It’s the final episode for Pretty Li Hui Zhen and Bai Hao Yu’s been and returned from the United States. Five months short of the amount of time Bai Hao Yu had said he’d spend in the United States and wait for Li Hui Zhen, he’s back by her side—to Li Hui Zhen’s happy surprise. Prepare for an all-round happy ending, although not the most exciting or entertaining one.
Pretty Li Hui Zhen Episode 40 Recap
It’s been seven months since Bai Hao Yu left for the US. With the huge time zone differences, the online meets has them catch up when the other’s getting ready for work or about to turn in for the night.
Bai Hao Yu catches a cold during this time, which has Li Hui Zhen nagging and scolding him over the phone about not taking better care of himself. This cold of Bai Hao Yu’s sets up a surprise return to China.
Following Li Hui Zhen’s last call to Bai Hao Yu, she is met with unanswered calls, which has her thinking the worst. Sitting with her co-writers, she stares at her phone wondering why she’s not being able to get through to Bai Hao Yu. With the last call giving her the impression he’s not looking after himself, her mind can only think that something’s happened to him.
Bai Hao Yu:
“I wouldn’t be able to do anything else if I didn’t come back to see you. Whatever I looked at, all the thoughts in my mind were of you. So, I finished things up ahead of time and returned.”
Nothing’s happened to him. Seven months away from her is his limit apparently. He decided he could no longer be apart from her and needed to return to her. He ended his classes early and was on the plane back to China. This was why she hadn’t been able to contact him.
When they meet face to face, Bai Hao Yu tells Li Hui Zhen that not only did he end his classes early to return to her, he had sold his house in the US and left his job, too. He had given up everything to return to her side permanently.
Bai Hao Yu:
“Hello, everyone. From now on, I will be assuming the role of Editor in Chief.”
Bai Hao Yu becomes the new Editor in Chief. He takes over the role after the Editor in Chief (Vivian) announces her engagement to an Italian model 15 years her junior.
In the position of Bai Hao Yu’s old position, Zhu Ying takes over as Deputy Editor in Chief.
“I’m so envious. Even Editor in Chief is getting married. When will I get married.”
Lin Hu Sheng:
“Whenever you want.”
Han Xue’s feeling jealous and wondering when she will get married following an introduction of the former Editor in Chief’s fiancé. Good thing she doesn’t need to wonder much as Lin Hu Sheng tells her it’s up to her when she wants to get married because he’s ready to marry her any time she’s ready.
Bai Hao Yu returns to Li Hui Zhen’s family home at the end of the work day. This is his new home, and it was meant to be kept a secret from Li Hui Zhen. The family thinks that had they let Li Hui Zhen know about this fact, they wouldn’t hear the end of it. Being the nag Li Hui Zhen is, she wouldn’t agree to it and she’d go on and on about it. (She does come off as quite a nag: she does it to Bai Hao Yu and Xia Qiao.) So, they asked Bai Hao Yu to keep it a secret from Li Hui Zhen. However, it gets revealed when Li Hui Zhen drops by and see Bai Hao Yu walk through the door with her father.
After the little secret is out, they all enjoy a family dinner together where Li Hui Zhen tries to help her parents buy a new printer to replace their broken one which was seen to have caused them to lose some business earlier in the drama. Li Hui Zhen’s parents are reluctant to accept it: they think she should save it towards things like their marriage, children, house and car.
They forget who Li Hui Zhen is marrying, though. Bai Hao Yu earns a high salary being an Editor in Chief of top performing magazine, so the money isn’t needed to go towards things like that. Bai Hao Yu tells his soon-to-be in-laws that he only needs Li Hui Zhen to bring herself as he’s prepared all of that.
Li Hui Zhen persuades her mum to accept it again. It’s accepted, but it gets cancelled out when her parents sneak into Li Hui Zhen’s bag her dowry: money they saved over many years. Tears flow as Li Hui Zhen thinks about how this amount of money could have helped them buy that printer, food or some nice things for themselves.
Bai Hao Yu tries to calm her, telling her he’d not only make sure her parents get their printer, he’d have the whole house renovated.
“These two people were actually dating right under our noses.”
Wedding invitations are hand-delivered to the Immortal Team. Up till now, Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen’s relationship has been kept a secret from the whole team. So, it comes as quite a surprise to learn that the two had been dating, let alone get married. But, they all wish them well and hope they start a family soon. This has Bai Hao Yu quicken his steps towards the end of his ascent to his office on the second floor after holding his composure for most of the way.
