It’s a no brainer decision really, for me to break my longstanding rule in not jumping into a recap series midway. On one hand is my arbitrary rule, on the other is the chance to recap the moment somewhere down the line when Zi Qi kisses Xing Ren and makes her swoon (you all know it’s gonna happen, right?). Clearly the scales tipped so overwhelmingly I have no choice but to happily go with the flow and start recapping Office Girls.
I’ve already written a first impressions review two months ago, and then a mid-point review last month, so I think folks following along with OG have a good grasp of the story set up and plot developments. With that said, episode 9 was yet another delightful episode that makes it clear Zi Qi likes Xing Ren. But beyond that, everything else remains murky and uncertain.
Day 9 recap – I like Shen Xing Ren!
Everyone opens their envelopes to see which team they are on. Le Le is excited to be on the green team with Xing Ren, and Stallone effects a baby voice like Le Le and says adorably that he’s also with Xing Ren. Everyone ignores him and he posts the green paper on his forehead. Zi Qi and Kai Er are holding a red paper so are clearly on the same team. Xing Ren asks Yu Cheng Feng what parameters are permissible in this project, which requires each team to creatively come up with a strategy to raise sales ten percent without adding any expense.
As Yu Cheng Feng walks out, Zi Qi continues to stare at Xing Ren without saying anything. Kai Er gets his attention and asks if he wants to meet and discuss their ideas. Kai Er purposely ignores her subordinate on the same red team and tells the girl to do something else. Zi Qi gives Xing Ren another pointed look before leaving the conference room Kai Er, agreeing to brainstorm ideas with her.
Stallone waylays Xing Ren and butters her up, calling her Team Leader Shen. He drops a billion and one reasons for why he’s soooooo busy as the Department Head, even going so far as to drop a couple of “busy, busy” into the sentence. Le Le calls him on wanting to bail on the assignment, and Stallone tells her that kids need to stay out of adult’s business. Le Le rolls her eyes. He skedaddles while Xing Ren just looks resigned. Le Le calls Stallone the most doofus manager in the entire universe. But Xing Ren continues to look out of it, which Le Le notices.
XIng Ren and Le Le have lunch in the lunch room. Xing Ren can only discuss ideas while Le Le tells her to stop thinking about work even while eating. When Xing Ren worries, Le Le suggests that Xing Ren ask Yu Cheng Feng for the answer since he appears to be extra nice to her. Xing Ren thinks that would be cheating, to which Zi Qi arrives to hear it and confirms that is indeed totally cheating.
Xing Ren asks why he is eavesdropping, but he says they are talking too loud. When Le Le says Zi Qi is free to ask for the answer as well, Zi Qi says these elementary assignments are a “piece of cake” to him, and only people with limited IQs would be taking this assignment so seriously. He tells Xing Ren that stupid and innocent are just one tone apart (in the Chinese language). He then grabs her lunch to check out what she is eating.
Xing Ren wonders how he can eat if he’s got a stomach cramp. Zi Qi is clueless about the stomach cramping, to which Le Le pipes up that Zi Qi dares to bring a girl to spend the night but won’t fess up to it. Zi Qi looks stunned and asks how they know a girl spent the night? Did they install a camera in his apartment? This is when Xing Ren finally speaks up, explaining that Kai Er came up to their apartment last time to ask for stomach medicine.
Le Le says Zi Qi already treats their place like a kitchen, now he thinks it’s a pharmacy as well. ZI Qi tries to explain that they got drunk so Kai Er slept on the sofa and he slept on the floor. He keeps insisting nothing happened, but Xing Ren says it’s his business and has nothing to do with her, so he doesn’t need to explain. Xing Ren grabs her stuff and leaves, with Le Le calling Zi Qi a sleaze before toddling off behind Xing Ren.
Zi Qi sits with Kai Er and immediately asks if she went upstairs to get medicine last night? Kai Er says she was worried he’d wake up with a hangover so got him some medicine in advance. Oh bitch, please just shut up. And go away. Zi Qi nods but doesn’t say anything. Kai Er asks if Xing Ren told Zi Qi, but Zi Qi says it just came up in conversation. Kai Er changes the subject to their assignment, and Zi Qi thinks the entire department store needs to change its image. It should be a place where people want to come every weekend rather than being so reliant on the high price point merchandise.
