Episodes 7-8 Recap
The episode starts at the dance hall, where Xiaonan clutches Chenshen’s tie tightly. He tells her to let go, but she says then he’ll run off again. He then tells her that the only way to gain a man’s attention is to let him go. Hm, is he referring to Bingcheng? Speaking of whom, she and Shanhai just happen to drive by the dance hall. Shanhai reminds Bingcheng that she cannot be controlled by her feelings in work. She replies that maybe Chenshen isn’t as bad of a person as they believe him to be, regardless of his status as a Chinese helping the Japanese.
The next day, Zhongliang assigns Bingcheng the mission of accompanying his wife and Chenshen while she’s at the orphanage doing charity work. She immediately reports this news to Shanhai, who looks confused, as if trying to figure out Zhongliang’s motive behind this new task. But he says nothing of his suspicion.
At the orphanage, Bingcheng writes an inventory of all the items Zhongliang’s wife has donated there. She looks up from her clipboard and sees Chenshen talking to Pipi (Qiuxia’s son). Chenshen’s lackey tells Bingcheng that Chenshen’s actually a kind guy, and that because of an incident earlier where he shot a child soldier dead in combat, he hasn’t shot a person since.
While Bingcheng’s at the orphanage, Shanhai meets up with Tao Dachun, who is also involved with the subversive spying mission. Shanhai gives him a list of eight important Chinese traitors working at the office and reveals that his mission is to find out the actions of these Chinese traitors and then to kill them. Dachun also gives Shanhai some zong zi (粽子, a traditional Chinese food) to give to Bingcheng, since she likes it. I think someone has a crush.
Bingcheng leaves the orphanage early after she finishes writing up the inventory. She returns to the office to have lunch with Shanhai. Chenshen and Zhongliang’s wife leave some time later, but on the road home they are ambushed by an attacker. The masked shooter begins firing at the car, and after Chenshen tells Zhongliang’s wife to stay down, he retaliates and starts fighting the masked man. Eventually the masked man retreats when Zhongliang’s men arrive, so his identity is still unknown. However, a flashback to Shanhai’s meeting with Tao Dachun hints at perhaps his role in this incident.
Zhongliang receives a phone call and he rushes to the hospital, where his wife and Chenshen are waiting. After comforting his wife (or at least attempting to), Zhongliang and Chenshen talk in private about who could have been behind this. Chenshen says the men were already following him at the orphanage, so it could only be someone who already knew his plans beforehand.
“I think it’s investigators,” Chenshen says. “Why not the communists?” Zhongliang replies. The viewers know that it can’t be the communists because Chenshen is one, but Zhongliang still doesn’t know this for sure, and therefore asks. Chenshen makes up an excuse that the communists wouldn’t be able to afford such clothing. However, both Zhongliang and Chenshen begin to suspect Shanhai.
Omniscient narrator reveals to us the subtlety of Shanhai’s plan. At first it seems like a very careless move – why would he choose to execute the plan so fast? He has not fully gained the trust of Zhongliang yet, so why start harming Chenshen? Even knowing this, Shanhai had the inclination to stir up such an event because he did not trust Bingcheng’s feelings. If she accidentally failed to play the part of Shanhai’s wife, then the two would both be in danger.
At night Bingcheng and Shanhai discuss the incident that happened earlier. Though Bingcheng suspects that Chenshen might be one of them, Shanhai says that the higher-ups did not tell Shanhai about the existence of Chenshen, and Chenshen has been a part of several missions to harm their group; he concludes that either way, he’s still their enemy.
The next day at the office Liu Meina talks to Shanhai in private and she asks what he’s going to give Bingcheng for their wedding anniversary. “You’ve seen my record,” he says. She says it’s because Shanhai is her ideal type, and he begins to flirt with her, asking her what he should give Bingcheng.
Coming back to the office, Zhongliang is shot by an investigator – or at least, that’s the most likely case. It’s not an mortal injury, however. He tells Chenshen not to report this to his wife.
It’s Shanhai and Bingcheng’s wedding anniversary, and he gives her flowers in front of everybody at the office. Except… didn’t Bingcheng say in an earlier episode that she doesn’t like flowers, but leaves? I think Chenshen also notices and thinks something is off. The present that Bingcheng likes the most is one from her memory…
The day also happens to be Li Xiaonan’s opening night for one of her movies. She eats out with Chenshen at a new restaurant. And because coincidences are the norm in dramas, Bingcheng just so happens to show up there with Shanhai too! The two couples eat together. Meanwhile Tao Dachun, one of the restaurant workers is about to poison Chenshen with a fish plate but just in time Shanhai sends the plate back, saying the fish is undercooked. What Shanhai is confused about is that he already told Dachun to stop after the first attack to avoid any unnecessary suspicion, so why the attacks are continuing is a mystery.
Alright. The next part of this episode gets really confusing, so bear with me as I try to explain.
Chenshen meets up with one of his allies, who has insider information on a man called Wu Long who has done some business in the black market for Zhongliang before. The actual business is not the focus here, however, since it turns out this man is also going to do an exchange with Liu Sanmu, money for tobacco. The Liu Sanmu character is important to plot, as his brother, Liu Sanjin, was one of the aforementioned “present” that Shanhai gave to the Chinese traitors’ office.
Remember a few episodes back when six men having a secret meeting in Chongqing were arrested? The person who gave the leads on their position was actually Shanhai, and this is how he landed a job at the office. This was all planned by his superiors to gain him the loyalty of Zhongliang. However, Liu Sanmu, the brother of Liu Sanjin, disappeared afterwards.
Chenshen has his ally call Shanhai and say that Liu Sanmu will be engaging in a black market exchange at a certain time and place. This is really a test from Chenshen to see how Shanhai will react. If Shanhai were not a mole and was genuinely working for Zhongliang, then he ought to report this immediately to the head. However, if Shanhai were a spy, then he would take care of things in private to make sure that Liu Sanmu did not reveal any information. Shanhai’s decision, as he tells Dachun, is to kill both Sanmu and whoever he is exchanging goods with. Also, Bingcheng sends a telegram to headquarters.
At the exchange, Liu Sanmu is shot dead, but the person he was exchanging goods with, Wu Long, escapes.
Second lead syndrome is ever so strong. Clearly the couple has communication issues and the love is one-sided, but gosh darn Zhang Ruoyun’s puppy eyes are winning me over. He’s got to learn someday that Bingcheng doesn’t like flowers, though. But when she smiles at him before sending the telegram to headquarters – my goodness. The two of them are just adorable.
These two episodes were a bit less exciting. It was really unlike Shanhai to make such an emotional, impulsive decision to attack Chenshen early. Even with the excuse the narrator gave – that he was afraid Bingcheng’s feelings might ruin the plot – I still think he underestimated the enemy and did not carefully consider the consequences.
Also, a lot of coincidences. Chenshen finding out about Liu Sanmu and Bingcheng showing up to the same restaurant that Chenshen was dining at the same night are two coincidences that seemed purposefully placed simply to make the plot work. It frustrates me to see this tactic being used and hopefully the drama won’t continue to have convenient plot points.
Pictures and gifs credit to 电视剧麻雀 Weibo.