I’m not going to sugar coat what a major letdown episode 13 of In A Good Way turned out to be. All the fantastic momentum of episode 12 was sucked into a twin vortex of expulsion woe plus interrupted confession tension. If either had worked out well then I wouldn’t be as peeved, but with neither plot thread unfolding in a satisfying way I was left asking “that’s it?!?!” when the final scene rolled. Even worse was the lack of a preview. That is a big no-no in my book since it leaves my mind scrambling to make sense of what exactly comes next. The episode started off well and I thought the fall out from the protest concert was nicely done. Everyone with eyes saw the major hugging between Liu Chuan and Jia En and now it’s impossible for her to deny it must mean something. I liked how she tentatively tried to make sense of her own feelings and the quickened pace between her and Liu Chuan when he plainly asked her out on a date. When she accidentally called it a date and then backtracked, only to have Liu Chuan correct her that he sees it as a date, that was the highlight of the episode for me. That, plus Xiao Wei almost completing her blossoming transformation into a girl with backbone as well as Bai Xue giving Jia En the green light to go ahead with Liu Chuan.
I knew Bai Xue would get there, and their conversation was so beautifully moving with both sincerity and sadness, because friends can still wish each other well even if it hurts. Ren Wei is slowly turning his friendship with Jia En into the type of friendship Bai Xue had with Liu Chuan, where one side harbors an unspoken affection for the other while still toggling comfortable camaraderie. I don’t feel the frisson of tension or awareness between Ren Wei or Jia En even if they finish each other’s sentences and know every little detail about each other. It’s reassuring that Ren Wei is working through his own metamorphosis with respect to how he feels about Jia En, and he’s still her best friend and always has her back. The tension sapping in this episode was really the problem of coupling the potential Jia En and Liu Chuan expulsion with that last and final step confession between them that would have opened the floodgates for their future interactions. Suddenly everything grounded to a halt and then Liu Chuan finds himself needing to play the white knight by selling his principles out to dear old dad. I can’t handle the possibility that Liu Chuan made a deal with the devil to save Jia En, and that the exchange may actually end his freedom journey early and at a cost to the first girl he’s ever opened his heart to. He’s come so soooo far and he was so soooo close, and then the coldest cold water ever was poured on our poor thwarted OTP. Aish, next week can’t come any faster.
Episode 13 recap:
Wu Bai finishes his song to the cheers of the audience. Jia En and Liu Chuan are totally oblivious and still hugging, only reluctantly breaking apart when the crowd starts chanting for an encore. Ren Wei continues to look distressed after witnessing the hug. Xiao Wei bravely gets on stage and introduces herself as the person who was treated unjustly. She admits to taking a bribe from Professor Chang and lying that she was not the injured party. Now she wants to be brave and tell the truth, and her freedom is becoming a better person with each day. She asks for the students support for this petition and she promises to be strong to fight for her own justice. Professor Chang has been standing in the rear listening to this and turns to leave only to spot the angry Chancellor standing there as well. The Chancellor glares at him before storming out.
Team Freedom is cleaning up afterwards and Liu Chuan pauses when he walks past Jia En and gives her a small smile. Tracy goes up to Jia En to ask if she’s finally getting a credit in love. Everyone’s been talking about the two people hugging the longest time at the concert was Jia En and Liu Chuan. Jia En insists nothing is going on but Tracy keeps pressing her until Ren Wei walks by and tells Tracy to lay off Jia En already. Tracy grumbles and wonders why Ren Wei is butting in since it has nothing to do with him. Ren Wei gets a page from Jia En’s parents since they can’t reach her and she freaks out when she sees 8 missed pages on her pager. Ren Wei offers to take her home and they head off only to have Liu Chuan ask to have a word with Jia En. Cue awkward four way looks all around and Jia En looks at Ren Wei and he steps forward to ask Liu Chuan to talk with Jia En at a later time since she really needs to go home to her parents. Liu Chuan agrees and everyone awkwardly disperses.
Jia En and Ren Wei are silent on their walk home with both of them deep in thought. Ren Wei wonders what Jia En is thinking and why she hugged Liu Chuan for so long? Jia En knows Ren Wei must’ve seen the hug and wonders if she should discuss it with him? But she doesn’t even know how she feels so what is there to discuss? Ren Wei wonders if he should bring it up with her and if she has feelings for Liu Chuan? Jia En wants to brush it off as just a hug but doesn’t know if she really cares about it. Ren Wei starts to talk and Jia En cuts him off and tells him not to ask anything.