Kai Er thinks it’s a good idea, but not very practicable. Family coming will only spend at the food court and game centers, hardly spending big bucks. Also, the rich clients won’t like mingling with the masses. That will cause the name brand product sales to plummet. She also reminds him that their idea has to require zero-cost. Kai Er’s idea is to send out VIP invites to their top customers and then close down the department store for a few hours and let them shop at will. They will feel exclusive and buy a lot. ZI Qi listens to this idea, and then flashes back to what his dad told him before, which is to take some time and review his old ideas.
Zi Qi confesses to Kai Er that her idea was an idea he had before, and back then he also thought the company should buy up the neighboring property and upgrade it, to add to the overall luxury allure of the department store. Kai Er asks if she and Zi Qi have reached an agreement then? Zi Qi pauses and then nods his head. He wants to check out whether his idea is doable. Kai Er tells him to keep working hard, who knows if one day his ideas will be implemented.
Xing Ren walks by a window display with a toy dollhouse. She stops to look at it, which leads to her flashback at touring her dream home with Zi Qi. He walks up and sees Xing Ren looking at the dollhouse, and he flashes back to Xing Ren explaining that she wants to give her mom a non-leaky home when she has the ability. Zi Qi walks up to her and asks what she’s doing during work hours. Xing Ren just wants to leave and tries to ignore him, but he grabs her hand and tells her to stop acting up.
He changes the subject and asks if they can have lunch since he has no clue what to eat. Xing Ren says she’s not hungry, she got full just by looking at his face. Zi Qi marvels in wonder at that. Xing Ren tells him to buy a mirror, that way he can look at himself and never need to eat again. Xing Ren walks away, while Zi Qi back tracks a few steps and carefully studies that dollhouse.
Xing Ren helps a cleaning lady fix a leaky pipe in the mens bathroom. She even agrees to go change a bulb in the upstairs bathroom, when the cleaning lady says she told operations but no one fixed it. Zi Qi walks into the bathroom but halts when Xing Ren calls out her presence. Xing Ren shoves the toolbox at Zi Qi and tells him to go fix a plugged up toilet and change a lightbulb. She runs out, leaving Zi Qi no choice but to do the work.
Kai Er finds Xing Ren in the lunchroom, asking how the assignment is going? Xing Ren says she doesn’t have a idea yet. Kai Er realizes that Stallone must’ve pawned all the work on Xing Ren again. Xing Ren says doing more work isn’t bad, she gets all the rewards of learning it. Kai Er brings up Zi Qi speaking about how Xing Ren is so stupid, working so hard that if she died on the job no one will feel sorry for her. Kai Er says Zi Qi thinks she’s the same way, but she likes to think folks who work extra hard are the bedrock of this company.
Xing Ren doesn’t look pleased, saying she’s only doing what is her responsibility. Kai Er mentions that Zi Qi likes eating Xing Ren’s spaghetti, and asks if Xing Ren can teach Kai Er how to cook it. Xing Ren has no choice but to agree. Xing Ren leaves quickly and Kai Er smiles as she watches Xing Ren hurry off.
Zi Qi sits at home and arranges all the supplies needed to make a toy dollhouse. He reads the instructions, which are quite time-consuming. He tosses it aside and calls himself an idiot, but then he gets back to work on it. Zi Qi, you are such a sweetheart when you want to be. He takes out a paper cutter and makes the first cut, which cuts his own finger. He screams in pain, with the dogs howling as they hear his wailing, which echoes all the way upstairs.
Kai Er sits with XIng Ren and Le Le and asks if Zi Qi is always like this. Xing Ren hands Kai Er a paper where she’s written down the recipe. Le Le asks Kai Er if she’s dating Zi Qi. Kai Er smiles and says initially she disliked him. But after getting to know him, she sees that he’s actually got ambition and is a very good person. He also treats her very well. Kai Er asks the two ladies if they think she should date Zi Qi? Xing Ren doesn’t answer right away, which is when Zi Qi comes running in yelling for Xing Ren to bandage his injured finger. When asked how he injured himself, he said it was doing arts and crafts.
