The most fascinating part of this drama is that the line between hero and villain is blurred. I guess this makes Gong Ou an anti-hero. Good thing Xiao Nian knows how to handle him.
Episode 4: The President’s Exclusive Protection
Facing a swarm of reporters, Shi Di plays the victim to explain why her mom drugged Xiao Nian. She claims her sister was seducing her husband and was preventing the couple from seeing each other. In a moment of desperation, she asked her mom for help. Basically, she’s describing everything she did to Xiao Nian. Gross. Mom chirps up, saying they never treated Xiao Nian any differently even though she’s adopted, but she was always trying to steal Shi Di’s things. What a load of bull.
Xiao Nian is buying snacks at a convenience store when the lady at the counter recognizes her from the news. She yells at her for stealing her own sister’s husband and tells her the Mu family has already come forward to say that Shi Di and Qian Chu are not getting divorced. She then shoves Xiao Nian out the door, right into an angry mob that surrounds her. Everyone yells and points at her, and she can only crouch down to protect herself.
A concerned Feng De shows Gong Ou the video of Xiao Nian being harassed and the two immediately rush off to search for her. They find her sitting on the side of the road, and when Gong Ou asks if she’s okay, she doesn’t respond in any way. Feng De, who’s more perceptive, can see that there’s something not right and suggest that she see a psychologist. So Gong Ou bundles her up and carries her to the car. He vows to get back at Xiao Nian’s family.
At home, Xiao Nian still doesn’t respond to anyone, acting more like a mute doll than a person. The doctors arrive and Gong Ou demands to know how many days it will take for her to recover. They patiently tell him that she’s suffered severe trauma from the media circus and her lack of speech is a way to protect herself. What she needs the most right now is the love and care of her family.
Gong Ou scoffs. Her family are the ones who caused this in the first place. If that’s the case, the doctors suggest that she be taken care of by someone she trusts. They have observed that Xiao Nian trusts Gong Ou and suggest he be the one to take care of her. He’s not so convinced, thinking that Xiao Nian still wants to get away from him. When they say that there’s a chance she could attempt suicide, he rushes to her room.
He finds her asleep and promises that he will take care of her. After he falls asleep watching her, she opens her eyes and smiles gently. The next morning, he declares that he slept sooo well next to her (even though he slept sitting up). But he’s frustrated when she still doesn’t respond to him.
At breakfast, he tries to reason with her, saying that he can no longer eat food that wasn’t cooked by her. She finally takes a bite from his chopsticks. For a week, he tries various other tactics to get her to speak (including getting the people who hurt her to apologize at her feet), but it’s not working.
In the bathroom, when he’s drying her hair, he accidentally knocks into a showerhead. In his usual Gong Ou way, he yells for Feng De and tells him to fire the person who designed it. This gets a reaction out of Xiao Nian. She turns to look at him. “You like me like this, right? You still like me, don’t you?” he asks. He kisses her. She doesn’t react, so he does it again and this time, she pushes him away and leaves the room. He misunderstands, thinking that he’s not the person who makes her feel safe.
Assuming that Qian Chu is the one she likes, he drops her off at his rival’s house. She drags her feet when he tries to pull her towards the gates and says this is as far as he will go. He lifts her hands and bites down. Chomp. Is he leaving his mark on her? After he drives off, she bites the same spot on her hand. This whole exchange is weird, but somehow endearing.
Instead of going into Qian Chu’s house, Xiao Nian walks to the house Gong Ou gave her. While she stands there, Gong Ou drives up and rushes to her. When he asks her why she’s not with Qian Chu, she hugs him. “What is this? You want to be with me, don’t you?” he asks with a smile. She only tightens her arms around him.
After she takes a shower, he leans down and she lets him kiss her. He pulls back abruptly, saying the doctors told him not to touch her. He admits that it’s nice that she’s being so obedient, but he wants the Xiao Nian who talks back to him. But when he turns away, she hugs him and presses her cheek against his back.
