Episode 1 Recap

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

He Hao Yi (Lego Li) runs along an air bridge with urgency in his steps in search of Ai Li Si (Nikki Hsieh). It’s been 13 years since they first met. He finds it curious how he could be thinking about her at this moment in time before realising that just like when they first met, he was chasing after her, trying to catch up to her. Thirteen years later, he’s still seems to be trying to catch up to her.

Their first meeting was during a chase which had him on the run from authorities after the owner of the hotel he was staying at reported him for suspected truancy; she was in a rush to get back to school to cheer on her good friend, Bai Shu Lei (Amanda Chou), at the National High School swimming competition that was in progress at their high school.

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

In He Hao Yi’s attempt to escape from the authorities, he jumps and flips over steps, walls and rooftops, skillfully evading them. His meeting with Ai Li Si happens below a set of steps which has him leap over to land crouched down. Ai Li Si, who approaches from his left, barely escapes being tripped by him as she manages to jump over him. (She had come from visiting Bai Shu Lei’s busy politician father to try get a recording of Bai Shu Lei’s father cheering his daughter on.)

Without wasting a second, Ai Li Si does not stop for a moment. She only turns to face him for a moment to apologise before continuing her way towards the school, not noticing she had dropped her wallet on the pavement.

He Hao Yi picks it up and runs after her, chasing and calling for her all the way to Ching Ying High School where she is a student and He Hao Yi is to transfer. Ai Li Si shows no signs of slowing down even as she crosses the school gate despite his calls. The only way He Hao Yi manages to stop her is by addressing her by the colour of underwear she’s wearing.

Ai Li Si stops and briefly flicks her gaze to her skirt, thinking he’d seen her underwear when she leaped over him back when they almost collided with each other. He assures her he hadn’t seen anything and explains that he only said that because it was the only way he could stop her and allow him to return the wallet she dropped. Ai Li Si doesn’t stand still for long. After retrieving her wallet and sparing a moment to get He Hao Yi past the guard at the gate (not wearing a uniform, he was having trouble getting past the school guard), she took off once again as she thanked him for the wallet.

He Hao Yi watches her leave as she seems to have made an impression on him. But when he finds himself mistaking her as his twin sister, Liu Xiao Fen (Alina Cheng), he creates trouble for her.

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

He Hao Yi and Liu Xiao Fen comes from a family where his parents are separated. Liu Xiao Fen went to live with her mother whilst he stayed with his father who’s become very ill. His regard of his sister and his mother is not a good one. When his father was lying ill in hospital, they did not respond to his father’s letter wishing to see his sister. In the end, their father passed away from his illness not having heard from Liu Xiao Fen or their mother.

Alone with little money and living his days in hotels, he arrives from Tainan to search for his sister and mother. He locates Liu Xiao Fen’s desk in Chong Ying High School’s Room 209. He never actually sees his sister at her desk. He only sees her belongings sitting on top of her desk—a pottle of pudding, a poem she wrote, a bear plushie and a tube of lip gloss.

The bear on Liu Xiao Fen’s desk is what causes He Hao Yi to mistaken Ai Li Si to be his twin sister. Liu Xiao Fen’s bear is given to Ai Li Si after Liu Xiao Fen decides she doesn’t want it. (The plushie was originally a gift from Bai Shu Lei, who received the plushie from her many male admirers.) Not wanting to waste a perfectly good plushie, Ai Li Si takes the bear and hangs it on her bag. He Hao Yi sees this bear and assumes Ai Li Si is his sister.

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

The misunderstanding builds when he sees Ai Li Si walk into a bakery to pick up a birthday cake with his mother. Standing outside, he sees her receive a gift from his mother. When they walk out the store together, he hears his mother talk ask about her day and worry over her being cold like a mother does for her daughter.

The next day, after spending a depressing birthday alone with a cigarette lighter to stand in as candles and a snack from the convenience store, he is seen at school littering the area Ai Li Si’s been sentenced to clean for leaving school grounds to get that recording of Bai Shu Lei’s father’s cheer. When he sees Ai Li Si with her friends Bai Shu Lei and Liu Xiao Fen under the bleachers in possession of cigarettes, he frames Ai Li Si with smoking at school. Bai Shu Lei’s cigarettes is found in her bag during a check which he also initiated when he reported the sighting of students smoking to the teachers.

Bai Shu Lei tries to own up to the cigarettes, but Ai Li Si doesn’t let her and takes the hit, telling the teachers and school authorities that they were her cigarettes. She is brought to the office for interrogation with her mum present. Fortunately for Ai Li Si she gets off with only three hours manual labour in the form of cleaning toilets and floors. Her mum had helped her get off lightly under the reasoning that no one actually saw her smoke them.

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

As she goes around cleaning toilets and floors, she learns that He Hao Yi may be the one behind the whole incident. Her kind gesture of cleaning up a notebook belonging to Song Han Ming (Edison Wang) which stomped on by bullies has him tell Ai Li Si that he isn’t sure whether He Hao Yu planted the cigarettes in her bag, but he saw him reporting the sighting of students smoking.

The information has Ai Li Si go in search of He Hao Yi. She finds him sitting by the school swimming pool angry over his unsuccessful attempt to cause Ai Li Si big trouble. She storms up to him and gives him a big scolding thinking that he’s doing his because he likes Bai Shu Lei. She then kicks him into the pool, sending him into the water. Moments pass. Ai Li Si is in the middle of walking away when she realizes he’s not resurfacing, which has her worried and calling for him.

He Hao Yi is fine. He’s staying submerged so he can reemerge in a surprise attack of dragging her into the water with him.

