Gloomy Salad Days Episodes 5 & 6

Aaaaaaand I'm back. After two very long months! It's been so long, and I apologize to everyone who anticipated the CpopAccess recaps. So much has happened in real life, but I really missed writing for CPA, so I'll stop boring you with my blog-like introduction and actually go into the review now!

Oh, before anything else: I hope you all are still with me in this, and hopefully we can still spur discourse over this series. :)

Episode 5 & 6 - Nicole

Nicole Zeng (Lin Chen Xi) is The Rebel in every classroom--the girl who doesn't want to concern herself with school or friends. At daylight, she would sleep in during class and secretly smoke cigarettes during breaks. However, it's a different story altogether during nighttime. She works for a nightclub as a prostitute. 

Just when you think it doesn't get any worse, well, it does. Her father is a drunkard who would beat her mother every time he's drunk. Don't worry, he apologizes to her the day after, when he's sober. He's a good father and husband actually--when he's sober. He also gambles.

Of course Nicole hates him. The thoughts she write in her blog--separation, suicide and death--comes from her awful experience with his father. The only reason why she's out in the evening selling herself, after all, is because she wants to take her mother away with her and leave their good-for-nothing father. 

So one night, when his father takes her money in order to pay for his debts, she summons Du and asks for her help. There is no future for her as long as her dad's around, she says. As long as she can grasp into her own fate, she is very willing to be turned into a rock. 

Her perspective changes when she finds out something after her father's death: her dad had liver cancer. 


I had mixed feelings about Nicole's story. It was sprinkled with so much TDrama clich├ęs: a drinking, gambling, unemployed, wife-and-daughter-beating father (whew!) , a debt-collector who could pass as a mob boss, an enduring mother--I could go on and on. 

But I thought this series should be defying Dramaland rules? 

It will be unfair, however, to say that I did not enjoy it. I believe this is the first story where the protagonist did not die--a real breath of fresh air for a series about death. Of course, there's still death (drunkard dad who is good after all dies in a car accident and/or because of his liver cancer), but it was a pleasant surprise that Nicole did not commit suicide. I expected her to--after all, she kept a suicide blog. To all you lonely kids out there, learn from Nicole: Death is never the answer!

I'm confused, though, as to what the real turning point in this story was. Was it the dad's death? Tang Zi Qi's unconditional love and kindness? Or the fake police officer's attempt to exploit Nicole? So much was going on--and maybe this is my fault--that I could not identify which triggered Nicole's change.

My favorite scene came in the latter part of Episode 6. When Nicole asked for the school supervisor's help to deal with the teacher, he was very willing to do so. But because the school officials would rather let the offense slide, he took justice into his own hands. He saw right through Nicole's facade and asked the teacher to say sorry to her. I think it was the best scene in the story, and with the supervisor's righteousness and kindness, I believe Nicole fully understood that there's still a future for her. 

There is genuine kindness that is innate in every human being: first her dad, then Xiao Tang, and then the school supervisor. When she decided to close her suicide blog, it was her saying "I will believe in the world again."

Overall, I think this story's weaker than the first two. I still like it, though, especially because of Lin Chen Xi. She may be new in the industry, but she is a very promising actress. I like her, and she's so pretty! She's definitely an actress to look out for.

About Du and Shen Qi: MEH, no interaction whatsoever in this episode. Six episodes after, and still no relationship (even friendship!) blossoming between the two. But worry not--we still have 14 episodes left. Hope is not lost yet!

In all honesty, I'm not even looking forward to their love story anymore. I can't see any development with both characters: no depth, no story, nothing. So far, they're (pretty) complements to the stories, but that's all they are, condiments if you will. Even Du is boring me now.

Originally I wanted to review this drama because of Aaron Yan, but now I'm just excited to see where all the stories are leading to. 'Til the next story!

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