It was the best of episodes, it was the worst of episodes. Okay, I’m just kidding about the worst part. Episode 12 of Office Girls satisfied every expectation I had since salivating over the previews last week. But sadly, it also took the first step in setting the stage for possible future conflicts. Oh Mama Shen, I worry for you! And MIA Kai Er only means she’s off somewhere plotting, I just know it.
Like I said before, it can’t all be fun and games, and I fully expected this drama to take a turn for the serious at some point. I do have faith it can balance everything in good measure. But I have even more faith in the acting talents and chemistry of Roy Qiu and Alice Ke to tackle anything facing Zi Qi and Xing Ren with their pitch-perfect understanding of the special growing relationship between their characters.
Day 12 – Don’t let love become a regret:
Xing Ren walks outside her apartment to see Zi Qi sprawled on the bench asleep. She calls his name a few times but he doesn’t stir. Suddenly his phone buzzes with the sound of a text message coming in, and the buzzing cause the phone to fall on the ground. Xing Ren hesitates but then picks up the phone. She turns it over to read the text message, which is from Kai Er.
Kai Er apologizes to Zi Qi for purposely wearing his shirt and going upstairs to pretend to borrow medicine from Xing Ren, all to cause Xing Ren to misunderstand their relationship. Kai Er did it because Zi Qi is very important to her. She feels bad that what she did caused him to be upset. She hopes that they can still be friends going forward.
Xing Ren reads this text and then puts Zi Qi’s phone back on the bench. She looks at Zi Qi for a few moments before making a concerted effort to wake him up. Zi Qi wakes and sits up, still groggy and sleepy. He asks what time it is, and wonders why she kept him waiting until 3 a.m. Xing Ren lies that she fell asleep and didn’t see his text.
Xing Ren asks Zi Qi what he’s doing here, since Kai Er is over at his place, no? Zi Qi grumbles that she left already, and then proceeds to explain to Xing Ren again. He knows that he approached Kai Er first, but their relationship has never crossed the line this entire time. He doesn’t know why she’d wear his shirt to go upstairs and borrow medicine from Xing Ren, but this time he’s clearly told her that he is just friends with her. Zi Qi may not have any good qualities, but he’s someone who never tells a lie.
Before Zi Qi can keep explaining, Xing Ren says she believes him. Her quick answer leaves Zi Qi shocked and disbelieving that she would believe him so quickly this time when he’s been trying to explain his non-relationship with Kai Er so many times now and she has always refused to believe him before. He wants Xing Ren to swear she believes him.
Xing Ren wonders why he’s so weird, upset before when she wouldn’t believe him, and annoyed now that she does. They start bickering about why each is talking so loudly right now, and can possibly wake Mama Shen up. They adorably stop their bickering sit back with a sigh, leaving both with a small smile on their face.
They notice each other’s secret smile, and turn to simultaneously ask why each is smiling? They both yell “none of your business!” Zi Qi keeps wanting to confirm that Xing Ren really believes him this time, so she says she takes back believing him, but then backtracks and says she believes him. They banter back-and-forth, with Xing Ren finally revealing she read Kai Er’s text already. Mama Shen smiles from inside the apartment, relieved her kids are doing fine, and shuffles back to bed.
It’s morning time and Zi Qi tentatively walks into Xing Ren’s apartment. Mama Shen tells him to sit down and eat breakfast. Le Le comes out and yells at Zi Qi for shamelessly coming here to eat off them when he’s already got a girlfriend. This time Mama Shen speaks up and explains Zi Qi has been misunderstood. Kai Er is really just a platonic friend.
Everyone looks surprised, so Mama sheepishly confesses she overheard them talking late last night because she’s such a light sleeper. Even Xing Ren confirms it to Le Le, explaining that Kai Er purposely wore Zi Qi’s shirt upstairs to cause the misunderstanding.
