Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

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Chen Shen’s mask is not perfect, as good as he is at his job. His facade cracks when he was confronted with the shooting of his sister-in-law, and it cracks even more when he finally sits down with his former love again. The love rectangle is established and in place, but in such turbulent times, loving someone can mean losing everything.

Sparrow Episode 4 RECAP:

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When Chen Shen starts the car to leave, the noise of the engine startles our faux couple in their apartment. Bi Cheng wants to leave the conversation until tomorrow, but the careful Shan Hai warns her about Bi Zhong Liang’s sharp eyes. He reminds her of their background story: they were married in February 25, 1939, their union was set-up by her uncle.

Shan Hai asks if Chen Shen has feelings for her, which Bi Cheng denies ardently. He clarifies that he is asking not as a husband interrogating a wife but as a comrade: “What I can deduce, so can Bi Zhong Liang.” Bi Cheng replies that she is not capable of espionage. If not for her identity as Li Mo Qun’s grandniece, she would not be sent on this mission.

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It is clear Bi Cheng is not confident in her abilities, but she promises to work harder. Shan Hai is kind and tells her mistakes are natural. He also orders her to meet Chen Shen, to explain that she did not acknowledge him during the dinner because Shan Hai was there.

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Chen Shen does not go home, instead he meets the Pi Dan’s group of four misfits who are excited at finally being called to help their saviour. He hesistantly warns that their current operation could get them killed, but one of them cheerily adds that at least he has given them another year to live. But when they hear they have to rescue a person who is currently imprisoned in the Bureau, their faces change.

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It is Shan Hai and Bi Cheng’s first day at work. Er Bao shows him to his office, while Bi Cheng is brought to hers by yet another of Li Mo Qun’s relative. She is introduced to Liu Mei Na (Liu Jia Tong), who is a gossip but otherwise friendly. Mei Na is the information officer, who shows herself to be well-informed and networked.

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Chen Shen joins Bi Zhong Liang during his morning trainings of the dog (well, he watches). When he complains about losing a month’s worth of wages on the gambling table, Chen Shen replies that he still has his secret drug dealings. But life is not easy for them, as they are now on the Team Hurricane’s hitlist.

Again, Bi Zhong Liang shows his incredible perceptiveness by correctly guessing that perhaps Mr Dai sent them the “gift” of six members to pave the way for Shan Hai into the Bureau. Further, Shan Hai is possibly Li Mo Qun’s people. Whoever he is though, he is an outsider, end of story. Bi Zhong Liang brings up Qiu Xia, but Chen Shen keeps his facade and tells him to do as he wants.

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In his office, Chen Shen receives a call. When no one speaks for a long time, he becomes suspicious before understanding who it is. Meanwhile, Er Bao is ordered to continue to tail Chen Shen. Bi Zhong Liang reviews the information on all the new officers and sees that Bi Cheng joined Huangpu Military Academy in 1935.

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That reminds him of their dinner yesterday, where he too noticed how strangely Bi Cheng behaved meeting Chen Shen. It is enough to raise his suspicions once again, and he gives Er Bao another order: to get all information on Shan Hai and Bi Cheng.

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Sitting near the window in a cafe, Chen Shen watches with longing at Bi Cheng as she arrives. Flashback to when Bi Cheng was leaving, and Chen Shen was playing the harmonica she has gifted him, looking anywhere but her. She has hugged him, asking if he would wait for her to return. He did not answer but the sorrow in parting was clear.

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Outside, Bi Cheng too gathers herself before meeting her past lover again. When she finds him in the cafe, he smiles at her and motions for her to come here, as familiarly as if no time has passed. He even helps her to her seat, more gentlemanly than viewers ever see him treat Xiao Nan. Her first words to him is whether he will cut her hair for her.

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They both smile at that memory, but Bi Cheng’s hands are still shaking. She asks after him, and he asks when she did get married. When he hears it is 1939, he notes that she got married the year after she left the academy (and him). Back then, he was still in the academy. He didn’t sound accusing, but rather resigned.

He wishes her well, happy that she met someone good, and says as much. Bi Cheng looks like she is trying not cry, and when she calls him Teacher, he tells her not to. But once a teacher, always a teacher because he tells her: “I once taught you that if you are ever in a dangerous place, you must keep all secrets to yourself and learn to survive. Once you lie once, you need to keep lying in order to cover that first lie.”

