Last recap for this drama on my end (not like many are reading!). There is only a handful of times you could shove a scene down my throat and call it romance or the tingling of teenage hormones, director. I thought we had something special, but this episode churned out cliché one after another, and the lead up to the ultimate split was dull and predictable. (Unless they are totally duping me?!)
Love at Seventeen (我和我的十七歲) Episode 3 RECAP:
First round of dance practice doesn’t go anywhere significant, except for more opportunities for close contact, before Hao Yi is whisked away by Xiao Fen to save Shu Lei from the onslaught of her fanboys, hoping to be her dance partner. He shouts back at Li Si that he’ll teach her how to dance tomorrow at the study hall, and she smiles at his suggestion. “I didn’t even ask you to teach me…”
One her way out, she’s stopped by Han Ming, who asks about the present she gave to Shu Lei on his behalf. Lying with good intention, she says Shu Lei always anticipates his gifts, which is not wrong, but Han Ming confesses in knowing about her earlier fight with Shu Lei, and asks why she didn’t reveal his identity. “You guys are close, but because of me…is it worth it?” She beams up at him. “You’re also my friend.” He looks down, touched by her words, and then she adds, “Unless Peter is ready, I won’t tell.” She’s too good for my liking.
I love the next scene, even though it is brief, it is to the point and speaks loudly about the mentality of bullies. Han Ming takes out a notepad, but class bully Qi Tai grabs it, and before he can carry out his usual insolent behavior, Hao Yi calls out from his seat, “Hey, what are you doing?” That acknowledgement intercepts Qi Tai and his lackeys, because this might be the first time they are greeted with resistance. Hao Yi’s intervention brings forth to the bullies that someone is watching them and is willing to stand up. Lovely scene.
Intent on helping the situation between Shu Lei and Li Si, Han Ming writes a personal letter to Shu Lei, introducing himself as Peter, revealing his crush on her, and how his feelings for her is that of a fan worshiping their idol. He implores her to stop searching for his identity from Ai Li Si because his feelings do not need acknowledgement. “You will always be my idol, and I’m content with supporting you from the shadow.” Shu Lei’s face falls and Xiao Fen inquires after her glum face, then an idea comes to her. She lightly traces across date section on the paper and discovers that Peter is from Year 2 Class 6. Also, at the corner of each sheet has the drawing of Shu Lei in her swimming gear. Thus begins the girls’ illegal search of the boys’ classroom.
Shu Lei locates the culprit’s notepad shortly and her face lights up as she flips through the pages. When Qi Tai greets his queen and wonders why they are taking fancy at his notepad, she glares up at him, “You’re Peter?” Qi Tai gives her a puzzled look and we are brought to another scene.
Meanwhile, Li Si leans against a tree in the garden of Eve (yes, I’m calling it that for the time being), jotting down her innermost thoughts about the feelings of liking someone. Since she’s young, she has no idea what that feeling feels like. Not to worry, Hao Yi finds her there, snatches her diary, reads it, and follows up with, “I know what it feels like to like someone. Your heart starts racing when you see him…” The camera pans away only showing their quick love dance: the diary lands on the ground, and his feet move forward, forcing her to step backwards until her back hits the tree and his arm supports the nape of her neck. He continues to describe the symptoms (quick breathing, blah blah blah) of love and puts his other arm up behind her too. Now our girl is locked in place with only Hao Yi’s face about 3 inches away, observing her features up close with keen interest. Hao Yi: “Just like how you are right now.”
She gazes dreamily at him. “You like me?” OMIIII she asked him?!
“Yes. I like you.” OMG!! Is this how fast we are going? Because I like it very much.
He inches closer and closer, lips aiming for lips…
Then someone calls out Ai Li Si… And she wakes up in class to Xiao Fen’s voice. OMG. I’m gonna slap someone!! ARGGGGGG!!
Xiao Fen points to Shu Lei wearing a red jacket, and the latter gloats that it’s Qi Tai’s jacket. Utterly confused at what is happening, Li Si appropriately asks why, which annoys Shu Lei because she thinks Li Si still isn’t fessing up the truth. What a mess. In a nutshell, Shu Lei remains angry at Li Si for playing dumb and she finally decides to give Qi Tai a chance to pursue her. This is interesting. I think Shu Lei is smarter than this, and is merely using Qi Tai to force the truth out of Li Si, judging on her quickness in accepting a dinner date with Qi Tai. Am I giving her too much credit?