Suddenly Le Le darts back into the bedroom and brings out the dollhouse, asking if she can borrow it. Zi Qi refuses, announcing that he has a right to say no because he made the dollhouse for Xing Ren. Mama is impressed, and Zi Qi has no qualms about complimenting himself as having true talent.
Le Le realizes that Xing Ren is dating Zi Qi, especially since she’s noticed them being weird lately. Xing Ren takes the dollhouse back inside her room and says she’s not dating Zi Qi. Le Le tells them to keep dating secretly then, she doesn’t care. Zi Qi apologizes to Mama again (for Kai Er), but Mama doesn’t care and just wants him to eat more. Xing Ren watches this with a smile.
Michael and Lao Yu are at the department store in front of the PB brand (btw, I just realized that PB must be short for Playboy because the t-shirts in that booth all have the bunny logo, and this would also explain why Zi Qi and Xing Ren have sported Playboy shirts in the last episode and later in this episode – Playboy is clearly a very non-subtle sponsor for this drama). Lao Yu is pleased to see lots of traffic in this booth on their opening day. Stallone, Zi Qi, and Xing Ren arrive to pay their respects.
Stallone is all flowery words and congrats. Lao Yu shakes everyone’s hand, ending with a firm shake with Xing Ren. Zi Qi watches, but it’s Stallone who looks perturbed and asks Zi Qi if he’s okay with this? Is Xing Ren’s hand super soft which explains why Lao Yu held it longer? Isn’t Zi Qi jealous? Zi Qi says he’s being mature about it.
Stallone scoffs at mature declaration, asking Zi Qi how to write immature. Zi Qi whips out a hand mirror and holds it in front of Stallone’s face, telling him that immature is right there. LOL. Stallone concurs, before realizing he is being an idiot. Suddenly Mina arrives and Stallone resumes his brownnosing with her.
Mina congratulates Lao Yu on the PB booth opening, and reveals she doesn’t intend to ask for the same booth placement anymore. She’ll move to another booth, but her requirement is that Xing Ren must be in charge of her booth design. Lao Yu tries to extricate Xing Ren, saying booth design is not her responsibility. Mina pouts to Stallone, who immediately accepts the task on behalf of Xing Ren, who has no choice but to accept once Stallone tells her that she’ll get another promotion if she succeeds.
The trio walks off, with Xing Ren worried about this task. Suddenly Xing Ren gets a call from Mama, who explains that she’s at the department store right now. Xing Ren excuses herself to meet her mom, but Stallone prances before Mama first and welcomes her with gusto. He asks if she remembers him, Manager Shi, or Mama Shen’s Long Long (Stallone’s name is Shi Te Long).
Mama says she’s visiting Taipei for a few days, and came here to deliver the promised bottle of homemade liquor to Stallone. His eyes bulge with happiness and he gladly accepts the bottle, and the other goodies Mama brought for him. He tells Mama not to worry, from now on he will take good care of Mama’s daughter and her son-in-law. In fact, Stallone gives both of them the rest of the day off so they can take Mama to Tamsui for a day trip.
Zi Qi quickly confirms Stallone will pay for this outing, and mind talks him to remind him that he’s going to need Zi Qi’s help to win over Le Le. Stallone has no choice but to agree. Mama says she wants to take the MRT there, and tells Zi Qi and Xing Ren to join her later. Stallone reminds ZI Qi to bring home some local goodies for him.
Mama doesn’t want them to take the MRT with her, and tells them to ride the motorcycle there. Xing Ren and Zi Qi wait for Mama outside the Tamsui MRT station, but she doesn’t show up. Mama calls explain she’s not coming and tells them to have fun without her.
Xing Ren wants to go back, but Zi Qi stops her and says they ought to at least some some local food before heading back. They sit down for some Taiwanese food, which Zi Qi wolfs down. When he looks at Xing Ren’s bowl, she picks up one fishball and acts like she is about to feed Zi Qi, before she turns her chopstick and eats it herself. Oh Xing Ren, you are such a tease.
