When episode 12 rolled around with the amazing concert and the group effort and the hugging and more hugging, I said that was the best episode of In a Good Way to date. Who knew that the drama would promptly up its own awesome right around the corner, using a relatively slow burn episode 13 to set up for what is pretty much everything I wanted from Liu Chuan and Jia En when those two finally said what they were feeling to each other. It wasn’t rainbows and unicorns and flower petals falling, it was filled with a mixture of worry and pain and longing all wrapped into one. I forgive that stupid confession interruption in episode 12 now because Liu Chuan told Jia En straight up that the hug was because he liked her. I forget how powerful the simple words “I like you” are, and he followed up with the intensity of his feelings coupled with the complete and utter breakdown of his own principal axis. “I like you” is put aside when the bigger picture is who Liu Chuan is and how he’s going to exist in this world. He can’t break free of his dad if he wanted to and the school expulsion clean up is a stark reminder of that. I loved that Jia En gets to confront her feelings for Liu Chuan under the spectre of this daunting pressure.
Their romance isn’t easy sailing no matter what, and in choosing to be candid in their moments of weakness is exactly the way the two of them have walked the road from friends to falling in love. That this episode was amazeballs is an understatement. The music was perfect (new songs!), Ri Qi and Xiao Wei make the cutest clarification and breakthrough perfectly encapsulating their personalities, Bai Xue chews out Liu Chuan and I was rooting for her all the way, and poor Ren Wei is now the resident silent suffering observer left to see everyone figure things out left and right. Liu Chuan’s problem isn’t life and death, so he has a controlling dad who he finds despicable, but we keenly feel the suffocating pressure he’s under and the self-loathing that eating away at him. I worried all his moping would make this down right depressing to slog though yet the drama continues to rock my world and upend my expectations. The angst was perfectly done and the breakthrough was amazingly crafted, pulling together every detail between Jia En and Liu Chuan to lead them to yet another hug to end all hugs. At this point, I really might pass out if these two ever kissed. *fans self*
Episode 14 recap:
Jia En knocks on Liu Chuan’s family residence and Liu Chuan comes out and opens the door. He asks why she’s here but she immediately shares the happy news that they are not going to be expelled. She registers his lack of enthusiasm at hearing the news but before they can discuss it, Liu Chuan’s dad walks out surprised that a girl is here to see Liu Chuan. Jia En introduces herself as his classmate and Dad immediately invites her in and to stay for dinner. Jia En can sense Liu Chuan’s discomfort but his Dad is a master of social networking and entreats her to stay because he wants to know more about campus life and Liu Chuan doesn’t talk much with him. Jia En has no choice but to go in.
Dinner is an awkward affair of Dad asking Jia En questions while Liu Chuan sits in between them eating silently. Dad hears that Jia En is from Pingdong, her parents run a teashop near campus, and that she’s a Foreign Languages major. Talk turns to the recent protests and Jia En reveals that they are not getting expelled. Dad acts all surprised and happy at the news. When Jia En talks about protesting to fight for the right of a student treated unjustly, Dad says he totally supports fighting for justice and it’s great for the students to win in the end. Jia En is impressed that Liu Chuan’s dad is so warm and understanding, and shares that her parents are very supportive constituents. Liu Chuan’s dad talks about serving the people and wants to meet Jia En’s parents next time. Liu Chuan just keeps shoveling food in his mouth while looking very pained. He tells Dad to talk less so Jia En can eat more and the conversation dies there.
After dinner, Liu Chuan walks Jia En out and she brings up again that Liu Chuan’s dad is very warm and engaging. She thought he would be cold and harsh knowing that Liu Chuan isn’t close to his dad. She asks why Liu Chuan is upset and he reveals that he’s upset at himself. Their protest was to fight the powerful injustice, but in the end he used the same power to get them out of expulsion. Isn’t that pathetic? Jia En finds out that Liu Chuan asked his dad for help and that is why they were not expelled and she doesn’t look happy either. Liu Chuan offers to take her home on his motorcycle. He takes off his jacket for her to put on since it’s cold, and when Jia En puts on the jacket he helps fix her collar and hair.
When Liu Chuan drops Jia En off outside the house, Jia En apologizes for not knowing that Liu Chuan asked his dad for help in resolving their expulsion crisis. She realizes now that his dad asked her questions during dinner that he must’ve known the answer to. Did she say anything wrong? She gets up her courage to ask him why he accepted his dad’s help? Doesn’t he hate people knowing he has a congressman for a dad? Liu Chuan is silent so Jia En asks if it’s because of her. Liu Chuan answers “maybe” but tells her not to overthink it. He tells Jia En to go inside but she asks if she can ask him another question. He nods. Jia En asks him what the hug at the concert meant? Liu Chuan looks at her and says “That hug means that I like you.” KYAAAAAA!!!! Jia En’s eyes widen and Liu Chuan continues “That like is as strong now as it was then, but the initial like was so pure and beautiful, and now it’s been affected and the purity has been changed. I need to think about it a bit.” Jia En looks stunned and can only nod wordlessly. Liu Chuan rides off leaving Jia En staring after him.
