Love Forward Episode 1 Recap

Love Forward bannerI won’t say that I will stick with this for 24 episodes. It will really depend on the acting and plot development [which actually looks to be pretty stereotypical given episode 2’s previews].

So Love Forward is a Taiwanese drama about women’s ultimate choice – love or money [they say money or honey in the tagline, but I don’t think that statement quite fits when you get into the various meanings behind the word honey].

We open with Zheng Ai Xing [Chen Yi Rong] and family hiding from creditors. They don’t have the money to pay them back so they boldly rush out of the front door, knocking the creditors down and running to get on a departing bus. When her twin brother [who has a bit of a mental handicap] drops his sketchpad, Ai Xing jumps off the bus to pick it up only to be caught and drug off by the creditors. Just when Ai Xing fears the worst will happen and she will never see her brother or mother again, a convertible comes speeding along and cuts off the gangsters’ car. Out steps a rich girl who threatens to call the cops since they took something which wasn’t there’s. The gangsters take off and Ai Xing thanks the other girl as her mother and brother run up to see if she’s alright. Ai Xing looks after the girl and says that she thought of her as an angel, but learned later that she was also a devil.

Some time later, Ai Xing stands outside of her college [she wears a sweater, jersey, and vest – her general look throughout this episode] and tries to sell flowers for Valentine’s Day. A classmate comes and offers to buy a rose. Ai Xing says she’ll give him a discount, but he doesn’t even have enough with the discount. Ai Xing sighs as she cannot expect to gain anything from someone as poor as she is. Then out comes a campus security guard who demands her student ID and to know which department she is in since she isn’t allowed to sell on school grounds. He is distracted by the same convertible speeding up. The girl says she isn’t used to driving in Taiwan yet as she has been abroad in California. The man then tells her where the building is she needs to go and she speeds off once more.

The long-haired girl is Meng Jing Jing [Amber Kuo]. In Ai Xing’s economics class, Jing Jing corrects the professor and he ignores this. After class, he tells Jing Jing he can’t stand arrogant students and she should find another class. Ai Xing goes and takes Jing Jing’s class form up with her and then scolds the professor. She convinces him to add Jing Jing by saying if the girl wins the Nobel Peace Prize, then he will become famous. After that, Ai Xing follows Jing Jing who reluctantly thanks her. Ai Xing then tries to get the girl to buy her roses. Jing Jing says she’ll take the entire lot for NT 5,000. This makes Ai Xing happy until Jing Jing points out that Ai Xing withheld one rose. Ai Xing explains that it’s her mother’s favorite flower, but Jing Jing doesn’t care, she asked for them all. Jing Jing then says NT 4,000. Thinking she meant to reduce the price by 1,000, Ai Xing quickly agrees to this, but Jing Jing only gives her NT 1,000 [meaning that flower Ai Xing kept was worth NT 4,000]. Ai Xing cannot believe her rotten luck. How could the girl who saved her be so callous and cold?

Jing Jing gets home and hands the flowers over to a housekeeper to throw out. Her mother scolds her for wasting money like that, but Jing Jing doesn’t care. Money is the only thing her father gives her. Jing Jing says that she will quickly change and they can leave. Her Mrs. Meng says that the plans are canceled as Mr. Meng called saying he had to work late. Jing Jing knows this is a lie. Her father forgot all about her mother’s birthday and didn’t even bother calling to apologize. She scolds her mother for lying to her. Mrs. Meng replies that Jing Jing will understand how things are when she marries. Jing Jing refutes this as she will not marry a man who does not love her regardless of status or wealth.

The next day, Ai Xing tries ignoring Jing Jing, but Jing Jing won’t be ignored. While the two girls argue, the creditors from earlier come up. They recognize Ai Xing’s savior and says that the two girls were in cahoots. They both deny this, but the gangsters won’t listen. Ai Xing then grabs Jing Jing’s hand and the two girls run for it. Jing Jing wonders how she got involved as she has nothing to do with Ai Xing who explains that the gangsters don’t care and don’t see it that way. Jing Jing trips and falls into a puddle allowing the gangsters to catch up. She has had enough. She demands to know how much money Ai Xing owns. They all then go to the banks where Jing Jing takes out NT 280,000 to pay the creditors. Ai Xing takes the extra money [as she only owed NT 274,652] as payment for Jing Jing’s ruined clothes.

The two girls go sit on a rock overlooking the water and Ai Xing writes out an IOU and vows that when she hits it big, she will repay Jing Jing (who doesn’t believe this at all and won’t take the IOU). Ai Xing stuffs her IOU in Jing JIng’s wallet and then tells the other girl her dream. Ai Xing wants to make a lot of money and buy a house for her family so she can live happily with her mother and brother. Hearing this dream makes Jing Jing smiles [she wants that herself – the happy family part, I mean]. Ai Xing then asks for her new friend’s dream. Jing Jing doesn’t want to say, but she caves and makes Ai Xing promise not to laugh. Ai Xing swears she won’t, but at Jing Jing’s outburst with wanting a happy family, Ai Xing can’t hold it in. The two girls then yell their dreams and laugh.