Zi Qi notices Kai Er and asks what she is doing here? Kai Er says she’s here to chat with Xing Ren. Both Zi Qi and Xing Ren look slightly awkward upon hearing this. Kai Er asks to look at the wound so Zi Qi has no choice but to sit down next to her. Kai Er says the cut is deep, but Zi Qi in turn says it’s not deep at all and just needs a little medicine. Xing Ren excuses herself to do laundry, while Le Le peeks at the wound and derides Zi Qi for making a big deal about a small cut.
Zi Qi orders a cab for Kai Er at the convenience store, telling her that ordering online can save her NT 15 each time, which he learned from Xing Ren. Kai Er doesn’t look pleased hearing this. She tells Zi Qi that Xing Ren isn’t in a good mood lately. It must be due to Yu Cheng Feng. He is Xing Ren’s idol so of course she wants to impress him. Zi Qi thinks Xing Ren is just being a lemming in idolizing Yu Cheng Feng. Kai Er says Xing Ren confessed to wanting to ace the assignment so Yu Cheng Feng can be impressed with her.
Kai Er asks Zi Qi not to repeat what she said to Xing Ren. Zi Qi agrees. Kai Er says she will try to learn to acclimate herself to new situation and things, just like he told her to do. Zi Qi goes home and sits on the sofa, zoning back to what Kai Er told her about Xing Ren. His hand strokes the cutting knife, before he throws it on the table and lays down.
At work, Zi Qi sees Xing Ren coming and wants to talk with her, but she purposes turns away from him. At their desks, Xing Ren is always away from her seat, leaving Zi Qi alone. When Zi Qi leaves work and it’s raining, Kai Er walks up and they share an umbrella. Xing Ren works later, and when she walks past Zi Qi’s apartment, she pauses before continuing upstairs. Zi Qi comes home and looks up towards Xing Ren’s apartment before entering his.
Kai Er and Zi Qi are having lunch in the lunch room. Zi Qi is pretty out of it, eating stupid Kai Er’s stupid pretend spaghetti. Xing Ren walks into the lunch room and pauses when she sees them. She makes eye contact with Zi Qi before turning around and leaving. Before she can leave, Yu Cheng Feng walks in and asks her how the assignment is going. He looks towards Zi Qi, and then loudly offers to take Xing Ren to dinner tonight. Xing Ren declines, because he treated her last time, so this time she will treat him. He agrees. Kai Er asks Zi Qi what’s wrong and he says it’s nothing.
Xing Ren and Yu Cheng Feng sit down to dinner. Le Le flounces over with a rose for the table and says she’s off to the night market and doesn’t want to be a third wheel. Le Le runs into Zi Qi outside his apartment, where she tells him that Xing Ren is having a romantic dinner with Yu Cheng Feng upstairs so Zi Qi is not allowed interrupt them. Zi Qi says he won’t go up since he had no intention of going up tonight. Yu Cheng Feng asks on the odds of Qin Zi Qi living downstairs from Xing Ren. She says it’s just a coincidence, but he’s a bother, always coming up to glom off them.
Which is when Zi Qi arrives making music on the chopsticks and bowl he is holding. He sits down and blithely starts to eat. When Xing Ren asks why he’s here, he offers to pay for the meal and tells her to stop being so stingy. He points out to Yu Cheng Feng that the potato he’s about to eat is the potato he saw in the fridge last month. He tells Xing Ren that a potato that has sprouted a flower is poisonous! Xing Ren quickly explains it’s not the same potato, but Yu Cheng Feng just smiles and stares at Zi Qi while he eats it.
Zi Qi has no choice but to compliment Yu Cheng Feng on being so brave, willing to risk his life and limb to eat that potato. Xing Ren points her chopsticks at Zi Qi and the two adorably start bickering. Yu Cheng Feng stares at them with a knowing smile. When Xing Ren keeps insisting Zi Qi go home, he gets up to leave, but not before shoving food into his bowl and swiping the rose on his way out.