Later that night, Ren Wei sits at the counter hollering for Jia En to quickly get him that fried egg because he’s hungry. She comes out with the egg and asks why he wants her to make it all of a sudden. Ren Wei claims he can’t forget the tasty dish after he ate it that one time. He notices she’s got something on her mind and asks to share and give her advice. Jia En reveals that it’s romance worries. Jia En hypothetically shares with Ren Wen the situation – a person likes another, that person isn’t sure yet if its reciprocated, but then the first person needs to think about it again because something has changed. Ren Wei cuts to the chase and asks if Jia En is trying to say that she’s in love. Jia En doesn’t know so Ren Wei asks if she’s asking for his advice on how to know whether one is in love. Ren Wei says to like someone is to want to see them every day, their every move affects them and will find any reason to spend time with that person, and even if initially the excuse is that it’s just friendship finally it becomes a type of anticipation. Ren Wei asks if Jia En has someone that popped into mind right now? Who is it? Jia En refuses to tell him. Ren Wei asks Jia En where the earrings she used to wear went. It was very pretty, was it a gift or did she buy it herself? Jia En tells him to hurry up and eat so she can lock up. She walks into the kitchen leaving Ren Wei eating his egg all alone. When Jia En is in her room, she takes the earrings from Liu Chuan out and looks at it with a smile. She picks one up and looks at it against her ears in the mirror.
Jia En arrives at the Treasure Hunting club to find Bai Xue and Tracy already busy working. Bai Xue explains that the semester end school review of the clubs is imminent so she needs to gather all the information and details. Usually Liu Chuan handles this but he’s been MIA so Bai Xue has to do it now and she’s not sure she can get it all together. Bai Xue thinks she can do it without him but it’ll be hard. She asks Jia En what happened with Liu Chuan, word is he hasn’t been back to his dorm room recently either. Jia En doesn’t explain and instead offers to help with the review prep. Jia En walks by a payphone later and calls Liu Chuan, leaving a voicemail for him. He hasn’t been to school in many days and everyone is worried about him. She shares the club review coming up and how it’s hard for Bai Xue to do alone. Everyone is helping and it should be fine. When he’s done thinking about it, can he call her? She’ll wait for him.
Liu Chuan listens to that voicemails and sits on the sofa brooding. His mom walks over and asks if he’s really planning to accept his dad’s plan for him to move out of the dorm and prepare for the lawyer’s exam? Mom tells him to live his own life and not follow what his dad planned for him. Dad walks over and tells Mom to stop interfering because he loves Liu Chuan and wants what is best for him. Mom knows he loves Liu Chuan but he won’t let him be himself. Dad gave him 4 years to be himself and look what happened, he almost got expelled. Mom is fine with it since Liu Chuan is being true to his principles. What Mom does for Liu Chuan is to not interfere with his life, and even if he got expelled it would still be fine with his ability. He can get into another college. Liu Chuan’s parents go back-and-forth arguing about who is doing what’s best for Liu Chuan. Liu Chuan asks them to stop fighting and tells his Mom that he doesn’t mind moving back home since it’s quieter here and he can think about his future. The lawyer’s exam isn’t hard so she doesn’t need to worry. His mom tells him to do his best and come to her if he needs anything. Dad doesn’t think what happened recently is a bad thing if it gets Liu Chuan to think seriously about his future sooner rather than later. Liu Chuan silently walks up to his room.
Ri Qi and Xiao Wei have a collision accident on campus and the fall causes Xiao Wei to scratch up her hands and knees. Ri Qi assists her to the medical clinic to get patched up and then takes her back to her dorm room. Xiao Wei forgot to call her boss and ask for the day off so Ri Qi offers to do it for her. He goes to her desk to get the phone book and finds a comic strip that Xiao Wei drew of the night they went treasure hunting and they stopped to look at the stars. Ri Qi thinks it’s adorable but Xiao Wei tries to get him to not look at it. There is a moment of awkwardness and then Ri Qi calls her boss. He tells her to rest, he’ll be back tomorrow to check on her and bring some snacks. As Ri Qi is leaving, Xiao Wei tells him not to come. He asks why? Xiao Wei gets up her courage and tells him that she likes talking to him and really likes him spending time with her. But she knows he’s 3631 so he should spend more time with Jia En. She asks him not to come find her in the future. Ri Qi looks really pained but doesn’t explain and just leaves.
