As long as Office Girls stays good, I’ll never get tired of saying how much I love it. So far it never fails to deliver a good hours worth of happy entertainment, with equal measures cute and snarky. I’m pleased with the pace of Xing Ren and Zi Qi’s relationship progress, which is just sweetness personified. The more I love the characters in this drama, the more everything they do interests me, which leads to the work place issues to actually be both important (for Zi Qi’s promise with his dad) and meaningful (Xing Ren’s personality and identity is so tied to her job). Episode 11 was pretty much all Xing Ren and Zi Qi all the time, and I have no problems with that. This was a pivotal moment for them, and I’m thrilled they each look steps big and small towards each other.
Day 11 Recap – You belong to me, but who do I belong to?:
Xing Ren looks out from the rooftop, realizing it might’ve been a bad idea to let Zi Qi walk Lao Yu out. She goes back inside but can’t settle down on the sofa. Good thing Zi Qi comes back just then, both of them staring at each other for a moment before he sits down. She asks if Lao Yu left and Zi Qi answers with an annoyed yes that he’s escorted the master on his way. Xing Ren thinks it’s a good thing Lao Yu is so mature and doesn’t react rashly, to which Zi Qi takes offense and says Lao Yu would be dead but for Xing Ren interjecting herself earlier.
Xing Ren gives him an annoyed look before getting up. She walks back with a first aid kit, asking whether he even realized he was hurt. She cotton swabs the cut on his forehead and he flinches back from the sting. She wonders why he’d fight if he can’t handle the pain. Xing Ren puts a bandaid on his forehead, with the both of them looking away slightly awkwardly from the contact. As Xing Ren dabs at Zi Qi’s cut on his neck, he just stares at her.
Slowly Zi Qi leans in, with Xing Ren fully aware of what he’s about to do, and kisses her on the cheek. Yes yes yes, oh yes! Zi Qi plants the kiss and then pulls away.
They stare at each other, until Xing Ren slaps him across the face. LOL, even the emo music stops at that moment, with Xing Ren demanding to know why he kissed her? He says he couldn’t help himself, but she asks if he wants to die.
Xing Ren grabs some sofa pillow and starts to chase Zi Qi around the living room and beating him with it. How dare he kiss her, when she’s never been kissed by anyone other than her dad. She tells him to stop using the excuse that he couldn’t help it, since even idol dramas stopped using that line of dialogue. Haha, how meta. Zi Qi runs out of the living room while Xing Ren stands there taking deep breaths to calm herself down.
Zi Qi lays on his sofa and croons an off-tune love song to his pillow. Poor pillow. He stops singing and then says “Shen Xing Ren, you belong to me, but who do I belong to?” He then resumes his howling singing. Xing Ren sits in her living room and talks to her teddy bear as a proxy for Zi Qi, asking Teddy Zi Qi why he kissed her? She pokes him in the nose, calling him a naughty boy for kissing a girl. She even tweaks poor Teddy Zi Qi’s ear like he’s an errant school boy. But then she turns Teddy Zi Qi around and hugs him tight.
Zi Qi slowly walks into Xing Ren’s apartment the next morning as she is packing her lunch. He wonders if they should……but then Le Le comes out and asks if Zi Qi intends to take advantage of Xing Ren again. He always spends money on Kai Er while Xing Ren is the one who does everything for Zi Qi. What has he done for Xing Ren? Master Yu makes clothes for Xing Ren to wear. Zi Qi chafes at that mention and says just because he can’t afford it now doesn’t mean he can’t afford it in the future. Zi Qi declares that everything Xing Ren wants, one day he will give it to her. Le Le gives him a look and says she doesn’t believe him. He’s just the king of boasting. She drags Xing Ren off to work, leaving Zi Qi standing there.
With moody Taiwanese bar music playing in the background, Stallone sits at his desk stroking a toy dinosaur and thinking about his accidental kiss with Le Le. When his subordinate comes by to ask for a day off because it’s Le Le’s upcoming birthday and he wants to buy her a present, Stallone snaps out of his lovesick mood and yells at his love rival to get back to work and forget about taking time off. As Stallone walks out, he runs into Zi Qi and drags him off to have a manly chat.
Stallone asks Zi Qi to help diagnose his ailment. Since yesterday, he can’t concentrate at work, drives erratically, doesn’t shower properly (to this Zi Qi takes a huge step back from Stallone), can’t sleep at night and can’t wake up in the morning. What is wrong with him? Zi Qi takes his pulse and asks if lately Stallone finds himself smiling like a mentally disabled person. Stallone says yes while making that face (god this drama is so NOT politically correct), so Zi Qi diagnoses him as being in love.
