Endless Love Episode 9

Something has been bugging you since last week. I know it, you know it. Rui En’s message to Jing Hao clearly said “Meet me at the alley at 10AM” not 10pm. So why is it night when they meet up?

My friend, your question is about to be answered.

The morning of the meeting, Rui En, Coach and NoQ go to the alley to string up (with red string no less!) pictures of her and Jing Hao’s love story. The sun is shining. Happy, optimistic music plays in the background. It’s gonna be a good day.

This is a fool proof plan.
Jing Hao is preparing to head out to the alley. He advises his assistant that he’s taking the day off, heads out to his car, and is assaulted by a mascot. You know, it’s incidents like this that give mascots a bad rep.

Another fool proof plan in action.
Of course it’s Xu Xin Jie in the mascot outfit. Who else would choose to dress up as an adorable chipmunk and do a sneak-attack-hug to a known bad-ass? The costume is hot, and since Jing Hao already knows it’s her, Xu Xin Jie takes off the mascot head and exclaims how wonderful it is to be able to breathe again. This reminds Jing Hao of Rui En.

He wants to leave and find out why Rui En has called a meeting, but Xu Xin Jie convinces him not to leave without her. Once in the car, she asks him to marry her again. He rebuffs her advances. No problem, she thinks, because this next move will surely get him to agree to marriage! Using her odd, internal logic, she pulls out a camera phone and tells Jing Hao it’s time for a sincere talk. This also reminds him of Rui En.

Everything reminds him of Rui En.

Xu Xin Jie’s antics, the Rui En reminders, and his lateness to the alley meeting exasperate Jing Hao. He reprimands Xu Xin Jie, “You are acting childish! How can you talk of marriage when you still act like a child?” Chastened, Xu Xin Jie says she will change. In fact, she will change anything, everything – and if she changes totally, will he marry her? Not answering the question, he drives her home.

Disappointment creeps onto Rui En’s face. The appointed time has come and gone, and Jing Hao is nowhere to be found.

Or maybe not so much disappointment as it is anger.

Trying to make up for lost time, Jing Hao drives at speeds approaching that of sound. A woman drives past him, causing him to do a double-take. Who is that person? What’s her significance?!? I don’t know!!! But it’s enough to force Jing Hao to pull a U-turn and chase after her.

The woman, who I will call The Witch, is Xu Xin Jie’s mom. The Witch inflicts both psychological and physical damage on her daughter. Xu Xin Jie is hurled onto her bed, where she tries to deflect a barrage of hits. The Witch is angry over her daughter’s nationally televised kiss – a kiss that irreparably harmed the The Witch’s attempts to arrange a marriage between her daughter and a wealthy man.

Who wouldn't be scared of that?!?
Insults, cries of pain, and the sounds of flesh striking flesh fill the air. Jing Hao storms up the stairs and into Xu Xin Jie’s room, seizing The Witch before she can strike again. The Witch and Jing Hao have a brief altercation, where it is revealed that The Witch disapproves of Jing Hao because of his humble background. For the time being The Witch is vanquished. She slinks back to her lair.

The princess of a fairy tale, the maiden locked away by a cruel witch, Xu Xin Jie rises to clasp her knight, her Jing Hao, firmly to her chest. She begs him to save her, to rescue her from the horror of an abusive parent. A memory of his father surfaces in Jing Hao’s mind. Like Xu Xin Jie, Jing Hao was also abused by his parent, a father who was mentally ill and blamed his son for the death of his wife.

Jing Hao to the rescue!
Jing Hao watches over Xu Xin Jie as she rests. Time passes.

Rui En patiently waits in the alley. NoQ left in a huff a long time ago, Coach following not too far behind. Bi Yun had to leave for her interview at the hospital. Alone Rui En waits for Jing Hao.

Now we’re back to where Episode 8 ended: the alley way at night. Rui En turns and sees him. She doesn’t even look upset that he’s several hours late. She smiles. She hopes. She says, “All these drawings are our memories.”

There are too many episodes left, this can't end well.
He pretends that the pictures don’t affect him. He laughs at her attempts to win back his heart. He turns to leave.