A bunch of Treasure Hunting club members are working through the night gathering all the information they need to present their club status to the review board. Jacky comes in sighing that there is still no word from Liu Chuan despite repeated attempts to contact him. Bai Xue calms everyone down and hands out specific assignments to each person and if it’s all done then they will be ready for the review. The club works through the night getting everything done. The review board teachers arrive in the morning and the entire club is there to greet them enthusiastically. The teacher asks where the president is and Bai Xue says the president can’t be here today but she’s doing it in his place. The teachers find it dismissive for the president not to be here during this important review. Bai Xue hands over all the information and the teacher starts asking questions about the club. He asks Tracy what the club emblem means. Bai Xue interjects that it’s a six-point star and explains the meaning. The teacher then points to an old painting and asks what special meaning it has. Everyone looks around without a clue.
One of the teachers spots the expenditure used for the Era Freedom Concert and asks if this was a club activity? Bai Xue says this was concert to fight for the injustice of a student in the Foreign Languages department. The teachers cannot allow club funds to be used for a non-club activity. Bai Xue asks for another review because they were really swamped before this review and couldn’t prepare properly. In the past years the club has always received exemplary reviews. The teachers agree to re-do the review and tells them to prepare well next time. The kids thank the teachers profusely. After the teachers leave, Jacky stares at the painting wondering who the heck can understand what it means. Jia En walks over and keeps staring at the painting. Bai Xue says everything can be resolved except for the money spent on the concert, they need to find a way to make it back. Ah Di suddenly runs in panting to reveal that Liu Chuan is back on campus and in his dorm room. Jia En grabs her bag and is the first to rush out with everyone else following behind.
Everyone arrives at Liu Chuan’s dorm room to find him packing up. Everyone is happy to see him especially Jia En. She stares at him with a smile which disappears when he looks back at her very dispassionately. Bai Xue asks where he’s been and why he just disappeared and left the club. Liu Chuan reveals he’s moving home to prepare for the lawyer’s exam and asks Bai Xue to take over the club going forward. Bai Xue cannot believe he’s just leaving like that. Everyone looks around in shock. Bai Xue says the Liu Shan Feng that she’s known for the last 5 years is not someone who would just leave the club like that! Liu Chuan looks at her and asks what she thinks he’s like? Bai Xue stares back and Ren Wei steps forward to break the tense mood. Jia En speaks up and asks Liu Chuan to come to the club review re-do, just half a day is enough. Liu Chuan says nothing, looking around at everyone and thanking them for taking on the burden. He then leaves with Jia En running behind him. Bai Xue is so furious she storms out. Tracy wonders if Liu Chuan ate a bomb? Ren Wei says he’s going to chase after Jia En but Ah Di points out that he ought to be chasing after Bai Xue instead. Ren Wei tells him to stop being so irritating and then leaves.
Jia En catches up to Liu Chuan as he’s about to ride away and asks if he’s okay. Liu Chuan wants to know what else is needed for the club review? Jia En asks about the theme for next year so Liu Chuan tells her to write it down. Next year’s theme is the six-point star and the treasure hunts are based on deduction and extrapolation. He gets a page and needs to leave. Jia En asks him to share what’s bothering him with her, not to carry the burden by himself. Liu Chuan says “If I can’t handle it myself, how can I toss it to you?” Jia En puts her hand on his and her hand is shaking. Liu Chuan stares at her and then he turns his hand over to clasp her hand back. His thumb strokes her hand tenderly and they stare at each other and their joined hands. Liu Chuan asks her not to worry, he’ll be fine since he hasn’t the luxury of being weak. Liu Chuan pulls his hand out of her hand and rides off. Jia En looks really pained watching him ride off.
Ren Wei finds Bai Xue sitting on the park bench and stammers a few times before apologizing. He didn’t know things had gotten so bad between her and Liu Chuan and for that he’s sorry. Bai Xue asks if she should accept his apology but Ren Wei is very bad at comforting a person. Bai Xue smiles and says he did well since he just made her smile. Ren Wei points out that it was so hard to make her smile in the past but now when he’s not even trying she smiles for him. Bai Xue can’t believe how things could lead to her fighting with Liu Chuan. Ren Wei agrees that Liu Chuan’s attitude was so bad back there. Bai Xue starts to yell at Liu Chuan and Ren Wei eggs her on. All the yelling gets Bai Xue to stand up and yell loudly at the tree like it was Liu Chuan, calling him all sorts of names for being such a irresponsible bastard. Ren Wei laughs that he never saw this side of her. Neither did Bai Xue and she’s surprised herself but kinda likes it. Ren Wei asks how she feels now that she told Liu Chuan her feelings last time. Bai Xue is glad it’s over, and perhaps she fell in love with a fantasy but now that fantasy has been destroyed. She fell in love with her image of Liu Chuan, perfect and can do anything. But the real Liu Chuan isn’t who she thinks he is. Ren Wei listens to this and wonders if he also fell in love with an image and then turns to look at Bai Xue.