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She quietly asks if he has married, but the Plot carefully arranges for Xiao Nan and her friend to arrive at the moment. She cheerily introduces herself to Bi Cheng as his girlfriend. So the two girls end up hijacking the past lovers’ reunion. This information is of course delivered to Bi Zhong Liang.

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After the not-date, Chen Shen and Bi Cheng walk back to the Bureau. Bi Cheng nervously asks if she could go ahead of him, and he is understanding of her reasons. She meets Shan Hai who has been standing at the door, asking if she went outside. She confirms it, as per instructed.

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Chen Shen wants to leave as soon as he hears that Bi Zhong Liang wants him, but is forced to go inside anyway. On his way, he comes across his lackeys skewering rats as food (ew). The lackeys explain that how they trapped the rats, which are everywhere in the Bureau, using water buckets. It gives him an idea.

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Inside the interrogation room, Qiu Xia is strapped to an electric chair. Bi Zhong Liang gives her a last chance to talk, but she retorts that there is no way of knowing now if he has chosen the right side. He agrees. They are all putting their lives at risk and they have no idea about each other’s fates. Qiu Xia: “Then I choose to die this day, before dawn.” (The dawn is, of course, symbolic.)

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That is all the answer Bi Zhong Liang needs: “You decide if you want to die. But I will be the one to decide how you die.” The grinning Er Bao begins working the electric generator, electrifying Qiu Xia as she writhes in pain. They don’t allow her to die though, and stops just as she faints.

Desperate to stop the torture, Chen Shen remembers about the rats. He snips the wiring at the electrical box, just as Er Bao stops. They give her ten seconds to rest, before the torture circus begins again. Qiu Xia finally speaks, much to Bi Zhong Liang’s delight. He leans in to hear her whisper.

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When he gets close enough, she bites his ear so hard she draws blood. Oh boy. Can’t say he didn’t deserve that. Er Bao has to punch Qiu Xia where her wound is to stop her and he is back at the electrical generator, with renewed gusto. But then just as Chen Shen planned, the electric is cut off and he joins them at the blacked out interrogation room, feigning ignorance. They learn that it’s the rats’ fault.

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Bi Cheng has slipped into Shan Hai’s office to get his help on some of the forms she has to fill when they hear the commotion as Bi Zhong Liang is brought to the hospital. She wonders if it is the captured Nationalist members’ doing, but Shan Hai thinks otherwise: “How many fearless Nationalist members are there left?” It is probably Qiu Xia, though he knows her by her codename, who is related to the famous Sparrow.

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He then stares at her, before asking how the not-date went. Bi Cheng sullenly tells him not to worry, she knows that she is married now. Shan Hai couldn’t help but smile a little at that, aw. You are so in love.

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In the hospital, Bi Zhong Liang leaves the doctor’s office with a heavily bandaged ear. The sight gag makes Chen Shen laughs and points at it, willing Er Bao to join in. When they step outside, Bi Zhong Liang stops at where the officer (that Chen Shen framed) died and they have a conversation that is ominously ambiguous about Qiu Xia’s fate.

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Bi Zhong Liang doesn’t need revenge on Qiu Xia. After all, once she reaches Nanjing, there will be a worse fate awaiting her. But an openly antagonistic dog is not frightening: “The worrying ones are those that wild dogs who can’t wait to caught you off guard and pounce on you.” Chen Shen asks if he means Shan Hai, but he stares long enough at Chen Shen to make me think otherwise.

But then he asks if it is a good idea to send Shan Hai to escort Qiu Xia to Nanjing. They can test him then. Even though he is not a Communist, he might still save a fellow resistance fighter. Bi Zhong Liang orders Chen Shen to get three train tickets and for Bi Cheng to join. They usually transport prisoners by car but the roads are unpredictable these days.

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Back in their apartment, Shan Hai asks Bi Cheng if she has any news. He gives her a string of advice before telling her not to meet with Chen Shen recently to prevent rumours. She angrily says she doesn’t need him to tell her when to meet him and when to ignore him and closes the door shut. Poor Shan Hai looks completely confused.

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At Pi Dan’s place, Chen Shen details his plans: if everything goes well, Shan Hai and Bi Cheng would be escorting Qiu Xia by train. On the way to Nanjing, there will be an accident-prone area that they could take advantage of.

The team must arrive in that area and set-up the accident by 12, and return to the nearest Wuxi station for the rescue operation. Chen Shen also asks that they buy him three boat tickets to Hong Kong and for Pi Pi to be brought to the harbour. He then shows them sketched portraits of Qiu Xia, Shan Hai and Bi Cheng. For the last one: “Unless there is no other way, I hope she can be safe and sound.”

