I read the In a Good Way novelization published a few weeks ago and am super pleased to confirm that the drama version is deviating significantly than the novel ending sequence, especially concerning Jia En and Liu Chuan. I am still so satisfied with their per episode non-stop skinship and consistently building emotional foundation for each other. Episode 24’s arrival means only two episodes remain but I’m optimistic the final bits are about resolving the huge issues that dropped in this episode. I don’t think Liu Chuan’s dad is a super evil villain, far from it when we see that he does care about his family and appears to have done some good as a congressman even as he skimmed money from his position on the side. Unlike K-dramas where antagonists tend to come in cackling evil and even more cackling even variety, Liu Chuan’s dad is that classic shady of dark grey made all the harder to hate since he’s Liu Chuan’s dad and we don’t want to have our sweet boy need to excise his dad from his life. Jia En is right in saying that talk about cutting ties with family members is so extreme and emotionally torturous to do.
I did totally support Liu Chuan’s dad getting investigated and carted away for the land development bribery scandal since his nefarious dealings harmed both the general public and selling the particular piece of land belonging to Lee Lai’s dad was devastating for so many people with their hopes pinned on it. Liu Chuan’s burden is heavy but he has to shoulder it, he can’t announce that he’s severing ties with his dad and therefore wash the whole matter from his hands. I see Liu Chuan as picking a future that helps the public and atones for the mistakes of his family. This episode required him to withstand public scrutiny and censure and he proves he’s got the backbone to bear it. I cringed when he was rebuffed trying to apologize to Lee Lai and return the land sale proceeds but was comforted to know that Jia En and all his friends have his back. Sometimes problems can’t be solved with an easy solution but the reassurance in facing such problems is knowing there are people who love and support you. Jia En has also grown up a lot from keeping Liu Chuan company through his personal crisis and I don’t worry that creating a future with such a capable young man is something beyond her ability.
Episode 24 recap:
Liu Chuan is brooding in his dorm room with Momo keeping him company. Ah Qing asks if Liu Chuan is still fretting about the land sale and government development connection. Liu Chuan figures his dad did it and built up his political career that way. Ah Qing encourages Liu Chuan to relax and not over think it. He takes Momo out for a walk with Tracy leaving Liu Chuan moping alone. Awww, he needs his Jia En.
Jia En is at the foreign languages retreat and as she’s getting ready for bed she sees a morse code flashing in the distance using a flashlight spelling out “I miss you.” She runs to the window and sees her loverboy outside beckoning her out. Jia En runs into his arms and the two of the hug like there’s no tomorrow. She asks why he’s here and he sasses back that clearly he wasn’t just passing by. She points out that he was the one who suggested this as a practice for their future time apart so he declares that the practice failed. Jia En teases him for not taking practice seriously and he whines that he couldn’t bear it.
Jia En admits she missed him a lot as well and is happy to see him though she worries about their practice. Liu Chuan suggests re-starting practice tomorrow but she grouses that she already practiced all day and if they re-start then she needs to tack on another day. Liu Chuan hugs her and suggests today be an exemption for him. Jia En agrees but demands an exemption card that she can use in the future as well. She frets about being so happy now because that usually means hard times ahead when they really have to spend time apart.
Liu Chuan pulls back to stare at her before leaning in for a kiss. FINALLY! More kissing please, thank you very much. The kiss is a lot more languid this time around. Liu Chuan ends the kiss to reassure Jia En that they will never be apart, and even if they spend time apart they will still be together forever.
Liu Chuan is dragged to a television program taping with his dad Congressman Liu and asked by the interviewer why he’s never appeared in public before? Dad jumps in that he wanted to keep his son living an ordinary life and not feel like he’s from a prominent family. The interviewer then asks what kind of dad Congressman Liu is? Liu Chuan says his dad is very gentle and treats people well and is very “smooth”. Dad leans in to put his arm around Liu Chuan and says he needs to be smooth to discuss matters with his family since everyone has their own opinions.
The interviewer segues into asking that Congressman Liu thinks about the city development plan and he bullshits that he has far-ranging vision and his goal in life is to to bring a better future for people as the city is developed. The interviewer gets a late breaking evening paper with the front page about Congressman Liu being investigated in a large scale land bribery scandal. The interviewer asks for him to comment on it but he smoothly chalks that up as an unfounded rumor and is willing to make his assets public to disprove the allegations. Liu Chuan turns and stares at his dad.