They go paper net fishing, which Zi Qi totally fails at and then tries to cheat by using a bucket to scoop up the fish. Outside a trinkets store, Zi Qi walks out wearing a fake disguise and holding a magic knife, which he pretends to stab himself with. As they walk past an arcade stand, Zi Qi stops Xing Ren and says he will win her something because he’s a crack shot. Xing Ren points to a pink and white bear stuffed animal, to which Zi Qi says “no problem.”
They put on glasses as Zi Qi takes the toy gun and fires off ten consecutive shots. Xing Ren smiles thinking Zi Qi delivered as he promised, only to turn around and notice that he hasn’t hit a single balloon. She stalks off, so Zi Qi goes to pay for the game and ask the owner how much it will cost to buy the bear. The owner says NT1000. Zi Qi joins Xing Ren and hands her the bear, which makes her smile.
Stallone is sleeping in the office, so Mandy tries to wake him up using his toy dinosaur and then her shoe. Finally she uses two finger to poke him in the eye, which is when he wakes up. Mandy pretends she’s making a victory sign and happily tells him to wake up. Mandy wonders why those two are not around this afternoon, but Stallone tells her to just burn her snippy comments before voicing it.
Stallone is handed a new test lipstick that has a mirror and even an LED light, so the user can easily apply at night. When Mandy wants to swipe it, Stallone reminds her that she is a student while he is the teacher. He tells them both to disappear. Suddenly he remembers Le Le being afraid of the dark, and he gets a brilliant udea.
Stallone heads out looking for Le Le and sees her standing in front of the elevator. He fixes up his hair and then struts over to join her. He looks around before striking a pose to show off his muscles. OMG, he’s so embarrassing. Le Le sees him and then walks off holding her nose, not wanting to risk being in the same elevator with him again. Stallone tells her not to worry, and whips out a gift for her.
Le Le correctly identifies it as a freebie from the manufacturer. When Stallone shows her the LED function which she can use the next time she’s stuck in an elevator, Le Le yells at him for saying she’s got the bad luck to be stuck again. Stallone looks chastened. But when Le Le accept the freebie and thanks him, he smiles again and wanders off looking all pleased and giddy.
Xing Ren and Zi Qi sit down along the banks of the Tamsui river. ZI Qi pretends the teddy bear is driving a race car. Xing Ren offers to let him keep the bear so he’s not lonely. Zi Qi holds up the key to his apartment for Xing Ren, explaining that she can keep his key incase he locks himself out, and if she has nothing better to do she can clean his apartment like her mom wanted. Xing Ren accepts the key, but tells him not to use her mom’s words against her.
Suddenly Xing Ren sneezes. Zi Qi hands her a tissue and asks if she’s sick. Xing Ren touches her forehead and says maybe she’s coming down with something. Zi Qi tells her that touching her forehead with her hand isn’t an accurate way the measure her temperature. He slowly leans in and uses his hand to pull her closer as well.
Their foreheads touch, and Zi Qi explains that a British study revealed the best way to measure temperature is via the forehead. Xing Ren asks if she’s feverish then? Zi Qi says he doesn’t know, he needs more time. She asks how much time, and he says two more days. Xing Ren asks if he’s messing with her mind? ZI Qi draws up and then asks her not to hit him on the face this time. Xing Ren smiles and tells him that he’s really annoying. Whatever, you know you totally love it, Xing Ren.
Back home, Xing Ren sits outside with a smile. She gets a video from Zi Qi, where he pretends to be the teddy talking to Xing Ren. Teddy thinks Zi Qi is a really good guy, hardworking, sincere, plus honest, tall, long-legged, and upstanding, and finally really good looking as well. To order him, she has only one minute left, and the phone lines have already been busted today from the volume of callers.
Mama walks out to smile at Xing Ren watching the video. She wonders why these youngsters can’t just walk over to see each other. Xing Ren insists she is not dating Zi Qi, but Mama wasn’t born yesterday. Mama didn’t want to be a third wheel today and wanted them to have a romantic day together.