They arrive at the teahouse and Jia En’s parents chew her out for being MIA all night. Ren Wei takes the blame and makes the excuse that Jia En was helping him with an assignment. Her parents are mollified and remind them to call home next time they stay out late. They drag Jia En inside leaving Ren Wei staring after her and then slowly walking away. He thinks about the conversation with Jia En when she told him to find a girl who is close to him like a friend and he talk comfortably with. He stops and looks back at the teahouse for a few moments before continuing to walk back to campus. Jia En lays in bed unable to sleep and thinks back to that hug. Ren Wei is also sleepless in his dorm room, and then the camera pans to Liu Chuan and Momo also being awake in their room.
The lights flicker on in the dorm lobby as Liu Chuan goes down to call Jia En. He gets a busy signal because Jia En is using her phone to page him at the exact same time. He hangs up the phone and then gets a page from her so calls her right back. It’s the same old awkward conversation these two are perfect at doing. Liu Chuan asks if her parents yelled at her when she got home and hears that Ren Wei helped her out. Liu Chuan notes that Ren Wei really takes care of her and is relieved that she’s fine. She apologizes for not staying to help clean up and he assures her it’s no big deal. Jia En is very happy today in doing something of great importance and purpose. Liu Chuan agrees even if they can’t change anything. She compliments him on what he said on stage today but he brushes it aside and says he got the motivation from her starting this entire protest. Liu Chuan asks Jia En out to grab a bite to eat since there is something he wants to say to her. Jia En is silent so Liu Chuan asks again if she heard him ask her out to eat? Jia En says sure and Liu Chuan makes the date for next Monday after class and he’ll go pick her up. They tell each other to get some rest after the long day and then end the call.
It’s morning time and Ren Wei is tossing and turning in bed. Jacky walks into the room and climbs into bed with Ren Wei because he can’t sleep alone. Ren Wei isn’t in the mood for his crowding him and Jacky assumes Ren Wei’s bad mood is due to having a bad dream. Ah Di comes in and Jacky shares his nightmare about chasing two mermaids. He couldn’t catch them no matter what and then turns out he can’t swim and ended up almost drowning. Ah Di explains the dream as Jacky going after an unattainable dream and he’s going to fail no matter what. Jacky thinks Ah Di is an expert at explaining dreams and tells Ren Wei to share his dream. Ren Wei explains his bad dream is Jia En being chased by a bear and when the bear caught her it gave her a bear hug. He went to pull the bear off her and discovered that he was the bear. Ah Di and Jacky are totally off-topic and wonder what kind of bear it is and how to escape a bear in real life by playing dead. Ren Wei tells them to shut up but Ah Di actually explains it perfectly as the person having the dream is struggling between whether to hug Jia En or not. Ren Wei is in no mood to listen to their crazy talk and grabs a ball to go out and shoot hoops.
In the other men’s dorm, Ah Qing is wide awake and tries to rouse the sleeping Ri Qi and Liu Chuan up on such a beautiful day. He thinks they did well yesterday especially with how furious Professor Chang looked. Ri Qi wonders why Ah Qing is in such a good mood and Liu Chuan correctly guesses that Ah Qing is going on a first date today. Ah Qing confirms he’s going out with Tracy and explains his dating expertise. The first date needs to be nice but not too expensive. It’s better at a place that’s not too crowded so the girl feels a bit mysterious. He shares even more tips such a bringing a toothbrush on a date and secretly brushing in the bathroom in case a chance for kissing comes up. Then afterwards the best idea is to find a place for a secluded stroll. He suddenly realizes both guys are listening intently and not interrupting him this time. Both of them try to play coy, with Liu Chuan saying it’s not a big deal to listen to him once in awhile and Ri Qi asking for the name of the cozy nice restaurant. Heh.
Ah Qing and Tracy are near the airport and she wants him to take a picture when the plane is landing behind her. Ah Qing apologizes for running out of film and when he grabs the camera his address book falls out. Tracy grabs it to flip through and realizes it contains tons of phone numbers of girls all saved under the letter G. She correctly guesses that G is for girlfriend. Ah Qing tries to explain that the girls are his exes and she’s unique at #37 which is a prime number. Tracy rattles off tons of prime numbers and says it’s not unique at all and then huffs off with Ah Qing chasing after her. He catches up to her near school and shows her his address book where he’s re-arranged her number to be under E and he’s deleted all the other numbers under G. Tracy feels like he doesn’t respect her and she can be moved to another place in his heart any time. Ah Qing explains that putting her under E is for eternity but she knows he doesn’t know why she’s mad even if he keeps apologizing. Ah Qing doesn’t need to understand because he is really sorry and pretty much sweet talks his way to getting Tracy to smile again.