“Don’t these drawings mean anything to you?” Rui En cries. “How can you laugh at them?”

Jing Hao tells her that he has a girlfriend already. Rui En asks if he loves his girlfriend. He doesn’t say, but he does say that she needs his protection.

The heartache is almost too much to bear. “I don’t understand you,” she says, “you disappear for three years without a reason. Not even one reason!”

This next move is a sleaze ball one in my opinion. He simultaneously attacks her insecurities and belittles all that she sacrificed for the chance to be with him. He tells her that he doesn’t want to be with her because he doesn’t want people to think she gave up her wealth to be with him, nor does he want people to think she is his sugar mama. He doesn’t want her dad telling him what to do. He’s a man and he has honor! Now, because he is rich and powerful, he’d rather be with Xu Xin Jie, who is ten times prettier than with a spoilt rich kid like Rui En. To seal the deal, he says, “To you these are precious memories, to me you are just a girl from my past. Me and you ended three years ago.”

He walks away, leaving her devastated heart behind.

The heaviness of this scene is interrupted by two mini-scenes. The first is Bi Yun, right after her interview for the position of chef at the hospital, bumping into Ming Shuo. Methinks Bi Yun has a crush on Ming Shuo. The second is Xu Xin Jie, waking up from her nap and discovering that Jing Hao has said that he will take responsibility for her. Taking responsibility for someone is an incredibly bid deal. It indicates that you are serious about someone. Like, “contact this person in case of an emergency” serious.

A defeated Rui En goes home. Her attempt didn’t work and she cries bitterly into Bi Yun’s arms. Then, in ritual as old as humanity itself, the girlfriends do what girlfriends have always done to get over heartache – stuff their faces and get wasted.

The ritual completed, Rui En and Bi Yun walk home. Rui En is drunk. Not just drunk, sloppy drunk. The kind of drunk that makes phone calls to ex-boyfriends at night, saying things she will inevitably regret the next morning. Not that I know anything about that, mind you.

Ming Shuo is there, and he tries to talk to Rui En. Rui En doesn’t understand who she is talking to – she thinks she’s scolding Jing Hao. Ming Shuo tells her that she is making him sad. This sparks her interest. Ming Shuo thinks Rui En is now focusing on him, so he says that he loves her and that her pain causes him pain. She kisses him then wraps her arms around him. Ming Shuo is so happy! “I know that you love me,” Rui En sighs, “I also love you, Jing Hao.” With those two words, she stabbed him in the heart.

Such joy! Then such pain!
Fury consumes Ming Shuo. He speeds off and crashes his car, earning a bloody forehead for his carelessness.

Lesson learned: never drive in a blinding rage.
Rui En visits Ming Shuo at the hospital. This hospital is getting a lot of business from this group! Ming Shuo doesn’t want to talk about his accident, he wants to talk about why Rui En met up with Jing Hao. He asks her to promise him not to see Jing Hao anymore. The way she keeps running back to Jing Hao, despite his repeated refusals, is like a knife to Ming Shuo’s heart. He implores Rui En, “Do you not understand that you continuing on like this hurts not only you, but also me? I should’ve died in the crash, that way my heart wouldn’t ache so much.”
In the doorway of Li Ming Shuo’s room, Li Mama listens to her son’s words. Upset by what she hears, she leaves the hospital without seeing her injured son.

Jing Hao did wha????
Across town, Xu Xin Jie is meeting President Song at Tai Feng Hospital, to discuss the possibility of Xu Xin Jie becoming the hospital’s ambassador. To her credit, she is totally honest about why she wants the job. Right now her reputation sucks, and becoming the ambassador for the hospital will help redeem her image in the media’s eyes. Her forthrightness and willingness to forgo the ambassadorship to pursue love impresses President Song. He gives her the job. Or at least, that's the reason he says he's giving her her the job. Who knows what the real reason is.

