Endless Love Episode 8

Greetings everyone! Sarocat here, recapping Endless Love in media res. It's three years after the almost wedding happened between Liang Jing Hao (Will Pan) and Song Rui En (Sandrine Pinna). Is the red string that ties them together strong enough to bring them back into each other's arms?

Episode 8 picks up where Episode 7 left off – at an intersection. A crossroads, if you will. Jing Hao is in a car, idly glancing at the woman on a moped in front of him. The woman is wearing a dress paired with sneakers. The audience can see that the woman is none other than Rui En. The camera zooms in on the sneakers, a symbol of Rui En’s willingness to give up a life of wealth and comfort for a life with Jing Hao. The light changes to green, and the two drive their separate ways, the drama momentarily stopping at the instant of their parting to emphasize the significance of what could have been. Ah, Taiwanese dramas! How you like to play with our emotions with these so-close-but-yet-so-far moments!

Cut to Jing Hao’s office. He’s late to a meeting. We’re made aware of this by middle-aged men in suits pointing angrily at their wrists. Judging by the number of angry suits, and the vehemence with which they point to their wrists, it must be an important meeting. Just before the suits decide to leave in a righteous huff, Jing Hao’s assistants walk into the room, instructing the businessmen to turn on their phones. They do so.

Over the phone, Jing Hao introduces the revolutionary mobile app, Mitakuye Oyasin. He explains that Mitakuye Oyasin means “we are all connected” (Wikipedia confirms this, mitakuye oyasin is a Lakota Sioux prayer which represents oneness and harmony with all life). It appears that the app’s primary purpose is to show you how far away you are from your friends in real time. The app tracks Jing Hao’s progression to the meeting room, and soon enough he is strolling into the room declaring that in addition to tracking your friends’ location, the app has the potential to connect you with your soul mate. With that introduction, Red String Company is launched. What I want to know is, how did they download that app onto all of those phones without the users’ knowledge?

Rui En now lives with single mother Bi Yun and her daughter Tong Tong. Tong Tong is watching an actress, Xu Xin Jie, give an interview on TV. Meanwhile Rui En is in her bedroom, watching an old video of Jing Hao. In the video Jing Hao lovingly describes how Rui En is heaven’s gift to him. Towards the end of the video she repeats his words, the joy that these words bring to her face demonstrates that this - these words, this video - are what keeps her love for him burning brightly.

The love Rui En still holds for Jing Hao also appears to be shared by him. He stares at a painting she gave him and reminisces about the past. However, his love is not as steadfast. Jing Hao is now dating the award winning actress, Xu Xin Jie. She is returning to Taiwan this weekend, and he agrees to pick her up at the airport.

At a hospital Ming Shuo Ge, Rui En’s childhood friend and reformed Don Juan who is desperately in love with her, is treating a patient. After instructing the patient to stop smoking, he spots a few nurses engrossed with their cell phones. Ming Shuo Ge asks the nurses what has captured their attention so thoroughly, so a nurse explains that there is a new Red String phone application which helps you find your other half. Ming Shuo Ge is like, ‘Tch! that’s not how you find your true love!’ That’s right Ming Shuo Ge, it sure isn’t. The way to find true love is to treat her like your little sister for several years, wait till she falls in love with another man before you realize you love her, and then never have her cause she loves someone else. That’s how you does it.

After schooling the nurses in the ways of love, Ming Shuo Ge spots a familiar figure. It’s Jing Hao! Dum, dum, dum!!! He follows Jing Hao to the room of a Mafia Boss. Apparently the Mafia Boss found Jing Hao two years ago boxing in Japan. The Mafia Boss took him under his wing and probably provided the seed money with which Jing Hao used to start his company. Ming Shuo Ge overhears enough of this conversation to infer that Jing Hao has a debt of obligation to the mafia.

Jing Hao leaves the hospital for a stroll along the pier where he spots a string of drawings of him. The drawings belong to Rui En. You know, I don’t know if multiple pictures of the same man is the best marketing strategy. Sure, the main subject of her drawings is good looking and everything, but seriously, people are gonna see all those drawings of Jing Hao and think one thing – girl is obsessed.