Professor Chang calls Xiao Wei into his office and reveals that he reviewed her test and found two big grading errors which raises her grade to 88 now. He admits it was his fault and asks if this whole incident is over? Xiao Wei nods and happily runs out. Professor Chang sits down after she leaves and it’s clearly not over for him. Xiao Wei finds Jia En outside and happily reveals that she’s gotten a passing grade in her midterm.
Liu Chuan brings two letters from Wu Bai and Chang Cheng Yue thanking them for a great free night and the passion to pursue their youthful freedom. Jia En runs in to share even better news which is that Xiao Wei got a passing grade on her midterm after Professor Chang re-graded it. Ah Qing suggests a party tonight to celebrate and Jia En sneaks a look at Liu Chuan. The group discusses going to the KTV to sing the same songs and then Jacky starts pretending to be Wu Bai singing “You On My Mind” and then making to call for everyone to hug. Jacky and Ah Di start hugging but Tracy says they aren’t doing it with any feeling and wants the two people hugging the longest at the concert to show everyone how it’s done. Jia En asks them not to joke around and runs off to class. Ren Wei looks concerned and Bai Xue shoots Liu Chuan a look before excusing herself as well. That leaves Ren Wei staring at Liu Chuan in the club room.
Bai Xue catches up to Jia En and asks to speak to her. She apologizes for lying before, for denying that the person she likes in turn likes Jia En. That really is true. She just wasn’t ready to deal with that truth. She knows that Jia En treasures the friendship with her and today she wants to tell Jia En how to treasure this friendship. She wants Jia En to be true to her own heart and not think about hurting Bai Xue. She doesn’t want anyone’s pity and she doesn’t want a love that comes from Jia En sacrificing her own right to love. Jia En has freedom and now needs the courage to pursue what she wants. No matter what, don’t worry about what Bai Xue thinks and never forget that they will always be good friends. Gosh, these two are just so wonderful and why can’t more dramas write such compelling female friendships. Jia En hugs Bai Xue and thanks her. Both of them are crying now and Bai Xue pats Jia En before walking away.
Professor Chang is meeting with the Chancellor who has pulled him as the school representative for the national banquet and replaced him with another professor. Professor Chang reveals he re-graded the test and did find errors and corrected it. He’s apologized to Ding Xiao Wei and it’s been resolved. But this protest was started by Lin Jia En and using loud protest for their own agenda is a disruption to the school. Professor Chang suggests that expulsion for Jia En is the most suitable penalty. The Chancellor points out that the protest is not started just by Jia En and is with the involvement of the entire Treasure Hunting club.
Jia En walks by the basketball court and finds Liu Chuan balling there with a bunch of guys. Someone points out Jia En’s presence and Liu Chuan runs over to talk to her. She asks him if their dinner tonight is cancelled and he looks surprised and asks why she thinks that? Jia En reminds him that everyone is going to the KTV tonight. Liu Chuan grabs his stuff and walks back to the dorm with her while discussing what she prefers to do tonight, KTV with everyone or dinner with him? She made the plans with him first but worries that this will seem like they are secretly on a date. She then corrects herself and says she shouldn’t have used the word “date” and apologizes to Liu Chuan. Thank god my man is playing straight and tells Jia En that this is EXACTLY a date. Jia En stares at him and says they are just going to grab a meal and then Liu Chuan says this is a date to him. Jia En stares at him and starts to stammer so Liu Chuan decides to just tell her right now what he was going to say to her tonight. He takes a step forward and says that the reason he hugged her at the concert was because…….because…….because…….
Douchebag Professor Chang shows up right then and there and saunters over to tell Jia En that he’s given Xiao Wei her justice but the university is going to expel all the students of the Treasure Hunting club for protesting without a permit. Liu Chuan and Jia En don’t think they did anything that requires expulsion since they were in the right. Jia En confronts Professor Chang, asking if this is his decision or the school’s decision. He lies that he tried to speak up for them. UGH DIEDIEDIE! Jia En and Liu Chuan run to see the Chancellor to discuss the potential expulsion. The Chancellor doesn’t want such a severe punishment but this is the first mass protest in school history and he can’t allow students to disrupt the school order for any reason. Liu Chuan explains they tried to go through the proper channels but never got anywhere. Liu Chuan takes the blame for the entire protest but asks the Chancellor to be fair going forward and not let injustice continue at school. Professor Chang says this protest is not Liu Chuan’s doing but Lin Jia En started it. Both Professor Chang and Liu Chuan keep arguing about who is responsible for this protest but the Chancellor summons a school board meeting to discuss it. The school board meeting turns into a discussion of the pros and cons of letting students protest and whether the motivations matter.