Mrs. Zheng and Zhi Xeng, meanwhile, visit Uncle Du who was Mrs. Zheng’s neighbor while growing up. Mrs. Zheng tells her sad tale and begs Du to look after her children if anything unfortunate should happen to her. Looks like her health isn’t very good and she is afraid of what will happen to her twins when she’s gone. Mr. Du agrees to take care of the children after Mrs. Zheng and Zhi Xeng get down on their knees.

Ai Xing takes Jing Jing home to meet her family, but they arrive ahead of Mrs. Zheng and Zhi Xeng. When her brother and mother get home, Ai Xing introduces her family to her new friend who saved them from debt. Zhi Xeng takes an immediate liking to Jing Jing and starts singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” [the lyrics in mandarin kind of sound like Jing Jing’s name]. Ai Xing explains that means her brother likes Jing Jing. Mrs. Zheng takes Jing Jing’s arms and thanks her before passing out. They rush to the hospital, but are too late. Mrs. Zheng dies en route and Ai Xing holds her mother and bawls in the backseat of the car while Jing Jing keeps driving with tears flowing.

8 months later.

The twins are now living with Du and Ai Xing and Jing Jing are closer than ever. However, it doesn’t really look like Mrs. Meng approves of her daughter’s new friend. Jing Jing also hits Ai Xing to keep the girl from spilling that Jing Jing paid off Ai Xing’s family’s debt. It’s funny as Jing Jing admires Hui Mei [Mrs. Zheng] who stood by her love of the twins’ father who abandoned her while Ai Xing admires the wealthy housewife that Mrs. Meng represents. After the girls finish studying for their midterm, they find Du frantically searching for Zhi Xeng who went off to draw and hasn’t come back. Nor is the boy answering his phone. The two girls immediately set off to find him.

And just where is Zhi Xeng? He met a man on a scooter who was lost. The man takes Zhi Xeng to help find his way, but Zhi Xeng manages to take him in circles instead. Not understanding that Zhi Xeng is handicapped, the man gets angry and starts yelling and pushing. Jing JIng and Ai Xing happen to come by at this moment and Si Xing rushes in to save her brother. When she ends up getting pushed, Zhi Xeng punches the scooter guy as no one is supposed to bully his sister. It was really cute. The actor [don’t know his name just yet] who plays Zhi Xeng does a pretty decent job of portraying the childish innocence of the character without being too over the top or unbelievable.

The five sit down and learn the whole story. The scooter owner’s name is Du Tian Ze [Tony Wang]. He came to find his grandfather and bumped into Zhi Xeng who took him for quite a ride. Tian Ze immediately takes a shine to the pretty Jing Jing. Uncle Du then comes and we learn that Tian Ze is his grandson! Du denies this and Ai Xing says its impossible because Du is her grandfather. So cute. Apparently, Du wants nothing to do with his son or family because he doesn’t like his son’s chose profession of being a lawyer. Tian Ze asks to see Jing Jing home and Ai Xing makes sure that Zhi Xeng goes with them to protect Jing Jing. Looks like Jing Jing has taken an interest in Tian Ze, but his analysis of her [which is spot on] annoys her and she vows to never see him again.

That night while Tian Ze sleeps, Ai Xing sneaks down and goes through his stuff to “confirm” he is who he says. This annoys Tian Ze who drops his blanket as he just wore his briefs to bed. Ai Xing yells and rushes up the stairs. Tian Ze picks up the blanket and goes to lie down again when Ai Xing comes back and says once more that she has her eyes on Tian Xe who again drops the blanket. Ai Xing yells again and runs back upstairs. I think I will like the bickering sibling relationship that is developing between these two.

The next morning Du tells Tian Ze to take Ai Xing to school. They both refuse this, but when Du threatens to kick them out for not listening, the two reluctantly head off to school together. Once at school, Ai Xing goes her separate way. As Tian Ze is leaving, he spots Jing Jing and can’t leave without bugging her. He manages to convince her to go with him and skip out on her midterm tests. They go to a place where they can watch the stock market as Tian Ze thinks that’s the best lesson in life. Jing Jing doesn’t like stocks as it is gambling. When the two later go to the same spot where Ai Xing and Jing Jing told each other their dreams, Tian Ze’s attitude and words make Jing Jing decide she wishes to gamble for once in her life as well. The two then jump off into the ocean together. Tian Ze surfaces first and rushes towards Jing Jing who is still underwater. He drags her to shore where he learns that she cannot swim. Then why did she jump? She wants to change, she wants to gamble for a change.

We then have a make out session. Um… just a little early for this, but whatever.

The next episode promises more lightning fast pacing, a car accident, amnesia, and a time jump. Probably a 4-year or so jump as we are in 2008 in this episode.

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