When Xing Ren still refuses to admit they are dating, but Mama says a good man is hard to find these days. If she finds one, she has to fight for it. Mama wants Xing Ren to fight for her love and not let love become a regret. Xing Ren thinks about what Mama said and then she picks up her phone with a smile.
Zi Qi sits in his living room clicking his tongue (and cradling the bear in his arm). He hears a message arrive on his phone and jumps to pick it up. He watches the video from Xing Ren, who smiles and asks why he’s not asleep this late? Suddenly she starts yelling at him for being a bad boy and staying up late, what if he can’t wake up tomorrow? Xing Ren slaps around her teddy bear as a stand in for Zi Qi, who flinches at seeing his bear incarnation getting beaten up.
But then Xing Ren stops and cradles the bear, saying goodnight to Zi Qi. He watches this video and smiles, before saying goodnight as well.
At work the next day, Stallone arrives singing a song about lovers in Tamsui, which Mandy continues but she totally ruins the mood. Ha. Stallone asks “Mr. Qin” whether, after yesterday, he thinks Tamsui’s age (pronounced ah-gay, which is Japanese for fried foods) is better or the local almond tofu (Chinese name xing ren do fu)? Zi Qi pauses before trying to explain what happened yesterday, but Stallone just wants to know if they brought something back for him.
Zi Qi quickly grabs a bag of fish crisps but Stallone says that is a bag of shrimp chips. Zi Qi and Xing Ren act like they were hoodwinked by the merchant. Stallone grabs the chips anyways and wonders if maybe he needs to find someone to fall in love with. The other colleague tells Stallone to pick anyone, but don’t contaminate Le Le. Mandy wonders why Stallone is interested in Le Le since he’s so much older.
Mina walks into the department and asks to borrow Xing Ren to discuss the booth design. Stallone gladly hands over Xing Ren, but when he offers himself Mina hilariously just ignores him. Stallone calls out to a departing Mina that if she ever needs him, he’ll be right here waiting for her, as he does M-shaped leg exercises to wait for her. Zi Qi reminds Stallone that Mina is a famous model while Stallone is a male demon, so that is quite a gap between them.
Mina goes to a spa to get a massage while making Xing Ren wait for her. She pretends that she forgot about this appointment, but Xing Ren quickly says she doesn’t mind waiting. After awhile, Xing Ren hands Mina some preliminary booth design sketches, which Mina brushes aside as ordinary and asks Xing Ren for more designs since this one doesn’t showcase the luxury Yu Cheng Feng brand.
Xing Ren excuses herself to take a call, while Mina snickers inside. It’s Zi Qi, calling to ask Xing Ren if Mina is making her work difficult. He asks where she is right now and offers to come find her. Zi Qi tells Xing Ren not to worry, he’ll handle it. Mina finishes her massage but then takes a bath to keep making Xing Ren wait.
Zi Qi arrives and finds out Mina is still at the spa, which upsets him since Mina is clearly being difficult. Zi Qi hands Mina the booth designs from some of the most famous department stores around the world. Mina says the Yu Cheng Feng brand is all about being unique, so if she looks at the booth design of another brand, it’s copying someone else. Mina says she purposely picked Xing Ren because Yu Cheng Feng believes in her, so Mina trusts Xing Ren will deliver as well.
As Mina walks away, Zi Qi says she’s hot while Xing Ren says she’s difficult. Xing Ren tells Zi Qi not to go loco the second he spots a hot chick. Zi Qi retorts that making the customer happy is what they do. Xing Ren managed to make Yu Cheng Feng happy, so now that the girlfriend is here, leave it up to Zi Qi to handle the lady. Xing Ren wonders why Zi Qi isn’t feeling embarrassed, what with him sporting a leopard print shirt and ogling the ladies. Zi Qi playfully growls at Xing Ren.