Liu Chuan and Jia En walk into the Treasure Hunting club looking glum and reveal that the university is looking to expel them both. Ah Qing sticks up for Liu Chuan as does Ren Wei willing to transfer for Jia En. Ever the calm one, Liu Chuan asks Bai Xue for what happens if the school decides to expel a student? Bai Xue reveals a student got expelled and was gone three days later. Xiao Wei comes running in and is willing to apologize to Professor Chang and even drop the class as long as Jia En doesn’t get expelled. Jia En doesn’t think they need to back down to injustice even now and thinks they succeeded already. Ren Wei doesn’t think so if Jia En and Liu Chuan get expelled but trash like Professor Chang gets to stay. Tracy suggests asking for help from someone powerful outside of school if anyone knows of such a personage. Liu Chuan says nothing to that. Xiao Wei cries about college life without Jia En but she in turns asks Xiao Wei to finish her education for the both of them. Xiao Wei hugs Jia En in tears asking her not to leave while everyone looks on all upset and feeling helpless.
Liu Chuan gets a page that hardens his face and he immediately leaves. Jia En runs after him and asks if he’s alright. Liu Chuan is fine, he just needs to return a call but unfortunately their date tonight will need to be cancelled. Jia En asks to accompany him to return the call and Liu Chuan gets an order from dear ole dad to come home as he’s sending a car to pick him up. Jia En stays with Liu Chuan until a Mercedes pulls up outside of campus and Liu Chuan gets in. He leaves with a very curt “Jia En, goodbye” and I’m not feeling good about this.
Ren Wei asks his buddies Ah Di and Jacky for help thinking of ideas and warns them to be prepared to transfer if they don’t have any ideas. Jacky wants to buy Professor Chang’s book since he wants to sell it so badly. They wonder if they can go help him fix his computer or sing to him to exorcise his mean spirit and turn him into a good guy. Ahahaha. Even better is that they really do it. The Men of Steel grab a guitar and go sing outside of Professor Chang’s a song about evil and plotting and justice. When Professor Chang confronts them, Ren Wei switches to a song asking if he dares to fail them if they don’t have money to buy his textbook. Professor Chang warns they will get expelled as well if they don’t stop this nonsense.
Liu Chuan sits down across from his dad who immediately asks if Liu Chuan’s desire for four years of freedom has ended early for something so minor. He gave Liu Chuan freedom because he trusted him and thought he could do better for himself than what dad planned for him. Who knew he would mess it up. Liu Chuan didn’t mess up and it wasn’t for nothing, he’s fighting for the rights of all students just like a government representative needs to fight for the rights of his constituents. He looks down on people who fight only for their own gain. Dad is fine with Liu Chuan having his own principles but did he weigh the costs of following such principles? Liu Chuan doesn’t put weight on the cost, he only cares about how important it is for the person who has been harmed. He gets up to leave if all his dad wants is to lecture him but that is not what his dad wants. What’s the point of lecturing him since Liu Chuan has his own ideas, he called him home to help him. He asks Liu Chuan to stay the night at home and talk with him some more over dinner.
Jia En sits in front of her computer which her dad bought for her when she got into college, who could have imagined she might be after just one year in school. Ren Wei comes in and asks her not to look so depressed and sit around moping. He came today to be by her side to tell her parents the truth. Jia En doesn’t think she did anything wrong and Ren Wei says he’ll help her carry the burden of this situation. They head downstairs and stand in the middle of the room looking all stiff and making Jia En’s dad hilariously call them a pair of door statues. Jia En cuts to the chase and reveals that she might get expelled by the university. The protest to help Xiao Wei has led to the school considering expulsion. Ren Wei says the school is to blame for their lame rules and he’ll transfer with Jia En. Dad doesn’t think the school is lame if people are fighting to get in.
Jia En starts crying and her mom asks what’s next for Jia En? She doesn’t want to test again to get into another college and will start working to help the family. Dad speaks up that he’s not so poor that he can’t support his daughter taking the transfer exam and going to another school. Mom suggests going to speak with the professor and the school while Ren Wei intends to keep looking for another solution. Jia En’s parents are relieved that Ren Wei isn’t being targeted for expulsion as well and wants him to stay out of it so they don’t feel even worse to his parents. Jia En keeps apologizing but Ren Wei promises to be by her side through this difficult period. He knows that with her ability she can get into any college and do well there.
