ISWAK definitely gains some forward momentum in this episode. I find myself squeeing now that Zhi Shu has started taking a subtle interest in Xiang Qin. Zhi Shu has an enigmatic personality – he shows very little external emotion, aside from smug annoyance. Events in this episode cause emotions to shift, and we can no longer chalk up his actions to impish immaturity. His face is showing us more and more of what’s happening on the inside, leading to significantly amped chemistry between our leads.
Jin is stuck studying in the library under student surveillance while the others are in PE. The girls are sitting around, asking Xiang Qin what kinds of things Zhi Shu likes. They want to give him something in thanks for helping them pass the test. They decide that Xiang Qin will be the one to get his gift. As she walks home, Xiang Qin imagines what she could give him and how each gift would go wrong.
Making him a sweater:
Making him chocolates:
Inspiration strikes (massage is the key word), and she runs into a store. She finds a product on the shelf that will help relieve fatigue. I’m not sure what it is yet, but it’s pink and has a cartoon lady on front. How well can this go? In any case, she doesn’t have enough money for it.
Zhi Shu and his buddy are out and about that evening, and they come across an open air restaurant where Xiang Qin is taking orders and clearing tables. Zhi Shu’s friend scoffs that she’s working instead of studying, and they move on to a different restaurant. Zhi Shu comes back later after changing out of his uniform and sits down at a table on the far end of the restaurant. He ends up leaving without talking to her, but he looks back a time or two, wondering why she’s bothering to work, considering that her hard-earned money will soon be wasted on useless things.
Later that week, Zhi Shu is on his way home. Little does he know, he’s being tailed.
He gets home, and Mom stalls him at the bottom of the stairs. She finally lets him go up and opens his bedroom door to a singing F Class (everyone minus Jin, like usual). Everyone is singing and clapping a song made just for him.
He parks it, arms folded, in front of Xiang Qin. He’s cranky with them, in spite of their adorable sincere gratitude. He drops his bag and turns back around to Xiang Qin. Before he can speak again, her friend crams a doll into his face. They made a Xiang Qin doll for him in class, but they could only do it while Jin was sleeping.
He pushes back the “useless doll,” and Xiang Qin presents him with her gift. Everyone comments that her gift is intended for old people. Mom asks where she got enough money to buy something that expensive. Xiang Qin says that she worked part time for week, so it was pretty easy.
Zhi Shu doesn’t say anything, but he holds onto the gift when Xiang Qin offers to take it away. Mom, very impressed with how much trouble they all went to, says Zhi Shu should show them his appreciation by giving something back. Her idea? A group picture, of course. She runs to get her camera, and Xiang Qin tries to object on Zhi Shu’s behalf. Mom gets everyone to stand together, instructing Zhi Shu to get in the picture. Xiang Qin is still saying that he doesn’t have to. Suddenly, Zhi Shu pulls her in, with his arm wrapped around her. He even leans his head on top of hers as Mom takes a few shots.
Sneaky Mom uses this as an opportunity to zoom in on Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin together, leaving everyone else out of the picture. Before it’s all over, Zhi Shu takes a jab at Xiang Qin, teasing that he could hear her yelling “welcome” all the way across the street from her part-time job. It takes the wind out of her sails.
The next day, Mom is getting Zhi Shu (the class valedictorian) ready to leave for graduation day by Swiffering his outfit, focusing on buffing up his important second button until it glows with supernatural power. She tells him that he can’t give his button to just anyone– he has to give it to Xiang Qin. He tries to leave, but not before she can take a photo. Xiang Qin runs to the door, and Mom reminds her that she can’t accept just anyone’s button –she needs to fight for Zhi Shu’s second button.
She runs to catch up with Zhi Shu and suggests that they walk together to commemorate their last time going to school together. Zhi Shu says there’s nothing to commemorate. Xiang Qin says that many things have happened this year, and senior year was her happiest year of high school. Zhi Shu says it was the most painful year of his 18-year existence.
