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Go Go Squid! (2019) Series Recap, Episodes 31 – 41

Go Go Squid! Episodes 31 - 41

Tong Nian’s dad has never really been a person Han Shangyan has to try to get on their good side. Unlike Tong Nian’s mum, Tong Nian’s dad showed he never thought Han Shangyan as having such a terrible character that he wanted Han Shangyan to stay far away from Tong Nian. Tong Nian’s dad seems more able to see beyond the cold and hostile appearance Han Shangyan shows that Tong Nian’s mum seems to only be able to pick up from his person. Tong Nian’s dad finds Han Shangyan to be someone quite rare in this day and age with him finding Han Shangyan to be someone who places others first and him last. The thing that Tong Nian’s dad has the same opinion on as Tong Nian’s mum has is the fact of Han Shangyan being much older than Tong Nian. Between Han Shangyan and Zuo Zhenghui, Tong Nian’s dad shows himself to prefer Han Shangyan more. However, whatever opinion Tong Nian’s mum has, Tong Nian’s dad is okay to accommodate and support.

So, the final stretch of Go Go Squid! sees Han Shangyan needing to bring Tong Nian’s mum onboard and have her see he isn’t of bad character and he is just as serious in relationships as he is in his career in CTF. Han Shangyan’s stepmother provides Han Shangyan a helping hand with getting Tong Nian’s mum to give Han Shangyan the chance to be with Tong Nian. After this, Tong Nian’s mum is no longer an obstacle for Han Shangyan. She comes to understand that Han Shangyan is someone she had misunderstood.

There is an unexpected obstacle that arises for Han Shangyan’s wish to have Tong Nian by his side. This is Tong Nian, herself. Where Han Shangyan asks Tong Nian to be in his life and be by his side forever with a proposal, Tong Nian hesitates. She becomes immensely panicked to the point of Han Shangyan deciding to retract his proposal to stop her from feeling panicked. The failed proposal has Han Shangyan wonder if there are issues in their relationship that has made Tong Nian panic as she had when he proposed. Tong Nian isn’t immediately sure of the reason for why she hadn’t accepted Han Shangyan’s proposal when he proposed. She finds the answer to be timing.

Concerning the broken friendship between Han Shangyan and Solo, the ten years of resentment Han Shangyan has had towards Solo is resolved before the National Championship finals where their two teams go up against each other for the national championship title. The National Championship finals is held at the same stadium where the Solo team won the national championship title then broke up ten years ago. Han Shangyan and Solo are amicable. The second place winner congratulates the first place winner. The first place winner finds it was a solid performance coming from the second place winner.

As it had been for the National Championship finals, the draw for the next competition, the Asia Pacific Championship semifinals, is once more Han Shangyan’s K&K team going up against Solo’s SP team. The winning team is apologetic for winning and the losing team is gracious. The winning team goes on to compete for the Asia Pacific Championship title and wins it.

Both Han Shangyan and Solo continue to work towards the same dream. This dream is to win the world championship title for China.

Episode Summary

These episode summaries will mainly recap the developments around Han Shangyan and Tong Nian.

Episode 31

Han Shangyan wants to bring Buff into the team, but is hesitating. He seeks Mi Shaofei to help him out with this. Mi Shaofei feels it’s possible. Buff’s skills and rank is high enough to win over the K&K youngsters. However, he does have concerns. Buff is thirty. Mi Shaofei isn’t sure if he can play for very long. Buff might also be hard to convince to join the team when he and Han Shangyan aren’t people who get along very well. K&K just won his team in the semifinals as well. Han Shangyan feels convincing Buff to join K&K won’t be too difficult when Buff has the desire to keep competing. Joining K&K is the easiest way for Buff to do that. What is making Han Shangyan hesitate to go ahead with signing Buff is the need to switch out the lowest ranked member in their K&K team to make room for Buff. Han Shangyan chooses to go ahead with signing Buff. He reasons his decision with seeing that if it’s not him eliminating his players whose skills don’t match up, competitions against those players in the world stage will.

