Twdrama: Mars Episode 3
One thing that is at the heart of the manga and the heart of the Taiwanese drama (and not the heart of the Japanese drama) is Rei/Ling’s desire to become a professional motorcycle racer. It was always fascinating learning more about the bike racing world in the manga and the live action.
We open episode 3 with Ming Gao requesting that Ling start racing once more. Ling hedges around this at first. He doesn’t have the money (since he has broken off his relationship with daddy), plus he hasn’t really raced since his accident. Ming Gao won’t take no for an answer. His racing dream is over now that he has lost his leg, but Ling still has a chance to make it big. Ming Gao will put together the team, will be the coach, and will do his best to get a major sponsor. This definitely catches Ling’s interest and he finally agrees. We then get to cut to Mrs. Han warning Qi Luo away from Ling. Qi Luo’s father was killed thanks to an accident involving a motorcycle and the animosity she has towards the killer overflows to all bikers. Qi Luo does stand up for Ling, but while she is insistent, even with her mother she keeps her head down when talking and arguing.
When Ling gets home he’s greeted by the angry Qing Mei. She’s unhappy that Ling pays special attention to Qi Luo and she’s also angry that he let Qi Luo ride on his bike after rejecting Qing Mei’s request. Of course, despite what he says about himself, Ling is not stupid. He’s quick to figure out Qing Mei and buddies were bullying Qi Luo and he’s not happy about it. Qing Mei states her case about how she’s always been there and likes him. Ling could care less about the girl’s feelings. She demands to know why he slept with her if he holds no special feelings for her. Well…when Ling answers honestly, does Qing Mei have a right to be angry? She used sex to try to hold onto him, when does that ever turn out well? Since she’s been watching him for a long time now, she should know Ling never invests himself emotionally and it’s purely physical with women. Except with Qi Luo.
Ling, knowing Da Ye’s feelings for Qi Luo decides to play matchmaker much to the others’ embarrassment. He really pushes for this after Qing Mei mentions his special attitude towards Qi Luo. Anywho, he confesses to Qi Luo for Da Ye and asks if Qi Luo is willing to date the other boy. Qi Luo shocks both Da Ye and Ling when she agrees to this. You can tell this answer really makes Ling unhappy, but he bows out gracefully and leaves. Talk about the most awkward of silences and first dates. It’s obvious that while Qi Luo doesn’t hate Da Ye, she isn’t romantically interested in him either. Da Ye isn’t stupid and he definitely knows that Qi Luo is genuinely interested in Ling. The time that Qi Luo is the brightest in their time alone is when Da Ye reveals that Ling’s mother died when he was young which is the reason he was so attracted to Qi Luo’s drawing of a mother and child.
After the awkward date, Da Ye waits for Qi Luo in front of the school. He’s about to give her something when Qing Mei’s friends show up and take her away to “talk.” I can’t believe Da Ye didn’t realize how bogus that was considering they are Qing Mei’s friends and Qing Mei is obsessed with Ling. The girls deliver Qi Luo to Qing Mei who is quick to start berating and beating the reticent girl to get Qi Luo to stay far away from Ling. When Da Ye arrives alone and tells Ling about Qi Luo getting pulled aside by other girls to talk, Ling immediately jumps up and rushes out to the rescue followed by Da Ye.
Megan Lai does a good job with Qing Mei’s bullying of Qi Luo. You can see her obsession and anger and resentment. Anyways, she’s going to burn Qi Luo’s hand with a cigarette, but when the girl asks if she cries for a week then can she like Ling, Qing Mei has had enough. She picks up a giant rock to smash Qi Luo’s hand so she can’t draw again and thus sever the connection between the artist and Ling. Qi Luo doesn’t back down. She doesn’t want to lose her hand, but there are other ways she can draw as well. The scene cuts out as Qing Mei smashes the rock down hard.
Something kept Qing Mei from making good her crazy threat. Ling is relieved to find Qi Luo in one piece with her hand still intact. Da Ye watches on as Ling comforts the crying Qi Luo. As much as he doesn’t like he, he can’t deny that both Qi Luo and Ling like each other, whether they admit it to themselves or each other. The two boys take Qi Luo to the infirmary saying she fainted because it was that time. LOL. It’s funny how the nurse doesn’t believe that Ling didn’t do anything wrong, but she’ll take Da Ye’s word when he says that Ling is innocent of any wrongdoing in regards to Qi Luo. Ling complains of this to the school nurse, but when he catches Qi Luo’s eye through the curtain he looks straight at her and tells her that she’s stubborn. Ling’s smile fades and his face gets very serious. Da Ye unhappily walks away after warning Ling he won’t let him off should Qi Luo get hurt because of him.