The students are filing into their seats for the graduation ceremony. F Class teacher sneaks up to Miss A Class to try to get her to accept his second button. It seems like it has become an annual ritual. She tells him to go back, and he tries to stick it on her somewhere. Head? Nose?
Zhi Shu enters, and Jin and his buddies enter from the other side. Xiang Qin trips, and Jin comes to the rescue. She’s definitely feeling nervous, which amplifies her awesome powers of clumsiness. Jin says he’ll be there to catch her if she falls, and he isn’t kidding. She trips again, and he dives to land under her onto a chair.
The principal greets all of the attendees. At this point, Zhi Shu looks back to the last row. He can see Xiang Qin craning her neck to get a glimpse (F Class is in the back, A Class is in front), and he reveals the faintest hint of a smile/smirk when he turns back around.
Not many people are paying attention to the principal’s speech — girls are already busy plotting for Zhi Shu’s second button.
Jin has already reserved his button for Xiang Qin, using his own brand of protective measure. Looking down the row, however, it is very clear that Xiang Qin only has eyes for Zhi Shu.
Zhi Shu is called up to make his valedictorian speech, and Xiang Qin reminisces about the three years that have passed. This was the place where she fell in love with him. Now she lives in his house and still wonders if she occupies even a small space in his genius brain.
She’s lost in a daydream when she is called up front, so her family has to come over to wake her up. She nervously gets ready to go, and Jin comes over like a goofball in shining armor to take her by the hand. He walks her down the aisle arm in arm (she’s reluctant to take his arm at first but relents, in case if she might fall again).
Cue crazy dream-sequence wedding: Happy Jin, blushing Xiang Qin, proud father, and Zhi Shu flailing around in misery like a rabid rag doll (Zhi Shu’s total freak out is laugh-out-loud funny). Xiang Qin gives Zhi Shu a pouty “too bad, so sad” look over her shoulder, and he moans in misery.
The principal is the official who reads them their vows. Jin shouts out his “I do” reply, Zhi Shu continues to have a seizure, and the dream sequence finally comes to an end. It turns out that, in reality, Jin randomly said “I do” in front of everyone. Embarrassed, Xiang Qin takes the diplomas. Everyone laughs. Jin runs up to the microphone to tell Zhi Shu that he won’t give up on Xiang Qin; just because Zhi Shu lives with her, that doesn’t mean he can win her heart. The principal tries to yank the microphone away from Jin’s hands. He hangs on to it, much to our chagrin, and promises Xiang Qin every happiness. Mom finally stands up in the back to voice her disapproval. There’s no doubt that she is the ultimate Zhi/Qin shipper.
Jin comes down from the stage, making Xiang Qin drop all of the diplomas. In the end, the graduation entertainment wasn’t too bad. I’ve been to longer, more boring graduations.
After the ceremony has ended, the kids are goofing off and taking pictures. Xiang Qin is having her picture taken with Mom, and a crowd of girls is already gathering around Zhi Shu. Mom pulls Xiang Qin along to get closer to the fray. Zhi Shu’s friend is trying to play crowd control by getting the girls to line up.
Zhi Shu politely declines them one by one. Xiang Qin’s friends come up to her to urge her to get the button. Mom comes over to push her to the front of the line, but Jin stops her half-way, trying to make her accept his button. Xiang Qin runs the other way, and Jin chases after her. She comes around the other side of the line, apologizes to Zhi Shu, and goes in to take his button by force.
That evening, F Class is having their final class party. Jin thinks that this is his moment to become Xiang Qin’s “Mr. Right.” He has hatched yet another plan to win her heart. He invites her to sing, and she declines. He won’t take no for an answer, however, and goes up to pick a song. The lights switch off, and a spotlight turns on over Xiang Qin and her friends. Her chair magically flies back to the entrance. All of the classmates “participate” in Jin’s song by dancing around him. Xiang Qin is lifted up as fireworks go off. She dances with Jin, who lifts her and twirls her; all the while, she has a big smile plastered on her face.