Mi Shaofei finds information on Buff. Buff is going to be taking an afternoon train the next day. He suggests for Han Shangyan to go early in the morning where he can have the opportunity to speak with him at the hotel he’s staying at.

It’s been four months and one day since Tong Nian and Han Shangyan met at Tong Nian’s cousin’s internet café. Tong Nian sends a message to Han Shangyan. She recalls their first meeting to be four months ago to which Han Shangyan corrects her with saying it’s one day more. Tong Nian also messages Han Shangyan with saying she misses him. Han Shangyan is outside. He’s been outside since taking her home the previous night. He has ten minutes to spare before needing to head to Buff’s hotel. He says for Tong Nian to come down and see him.

In the car, Han Shangyan asks Tong Nian what gift she’d like to celebrate their four months and one day anniversary. Tong Nian doesn’t need a gift, but Han Shangyan asking Tong Nian to think of one, she says she wants them to never break up. Han Shangyan reads this to mean she wants them to get married. Han Shangyan doesn’t feels it’s the right time when they’ve not known each other for very long and she hasn’t graduated yet. There’s also Tong Nian’s mum. She objects to him being with her. Han Shangyan says to Tong Nian that bringing up marriage to her mum now would have her come at him with a cleaver. Tong Nian hadn’t meant marriage and begins to undo the misunderstanding, but she’s interrupted when Han Shangyan is alarmed. He sees Tong Nian’s dad coming out of the house with Summer, Tong Nian’s family pet dog.

Han Shangyan heads out of the car and pretends he’s in a call with someone. Tong Nian’s dad finds Han Shangyan and is curious to know why he’s outside the house so early in the morning. Han Shangyan says he’s passing by and just taking a look around. Tong Nian’s dad doesn’t believe it to be so and wants him to speak truthfully. He feels Han Shangyan is outside the house because he can’t forget Tong Nian. With Han Shangyan focused on getting Tong Nian to sneak back into the house without her dad noticing, he uses this belief Tong Nian’s dad has of his reason for being outside the house to his advantage.

Tong Nian trying not to be seen by her dad, sneaking behind Han Shangyan's car.
Tong Nian's dad finds Han Shangyan's hand gesture odd.

Han Shangyan says the sight of this neighbourhood reminds him of the times he had taken Tong Nian home. Tong Nian’s dad is empathetic. Time will allow him to forget Tong Nian. Tong Nian’s dad finds Han Shangyan to be someone quite rare in this day and age because Han Shangyan is showing himself to be someone who places others first and him last. Tong Nian’s dad believes Han Shangyan truly likes Tong Nian. He isn’t able to do anything to help Han Shangyan, though. Tong Nian’s dad says he saw Tong Nian cry terribly when they broke up. He hurts when she hurts. He asks Han Shangyan to understand.

By this time, Tong Nian has safely gone into the house without her dad noticing. Inside the house, Tong Nian’s mum comes out as she heads up the stairs. Tong Nian has to come up with a believable reason to why she’s up so early in the morning and oddly wearing her jacket and sneakers along with her sleeping gear. Tong Nian is quick on her feet. She says she wants to accompany her dad in walking Summer. Tong Nian’s mum tells Tong Nian what she already knows: her dad has already gone out to walk Summer.

When Tong Nian’s dad returns back from walking Summer, he tells Tong Nian’s mum Han Shangyan came. To speak away from Tong Nian who has fallen asleep in the living room, Tong Nian’s dad brings Tong Nian’s mum into the kitchen. He wants to know how Han Shangyan and Tong Nian broke up. Tong Nian’s mum doesn’t say. She tells him to not ask Tong Nian about it. He only needs to understand that the fault is Han Shangyan’s. Tong Nian’s dad senses there are still feelings between them. He sensed it when they all went to Han Shangyan’s grandfather’s hometown. Tong Nian’s dad wants Tong Nian’s mum to go to Tong Nian and indiscreetly find out. Tong Nian’s mum isn’t pleased to hear Tong Nian’s dad feel something might still be going on between Tong Nian and Han Shangyan. She asks him his thoughts about Zuo Zhenghui.

