This might be the penultimate episode of King Flower but I have no clue because SETTV hasn’t confirmed if next week’s episode 20 will be the finale though it sure looks like it. I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 months since this drama premiered. Initially I watched casually and almost stopped around episode 5. Then the final 10 minutes of episode 7 happened (you know, Terry, hospital, Liang Yen, “don’t go!”) and I was hooked for good on a very special fictional character named Terry that has grown larger than his original narrative britches. He’s grown so large I’m not sure SETTV ever envisioned that happening or had a clue what to do with him. Does he get the girl because everyone and their mother and pet chinchillas are demanding it? Or will SETTV stay true to their original narrative purpose of down home girl goes on an extravagant challenge and comes home to her first love with experiences in her pocket but a greater appreciation for her simple lifestyle? Decisions, decisions, and let me be the first to say that indecision is the greater sin than making a bad decision. Indecision leads to losing out on both ends, and right now it feels that way.
The last few episodes have cemented Da Hua’s fixation on Guan Jun, shown us that Guan Jun buckles under the teensiest pressure like a paper man, and Terry continues to be awesome whether he’s front and center or on the sidelines. He’s an all-around quarterback like Peyton Manning, he can call audibles when he’s in the huddle AND call plays from the sidelines when he’s taking a rest. I enjoyed episode 19 for all the Terry scenes (what’s new?) though it really must be said the writers throw in so much nuance for him that I catch tiny gestures that mean a lot and hear in every word he says all sorts of deeper meaning that just doesn’t exist for any other character in this drama. By implying that the ending will be Da Hua and Terry but not doing so in a way that gives satisfactory closure to Guan Jun, SETTV left open the room for a grand reversal that will piss off all the viewers. Maybe the possibility will get people to turn in, but really it just makes me frustrated beyond belief and want to give the network the big middle finger. Sadly I’m at the mercy of their perfect Terry, who continues to rewrite the game plan for all second male leads the world over.
Stage 19 recap:
Terry and Guan Jun continue their conversation from the last episode. Terry can tell that Guan Jun is purposely giving him Da Hua and he doesn’t think Guan Jun should do this, especially by saying such things to hurt her. Last night she walked in the rain crying, doesn’t that pain Guan Jun to hear it?
Guan Jun is too weak to face this relationship directly so he’s pushing her away by purposely hurting her. The way Terry sees it, that is the actions of a coward. Call it like it is, Terry! Yes, Terry admits he likes Da Hua but he wants to compete head on. Doing this is an insult to Terry, and an insult to himself.
Guan Jun says there is no such thing as competing head on unless Terry also loves Hu Xiao Fei. Terry has no choice but to accept that Guan Jun is being honest right now, but he will not stand by and watch Guan Jun keep hurting Da Hua. He needs to watch what he says and does around her. He also needs to stay away from Da Hua.
As Terry walks out, he stops and turns around, still in shock that Guan Jun changed so fast. He’s very disappointed in Guan Jun, and its no wonder Da Hua is so hurt.
Jin mom finds Da Hua the next morning feverish and quickly gets her to the hospital. The doctor diagnoses her with an infection and admits her.
Mom goes back to tend the store while Ah Xi and Da Li keep Da Hua company. She’s unconscious but still calling Guan Jun’s name. Ah Xi is so angry that Guan Jun knows Da Hua is sick but not visiting.
Ah Xi rushes to Guan Jun’s office and confronts him. Guan Jun is shaken until Xiao Fei steps up to remind him of his goal. Guan Jun steels himself and once again refuses to see Da Hua. After Ah Xi leaves, Guan Jun thanks Xiao Fei for stepping up to help him.
Da Hua wakes up and learns that Guan Jun hasn’t come to visit her. She cries herself asleep.
Terry, who appears to be a favorite of rain clouds, drives to the Jin store to see Da Hua. He goes inside and finds only Jin Mom there. She doesn’t tell him that Da Hua is sick and in the hospital, instead only asking him not to come by anymore.
His contract with Da Hua is done and she doesn’t like how complicated it’s getting. She apologizes for being not so smart, but Terry is their family’s savior and she doesn’t want to end up resenting him one day for being the cause of their problems. You’ve got it so backwards, Mom. Your loser husband and loser adopted son are the root cause of your family’s problems.
Terry politely and understandably accepts her request and leaves. He stops outside and turns around to look back towards the store. This is clearly a blatant fanservice attempt to show up Chris Wu’s gorgeous side profile and to stick him under the pretty melancholy rain again. I am not complaining.