At the end of the song, she takes his face in her hands, and then his hands in hers. She apologizes to Jin for being bratty. He moves in to kiss her… before his dream fades.
He’s in a total daze, only to be awoken by complaining. While he was daydreaming, the karaoke process was being held up. Jin drags Xiang Qin up to sing. They sing together (not half bad).
In the middle of their song, the A Class enters. They mock their singing as bad, like their grades (serious karaoke party foul, imho). Embarrassed, Xiang Qin goes back to sit down. The F Class toasts, and their teacher stands up to give them a final pep talk. He hopes they will be happy and value this moment together, as they are all about to go their separate ways. He thanks them all for not giving up over the last 3 years. Miss A Class gives a speech from the other side of the partition, obviously trying to compete with the words of Mr. F Class. It is on: another battle of how important grades are to success in life.
Finally, once he’s had enough of the passive approach, Mr. F Class sticks his head into their party’s room. It escalates when Miss A Class drags Zhi Shu into it. Xiang Qin pops her head in to have a good shout and ends up calling Zhi Shu a bad, cold-blooded monster. He points out that that’s what she likes. This reminds A Class of her school reputation. They point out her love letter and rejection, and even the massage tool for old people she gave Zhi Shu.
Jin is the one who puts an end to it by suggesting they go back to singing. Zhi Shu points a victory sign in Xiang Qin’s face. Finally pushed over the edge, she pops around into their party room and pulls out the infamous photos of young Zhi Shu dressed as a little girl.
Everyone has a good laugh, enjoying his cuteness. Zhi Shu tries to get it back. Xiang Qin is enjoying her little taste of revenge until Zhi Shu grabs her arm and drags her all the way out of the party place.
He finally lets go, and she scurries backwards. She yells at him, saying that everyone treats the fact that she likes him as a joke. She says that, from today onward, she will forget all about him. He turns around and backs her into the wall, asking her if she has the guts to forget about him. She says that, now that she knows everything about him, she can go off to college and find a guy ten thousand times better. He tells her go and look for him then. Before she can get out “I will,” he leans in and kisses her.
She stays wide-eyed. He pulls back, and they stare at each other awkwardly — Zhi Shu’s eyes first searching her face, then looking away. Instead of coming up with something to say, he sticks out his tongue and leaves.
She stands there calmly, trying to process the situation.
The F Class finishes its party, and Xiang Qin thinks back to the kiss. She is lying with her head covered in bed, going over what happened from start to finish. She felt it was too surreal — a kiss like that would be hard for anyone to accept. She goes down to breakfast, and Zhi Shu has already gone out. She is acting nervous around his parents and spills soy sauce on Yu Shu’s sketch book. She decides that she’ll take it to him and leaves in a hurry.
Yu Shu is at school playing dodge ball with his friends. Xiang Qin pops up to see him eyeing one of his female classmates. He doesn’t take kindly to Xiang Qin being there. Trying to be helpful/mischievous, she goes over to another little girl to find out the name of the object of Yu Shu’s affection. Her name is Yang Yun, and she is the prettiest girl in their class.
Yu Shu gets the ball back, and Yang Yun is cowering, so he can’t bean her with the ball. Xiang Qin grabs it and brings it over to her, taking the opportunity to introduce Yu Shu in full (including height and weight, much to his annoyance).
Xiang Qin whispers into Yang Yun’s ear that she can come over after school and have her 5566 photo book. Yu Shu doesn’t know what 5566 is, and Xiang Qin says that everyone knows who they are. She assesses that Yu Shu’s head has gone weird from too much studying, like his older brother. 5566 is a Taiwanese boy band (read about it here).
