I’m shocked how much this episode of Drunken to Love You worked for me. Finally the angst that has been in short order in this drama came flying towards the OTP at full force, in a way that was set-up from issues long percolating and constructed brilliantly. The stakes are high (Samantha’s life and livelihood), the result was a giant guilt trip for Xiao Ru (mirroring her childhood accident, potentially because she got drunk again, and really because she’s always the one to get the short end of the stick), and the ramifications was that our perfect and strong Song Jie Xiu broke down. When Joseph Chang started crying, all I could think was “so this is how a real man cries.” I’m thrilled the drama actually put some thought into creating a meaningful final test of Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu’s love, and put so much on the line. It both hurts me and thrills me to see our OTP go through that final hurdle before hitting their ever after.
Cup 16 recap:
Jie Xiu is briefed by Samantha on what she witnessed between Daniel and Xiao Ru. Jie Xie snerks that he knew that Daniel dude harbored ill intent towards his Xiao Ru, but thankfully, her heart is with him, Song Jie Xiu. Samantha says that if Jie Xiu is overly confident, he might end up crying alone in bed holding a pillow. Jie Xiu asks what QQ thinks? She thinks there is a high chance of that happening. Samantha suggests that Helen of Troy is about to be stolen by Paris, so they ought to enact a Trojan Horse scheme.
Rickie brings Avril to watch an improv show. Avril laughs at the performance and Rickie is happy to finally see her smile. He says she looks adorable when she smiles. The cast asks Rickie if their skit was funny. Rickie explains that he knows that actor for awhile, and suggests that Avril join the performance later. Avril is afraid because she doesn’t have the experience and is worried about the audience recognizing her. Rickie says to trust herself.
The performance starts and Avril freezes on stage. The audience starts to jeer her but her fellow performers reminds her that she’s king on this stage and she just needs to perform. Avril unfreezes and starts perform. Rickie smiles as he watches her perform. His agent tells Rickie that he found the man who once assaulted her. Rickie asks his agent to give the man some money and make sure he never shows up in front of Avril again. His agent gasps that Rickie is spending so much money on one relationship.
After the performance, Avril thanks Rickie for encouraging her and allowing her to discover what she really wants. She wants to find her audience that appreciates her work. Rickie says she already has one fan.
Kelly is packing up when another employee comes looking for Xiao Ru, wondering why Kelly hasn’t left it. Kelly gets even more pissed. Xiao Ru is complaining to Meng Jun about that QQ girl just swanning in and being so chummy with Jie Xiu. Xiao Ru opens her locker and Meng Jun sees a box inside and asks her what it is. Xiao Ru says it’s a surprise for tomorrow’s party. Kelly overhears about the upcoming party tomorrow and Xiao Ru’s supposed surprise inside her locker.
After everyone leaves, Kelly opens Xiao Ru’s lockers and takes out the shoes. She murmurs that these new shoes are what Xiao Ru plans to wear tomorrow to celebrate stealing Kelly’s position at the hotel. She smashes the heel off one shoe until it’s loose, and then lightly glues it back on. She plans for Xiao Ru to embarrass herself tomorrow.
At the party tomorrow, Kelly shows up and apologizes to everyone. No one is keen on toasting Kelly back except for Xiao Ru, who thinks they ought to happily send Kelly off. QQ shows up and gives a present to Xiao Ru for her promotion. She says “congratulations”, and Xiao Ru says “thank you very much” in English, muttering that everyone can speak English.
Samantha asks if QQ can sit next to Jie Xiu since they don’t know when she’ll be back in town next time. QQ squeezes between Jie Xiu and Xiao Ru. Meng Jun suggests a charity game to do something good and have fun. QQ stands up and suggests they select the hottest guy at the table to be auctioned off, making it thrilling for the ladies. Boss thinks it’ll be him, but of course QQ picks Jie Xiu. Everyone claps happily.
