If it faces no more setbacks, then The Time That I Loved You, 7000 Days should still premiere in June, and we’re counting down to that day by going back to 2011: We’re re-publishing Clockwatcher’s recaps of the Taiwanese version, In Time With You.
For those intending to see the Korean remake or needing convincing to watch it, we figure this is a good way to introduce some of you to the story, granted writers of the new Ha Ji Won project will deviate from the source material now and then. You could just watch the original on Dramafever, but then, you’d be missing out on Clock’s unique and witty thoughts on the show. So, without further ado, here’s our first recap of In Time With You.
Your CK pal,
*This recap was originally published on September 23, 2011.
After hyping up this drama so much, it only makes sense that I’d recap it, right? Especially after learning that there will only be 13 episodes! My Christmas plans are not ruined. So how was the first episode?
To be honest, it’s kind of hard to recap this episode because it was very much just an intro. I guess this will just be a summary. I suppose the next episode will delve into the story a lot more.
Based on this episode, I think this drama is more of an exploration of Ariel Lin‘s character, Chen You Qing. She’s a district manager at a department store. Highly righteous, hard working, opinionated with an overall strong personality. The episode starts off in a dream where she narrates to Li Da Ren (Chen Bo Lin / Wilson Chen) that there’s always been an obstacle between them. In the dream, it’s some furry, werewolf-type figure that she starts off chasing around the store till she sees its face and runs away.
Her dream is set at her store, and when the werewolf disappears, the empty store is suddenly filled with people. She walks up to a beautiful pair of high-heeled shoes and talks about longing for her first pair at age 17. Funny because I got my first pair of high-heeled shoes for my 5th birthday party. But I suppose there’s a difference between kiddy high heels and adult high heels.
Anyway, she also sees a pair of sneakers and wears them, reminiscing about how comfortable they were when she was a teen. Then a girl in a school uniform calls her “Aunty” and takes them from her. She wakes up annoyed at that label and goes back to sleep to find the girl in her dream to admonish her for calling her that. But when she returns, the girl in the school uniform has morphed into her at that age.
We are soon taken to her work where we get to see how she expresses herself professionally. She respects her boss and her colleagues but doesn’t hesitate to make her opinions known and criticize other’s work. She has no problem being a dissenter because she places a lot of value in her own beliefs.
It’s not till she gets back to her office and checks her calendar that she remembers it’s her 30th birthday. She calls her mom (who’s looking at some cakes) to reproach her for not saying anything that morning but her mom reminds her that she’d said she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday past her 27th.
Then next, she checks her email and finds one from her friend, Li Da Ren. In it, he tells her that as the Vice Captain of their class, he wishes her a happy birthday on behalf of all their classmates and attaches their class picture.
She smiles as she remembers those days. She attended a co-ed high school and their class had one more girl than boys. Since the girls were all about sisterhood and solidarity, they used it to their advantage and won all their elections. She represented the girls while Da Ren represented the boys.
Then she reads the rest of his email and he teases her about getting old and sends her a list of the 50 signs of aging. This annoys her a bit and when she goes to the kitchen to get some coffee, she finds some of her colleagues gossiping about her. Earlier on at their staff meeting, she’d criticized one of her colleague’s ideas. So now, they are gossiping that she only did that because the girl in question, Lala, is dating her ex-boyfriend. When the girls see that she overheard them, they leave.
Shes goes to the cosmetic department of her store for her birthday discount and the sales lady gives her advice on anti-aging products. Then she goes to the shoe section and finds a customer trying to return shoes she’d already worn. The lady then proves to have a problem personality in general when she gets on the phone and argues with an airline (which happens to be Li Da Ren’s) because her daughter is having problems boarding her flight due to excess luggage. Instead of trying to arrive at a solution, she keeps bragging about her husband’s position and refuses to listen to reason.
After the call, she keeps arguing to return the shoes so You Qing steps in. However, the manager who happens to be her ex-boyfriend shows up and reprimands You Qing for her “bad”, argumentative personality and takes care of the customer himself. In the end, he tells her that her bad attitude will keep her from finding love. Why thank you, ex-boyfriend-who’s-dated-every-girl-in-the-company. What keeps you from finding love? A wandering eye?
From the case with the problem customer and her daughter, we get to see a bit of Da Ren’s personality. He also takes his work seriously and is quite steadfast in his beliefs but he’s also patient and kind. He doesn’t budge with the problem mother and is kind to her daughter.
After speaking to her ex-boyfriend, and with his words still on her mind, You Qing looks at her anti-aging products. Then Da Ren calls her. He teases her about her age, wondering how many symptoms of aging she’s begun to exhibit. While they talk, she spots her ex and asks Da Ren why he said he’d never fall in love with her. He’s a bit taken aback by her question but jokes that like an old person, she has short-term memory loss but remembers things that have long since passed. You Qing ends the conversation by yelling at him to never love her.