Tong Nian’s Mum:

“Do you think that Zhenghui isn’t good?”

Tong Nian’s Dad:

“That kid, Zhenghui, is okay. But the kid is…”

Tong Nian’s mum doesn’t want to hear Tong Nian’s dad complete his sentence. She pushes him to go hurry out and buy breakfast. Tong Nian’s dad manages to finish saying the opinion he has of Zuo Zhenghui before he’s pushed out to buy breakfast.

Tong Nian’s Dad:

“Don’t you find that kid very boring?”

Episode 32

Buff’s dream is to compete. There is only one condition that Buff wants to have written in the contract if he agrees to join the K&K team. He wants to be in the main team. Han Shangyan can meet this condition easily when it’s his plan to bring Buff into the main team. However, for now, Buff will be a substitute for the team and won’t participate in the National Championship finals because he’s not played alongside the others yet. Han Shangyan’s plan for Buff is to have him compete in the Asia competition, but it depends on how well he plays alongside the others. Buff agrees on signing on to be a K&K team member. Buff has concerns towards the morale of the team, however. Han Shangyan says there shouldn’t be much of an uproar when the team recognises a skilful player.

Han Shangyan and Buff at upper level of train station.
Han Shangyan gives Buff his competition ID card back.

Buff:

“I didn’t expect this turn of events. The person who’d save me in the end is you of all people.”

Han Shangyan talks to Mi Shaofei and Tong Nian talks to Sun Yaya about the brief talk about marriage between them. Both Han Shangyan and Tong Nian think it’s the other who wants to get married.

Mi Shaofei wonders why Tong Nian, a girl who’s at the height of her youth, would be in a rush to get married. With regards to Han Shangyan being a husband, Mi Shaofei says Han Shangyan is good-looking, but he doesn’t suit being a husband. However, he gives Han Shangyan his blessings if he has found the person he truly wants to get married to.

Talking to Sun Yaya, Tong Nian says since she never wants to break up with Han Shangyan, getting married is what comes next. Sun Yaya wants Tong Nian to think more on whether she’s really okay with getting married to Han Shangyan. Will she be angry when it’s all about competitions in his head? He’s ten years older. Does she not want to continue observing? He’s known for having a bad temper. Won’t she be scared of being told off or feel wronged? Tong Nian says there’s no difference between an ordinary guy and a guy with a profession. Though Han Shangyan is older there’s no communication barriers. Tong Nian says Han Shangyan’s temper is very good and so is his overall person. He cooks and loves physical labour. The majority of the time, he’s very gentle.

Sun Yaya sees these good points Tong Nian makes about Han Shangyan at Buff’s housewarming party. Han Shangyan doesn’t allow Tong Nian to help him bring in the supplies for Buff who’s temporarily moving into Mi Shaofei’s apartment. Han Shangyan takes care of it all. Sun Yaya praises Tong Nian on her apparent natural ability to tame someone like Han Shangyan who she thought couldn’t be tamed.

Though Tong Nian really likes Han Shangyan and is happy with him, she is nervous at the mention of getting married. Finding Grunt say he and the others have heard and have prepared a huge gift for her and Han Shangyan, Tong Nian thinks Han Shangyan has thought it all through. Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan if he has. Han Shangyan says he’ll think about how to handle her parents after the National Championship finals if she is in a rush to get married. Tong Nian isn’t in a rush to get married.

Tong Nian is interested to know Han Shangyan’s thoughts on getting married. Han Shangyan asks Tong Nian what she thinks his thoughts are. Tong Nian only speaks about how it will have an impact on him and his K&K club. The wedding will use up money that he’d need for the team and for the recent recruitment of Buff. Han Shangyan doesn’t take this very well. He asks Tong Nian if she thinks he can’t take care of her.