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Chen Shen returns home to find Xiao Nan asleep outside her door, with homemade soup in tow. She asks that he accompany her on her birthday, coincidentally the D-Day for the rescue operation. He agrees. He thinks that if he can officially take leave using Xiao Nan as an excuse and then rush to Wuxi.

He wonders if he will implicate Xiao Nan and if he should buy another ticket. Ever since he infiltrated the Bureau three years ago, the only person who treated him sincerely is Xiao Nan. But they clearly want different things from each other, because he only thinks of her as a brother.


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Ryu: That cafe scene was heartbreaking. For circumstances we don’t know yet, they separated when Bi Cheng has to leave. When she returned, Chen Shen was likely at the battleground. We don’t know how Bi Cheng lived her life post-separation yet, but for Chen Shen who has always kept everyone at an arm’s length, she might be the last person he ever treated with actual sincerity. That was before manipulations and deceit become Chen Shen’s only way to survive and succeed, so it would be interesting how he would treat Bi Cheng from now on.

Oh and can we please talk about Shan Hai? I have Second Lead Syndrome the moment he appeared. There is not much of him now and I’m carrying over sentiments from future episodes, I know, so I won’t discuss why here. But I really like him. Curiously, he seems to be already falling for Bi Cheng. They don’t seem to have much history together, because Bi Cheng is very much uncomfortable and curt with him. It could be nervousness, but I think she doesn’t trust him very much yet. But he may just be the only one she could actually trust, Chen Shen included.

  1. 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

    Oh you and me both re Second Lead syndrome 🙂 finding it hard to continue with this show as am totally rooting for Shan Hai. Doesn’t help that Inam not a big fan of the female lead.

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      Same! I stopped watching compulsively because (SPOILER) Chen Shen started being stagnant and Shan Hai actually has more character development yet he’s not the one. Unless there’s a mother of all plot twists and he’s the Sparrow. And I desperately wanted to like Bi Cheng, partly because I adore Zhou Dong Yu, but her character is so meh. She’s supposed to be insecure, scared and naive, but she’s so darn useless sometimes. I feel like the writer is being lazy here. Instead of genuine conflicts whereby people are actually outsmarting each other, numerous times we see the tension is created as a result of Bi Cheng’s mistakes.

      • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

        Ryu, thanks for the recaps ! I’ve been wanting to know Chen Shen-Bicheng conversation in the café, coz it was one of my favourite scenes.

        Wow, I dunno that people find Zhou Dong Yu that annoying, coz I’m okay with her. Yes, some tension is created because of her mistakes, but some are genuine conflicts with Chen Shen-Shan Hai outsmarting each other. How far have you watched the series?. I’ve watched until the most recent ones, and there was this time when she protected Chen Shen. Anyway, yeah .. she was still the amateur agent and the weakest one, compared to the others. If there were no Chen Shen and Shanhai protecting her, then she would have been discovered since a long time ago.

        Regarding Shanhai, yup .. he was amazing. Love him as well, [b](SPOILER)[/b] although he will do something that I hate somewhere in the future [b](END SPOILER)[/b].

        Btw, I need to ask something :
        “She wonders if it is the captured Nationalist members’ doing, but Shan Hai thinks otherwise: “How many fearless Nationalist members are there left?””
        Qiuxia was a Communist, just like Chen Shen, wasn’t she ? Or were Shan Hai – Bicheng didn’t know about this?

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          Yeah, Bicheng isn’t very well-liked. I think she’s one of those characters that you either hate or love, there’s no in-between. Personally, while I don’t think she’s the brightest crayon in the box, she does have some good qualities about her. From what I’ve seen in ep 36 (uncut version) she’s starting to bring out those qualities. I think there are some characters that you can tell from the beginning who will need time to shine and that’s her. It’d be so boring if everyone was just as smart, right?

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          After reading every complaint about Bicheng, I just thought that I was the only one who didn’t get annoy by her *LOL* . Yes, I agree with chasingpolaris. I don’t see why every lead female have to be smart and spunky and couldn’t make stupid mistakes . Bicheng is smart too, but she is a beginner, so she makes mistakes here and there. And from the newest episode, she had shown her improvement. She is a character who is constantly learning during the show, while Chen Shen seemed to be ‘stagnant’ because he is already matured and stabled, plus he understands Zhongliang more than Shanhai, so he could guess him (and his action) better than Shanhai could. That keeps him in a more ‘safer’ zone than Shanhai .