Xing Ren apologizes for Zi Qi disrupting their dinner. Yu Cheng Feng says it’s not a problem, and was actually quite amusing. He tells Xing Ren that Zi Qi appears to like her, the way a boy would taunt the girl he likes back in grade school days. Xing Ren quickly explains that can’t be true since Zi Qi is dating Kai Er. Yu Cheng Feng just smiles and nods, while Xing Ren looks slightly confused.
At the meeting the next day, Yu Cheng Feng asks both teams to submit their proposal on how to increase sales by ten percent without spending any money. Kai Er goes first and presents their idea to do a rich ladies VIP exclusive shopping night by sending out invitations from the existing marketing department budget. Stallone, who is the king of doing no work but getting all the credit, pompously struts up to the front to present Xing Ren’s proposal. Which he clearly didn’t read, because he starts reading how she wants to improve the facilities of the department store, making employees happier and creating a better overall work environment, which will lead to happier customers and more sales.
Stallone is confused and this idea doesn’t sound kosher at first blush, so he hands it back to Xing Ren to explain. She says that market research reveals that customer service is the number one reason people choose to shop at Jing Shi Department Store, yet customer satisfaction is low. Her idea is that the people who interact with the customers are the face of the department store. By making them happier at work, they’re attitude will naturally improve and lead to more happy customers who will return to the store more often. Stallone quickly jumps back in to add his three cents, but Yu Cheng Feng politely asks him to halt.
Yu Cheng Feng gets up and analyzes both ideas, finding Kai Er’s team to have an idea that will increase sales in the short term, while Xing Ren’s team’s idea can only have sales impact in the long term. Zi Qi says today’s project is about increasing sales 10%, so he wants Yu Cheng Feng to pick a winning team. Yu Cheng Feng thinks both ideas are good, and when Zi Qi snerks at his attitude, Xing Ren takes Yu Cheng Feng’s side. Which pisses off Qi Zi, and he blows up at her, wondering if she thinks everything Yu Cheng Feng says is right and perfect, even his farts smell good!
Yu Cheng Feng asks Qi Zi to apologize or leave for losing his temper at a business meeting. Zi Qi throws his materials down and leaves, saying he’s not interested in these useless games. The meeting continues with only one team as Kai Er and her subordinate follows Zi Qi out. Afterwards, Yu Cheng Feng walks into the parking garage and sees Xing Ren standing at the railing looking out onto the city. He approaches her and notes that she’s not in a good mood. He asks if she’ll go for a ride with him?
Yu Cheng Feng takes Xing Ren on the back of his motorcycle. They end up on the banks of a river, sitting there and relaxing. He asks if she feels better now? She says she’s feeling better. Yu Cheng Feng is considering disciplining Zi Qi for his bad attitude, but Xing Ren speaks up for Zi Qi, saying he had a great idea and is a good person. Yu Cheng Feng wonders why she’s speaking up on his behalf when he treats her poorly. Xing Ren says Zi Qi is her subordinate, she is responsible for guiding him and teaching him.
As they stand up to leave, Xing Ren takes a step and turns her ankle. She sits back down and Yu Cheng Feng checks out her ankle, massaging it for her. A couple walking by recognize Yu Cheng Feng and secretly vidiotape this scene. Xing Ren’s sprain hurts so Yu Cheng Feng offers to piggyback her. She’s reluctant until it’s clear she’s having a hard time walking. He piggybacks her.
Xing Ren sits at home minstering to her sprain. Le Le calls Xing Ren a bad luck charm for ruining her date with her idol. Xing Ren says it wasn’t a date, they just went for a ride. Le Le wonders why Yu Cheng Feng won’t take Le Le out for a ride since Le Le is also in a bad mood. Xing Ren keeps demurring that Yu Cheng Feng is just her idol and nothing more, and now he’s their superior at work. Plus he’s ten years older than her.
