My Sunshine Episode 11 Review & Recap (written by hoju & illustrated by bongsd)
… Still in flashback mode when Mo Sheng was in the United States
Sister Juan’s abusive husband (his name is Thomas or Tom Cruise… Hahaha) is home, and she steps out to go check on things. Mo Sheng hears a crash and rushes out, only to see a bleeding Cruise on the floor and Sister Juan standing there with a bloodied knife.
Sister Juan is sentenced to three years in jail and beseeches Mo Sheng to care of her son, Xiao Jia, until she is released. One day, though, Cruise barges into their home and tries to forcefully take Xiao Jia away. Mo Sheng puts up a resistance, and the scumbag backs off with the condition that Mo Sheng is allowed to take care of Xiao Jia if she gives him $10 USD per day. (How sad that Xiao Jia is only worth ten bucks a day to him. Scumbag!)
Mo Sheng calls a classmate, probably a law student, regarding fighting for custody of Xiao Jia, but it does not look good for her. Cruise is his biological father and she is young and jobless, barely having the funds to pay for rent, much less to hire an attorney. She wishes she had studied law and thinks to herself, “Yi Chen, if you were here, you would definitely be able to help Xiao Jia.” In desperation, Mo Sheng writes a letter to Ying Hui, the person she had sent money to after seeing his request for aid in the newspaper three years ago. She asks him, if possible, could he please repay the $500 to her? The letter she writes follows the novel, so you can check it out there.
(Anyone notice Mo Sheng’s phone? Does it look like an iPhone or at least something similar? This is three years after she moved to the United States, so around late 2007 to 2008. The iPhone should have been brand new back then… and very pricey! But Mo Sheng doesn’t even have $ to pay for rent…)
Some time later (in the novel, it is about a month), Mo Sheng is waiting on the street for someone. A well-dressed man — Ying Hui — approaches her. At a street side cafe, Ying Hui tells her that he did not receive her letter until recently because it had been sent to his old dormitory but he is no longer there. When he asks her, hadn’t she been scared when she sent him the money that he was a con artist, Mo Sheng merely says she happened to have some funds at the time, and apologetically tells him that he really does not need to return the $500. Ying Hui formally introduces himself. “I am Ying Hui. Perhaps you have heard of INSO Internet Services?” Mo Sheng answers, “Of course, INSO is a legend in the internet computing world, and is also our Chang Hua University… Oh… is that you?” Ying Hui, founder of INSO, is an alumni of Chang Hua University (Mo Sheng and Yi Chen’s university) and realizes that this is the reason why Mo Sheng sent him the money. Without the $500, Ying Hui tells her, he would likely have had to sell his software just to make ends meet and the Ying Hui of today would never have existed, so she has his deepest gratitude. He is willing to help her in ways more than she could imagine. After describing her current situation, Ying Hui asks if Mo Sheng is always so willing to help people. She explains, Sister Juan has helped her a lot, including saving her life the time she was sick. Ying Hui’s eyes are intent as he listens to her. Is this the first hints of attraction? (Hey, Ying Hui, eyes off! Mo Sheng belongs to Yi Chen!… Yes, I have an OTP bias. :p) “I will help you,” he tells her simply.
Ying Hui discusses the custody case with his attorney. Even if Cruise does not get custody, Mo Sheng cannot have Xiao Jia either because she does not meet child adoption law requirements. His legal counsel advises that she would likely win custody if she was married to a fully qualified man and jokes that Ying Hui fully meets those requirements. Ying Hui does not take it as a joke, however, and seriously considers it. After all, he is not against the idea, and he should have had a wife by now.
While watching Xiao Jia play, Ying Hui explains the situation to Mo Sheng. He proposes, if she really has decided to fight for custody, she could find someone who is qualified and marry him in name… and he is willing to help. Mo Sheng quickly refuses the suggestion.
(Is that little girl playing with Xiao Jia wearing an Elsa dress from Disney’s Frozen? But this is supposed to be 2008-ish and Frozen came out in 2013…)
Cruise is photographed burning Xiao Jia with a cigarette and loses all custody rights. Xiao Jia is placed in foster care. Mo Sheng has gotten her passport back, but for Xiao Jia and Sister Juan, she must stay in the United States. Between her studies and work, she is extremely busy but still visits Xiao Jia every couple of days. However, Mo Sheng finds out, because Xiao Jia is mixed-race (I can’t see the Asian blood in him at all?!), he has been bullied all this time by the other children in the foster home, and the doc even keenly offers up some bullying horror stories.