Zi Qi asks Stallone to stick out his tongue, and correctly assesses that Stallone is in a one-way love right now. Zi Qi wonders who had the bad luck to be the object of Stallone’s interest. Stallone stammers because he’s too shy to say her name. Zi Qi wonders if it’s Lord Voldemort, since Stallone is scared to say her name. Stallone chides Zi Qi for calling him beloved goddess Lord Voldemort. Zi Qi says he can’t read Stallone’s inner monologues. Stallone wonders if Zi Qi has been in love before, since a person in love always blushes when thinking of the object of their affection.
Zi Qi flashes back to kissing Xing Ren last night and zones out. Stallone has to snap his fingers to get Zi Qi’s attention, this time asking who Zi Qi is thinking about. Zi Qi plays coy, but Stallone knows that Zi Qi is just a playboy who already got Kai Er but is now thinking of someone else. Zi Qi says he really is just friends with Kai Er. When Zi Qi refuses to divulge the person, Stallone smiles and says he knows, and then makes an echoing cry of “Shen Xing Ren Ren Ren Ren Ren…..” Zi Qi asks if he’s that obvious? Stallone says he’s not the blind swordsman, and in fact anyone with eyes can see it. Zi Qi and Stallone smile at each other as they realize the situation they are in.
Le Le has lunch with Xing Ren, wondering why she doesn’t see Kai Er with Zi Qi having lunch anymore. Did they break up? Xing Ren doesn’t know, but Le Le thinks she’s been acting weird since yesterday. Did something happen with Zi Qi? Xing Ren stammers out a no, but her expression gives her away. Which is when Stallone and Zi Qi arrive in the food court and sit down nearby. Le Le calls them both dirty bastards and drags Xing Ren away.
Stallone asks Zi Qi to describe what kind of person Le Le is? Zi Qi says she’s an okay person, but then asks why Stallone is asking about Le Le. Zi Qi says Stallone must be secretly in love with Le Le, to which Stallone gives a doofy and adorable smile of concurrence. Heh.
Zi Qi thinks back to Xing Ren and what his friend says, that her sincerity is what attracts him. Kai Er walks up to him and notices that he’s zoned out, asking what he is thinking of. She notices he’s hurt, but he blames it on a mosquito bite. She asks if he wants to talk about what’s on his mind? Zi Qi asks whether Kai Er doesn’t think things are becoming too complicated. All their colleagues appear to be mistaken about their relationship as being more than friends.
Kai Er says they are more than friends, doesn’t Zi Qi think of her as closer friend than just an ordinary friend. Zi Qi says he does. Kai Er tells him to work hard today and then walks away. She stops and looks back with a knowing look, seeing Zi Qi standing there zoned out again. Lady, please take your hint and take a bow.
Zi Qi and Stallone wait outside the department store, with Zi Qi prodding Stallone to intercept Le Le as she’s leaving work. Stallone gets pushed out and he stammers out an offer to drive Le Le home on his twin turbo. Le Le says no because she has a movie date with Michael. Stallone wonders what Michael has that he doesn’t? Le Le screams back that Michael is good looking while Stallone is a pervert.
Zi Qi walks out and thinks it must be true love if Le Le will reject a twin turbo to ride a motorcycle with Michael. Stallone gripes that all Michael has is a six-pack, so he looks better in the shower, but actually Stallone himself was the original beefcake (which is true, as Patrick Li was one of the original muscle men model of Taiwan when he got his start). Zi Qi turns around and gives him a stare of shock, which is when Xing Ren walks out, wondering what they are doing? The boys pretend to be discussing car care. Xing Ren says goodbye but Zi Qi follows her and asks to go home with her. When she asks why, can’t he take the bus by himself, Zi Qi pointedly says he doesn’t want to. Xing Ren has no response and just walks off, with Zi Qi following her.
As they walk up the stairs to their apartments, Zi Qi stops and tells Xing Ren that he didn’t purposely kiss her yesterday (i.e. it was a spur of the moment thing). Xing Ren accepts his explanation and goes back to her place.