Jie Xiu stands up and says whatever they want to bid on, he’ll happily comply with. Meng Jun raises her hand and says she wants Mr. Song Jie Xiu’s hot kiss and she’ll pay NT 30,000 for it. Xiao Ru’s co-workers start to bid up. Suddenly Kelly stands up and bids NT 100,000. Everyone grows silent until Samantha gestures for QQ to jump in. QQ raises her hand and bids NT 200,000.
No one else bids so she’s declared the winning bidder. Jie Xiu helps her up and says he’s happy to give the most expensive kiss he’s ever given before in his life. He pulls QQ into his arms while the crowd chants a Taiwanese slang term la ji, which means French kissing. Xiao Ru asks the other ladies to out bid QQ but they have no money left.
Xiao Ru has no choice but to stand up and bids NT 200,001. QQ says she doesn’t know how to outbid just one dollar. They welcome Xiao Ru up to claim her prize. Xiao Ru leans in for a kiss but Jie Xiu asks for money upfront. Xiao Ru says she has none and needs to borrow it from Jie Xiu. He wonders why he needs to lend her money since they are nothing to each other. In fact, she turned down his proposal just the other day.
He’ll only lend her money if she agrees to marry him. Oh Jie Xiu, you are so adorable and sweet. Tony says that he’s recording the proceedings so she has to pay upfront for the charity. Xiao Ru pulls Jie Xiu over and whispers that they can get engaged first. Everyone tells her to speak up, so she finally screams “let’s get engaged first!”
The crowd happily cheers. Jie Xiu says that everyone here is a witness. Jie Xiu agrees to pay the NT 200,001. He asks Xiao Ru to sign right now. Jie Xiu leans in to kiss Xiao Ru. QQ is happy she did her part and needs to go catch her flight. She’s pleased that she’s gotten Samantha’s signature on a contract, likely to have Samantha perform in Toronto for her.
Samantha announces that to celebrate, she’s going to change for an upcoming performance. Jie Xiu follows her upstairs and brings her the red shoes she’s been waiting for. Samantha gasps in pleasure and puts on the shoes. Jie Xiu takes her old shoes and apologizes for being immature in the past. He tells Samantha to take good care of these new shoes, because it would bring them so much pleasure if she danced for them today,
Samantha tells Jie Xiu that she’s actually planning to go to Toronto. Jie Xiu already knows that QQ has arranged for a North American tour for Samantha. It’s a half-year tour, and Samantha is afraid of leaving because she’s finally patched up her relationship with Jie Xiu and she doesn’t want to ruin it. Jie Xiu asks if she remembers getting hurt in gym class once and Samantha ran to school all dressed up from a performance.
Jie Xiu felt so embarrassed but also happy that Samantha came because he needed her. Jie Xiu tells Samantha to go on the tour, and he and Xiao Ru will cheer her on from the audience. Jie Xiu knows that Samantha is the prettiest on stage and the happiest. Samantha says she’s the prettiest and the happiest in front of her son. Mother and son happily hug through their tears.
Downstairs, Xiao Ru has gotten tipsy and gets up to perform her usual drunken routine. She starts to cry because she’s so happy right now. She explains that because she grew up in an orphanage, she didn’t have parents so she didn’t know how to express her feelings. But now she has everyone here as her friends and family. Kelly looks taken aback to learn that Xiao Ru is an orphan.
Jie Xiu announces Samantha’s flamenco performance and the crowd cheers. Kelly is shocked to see that Samantha is wearing that pair of red shoes. Samantha asks Xiao Ru to please come escort her down. Xiao Ru happily walks up the stairs and embraces Samantha. Suddenly Samantha’s heel loosens and she tumbles down the stairs in front of everyone.
Kelly wanted to warn everyone but the accident happened before she could be heard. Kelly leaves in a hurry without admitting her culpability. An ambulance is called for Samantha. Avril happens to arrive at the hotel because she wanted to properly say goodbye to Samantha and Jie Xiu. Kelly runs into Avril outside the hotel, muttering that Xiao Ru was supposed to be wearing the shoes, how the heck did it end up on Samantha’s feet.