The artist, Rui En, comes back to her canvas, a freshly purchased lunch in tow. Jing Hao immediately recognizes Rui En and, entranced, watches her from afar. It’s not long before Ming Shuo Ge joins her at the pier. Ming Shuo Ge is distraught by Rui En’s light lunch, a reminder of her poor lifestyle, and also shaken by the Jing Hao sighting. Ming Shuo Ge emphatically asserts that he’d support her and marry her, if she was willing. Rui En tries to play this off as a joke while Jing Hao smolders in the corner. Do you think Jing Hao can hear them, or does he simply sense what they’re talking about?

Ming Shuo Ge will not let Rui En play off his declaration of love as a joke. He knows that she can never forget Jing Hao, but he can’t help being in love with her anyway. Heck, he’s given up the life of a playboy because he loves her that much! Before she can say anything, he asks that she carefully consider what he’s said before giving him an answer.

Surprised by the Rui En sighting and not willing to let her go just yet, Jing Hao decides to stalk her. Shock! Rui En now lives at his old apartment. Jing Hao is temporarily rooted to the spot, no doubt processing this information, when Tong Tong walks by and recognizes Jing Hao as the man in all of Rui En’s videos. Tong Tong grabs his attention by pounding on his car window – only to realize that she has no reason to be so excited to talk to this man. Quickly, she says she is lost and needs to use his cellphone to call home. I wonder why she just doesn’t ask him to come inside? After all, Tong Tong doesn’t know that Jing Hao secretly returned to Taiwan. For all she knows, Jing Hao just got off the plane, rushed over to see his almost-wife, and is sitting in the car, collecting his thoughts, trying to come up with the perfect way to sweep Rui En off her feet. Anyway, Tong Tong calls Rui En and announces she’s lost, freaking out both her mom and Rui En. Tong Tong carries out a one-sided conversation, leaving Rui En and Bi Yun to believe that not only is Tong Tong lost, but she’s lost it. Tong Tong returns the phone and tells Jing Hao that “The real person is more handsome.” Kekekeke. Jing Hao is no dummy, and quickly figures out that the number on his phone belongs to Rui En and that little girl must be staying with her. Meanwhile, Tong Tong is in a world of trouble. First, for freaking out Rui En and Bi Yun for saying she’s lost. Second, for insisting to disbelieving adults that Jing Hao was just outside and that Rui En now has his phone number on her cell phone.

It’s Saturday now, and Saturday means that Rui En goes to the airport to wait for Jing Hao’s return. The trip is a ritual that has taken on spiritual significance. She voiceovers that, “To me this is not an airport, it’s like a temple or a church…this is because I’ve always believed that as long as we wait wholeheartedly, the person we miss the most will walk out from the entrance.”
As we end on that pleasant thought, Xu Xin Jie appears at the airport entrance, and a murder of reporters stream by, flocking to her. Remember who’s going to pick her up?

Xu Xin Jie spots Jing Hao, exclaims his name and runs towards him. Rui En is startled to hear the name Jing Hao, and turns to see who is this person that shares the name of her beloved. It’s a smiling Jing Hao. Her Jing Hao. Their eyes lock. His smile disappears. Xu Xin Jie, blissfully unaware of Jing Hao’s inner turmoil, takes up the drama of the situation another eleven-thousand notches by exclaiming that she missed him, kissing him, and announcing her love for him in front of the world, but most especially, in front of Rui En.

Xu Xin Jie’s manager realizes this situation is quickly spiraling out of control, and pulls the pair to a waiting van, followed by a swarm of papparazi and a confused Rui En. Rui En catches up to the car as it pulls away from the airport. She tries to get the vehicle to stop by pounding on the door and calling Jing Hao’s name, but for his own tragic hero reasons, he doesn’t stop the car. Xu Xin Jie’s manager begins to scold her for her recklessness, but the actress can only focuses on Jing Hao. Xu Xin Jie thinks Jing Hao is upset that she revealed their relationship to the press, which causes her to say that she doesn’t care. In fact, she’s glad she did it because now the world knows that Jing Hao is hers and isn’t this a good opportunity to declare their upcoming wedding? She proposes they get married. Wow, this relationship is moving pretty fast. How long have they been together?

Jing Hao is having none of it and demands that the car stops. He flees from the van to the airport. At the airport, Rui En despondently picks up her art supplies. Jing Hao watches from a distance. Although he’s run this far, he cannot will himself to go the extra few meters to her side. Rui En leaves the airport and Jing Hao notices she left behind a drawing. The drawing is of their reunion. Oh fate! Does your cruel irony know no end? Jing Hao silently beseeches Rui En, “Why have you not changed? Why have you not forgotten me?”

