Episode 8 of Lost Romance begins with Aoran and Qingfeng entering to the typical staff drools. Chuchu approaches Aoran with the invitation that Xiao’En had been dreading. She offers him tickets to join her at an amusement park and, of course, he accepts. Xiao’En can’t watch the rest. Qingfeng seems more concerned with Xiao’En’s reaction than Chuchu’s invitation.
On the roof, Xiao’En covers her face with a magazine, wallowing. Qingfeng tries to talk to her but she won’t be cheered, focusing on the cruel writer instead. He leaves her alone, as requested. Xiao’En ponders how to return to the real world – perhaps jumping from the building would drop her there? Then she remembers she’s afraid of heights.
At home she considers other ways to return – like how she arrived. She takes a cold fully-clothed shower, walks outside until she’s ill, then collapses at home. In the real world, she appears unwell.
She wakes in bed, happy to have returned to the real world except for missing Aoran. Someone punches her code – it’s Qingfeng. So, she hasn’t left the novel world. She cries in Qingfeng’s arms wanting to go home. As she sobs, he burns.
Tianjian whiles his time waiting to be recalled to HQ. Mother He phones to tell him she tried, but he’s worried that she’s made things worse with Mingli. She praises him for the way he handled the strike.
Uncle He appears and gives Tianjian an address. He notes that Mingli is nervous that Tianjian will make her look bad and implies her mental condition is unstable.
Mingli visits Tianxing, considering pulling his plug but reminds herself that his existence keeps her in the game against Tianjian. She’s notified that Lawyer Wei, who managed the will, has been found.
Qingfeng takes Xiao’En fishing to gain some peace. She can’t believe it’s not somewhere more glamourous. She narrates what’s likely happening on Chuchu and Aoran’s date. Qingfeng asks whether she truly wants to go to the places she mentioned. But she’s too busy shouting her grief to the ocean.
Aoran calls Qingfeng to say that Chuchu never showed up. Xiao’En heads to see Chuchu and Qingfeng meets Aoran. He doesn’t look terribly upset for having been stood up.
Xiao’En finds the house, which looks like it’s been robbed. Upon entering, she’s knocked out.
In the real world, Xiao’En’s head starts to bleed as she’s lying in her hospital bed. Chuntian panics and the hospital staff work to revive her.
Xiao’En wakes in the hospital to Chuchu, who’s brother mistook her for a loan shark. They explain their family situation.
Aoran talks to Qingfeng about his uncertain feelings, noting he was a bit relieved at the cancellation. They try to logic it out and Qingfeng applies Xiao’En-style thinking.
Chuntian questions the doctor about Xiao’En’s injury. Having checked the security footage, he still has no answers. He says she’d bled on her own so they’ll do more tests. Chuntian asks Xiao’En if she’s dreaming something good – enough to not want to wake up.
Xiao’En invites Chuchu and her brother to stay at her place to avoid the loan sharks. Chuchu says she doesn’t want to ask Aoran to pay her father’s medical bills so Xiao’En gives her cash and says she’ll take care of the rest of the fees as well.
Xiao’En calls Qingfeng and says Chuchu is ill. Aoran asks whether Xiao’En needs to be careful too. Hmm. He asks if Qingfeng and Xiao’En are in contact a lot but then explains his questions away.
Chuchu gets her beauty rest while Xiao’En remains wide awake. She’s worried about having promised that she’ll get the rest of the money. She check out part-time jobs, surprised there are no bars or construction sites. Are the buildings 3D printed?
Mingli is on the move, impatient as ever. Tianjian arrives at the address provided by Uncle He to find they’d moved. Minutes later Mingli appears at the same door. She’s told someone else just left and realises it must have been Tianjian.
She finds him at the factory and tells him he needs to stay there longer. He denies having found their father’s will and they argue over who betrayed whom first. She says she’ll go after the lawyer’s family and Tianjian tells her she’s scary. She reminds him about Tianxing falling. Tianjian calls Uncle He, preparing to fight (and playing right into his hands).
At the office, the ladies get ready to go shopping after work but Xiao’En has other plans. Chuchu meets Aoran, confirming she’s nearly recovered. He asks if Xiao’En may be ill as well and Chuchu takes note.
Xiao’En is mortified to be working at a ‘maid café.’ She wonders why she could only find G-rated jobs. Qingfeng stops in and laughs at her ‘meow’ greeting. He teases her as she works, asking about a spoon-feeding service. He says he’s there to watch her be cute and squeezes her hand.
The Episode Review
The tides are turning, Xiao’En. Chuchu can also see there’s something a little different on the rise. Even Aoran, for that matter, is noticing a change in himself. Excitement to come, I’m sure.
As Qingfeng observed, Aoran does seem to be out of sorts and confused. For the first time since we’ve met him, his face lacks the determination and focus it usually has – and he seems like a little boy, not sure what to do next. Kudos to the team – writer, director and actor – for creating that subtle shift. This is when the character arc begins.
Qingfeng’s burning – it seems that when Xiao’En is in despair, Qingfeng is affected. Maybe in seeing Xiao’En distraught he’s so angry at the situation that he’s ‘out of character,’ so to speak. Perhaps his extreme indignation is giving him the power to break from his binding.
Whatever it is, I love this visual – so powerful and filled with emotion. When one burns it’s either anger or passion, no? And that handclasp in the last scene perhaps gives us a tip.
Emotions are high in the real world too as Mingli and Tianjian are unquestionably now on opposite sides. And Uncle He/Dr Evil is practically rubbing his hands in anticipation. Mingli has come to an interesting conclusion – that she needs Tianxing. If he were out of the picture, Tianjian would be the clear successor. So that means Mingli must protect him until she gets her mitts on her father’s will.
So many exciting things happening in Lost Romance from plot evolution to player shifts. I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t win awards in Taiwan. Who’s with me?