This episode of In a Good Way was a walk down memory lane for Liu Chuan to finally uncover the truth about the treasure and task his grandfather left him. But it was also an amazing walk down memory lane for the audience chock full of many Easter egg scenes that were homages to great moments earlier on in the drama. This is a can’t be missed episode for those who have savored it from the beginning. Liu Chuan and Jia En’s shower stall scene in episode 1? Ah Qing and Tracy enact their own version and it’s freaking sexy and oh so sincere. Jia En leading Liu Chuan on a treasure hunt to open his heart to her? Ren Wei leads Liu Chuan on a treasure hunt to figure out what Liu Chuan really feels about Jia En. Xiao Wei’s sketches of Ri Qi? It’s his turn to sketch her. Jia En and Liu Chuan’s first fight in episode 5? It almost happens again the second she steps on the landmine that is Liu Chuan’s interaction with his dad but it unfolds differently because both characters have matured and made progress since then.
Episode 22 reminded me not only that I still love IAGW to pieces, it also showed me why I love it so much. It understands the characters’ personalities so all the interactions are about learning and doing things together. It’s never conversation for the sake of plot exposition and there has yet to be a “gotcha moment” anywhere. In any K-drama, Ren Wei and Liu Chuan would be in a love triangle with Jia En, even if Ren Wei has a one-sided love it’ll still be amped up until all he does is look upset and mope about losing her. Here we see Ren Wei nursing his one-sided love but in an increasingly mature way instead of one extreme or the other. In this episode he even has a bromance moment with Liu Chuan with an underlying bit of rivaly, the unspoken frisson between two men that warns Liu Chuan to not take Jia En for granted because Ren Wei has her back and he’s a potential rival for her heart. It was awesomely done and to see Liu Chuan understand that and open up to Ren Wei makes me happy. These kids stumble and bumble their ways towards love and growing up but it’s all handled in the greater context that life is more than just one person or one thing.
Episode 22 recap:
At the teahouse, Jia En’s dad explains to the kids that they live in an era of freedom now whereas when he was their age even saying the wrong thing could get someone locked up or executed or simply disappear. Jia En remembers that Liu Chuan’s grandfather disappeared one Winter for a few months back then and wonders if it was due to running afoul of the thought police?
Jia En and Liu Chuan are at the library trying to find out who Jiang Ju Lian is as that is the first name in the address book. Liu Chuan finds a book written by an author by that name, a woman whose husband died on the Taiping steamer sinking. Liu Chuan has a feeling that if they can find her, they can solve the mystery and know what all the names in the book mean. They find the children’s illustrated book written by Jiang Ju Lian which writes about a fictional steamer sinking and how a survivors floated to a deserted island. The captain claimed to want to fix the ship to go back home so got everyone to hand over their valuables to use. But as the years went by the ship never got fixed and the captain forgot what he was supposed to do and instead built a new home on the island. Liu Chuan thinks this story is an allegory of the Taiwan government – back then it was fixated on going back to Mainland China but it ended up created a real thriving government and society on the island of Taiwan. The date on this children’s book is January 5th, 1983 but wasn’t publish until 1996 and Jia En wonders why? Liu Chuan remembers that his grandfather disappeared in the late Winter of 1982.
Ah Qing is brooding on campus and Bai Xue walks past and hears that he’s remembering the last minute before he was executed and what happened. He asks for Bai Xue’s advice on why someone would purposely lose a bet one minute before she would have won? Bai Xue notes that Ah Qing loves winning and he won this time so why is he so upset? Is it because Tracy is special to him? Ah Qing can’t talk to Tracy right now since she claims to be scared but he doesn’t know what she’s scared of. Bai Xue says a girl is most scared of being sincere with her feelings but not knowing if the other person feels the same way.
Tracy is studying in her dorm room when her wish bracelet falls off. She picks it up muttering that there is no way her wish will come true at a time like this since it’s pouring rain outside. Xiao Wei asks what Tracy wished for and hears “true love”. Xiao Wei thinks it can still come true but Tracy says her wish is going further and further away from her. Tracy goes to shower and moments after she steps out a wet Ah Qing comes barging in looking for her. Xiao Wei gives him a towel to dry off and tells him to wait here for Tracy until she gets back from her shower. Ah Qing hears that Tracy’s wish bracelet just fell off and Ah Qing arrived right now. He asks what Tracy wished for and Xiao Wei says Tracy wished for true love. Ah Qing runs out of the room and the next thing we see is screaming girls in the bathroom.