They exit the pool with Ai Li Si questioning him why he was bullying her, why he was framing her after she helped him the day before with getting into school. He almost tells her the reason about being Liu Xiao Fen, but changes course and simply says that he hates her. When she tells him that he hates him too, that he’ll be the first person she’s ever hated, He Hao Yi approves. He reveals to her that he planted the cigarettes in her bag because he wanted her to tell on her friends and break her friendship with them. It didn’t happen this time, but he’ll just continue in his way until she can no longer survive at the school.

He is quickly subdued when Ai Li Si’s friends come calling for her. They use her name, which has him realise he’s been making things difficult for the wrong person.

Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot
Love at Seventeen Screenshot

He and Ai Li Si run into each other again at the library wanting to read the same volume of Naruto. He Hao Yi has it out on loan. Without that hate towards her, he lets her read the manga whilst he cooks himself a packet of instant noodles sitting across from her. They sit quietly together. Ai Li Si takes her eyes away from her manga to look at the noodles and then him peel an egg. She looks to be eyeing his food. Just after He Hao Yi asks her what she was looking at—which she simply responds “I was looking at you”. Then the room goes dark as there seems to be a power cut.

Episode 1 ends with Ai Li Si in the arms of He Hao Yi as he tries to calm her scream down. Ai Li Si seems to have a problem with being in the dark.

Thoughts

That last scene with the power cut came in pretty quick, we thought. We didn’t expect He Hao Yi and Ai Li Si to be in each other’s arms so soon!

First episode is looking good, though. We like the set of characters in the drama so far. Song Han Ming probably catches our attention most right now. He’s an outcast at the school for his appearance. He likes the school’s most popular girl, Bai Shu Lei, who he may not have a chance with her now; but, in the future, things can change.

He was rejected by Bai Shu Lei face to face when his feelings were revealed against his will by his bullies, but the way she responded so well to his thoughtfulness as “Peter”, we’re sort of interested to see how it all turns out in the future.

In the episode, Bai Shu Lei is regularly sent gifts from the guys. They give her chocolates and stuffed animals—the usual kind of gifts secret admirers send to girls they like. However, Song Han Min sends her medicated patches that relieve aches and pain. The episode actually doesn’t confirm it’s him, but it can be assumed it’s him as he’s the most likely person to use Peter (as in Peter in Spiderman) and caring and attentive enough to send her such item at a time when she needs it the most. (She suffered a back injury from training and was still recovering from it.) These gifts from “Peter” / Song Han Min has her see him as someone special. There’s this nerd-popular storyline that never gets old with us.

Song Han Min’s development in the future is something we’re looking forward to seeing as well. Will he or will he not be successful? Typical direction would be he’d lose his glasses and bad complexion (which from the montages in the episode, he does!) and land a great high position, which we would like to see. :oD :oD.

Episode 1 went into a lot of He Hao Yi’s backstory, but not a lot about Ai Li Si’s, so we don’t really know how these two will associate in the future. So far, what we know about Ai Li Si is that she, too, is from a one-parent family. This was revealed during the scene where he was deliberately littering the area she was sweeping. He Hao Yi talks about how pitiful it was being a younger brother which leads her to respond with an apology on behalf of her non-existent brother since it was just her and her mum in her family. She’s someone who likes to help strangers, friends and classmates and sympathises with them and seemingly on in a place where He Hao Yi needs to try catch up with.

We’re not sure there’s a story behind Ai Li Si’s apparent dislike of the darkness. Hopefully there is and it’s not just some kind of attempt to get Ai Li Si in the arms of He Hao Yi as quick as possible.

He Hao Yi’s family situation, it looks like his mother still thinks about him. When she was with Liu Xiao Fen celebrating her birthday in the house, she sat at a couch in the living room by herself, quietly wishing him a happy birthday. We find it curious why she’s chosen not to respond to any of He Hao Yi’s letters when she clearly still thinks about him. He Hao Yi’s mother seems not to know that her husband passed away based on the way she instructs Mrs Fang to throw away the letters on account of having not met so long. We have a feeling that she will find out that her husband passed away soon, though, and He Hao Yi is alone and looking for her. There was a second call from Mrs Fang about some “customer” from Tainan looking for her. Perhaps it’s He Hao Yi’s aunt who’s looking to relay the news.

It’s great seeing Lego Li in a new drama. We have to say we miss him as Three-Starred Michelin Chef, Han Jie, though. Whenever we see him eat, we half-expect him to start tasting and analysing it! There was this one scene where he did give his opinion of the milk he was drinking. He took a gulp of the milk, stuck out his tongue a few times, like he was trying to clear the taste of it from his tongue, then made this “aack” sound. We found this shot quite funny. It’s interesting to see Lego Li give the character this kind of reaction to milk. We think Lego Li doesn’t like the taste of milk! : oP : oP.

Still on Lego Li, he looked very cool jumping and leaping those buildings. We’re wondering if this is a common thing he does in dramas. In Love Cuisine, he leaped to grip onto a high window and then escaped through it. This was done by him. We have to see if he also did all the leaping and jumping of those steps, walls and roof-tops in this drama. He’s pretty athletic! Perhaps, writers like writing in those scenes where he leaps and jumps because they like to show off how athletic he is.

We’re hoping this drama will start off well and end off well. We loved Love Cuisine at the beginning, but towards the end, we felt it just dragged on and on. We’ve never seen a drama where the second-lead is cut and a new character is brought in to create a mini-story of sorts so late towards the end of the series instead of working on what they’ve already built using the characters they already have. Love at Seventeen, with the set up, the set of characters, it should carry it through to the end and be an interesting enough watch. Hopefully that is the case.

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