Nov 1, 2012

Ex-Boyfriend: Episode 3

Episode 2 left me disgruntled (is this Taming of The Shrew redux?), but HELLO Episode 3! I am so ON this bandwagon. So many surprising things in this episode: Chun Jiao, whose voice had only three ranges before (YELL, YELL, and YELL) shows that she has got a kick-ass Contemplative Narration Voice that rivals that of Rainie Yang's. I got what I asked for and was left crying in that scene, and as you know, tears = approval in my book. Lead actress Gina Lee has got superb comic timing which caught me by surprise (read: spit-take) since she has been so straight-laced and severe throughout the show. Damn, girl sure can bring on the funnay.

Luo Zhen Huan - "靠近" (Come closer)

Chun Jiao brings Zhi Ming as her partner for the ALICE business meeting, as none of her co-workers could make it (excuses ranging from dieting to weak liver). He offers to drive her car ("I have a policy of not letting the woman drive"), but no way jose - well she has a policy of not letting men drive her car. 
He makes an off-handed comment that she sure liked it well enough before. Wrong move, buddy. Chun Jiao's PMS goes overdrive at this - PLEASE DO NOT MENTION THE PAST. She tells him not to act like he understands her - she's no longer the Lin Chun Jiao she was before. She then drives off - leaving him stranded in the parking lot. The poor man no doubt thinking, "What did I do?"

Nevertheless, he apologizes to her when he gets there, although he doesn't understand why she'd be so sensitive about it, because it's all sweet memories to him. Uh, did you forget the part where you cheated on her? Not so sweet. Chun Jiao gets all quiet again (yeah, she's hurt - obviously.) Guy doesn't even have the decency to apologize for his two-timing, and you want to rub it to her face that "it was fun while it lasted"? 

But no time for KFC because the representative for ALICE has arrived, and he is Korean (or supposed to be. Let's just pretend). Cue the star for this scene: POKTANJU!!!! 
All hail the soju+beer combo, Korean-style! Chun Jiao gets chincha chincha drunk in a flurries "one shot!" to please the rep. 

Interesting discovery. When drunk, Chun Jiao reverts to baby talk - she rants all her frustrations aloud, something she couldn't otherwise have done if sober. Zhi Ming listens patiently, and when he tries to pacify her (imitating her baby talk, heh) she snaps at him for trying to talk cute. So, almost the self-aware drunk. 
She pukes, and then tries to kiss him (ewwww). Zhi Ming resists, but a few protests later, he actually submits and leans in for the kiss. OMG, he really loves her. But thank god she's pulling his leg because otherwise it'd be more than just my gag reflex. He gets mad - "I've yet to hit a woman" - but she's so cute doing the crabby dance. They end up doing the crabby dance together.
Zhi Ming couldn't find her house (searched 3 times already), so off he goes to Ke Bo's place on his motorcycle - omo, is it advisable to have a drunk person on a motorcycle? It's sheer luck the girl don't end up as roadkill. Ke Bo, a sight in his jammies - I haven't seen a nightcap since Snow White - answers Zhi Ming, all atta boy! when he sees Chun Jiao draped over him. 

As Zhi Ming tends to the drunken girl, FLASHBACK IS BACK! I haven't been this enamored over a child counterpart OTP since Autumn In My Heart (brings back memories - still think Won Bin would've been the better choice) so I'm swooning over their every interaction. Turns out the teenage Chun Jiao also baby talks when drunk. 
The flashback ends, leaving me wistful. Zhi Ming: "I know you don't like to hear this... but you really haven't changed at all." She's still the Chun Jiao who aegyos when drunk. To this, Chun Jiao breaks. Her angry words:
Chun Jiao: "I've changed a long time ago. From the time you shunned me 10 years ago - no matter how much I begged, no matter how much I cried..." 
Zhi Ming: "Chun Jiao..." 
Chun Jiao: "From that day onwards, I swore I'd never be the Lin Chun Jiao who loved you so much, yet was cruelly dumped!"
He holds her face. Chun Jiao: "Don't touch me!" She continues her rant, insisting that she's not the Lin Chun Jiao from before. "Why? What did I do wrong?" she pitifully wails. 
He hugs her till she sleeps... presumably. I dunno, since the camera cuts to... another flashback! This time playing hooky. Oof, my heart. What are you doing to it, guys?

