Twdrama: Mars Episode 2
With episode 1 of Mars, we got to see more of what Qi Luo’s trauma and problems were. With episode 2, we’re introduced to Chen Ling’s problems…although we still aren’t just aware where his trauma stems from (unless you’ve read the manga that is). Although, the same can be said for Qi Luo’s past, too. We know she was sexually abused, but not by whom.
We open with Ling going to buy beer at a convenience store when something gives him pause. He caught site of a mirror and something just freaks him out. He stays still and stares for the longest of times before slamming his fist into the mirror. Ouch. We then get him lying on the floor at home having some sort of attack while we get a doctor’s voice over about how Ling’s reflection causes him to have a visceral response that simulates death. Why? Of course I already know the answer since I have read at least half the manga series back in high school, but I’m not telling. He then reaches for Qi Luo’s drawing.
The next day he visits Qi Luo in the art studio. I’m not for sure if this is after school activities or an actual class. Needless to say, Qi Luo’s professor doesn’t like Ling and warns Qi Luo about associating with such a person. After asking her several times to come talk to him the back of the room, Qi Luo finally gets up and meets him. He gives her back the picture she drew and apologizes for wrinkling it. Qi Luo is surprised, but thanks him. She also explains that this is just a rough sketch that will be useless once she has made an oil painting of it. Hearing this. Ling wants the picture back when she’s done with it. Qi Luo then decides to give him the finished painting which absolutely thrills Ling.
Ling then thinks a minute. This doesn’t seem quite right. He’s getting the painting for free and that seems a bit audacious of him. He then offers his protection to Qi Luo so incidents like the other day won’t happen again. This is about all he is good for. He then turns to leave, but stops and turns back. He also offers the use of his body whenever she wants free of charge. He turns to leave again, but gets the shock of his life when Qi Luo asks him to let her use his body. No way! His surprise causes him to turn into a statute and send a shower of easels clattering to the ground. What did she say? Qi Luo then asks him again to loan her his body as a model for her painting.
Later when everyone else has left, Qi Luo and Ling come back to the art studio. She places a chair in the center of the room. Ling asks if he has to remove his clothes, but Qi Luo assures him there is no need. He asks for instructions and all she does is order him to sit however he wants. Ling sits and says that he had something else more fun in mind when he offered his body. He then asks why she hates men…she doesn’t like women does she? Qi Luo demands he sit still, but Ling asserts he’s not a statue, but a human.
Qi Luo begins sketching and he asks if she has ever heard of the Mars Prophecy. Qi Luo replies she hasn’t. Ling says it’s predicted a terrible king will be in power and Mars will rule the world. What does she thing of a world ruled by Mars? Qi Luo wonders why Ling is bent on seeing Mars as an evil entity. Ling replies he doesn’t much care as the world is all kinds of messed up anyways. He then wonders when this godforsaken world will end. Wouldn’t it be better? Surprisingly enough given Qi Luo’s nature, she doesn’t have the same thoughts as Ling and wonders why he would desire the end. He stops talking and when Qi Luo looks up from her drawing, he’s asleep! She calls out, but no movement. She then walks up to him and he really is fast asleep. This makes her smile at how fast he fell asleep. She then ponders over his expression which is completely free of malice and so pure.
In English class, Professor Fang decides to start picking on Ling. Big mistake. Da Ye is forced to wake the sleeping Ling up to write a sentence on the white board. Ling gets up and walks up to the board. He hesitates and when Professor Fang goads him, Ling smirks and warns Fang that it’s the professor’s fault for waking him up. He starts writing and one part of the board while Fang is writing on another. When students starts buzzing, Fang looks over and Ling has written a derogatory sentence about Fang’s behavior towards female students. Ling then reads it aloud in English and translates it into Mandarin and tells Fang that he lived in LA for 8 years. Ling then walks back to his seat while Fang quickly erases the board. Ling stops by Qi Luo’s seat and asks for a quick high five for sticking it to the professor. She hesitates, but smiles and then slaps his hand. They really are cute, these two, aren’t they?
We are now introduced to a new character currently living in most likely a mental institution. Tong Dao [played by the late An Jun Can who died last year from live cancer at the age of 31] is happily watching a snake eating a frog when he’s called to go inside where he is scolded by the head doctor for not wearing a patient’s uniform. Tong Dao says that he is wearing normal clothes in preparation. After almost two years there, he is going to be discharged. Tong Dao then asks the doctor about a drawing another patient left behind. Tong Dao has been trying to discover the patient’s identity with no luck. The doctor doesn’t outright name the patient, but he does say he remembers the young man who broke every single mirror in the hospital during his stay. He is about Tong Dao’s age. You know this boy has no good intention when he’s asking. He’ll be trouble later on for sure.
Back at the college, Qing Mei is setting up a date with Ling. He tells her he’s leaving for work and she says she’ll come over later. Ling laughs and asks, “aren’t we already over?” He turns to leave, but has second thoughts. He does later agree to call her if he ends up getting home early. Qing Mei’s friends then come and tease her for not giving up on Ling. Qing Mei only smiles and says “some things will never end.” Another one of those girls. Sigh.