Another afternoon without her friends, Li Si trudges on the bus dejectedly, until Hao Yi’s face pops near her face. He follows her because he *Needs* help with Trigonometry. She plays hard to get on him, making the poor boy bluster about her astute understanding of math and how he failed the midterm last term. His sincere (more like babyish) request brings a smile to her face and in that instant, on a moving bus, she decides to teach him right there! Of course, the bus comes to a halt suddenly, and we have the same scene in a different background. Getting tiring now, director.
Math tutoring time becomes Love Tutoring Time. Still bemused at Shu Lei’s sudden change in attitude with Qi Tai (this girl is not the sharpest tool in the box, ain’t it?), she explains to an equally befuddled Hao Yi that Shu Lei is the type to know who she likes at first glance. Hao Yi thinks girls are weird. “Just because you don’t like them at first sight, doesn’t mean feelings are impossible. Let the feelings grow!” He casually asks, “What about you, what makes you like someone?” Surprised by his question, she gazes at his side profile and recalls fondly all their close contact in the past months. “Liking someone should happen after getting to know them, and sharing the happy and sad moments. I get used to having him in my life.” Curious who that person might be, he scoots closer and pinches her cheeks. “Hurry up and tell me who that guy is!”
The pinching session turns into a tickling fight, and then when he lands on top of her on the sofa, they lock eyes for the millionth time.
She raises up a pen weakly to remind him about studying. Once settled in their respective chair, he stubbornly pummels her with more questions about her crush, and she relays her fears to him. She’s afraid that if she confesses her feelings, they might not be friends anymore. Upset at her for not telling him more about her mysterious crush, he gets huffy and leaves, forgetting about his folder on the table. A quick scan of his papers show his perfect score on the last math test. HAH.
She returns his folder and listens to his explanation about how he was being a good friend by being there for her when Shu Lei and Xiao Fen are ignoring her. He describes himself as top quality friend and then quips about her crush, “Does he care about you like I do?” Tired of his silly comparison, she places a hand on his shoulder, affirming him of his status as her best friend. He then takes her hand off his shoulder and continues to hold on to them, “Just friends?” When she tries to pull away, he tightens his grip and they stare at each other for a prolonged minute. She breaks the tense moment by calling him weird.
Disappointment runs across his face and he tells her to go home, so she follows and hides behind a pole to tease him when he comes searching for her. He asks if she has a partner for the dance yet and she casually shakes her head, which prompts him to ask about the mysterious guy she likes. He probably doesn’t need a dance partner and Hao Yi opens up about wanting her to be his partner. Li Si refuses because she doesn’t want to be public enemy number one. His ultimatum: she’s in charge of finding him a partner, and if she fails, she will dance with him.
Camping day! Shu Lei walks right past a seated Li Si, who saved them adjacent seats. Li Si tries to make small talk but Shu Lei remains curt in her responses, forcing Xiao Fen to sit with her instead. I’m getting tired of this silly fight. On the girls’ side of the camp site, Li Si takes on the role of Miss Cook, joined shortly after by Hao Yi, who knows she’ll be lonely taking care of the cooking for everyone else.
He brandishes a piece of meat and when she attempts to eat off of it several times, they end up falling backwards, his back against the tree, and her head on his chest. I want to pound the director real bad. How many shot of the same action do I need per episode?!!
Over on the boys’ camping site, a lackey runs excitedly up to Qi Tai and is corrected to call him Peter instead. Oh Boy. He presents a bottle of vodka, suggesting that it’s the key for him to conquer Bai Shu Lei tonight. You disgusting piece of human garbage! Good thing Qi Tai balks at the idea, confident in Shu Lei’s recent attraction to him, at which his boys shoot him down immediately. They explain that once his facade of Peter is exposed, she won’t even look at him. Seed of doubt planted, Qi Tai forcefully grabs the bottle, prepared for tonight’s good fortune. Ugh. I need to barf!
After being bullied by Qi Tai and his boys to go get water, Han Ming bumps into Li Si who is peeling some veggies. They trade pleasantries and he gives her advice on how boys act when they are around the girls they like. “So if you really like He Hao Yi, you should go find him.” Li Si looks worried and then Han Ming adds a note about Qi Tai holding a bottle of alcohol.