Jia En comes back to the Treasure Hunting club revealing that she caught up with Liu Chuan but he still left like that. She hands Bai Xue the notes she took of what Liu Chuan said was the club theme for next years. Bai Xue asks what Liu Chuan wants to do to make up for the money spent on the concert and hears he didn’t say anything before he left. Bai Xue knows that if Liu Chuan doesn’t want to come back they can’t force him, and they also can’t rely on him for everything. Bai Xue gets a great idea to hold a used goods sale. Ah Qing likes the idea and asks if everyone has things to sell. As they as discussing, Jia En goes back to the old painting and looks in the corner where there is something written there that is illegible. She reads it backwards and it says “For Liu Shan Feng.”
Ri Qi goes to the comic bookstore and is happy to see Xiao Wei is all better. He reveals that the club is holding a yard sale next week but doesn’t tell her that it’s for making up the money used on the concert. He asks her to draw a comic so it can be sold at the yard sale. She demurs that she’s not a very good artist. He thinks she is and shows her a comic he drew that isn’t as good. Xiao Liu looks at his comic which tells the story of a wide eyed guy who asked a small eyed friend to go meet a girl with long hair and it was so urgent the small eyed friend agreed. Xiao Wei doesn’t get the hint so Ri Qi pretty much flat out explains that he’s not 3631 and she’s really relieved. He asks if they are good now and then Ri Qi stammers out that he really likes talking to her. They stand there nodding at each other adorably. Xiao Wei agrees to draw the comic for him to sell at the yard sale.
Ren Wei goes to see Jia En and offers to sell his autographed Wu Bai cassette tape for the yard sale despite it being one of his prized possessions. Jia En looks at a book containing pictures of their club activities and Ren Wei asks if the person she likes is in the picture? Jia En says no and Ren Wei warns her that she might’ve fallen in love with a fantasy in her mind. Jia En says no and opens the picture album up to stare at it. Ren Wei tells her that if a person isn’t around, there is no use to stare at pictures. He leaves the cassette tape on her desk and Jia En remembers that last time Ren Wei used a cassette tape to confess to Bai Xue his feelings. Ren Wei asks if she wants to confess? Jia En just want to cheer Liu Chuan up since he’s so depressed lately. She runs out to buy blank tapes leaving Ren Wei staring after her.
Liu Chuan’s mom tells her son that she’s leaving tomorrow for Nepal since his dad’s public service events are done for now. They say their farewells here and Mom really wants him to live happily. She doesn’t want him to live a life so consumed by pressure. Liu Chuan smiles but after she leaves he sighs. Suddenly Liu Chuan gets a message on BBS from sky inviting 3631 to meet at the plaza where the tea confession takes place tomorrow at 3 pm.
Liu Chuan arrives at the plaza and finds it empty, wondering where Jia En went since she wasn’t leaving until they saw each other. He turns around and his eyes are attracted by a reflection in a mirror. He walks up to the mirror and gets a note from Jia En to push play and carry the tape player with him. Liu Chuan plays the tape which starts with instructions for a treasure hunt designed by Jia En for Liu Chuan. He looks around for the first clue which is written on the mirror “In 1995 I arrived in Taipei and Liu Chuan helped me understand happiness.” In the mirror is the classroom to the Foreign Languages department so Liu Chuan walks over there. Inside the classroom on the chalkboard is a doodle of a castle named Lin Jia En’s castle and an arrow with “Castle Building Secrets” pointing to the gate to the castle. Liu Chuan pulls open the curtains on the window and written on there is the secret of feeling happy that Liu Chuan shared with her. Being one’s own castle owner, trusting in what one believes is right, darkness will pass and the sunlight will come in, don’t care about what other people think, and how much one’s understanding of freedom is how much freedom one has.