Guan Jun sneaks into the hospital at night to sit by Da Hua’s bedside but he’s gone before she wakes the next morning. Guan Jun goes to work and Xiao Fei mentions that he asked her to call Ouyang Tai to let him know about Da Hua’s illness. Guan Jun believes he has to go all the way otherwise he won’t ever be able to leave Da Hua. Ugh, stop the pity party, dude.
Da Hua wakes up the next morning and finds Ah Xi by her bedside. Terry rushes to the hospital and asks why Da Hua didn’t let him know she was so sick. He’s summoned a specialist for her and tells her not to worry, he’ll get her all better. The doctor comes to take care of Da Hua and Terry and Ah Xi step outside.
Ah Xi thanks Terry for everyone, asking if she can call him Terry? Terry smiles and says Da Hua’s friend is his friend, so of course. Ah Xi wonders about the medical bill and Terry assures her that he’s taken care of it. Da Hua’s illness is the important issue, money is ancillary. Ah Xi smiles and genuinely says that Terry is such a good person. Ah Xi goes to the flower shop and asks Terry to take care of Da Hua.
Da Hua wakes up the next morning and finds Terry in her room packing her bags. Terry turns around with a big smile to see that she’s awake and up.
She asks if he slept in the room all night and he shrugs and says it was no big deal, he’s just taking care of a sick friend. He puts his hand on her forehead and finds that she’s much better.
Jin Mom arrives with Ah Xi and Da Li and she is shocked to see Terry there so early. He looks her directly in the eye and says good morning politely and greets everyone.
Ah Xi asks if Terry spent the night here last night? Jin Mom and Terry stare at each other and he nods. Da Li smiles and says it’s such a sweet gesture for him to stay and take care of Da Hua.
Terry says its no big deal, he’s on a leave from work and has plenty of free time while they all have to work. Mom wants to grab Da Hua’s things to leave when Terry hands her the bag that he’s already packed. Turns out he’s also paid the bills and picked up the medicine as well. Mom offers to pay for the bill but Terry says no need, he takes some responsibility for Da Hua getting sick. Ah Xi steps in and says Mom should accept it since Terry makes more. Her joke defuses the situation. The guys step out to let Da Hua change.
Terry drives the entire group back. He walks Da Hua in and tells her not to over-tax herself and to call him if she needs anything. Da Li and Ah Xi stand there smiling.
As Ah Xi helps Da Hua upstairs, Terry suddenly calls Da Hua’s name. I would die of the swoons and LOL if he did a redux of the rain kiss in front of everyone. Instead Terry realizes others are around and says again for Da Hua to take good care of herself. She nods while Ah Xi smirks knowingly.
Da Hua tells Terry to take care himself. As Ah Xi walks Da Hua up, she turns back and tells Terry that he’s a good guy and “fighting”. Da Li thanks Terry again while he tells Da Li to remind his sister to take her medicine on time. Da Li goes upstairs leaving Terry alone with Mom.
Terry walks up to Jin Mom and apologizes that he didn’t follow through on his agreement not to see Da Hua again. Mom says its fine, thanking him for all he’s done for Da Hua.
Terry says this is nothing. Compared to what Da Hua has done for him, this is nowhere close to measuring up. She’s done so much for him, so so much. He takes his leave while Jin Mom stands there looking very conflicted.
Guan Jun calls the hospital and confirms that Da Hua has left the hospital. Xiao Fei arrives and sees that Guan Jun spent the night in the office. If Guan Jun wants to forget Da Hua, this isn’t working since he keeps thinking about her. Xiao Fei invites him out to a nice resort to get his mind off Da Hua. He declines but Xiao Fei says she’s doing this for him so he needs to accompany her out for a day. Guan Jun says yes and thanks her for her good intentions. He walks away and Xiao Fei adorably does a little “yes” gesture.
Guan Jun comes home and hears everyone talking about him. He acts nonchalant and walks to the dinner table, casually noting that Da Hua is out of the hospital. Mom asks why he didn’t visit Da Hua in the hospital? Guan Jun says he had too much work. Da Hua says the old him would have visited her no matter what. Guan Jun says he is now a Managing Director and has responsibilities. Da Hua points out that she could have died with this infection.
Guan Jun says she’s all better now, and he was thinking of her. When he was out shopping with Xiao Fei, he bought a cake for Da Hua. Mom is upset he’s showing off his new relationship. Guan Jun says everyone assumes Xiao Fei is very spoiled but she’s very sweet. Mom says its all her fault for spoiling Guan Jun, which is why he’s so inconsiderate now.