Trying to make sense of what just happened, Rui En returns to her apartment and goes to the internet in search of answers. The scandalous airport kiss is all over the news. One-by-one the other characters learn that not only is Jing Hao back, but he is with another woman. I have to say, if I were Xu Xin Jie, I wouldn’t want that particular news clip all over the news. Jing Hao obviously is not interested in her kiss, nor does he seem to return her love in any way.

Tong Tong and Bi Yun return to the apartment from a trip to the hospital (Tong Tong took a wimpy fall to the ground and apparently hurt her ankle) and learn about the airport kiss on the news. Bi Yun shuts off the TV, hoping that Rui En is not already aware of what happened. Rui En enters the living room and turns on the news, just as the replay of Xu Xin Jie’s kiss and declaration of love streams by. Previously Rui En was barely holding on, but seeing the kiss and love declaration once again snaps the tenuous grip she had to sanity. Blithely ignoring that Jing Hao has never called, she instead focuses on the fact that he is back. “From now on we will be together forever, we will never be apart!”, she says. Tong Tong expresses happiness that the two will be together, but Bi Yun, recognizing a nervous breakdown in the making, is worried. Rui En’s mad happiness disappears as quickly as it came for she realizes that although Jing Hao is been back, never called her. Unable to handle the emotional upheaval any longer, her body grants her what her mind cannot, respite in the form of a blackout. Ming Shuo Ge magically appears at the apartment and whisks her away to the hospital.

Xu Xin Jie has had no luck in contacting Jing Hao after the airport kiss. Worry and an urgent desire to be with him prompts her to attempt driving over to his place. The manager puts a quick stop to that, pointing out that Xu Xin Jie can’t drive. Xu Xin Jie replies, “I can drive a car, it’s just that I have no license. I’ve carefully observed others drive. No problem!” I gotta admit, although I find both the character and Sumiya’s character portrayal incredibly annoying, that’s hilarious. The manager convinces Xu Xin Jie that she should stay home, so she begins to knit her eleventh scarf for Jing Hao.

Juxtaposed against Xu Xin Jie’s happiness is Rui En’s misery. Rui En is at the hospital, where her condition is stable, but she has not yet regained consciousness. NoQ, a good friend of both Rui En and Jing Hao, wants to punish Jing Hao for the suffering he’s caused Rui En.

Turns out NoQ needn’t bother. Jing Hao is at a bar, where he is punishing himself by drinking himself into oblivion. He stumbles home in the rain and, no doubt by some miracle of water resistant nanotechnology, enters his bedroom remarkably dry. He receives a call from his former coach and NoQ, who request to meet him.

NoQ is seething with rage, but Coach is willing to give Jing Hao the benefit of doubt. A good cop, bad cop routine takes place wherein NoQ both demands answers and accuses Jing Hao of having ignoble motivations while the Coach tries to deflect NoQ’s anger by there must be a good explanation for all of this. NoQ brings Jing Hao up-to-date, telling him that Rui En never took her scholarship to study art in Paris, severed ties with her family, and is now a poor person who makes a living selling art by the road. Although the news no doubt affects him, Jing Hao has his game face on. His stone cold response to the news? “I never asked her to wait for me. It’s she, herself, who wanted to wait. So don’t ask me to be responsible for her actions.”

This is not the reaction NoQ wanted. Attempting to elicit some form of emotion from Jing Hao, he grabs Jing Hao’s collar and yells that the airport kiss caused Rui En to faint, and now she’s in the hospital. Jing Hao is unmoved. He simply asks NoQ to wish her well for him. NoQ cannot stand Jing Hao’s indifference any longer and punches him. Jing Hao, the better fighter of the two, quickly gets the better hand, holds NoQ in a lock, and sneers, “What right do you have to beat me up? It was you that lost my dad. I should have the right to beat you up first.” Oh, snap! Jing Hao pulled the trump card by reminding everyone that it is NoQ who lost Jing Hao’s mentally ill father on the day of Jing Hao’s wedding. The disappearance of Jing Hao’s father and assumed death rocked his world and that, with a few other revelations, caused him to flee to Japan, leaving Rui En behind.

The coach is stunned by this turn of events, remarking that Liang Jing Hao is not the same. “Three years is not a long time,” Coach says, “what caused you to change?” Jing Hao walks away. NoQ’s anger and guilt mix and release into a spectacularly ugly cry.