Over on Xia Qiao’s side, life is great. Xia Qiao’s an Internet celebrity, she’s a top student and she’s finally got herself a job through her own efforts. Honesty and genuine desire to get through the interviewing process using only her efforts seemed to impress the interview panel. Probably with a little luck, too, Xia Qiao successfully passed the interview and got hired.
With little work experience on her resume, the interview panel wondered why that was. She wasn’t given the opportunity to answer this question as one of the interviewers suddenly recalls seeing her on a poster publicising her Best Employee award at the hotel she was a former employee. The omission of this noteworthy achievement and her reason for omitting this achievement (she didn’t get her previous job through her own efforts) allowed her to prove her seriousness about wanting to rely on her own efforts. This display of honesty and the want to progress through using her own efforts looked to have helped her secure the job.
Xia Qiao’s got herself an admirer, too: a student who’s a lot younger than her. She’s not interested, but he’s persistent. There’s no indication of this crush will be accepted anytime in the future, but it does show that no matter where Xia Qiao goes, men of all ages find her beautiful and it looks like there will always be love confessions and admirers for Xia Qiao.
“Hao-ge, can you help me take a look at my chair for a bit? This chair of mine isn’t going up. Hurry.”
Lin Hao’s new position as Immortal’s direct superior hasn’t changed the way the team treat him. They go as far as getting him to look at their broken chairs. Now that they know he can actually afford shouting them, he gets teased about agreeing to shout them meals when he hasn’t.
Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen get married. It’s a curious scene as it doesn’t show any guests in their seats when Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen walk down the aisle. (Maybe this is a wedding rehearsal? Or maybe it’s an artistic way to focus in on the two and the momentous day.)
The couple move into their spacious, modern, expensive-looking apartment where Li Hui Zhen is seen with a copy of Lin Yi Mu’s/Diviner’s latest book which has a small dedication to Li Hui Zhen:
Lin Yi Mu:
“For my best friend, Charlie.”
Lin Yi Mu’s living in his usual carefree way. He looks to have left Shanghai for a short time before returning. It’s unclear if he came back to promote his book or maybe he came back for Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen’s wedding, but he seems to be able to roam the streets and bookstores with his identity in full view of the public without any trouble. It’s great to see his sacrifice for Immortal’s success hasn’t caused issues to his daily life.
The episode draws to a close with a short montage of the time Bai Hao Yu returned to China and walked right past her as he’d mistaken someone else for her, of the time she made errors at an Immortal photoshoot, of the time she was given a chance to write for Immortal by Zhu Ying. Then, returning back to the present, her spending the day enjoying a picnic and a children’s book with Bai Hao Yu.
As these scenes play, Li Hui Zhen tells her thoughts about lead characters and supporting characters and whether some are destined to be one or the other. (And thus leading us into the drama’s theme and message.) Li Hui Zhen once believed it was predestined, but her thoughts have since changed. It’s people who make themselves supporting characters because of a lack of confidence and a fear of failure. She talks about how people often say that life won’t be as happy as those in children’s stories when one grows up. Her response to such words is to stay forever a child and not grow up, to maintain one’s original aspirations and chase that dream because one may find that something even better than what’s in children’s stories might happen. She refers to her childhood friend returning to her side again and realising her childhood dream as examples of such things.
Fast-forward seven years is the last scene of the episode: a happily-ever-after ending where Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen walk hand in hand behind their young daughter. She seems to have picked up Li Hui Zhen’s safety rule: “Safe!” She repeats over and over again as the family make their way back to their home.
In the end, Pretty Li Hui Zhen couldn’t win us over. We knew this might be the case with the drama not being as funny as the original and the drama dipping in excitement earlier than the original did. There were no cute or funny scenes that helped change our minds about how uninteresting the main couple is. In fact, this episode managed to cause a decrease in the likability of Li Hui Zhen.
When she learned about Bai Hao Yu’s cold, she nagged about almost everything: from not taking medicine, turning off the air conditioning, eating the wrong food, not eating the right temperature food, not filling his refrigerator to not cooking when she personally taught him to cook. Then after all this nagging, she gets fed up with his slack ways with his health and tells him she has to hang up (because she’s meeting Xia Qiao very soon). We can see she’s just super worried about him, but she nags like a mother nags to a child! In fact, she acknowledges it herself by noting how that conversation on the phone with him felt like she was raising a son.