Le Le walks through the department store and is waylaid by Stallone, who wants to know if she’s used the gift yet. Le Le is annoyed that he’s asking her. I he’s curious about the product, he can easily read user reviews online. She stalks off, with Stallone calling after her “wae gu re” (which is Korean for why’d you do that?). He peps himself up with a “fighting” before walking after Le Le.
Le Le enters the ladies room when suddenly a pervert gets into the stall next to her and climbs up to peer over. Le Le sees the guy and screams out for help. Stallone hears this and suddenly his hero persona kicks into gear. He runs into the ladies room and confronts the pervert. Stallone acts all tough but then becomes a sissy when the pervert attacks. Lucky for him, the pervert runs into a beam and knocks himself out, allowing Stallone to pretend he saved Le Le and apprehended the pervert.
Le Le cries that she was really scared. Stallone grabs her for a hug to comfort her, and Le Le turns into his embrace to cry. Afterwards, Stallone returns to the department doing the Rocky Balboa run complete with the same facial twitches. As usual Zi Qi starts playing along as Stallone’s boxing manager. Xing Ren asks if Le Le is fine. Stallone says Le Le is giving her testimony and is in a bad mood.
Xeng Ren reminds everyone that today is the meeting of the new special sales task force, which Zi Qi is still surprised still exists. Everyone walks into the conference room to start the meeting. Le Le ignores Stallone, but when Michael walks by to ask how she’s doing, Le Le says she was so scared and wished Michael was around. Stallone takes offense but can’t say anything. He mutters to Michael to get a larger-sized jacket, why does he need to wear something that tight.
Zi Qi walks in and asks Kai Er’s subordinate where she is? Turns out Kai Er is taking her annual vacation right now. Oh good riddance. Yu Cheng Feng arrives and the meeting starts. He asks everyone to reshuffle the teams and hands out the new assignments. Zi Qi reminds Stallone, who asks Lao Yu to “joto made” (Japanese for wait a minute) because he has a small question to ask.
Lao Yu tells him to share, so Stallone says why don’t they use a real problem from their work routines to solve rather than theoretical issues. Lao Yu thinks it’s a good idea and asks Stallone to share. Stallone asks the team to consider how to use zero budget to design a booth space for an unreasonable client. Zi Qi pointedly mentions Mina’s childish behavior, which appears to be a lover’s spat that has no affected innocent people. Hahaha, so true.
Zi Qi asks Lao Yu how to resolve this issue so everyone can be happy. Lao Yu tells them to split into teams and make this issue their next assignment. Everyone opens their envelope, with Zi Qi and Xing Ren getting red, and the other three getting green. Stallone is happy to be with Le Le, who switches with Xing Ren. This causes Zi Qi to switch with Kai Er’s subordinate so he remains on the same team as Xing Ren.
Later that night, Xing Ren sits in her living room surrounded by design books. Zi Qi walks up and asks if she really intends to draw a booth design. Xing Ren says she has no choice but to do it even if it’s clear Mina is just being difficult. She tells Zi Qi to either help her or else stop annoying her. Zi Qi agrees to help, so Xing Ren asks him to either wash her clothes or give her a backrub. When he starts cracking his knuckles and telling her she has one more chance, Xing Ren stops teasing him and asks that he select a few of his favorite designs for her.
ZI Qi gets to work and starts flipping through magazines, but immediately gets distracted by some Peking Duck deliciousness. It’s Xing Ren’s turn to crack her knuckles and her back to get him back on task. She tells him to be serious, and now he has to pick 10 designs for her. They start working in earnest, with Xing Ren drawing and Zi Qi showing her designs.
When Zi Qi tries to erase some of what Xing Ren drew to offer his suggestions, they start dueling with rulers until Zi Qi’s ruler sword snaps. Xing Ren gives him a stern look, so he puts down the broken rule and holds his ears like an errant school boy. Zi Qi and Xing Ren each takes turn napping while the other is working. Both adorably cradle one or both teddies in their arms while sleeping.