Guan Jun says he will forever be grateful to Mom but no one can dictate who he loves. Mom doesn’t care who he loves, she cares that he’s so abrupt with Da Hua about he’s feelings. What does he want Da Hua to do? Guan Jun blurts out that Da Hua can be with Ouyang Tai and then storms out of the store.
Everyone tracks down Guan Jun at the playground and Ah Xi is especially pissed that Guan Jun is lording his new relationship over Da Hua. She wants Guan Jun to be candid with Da Hua. Guan Jun says he has been, they are siblings. And isn’t Ouyang Tai really good to Da Hua these days? Ah Xi angrily asks if Guan Jun earlier wasn’t in love with Da Hua?
Even Da Li tells Guan Jun to be honest, even if he’s in love with someone else now, how could what he had with Da Hua earlier not be love? Guan Jun says it was sibling love, now that he has Xiao Fei, he knows what real romantic love is. Guan Jun asks if he ever questioned why Da Li likes Ah Xi? Love is impossible to explain and he doesn’t need to explain.
Da Hua asks him to look at her directly and say he doesn’t love her. Then she won’t bug him again. Guan Jun looks at Da Hua but can’t say those words. He says that its silly to discuss love or not love, they will always be siblings. Guan Jun walks off leaving Da Hua standing there.
Ah Xi tells Da Hua not to be sad, its good to come clean today. Lin Guan Jun is not a man worth being sad over. Da Hua looks at her bracelet and Ah Xi takes it off and throws it in the lake. OH YES!
Da Hua goes home and stares at her Terry goldfish while Grey Bear sits in the background. She looks down at Guan Jun’s returned bracelet and the flashcards he made her.
She puts all her Guan Jun items and memories into a box and cries that even if they aren’t destined to be, she’ll always wish for the best for him. She says “goodbye”.
Da Hua gets up the next morning and she lets out a small smile. She goes downstairs to start working though everyone wants her to just rest.
Terry pulls up outside the store and Ah Xi sees him first and calls out to Da Hua that Terry is here. I’m loving how FINALLY everyone around Da Hua can see what a great guy he is and actually appreciates him so openly and without reservation.
Terry can see that Da Hua looks better and Ah Xi says that it was all due to his great care that Da Hua got better so quickly. Jin Mom invites him in but he tells them not to be so polite. He can see they are working in the store and offers to help. Da Hua says working is good exercise but Terry says working is not exercise, real exercise means going out. I love the exasperated look he gives her. He never buys her bull crap excuses.
Jin Mom tells Terry to sit with Da Hua to keep her from helping around the store and fairly pushes Da Hua into Terry. Da Hua and Terry adorably exchange this look like “what the heck has gotten into Mom?” with her sudden willingness for Da Hua and Terry to spend time together.
He suggests visiting a new hotel his friend opened who has been asking him to visit. Ah Xi encourages them to go and Terry invites both Ah Xi and Da Li along. Even Jin Mom suggests they all go, saying that Da Hua won’t be happy unless her friends are there.
Terry just gets to work putting all the new supplies into the store before they leave on the trip.
The gang arrive at a fancy resort and Da Li immediately runs around the presidential suite in awe of his luxe surroundings.
Ah Xi drags Da Hua out to the balcony to check out the ocean view.
Da Li sidles up to his new BFF (he calls him Terry ge (big brother Terry) much like he calls Guan Jun ge) and asks Terry if the room arrangements will be Terry and Da Hua in one room, and him and Ah Xi in another. LOL. Terry raises an eyebrow but Ah Xi beats him to the punch and says hell no! Da Li looks disappointed and Terry just sighs at him.
Da Hua and Ah Xi got to their room and Da Hua is immediately captivated by the view outside. She goes out and stands by the balcony and Ah Xi joins her to admire the scenic view. She encourages Da Hua not to mope. Terry did all this to get her to cheer up, for their sakes can she not think about Lin Guan Jun right now?
Ah Xi encourages Da Hua to forget the sadness and find a new happiness, she’s young and this is her chance. Man, Ah Xi has suddenly developed a brain as well. My theory is that the less time people spend with Lin Guan Jun, the more their mental facilities return to them. Da Hua asks if she can still find happiness?