Tong Nian in an argument with Han Shangyan.
Tong Nian sprawled on top of Han Shangyan.

Han Shangyan and Tong Nian start to argue about what things they’ve hid from the other and what they forced themselves to do. Han Shangyan mentions not having been told about Zuo Zhenghui having stayed at her house. Tong Nian’s defence is that she worried he’d worry and become angry. Han Shangyan indicates Tong Nian is wrong to believe this would be his reaction when he sees there are things she doesn’t know about him.

Tong Nian doesn’t think Han Shangyan knows her, either. She gives the example of her being allergic to mangoes. Han Shangyan asks why she ate the mangoes (that he prepared that time she was around his place when his grandfather was there). He’s in disbelief when she says she forced herself to eat the entire plate of mangoes that she’s allergic to because she was happy eating the mangoes he prepared for her and didn’t think about her allergies. Han Shangyan reminds Tong Nian she was the one who wanted them to be open and frank. He says she needs to tell him in order for him to know.

Han Shangyan suggests for them both to take some time out to calm down after Tong Nian tells Han Shangyan he should be paying attention to her if he loves her. He doesn’t understand her at all. He didn’t know she had an allergy to mangoes. What she likes are strawberries. What she’s concerned about isn’t whether or not he has money. It’s whether she’s part of his future. She likes that they don’t speak or talk. What she doesn’t like is Han Shangyan thinking about this and that.

Han Shangyan leaves his room. After a bit of time away, Han Shangyan is calmer. When he returns to his room, Tong Nian has fallen asleep on the bed. Han Shangyan adjusts Tong Nian’s sleeping position to a more comfortable one and places a pillow under her head as well as pull covers over her. He seats himself next to the bed and rests beside her.

The next morning, Han Shangyan has gone out to buy all things strawberry. When he returns, he apologises to Tong Nian for not controlling his emotions. He says he will change and not make such a mistake again. Han Shangyan has bought strawberries, strawberry cake and strawberry macarons as a way to make her happy again.

Episode 33

In the time that Han Shangyan was out buying Tong Nian all the strawberry-flavoured foods, Tong Nian idled around the room and found the wine cabinet in his room. She had taken a drink from one of the bottles of wine. Han Shangyan realises Tong Nian is drunk after she says she wants to eat what he bought. When he goes to get it, she doesn’t let him go and bites down on Han Shangyan’s lips. Han Shangyan’s lips are strawberries to her.

Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan if she is his first girlfriend. When she hears she is, she sprawls on top of Han Shangyan and says he’s hers. She attacks him with kisses and says she likes him so much she wants to spend twenty-five hours a day with him. She says he’s cute and again says she likes him. She likes him when he’s angry and serious. Han Shangyan remains stiff from shock of being attacked by Tong Nian’s sudden and unpredictable drunkenness until she falls quiet and becomes sleepy.

Han Shangyan is in trouble with Tong Nian’s mum when she calls Tong Nian. Han Shangyan couldn’t stop Tong Nian who’s still drunk from picking up her mum’s call. When her mum asks where she was, Tong Nian says she’s at Han Shangyan’s place and Han Shangyan is beside her.

In formal attire, Han Shangyan makes a visit to Tong Nian’s mum and dad’s place to give an explanation. Tong Nian is asked to head upstairs, but Tong Nian worries Han Shangyan may be given a hard time and insists on staying to hear what they say. She says she won’t say anything or do anything and will only listen.

Han Shangyan begins his explanation with telling Tong Nian’s mum and dad how he and Tong Nian met. The explanation he tells is a story rather than what actually happened. He says he met Tong Nian two years ago when he just established his K&K club. He goes into some twisted truths which sees himself to have been the one who pursued Tong Nian.