Liu Chuan and his dad go home and his dad is bitching about this ridiculous scandal and says it’s all false and there is no proof. Liu Chuan gets in his dad’s face and asks about the extra cash infusion which came in when the Lee Lai land was sold. Dad thinks Liu Chuan reported this to the media but Liu Chuan didn’t talk to any reporters but if his dad did nothing wrong then he has no reason to be worried. His dad screams that Liu Chuan should have talked to him directly about it and Liu Chuan yells back that he tried but his dad keeps lying. His dad says Liu Chuan doesn’t deserve to be his son since he doesn’t believe in him but Liu Chuan counters that his dad doesn’t deserve to be his grandfather’s son.
Liu Chuan storms out where the reporters are already amassed outside trying to get a sound bite from him. He gets on his motorcycle and rides off. Another congressman calls Liu Chuan’s dad to discuss who leaked this and how it’s going to be handled. Both of them claim they did nothing wrong and is willing to be investigated by making public their assets to prove they didn’t take bribes. The other congressman wants to find out who talked to the press but Liu Chuan’s dad doesn’t care about that as long as this matter is resolved and put behind them. Liu Chuan rides and thinks back to poor Lee Lai selling mochi now and how his dad yelled at him for ruining things for him.
Ren Wei arrives at the tea house with snacks for Jia En’s parents, the latest craze is Portugese egg tarts and he suggests the tea house sell it as well. Jia En’s dad declines the snack since he’s worried about Jia En who went off to the retreat but forgot her socks. Ren Wei offers to take the socks to her and the parents thank him for taking such good care of Jia En. After Ren Wei leaves, the TV broadcasts news about the investigation into Congressman Liu for land development bribery.
Jia En and Bai Xue are in the middle of the retreat conversation class when Jia En reads the newspaper to get a new conversation topic and sees the breaking scandal about Liu Chuan’s dad. Bai Xue notices Jia En’s shock and asks what happened. Jia En switches to Chinese and asks Bai Xue if she can leave right now? She needs to check that Liu Chuan is fine. Bai Xue points out that Jia En won’t get her completion certificate for this retreat if she leaves now. Jia En doesn’t care, she has to go check on Liu Chuan. Bai Xue helps Jia En sneak out and then promises to cover for her if the teacher calls on Jia En. Bai Xue, still the best girlfriend EVER. As Jia En is rushing off is when Ren Wei arrives with socks and snacks but Jia En brushes him off. Bai Xue tells him to find a place to wait for her and she’ll explain when class ends shortly.
Ren Wei sits outside eating egg tarts and waiting for Bai Xue. She arrives and complains that he ate all the snacks he brought for them. Ren Wei can’t help it because it’s just that good. Bai Xue shows Ren Wei the newspaper and reveals that Jia En ran off to check on Liu Chuan. Ren Wei is impressed Liu Chuan is from such a lofty background and says this is important because Jia En is from a very simple family and this type of problem would never appear in her life. He brings up how there is some truth in people marrying those from similar backgrounds and worries this is too much for Jia En is handle. Bai Xue reads the paper and worries but Ren Wei takes the paper away from her to feed her snacks. Bai Xue declines the snacks because it’s too fattening but looks tempted. Ren Wei says she’s too skinny already and then starts eating the snacks in big bites until Bai Xue can’t take it anymore and joins in.
Liu Chuan goes to see Lee Lai as he prepares for his day of selling and asks to speak with him. Liu Chuan sits across from Lee Lai looking very serious and starts off by standing up and bowing low to him in apology. Liu Chuan explains that the expired land deed was preserved because Liu Chuan’s grandfather transferred the land under his name to preserve it. But a few years ago Liu Chuan’s dad sold the land. Liu Chuan takes out a deposit book with the entire amount of the land that was sold. He knows this isn’t enough to make up for the mistake that his father did but he wants Lee Lai to take it.
Lee Lai takes the deposit book and throws it on the floor angrily. He yells at Liu Chuan and asks if money can make up for what his family endured all these years! That land deed was so important to all those families because they worked the land so that was like home to him. After they lost the land everyone lost their purpose and home in life. It’s already too late now since he’s so old but asks if Liu Chuan knows what it’s like for him to live without a home and without a purpose all these years. He can accept Liu Chuan’s apology but what they lost was priceless and no amount of money can ever make up for it. He demands that Liu Chuan leave and take the money with him. Liu Chuan has no choice but to leave.