Xiang Qin walks the two kids home, pretending that her shoes are untied so they can walk next to each other. When they get there, they introduce Yang Yun to Mom, and the kids go upstairs.
Later, Yang Yun is going through the photo book while Yu Shu plays a video game. He tries to engage her in conversation, but it doesn’t really last. Mom and Xiang Qin come in to deliver snacks, Mom teasing Yu Shu a bit with hands in the shape of a heart. She sneaks back in to snap a photo because she just can’t help herself.
Yu Shu nudges Yang Yun with his keyboard, doing his best to flirt with her (she’s not too interested). Zhi Shu comes in to put something in the closet, noting that Yang Yun is cute. She takes an immediate interest in Zhi Shu, telling Yu Shu that his brother is cool.
A few days later, Yang Yun shows up at Casa Jiang looking for Zhi Shu. She lets herself inside and upstairs while Xiang Qin tries to stop her. She goes right into Zhi Shu’s room, offering him a cake that she made. He accepts it and thanks her.
Yang Yun tells him that he is the prince of her dreams. She tells him not to answer her right away and to wait for her to grow up. She waves a quick good-bye to Yu Shu as she passes him on her way out of their room. Xiang Qin tries to gloss over things nervously. Unfortunately, Yu Shu witnessed the whole thing. He shoves Xiang Qin, blaming her for everything, and runs off.
Xiang Qin finds him sulking under the staircase and tries to cheer him up, but he ignores her. She tries to get him to smile, and he kicks her off (little brat), pushing her away, telling her to leave (yeah, I’ve decided that Yu Shu has no endearing qualities). Xiang Qin tells him that they are in the same situation: liking someone who doesn’t like them back. She begins to cry, feeling pretty sorry for herself. Yu Shu pinches her cheek in response.
Later that night, the family is eating at Xiang Qin’s dad’s (Ah Cai’s) restaurant. Zhi Shu is taking the university entrance exams tomorrow, and they are celebrating to cheer him on. Ah Cai introduces a lady named Wan Zi as is his kitchen assistant. Wan Zi grabs Zhi Shu’s hand and doesn’t release it, obviously fond of him.
Xiang Qin pours the wine, and Zhi Shu holds out his cup. She says it’s a bad idea since his test is tomorrow. His dad tells her to pour a little for Zhi Shu, so she does. Xiang Qin is already on her second cup. They toast to Zhi Shu. Xiang Qin starts taking shots of wine because she likes the taste, and it isn’t too long before the room starts twirling as they sing and toast.
Xiang Qin starts acting drunk, making a mess of things. Her dad takes her away from the table. Zhi Shu’s dad (out of nowhere) suggests Ah Cai find someone to marry Xiang Qin who will take over his restaurant. Mom disapproves (we know very well who she has in mind for Xiang Qin).
Just then, Jin appears, having let himself in. Drunken Xiang Qin asks Jin what he’s doing there, and he proclaims that he has become a chef. He will work at her dad’s restaurant as his apprentice. Marrying her and inheriting the restaurant are all part of his “Love Plan”. He calls Ah Cai “Dad,” which earns him a smack in the head.
Jin declares he will work hard for his dreams, no matter how difficult things get. Dun dun duuuuuun!
End of Episode
As Ah Jin is making noodles later that night, his long lost twin brother comes and hits him on the head with a frying pan. Planning to take over his brother’s life as a chef, he vows vengeance on all vegetarians in the name of his long lost second aunt’s step-mother… Dun dun duuuuuuun! Nah, I’m just kidding. Power to the vegetarians.
In this episode, a lot happens and nothing happens. When I think of the title It Started With a Kiss, this is the kiss I think they are talking about. Zhi Shu finally loses himself in the moment. For a split second he gives in to frustration and attraction.
It may look like he has Xiang Qin up against a wall, but it’s really Xiang Qin who finally has the upper hand. When Zhi Shu lost control, it was the first time he ever lost to her.
© lovelovedrama 2011