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          Oh Luna, I don’t hate Bi Cheng, I just get flustered by her actions sometimes. I always remind myself that she’s very new to this and that she is like a lamb in a den of wolves.

          About your question, Bi Cheng was referring to the “gift” Shan Hai brought: he aided in the capture of six Nationalist members to the Bureau. Bi Cheng is wondering if those members escaped or caused trouble.

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          Ahh, I see. Thanks, Ryu! 🙂

          Yeah, I also got flustered by her actions sometimes . You could see how amateur she was, compared with the cool Chen Shen and Shan Hai. Actually, I like Xiao Nan more than her. Then again, I still ship Chen Shen-Bicheng *LOL*.

      • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

        Shanhai is not Sparrow.

        His character is bland/weak in the novel but this drama version is so fleshed out and Zhang Ruoyun is an awesome young actor. I had no feelings towards his character in the novel (even though he died a tragic hero death) but this drama version made me love him.

        I’m gonna be so damn traumatized when it comes to his torture / horrible death scene 🙁

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          @shimokuren, Is it due to noble idiocy that Chen Shen pretends to be engaged to Li Xiao Nan? (so that Bi Cheng will stop her feeling to him?)
          Please enlighten us 🙂 Thanks Thanks 🙂

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          I heard that they’re probably changing the ending of the drama compared to that of the book.

          I can only tell from what I know of the book and it’s that Chen Shen only regards Li Xiaonan like a sister and comrade and doesn’t love her like a lover. In the novel Chen Shen loves his wife (who died at the beginning of the novel to sacrifice for him and the Cause), and Xu Bicheng only has a love storyline with him because she was like his first love or something.

          Whatever Chen Shen is doing with Xiaonan is mostly for espionage purposes and not because he loves her as a lover (he cares about her like a friend / comrade / sister). In the DRAMA, they’re making Chen Shen and Xu Bicheng love each other because they’re the main characters. I HEARD (not sure if this is true or not) they may change the ending so that Bicheng and Chen Shen end up together, by making Chen Shen convert Bicheng to Communist party… (WTF)

          In the original novel, Bicheng and Chen Shen go their separate ways and Bicheng becomes a senior agent of the Kuomintang party…

          Just like in the novel, Liu Meina loved Chen Shen and sort of died for him but here in the drama they made Liu Meina and Shanhai a couple instead (even though they both die and have tragic endings)

          So yeah, they’ve changed so much stuff I don’t really know what’s gonna happen anymore…

          The novel ending was really powerful and I hope they don’t change that cuz the ending is what makes the patriotism and the heroic sacrifices of Chen Shen so memorable and powerful.

          If they change the ending to what the rumors say then I’m gonna be so damn pissed cuz that just defeats the whole tagline and theme of the story that they used to promote this series!

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          Shimokuren, thanks for the novel story comparison! I think that if they really want a happy ending, the rumours have to be made true. Bi Cheng has to be converted to the Communist party if she wants to be with Chen Shen, well, because the Communists are always the good guys in these dramas.

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      I was rooting for Chen Shen all the way in the novel but the more I watch this drama the more I like Shanhai instead (in the book I didn’t really care about Shanhai). Kudos to Zhang Ruoyun for making this character awesome.

      LOL same with my mom. She didn’t know any of the guys except for Li Yifeng and Wang Jingsong (Li Moqun) but upon watching the drama she’s now a Wang Jingsong + Zhang Luyi + Zhang Ruoyun fan hahahaha.

  2. 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

    Thank you for the recap.

    Same here I also stopped watching now , mainly because (Spoiler Alert –>) Chen shen’s character turned cowardice after episode 41 (which I honestly think was the best episode so far). (End of spoiler)
    Have you watched up to ep 41? 🙂

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      I have. Why did you think he was like that?


      It’s not cowardice, but it’s a noble idiocy. He didnt want Bicheng to sacrifice for him, so he wanted to push her away. He did the same noble idiocy to Xiao Nan before, by refusing to marry her because he didnt want to make her life suffer.

      –End spoiler–

  3. 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

    For everyone upset about dubbed voices:

    Zhang Luyi, Zhang Ruoyun, Yin Zheng, Liu Meina (sorry don’t know actress’s name but she’s awesome in this series) are original voices

    Li Yifeng, Zhou Dongyu, Li Xiaonan (sorry don’t know actress’s name but she’s also awesome) are dubbed

    Personal opinion of acting awesomeness for eps I’ve seen so far: Wang Jingsong (Duke Yan in Nirvana) > Zhang Luyi > Zhang Ruoyun > Yin Zheng > Li Yifeng

    For the ladies: Li Xiaoran (Zaixiang) > Li Xiaonan = Liu Meina > Zhou Dongyu

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      Thanks for the confirmation of the voices, shimokuren!