We are then taken to a flashback. It’s another high school scene and the boys are lamenting that once again, the girls’ vote will win out. They imagine the girly uniform they’d have to wear for Sport’s Day and come up with a solution – they will write a love letter to one of the girls to influence her to go against the grain.
Da Ren wants a bulldog to be their logo while You Qing chooses a cat. After some trash talking (mainly from You Qing), both logos are put to a blind vote and for the first time, the boys win. The whole time, we see that Da Ren is always aware of You Qing and even though he agrees with the boys and doesn’t like that the decisions are always so one-sided, he’s not really a part of their plan.
You Qing wants to know who the traitor is and by finding the love letter, figures out that it’s her close friend. She’s upset because she feels betrayed but her friend retorts that it’s not fair that they always have to win and in actuality, she finds her egotistical and arrogant. Why do they always have to win? Why does she always think she’s right? Why does she disregard everyone else’s feelings? You Qing admits that she might be arrogant and controlling but ever since the friend in question had been severely bullied by the boys, she decided that they were not people she wanted to deal with. All the girls came together to improve the traitor’s life and it was at that time she decided to band the girls together and make them strong. The betrayal stings and she tells her that their friendship is over.
Da Ren overhears this exchange and follows her home. She’s about to get into her house when she notices him and wonders what he’s doing there. He starts off trying to say something but she cuts him off, guessing that he’s come to gloat about his win. But she’s wrong. He’s just come to console her so he tells her that she’s a great girl. She’s a little surprised by it but before she can reply, he quickly tells her not to misunderstand his words because he could never fall in love with her. She sarcastically thanks him and goes into her house. It’s clear that he hadn’t really meant what he said. But I think we can all relate to saying the wrong thing when nervous.
We are back in present time and Li Da Ren is leading his troops as they deal with the day-to-day issues of working at an airline, like overbooked or delayed flights. This is when the second lead female, Maggie, introduces herself to him. She’s a sweet girl who’s eager to learn and it’s clear that she takes an instant liking to our hero.
Other than wrinkles, another result of aging is having less time to live and You Qing is reminded of this when she takes a cab ride with a driver (cameo by the director, Winnie) who’s been diagnosed with cancer and muses about how he’s spent his life, his regrets and all that he will miss out on. Spurred by this, she walks over to her ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend and clarifies that the problem she had with her design was not personal. She does not want to have any regrets fueled by misunderstandings.
Her work friend surprises her with a cake with a huge “30” on it and she’s not amused. Then the friend says that Li Da Ren was right about her being difficult to deal with. Li Da Ren, the classmate she was destined to meet but not fated to be with. And this takes us to their supposedly chance meeting in college. She is surprised to see him but he isn’t because he’d seen her name when the list of admitted students was released in the paper. She frowns and makes a cutting remark about having to be in his class for another four years.
Then in class, while making his self-introduction, he mentions that they’d attended the same school. This brings unwanted attention to our heroine and they are asked to describe each other. They start off saying nice things then get a little nasty with her saying it’s sometimes hard to understand him and that he’s a jack-of-all trades and a master of none.
Then we are back at the airport and Da Ren meets an old college professor who wants him to help him check in to a flight that’s stopped boarding. He asks Maggie to find him a seat on a flight and hints that he’s not someone he likes. We then get taken back to their college days and You Qing has gathered a list of complaints from a number of female students who are accusing the teacher of sexual harassment. The authorities brush it off and she later learns that some of the girls have withdrawn their complaints in fear of getting failed in his class. We get to see the teacher is an unapologetic, smug leech who promises to fail You Qing for speaking up for her classmates.
It’s a repeat of their high school days and just like back then, upon seeing how upset she is, Da Ren follows her all the way home. He tells her that he thinks she’s cool and not to worry about the teacher’s threat. She tells him to buzz off and as she walks into her home, he watches her and tries to convince himself that he can’t possibly love her.
We are brought back to the present and the teacher has been put on a later flight despite his complaints. He should feel lucky because these days, if you miss your flight, you’re going to have to pay for another ticket if you want to fly that day.
After making plans to meet Da Ren for dinner, You Qing gets a call from her pregnant friend who’s in premature labor. She rushes over to the hospital and is recruited to record the birth on video.
Mother and child are okay and You Qing is emotionally affected by seeing a new child brought to life particularly on her birthday. In the meantime, Da Ren keeps waiting for her at the restaurant till it’s closed. He packs up the food he’d ordered and waits for her till she arrives.
She arrives and apologizes, although she offers no explanations. He must be used to it and isn’t annoyed. Instead, he just shows her the food he has and they sit on a bench and share the meal.