Samantha is rushed to surgery while everyone waits outside. Xiao Ru’s co-workers murmur that they thought it was Xiao Ru who pushed Samantha, likely accidentally because she was drunk. Jie Xiu suddenly yells out for everyone to be quiet, warning them not to speak so thoughtlessly. Turns out Tony recorded the incident but he puts the camera away. Meng Jun drags the co-workers back to the hotel.
Jie Xiu moves over to sit next to Xiao Ru (omo, I never realized the man is still wearing his wedding ring) and squeezes her hand, comforting her that Samantha will be fine. He tries to joke that that Samantha loves scaring him with her jokes, so this is just another one of her stunts. Samantha has her upcoming overseas performance and getting an award, and he’s promised to go watch her.
The doctor comes out and informs the family that Samantha has suffered a concussion and is still unconscious. She’s also torn her Achilles and other tendons. The doctor doesn’t know when she will wake up. Jie Xiu’s hand makes a fist in shock. Tony offers to take Xiao Ru home first but she immediately declines. She wants to wait here until Samantha wakes up.
Jie Xiu sits down next to her and tells her to go home and rest. He asks her to bring him a change of clothes and rest up because they will need to take turns watching over Samantha. Xiao Ru starts to stammer that she doesn’t know how it happened, she didn’t see, she’s not sure…….. Which is when Jie Xiu shouts out very loudly that he doesn’t blame her. A little too forcefully if you ask me.
Everyone watches uncomfortably, especially Xiao Ru with tears in her eyes. He asks her to focus on Samantha’s recovery and not to think about useless things. He gets up and walks away. Tony helps Xiao Ru up and leads her out of the hospital. Jie Xiu stands in front of the OR door and finally lets out a roar of frustration. He crouches down and it’s Avril who reminds him that Samantha is his most important concern right now.
Jie Xiu wonders why this happened, just when he finally is getting to understand Samantha at last. He starts to cry, oh my god, the way Jie Xiu (Joseph Chang) cries just rips my guts out. This is how a a real man in pain cries, and it’s gutwrenching to behold. Avril comforts him while Boss sits off to the side.
Tony tries to tells Xiao Ru not to feel so bad since she didn’t do it on purpose. He’s talking a mile a minute and doesn’t realize Xiao Ru has taken off. Xiao Ru sits on the rooftop of the hotel and flashes back to when she accidentally injured her adoptive sister. She tells herself that she didn’t mean to. Daniel walks up to her and tells her to just cry. Xiao Ru says she wants to cry, but the tears won’t come out.
Xiao Ru’s co-workers are cleaning up the party area and discussing how Xiao Ru caused an accident by getting drunk and she wasn’t even behind the wheel of a car. Meng Jun tells everyone to stop gossiping. She asks that all the personal effects be put into a bag, so the red shoes are packed away into the bag. Xiao Ru heads to the hospital but stops to read a text from Meng Jun who says she’ll drop off the personal effects at the house later and everything at work is fine.
Xiao Ru walks in to find Jie Xiu sleeping at Samantha’s beside. Jie Xiu jerks awake thinking Samantha may have already woken up. Xiao Ru tries to get Jie Xiu to go shower, change, and sleep so that when Samantha wakes up she won’t see her son in such a wretched shape. Jie Xiu walks outside to clean up, but he sits down and just sighs. Xiao Ru sits down next to Samantha and holds her inert hand.
Xiao Ru never had a mother growing up, but since meeting Samantha, she knows what it feels like now to have a mother. She appreciates it when Samantha yells at her for her own good. Xiao Ru says she doesn’t know what happened that day, and she didn’t mean it. She tells Samantha to wake up and yell at Xiao Ru rather than laying there. She keeps apologizing and saying that she doesn’t mean it.