President Song is full of schemes. Like father, like daughter!
Jing Hao’s assistants have gathered a lot of applications for designer and have brought Jing Hao the best of the best for his review. The male assistant starts to day dream about the day they become millionaires, concluding that he needs to learn how to play golf. The female assistant playfully scolds him for his daydreaming. Their happy interlude is interrupted by Mama Li.
Li Mama comes in and slaps Jing Hao around for being a jerk. “Don’t you know how Rui En wasted her youth waiting for you?” she roars, “If you didn’t intend to be with her, why did you meet up with her and give her false hope?” I think this gives him pause. Why did he meet up with Rui En? (My answer: He still wants to be with her.)

Humiliated in front of his assistants, Jing Hao quietly dismisses them. As Li Mama’s words echo in his mind - why did you meet with her, why did you give her false hope - Xu Xin Jie walks in. He asks her to date him. This request is no doubt partially, if not fully, brought on by Li Mama’s words. Xu Xin Jie is delighted! She kisses him, but once again he doesn’t return the kiss.

I said we could date, I didn't say anything about kissing.
Jing Hao talks to the Mafia Boss in the hospital. The Mafia Boss says he has discovered that Jing Hao almost became the son-in-law of the Song company. Furthermore, President Song’s daughter is still interested in Jing Hao. Jing Hao says that his personal life will remain personal, and that his relationship with Rui En is already over. Yet, the sly look on the Mafia Boss’ face after Jing Hao leaves indicates that the Mafia Boss certainly doesn’t think it’s over.

Outside the hospital, Ming Shuo and Rui En chat. Ming Shuo asks Rui En to date him, reminding her that she originally tied their fates together with a red string – Ming Shuo even got a kiss out of it! Even at the age of eight, that Ming Shuo was a playa. Rui En thanks him in her heart for treating her so well these past three years. She asks for time to think about it and leaves.

No wonder this is happening. The red string is confuzzled. Who is she supposed to be with?!
Jing Hao watched the whole thing happen. He’s jealous, and it’s jealousy that causes him to mock Ming Shuo for not being able to win Rui En’s heart after three years. Ming Shuo punches Jing Hao and before a proper fistacuffs can break out, Jing Hao pulls a 180 and says he wants Ming Shou and Rui En to be together. He goes on to tell Ming Shuo that he is dating Xu Xin Jie now, he will not take Rui En away.

Thoroughly confused and half convinced it’s all a joke, Ming Shuo watches Jing Hao walk away.

Rui En is researching her enemy and Jing Hao on the interwebs. A plan is slowly taking shape in her mind. She sheds her sneakers – the symbol of the simple life she wanted to live with Jing Hao – and dons the high heels of a wealthy woman. She is a rich girl once again.

The shoes are symbolic, ok?!
She enters the hospital to see her father’s big media event – the unveiling of the new ambassador. She is shocked. Her father picked Xu Xin Jie to be the ambassador?!? To make matters worse, Xu Xin Jie takes this moment to confirm to the whole world that Jing Hao is her boyfriend.

Acting as if nothing is wrong with this situation, President Song introduces Xu Xin Jie to Rui En and Ming Shuo. Rui En pretends that she’s ok, and she’s not shy with dropping hints all over the place about her past with Jing Hao. This makes President Song and Ming Shuo uncomfortable. Their discomfort and Xu Xin Jie’s obliviousness emboldens Rui En, and she tells Xu Xin Jie that the man she was engaged to three years ago is back, and she plans to make him hers again. President Song shuts his daughter up before she can reveal the awkward truth of the situation, and Ming Shuo escorts Xu Xin Jie away.

Bestowing favors and gifts is one way to win friendship, and Rui En tries to get Xu Xin Jie to be her friend by drawing Xu Xin Jie’s portrait. It’s a perfect plan! Besides gaining Xu Xin Jie’s trust, she can pump Xu Xin Jie for information about her relationship with Jing Hao. It seems the plan is also wrought with self-inflicted torture. Hearing Xu Xin Jie giggle over Jing Hao like a lovesick teenager is not anyone’s idea of fun.

Xu Xin Jie debates whether to tell Rui En about her dreams of
a unicorn themed wedding.
Xu Xin Jie is delighted with the portrait and even more delighted to discover that her new found friend went to the same university her boyfriend attended. She calls Jing Hao, excited about the portrait and wanting to introduce Jing Hao to her new friend. Jing Hao is all like, what the heck?!? What is Rui En up to?