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      Hehe yes, Li Xiao Nan’s one of my favs; her name’s Kan Qing Zi and I adore her but she’s always relegated to supporting cast/non-main lead.

  4. 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

    No Second Lead Syndome here as I like both male leads. But Tang Shan Hai is just awesome. Pretty sure the fact that he’s in suits most of the time plays a role in my instant attraction. Never found Zhang Ruoyun attractive in Wuxin and didn’t care for his acting back then. But he gives TSH a certain charm that keeps me hooked. I always feel sorry for him when Bi Cheng prioritizes Chen Shen over him (and after ep 36 uncut version I can finally understand why), and the way he looks at her hits a soft spot. Not looking forward to when we won’t see him anymore, but I’m waiting for Zhang Ruoyun’s performance in that scene.

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      LOL I love ZRY’s Shanhai and I’ll be sad to see him go BUT I’m REALLY looking forward to his torture / death scenes cuz it’s a climatic sequence where he can show acting skills…

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      Me too, I like both male leads. In fact, I’m so glad that both males are likeable here, and the triangle love didn’t become the focus of the drama, like other drama would. The boys are still friendly and protect each other (while keeping secret from one another), and they are both protecting Bicheng. I also wasn’t impressed with Zhang Ruo Yan in Wuxin, but I like him here. I also feel sorry for him because of Bicheng, but he made mistakes too (too lazy to make a spoiler tag, but people who have watched until recent episode should understand what I meant). And, Chen Shen’s noble idiocy is understandable too, because his life as an agent could kill him anytime, and he didn’t want more people to sacrifice their lives for him. From the way he loves children (that made him couldn’t use a gun again) and everything, I just thought that Chen Shen’s character is written as a noble/heroic character .. which somehow made some people annoyed *LOL*.

  5. 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

    Love love love Shanhai and Xiaonan; they’re such interesting, intelligent characters (although I suspect the better Xiaonan scenes aren’t far off in the horizon). Such tragic characters though …. :/ I wish I could like Bicheng more, but she really is quite useless as a spy. I remember being a huge fan of Zhou Dongyu when she first debuted in Hawthorne Tree and another movie with Chen Xiao, but this…. this is killing it for me. For my sanity, I would prefer that all four remain single. I’ll lose it if the drama ends with Bicheng and Chen Shen living happily, while my two babies… *sobs*

    • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

      Nooo dont remain single *lol*
      Anyway, I love them too (I love all 4 of them, actually). I’m gonna be ‘okay’ if :


      Their deaths are more memorable as Meina. I didnt really like Meina, but I sympathize with her. I’m glad that she died smiling, while Shanhai regreted so much (got angry with him for a while, though). I think I’m gonna accept Shanhai’s death easier than Xiao Nan.. :crying: .Although I havent read the novel, but she’s very sweet here and she always helped and loved Chen Shen. And the artist is very pretty and she looked good with LYF (plus they usually wore matching outfits :p ) . so cute.

      Still, I love a happy I still hope that Chen Shen will be with Bicheng . The setup of ‘a separate lovers who met each other again during dangerous time where he thought that she has been married while she couldnt tell the truth’ really got into me. They’ve been holding their feelings for too long. But I’m still affraid of a sad ending so, yeahh I dont want to hope too much *lol*

      –end spoiler–

      • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

        I would prefer a happy ending for Bicheng and Chen Shen. It’d be tragic if they didn’t end up together after all they went through. But in a chaotic world like that, I still have my doubts so my hopes are not high. I’m just glad that Bicheng remains the only woman he’s ever loved. From the previews I saw, he tells her that. It’s more than enough.

        Right now I am so proud of Bicheng. She’s ready to give up her life for the one she loves and look at her transformation now. I absolutely loved her interrogation scenes with Bi Zhongliang and how she was able to question the “witness” about her clothing, etc. I hope she keeps this up.

        • 24 thoughts on “Sparrow: Episode 4 “All Those Who Love.”

          Ah yes, I love that part too (the interrogation scenes). She has become smarter and calmer. And, ZDY’s acting is good too, especially noticeable in the latest episodes

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