Walking home, Jing Hao contemplates what he’s just heard. Now that he’s alone, his calm exterior begins to dissolve, but before it disappears completely he takes a deep breath and regains calm. He drives to the hospital and sees Ming Shuo Ge watching over an unconscious Rui En, confirming the news he heard from NoQ. He walks back to his car and keeps an all night vigil near the hospital.

The next morning Jing Hao sees Rui En’s father, the man who killed his mother in a drive-by car accident, enter the hospital. Jing Hao cannot stand the sight of him, and abandons his vigil. Meanwhile, Rui En’s father visits his estranged daughter and asks Ming Shuo Ge to take care of her. It appears that Rui En’s father is not in the best of health, as he temporarily loses his balance when leaving her room. He and Ming Shuo Ge leave the hospital, under the watchful eye of the Mafia Boss.

A little later on, Bi Yun attempts to visit Rui En at the hospital. The visit doesn’t happen. Turns out Rui En has run away.

Back at Song Company headquarters, Rui En’s father picks Xu Xin Jie to be the new face for his hospital. His reasons are not clear.

Jing Hao shows up to work and approves the hiring of a new designer by “secret hiring”. What is secret hiring, you ask? Well, it’s when you don’t see the qualifications or meet the person with whom you are interviewing, you base your hiring decision solely on the quality of the person’s work. Call me crazy, but it seems this method of hiring is perfect if you want to secretly hire one Song Rui En.

Speak of the devil, Rui En is just outside of Jing Hao’s office and wants to talk. Jing Hao agrees, and they travel to the waterfront to have a chat.

She proceeds to tell him how difficult it was to live the past three years without him. At times, the only thing that kept her going was the thought that he was missing her, thinking of her, and suffering just as much. Jing Hao flat out tells her she was wrong, that he has lived well for the past three years. In fact, he never thought she would wait for him since people often drift apart when they don’t see each other.

He asks her why she never went to Paris. She tells him she couldn’t go because she thought that after he calmed down, he would come back to Taiwan and find her. He returns her honesty with scorn, “So confident. I never thought of coming back to you.”

Despite his derision, Rui En does not give up. She says, “Did you know that every time you tell a lie, you can’t look at me. If that’s true, tell it to my face.” So he tells it to her face. This causes Rui En to hit him. Slap! For disappearing for three years. Slap! For not calling me. Shove! For daring to love another person!

The outburst has pushed Rui En out of her emotional center, but she refuses to break down and cry in front of him, taking a moment to hold back her tears. She requests that Jing Hao give her three days to determine whether he is the man she once knew. He declines. So she demands the three days instead, saying that she doesn’t care if he doesn’t want to do it, when she calls, he better come, or he’s dead. Yay! Our old Rui En is back. Sandrine does a good job in this scene showing Rui En’s heartache, stubbornness and pride.

Later on in the evening Ming Shuo Ge visits Rui En’s apartment to check up on her. She appears to be in a good mood. Ming Shuo Ge guesses that Rui En met up with Jing Hao and that she is scheming to win him back. He declares that he will never give her to that irresponsible guy.

Least we forget about Xu Xin Jie’s ardent love for Jing Hao, the story brings us back to the actress and her manager. The manager is rehearsing the official backstory for the airport kiss – it was all part of an ad for Jing Hao’s company. No one will believe it, but as long as they insist it’s true, the media will let the kiss story drop. Of course Xu Xin Jie hates this idea. She doesn’t care that she needs the story to keep her reputation up, she just wants to be with Jing Hao. If that means her career is over, so be it.

Xu Xin Jie calls Jing Hao, reaffirming her love for him and her desire to marry him, even if it means she can no longer be an actress. Jing Hao tells her to stop being ridiculous and to listen to her manager.

While that’s happening, Rui En is busy setting her plan in motion. Earlier she purchased some supplies from an art store, now she’s begging NoQ to help her. What is that girl up to?
We find out soon enough. Jing Hao receives a text message from Rui En saying he must meet her where they first met. At the scene of their meeting place, he is confronted by pictures of him and her strung along the alley. It’s a storyboard of their relationship. Rui En is at the end of the storyboard, her back to him, a serious look upon her face.

The episode ends.

Next time!
Jing Hao tells Ming Shuo Ge that he’s worthless because he was unable to win Rui En’s heart after three years. Ming Shuo Ge gets into a car accident. Rui En is confident she’ll win Jing Hao back and discovers that her father chose Xu Xin Jie to be his company’s spokesmodel. Xu Xin Jie and Rui En meet!

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