Zi Qi ends up going up to see Xing Ren, who wonders why he’s here? Zi Qi asks what they are having for dinner, because he’s decided to keep sharing meals with them. When Xing Ren says she didn’t agree, he tells her to say yes now. Even though her food isn’t very good, there is something special in it. It tastes like love. Zi Qi lets the words sink in before amending it, explaining that Xing Ren uses her mom’s sauce in her food, and Mama Shen’s sauce was made with love.
When Xing Ren doesn’t agree, Zi Qi threatens to tell Mama Shen. Finally he just tugs at her arm like a kid until she says yes. Zi Qi says the moment Xing Ren said yes, he thinks she was so beautiful and so pretty. Xing Ren gets up to cook but Zi Qi doesn’t want to eat meat sauce spaghetti again, asking if they can change the menu. Xing Ren says he can keep dreaming on, and tells him to go set the table.
Zi Qi purposely walks right up to Xing Ren and stares at her, before taking the dish towel and walking over to wipe the table. He wipes while watching Xing Ren cook, a smile naturally coming to his face.
The next day, Stallone walks up to Xing Ren and reminds her of a business visit, telling her to bring Zi Qi along for learning purposes. But then Stallone’s knowing dance behind Xing Ren’s back is a clear indicator that he’s creating opportunities for Xing Ren and Zi Qi to spend time together. Good boy, Stallone! When Stallone is told that the Christmas decorations have just arrived and whether he’s going to check on it, he says “araso, araso”(alright, alright in Korean) and waves the guy away. Zi Qi and Xing Ren continue to look at each other slightly awkwardly across the table.
Stallone makes muscle man poses while waiting for the elevator. As he gets in, Le Le catches the same elevator, much to his delight and her chagrin. Suddenly the lights go off as the elevator stalls. Le Le blames Stallone for always bringing woe to her. Stallone takes out a new toy, a mini projector which can play video. That way she won’t be scared because it won’t be all dark. He turns on…..Autumn’s Concerto! LOL, and it happens to be the scene when Guang Xi kisses Mu Cheng on the swing.
Stallone uses that moment to pull Le Le’s head on his shoulder, saying she can borrow it if she wants to cry. Le Le screams at him, asking why she needs to cry? Stallone tells Le Le to take deep breaths, and when he does the same exercise, he ends up farting. Poor Le Le almost suffocates in there. When they escape and Stallone asks if she’s fine, Le Le says she’s fine but for almost getting gassed in there.
Xing Ren and Zi Qi head out for a business meeting. Xing Ren stops in front of some buildings under construction, pointing out that the condo she put money down on was one of these. If she hadn’t broken the red wine, she’d be getting ready to move in soon with her mom. Zi Qi tells Xing Ren to trust him, one day he will let her buy the house she has always dreamed of. Xing Ren laughs since he’s barely surviving these days, but he tells her to just believe in him, whatever he promised her he will follow through on it. Xing Ren nods her head yes.
Zi Qi wraps his dollhouse in a pink box and ties a purple bow around it. Oh Zi Qi, you are such a sweetheart. He sits back and looks at this finished present, and then he takes his bandaid off his forehead. He smiles at the bandaid, and then takes out his cellphone and tapes the used bandaid on the back of his phone. Geez, can this boy be any cuter?
Zi Qi hides the gift box behind his back and walks into Xing Ren’s living room. He plunks the box on the table and places it in front of her. It’s a gift for her, and he tells her to open it. Xing Ren tentatively unties the bow and lifts the box cover. Underneath is a delightful little dollhouse. Zi Qi says this house can be remodeled and altered to whatever Xing Ren wants. She asks if all the arts and crafts he’s been doing recently was this project? He says yes.
Zi Qi knows he doesn’t have any money right now, or the ability to change anything. But right now all he can do is make her dream home into a tangible item. Xing Ren turns the dollhouse around to see paperdoll Zi Qi (doing his shuai pose) and paperdoll Xing Ren (with hearts for eyes) placed in the living room. With this dollhouse, Xing Ren won’t be as disappointed anymore. Xing Ren thinks back to all the things Zi Qi has done for her with respect to her house and the red wine.
Zi Qi sees Xing Ren deep in thought. He tells her to use this dollhouse to think about what her real dream house will be like. Then someday she can exchange this dollhouse with him for a real dream house. Zi Qi continues, saying Mama Shen can live there too, and they won’t need to worry about a leaky house when the typhoons come. Xing Ren is truly touched but she can’t find the words to express herself. Zi Qi asks whether she’s doesn’t like this dollhouse?