Gong Ou gathers the doctors and demands again for a treatment for Xiao Nian. They tell him that the hurt she’s experienced has grown like a tumor and needs to be “cut off.” The method? Hypnosis. [Insert snort here.] They would hypnotize her so that she relives the harassment she experienced, but the outcome would change because Gong Ou will rescue her. However, if he’s not someone she trusts, she would be further traumatized and they won’t be able to use hypnosis again. [Insert eye roll here.] He doesn’t want to take the risk, but Xiao Nian, who’s been listening outside, wants to try.
The hypnotist sends Xiao Nian into a trance and we see the same scenes of her being yelled at by the mob. Again, Gong Ou finds her sitting on the street. He finds her and says, “I believe you. Don’t be afraid, I’ll protect you. I’ll always be with you.” This time, instead of not reacting, she grabs him in a tearful hug. The real Gong Ou waits anxiously by her bedside as she comes out of the trance, but she still doesn’t speak. He’s hurt and angry, thinking that he’s not the person she trusts the most.
In the dining room, Feng De tells Xiao Nian that Gong Ou is still refusing to come down for dinner. Finally, Xiao Nian says, “Is Gong Ou sad?” Feng De is thrilled that she’s speaking again, but asks why she didn’t tell anyone. “To surprise him,” she says. Previously, he had asked for a meaningful gift and she think this is it. I don’t understand why this is necessary, but whatever.
Xiao Nian calls Qian Chu, who wasn’t able to get to her after the media fiasco because his parents wouldn’t let him out. He feels horrible, but she tells him not to worry about it. “I’ve decided to be with Gong Ou,” she says. You can practically hear Qian Chu’s heart shattering. He lost his memories when she was 18 and now she’s 24. They can’t return to those times, she says, because in those 6 years her feelings for him have faded away.
Gong Ou heard the entire conversation and waits smugly for her to notice him. He’s not sure if he should be happy that she’s speaking again or angry that she called Qian Chu. But since it was a rejection call and she wants to be with him, he’s very happy. But how dare Qian Chu still pursue her. So is he happy or angry, she asks.
In response, he picks her up, throws her on the bed and gets on top of her. He’s ecstatic. Adorably, he requests that she call his name because he hasn’t heard it in so long. “Gong Ou.” “Again.” “Gong Ou.” “Again.” “Gong Ou!” Aww, they’re like puppies. He also requests that she say “I love you,”, but she wants them to date for a month first and adds 3 conditions.
1. He can’t touch her whenever he wants. Hand holding is okay, but he needs permission to kiss her.
2. He has to control his anger and stop breaking things when he’s mad. Most importantly, he can’t hurt innocent people (e.g. Qian Chu).
3. She won’t allow herself to be his woman on the side. She understands that he has family responsibilities, but she won’t accept even artificial surrogacy. (I think what she means is that she won’t be with him if he has to produce an heir with another woman chosen by his family, even if they don’t do it the natural way.)
He agrees to all 3 conditions and promptly pushes her down on the bed again. He asks again and she relents, confessing, “I love you.” “I love you too,” he replies.
The next day, to a group of reporters, Gong Ou declares that Xiao Nian is his woman, so how could she have been trying to seduce Qian Chu? Lol, the arrogance. Next, he takes her on a little trip. On the way, when she falls asleep, she gets a text from Qian Chu. His father is sending him to France and his plane leaves that night. He asks her to see him off at the airport. Also, he has an extra plane ticket if she changes her mind. Gong Ou deletes the text.
When they get to their destination, it’s already night time. Turns out, they’re there to watch a meteor shower. He tells her that 11 years ago, his brother promised to watch a meteor shower with him, but never showed up. His brother had died in a car accident on the way there. Gong Ou claims he’s angry that he broke his promise, but Xiao Nian sees through him. His anger comes from the guilt that it was his fault his brother was driving that night. Gong Ou believes death was a relief for his brother, who was a music lover, but could never pursue his dreams because he was meant to take over the company.
Xiao Nian suddenly remembers that a few years ago, she sold a painting featuring a pair of brothers. Gong Ou says the buyer was him. That’s where he first saw a photo of her (with the painting). They kiss.
They wait and wait, but there’s no meteor shower, so they take refuge at a nearby house. On the TV, Xiao Nian learns that a plane to France had crashed, just as she reads another text from Qian Chu about going to France. Back at home, Xiao Nian waits for news about Qian Chu, who seems to be missing. Just then, Feng De announces that Gong Ou’s mother has arrived.