Ah Qing calls out for Tracy and says he knows what happened between them. They both think they are experts in love so they made the bet, but in truth they are both cowards. They both thought this bet would be waiting until who lost first and that is the winner because that person didn’t invest their real emotions. But he knows Tracy actually was braver than him because in the last minute she actually used her real heart to face their relationship. He’s the idiot who never figured it out and thought it was still just a bet. In that minute they spent together just the two of them and time and now he knows what she meant. But she’s only gave him one minute and she’s such a cheapskate, but if he has figured it out now will she be willing to give him more time?
Tracy turns off the shower and Ah Qing walks forward while all the girls are all still watching this scene unfold. Ah Qing puts his hand on her shower stall and knows that she’s still scared of putting her real heart in and she will get hurt. But she needs to know that he’s even more scared than her, scared that she will leave him one day. If they can start anew and forget the bet, let him pursue her for real and neither of them are scared, can she do that? All the girls anxiously stare to see what Tracy will say to Ah Qing. Tracy opens the door to her show stall and we see that Ah Qing has a towel wrapped around his eyes. Tracy cries and pulls him in for a kiss. Niiiice. Ah Qing then takes his blindfold off because he wants to see Tracy right now and that sends all the girls scurrying to hide for real and yelling at Tracy to take her boyfriend away! Tracy pushes him out of the bathroom but Ah Qing is ecstatic that she acknowledges him as her boyfriend.
Liu Chuan and Jia En arrive at an old countryside estate that is the home of the author Jiang Ju Lian. Liu Chuan has a sense of familiarity with the surroundings, especially with the wind chime hanging on the awning. They head inside calling out if anyone is home? An older man walks up and asks if they are looking for someone in particular? He explains that no one lives in this residence anymore. Liu Chuan wants to find Ms. Jiang Ju Lian and explains that her name was on a book left by Liu Chuan’s grandfather detailing a watch to be given to the lady. The older man is shocked when he hears that Liu Chuan’s grandfather was Liu Ping. The man explains that he’s Jiang Ju Lian’s son and his father knew Liu Chuan’s grandfather. He opens the closed up residence to show Liu Chuan and Jia En. Jia En asks to meet Jiang Ju Lian and hears that after she published the illustrated book last year in 1996 she passed away. The son says that his mother asked to apologize to Liu Chuan’s grandfather for getting him involved back then. The son says the older generation is passing away one by one but their stories will remain. When the Taiping steamer was going down, his father knew that he wasn’t going to make it and entrusted a watch to Liu Chuan’s grandfather to pass to his wife Jiang Ju Lian.
On the address book, the date next to the name and watch notation is the date Liu Chuan’s grandfather met Jiang Ju Lian and handed over the watch. His mother had been waiting for her husband to join her in Taiwan and the waiting turned into thirty years. The day Liu Chuan’s grandfather arrived to hand over the watch, she finally had confirmation that her husband died. Liu Chuan realizes his grandfather has been trying to return the entrusted items from the Taiping steamer and it’s a very important task. Liu Chuan wants to know why only the watch was handed back to Jiang Ju Lian and no one else? How come the other names don’t have a date next to it? The son says his mother lived in an era of no freedom, she was under surveillance for many years by the thought police. So when Liu Chuan’s grandfather returned the watch, he got associated with her and locked up for a period of time by the government during the so-called White Terror. After that he couldn’t return the rest of the items otherwise he would affect other people.
Liu Chuan hears the wind blowing the wind chimes and that triggers a memory of his grandfather bringing him to this house. He played outside with the wind chimes while his grandfather went inside. A man came by and asked Liu Chuan how old he was and who brought him here? Liu Chuan says he’s six years old and his grandfather brought him here. The man asks him to write the name of his grandfather and the name of the person he came here to see. Liu Chuan writes it on the ground with a rock for that man. When Liu Chuan’s grandfather comes outside to take Liu Chuan home, he sees the names written on the ground and asks who wrote it. He hears Liu Chuan wrote it because a man asked him. Liu Chuan’s grandfather uses his shoe to erase the names on the ground. That night Liu Chuan’s grandfather was making rice dumplings for Liu Chuan as he went to take a bath. After he finished his bath his grandfather was gone. Liu Chuan cries as he remembers now that the reason his grandfather was taken away was all because of Liu Chuan.
Jia En asks why he thinks that and hears Liu Chuan recount how he gave a strange man his grandfather’s name and who he was here to see. Liu Chuan cries that it’s his fault his grandfather went missing and those treasures were not returned to the other people. Each of the unreturned items likely has a story behind it, perhaps a life lived in sorrow and longing and unfulfilled promises. Jia En says this is not Liu Chuan’s fault, thirty years had passed between the steamer sinking and when Liu Chuan’s grandfather returned the first watch. It can’t be the fault of a six year old child who was guileless. Liu Chuan is still very sad about what his grandfather must have encountered during those years. Jia En hugs Liu Chuan and says he needs to stop beating himself up and they need to work together now to return the remaining items. Liu Chuan hugs Jia En for her reassurance and support.