Jia En sits in her room and wonders about Liu Chuan, thinking about how angry his parents must be right now. She calls and leaves a voice mail for him. She asks if he’s doing well and reveals that her parents know that she might be expelled. They didn’t blame her but it makes her feel even worse. She really wants to know how he’s doing and talk to him as well. Can he call her back when he has time? Liu Chuan listens to this message and looks really resigned.
Liu Chuan sits down to dinner with his dad and immediately apologizes for not handling things properly this time and he doesn’t have the ability to resolve the problem now. He’s willing to accept his dad’s help but he only has one request. Liu Chuan explains another student is involved in this situation and he wants her to be saved as well. Dad asks why he needs to help her? Liu Chuan reveals she is very important to him and dad asks if she’s more important than his future but Liu Chuan doesn’t answer. His dad calls the Chancellor and reveals that the university’s request for research funding from the government might be in danger of passing. He then brings up the recent protest and he knows the university has allowed the professors to sell their own textbooks in the past. Dad then drops the big bombshell that his son was involved in the recent protest and reveals Liu Chuan is his son. The Chancellor immediately agrees to handle it and Liu Chuan’s dad asks that another student Lin Jia En also get let off the hook. After hanging up, he calls Professor Chang and does the same dog-and-pony trick, and the entire time he’s doing these calls Liu Chuan looks utterly pained.
In class the next day, Professor Chang takes roll call and asks where Jia En is? A student says Jia En has been expelled and Professor Chang says its just a rumor and Jia En has not been expelled. He tells Xiao Wei to make sure Jia En comes to class tomorrow. Jia En is working in the teahouse when Ren Wei comes by with a bag of comic books to help her pass the time. She’s still moping and he offers to take her to a Wu Bai concert to cheer her up. She’s still uninterested and he asks what she wants to do? Jia En asks what Ren Wei would have done had be been expelled last time for failing his class? Ren Wei would have felt like his life was over, but thankfully Jia En helped him last time so he’ll stick with her through this crisis no matter what. Jia En plops down on the table and says she feels like a piece of meat on the butchers block. Ren Wei doesn’t think she looks like meat, she’s radiant as an angel these days exuding the aura of justice. Xiao Wei comes running in to tell Jia En that she’s not being expelled. Jia En is so happy and Ren Wei jokes that maybe it’s the Men of Steel who helped her out. Jia En gives both Xiao Wei and Ren Wei a happy hug and poor Ren Wei looks a little affected to be hugged by Jia En.
Jia En runs to Liu Chuan’s dorm room to share the news that they are not getting expelled. Ah Qing opens the door and reveals Liu Chuan didn’t come back to the dorm last night. She asks Ah Qing for Liu Chuan’s home address and wants to go find him. Ah Qing wishes Jia En good luck in bringing hope to Liu Chuan. Jia En follows the address given by Ah Qing and rings Liu Chuan’s doorbell. He comes out and opens the door for her.
Thoughts of Mine:
God I’m so annoyed! C’mon drama, you could still have all that expulsion angst even after Liu Chuan tells Jia En that he likes her. Having him stutter three times trying to get the words out and then Professor Turd interrupting was just lame. Seriously, this time I’m calling you out on it. Especially on the heel of Liu Chuan telling Jia En that he’s considering their dinner a date. It’s like someone proposing and all that is missing is the ring. Normally the words like “I like you” isn’t all that important, especially over in K-dramas were the predilection is to grab and kiss first. Here it’s of critical importance because anything less leaves Jia En room to just try and explain it away or not address it directly herself. I like that this drama has lots of other issues these students need to deal with besides romance, but at this point the OTP needs to at least get their feelings out in the open so they can deal with it along with their other concerns. I also think the threat to expel Jia En and Liu Chuan was ridiculous. Who expels students for organizing a protest? Expulsion is for breaking school rules and nowhere was there any rule singled out as being broken. Liu Chuan is also way too smart to not pull out all the rules and confront the school authorities with their overreaching. I didn’t buy it even if the end result was lots of crying on Jia En’s part and poor Liu Chuan being forced to ask for help from the one person he likely never wants help from. I also don’t like his dad knowing that Jia En is important to him, I worry he’ll squirrel that information away and use it to keep Liu Chuan in line later on. I don’t think his dad is evil incarnate (that would be Professor Turd), but right now Liu Chuan looks totally beaten down and that makes me want to beat down everyone in that drama that is putting pressure on him when all the guy wanted to do was tell the girl he likes that he likes her! Hopefully all this is setting up for some majorly awesome development around the corner because I need that to wash away the frustration left by this episode.
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