Ling takes off for work and we see Fang watching him drive away. Bad. On the road, Ling speeds along until he sees a semi cross his path. He tries to brake, but to no avail as his brake lines are cut and leaking fluid. Ling doesn’t panic and manages to turn the bike on its side so it slides under the semi and Ling only loses his helmet before righting the bike. Is that really physically possible without more serious injuries? Craziness! Ling takes the bike to a repair shop and the repairman asks who has a grudge against Ling to try to kill him. Ling replies too many people with a large smile, but we all know he’s not stupid.
The next day at school, Ling grabs the professor and takes him to a part of the stairs where there isn’t many students around. Ling forces Fang to the edge of the stairs and keeps pushing him forward. The breakdown of the conversation is that Ling is willing to play with Fang if he wants. Ling then confirms just what kind of car Fang drives before walking away. The next thing we hear is that Fang quit his job. Nothing like sheer terror and the uncertainty of just how crazy Ling really is to get rid of an unwanted person. When the announcement is made, Ling is sleeping, but both Da Ye and Qi Luo are quick to look at him. Yep. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that with Ling’s recent actions towards Fang, he could be the reason the teacher quit without ceremony.
In another class, Qing Mei walks in with Ling asking him if he really broke up with his current girlfriend. Ling won’t say one way or another. He looks around and finds Qi Luo and makes a beeline for her followed by Qing Mei who pesters him tor a ride. Ling replies that he doesn’t give rides to girls since his bike gets jealous. LOL. He sits down next to Qi Luo who actually looks up from sharpening her sketching pencil with a brief smile. This makes Qing Mei angry and she intentionally bumps Qi Luo as she walks by causing Qi Luo to cut her finger. Ling then quickly grabs the bleeding appendage and sticks it in his mouth. Awkward!
Afterward at the track, Da Ye is upset and Ling tries to get Da Ye to confess that he really likes Qi Luo. Da Ye won’t. He’s known the girl since high school and he’s always been invisible…or treated like he had some disease. Da Ye then complains that no matter what he does, he’s always been a nobody. He takes off running and there’s nothing Ling can do or say to make his friend feel better. Meanwhile, Qing Mei and her friends decide to start bullying Qi Luo. They accuse her of acting like she does to attract attention. She’s then warned away from Ling and the girls strip her of some of her clothes and throw them over the side of the roof.
During the next class, Ling is skipping, Da Ye is still out running the track, and poor Qi Luo is huddled in a corner of the roof. Of course, Ling ends up on the roof and finds her there. He’s immediately concerned that this happened to her because of him. He quickly takes off his jacket to put it around her to cover her up. He then offers to take her home which is better than staying where she is. He then takes her to his bike. She hesitates. Didn’t he say he doesn’t let anyone ride the bike? Ling is making an exception. After quite a bit of hesitating and Ling apologizing since riding his motorcycle forces Qi Luo to get close and touch him, Qi Luo does decide to get on the bike. When Qing Mei hears the motorcycle, she rushes out of the classroom enraged as she watches Ling roar away with Qi Luo on the back.
Ling safely sees Qi Luo home. He asks if she was scared and she said it was a little late for that since her life was in his hands. Ling laughs and thanks her for entrusting her life with him. Qi Luo thanks him for helping her. She tells him that him doing that and promising to protect her (even though he probably didn’t mean) made her very happy as she hasn’t been that close to another person in a long time. She thanks him again and quickly walks away. Ling chases after her and enter her mother who immediately wonders what Ling did wrong to her daughter. Qi Luo is quick to explain that Ling was the one who helped her. Chen Ling then introduces himself and offers his hand. Mrs. Han reluctantly takes it and Ling immediately marvels at what a mother’s hand feels like. It’s clear that Mrs. Han doesn’t really care for Ling.
Before Qi Luo goes inside with her mother, he stops and asks her what she thinks of Da Ye. At her confusion, he asks if she thinks his friend is filthy or something like that. Qi Luo asks him why he is asking such a strange question. He tells her to never mind and she walks away. She shuts herself in her room and clutches at his jacket before hanging it up by her window to stare at.
End episode. I really do love these two as a couple. And even though there are some dark elements, it’s not too bad or heavy yet. To be sure, it will get worse in that department later on in the series. Mars is very typical as both a manga and a drama by putting our OTP through as many wringers as possible in order for them to find any happiness.
One thing I do like is that the relationship between Ling and Qi Luo does develop more naturally. She’s not instantly cured of her problems, but she opens up little by little like a butterfly slowly emerging from its cocoon. And Ling…well…he’s very natural in his actions. Even if Qi Luo didn’t really believe his promise of protection, you could see how seriously he took it from standing up to Fang to taking care of Qi Luo when she was bullied by Qing Mei. A cute little friendship that will blossom into love is developing and its a lot more believable than these shows where our OTP is instantly in love and you’re left wondering how and why.
Da Ye, and probably others, are too afraid to initiate much conversation or anything with Qi Luo to try to get around her barriers. He’s most unhappy with how naturally Ling can enter into her life because it was a step he couldn’t take himself to try to draw her out. Ah, the nostalgia of rewatching this!