Nighttime, the dance commences. Mustering all his courage, Hao Yi ignores the calls of his fangirls and beelines for Li Si. “Asking you to dance isn’t because of loyalty or pity. It’s because I truly want to dance with you.” Hearing this, Han Ming turns away. Gosh, you like Ai Li Si too??!! She smiles at his sincerity but her thoughts all of a sudden micro-focus on what Han Ming told her this morning about the alcohol bottle. When Hao Yi takes her hand to the dance floor, she drops his and runs off. “Wait a minute. I have something more important.” While I applaud her for putting sisterhood before romance, must she wait until this very last moment to look for Qi Tai and Shu Lei?!
The scene then becomes a searching party: Li Si looking for Shu Lei, while trio Xiao Fen, Hao Yi, and Han Ming are looking for Li Si. They bump into Shu Lei and then the disciplinary instructor, who is looking for Qi Tai on the report that he brought alcohol. They arrive at Qi Tai’s camping tent, and the shadow highlights a woman looking like she’s kissing a man. Upon yanking the tent open, Li Si is seen on top of Qi Tai. Everyone looks shocked. Not so much me.
Li Si tries to explain their compromising position – she was trying to teach Qi Tai a lesson, but he, being unhelpful, says she was seducing him. At this point, Shu Lei speaks up – but not in defense of her good friend, she asks if it’s true and Li Si has to clarify that it’s not. She was here to expose Qi Tai’s masquerade as Peter. Shu Lei: “Then tell me, who is Peter?”
With all sides tackling Li Si, Han Ming gains the momentum and courage to help out his friend. “I am Peter.” The disbelief in the surrounded voices stings Han Ming’s pride. Having had enough, Shu Lei runs away. Li Si sees Hao Yi and asks me to believe her. With his eyes averted, he quietly says, “I only believe the truth that is before my eyes.” The scene fades to emptiness, with the girls calling Li Si shameless for trying her seduction.
Subsequently, a dreamy sequence plays out. Li Si catches up to Hao Yi and tells him everything is not true. He doesn’t reply and merely stares at her before the scene transitions into 2016.
I’m just gonna summarize the modern scenes. Ai Li Si now works as a researcher. She openly and harshly criticizes her co-workers and demands them to be careful in the work environment. They describe her as a post-it monster and cold-blooded working machine. She agrees with their appraisal, then tells them to shut up and go do some real work. Her decency as a human being derails too. We have a scene of her hesitating to help a frail old woman pick up her dropped fruits in the middle of a street. Really show? That is the average human decency and you’re telling me, she doesn’t possess that much?
Our male lead has become a dandy business man returning to China after a trip overseas. Knowing his sister’s tendency to forget about him, he calls his employee to pick him up as plan B. He’s scheduled to meet the mysterious researcher on behalf of his company.
They casually meet each other at the same bookstore, but he doesn’t recognize her because she’s wearing a face mask. How convenient. They trade barbs, each trying to get the Naruto Volume 72. Uh… excuse me, excuse me. We have black markets for manga ya know….Just putting it out there…
When her mannerisms remind him of Li Si, he shakes the thought away, “Ai Li Si has been missing for 13 years…”
Gosh, 13 years?!! No need to fret, they meet again at the meeting tomorrow, and his jaw drops hearing that she’s the researcher A.I.
—————————- END —————————-
Kappy: I have a quite a few issues with this show. First and foremost, they overestimated the amount of care I gave these characters. I like them but with very little developments and bonding time in their relationships, I wasn’t allowed to love them, not enough to pine after them for thirteen years, anyway. And surely, these characters can’t be hung up on each other for that long? (Of course, they are…) For me to appreciate the angst of those 13 long years, you need a build up, you need to give me something to bite on. There was nothing, he kinda outed his feelings but she never confirmed on her end. They missed their timing and that’s it.
The other jarring issue is Li Si’s complete change in attitude, making the disconnection with the character much bigger. WHY? WHY the heck did she become a robot show? You want me to care and yet you pulled the rug on me? I’m sure you will explain down the road but I don’t think I could believe you. You went too far with the old lady. That high school incident should’ve been resolved easily. If her friends claim to be her best friends, they would believe in her integrity as a person, not silly nilly follow the words of others. I was disappointed immensely in their friendship at that point.