Jie Xiu walks inside and asks Xiao Ru to go eat with him. Xiao Ru sits and wolfs down her food. Jie Xiu yells at her to slow down. Xiao Ru asks him to please yell at her some more. Can’t he do that? She’s so angry at herself. Why is she not the person laying in that hospital room right now. She asks Jie Xiu to show her how to deal with this. She doesn’t know how to face this cruel truth.
Jie Xiu sits there in silence and then gets up. He walks over to Xiao Ru and crouches down. His hand naturally reaches around her to embrace her, but he can’t bring himself to touch her shoulder to comfort her. Xiao Ru holds his hand and cries. The two of them are hurting so much right now it kills me. Mostly because their acting is just pitch-perfect.
Xiao Ru makes a lunch box for Jie Xiu that is shaped like a wild boar. She tells herself to keep her energy up. She takes the lunch box to the hospital for Jie Xiu, reminding him that they both need to be strong to take care of Samantha. Jie Xiu takes the lunch box and tells Xiao Ru to head to work, he’ll be fine here. She leaves and promises to come by after work.
Jie Xiu gets a text from QQ that she’ll handle canceling the tour and is praying for Samantha. Jie Xiu sits down and talks to his mom. He jokes that even if she didn’t want to leave him to go on the tour, she needn’t use this tactic. Jie Xiu sits down and gets ready to eat his lunch when he gets a text from Xiao Ru reminding him to eat the lunch. Jie Xiu looks really upset.
He’s at work and watching the video Tony shot of the party. Tony tells him to eat his lunch that Xiao Ru made and then head back to the hospital. Jie Xiu says he needs to head to the construction site and leaves without eating Xiao Ru’s lunch.
Xiao Ru walks out of the hospital room and sees the Temple lady there. She claims that she came just to get a check up. She smiles at Xiao Ru, telling Xiao Ru that her smile is very beautiful. She reminds Xiao Ru that no matter what hardships she faces, she needs to keep smiling. She totally tries to cheer Xiao Ru up. As Xiao Ru walks away, she wonders how it is that Xiao Ru ended up like this.
Xiao Ru sits down on a bus bench and nods off because she’s so tired. Suddenly it starts to rain and she doesn’t even wake up. Jie Xiu is at the hospital and collapses during a call with Tony. Avril finds Jie Xiu on the ground. Xiao Ru wakes up after having slept through a storm. She realizes that she’s and her surroundings are all wet.
At work, Xiao Ru drops a plate and bends to pick it up. Daniel drags her away and tells her to take a good look in the mirror and see her awful state. Xiao Ru says she doesn’t know and doesn’t care. When she wakes up every morning, the first thing she thinks about is Samantha, followed by Jie Xiu. Suddenly her phone rings and it’s Tony calling to let her know that Jie Xiu fainted at the hospital.
Jie Xiu wakes up at the hospital from stress and malnutrition. Avril wonders what the hell happened since Xiao Ru packed a lunch for him every day. Avril wants to know what’s going on? She threatens to ask Xiao Ru. Jie Xiu stops Avril, saying he doesn’t want Xiao Ru to know. Avril demands to know what’s so bad he can’t discuss it with Xiao Ru?
Xiao Ru and Daniel stand outside Jie Xiu’s hospital room with a stunned expression. Jie Xiu says that he’s probably sick like Avril said. It’s his heart that is sick. Samantha hasn’t woken up and Xiao Ru spends every moment blaming herself. So Jie Xiu needs to be the strong one and protect them both. But he doesn’t know why this is happening.
He knows it was an accident and Xiao Ru feels bad, but when he sees Samantha laying there, he can’t help but blame Xiao Ru. Even the lunch she makes for him, he can’t bring himself to eat it. Xiao Ru hears all of this. Jie Xiu asks Avril if he has any right to be Xiao Ru’s protector if he has these terrible feelings of blame. Avril tells Jie Xiu not to overthink things right now. Xiao Ru runs off and Daniel follows her. Jie Xiu asks Avril not to let Xiao Ru know this because he doesn’t want her to suffer anymore pain.