Ah Xi says of course and grabs a piece of chocolate for Da Hua. She says this chocolate s called “Te Li” and when one first takes a bite its a bit bitter but then when the fragrance spreads, she will know what it is to taste and unforgettable happiness flavor. Okay Ah Xi, I forgive all your annoying ways for the first 18 episodes.
Da Hua smiles and takes a bite and says it is a bit bitter. Ah Xi encourages her to take another bite and Da Hua does, smiling that it does taste sweet now. Ah Xi smiles and nods her head.
A crew sets up a private buffet outside overlooking the bluff. Da Li runs out followed by Ah Xi, Terry, and Da Hua. He’s in awe of this legendary thing called a “buffet”. Da Hua wonders why there is no one outside and Terry says this was privately prepared for them.
Terry’s friend the hotel manager Kevin arrives and they happily greet each other. He greets Da Hua and hears that she was not feeling well so Terry brought her and her family here. Terry apologizes for imposing but his friend says anytime.
His friend now understands why Terry faced up to the media to make clear what his relationship was with Da Hua. Terry looks awkward while Da Hua’s smile wavers. His friend asks if he can expect a wedding invitation soon and Terry scowls and quietly whispers to his friend to please stop talking right now. His friend shuts up and tells everyone to dig in.
His friend lets slip that Terry’s girlfriend….no no, Terry’s good friend, is his good friend. LOL. Terry literally forces him to leave and apologizes for his friend being such a jokester. Da Hua says she can tell he meant no harm.
The four of them sit down to dine happily. Terry offers Da Hua something from his plate and then later reaches over to wipe something off her lips. Da Li and Ah Xi attempt a very awkward love shot and Da Hua and Terry awkwardly look on and then look away from each other. Oh cuties, go ahead and love shot as well!
Da Hua is laughing when she looks up and sees Guan Jun and Xiao Fei walking towards them. Guan Jun sees them and immediately grabs Xiao Fei’s hand.
They walk up to the group and Terry stands up to greet them politely, inviting them to join and eat together. Guan Jun accepts and Xiao Fei concurs. The six of them proceed to have the most uncomfortable lunch EVER.
Terry’s friend walks up with a hotel specialty rose wine that brings romance to any couple who drinks it and then declares his love. Da Li offers to go first, gulping it down and turning to Ah Xi to declare in the sweetest way that he’s not very smart but he likes her very much. Da Li has ID’d her as his wife already. He lightens the mood and Da Hua and Terry smile towards them.
Ah Xi says she didn’t agree to marry him, so Da Li says he can marry her. Terry’s friend laughs and says he can tell that the lady likes Da Li very much already.
Guan Jun offers to go next and Da Hua and Terry both stare at him (Terry does not look happy in the least). Guan Jun takes a drink and thanks Xiao Fei for all she’s done for him. He asks her if she’s willing to accompany him for the rest of his life. Xiao Fei says yes and thanks him for being with her.
Terry’s friend then walks over to Terry and shines the spot light on him. It’s adorable and hilarious that Terry literally gives his friend this look like “dude, you’ve gotta be kidding me, and I’m so going to kick your ass the next time I see you.”
Kevin, Da Li and Ah Xi all encourage him to say something and he sighs and then turns towards Da Hua, who is staring down at her plate this entire time. He can see how upset Guan Jun’s confession to Xiao Fei made her that appears to make Terry willing to engage in this silly exercise if he can remind Da Hua of how special she is to him, and to someone out there, even if Guan Jun has tossed her aside so abruptly.
Terry takes a breath and turns to Da Hua. He tells her that she’s a very special girl to him and he’s very lucky to have met her when his life was at its lowest point. He’s often thought what would have happened if she wasn’t by his side during that time. He would have likely been in such pain. She said once that he was like her Doraemon, so will she be willing to let him protect her, to make all her dreams come true?
Terry looks at Da Hua directly and asks her to trust him and give him a chance. Will she? Da Li and Ah Xi are now Team Terry all the way and start chanting for them to be together. Goodness, these two finally have some use in this drama, even if it took 19 episodes.
Guan Jun stands up and tells Ouyang Tai that what he said was great. So he has to remember what he said today and give Da Hua happiness like he promised. Guan Jun congratulates Da Hua, who looks about as happy as someone who just stubbed her toe. Dang it woman! Grow a spine. And a brain. If Guan Jun really loves Xiao Fei, then you have to move on. If he’s faking loving Xiao Fei to push you to Terry, then he’s a moron and you need to move on. Either way – move on!