Liu Chuan goes to see Ah Qing’s dad who is the lawyer for his family and wants to see his grandfather’s will. He hears that his dad doesn’t want Liu Chuan to see it until Liu Chuan comes of age and his dad will tell him personally. After Liu Chuan and Jia En leave, Ah Qing’s dad calls up Liu Chuan’s dad and says a situation has arisen. Liu Chuan goes home and waits and waits for his dad. He finally goes to his dad’s study and rifles around through the drawers and shelves. He finds a thank you certificate from an association to his dad with a picture of his dad standing in front of a desk displaying artifacts. Liu Chuan follows the thank you certificate to the association where his dad donated those items and asks if he can get them back. He hears that the period has expired under the contract to take those items back.
The Treasure Hunting club is holding a meeting to elect the next president since Liu Chuan is a senior now and needs step aside from the role. Bai Xue suggests Jia En to run while Ah Di wants Ren Wei. Jia En immediately wants Ren Wei to be the president but everyone encourages her to stay in the running and have a member vote on who the next president should be. Liu Chuan explains the rules for the election – the two candidates will need to design a treasure hunt based on the theme of the six-sided star and a month later the designed hunts will be shown to the members who will vote on who designed the best one. Jia En is nervous so the members suggest having Bai Xue and Liu Chuan act as advisers. They pick sticks and Liu Chuan is Ren Wei’s adviser while Bai Xue is Jia En’s adviser. Later on as Liu Chuan walks with Jia En she asks why he’s so down? Liu Chuan reveals he tracked down the items to be returned and it’s all been donated to a cultural association and he can’t get them back. Jia En suggests Liu Chuan talk to his dad to find a way to get the items back.
Liu Chuan goes home and wants to talk to his dad about it. His dad immediately cuts him off and gives him a new car as a present for passing the bar exam. Liu Chuan keeps the topic on his grandfather’s will and he wants back the items that was left to him but his dad donated to the cultural association. Liu Chuan’s dad says those items are not worth anything and won’t even add up to the price of a car. He shoves the car key in Liu Chuan’s hands and says to keep the car and forget about the items. Liu Chuan hands the car key back to his dad and reveals that he’s followed the clues left by his grandfather and the task his grandfather left him was to return those items to the people it rightfully belongs to. Liu Chuan’s dad downplays it as just a silly treasure hunting game but Liu Chuan says it’s not and shows him the address book. His dad is shocked when he reads the address book and agrees to help Liu Chuan to get the items back. After Liu Chuan goes upstairs his dad picks up the car keys and says “towards freedom” and wonders why he never knew about that.
Liu Chuan and Jia En arrive at the cultural association and find Liu Chuan’s dad already there and all the donated items have been put on the table. Liu Chuan goes to examine it while his dad wonders why he was never told about these treasures. Liu Chuan snarks back that his grandfather knew his dad wouldn’t appreciate it. That sharp tone of voice makes his dad quickly take off and Jia En suggests Liu Chuan communicate better with his dad and not always be so harsh. Liu Chuan bites back that his dad has done tons of stuff he doesn’t approve of so he doesn’t want to enable him. Jia En backs down and says she shouldn’t be so presumptuous but Liu Chuan agrees to try.
Ren Wei calls Liu Chuan back to the Treasure Hunting club to show Liu Chuan the treasure hunt he designed. He first hands Liu Chuan a cup of black tea and Liu Chuan jokes about whether Ren Wei is trying to confess to him and reminds that he’s already taken. Ren Wei says he only likes single people so they head out to the first clue location which is the place for the tea confession event. On their way over, Ren Wei tries to find out what exactly happened that night they spent at Jiufen? Liu Chuan says Jia En already explained what happened and hears from Ren Wei that Jia En won’t tell him anything. Liu Chuan says he has nothing more to add to that.
The next clue is a set of comic books and on their way to the next clue Ren Wei wants to know if Liu Chuan is serious about Jia En? Liu Chuan looks Ren Wei straight in the eyes and says he’s serious before striding away. Holy moly, the look that Liu Chuan shoots Ren Wei totally screams “She’s mine forever and ever so don’t even think about it, dude!” They arrive at the Judo club practice room where the next clue is the chocolate bar. Liu Chuan remembers Jia En because of the chocolate bar and then how he told her earlier that he can’t be nicer to his dad just because he loves him.
Liu Chuan reveals to Ren Wei that he’s afraid he’s too stubborn in many ways and he might lose Jia En one day. He asks Ren Wei’s advice on since he’s Jia En’s best friend since childhood. Ren Wei says Jia En is very considerate and will never force the person she loves to do what that person won’t do. He teases that Jia En just needs to eat well and sleep well and she’s be happy. They head to the third stop which is outside the Foreign Languages department. The next clue is a series of numbers of letters and Liu Chuan immediately solves the riddle as the song “The Crowded Paradise”.