What Rui En is up to is nothing less than enacting a half-baked plot to win Jing Hao back. Rui En reaches into her bag, ready to launch phase II of her scheme, when The Witch interrupts. Looks like The Witch wants to move in with Xu Xin Jie. Xu Xin Jie is not having it, and flat out tells The Witch she is not welcome in her home. The Witch smacks Xu Xin Jie and is obviously prepared to do much more than that. Rui En is shocked! The manager intercedes and Xu Xin Jie runs away. Rui En runs after her.

Rui En's like, Holy Crap!
Xu Xin Jie is a mess. Rui En offers a helping hand. This kind gesture moves Xu Xin Jie, and so she tells Rui En her sad backstory.

The sad backstory
The Witch is never happy. Xu Xin Jie's dad left home and The Witch blames her. When she became 18 years old, someone said that she could become a celebrity, so The Witch tried to make her into a star. A grueling practice schedule commenced. In Japan, The Witch had money problems, which she tried to fix by selling her daughter to her creditors - a band of thugs. Xu Xin Jie refused to be used by these men, refused to take her clothes off, and ran away. She was chased by the men, but Jing Hao saved her.
It’s only recently that he started to accept her. And now she has courage to go against her mom and face the world.
/the sad backstory

Rui En is both moved and heartbroken by the tale. Such a moving story! A witch, a damsel in distress, and Jing Hao in the role of a knight, how can she ever compete with that? But what’s more, how could she ever ask Xu Xin Jie to give Jing Hao back to her, when it’s obvious that Jing Hao is what’s keeping Xu Xin Jie hanging on?

How can she possibly win him back now?
They return to the house as friends. The Witch is gone. Xu Xin Jie and Rui En part ways.

Jing Hao approaches Rui En. He’s suspicious and paranoid and accuses Rui En of concotig an elaborate plot to get in the way of his relationship with Xu Xin Jie. Rui En calls him arrogant, but does admit that she had hidden motivations for becoming Xu Xin Jie’s friend. Yet, after hearing Xu Xin Jie’s story, she has decided to fight fairly. She will no longer bring up the past to win Jing Hao back. She’s going to start all over again.

I am fine, fresh, fierce. I've got you on lock.

She will win his love again.

Rui En is working for Jing Hao! Jing Hao’s father is still alive!

Sandrine’s performance continues to amaze me – the way her subtle facial expressions can capture a pure emotion or conflicted feelings is a refreshing break from actresses who have just one look, or swing too far the other way into overacting.

And bravo to whoever casted Yan Jia Le! She certainly looks the part of an evil mother, with her hair pulled in a severe bun and her face set to a perma-scowl.

I have this to say about Ming Shuo’s profession of love for Rui En: selfish. Essentially he tells Rui En the reason she should be with him is because he’s suffered for three years. I guess suffering for someone means that they should love you back – nevermind the fact that Rui En has suffered just as much, if not more so, for Jing Hao. Seriously Ming Shuo, if you want Rui En you need to stop talking about why and how Rui En has done you wrong and start talking about why you love her, why you want to be with her, why you’re enduring all this suffering. Then talk about how her pain makes you hurt, and how you want to take her pain away. Right now it sounds like you’re a spoilt kid angry he’s not getting his way.

In my eyes, Xu Xin Jie was partially redeemed in this episode. Episode 8 left me eager for Jing Hao to get rid of her RIGHT NOW, but Episode 9 gives her character a back story with meat, a reason for her obsessive need for Jing Hao. I’m not saying I like her. I am saying that I understand her better, and I'm willing to put up with her grating naivete for a little while longer.

What do you think? Do you think Xu Xin Jie’s character became more relatable in this episode? Is Ming Shuo a spoilt kid, upset that he’s not getting his way with Rui En? Is Rui En crazy to keep throwing herself after Jing Hao?

Here, let me rephrase that, if you saw your best friend go to the lengths Rui En is going to get Jing Hao back, would you cheer her on, or sit her down for a serious talk?

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