Mama Shen peeks at her hardworking kids and smiles happily. Zi Qi opens a can of Red Bull and takes a sip. Xing Ren then unwittingly grabs the same can and drinks. Zi Qi stares at her, and her eyes widen to realize she’s just drank out of the same can as Zi Qi.
Xing Ren grabs a mug and spits out her Red Bull in the mug, while Zi Qi quickly opens the other can on the table and takes a drink out of it as well before setting it down in front of Xing Ren. So Xing Ren then re-drinks what she spit out instead of going for either can. Zi Qi takes a swig from both cans again. Xing Ren then offers him her mug, which he takes with shaking hands, but can’t bring himself to drink it.
Mama smiles and then heads back to bed. As she’s getting ready to club up the ladder, suddenly she gripes her left side and grimaces in severe pain. Oh Mama!
The next morning, Xing Ren walks Mama to the bus stop to send Mama off. Mama reminds Xing Ren to work hard but take better care of herself. She left a bowl of chicken soup in the fridge, and wants Xing Ren to also invite Zi Qi upstairs to eat with her. Xing Ren says Zi Qi will come even if he’s not called.
Xing Ren tells Mama not to worry about her, since she’s all grown. Mama says her biggest wish is to see Xing Ren married off to a good man. If Mama can hand her off to Zi Qi, then Mama will have no more regrets. Xing Ren thinks Mama is thinking too far ahead. Mama turns to look at Xing Ren and starts to cry, noticing that she’s so grown up now and so very pretty.
Mama asks Xing Ren to promise that she will always be happy no matter what happens. Mama keeps crying so Xing Ren just nods her head. Mama pushes Xing Ren to leave now, but she won’t go until the bus arrives. Mama grabs Xing Ren’s arms and starts sobbing while Xing Ren tries to comfort Mama. Xing Ren teases her mom for being a crybaby, but then holds her mother in her arms.
Thoughts of Mine:
I find the relationship progression in OG both satisfying and simple in ways that feel realistic. Xing Ren and Zi Qi don’t sudden turn all effusive and romantic towards each other now that they have pretty much confirmed each other’s feelings. Even the confirmation was more what was not said than what was said, which has been the way they have communicated since they’ve known each other. Transitioning from colleagues to friends to romantic interests, they remain true to character and don’t start acting in ways that may be more overtly romantic but just isn’t them.
What I love about Zi Qi is that he’s always thinking of Xing Ren. More than the I love yous or the flowers and fancy dinners, he’s about supporting her and taking care of her. What he does doesn’t cost a penny (which works since he’s penniless right now), but is more valuable than if he used money to throw things at her. In many ways, him falling in love with Xing Ren has matured him beyond what he could have learned just by working as a lowest rung employee. I also believe Xing Ren is learning a lot from Zi Qi as well, and letting her feelings out finally rather than being all consumed by work all the time.
Stallone has turned into the resident wackjob, and I mean that in a fond way, as well as with a bit of worry that he’s becoming too much of a caricature. It’s like every scene with him requires him to ham it up, and while I love it, it can veer too far into become overused. I think his pursuit of Le Le is just silliness and not much depth (for now), but I think they’d become a really cute and funny couple if they ever got together.
I don’t know why second male lead Yu Cheng Feng feels like a throwaway character at this point, but I don’t love him enough to feel sorry that he has such minimal screen time. Even Mina is more interesting than him at this point. Sorry Lao Yu. I am definitely certain something is wrong with Mama Shen’s health, and that Mama knows it which probably explains her sudden trip to Taipei to visit the kids. I hope it’s not terminal and can be treated with proper medical attention. If Mama dies, imma going to be a wreck because she’s such a wonderfully caring and funny character. Plus it will destroy Xing Ren, and be a horrible blow to Zi Qi as well. Gah, I just want them all to be happy, is that asking for too much?