Ren Wei is impressed and says the reward for solving this treasure hunt is for Ren Wei to sing the song to Liu Chuan. Ren Wei totally serenades Liu Chuan and it’s the cutest thing ever, but even more important is the lyrics to this song and what it means between Ren Wei and Liu Chuan when Ren Wei sings “Say goodbye to the crowded paradise”. It’s totally Ren Wei saying he’s stepping aside and will never be getting involved in Liu Chuan and Jia En’s relationship in any way. Liu Chuan listens and takes out his notebook and writes as Ren Wei sings. When Ren Wei finishes Liu Chuan hands him the suggestions he wrote down about the hunt before walking away confidently. Ren Wei smiles and Liu Chuan shoots a look back at him and smirks as well.
Jia En sits with Bai Xue to design her hunt and Bai Xue hands her tools for using to draw maps that are true to scale otherwise being off even a bit can misdirect others. Jia En is not in the mood to design the hunt and reveals her earlier tiny conflict with him about the one area that Liu Chuan is most sensitive about which is his family. Her family is so happy that she doesn’t think she can ever understand how Liu Chuan feels. Bai Xue reveals that Liu Chuan never shares about his family with anyone other than Ah Qing so it’s already a form of happiness that he’s already shared so much with Jia En.
Ri Qi is being annoyed by the effusive lovebirds Ah Qing and Tracy who are totally syrupy with each other now and trying to feed each other cookies. Ri Qi puts his foot down and eats the cookie to shut them up. Tracy notices Ri Qi is so irritable today and Ah Qing wonders why Ri Qi has been drawing for the past few days. Tracy picks up a drawing to see it’s of Xiao Wei. Ri Qi grabs it back and keeps on sketching.
Xiao Wei is leaving work when Ri Qi arrives to walk her home. She declines but he insists because he has something to give her. Xiao Wei walks out of the manga cafe and sees the staircase leading to the street level has pictures placed at every step. Ri Qi has drawn his friendship with Xiao Wei each step of the way and it’s beyond adorable. Xiao Wei reads each drawing and smiles. It ends with Ri Qi holding the final picture up and confessing that he knows what he did wrong. He never finished saying what he wanted to say so he’ll say it now – “Xiao Wei, I like talking to you and like staying by your side. And I also like you.”
Thoughts of Mine:
I have to keep giving IAGW credit for reversing flagging story lines and even giving dragging ones a satisfying wrap up. I was totally over Tracy and Ah Qing by last episode since their stubbornness and fear of being vulnerable made their romance butt up against a wall they erected themselves. So it caught me off guard how much I love Ah Qing’s girl’s bathroom confession scene and the subsequent kiss made my heart skip multiple beats. It was really really well done on his part and the drama executed it perfectly both for their breakthrough as well as a flashback to Jia En and Liu Chuan’s bathroom stall scene. I doubt we’ll see anything more from the main OTP in terms of unexpected skin ship so it was great to get it from another couple. Same goes with Xiao Wei and Ri Qi’s dragging childish romance where neither could say five simple words in one sentence – “I like you let’s date.” But that type of hang up captures their shy and hesitant personalities, the fact that they are not effusive people who have a way with words and know what to say and when to say it. That makes Ri Qi’s breakthrough using manga drawings which is the very way Xiao Wei communicates best so much more poignant. He’s using her form of communication to tell her the most important thing she’s been waiting to her, what she means to him and what he wants going forward with her.
Bravo to both secondary couples for knocking it out of the part in this episode. The rest will fall in place for them as well in terms of future and career since all four appear to have a better grasp of their own path than Jia En and Ren Wei. There is nothing more I need to say about Bai Xue, her awesomeness and wisdom knows no bounds. And I don’t even need for her to get a man or have a romantic story line in this drama for me to think her character was used to its full potential. This episode was really Liu Chuan’s episode to show us his deepest fears and biggest weaknesses and it was reassuring that Jia En was always by his side. I feel like he wouldn’t be able to handle his grandfather’s treasure if he were to have discovered it on his own and then had to deal with the crushing weight of what it means. It’s both a daunting task to hand a young man with a bright future ahead of him, as well as transforming Liu Chuan’s memories of his childhood into a darker light that will leave a ring of regret around his heart. To know that he had a hand in his grandfather getting locked up for a period of time is devastating and watching Liu Chuan cry broke my heart. I’m actually not happy that Liu Chuan’s grandfather handed this task to Liu Chuan because I adore him and don’t want him tied down to it, but at the same time I can see that it’s truly something important that cannot be forgotten.
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