Xing Ren says she doesn’t know. Zi Qi says this dollhouse can be changed, just like Zi Qi has changed recently. Before he didn’t eat broccoli and spent money like water, now he eats it and is a spendthrift. Xing Ren asks what he means by all this? Zi Qi says he…..but he has difficulty getting the words out multiple times. Finally he asks her whether she understood what he’s getting at. Xing Ren says no, and tells him to just say what he wants to say.
But now Zi Qi is in a pique and refuses. He asks whether she really doesn’t understand or she’s pretending not to understand? Xing Ren thinks back to Kai Er warning her away from Zi Qi, and tells him that she really doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand why he built a dollhouse for her. She also doesn’t understand why he just said those words to her. Zi Qi tells her that even though she is just average looking with an average figure, she’s very special to him. Before he can say more, Xing Ren’s phone rings. It’s Mama Shen, who is here for a visit. Xing Ren goes to get her mom, while Zi Qi bangs himself on the head.
Mama Shen happily cooks while her two kids set the table and get the rice bowls. Once Mama brings out the final dish, Zi Qi sits down and starts shoveling food in his mouth. Mama wonders why Zi Qi looks skinnier and is ravenous. Zi Qi blames Xing Ren for not letting him eat with her. Mama chides Xing Ren for not taking better care of the already too thin Zi Qi. When Xing Ren wonders why Mama didn’t call in advance of her visit, Mama says she purposely planned this stealth visit to check on the report card of her two kids, whether they are lovey dovey. Mama Shen says it looks like they are getting along fine. Zi Qi says yes while Xing Ren simultaneously says no.
Mama asks if Zi Qi has been taking care of Xing Ren like she asked him to. He says he’s pedal to the metal already, and he will take responsibility until the very end. Mama smiles, saying she definitely didn’t judge Zi Qi incorrectly. She tells Xing Ren that Zi Qi really is pretty darn swell – responsible, cute, and handsome. Zi Qi nods everytime Mama compliments him. Mama says she really likes Zi Qi, she really really likes him. LOL, Mama Shen is such a diehard Zi Qi fangirl, I love it! Mama tells Zi Qi to eat up.
Zi Qi finishes dinner and is about to head down, when Mama stops him because she wants to see where Zi Qi lives since they are already so close. Xing Ren has no choice but to tag along. Zi Qi opens the door and tries to make a path to the sofa for Mama. Zi Qi apologizes because he hasn’t cleaned lately. Mama says he doesn’t need to apologize, she ought to apologize to him. Mama chides Xing Ren for not cleaning for Zi Qi. Since one day she will be his partner, she might as well clean up now. Mama keeps making these jokes about how Zi Qi is like her son already, which Zi Qi is pretty startled but happy to hear.
Suddenly the doorbell rings, and Zi Qi opens it to find Kai Er standing there. D’oh, commence awkward staring all around. Zi Qi asks Kai Er why she’s here, and Mama asks if Zi Qi has a guest? Kai Er asks if she can come in, and Zi Qi slowly nods his head. She comes in and drops off a box of tissues and a microwave, introducing herself as Zi Qi’s friend. Zi Qi introduces Mama Shen, and Kai Er as a manager in another department. Mama looks shocked that a colleague will bring all this stuff for Zi Qi, and everyone is just quiet with this awkwardness. Xing Ren takes her mom back upstairs. Zi Qi turns as they leave, looking uncomfortable when he turns to face Kai Er.
Mama Shen asks Xing Ren whether their manager is so nice to all the employees, coming here so late and bringing so many things. Mama asks what Kai Er’s relationship is to Zi Qi? Xing Ren says she doesn’t know, and it has nothing to do with her. She leaves Mama looking worried. Le Le comes home and happy greets Mama. Mama sits Le Le down and asks if anything is going on between Xing Ren and Zi Qi? Le Le says recently they have been acting weird. What about the pretty manager? Le Le says Kai Er is Zi Qi’s girlfriend. Mama Shen hears this and her face just falls. She starts to cry and says her Xing Ren is about to be dumped. Le Le tries to comfort her, and we see Xing Ren peeking out to see this scene.
Kai Er pours herself and Zi Qi a glass a wine. She asks him why he didn’t seem happy to see her? Zi Qi says nothing is going on, and then suggests it’s better if they drink some water instead. He gets up to get some water, which is when Kai Er grabs him from behind for a back hug. She asks for just a moment like this? He asks if she is in a bad mood? Kai Er wonders if she doesn’t have any allure? Zi Qi says she does have allure. Kai Er doesn’t know what is good about herself. Zi Qi turns and asks her a question, if that night she really went upstairs just to borrow antacids. Oh hells yeah, thank you for being such a smart dude, Zi Qi!