Liu Chuan gets a page 1995 0926 Cry. He walks to the place where Jia En went to cry after Ren Wei outed her at the tea confession. Some standing mirrors have been placed there and Liu Chuan looks at his own reflection in the various mirrors. He sees a hammer along with another cassette tape. He plays the tape and Jia En asks if he doesn’t want people to see him now. Is he afraid people will judge him and feel like he’s not the man they all think he is. Jia En agrees because she feels like she was also wrong in the way she thought of him. Liu Chuan looks crestfallen and asks if she also thinks so? Jia En was wrong because she thought he grew up in freedom which is why he understood it so well. But it’s the opposite which is why he understands so much and can give it to others. She doesn’t know how much he’s struggled and suffered in the world he grew up in, all she knows is that it makes her heart hurt to think about him like this. Back then she thought Taipei sucked but he told her not to lock herself up and to breakthrough. Does he remember? So now if he can breakthrough he’ll find the treasure. Liu Chuan looks at the hammer and uses it to smash the mirrors. Behind each mirror is a note that reads what Jia En wrote in the Treasure Hunting club autograph book when she first joined. Liu Chuan reads it and it ends with an unfinished statement from Jia En that she….. Liu Chuan asks himself again what she was going to say?
Liu Chuan goes to the empty Treasure Hunting club headquarters and picks up the autograph book. He flips through the pages until he gets to Jia En’s note where she finished writing “and I know more about love.” Liu Chuan looks up and Jia En is standing right outside the club room staring at him through the window with a smile. She walks in and they come face-to-face with each other. Jia En asks if he remembers that she promised to share with him first once she figured out what she learned about love. He asks if she figured it out and she did because of him.
Love first starts off like a mirror, one can see oneself, one can grow, one can learn to become better. But after some time, love is no longer a mirror and becomes courage. To have courage to break the mirror, to break through the person in the mirror, to break through the boundaries set by oneself, to break through the boundaries outside of love. Jia En feels like Liu Chuan really underestimated her – he thinks she can only love one type of Liu Chuan and not the other. He is the one who puts boundaries on their love, but he is also the one who gave her the courage to take down the boundaries he set between them. She learned that the Liu Chuan who is free is someone worthy of her love, and the Liu Chuan who is not free is also someone worthy of her love. Jia En finishes “Liu Chuan, you let me understand that love is a type of freedom.” Liu Chuan smiles at her and she hands him another cassette tape. Liu Chuan pops in the tape and it’s Jia En singing Liu Chuan’s favorite song to him. It’s the song that he played the night she spent in his room so that she could feel at ease.
They stand there listening to her sing. Liu Chuan turns to face her with a smile and she smiles back at him. It’s so so so lovely I’m crying. Jia En sings the verse “I want you freedom, like a bird.” The song finishes and Liu Chuan is about to say something when Jia En flies forward and wraps herself around Liu Chuan for a hug. He hugs her back and blinks back his tears and smiles. I AM OFFICIALLY DEAD. THIS RECAP WRITTEN BY ZOMBIE KOALA.
Thoughts of Mine:
This episode belonged to Lin Jia En. Period. Okay, maybe share a bit of the limelight with Bai Xue. Either way, the girls rocked and the guys got their world rocked. This was one of the best emotional breakthrough confession scenes I’ve ever seen in a drama, delivering not only immediately catharsis but tying in to everything leading up to this moment between the OTP. The treasure hunt. The clues at each location containing only private moments between Jia En and Liu Chuan, the way she pushed him to break free, how she dared to put herself out there first. I thought he would confess first, and he did with the “I like you” question about the hug, but Jia En caught that ball he’s been tossing at her and then hit it out of the park. I thought these two would get the “I like yous” out of the way first before tackling the big pressures behind them, who knew they would do it at the same time. I loved how Jia En’s confessions didn’t even involve a single “I like you”, it was already way past that and she was talking about their love and how she felt about it. If he put boundaries, barriers, restrictions, compartmentalization, and so on and so forth between them in order to make their relationship neat and orderly, then she just ripped it all apart and said she was loving him in his messy glory.
Whether he’s Liu Chuan who leads a school with his dashing intelligence and sincere effort, or whether he’s Liu Chuan who can be colder than the arctic when freezing people out, she wants all of him because every part of him is worthy of her love. This romantic confession belies all the previous ones in this drama and shows us that feelings can be real but sometimes it’s not based on the complicated reality and merely sustained by an idealized image. Bai Xue finally sees that and her fight with Liu Chuan was exactly the final hammer on the nail that sealed their friendship back to being just friends. She’s over him and better off for it. Jia En’s confession is based on reality because we’ve seen that she’s the only way who has ever seen more of Liu Chuan that his perfect exterior. I can’t wait to see where everyone goes from here. There is so much story to tell and as long as the writers continue to tell the story with such delicate sweetness then I’m all in for as long as this ride lasts and wherever it takes us.
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