Le Le thinks a mature man is the best, especially compared to that immature Qin Zi Qi. Le Le astutely notes that Zi Qi and Xing Ren are very weird lately, acting almost like a fighting couple in love. Xing Ren continues to refute that observation, while Le Le tells Xing Ren not to seriously consider Zi Qi. Le Le decides to go stand at the door and scream out that Xing Ren went on a date with Yu Cheng Feng purposely for Zi Qi to overhear.
Zi Qi lays on his sofa holding his cell phone, and we see he’s about to text Xing Ren apologizing for yelling at her today in the meeting. He ends up deleting the text and turning on the TV. He flips to an entertainment show which broadcasts a video of a man who strongly resembles Yu Cheng Feng cheating on his girlfriend with a plain-looking girl. Zi Qi sits up and stares in shock at the video of Yu Cheng Feng piggybacking Xing Ren.
The MCs note that Yu Cheng Feng already has a hot girlfriend and now is just trying out plain dishes on the side. They think that if that ordinary girl has a boyfriend, he’d surely be tossing his table right now if he is watching the video. To which we see that Zi Qi has overturned the table in front of him. LOL. The MCs think everyone likes claiming they are just “friends”, but it really is a code name for “cheater”. Zi Qi turns off the TV and drops the remote.
Zi Qi sits at his desk and Xing Ren arrives at work. She tentatively sits down while he peeks at her. Neither speak, until Xing Ren notices that her picture of Yu Cheng Feng has been defaced on her desk. Zi Qi stands up holding a small catcus plant and asks Xing Ren a series of questions about her and Yu Cheng Feng. She asks what the heck he’s doing? He says he’s preparing her for answering the reporters questions.
Xing Ren asks why reporters would be asking her questions, and why she ought to feel guilty about anything she did. Zi Qi takes out his phone and pulls up the video, showing it to Xing Ren. ZI Qi tells Xing Ren to stop being a third wheel, but Xing Ren explains that she got hurt and he was just aiding her. Zi Qi snerks at all the “innocent becauses” that led to the piggybacking, rattling off a sequence of coincidental events that happened to lead to that moment, and then starts humming “Only You…..”
Xing Ren is pissed and repeats again that nothing is going on, though she really doesn’t care what Zi Qi thinks. Suddenly Kai Er calls Zi Qi. Xing Ren tells him that his girlfriend is calling, but Zi Qi says emphatically that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. He picks up to hear Kai Er crying, and she asks him if he can come over. Zi Qi agrees to go meet her, but he takes a long look at Xing Ren before getting up to leave.
Zi Qi finds Kai Er at the hospital, who immediately gets up and hugs him. But he doesn’t hug her back. Later he accompanies her into a room to see her mother, who is in a coma. Kai Er explains her sob story of a childhood to Zi Qi: they were so poor her mom used to go around town collecting cans with Kai Er accompanying her, her father beat up her mom until one day he hit her so hard she ended up in a coma, ending up with Kai Er getting dropped off at an orphanage.
Kai Er learned to only rely on herself her entire life. She asks if Zi Qi will look down on her knowing her story? He says he doesn’t look down on her, and instead is impressed even more with her. He tells her to learn to trust men, not everyone has ill intentions towards her. Kai Er asks if that man can be Zi Qi? She feels like she can tell him anything, because she wants to treat him like the most important friend in her life going forward. Zi Qi looks stunned and doesn’t really respond.
Zi Qi sits with his friend, who is amazed that the arrogant and aloof Cheng Kai Er would say something so forward with Zi Qi. He compliments Zi Qi on landing Kai Er when she rejects all the men around her. He asks if Zi Qi told her the truth about his family wealth? Zi Qi says no way, and wonders if Kai Er really likes him. Of course she does, and his friend asks Zi Qi what he thinks about Kai Er. Zi Qi says he likes being her friend, but she’s so closed-off that Zi Qi can’t really be himself around her and acts more serious. But knowing her backstory, he respect her a bit more.
His friend then asks about that other girl, the one Zi Qi brought to tour the model home. He’s seen this Shen Xing Ren on the gossip rags lately. Zi Qi flashbacks to his moments with Xing Ren over all the previous episodes.