Kai Er doesn’t answer him, which is when Zi Qi pulls her arms off his neck with an annoyed expression. He sits down and Kai Er follows suit. She knows what she did was wrong, and would cause him discomfort. But it’s because she really cares about him, and she’s jealous of Xing Ren. She wanted Xing Ren to know that Zi Qi means more to Kai Er. Zi Qi sits up and just blurts out that Kai Er is a really great girl but the person he likes is Xing Ren.
Kai Er’s face stiffens and asks what Xing Ren has that she doesn’t have? Zi Qi says there is nothing, and in fact Xing Ren doesn’t have Kai Er’s straightforward nature, decisiveness, and strength. He doesn’t know why but he just likes Xing Ren. Kai Er says she knows, and she understands everything, stopping Zi Qi from explaining further. Kai Er tells Zi Qi that he can relax, they can be forever good friends. Rather than be lovers, they can be friends for life. She takes the wine glasses and toast Zi Qi to their friendship. She takes a drink while Zi Qi hesitates, before taking a drink. She asks him to forget starting tomorrow all of this awkwardness. She downs her wine and Zi Qi follows suit.
Zin Qi walks Kai Er out, telling her to be careful on her way home. After he goes back inside after taking a look upstairs, we see Kai Er stopped in the stairwell. She looks up at Zi Qi’s apartment, thinking back to seeing Zi Qi dressed in a dinosaur outfit hugging Xing Ren and seeing all of Xing Ren and Zi Qi’s many interactions. Kai Er cries as she accepts the truth, which is that Zi Qi’s heart had never fallen for her. She wipes away her tears and leaves.
Zi Qi walks upstairs but it’s already dark inside Xing Ren’s apartment. He peeks in and then sends her a text to come outside because he needs to talk to her. Zi Qi sits down and waits. Xing Ren lays in bed unable to fall asleep. She reads the text, but puts the phone away when Mama asks if that was Zi Qi. The clock says 3 am when Xing Ren finally walks outside.
She turns on the patio light to see Zi Qi sleeping on the bench outside. She looks down at him.
Thoughts of Mine:
What makes this drama so wonderfully grounded is that the two leads are so normal. Aside from Zi Qi being a chaebol heir (LOL, I’ve really forgotten about that recently), he’s just a guy who likes a girl and doesn’t know how to tell her. Xing Ren is written so boring on paper, but definitely one of those hardworking office workers types that typically play supporting characters or simply meld into the background in almost any other drama. But here she’s placed front and center, and through her the story feels more substantial than just watching an OTP get together. I want to see her get her dream home So Bad, and I actually want to see her earn it. As much as I LOVE Zi Qi’s “I’ll buy it for you” promise, I don’t want him to buy it for her using daddy’s money. I want to see them earn it with their own hard work.
I don’t know why I have so much patience for this drama, when usually most TW-dramas if the OTP is not rolling around the sack or making out like monkeys but episode 10 (around the midway mark), I’d be calling for a refund and griping about the lack of action. Perhaps it’s because the supporting cast here is so strong the OTP can take its time to get together with the other ancillary plot keeping my interest and serving a greater purpose. The previews for episode 12 show our Zi Qi and Xing Ren starting to date, and I can’t wait for the cuteness to come. I hope Kai Er got the message and isn’t just pretending to back off. I don’t want to deal with any of her tricks again, and would love to support her becoming a stronger and more righteous employee at work.
I’m sure the drama will set Stallone and Le Le up together in the future, and while I don’t care either way, I am looking forward to seeing how Stallone woos her. I love how Stallone has multiple personalities, and is simultaneously a boss, a friend, and a protegee to Zi Qi. I have this feeling that Stallone on paper was more one-dimensional, but with Patrick Li’s crackling and on-the-fly performance, his character has become a scene-stealer. This drama is now almost on a completely live-shoot schedule, which worries me, but then it will be interesting to see how the drama may get tweaked based on audience reaction. So far no one looks exhausted or ready to pass out, which is a relief. A really big what-if for me is actually how Xing Ren will react when she finds out Zi Qi is the boss’s son, and how Daddy Qin will deal with his son’s choice of a girlfriend. I don’t want this drama to go melo, but then I always love some melodramatic reconciliation scene. For now, I take whatever OG dishes out and ask for more.