Episode 5: The Heir’s Love
Gong Ou’s mother arrives from England and gets right to the point: she’s here to check out her son’s new girlfriend. He tells Xiao Nian about this and asks her not to be scared of anything his mother says. Since this is his first time dating openly, he doesn’t know what tactics his mother will use on her. When he tries to go with her, she distracts him by saying she wants egg fried rice.
When the two ladies meet, Gong Ou’s mother says she’s disappointed, thinking Xiao Nian would be someone with special qualities if she caught the attention of her arrogant and cold son. She says Xiao Nian would not be standing here if it wasn’t for her stepping in to stop Gong Ou’s father from interfering. She then shows Xiao Nian a book of potential marriage partners for her son, all women with wealthy and educated backgrounds. Ha, is that a photo of Han Chae Young? Despite all this, Xiao Nian still wants to try having a relationship with Gong Ou. She can make him happy. Feng De interrupts their conversation, announcing that Gong Ou wants them to know that the egg fried rice is ready. Haha.
That night, Xiao Nian tells Gong Ou that meeting his mother is like taking college entrance exams. Gong Ou has a hard time understanding this, having never experienced nervousness in his entire life. LOL. To cheer her up, he lifts her from the bed and they head out to the forest in their PJs. He takes her to the spot where she fainted (in episode 1), which is now a great place to star gaze because he had all the trees cut down. He declares that she’s more beautiful than the stars. How is it that she gets more beautiful every time he looks at her, he wonders. She rewards him with a kiss on the cheek and promises to try her best to deal with his mom. This time, he kisses her.
Gong Ou’s mom gives Xiao Nian 3 months to become a woman worthy of Gong Ou and hires language teachers. They tutor her in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Italian. Well, those are some realistic goals. She buckles down and hits the books. Waking up the next day, Gong Ou says she fainted from studying so hard and orders her to stop. His woman doesn’t need to do any of those things.
Feng De arrives, saying that Gong Ou’s mother wants to see Xiao Nian. Gong Ou refuses to let her go and takes her out. When he tries to take her to a meeting with him, she insists on staying behind. She ends up falling asleep outside and dreams about Qian Chu, still worried about his whereabouts. When she wakes up, she sees Qian Chu and runs after him. But when he turns around, it’s not him. The stranger walks towards her ominously.
During his meeting, Gong Ou is distracted. He stands up abruptly and paces restlessly until his worry gets to him. He gathers his minions to search for Xiao Nian, but only finds her phone.
Xiao Nian wakes up bound to a chair and Shi Di emerges dramatically from the shadows complete with a villainous grin. “You must be surprised to see me again in this situation, aren’t you?” she asks. Uhh no. No one is surprised. She slaps Xiao Nian and accuses her of ruining her life. Gong Ou blacklisted her from the entertainment industry, her father went bankrupt and worst of all, she lost Qian Chu. She claims she loved Qian Chu before Xiao Nian. Omg, no one cares. Shi Di sends in a group of men in masks and then leaves. Xiao Nian screams and yells, but they surround her. We don’t see what happens next.
Xiao Nian wakes up in bed with a bruise on the corner of her mouth. She narrates:
“Often, I wonder if I’m in a dream. How can so many unconceivable things happen to a small character like me. I only wanted a stable relationship, but I had to endure so much pain and hardship. These are things that only happen in stories. If this is a dream, when I feel pain, will I wake up? Why does it hurt so much? Is the dream still not over?”
Gong Ou bursts in to check on her and she says repeatedly that she wasn’t touched by those men (meaning she wasn’t raped, thank god!). He tells her not to be afraid. He loves her and doesn’t care about what happened. He’ll deal with every single person who hurt her.
In a flashback, we see that Gong Ou knew his mother was behind the incident and went to confront her. She says Xiao Nian is not fit to be his wife. He smashes wine glasses and yells that Xiao Nian is the one for him, no matter what happens. “Even if you send people to tear her apart until she’s a pile of bones, I will live with that pile of bones for the rest of my life!” How macabre.
