We miss you Shanhai…
San Sheng’s sister shows him the money (a few gold bars) she got from selling all the accessories that San Sheng has given her through the years. She tells him to quit his job as a spy (he’s not really a spy in the bureau, he told her a lie since her family was killed by the Japanese) and that they should just run far away with this money. She desires a peaceful family life. Also San Sheng asks Xiaonan out on a date to see a dog race thing. He tells her how fascinating he finds it that there is no factor of background or connections, but merely their own ability, that gives them the victory. What use is victory, Xiaonan muses, if you aren’t happy in the end? San Sheng replies that he isn’t happy losing either.
San Sheng begins to interrogate Du Huan Le, the communist member who was about to be arrested in the cafe incident but then was forewarned by Chen Shen not to enter the cafe. He gives Huan Le two options to decide from by tomorrow: yummy meat (dunno how to translate 红烧肉 lol) or more torture. Meanwhile, Ah Qiang sees a bit of this interrogation and transfer the news to Er Bao, who then relays this info to Zhongliang.
In a drunken state, San Sheng also visits Xiaonan and tries to kiss her, but she slaps him in time. “Do you believe me that if you told Chen Shen right now you wanted to break up with him, he wouldn’t say one word of ‘don’t leave’?” Xiaonan fights back tears and says it isn’t true, but she doesn’t seem to have much confidence. After saying “I despise you,” Xiaonan shuts the door on San Sheng.
Chen Shen goes to see Xiaonan at night, but not before sending Bicheng back home and kissing her lightly on the forehead. Xiaonan has been waiting for a long time, having set up the dinner table a few hours before. The special occassion is a one-year anniversary since the first day she met Chen Shen. He had asked her for a dance at the dance hall. (And she pays such close attention to detail, even setting Chen Shen’s favorite non-alcoholic drink on the table as well.) She gives a long break-up speech, and it’s just… sad. She mentions how she thought she would be able to stand waiting for him, but after Shanhai’s death, she’s not so sure anymore. She’s tried to be like Bicheng, but cannot emulate her fully — “But even if I have a million problems, at least I have one good quality — I love you with my spirit (灵魂). To throw away everything to love you“. She also gives an analogy of how she was like a plant without solid roots, but now she has found the right soil to grow in (Chen Shen). She asks him what she is to him, and he answers “My closest relative.”
^^ Dramatic irony: Oh the truth behind those words he doesn’t know.
Du Huan Le eventually succumbs to the pressure of torture and reveals two things.* One, he is a communist party member. So he’s not nationalist. Two, since he was unable to meet with Doctor because of the whole cafe fiasco, the meeting was rescheduled to today at a different location. While San Sheng has just gotten this information, Ah Qiang also reports this to Er Bao (who gives him money for the report). Zhongliang tells Chen Shen to start moving. All of this comes as a big surprise to him, but he can’t do anything too extravagant to save Doctor or else Zhongliang will get suspicious. He knows Zhongliang is sending people to keep an eye on him during this mission.
Chen Shen gets to the scene before San Sheng does, since Zhongliang has sent an assassin to kill San Sheng (it fails, San Sheng survives, but he’s delayed anyway). The assassin escapes. Chen Shen is surprised to find that Doctor is really Xiaonan. She swallows the message right before they got there. Everyone is shocked. Even San Sheng who walks in a few minutes later can scarcely believe his eyes.
Chen Shen feels the same sense of hopelessness and not knowing what to do in order to save Xiaonan as he did with Zai Xiang and Shanhai. He has no choice to handcuff her, but during that time she uses morse code, tapping on his hand, to communicate this: she has swallowed the message, and there is an important phone number that was in that message that she then transfers to him.
Also, Chen Shen realizes how Xiaonan had helped Chen Shen hide his bag that had the ship tickets to run away during the whole Zai Xiang incident.
*Forgot to add in the recap earlier – San Sheng tells Du Huan Le his life story basically. How as a little kid he was very poor, and one day he saw a rich dude throw food scraps of 红烧肉 (meat) at the dogs to eat. So when no one was looking he knocked out the dog and then took the food. Except that the master of the dog saw and then hit San Sheng’s legs. So from then on San Sheng learned a lesson: in order to get the meat, one must suffer a difficult journey. In the same way, he tells Huan Le can earn the meat by giving up his information on Doctor.