His flashback is so long and dreamy that his friend literally has shout a few times to get Zi Qi to snap out of it. He asks if Zi Qi likes her? Zi Qi repeats “I like Shen Xing Ren?” and then reinforces that she’s not his type. She has no figure and a plain face…..okay, her face actually looks pretty comfortable after staring at it for awhile….but she has a bad temper and is slow on the uptake. She also loves to work, she loves to work so much he’s never met anyone who loves to work more than her.
His friend watches Zi Qi’s monologue explanation with a bemused expression the entire time. Zi Qi finishes by explaining Xing Ren just has this dopey aura all over her. His friends points out that perhaps what attracts Zi Qi is precisely that dopey aura. Zi Qi actually considers it, then makes the explanation that he watches her treat everyone well and get taken advantage of, so he feels compelled to be nice to her. Plus her mom is super nice to him, even grabbing his hand and asking him to take care of Xing Ren.
Zi Qi friend’s eyes widen to hear that Zi Qi actually met Xing Ren’s mom already! He lets out a “woah” and then uses basic hand gestures to show Zi Qi that he’s caught between one who wants to tell him all her secrets, and another whose mom Zi Qi has already met. Clearly Zi Qi is in trouble. Zi Qi tells his friend to stop stating the obvious. Zi Qi’s head drops down in defeat.
Xing Ren is at work when Stallone walks in and starts teasing and mocking Xing Ren for being a gossip rag queen these days, with “Yu Cheng Feng picks up a young thing” at the top of the Yahoo search engine. Stallone can’t believe almond tofu is that delicious. (Xing Ren’s name means almond in Chinese, and tofu is slang for taking advantage of someone in an intimate context). Xing Ren explains she’s just friends with Yu Cheng Feng, but Stallone doesn’t want to hear her explain. He just wants her to be low key about her dating otherwise it’ll be bad publicity for the company and Stallone will get in trouble.
Zi Qi walks in and sits down, with Stallone immediately starting on him, too. Stallone asks if Zi Qi is not in a good mood right now? Perhaps Mama Shen’s Zi Qi is about to become Mama Shen’s Xiao Feng Feng (little Feng Feng)? He tells Zi Qi not to feel bad since he’s already gotten a Kai Er, and all the men will be in awe of him. Xing Ren and Zi Qi starts to bicker, to which Stallone peaks out from behind his computer and keeps mocking them. He doesn’t care if they dated, but they need to be good with breaking up. He tells them to go walks the floors now in preparation of the upcoming department store anniversary.
Thoughts of Mine:
Office Girl is all about the cadence, the delivery, the beat of this drama. I can’t describe it any other way, because the plot might as well be lifted from “how to write an office drama 101”. Even the OTP is the classic bicker-and-fall-in-love situation, with neither Xing Ren nor Zi Qi individually all that interesting. But the performances of Alice Ke and Roy Qiu take this simple drama and ramp it up to 120 mph. It’s exhilarating to watch them “act” out their characters with each other.
Coupled with a scene-stealing side character in Stallone, non-annoying sidekick Le Le, a secondary male who is pretty harmless in Yu Cheng Feng, OG meshes into this fun ride that is akin to watching Roy wear a dinosaur suit and drive a Go-Kart around the track. It might be hella silly, but I bet you had a giant grin on your face when you watched something so cute and amusing. Right?
I find Kai Er yet another failed secondary female lead in the universe of such characters. Her sly manipulative tactics ruin any feeling on my part to feel sorry for her, having to work for such a creeptastic boss in her department and her sad backstory. Clearly she turned out just fine, even if she has to struggle in the work place. But so does Xing Ren and pretty much every young female worker finding herself caught in a male-dominated workforce.
Tia Li‘s flat acting doesn’t do her any favors either, so Kai Er ends up a cardboard character that I would be delighted to shuck into the ocean.I think the story pacing is very well-done, with Xing Ren and Zi Qi’s relationship developing realistically and honestly. It may seen a bit slow, but I get that the story needs to build in both of their workplace successes and failures. I’m just onboard to see where this train all ends. Hopefully with Zi Qi and Xing Ren in bed.