Guan Jun toasts everyone and downs his wine. Xiao Fei looks rather affected, like she’s sad for what Guan Jun is going through and further confirms that Guan Jun likes Da Hua and not likely will grow to like her.
It’s evening time and Da Hua walks into the church on the hotel premises. She kneels down and asks God if she’s still able to find happiness? Girl, you had ONE bad breakup, please get your head out of your ass and see the bigger picture. Asking God over something this trivial is truly something. I would smack you if Terry didn’t love you so much.
Terry walks in and kneels down beside her and talks out loud to the Lord but its a speech intended for Da Hua.
“Beloved Heavenly Father, please have mercy, can you forgive this sinner here? I did so much wrong and told so many lies. I once even gave up on myself. But a girl saved me. She led me out of darkness and gave me hope. In this journey I fell in love with her. And right now I want to tell her – this time it’s my turn to protect her. I don’t want her to endure any bit of unhappiness. So can You give me one more chance? One more chance to love someone with my entire being.”
Da Hua stares at Terry and he turns towards her and pulls out an engagement ring. Da Hua’s eyes widen and Terry speaks to her directly.
“Da Hua, I don’t know what will happen in the future. But the only thing I am certain of is that I will use the rest of my life to treat you well, to love you. So are you willing to let me make you happy?”
Da Hua looks at him and then looks toward the stained glass window cross as if asking for a sign. She seems to realize the answer and nods towards Terry. Terry smiles and helps her stand up. He takes the ring out of the box and slips it on her finger.
Terry then pulls Da Hua into his arms for a full embrace.
Da Hua nestles her head on his chest, and then her arms reach out to encircle his waist and hug him back.
Terry realizes it and he pauses to look down at her with unmitigated joy and then he rests his chin on her cheek and closes his eyes to sink into the hug. Da Hua smiles as she hugs him back.
Thoughts of Mine:
I’m a bit calmer this week than when spoilers started popping up left and right about the possible ending what with the runaway bride scenario. It may or may not happen, but I won’t jump ahead to that here. I want to talk about episode 19 and the construction of Da Hua’s character. I’ve forgotten that she spent 28 years as a homely daughter of a shop owner whose entire world consisted of a little marketplace neighborhood. She’s got low self-esteem and a limited understanding of the world. We can’t use Liang Yen’s appreciation for Terry to judge Da Hua’s emotional direction. For whatever reason, she doesn’t see Guan Jun as the loser we all do, all she sees is this older brother who took care of her and stood up for her against bullies. He might be a ne’er-do-well professionally, but the reason she likes him has nothing to do with that. If being with him meant re-living her mother’s hardscrabble life, Da Hua would actually choose it because that is her decision to make and she doesn’t mind working hard as long as she’s with a man who loves her. The problem here is that we see Guan Jun isn’t just a professional loser, he’s an emotional loser as well. His idea of love is to run away – if he can’t compete with Terry, he won’t try hard and will instead give up. His love is cheap and it’s also dictatorial in that he makes decisions for Da Hua. Who is he to decide what’s best for her? Terry’s confrontation with Guan Jun was so satisfying because he said everything the viewer wants to say to Guan Jun. When he called Guan Jun a coward, I almost cried because finally someone can see the fundamental problem with Guan Jun. It’s easier to run away than to confront the insecurity and get beyond it.
I appreciated that Da Hua’s family and friends have finally grown to accept and appreciate Terry’s goodness in this episode, seeing clearly that he cares for her without reservation or expectation in ways that are unrelated to him being fabulously wealthy. There were actual moments of lightheartedness in this episode, little throwaway gifts like Terry’s friend Kevin totally making it obvious that Terry loves Da Hua and Da Li and Ah Xi’s sudden fangirling of Terry. We’ve actually all seen that Da Hua likely has stronger feelings for Terry other than as platonic friends, but that has been subsumed in the last few episodes with the Guan Jun moping. It hasn’t come back yet, but at least Da Hua seems to perk up around Terry the way she used to. She smiles around him because he always has a way to make her smile. It doesn’t feel forced or patronizing, he just knows how to interact with her in a straightforward and sweet way. I hope this drama has a decent and satisfying ending, even if I don’t want to get my hopes up. It’s crazy how much this drama has affected me but that is exactly what I want dramas to do. Make me care, and right now I care so much about Terry I have to restrain myself from throttling Guan Jun and Da Hua at times. Thank god I can’t reach into the screen, right? If I could, the first thing I would do is grab me a Terry for all time.