Xiao Nian goes to confront Gong Ou’s mother too and Evil Mom doesn’t bother to deny anything. But she warns Xiao Nian that even if she wasn’t raped, the seed of doubt has been planted. Gong Ou will slowly become more and more paranoid (because of his disorder). He’ll eventually come to dislike her. After Evil Mom leaves to return to England, Gong Ou finds Xiao Nian and pulls her into his arms. He’s afraid that she disappeared again.
Three weeks later, the lovebirds seem to be doing well. Xiao Nian’s been feeling tired, so she takes a test – she’s pregnant! That night, she greets Gong Ou enthusiastically, cooks all of his favorite dishes and excitedly tells him the news. He takes the positive pregnancy test wordlessly and orders a doctor to perform a formal test immediately. The doctor says she’s definitely pregnant and she’s 3 weeks along. Oh no.
Xiao Nian runs off when she realizes Gong Ou has doubts about her being “untouched.” He finds her crying and calmly offers her a glass of milk. She drinks it, but it tastes strange. Did he put something in it to make her lose the baby? But he claims it’s just ordinary milk. He wants everything to go back to normal and tries to force her to drink more. She cries that the baby is really his. They struggle with the glass until it drops to the floor.
For a week, Gong Ou doesn’t return to the house. When he finally does, he stumbles in drunk with 2 women and has a lipstick mark on his cheek. At breakfast, she casually asks why those 2 women aren’t eating with them. Gong Ou leaves as soon as she sits down. Feng De offers some comfort, saying that after Gong Ou noticed the women were in his room, he kicked them out immediately.
At his castle, he’s drinking with women again, but suddenly seems to realize where he is. He yells at the women to leave and asks Feng De, “Where’s Xiao Nian? I want my Xiao Nian.” He goes to the house and stumbles around, calling her name repeatedly and asking why she ran away. When she opens her door, he rushes forward and wraps his arms around her. “Don’t run away. Don’t leave me, okay?” he says.
She sees that his hand is bleeding and helps him wrap his wound. Drunkenly, he confesses that he misses her so much that he’s going crazy and accuses her of not missing him. Hilariously, he lifts his wrapped hand, thinking it’s her hand, and gets mad that she didn’t take care of herself. She treats him like a lost child, patting him gently. When she gets up, he grabs her and says he doesn’t want her to give birth to another man’s child. He’s afraid she would leave with the child. So this is the source of his cruel behavior? He tells her he can accept another man’s child as long as she doesn’t leave him. Then he just repeats her name over and over again and she smiles, hugging him to her.
The next morning, Xiao Nian plays a recording of his drunken confessions (when did she have time to do that?) and he’s totally embarrassed. She brings him lunch at the office and takes the opportunity to suggest seeing a doctor about his paranoid personality disorder. He refuses to acknowledge his illness, so she tries the nice tactic. She says she’ll love him no matter what, but she wants him to live a better life. Also, if he gets better, she’ll love him even more.
He finally agrees and they go to see a specialist. When the doctor arrives, she greets Gong Ou by name. Xiao Nian recognizes her from the book of Gong Ou’s potential marriage partners.
I’m starting to realize that the drama title is a warning and it’s not kidding around. In order to enjoy this drama, you have to accept that Gong Ou is very emotionally unstable. However preposterous or cruel his actions are, the underlying reason is always his over-the-top love for Xiao Nian. This is just the writer’s style – causing pain to show love – and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But then again, what are drama-watchers if not masochists?
I like how Xiao Nian handles herself when Gong Ou’s extreme paranoia led to destructive behavior. She could’ve let anger and jealously rule, but after all the times of him saving her, it’s her turn to save him. Except her job may be harder because Gong Ou’s major issue is internal. Mental illness will never be easy, but she accepts him, warts and all, and seems prepared to go on this twisted journey with him.
There was this interesting moment in episode 4 when Gong Ou shows that he’s self-aware. His overbearing personality is at times frightening, but he knows that it’s also attractive. Xiao Nian responds to it. A gentleman would make an ideal romantic partner in theory, but we all love the bad boy. It’s exactly why nice second male leads don’t get the girl. Nice equals boring, and boring doesn’t make your heart skip a beat.