Liu Chuan walks through campus and now he’s the center of attention of all the students gossiping about how his popularity and success at school was because of his dad and suggesting he ought to just quit school now. Liu Chuan is at the student convenience store where a TV is broadcasting news about his dad’s investigation and the students continue to gossip about him. He pays for his items and is about to leave when a hand takes the water. He turns to see Jia En standing beside him with a smile. He asks why she’s here and she teases that she wasn’t just passing by. She misses him and wants to spend her time with him. Thankfully she has an exemption card and wants to use it today. Liu Chuan pulls her in for a tight hug and thanks her. She tells him not to thank her because they promised not to be apart. They keep hugging as students walk all around them.
Liu Chuan and Jia En walk back to the tea house hand-in-hand and run into Jia En’s dad outside. He wonders if her retreat is over and Jia En admits she skipped class. Jia En declares she’s going to quit the retreat early and dad points out that she needs to take it seriously because its important for her overseas study. Even Liu Chuan tells her not to quit early and she needs to go back after dinner. Dad chastises Jia En for her decision to study overseas and whether it was because of Liu Chuan or not since she needs to have her own ideas about her future.
They head inside to have dinner and as they are setting the table for dinner the news flashes the reporters cornering Liu Chuan outside his home. Jia En turns off the TV and Liu Chuan’s dad asks if the allegations are true? Liu Chuan wishes it was false but thinks it’s true. Dad is worried about how Liu Chuan will deal with it going forward and admits he’s worried because of Jia En. He doesn’t think she can handle the media attention and the pressure. Liu Chuan apologizes for bringing his family problem into Jia En’s life and for causing her to leave the retreat early. Jia En asks her dad not to pressure Liu Chuan today so Dad lets it go. Liu Chuan promises he will take care of Jia En no matter what.
As Jia En and Liu Chuan are heading back to school, Liu Chuan confesses that he botched the apology to Lee Lai and the man rejected the money and there is nothing he can do to make up for the wrong from before. Liu Chuan gets a text from his dad about tomorrow’s ribbon cutting event. He doesn’t want to call his dad back after their fight earlier. Jia En knows Liu Chuan cares about his dad still and encourages him to go home because Liu Chuan’s dad needs him right now.
Back at the dorm, Ah Qing watches a press conference where Liu Chuan’s dad declares that the allegations are false and he will put his assets out in the open to prove his innocence. Liu Chuan comes back and Ah Qing immediately turns off the TV to go check on how he’s doing? Liu Chuan immediately gets into bed and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. He looks exhausted, poor baby boy. The next morning, Liu Chuan’s dad is out playing golf and says he’s not nervous since this is giving him more publicity and it’s an election year. His buddy suggests that he still be on alert these days. He asks if there is news on Liu Chuan and admits he hasn’t been home lately.
Liu Chuan is leaving class when his dad arrives on campus to talk with him. Liu Chuan tries to ignore him and storm off but his dad reminds Liu Chuan that they are heading to a ribbon cutting event. Liu Chuan won’t go because a mistake is a mistake and he won’t help his dad play games. His dad warns Liu Chuan that if he is brought down then that is bad for Liu Chuan as well. During the ribbon cutting event, the media still only wants to talk about the bribery scandal. In the middle of the event, prosecutors arrive and publicly arrest him to be investigated. Liu Chuan runs to his dad’s office and hears that his dad is being held at the detention facility and his assistants didn’t even have time to give him his arthritis medicine. Liu Chuan takes it and goes to visit his dad. At the detention facility Liu Chuan’s dad refuses to see him.
Liu Chuan trudges back to campus and finds Jia En waiting for him. She keeps asking about how he’s doing and asks to help but Liu Chuan is silent around her. He finally admits he doesn’t know what to say to her. They sit down and she puts her arms around him and agrees not to press him if he doesn’t want to talk about it. She reminds him their promise to be with each other always. Liu Chuan thanks her but admits he needs some time alone now. He offers to take her back but she declines and tells him to get some rest. He tells her not to worry about him but she can’t help but worry. Jia En walks away and Liu Chuan sighs deeply. She turns to look back at him as he sits on the bench brooding.