Back to the current. Chun Jiao wakes up the next morning, panic setting in as she wakes up to strange surroundings. Undies, check. That's all that matters anyway. Love Bore chooses this opportune moment to call her, Chun Jiao does all she can to lie her way through (drunk too much, at hotel). She hurries to work because A CERTAIN SOMEONE didn't wake her - is he trying to sabotage her? She also accuses him of "doing something" to her last night. Zhi Ming takes offence at that, does he think so lowly of him?

That's the thing. She doesn't really remember, and it bothers her. He tells her that she's a rowdy drunk. Surely not! She sleeps through it - her co-workers can attest to that! Right?? She goes to find out...
... that it is not true. Colleague: "You really want to know?" Her employees share uneasy looks. Remember that time when she beat up the bartender... and that other time she assaulted a mobster... Wang Wang confesses,"Yeah, you have no idea how long we had to put up with you!" (well at least it's not BO, Chun Jiao. Look at the bright side.) 

So that's why no one wanted to come with her to the business meeting. And it wasn't him "doing something" to her, but her to HIM?! That thought is too much to handle for her Zhi Ming hatin' heart. Da Ma (the colleague) reminds her that in this era of gender equality, women can be sued for sexual harassment (LOL, true dat). He gets treated to one of her glares in response. 

At the animation studio(?), they're about done with the ALICE presentation when Zheng Jie (yay) and Miao Li (nay) shows up. Miao Li, like the leech she is, latches on to Zhi Ming and asks Chun Jiao whether she can "return her boyfriend" to her since it's after working hours now. Shameless is the name of the game. Zhi Ming, as always, tries to explain that it's not what you think, but Chun Jiao interrupts him with a "I don't care what you do after office hours" and greets cutie pie Zheng Jie warmly before leaving.
She's at home, but her mind clearly someplace else - and Love Bore is not helping things by, you know, being a bore. Instead, Chun Jiao seeks solace at Xiao Z's place. "I met Ke Miao Li today," she says, and they're together now. Xiao Z pooh-poohs at this, since she didn't hear anything from- err... anyway, is she sadden by this?

No, she's not. It's just... out of all the high school reunions that were held, she has only been to one. Chun Jiao: "Do you know why?" Dunno. "Because I remember what I felt that day."
Chun Jiao: "As I sat there... classmates were talking about Lai Zhi Ming. A part of me pretends not to care, a part of me couldn't resist listening in."
She waited for him to show up, but he didn't. She felt lost, but... relieved too. What if he showed up with a distant expression in his eyes? What if he showed up holding another girl's hand? She wouldn't be able to take it. 
Chun Jiao: "I finally realize... I couldn't face him. I couldn't face the fact that he doesn't love me anymore, and the fact that we're no longer together."
But 10 years has gone by. Her heart has gradually accepted it and she no longer feels hurt seeing him with another girl. Xiao Z is happy that she has moved on, and is not "the girl that came to me and cried her eyes out" anymore. All is well now. As she drives back, she thinks to herself:
Chun Jiao: "Lately, I've been dreaming the same dream. In the dream, I kept thinking about the person who dumped me and pulled a disappearing act, Lai Zhi Ming while preparing for the entrance exam. But when the results came in, I couldn't find my name no matter how hard I searched. My world crumbled... but then I woke up. I heaved a sigh of relief as I realize that I'm now 28 years old. In that moment... I felt as if I had skipped forward 10 years. In that moment..."
Lordy, I love my Contemplative Narrations and all, but this is too. darn. long. Alright, just had to put it out there. Where were we? Oh, right:
Chun Jiao: "In that moment... I knew what I threw away wasn't just that romance. There's also the 18-year-old me who had pursued love so bravely and single-mindedly."
As she says that (in her mind), many memories of her high school days fleet by. (if the above scene reminds you of a certain kdrama, congrats! You're a veteran drama watcher). This totally should've been a high school drama. Oh shit, there's more:
Chun Jiao: "Turns out that Zhi Ming wasn't the only one who threw me away. I threw myself away too. I finally realized... growing up didn't come with additional benefits. On the contrary, I lost one of the most important things in life. Turns out, growing up comes with regret."
It's the day of the presentation - and it looks like the ALICE presentation went well. Chun Jiao's employees are already celebrating like they have already got this in the bag. Er, you know what they say about counting the chickens...