Qing Mei is drinking at a bar when Ling shows up. He’s shocked the other girl could be so soft and let Qi Luo go. Qing Mei says she is surprised as well, but Ling shouldn’t believe with this incident that she’ll leave Qi Luo alone. Fine. If that’s the way she’ll be, Ling has some words to say. If Qing Mei persists in hurting Qi Luo, he’ll kill her. Qing Mei thinks he’s joking at first. There’s no way he’ll kill her because of Qi Luo, right? Ling’s face is deadly serious. Qing Mei can try to test his resolve, but he will seriously kill her should Qi Luo come to harm because of Qing Mei’s jealous antics. He then leaves the shaken Qing Mei behind for Da Ye to find and comfort. Qing Mei whines about how Ling never gave her the time of day even though she waited patiently, etc. Da Ye asserts that be that as it may, Qing Mei went to far. This upsets the girl even more. Da Ye says in situations like these you either become someone’s shadow or you become there enemy (meaning Qing Mei would be Qi Luo’s shadow and Da Ye would remain as Ling’s). Qing Mei wishes to know which option Da Ye will choose. As if the boy could actually turn into his best friend’s enemy?
Qi Luo is at home writing. She recalls what happened earlier that day and looks at her hand. She then hears a motorcycle and rushes to the window. When she sees Ling she runs outside. Ling promise Qi Luo that he’ll take care of Qing Mei so the other girl does not hurt Qi Luo any longer. Qi Luo is quick to point out that Qing Mei honestly and sincerely likes Ling. So what? That doesn’t excuse her actions and doesn’t mean he has to like her back. He also tells Qi Luo that past girlfriends compare him to a Chanel bag that can raise their status. That’s all he is. Qi Luo is quick to point out that Ling is constantly degrading himself when he is much more than he gives himself credit for. It’s cute how Ling doesn’t know how to deal with Qi Luo’s in-depth character analysis. Qi Luo also confesses that while she knows she should steer clear of Ling, she is inexplicably drawn to him. Ling goes in for a kiss! Qi Luo does flinch away, but doesn’t pull away when Ling does plant one on her.
When the two separate, Qi Luo’s hair gets caught in Ling’s bracelet. He announces it’s the first time such an event has happened with his beloved good luck charm (he wore it when he won a 4-hour endurance race). Qi Luo compliments the bracelet and Ling is quick to give it to her as a gift. How can she accept his lucky charm? He asserts the bracelet will become her lucky charm and protect her from harm. Qi Luo goes inside as Ling watches. She goes to bed happy while Ling is torn between his feelings for Qi Luo and his friendship with Da Ye.
The next day our innocent Qi Luo paces in front of the school waiting for Ling. He broaches the subject of the other night and Qi Luo goes to give him his bracelet back. No. That was a gift and Qi Luo is meant to keep it. The thing is about the kiss. She knows it’s just a casual greeting between acquaintances in other countries, right? Ouch. But Qi Luo doesn’t argue or show how his words hurt her. She smiles and tells him she understands he was just caught up in the flow of the moment and walks away. Only when her back is turned does she express her sadness at his words. Of course, Ling’s words aren’t what he’s really feeling as well and he feels like crap for saying it. He then spies Da Ye who pulls him aside for a serious talk before class starts.
Qi Luo is gloomily walking to class when Qing Mei appears before her. The other girl isn’t there to bully her or start a fight. Qing Mei says that Qi Luo must be happily gloating thinking she’s won, but Qi Luo needs to be warned that if she stays with Ling—she’s risking her life. And no, Qing Mei is not threatening Qi Luo with death. She’s actually giving her a somewhat friendly warning. Being with Ling is dangerous—he’s dangerous. Meanwhile, Da Ye and Ling reach the rooftop and Da Ye turns and punches his friend. Ling is surprised. He’s even more surprised when Da Ye asserts that this means his giving Qi Luo up. Ling tries to say something, but Da Ye stops him. Emotions cannot be forced. He likes Qi Luo, but he Da Ye knows she likes Ling thus their relationship will never come to fruition. Ling asks why Da Ye is pushing Qi Luo into the proverbial fire (meaning him). Da Ye says even if a relationship with Ling will be a disaster for Qi Luo, it’s the girl’s decision. Da Ye requests that Ling not pity him and says he’ll root for the two fools before walking away.
With some embellishments and more minor plot changes, this drama is actually very close to the manga so far. It’s actually a lot closer than other Taiwanese dramas based on live action adaptations (i.e. Marmalade Boy, Devil Beside Me, Meteor Garden, Hana Kimi). The acting may not always be spot on or well done as this was still the earliest works of our main young cast, but for the most part they capture the essence of the characters well and I do enjoy this version very much.