Daniel runs outside but can’t find Xiao Ru, who is hiding in the corner and crying. She asks herself what she has to do. She remembers how her adoptive parents kicked her out after her sister got hurt. She wipes her tears and takes a walk. She remembers when she was kicked out of her adoptive family, she walked down the street to her new home. Along the way she passed by a bakery where the baker kindly offered her some bread.
She walks into the same bakery and asks to buy some croissants. The baker says they are sold out and asks if she can wait 20 minutes. She says of course, and asks the baker if he remembers giving her bread years ago when she was a child. His croissant that day gave her courage to keep going on when she thought it was the end of the road. The chef says there is no such thing as the end of the road. People have to turn the corner or head towards another destination.
He says that patience is the key to baking bread. Only time can make the bread rise. When listening to Xiao Ru’s story, he offers her some ice-cream croissants he made, saying that it will give her twice the courage to keep going. Daniel drives through the city looking for Xiao Ru. He finally finds her walking through the park.
Xiao Ru tells Daniel that she met a baking god, and she knows what she needs to do. She won’t do anything to harm herself. She once thought she would be Jie Xiu’s support forever. But right now her presence in his life causes him immense pain. So all she can do now is to quietly disappear from his life.
Thoughts of Mine:
Setting aside that introducing such intense stakes at the end of a drama may be just too late in the game to be well-developed, DTLY actually put this final challenge before Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu in a way that is not haphazard but instead quite thoughtfully. Samantha didn’t just have any accident, it was brought about by Kelly’s spiteful anger towards Xiao Ru. Kelly has been lurking in the background since episode 1 as an occasional antagonist, but her dislike for and jealousy towards Xiao Ru has been building for quite a long time. I found it reasonable that she would do something that appeared to be playing a mean prank on Xiao Ru, but turn out to have devastating consequences.
It was brilliant, albeit painful, for the drama to allude to the possibility that Xiao Ru caused Samantha’s accident because Xiao Ru got drunk at the party. Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu got together because they got drunk, so that has always been something that binds them together in a positive memory. But Jie Xiu worries about her wild ways when she does imbibe, and lo and behold, the drama puts that under the test. We all know Xiao Ru didn’t cause the accident, but then again, if Xiao Ru wasn’t drunk, perhaps her reflexes would have been sharp and she may have been able to catch Samantha before she tumbled down the stairs. Plus the shoe malfunction was meant for Xiao Ru. So even if the truth came out, Xiao Ru will likely still feel proximate guilt.
But the most important thing is Jie Xiu. While I feel bad that Xiao Ru keeps getting shafted right when she’s about the find happiness, I feel like her character has the inner strength to keep moving forward. Jie Xiu worries me, because he has finally found the love from Samantha and Xiao Ru that he’s been seeking his entire life, and suddenly he’s finding it hard to reconcile feelings of anger about the accident with his love for Xiao Ru.
I appreciated Avril and Rickie’s story getting a minor little interlude so that it can be wrapped up, and that Avril found herself and peace again. It was actually lovely to see Avril be there for Samantha and Jie Xiu as a person who cares deeply about them. We may find Avril annoying and selfish, but Jie Xiu never did. He told her calmly he didn’t love her anymore, but he never truly castigated her for her actions. He’s always told her that he’ll be a friend to her, and now she’s able to be a true friend to him.
I thought Joseph and Rainie’s acting was superb in this episode, absolutely heartfelt, painful to watch, and really restrained. I think it realistic for Jie Xiu to have difficultly not blaming Xiao Ru, but meaningful in showing how much he loves her that he hides his torment from her and seeks to shield her from this ugly truth in his own heart. I like that Xiao Ru tried to focus on the important matters and not let the guilt eat her alive until she overhears Jie Xiu’s confession to Avril. This is a part of their relationship journey neither has experienced before, and I think it will be important to see if they can pass this test, which will make their love that much stronger.