Bai Hao Yu might be a bit slack with feeding himself, but does he need her nagging like that? We much preferred Kim Hye Jin’s calm enquiring and suggesting. There were no ‘I bet you are doing this’, ‘I told you to do this’, ‘why didn’t you listen?’ kind of sentences which Li Hui Zhen had in her conversation with Bai Hao Yu. Bai Hao Yu caught a little cold, just remind him and let him rest.
Then near the end of the episode, Li Hui Zhen shows her crabby side when Bai Hao Yu goes on a bit too long about being left feeling oh so lonely after getting married and not being clear with what he’s actually after. What he wants is to have his way with her in the bedroom, but this scene wants to play on her cluelessness, and we suppose we’re supposed to find this cluelessness and her crabbiness entertaining. Nope. We don’t. All we get is Li Hui Zhen gets crabby when she catches a bit of a cold. It makes us wonder what the drama is trying to do to her. She’s a nag when others get sick and a crab when she’s sick. The drama is supposed to increase her likability in the last episode not decrease it.
We’ve noticed a subtle technique Pretty Li Hui Zhen uses to guide it’s remake. This technique is ‘do what’s opposite to the original’. Li Hui Zhen being clueless about Bai Hao Yu’s wants is an example of this technique. In the original, Kim Hye Jin actually clicks on and playfully stops work to join Ji Sung Joon. Another example we can find within this episode is Bai Hao Yu not managing to land a kiss on Li Hui Zhen during his stay at her family home. In the original Ji Sung Joon manages to land a kiss on Kim Hye Jin in the same scene.
In scenes throughout the whole of the drama there is use of this ‘do what’s opposite to the original’ technique. The following are a few examples: She Was Pretty is hugely comedic whilst Pretty Li Hui Zhen’s toned it right down; Kim Hye Jin is loud and animated, Li Hui Zhen is quiet and subdued; Ji Sung Joon is detrimental and extremely harsh, Bai Hao Yu not so much; Li Hui Zhen opened the first episode as a supermarket worker, appearing in the daytime; Kim Hye Jin opened the first episode as a waitress in a nightclub; The Most Team isn’t told about its possible closure until it gets found out; the Immortal Editorial Team is told about the possible closure during a team meeting; and an example which doesn’t have as big of an impact on the story or characters as the other examples, day scenes take place in the nighttime. There are probably more examples if we go searching, but the contrast is probably not as much as the above examples.
The result, creating a drama which contrasts She Was Pretty, too. Overall, She Was Pretty is a fun, lively, hilarious, exciting, fast-paced drama while Pretty Li Hui Zhen is an overall slow, dull, and unentertaining drama. The story progresses so slowly despite the content being very similar, the lead characters don’t captivate and connect with us, and the humour in Pretty Li Hui Zhen just gets lost on us pretty much every time. (The scene where the Editorial Team sits watching the former Editor in Chief introduce her fiancé below the office is an example. We think they’re trying to make it like they’re watching a theatre performance, but are we supposed to find this scene funny or entertaining? We just didn’t get it. We just cringed at the whole scene.)
Of course, She Was Pretty being a much better watch is not only because of Pretty Li Hui Zhen having chosen to do things in this contrasting way. There is also this need to extend the drama to fill 40 episodes somehow, which played a part in making the drama slow right down. Very often, where the episode ends also doesn’t create a lot of anticipation for what’s next. The cuts aren’t as well planned which we suppose has something to do with the drama being made for two media outlets: TV and online streaming.
Having said all that, we still remember that we did like the first 23 episodes. The section featuring the business trip Li Hui Zhen and Bai Hao Yu went on is our favourite. We love all the Lin Yi Mu scenes, particularly the ones where he unselfishly pushed Li Hui Zhen towards Bai Hao Yu, and his reveal. There were pockets of goodness after the drama dived, like Bai Hao Yu personally apologising to Xia Qiao for his part in causing her to be mistaken as his childhood friend. The Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen wedding scene is also very pretty. So, it’s not all bad, but it’s not a remake we would have finished till the end if we were not recapping it. With us not shipping the main couple, the story becomes much too slow when all there is left is Bai Hao Yu and Li Hui Zhen getting together.