The next morning Liu Chuan’s mom arrives at his dorm room to see him. They go for a walk with Momo and she asked how his dad is doing? Liu Chuan admits his dad won’t see him and thinks he leaked the story about the land sale. Mom reveals she had a promise from Liu Chuan’s dad not to ever let Liu Chuan know. She couldn’t do anything about it and could only run far away from the mess. Liu Chuan asks why she didn’t talk to him about it but she couldn’t have him dealing with such matters when he was still small back then. Liu Chuan sighs that his grandfather’s treasure hunt about the road to freedom has unearthed so much dirty matters for him. Mom says that the road to freedom requires paying a very painful price.
Class ends but Jia En is distracted and doesn’t even hear Xiao Wei asking her to go to the club afterwards. Xiao Wei knows she’s worried about Liu Chuan and Jia En frets because Liu Chuan locked himself up and won’t talk to her about his problems so she doesn’t know how to help. Xiao Wei shares her own similar feelings during the protest period, she didn’t want to unload her negative feelings on her friends and affect them as well. Jia En wants to go check on Liu Chuan but Xiao Wei stops her because she can’t help. The problem needs to be solved between Liu Chuan and his dad, plus Jia En needs to be certain about her advice to Liu Chuan. Does she want to support him castigating his dad or help him forgive his dad and make up. Xiao Wei reveals Jia En is still very important to Liu Chuan right now, she’s the only person who can bring a smile to his face when he sees her. So she needs to silently support him and when he’s ready to reach out to her then he will. Jia En thanks Xiao Wei for her advice and accepts that all she can do now is keep him company.
The gang is at the Treasure Hunting club as Bai Xue is handing out movie tickets for Titanic. She especially suggests Ren Wei go watch because the movie is very though provoking and touching. Jia En and Xiao Wei arrive and Bai Xue hands them tickets as well and suggests Jia En go watch with Liu Chuan. Bai Xue asks how he’s doing lately and everyone agrees not to discuss this around Liu Chuan. They all agree that he’s their friend and a genuinely good person so it doesn’t matter to them about his family situation. Jia En reveals that Liu Chuan needs alone time and hasn’t told her about how he’s doing.
Jia En goes to the basketball court to shoot hoops alone and release some tension. Ren Wei arrives and offers to play HORSE with her but she declines. He suggest she released her frustrations in front of her but she can’t do anything other than wait for Liu Chuan to reach out to her. Ren Wei takes the ball from her and offers to wait with her. Ah Di and Jacky arrive to collect Ren Wei to go watch the movie. Jia En declines to go along and tells Ren Wei to go watch since she’ll be fine.
The gang finish the movie and walk out with the girls all having cried at the sad ending. Ah Qing takes Tracy to the beach while Ri Qi takes Xiao Wei to her part time job. Ri Qi asks if Xiao Wei liked the movie and she did like the movie but the scene that almost killed her was when old Rose threw the expensive necklace away since Xiao Wei’s poverty makes her cringe at that. Xiao Wei is already worried about tuition going up 10% next year and she lives behind chased by cruel reality rather than living with a dream. Ri Qi gives her a hug and takes her to his family pawn shop where a little elementary school boy arrives. They go inside the the boy plays a violin for them in a waiting room. Ri Qi reveals this boy had to pawn his violin due to his family financial crunch but he comes regularly to play his violin here. This boy is living in tough circumstances but he hasn’t forgotten his dream. He encourages Xiao Wei not to forget her dream as well.
Ri Qi then rides his bicycle taking Xiao Wei to her job. Xiao Wei hugs him tightly because she feels so shameful for forgetting that she already has a lot of happiness and pitying herself. She still has college, movies she can watch, a job where she makes money, and a dream she can reach for. Plus she has a very considerate boyfriend! Ri Qi brings up how kids in rural poverty can’t even encounter books to enrich themselves. Xiao Wei brings out how her bookstore owner tosses old books and suggests they bring books to the poor kids who can’t afford them. They plan to travel the island bringing the books to those kids after they graduate. Xiao Wei stands up on the back of the bike and yells “I am the king of the world!” So cute, these two.
Click here to watch In A Good Way.