He teases her and asks if it isn’t normal for a girl in her shoes to wonder why a guy is so good to her. She replies that she doesn’t wonder because she already knows the answer from her mom’s dream. In a past life, she was a brave warrior who saved his life, so in this one, he’s repaying her. He scoffs that it must mean that her mom can sense the imbalance in their relationship. She disagrees because shouldn’t one’s friend treat them well? Besides, doesn’t she also treat him well?
They start to bicker and he tells her just to enjoy her birthday. But it brings up a sore point for her because she’s yet to receive a present. Which is the cue for him to give her one. She’s excited till she opens the box and finds two square-head lions. What da freak is that? He explains that just like her, a square-headed lion feels out of place, is often struggling because of its own principles and struggles to compromise with others. And when he senses that she doesn’t like it, he tells her it took 5 attempts for him to purchase the lions that were not even up for sale. She tells him that she’d try to enjoy the gift since he tried so hard. Me thinks that if one has to work so hard to explain a gift, it’s not a good one.
He then asks her why she brought up his comment about never loving her and she tells him what her ex had said. He tells her it’s rubbish but she’s not buying it. Doesn’t he think she not terribly feminine or delicate? He consoles her by showing her a postcard with a picture of a Chinese architect’s work. Despite the obstacles he faced, he was able to create a work that’s now considered one of the three treasures of the Louvre. But what does that have to do with You Qing? Just like the square-headed lion, she ought to think of herself as distinct. This leads to more bickering when he says that people may misunderstand her and find her imperfect. She fixates on being called imperfect and he gets mad because she’s focusing on the wrong thing.
Now that they are fighting, she reads the postcard and it’s from a grateful passenger. He explains how he helped the passenger and she concludes that his most outstanding feature is that he’s someone that is nice to have. He’s skeptical about that but she reiterates that she’s certain that it’s really nice to have him. Now that she’s buttered him up, he’s no longer angry. Then he comes up with an idea. Whoever gets married first before they turn 35 gets $20,000. She’s confident that he will lose so she ups the stakes to $100,000. Luckily, it’s not in American Dollars otherwise, what da hell? He reluctantly accepts the bet but tells her not to feel too confident because he’s got his fair share of admirers. She doesn’t quite believe him.
When she gets home, there’s a cute scene with her mom where she teases that although she’d been an easy birth, she’d been very difficult to raise. And before she goes to bed, You Qing tells the squared-headed lions that it’s not that she doesn’t like them but it was her first time of seeing a reflection of herself. Then that night, she dreams that she kicks the molesting teacher’s ass.
It’s another day at work so Maggie catches up with Da Ren and wonders how he’s going to repay her for dealing with the professor. They agree on a meal and as she walks away and sends a flirtatious smile, he imagines her as You Qing. In a regretful tone, he starts to speak to her, saying that although he’s not aggressive, there are still some women who like him. And that perhaps You Qing is the only one who can’t see it.
So Da Ren has been in love with her for a very long time. And she really doesn’t think of him in those terms at all and I wonder if she’s really been holding what he said to her when they weren’t friends against him all these years. Not in a malicious way but that she took it at face value and believes it meant he would never like her. Perhaps without those words, she would have given herself permission to see him in a different light.
I don’t blame him for not confessing because she’s a bit scary. She’s the kind of person who would have no problem shooting him down and I can see why he wouldn’t want to risk their friendship. I definitely would like to know how their relationship evolved from somewhat antagonistic classmates (on her part, at least) to a deep friendship. It’s a good thing the switches from present to past aren’t jarring because I would like to see more.
So what do I think of the show? Well, it’s still very early yet. I like the tone and the cinematography is pretty good for a Taiwanese drama. Even though it’s a romance, it’s not one of those loud, unrealistic, over-the-top rom-coms and I am glad for that. The acting is quite good from our two leads although the second lead female has the potential to be very annoying with time. Since it’s really just an introduction to the characters and their story, the verdict is still out. The concept of friends-to-lovers is such a favorite of mine that it will take a lot of screwing up for me to hate the drama. So let’s just hope it doesn’t get screwed up. The other Ariel-Winnie project I’ve seen is It Started With A Kiss and even though she played an annoying character and the story just kept dragging and dragging, I liked it. With a more mature character and concise story, I expect something even better.
Anyway, all-in-all, I look forward to the next episode. I’m already firmly in Da Ren’s camp and hate the second lead with the fire of a thousand suns (even though he’s yet to make an appearance) so I just hope our lead guy doesn’t end up annoying me in the future. So far, his character is that of a second lead who loves hard and good only to have some arrogant chaebol or scatter-brained, bubbly Cinderella steal the object of their affection away. At least in this drama, we know the good guy wins! Yes! But I am prepared for my heart to break with his as he watches her get her heart smashed dating all these other men.
Right now, I just want their story to really get going in the next episode.