At Ke Bo's bar, Yu Liang asks Zhi Ming for a favor: "I want you to be my best man." It's true that he's married, but they only registered and they did not have a proper ceremony. His wife is so excited over her friend's wedding preparations - he knows, deep down she would like one too. He wants to make it up to her. 
Yu Liang: "In many situations, lost opportunities - to men, it's regret. But to women, it's slightly different. It becomes a wound."
You know where this is going, right? He's going to make it up to her! We backtrack a bit to Chun Jiao's drunken rant, and it's a scene we haven't seen before: He kisses her forehead, holding back tears. 
Emo moment is interrupted by Ke Bo, who tells him, "Don't flatter yourself." Chun Jiao's such a catch. "If she doesn't have a boyfriend, she probably has many pursuers anyway." 

Investigation (i.e gossip) at the workplace reveals that indeedy, she has had many admirers. Also, word has it that the Vice President (aka Love Bore) and her may be more than just colleagues. 

But their gossip fest is interrupted when Chun Jiao comes in and drops the bomb on them: Their proposal lost to rival company Li Cheng. Chin up, Chun Jiao! Zhi Ming proposes a karaoke, because kara-forever-ok! (his words, not mine)
She scoffs and belittle him for being so immature, muttering, "retard" under her breath (not politically correct, I know. I apologize on behalf of our shrewish heroine). She tells him to act his age; he tunes her out.

Which is why I choked on my Yoplait when....
KARA-FOREVER-OKAY!! (her words, not mine!)

There she was, sitting on the KTV room's table with a boatload of snacks. I DIE. Zhi Ming sees her (they both went to the same centre). "Kara-forever-okay!" he shouts his greeting. OMG I love this phrase. Imma gonna go use it in IRL too.

Turns out there's only one KTV centre in Kaohsiung, because Ke Bo and Xiao Z  is caught exchanging lovey-dovey gestures outside the KTV room. Busted is theme of the hour. And thus, the whole gang is complete:
Ah, their exchanges are killing me. TELL US! When did you two start seeing each other?! The interrogation of Ke Bo and Xiao Z begins (see the lights? lol). Ke Bo: "We got together after she broke up with her boyfriend." Xiao Z: "Puh-lease! If a dinner and some singing counts as "got together," I'd have hundreds of boyfriends already!" 

They are ORDINARY FRIENDS, she insists. To which the gang starts singing the words to David Tao's hit song Ordinary Friends, pfft. Chun Jiao doesn't believe a word of it, how about that men's underwear she found in her house? The one belonging to "Mr. Magic" - supposedly 180cm, not bad looking, sunshine guy and owns his own business? Way off, woman.
Pushed to the corner, Xiao Z lashes back. Fine! So she "fried rice" with him. The passion was hot and she did the deed. So what? Big deal. Can't ordinary friends "fry rice" together? (Zhi Ming nods vigorously). She calls out Chun Jiao for outing her, since she did not say a thing about her going to bed with Zhi Ming. 

"GONE TO BED?!" the gang parroted. Zhi Ming confronts Ke Bo for spouting nonsense. But he has prove! *shows photo in phone* (see top photo for HD view)
Miao Li (who I hadn't even noticed was there) drags Zhi Ming out, saying quite pitiful things and I would totally feel for her if not for her wawa voice. If there's anything I can't stand, it's a grown woman who speaks with a baby voice. Like nails on chalkboard to me, eeek. 

"Why give me hope then?" Why did you kiss me then, she asks. All rhetorical questions, so he doesn't answer. And that's when big bro Ke Bo overhears this. Uh-oh...

Chloe Says
Chun Jiao may have got the most character development in this episode, but the biggest surprise of all has got to be... well, EVERYONE (that matters). Namely, the high school bunch: Chun Jiao, Zhi Ming, Ke Bo, Zheng Jie and Yu Liang (the latter whom you may remember as the playboy and comic relief in The Fierce Wife - it's refreshing to see him here as a quiet family man). 
It is, for the lack of a better word, heartwarming to see that their friendship has withstood the test of time. They may have drifted apart after high school, but when they get together it's like they haven't separated at all. And the camaraderie between the gang IS TO DIE FOR. I don't think I've witness this in a twdrama before (I'm sure there is one, but I usually stick to romcom titles) - but it's one of the things I like in jdoramas, where romance takes a backseat over friendship like in Nobuta wo Produce and Yankee-kun to Megane Chan (both of which are high school dramas, I've noticed).

The only thorn in my butt is Ke Miao Li, who is basically ITWY's Maggie in this drama. Please do not mix with my favorite people and ruin the whole gang, thankyouverymuch.