In the middle of a business meeting, Ying Hui receives a call. “I want to have custody of Xiao Jia.” Ying Hui’s answer is brief. “Alright. I will make arrangements.” Hanging up, he tells his lawyer to draw up a prenuptial agreement for him. The lawyer is astonished with the conditions he proposes as Mo Sheng would get nothing out of the marriage and would never agree to something like this. In reality, Ying Hui knows it is precisely because she will have no monetary gain out of this marriage that Mo Sheng will “let down her guard completely” and agree to the marriage.
(In the novel, Ying Hui does the prenup so that it removes the pressure on Mo Sheng’s conscience that would have arisen if she believed he was helping her and she was still getting his money. Here, the dialogue makes it appear that Ying Hui may actually have other motives that aren’t as pure as just helping Mo Sheng. I’m not sure, yet, if I should chalk this up to bad English on the part of the script writing or interpret it that they are setting up Ying Hui to take on a more antagonistic role right from the beginning.)
Ying Hui explains the prenup to Mo Sheng, that she gains no money but has to fulfill no duties normally expected of a wife, i.e. they are married in name only. He also tells her, he has something to gain out of this: a married man more easily has the trust of the public and investors and also helps him avoid unnecessary troubles. Mo Sheng signs away on the dotted line…
In the adoption interview, the two are questioned as Ying Hui lives in California while Mo Sheng is in New York. Ying Hui commits to visiting monthly and also states that Mo Sheng will move to Cali after she graduates so the “family” can all be together. Later, Ying Hui jokes, he had been nervous that during the interview, Mo Sheng would call him “Mr. Ying,” and they would have blown their facade. When Mo Sheng responds that she wouldn’t, Ying Hui remarks, “Of course my wife is smart.” Ying Hui has fallen into his role quickly!
Years have passed and Sister Juan has been released from jail. In the airport, she says her goodbyes to Mo Sheng and Ying Hui because she and Xiao Jia are going back to China. (This airport in New York looks awfully familiar… hmm… Have I seen it before? LOL)
Ying Hui asks Mo Sheng if she wants to return to China also, but she answers no right away. “In a foreign country far away from home, feeling lonely is expected. But, if you are still lonely when you are in your home country, then that is sad.” Ying Hui asks a favour of Mo Sheng. His parents somehow found out he is married and wants to see his wife, so, now that Mo Sheng has graduated, he asks her to move to California.
Mo Sheng now lives in Ying Hui’s house and is having a bowl of instant noodles. When Ying Hui reaches over to have a taste from her bowl, she quickly pulls it away. (Compared to sweetly sharing the same box of rice with Yi Chen in the stairwell…) To break the awkward atmosphere, Ying Hui asks about Mo Sheng’s job searching, but shaking her head, she just says that it is not easy for Chinese people to find a job here. She turns down his offer to help, not wanting to forever rely on him. Ying Hui suddenly remembers someone telling him, “You don’t have the ability to help me. Nothing about him is as good as you, but at least, he allows me to stand up tall and proudly in front of those arrogant and stuck-up old women in the faculty. I still love you, but I’m sorry. You are too proud.” (For Ying Hui’s backstory between him and his girlfriend, you can check out the novel.) He looks down at Mo Sheng and tells her, “You have given me a new understanding of the meaning of the word ‘proud’.”
Mo Sheng types the characters, “He Yi Chen” into the INSO search engine. When he sees this, Ying Hui starts to ask, but Mo Sheng speaks up first, asking whether he has ever had someone he liked. He tells her he had a girlfriend in university who was smart and beautiful, and Mo Sheng says that her ex-boyfriend is very impressive also. In response to this, Ying Hui remarks, “His luck isn’t as good as mine,”… and then says in his mind, “Because, after all, he is merely your ex.”
