Apparently there are two versions of Sparrow – there’s the TV version, and then the uncut version. I’m watching the uncut version, so just be aware of that while reading the recap.
Episodes 5-6 Recap
The narrator explains the mystery behind why Shanhai suddenly was ordered to go on a different mission. A flashback reveals Shanhai calling Boss Li to indirectly bypass this job assigned by Zhongliang to accompany Qiuxia to Nanjing, and it is really a demonstration of power on Boss Li’s end. However, as Shanhai leaves the train station, he starts to regret his decision to call Boss Li, since now Bingcheng is left by herself to deal with a possible counter-attack by Qiuxia’s communist friends.
Back at the office, one of Zhongliang’s assistants searches Chen Shen’s room while he’s gone to check for any suspicious signs. He tries to find Chen Shen’s bag, but is unable to. In another room, Li Xiaonan and Liu Meina start talking, and Xiaonan receives a phone call from Chen Shen. He says he can’t spend time with her right now but has already prepared a present he’ll give to her later that day. He also tells her to retrieve his bag which he has hidden on top of a cabinet in his office room. Li Xiaonan is clever and does not outright tell Meina about the previous conversation.
At the train station, Zhongliang bids goodbye to Qiuxia before she boards the train. She says she admires him and knows he is a smart man. He tells her that many have spat at him, many have begged for forgiveness, but she’s the first to say she admires him. Qiuxia also tells Zhongliang one day he’ll be killed by the sparrow. Zhongliang then says goodbye to Chen Shen and tells him to stay safe.
Xiaonan enters Chen Shen’s room to retrieve the bag but Zhongliang’s assistant is still in there, so he quickly hides in the cabinet. As Xiaonan gets the bag from above the cabinet, Liu Meina notices the presence of someone in the cabinet and purposefully stands in front of it, preventing Xiaonan from seeing who it is. Hm, has she established an alliance this early into the game?
In the train cabin are Qiuxia, Chen Shen, and Bingcheng, but when Chen Shen brings up her marriage being three months after she left her schooling (and thus, him), Bingcheng does not reply and instead leaves the room. This gives Chen Shen opportunity to tell Qiuxia about his plan to rescue her, but she does not want to listen, as his plan entails his people rescuing her, not the CCP’s people rescuing her. Instead, she tells him that Bingcheng is an innocent, straightforward girl.
Though Chen Shen keeps persuading Qiuxia to go with the rescue plan, she thinks it’s impossible, given Zhongliang’s distrust of him already, and the many assistants spying on them. Qiuxia emphasizes once again that Bingcheng is a good person, low-key shipping them. And Chen Shen goes into the hallway to see Bingcheng, who’s getting a cup of water. He tells her that this life does not suit her, and she should just live as a normal person with her husband. He tells her to just be happy and that someday he should cut her hair again.
Meanwhile, Xiaonan is being followed by Zhongliang’s assistant, but she is perceptive and knows someone is chasing her. She manages to escape.
The train stops at one of the scheduled stations, but also for a slightly longer time, since there’s been a rock slide farther along the railroad. This accident was staged by Chen Shen’s allies as part of the plan, but what they don’t realize is that Chen Shen has now switched tactics and actually does not want them to go forward with what they discussed earlier. In the mess of the chaos, Chen Shen manages to find his allies and he tells them to stop the plan.
Due to the rock slide, the train departing schedule is a bit late, so Chen Shen decides to transport Qiuxia to Nanjing by car instead. Zhongliang also sends a car to closely follow, since he still doesn’t trust Chen Shen. They manage to shake off the following car, but Chen Shen goes a step further. He pretends not to know the road to Nanjing and asks Bingcheng to go off the car to ask some people nearby. When she does, Qiuxia secretly takes her gun and Chen Shen also drives off.
However, Qiuxia points a gun to Chen Shen’s shoulder, and later to her head, saying that he must live on. When two inspectors come over to their car to check the situation, Qiuxia makes it seem like she was taking Chen Shen hostage all this time – she’s protecting him. My gosh, Li Xiaoran’s acting here is phenomenal.
However, Bingcheng, who has arrived to the scene, offers to be hostage instead, giving two reasons. She thinks on her feet and says that 1) She is female and that Chen Shen would not be as good of a hostage, and 2) She is related to Boss Li, who won’t let anything happen to her. Qiuxia agrees to the switch.
But, there is no need for the switch. Chen Shen quickly handcuffs Qiuxia. Bingcheng notices the gaze between Chen Shen and Qiuxia and realizes the two may have some sort of connection together. Only moments later, however, when the car stops to take a short rest, Qiuxia also gets off the car, but is shot dead by an assassin. The mysterious man with a limp is hired by Zhongliang; however, none of this is known to Chen Shen or the others yet.
Chen Shen faints from seeing Qiuxia dead, and when he wakes up at the hospital Zhongliang and Shanhai have just arrived, and Bingcheng is also by his side, waiting all this time for him to awaken.
Li Xiaonan successfully returns the bag to Chen Shen, and although Zhongliang had stolen the bag and looked into the contents, he didn’t find anything suspicious and thus the bag was given back to Xiaonan. It turns out that beforehand, Xiaonan had discovered the ship tickets that Chen Shen was planning to escape with, and she had hidden them somewhere safe before anyone else could find them.
The whole train escape plot was nicely written and reminded me of a Detective Conan mystery. The snow outside was a gorgeous scenic backdrop to the scene also. I haven’t found issue with the cinematography of this drama yet because it’s just directed so well, and even in the train stop scene where Chen Shen kicks a suitcase over to his allies, it doesn’t seem misplaced because the camera movement makes it look so believable.
Human loyalty can be so fragile, while loyalty to a belief may sometimes be stronger. I mean, Chen Shen’s rescued Zhongliang’s life twice now, and the dude still won’t trust him. And obviously the viewers know through dramatic irony that Chen Shen is not genuinely a friend of Zhongliang’s, but rather, his enemy. On the other hand, Qiuxia is faithful to her beliefs until the end, never revealing the identity of the sparrow to Zhongliang.
And yet, sometimes human loyalty surpasses that to a belief. Chen Shen stubbornly wants to save Qiuxia even after she tells him several times she does not want him to save her, and that her deceased husband would not want him to do this either, if it means he has to sacrifice his hard work being a mole in the group of Chinese traitors to find a secret document (which he has not found yet). Chen Shen says that he cannot bear to see another member of his family die, and thus proceeds with the rescue mission.
Pictures and gifs credit to 电视剧麻雀 Weibo.