-toys and other such items. She’s shocked that Jie Xiu has such extreme tastes, but he quickly disavows the package being from him. They read the note to see that it’s from Jie Xiu’s boss. Xiao Ru takes out a pair of pink bunny ears and puts it on, telling Jie Xiu that it’s such a shame for the present to go to waste. Jie Xiu sits down and says that he is game, asking Xiao Ru exactly how she wants to put these items to use?
Thoughts of Mine:
Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru, in a hotel room, checked in as Mr. and Mrs. Song, now complete with a box of sex toys – clearly my mind is going to be in the gutter for the next 7 days. The fact that the preview for episode 6 shows them, ahem…..only makes the wait that much more interminable. I never expected DTLY to hit this hard and hit this good, but somehow it did, and continued to sustain the quality and momentum. This episode did have a few logic stretches and some scenes felt choppy and disjointed, but on the OTP everything continued to be sublime.
I had a bit of problem with a couple of scene set-ups, but ultimately found the content of the scene well-executed and behaviorally consistent. The whole Avril attends a party with her modeling agency, flirts with male models, and is found coincidentally on the street by Jie Xiu scene was pretty far-fetched to say the least. But the conversation between Jie Xiu and Avril afterwards was very enlightening in understanding more about their dysfunctional relationship.
So Jie Xiu has been with Avril since college, even before she became a famous model. And his failure to remember a date with her may have inadvertently contributed to her being vulnerable to an attempted assault by an ex-boyfriend, an incident Avril still subconsciously holds over Jie Xiu’s head. I don’t hate Avril (yet), because she didn’t betray Jie Xiu the way Yi Xian did to Xiao Ru. But the pain Avril heaps on Jie Xiu is smaller in size but greater in volume than the one giant hammer of doom Yi Xian dropped on Xiao Ru. Avril has been sucking away at Jie Xiu’s love for her like a leech for the past 10 years, and it’s killing him inside little by little.
I’m glad they had it out – about how each person has failed the other, and the possibility that Jie Xiu is falling in love with Xiao Ru. Ultimately Avril and Jie Xiu’s failed relationship is about each other, and not a third party. Avril walks out on Jie Xiu so easily (like turning down his ring, and now declaring that she is breaking up with him), but each time she thinks it’s easy to wave her hand and he’ll come running back. I’m glad Jie Xiu called himself out for being an enabler in this dysfunctional relationship, and letting it go on for so long. It’s not healthy and it’s high time he moved on.
Part of Jie Xiu’s growing realization of how much of a mess his relationship with Avril is comes from watching Xiao Ru deal with her heartbreak and learning to let you. Xiao Ru is relentless in pursuing her love, and also equally fiery when it comes to letting it go. Jie Xiu growing attraction to her comes in so many forms, from her kindness to him, her support of him, her standing up to him, her consistency and unwavering belief in pursuing her love against all odds, so much of what she represents is exactly what is missing in Avril.
This episode introduced us to yet another second male lead, HK-move star Xian Ting Wei, aka Rickie, who I felt appeared a little too abruptly, though I’m not complaining about seeing Tom Price in the bath. I also think the coincidence of his ex-girlfriend looking just like Avril is the typical TW-drama lame plot development I generally roll my eyes at. But since Rickie and Avril’s story will likely not take up too much air time, I’m okay to let this one slide.
I find the writer has really made such an effort to flesh out Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu’s characters, allowing each conversation between them to divulge yet another clue about who they are and how they think. Very little about DTLY is about an overarching plot, but mostly it’s about an emotional journey.