One stroke after another, Mo Sheng writes Yi Chen’s name — on the window, all over papers. She remembers him teaching her the proper sequence of strokes to write his name. “Why should I learn how to write your name?” the young Mo Sheng had once asked. Ying Hui sees the name “He Yi Chen” all over the papers, and his mind echoes with all the praises and things Mo Sheng has said to him about Yi Chen.
Ying Hui comes home intoxicated one day. As Mo Sheng takes care of him, he suddenly pushes her to the bed. She manages to struggle out of his clutches and runs away. A more clear-headed Ying Hui approaches Mo Sheng, and she asks him quietly, “Did you… think I was her at that moment?” For a brief moment, he does not know who this “her” is that she is referring to. In his mind, he says, “Mo Sheng has put me in an interesting dilemma. If I say yes, I cannot confess my true feelings to her and perhaps will never be able to progress our relationship further. If I say no, I am admitting to sexual assault.”
Things are clearly more awkward between Mo Sheng and Ying Hui. He knows right away, when she approaches him, that she wants to move out of his place. “Mo Sheng, return to China. Go see. You cannot spend your whole life being an ostrich.”
And so, we have that scene in the airport that opened the drama of Mo Sheng bidding farewell to Ying Hui and him telling her not to keep in contact for the time being if she does not plan on returning to the US. (And this airport in California looks like the one in New York…? Hey, wait…) After she flies away, he looks out the window and thinks, “If you do not go back, you will never be able to forget that person, and you will never completely give up hope. It’s been seven years. Will he really still be waiting for you? Impossible.”
*back to present day*
We see Yi Chen again! OMG, I nearly shouted for joy when he finally appeared on my screen again.
Several months have passed and Ying Hui is looking at photographs of Mo Sheng, taken without her knowing. One of them is a photo of Yi Chen kissing her downstairs of her apartment. Ying Hui makes arrangements to go to China.
Yi Chen has just won another case for his client. An acquaintance in the legal circle congratulates him on having a girlfriend. (I guess most of the lawyers here are nosy aunties.)
Treasure has hired Tao Yi Jing to fill the vacant position left by Editor Wen’s departure. Treasure is looking for new ways to attract more readership from their female target audience. The answer given by Xiao Hong is simple: men! Editor-in-chief Zhang agrees and announces that the new series topic for the magazine will be “Elite Men.” He Yi Chen appears on the screen as one of the “elite men” that they would potentially like to feature…
I’m going to check out here for a few episodes (thanks for the break, peanuts!), and since I’ve been so busy recapping that I haven’t been able to join in on all the comments and discussion (and, as peanuts knows, I often have an opinion), I’m just going to put some of hoju’s ramblings here.
Gu Man, the author of the novel and one of the screenwriters for the drama, wrote on Weibo (January 5), “…Actually, when comparing writing script versus writing a novel, my thoughts are, the techniques and formats used may differ to some extent, but the core characters and emotions are the same.”
With that in mind…
Yuan Feng and Xiao Xiao’s side story are additional to the novel. In the press conferences, they said they were supposed to be the comic relief to a story that could get overly angst-y. In reality, their story really does not do anything to move the plot forward and theoretically, if you scrapped them, the story wouldn’t miss a beat. However, if you ask novel readers, most would say that the book is an “easy, light read.” If you think about it, the plot is actually quite angst-y so how did Gu Man accomplish that easy, light feel? Her writing style is actually quite humorous. However, writing style doesn’t translate onto the screen… so, (hoju’s personal theory) perhaps Yuan Feng and Xiao Xiao’s greatest purpose is to maintain that light, easy feel from the novel.
Wallace Chung’s Yi Chen completely captures novel Yi Chen to me, at least up to this point. I know Tang Yan’s Mo Sheng has been more controversial. Acting abilities aside, drama Mo Sheng is not the same as novel Mo Sheng, who although more subdued than her young self, still jokes and has fun and can throw out one-liners. Drama Mo Sheng’s most common posture is, head down, no eye contact, and she is much quieter than I imagined.
Now Ying Hui… I’m reserving judgment on him for later. I’m curious how the changes to the storyline, with the whole bigamy thing, could go and potentially change how we feel about him.
How about all of you? Novel readers, are the “core characters and emotions the same” to you? Those who never read the novel, is it “working” for you?
There. Got that off my chest. :p Now, off to watch some episodes without having to press pause to recap.