Han Shangyan says it was soon after the team’s first exhibition match that he first met Tong Nian. He was unable to forget her after that first meeting and didn’t think they would have the chance to meet again. Luck brought them to meet again this year. Han Shangyan refers to their meeting in Guangzhou (Episode 3) when he says their chance meeting this year was when his team had a competition at the place where she had an event there.

As Han Shangyan tells Tong Nian’s mum and dad he was particularly excited at that time and thought he was outrageous for acting like he was a young guy, Tong Nian is wondering what it is that Han Shangyan is trying to do when nothing he has said so far is what happened. She’s the one who was excited and he didn’t give her the time of day.

Moving into giving an explanation on the things that happened at the New Year’s Eve dinner (Episode 7), Han Shangyan says what happened on that evening was due to Tong Nian not accepting him because he’s much older than her. He’s full of guilt for hiding such things from them. Tong Nian denied his existence. It’s why he didn’t dare visit them without her permission.

Han Shangyan standing before Tong Nian's mum and dad.
Tong Nian's dad facing Tong Nian's mum.

Han Shangyan expresses to Tong Nian’s mum and dad how important Tong Nian is to him.

Han Shangyan:

As a man, the most important is career. Establish a career first then settle down. However, ever since I met Nian Nian, I feel none of that is important anymore. We haven’t reconciled for very long before she mentioned breaking up again. I came back from an extreme meltdown and so comes about today’s situation. I brought Nian Nian over to the club and asked her, ‘If you truly won’t accept how busy I am then I will give up my share of the company. I will change professions. For you, I will give up the K&K club I personally created.’ Nian Nian is still young. According to her, I’m probably merely part of her feelings. To me, she’s already become my life. That’s why today I boldly brought her here and visited you both. I wish for you both to give me a chance. If Nian Nian doesn’t agree to be with me and truly want to break up I will immediately turn around, leave and disappear before you. If she is willing to be with me, I hope you can be at ease in handing her over to me and let me take care of her forever.”

Tong Nian’s dad speaks for both himself and Tong Nian’s mum when he says he knows a bit about the CTF industry Han Shangyan is in. Though he doesn’t quite understand how playing the computer can be a profession, he knows Han Shangyan is in an emerging industry that requires an investment of time and energy that is much more than the investment of time and energy needed for a profession in another industry. He also knows Han Shangyan has built himself a pretty decent career in his field and has a company headquartered in Norway. Tong Nian’s dad is only curious and concerned about one thing: where is he building his career? Han Shangyan pleases Tong Nian’s dad when he says China. The majority of his time will be spent domestically.

Tong Nian’s mum is focused on why Tong Nian was sleeping at Han Shangyan’s place. Han Shangyan assures Tong Nian’s mum he is serious about Tong Nian and he will not have any improper ambitions without permission. The answer from Han Shangyan doesn’t make Tong Nian’s mum feel more at ease when she feels he’s changed her to someone she doesn’t feel to be Tong Nian. She sees Tong Nian to be playing on the computer all day and is always following behind him and even sleeping at his place. Tong Nian’s mum pushes Tong Nian upstairs to go to her room. Meanwhile, Tong Nian’s mum goes to her room. Tong Nian’s dad tells Han Shangyan to go to Tong Nian and comfort her.

The decor of Tong Nian’s room surprises Han Shangyan. It’s his first time there and it’s a lot of pink and white with lots of books and plushies here and there. Han Shangyan seems to feel a bit out of place. When invited to take a seat anywhere, he remains standing where he is—by the door.

The things that Han Shangyan said to her mum and dad has Tong Nian curious to know if any were true. Han Shangyan says meeting her two years ago and becoming infatuated by her at Guangzhou were not true. Tong Nian asks if Wu Bai is the reason for why he chose to say she was his girlfriend at the New Year’s Eve dinner (Episode 7). Han Shangyan clarifies it was also not true. He didn’t want to be misunderstood as a grownup man seducing and then tossing aside a young lady. Not acknowledging their relationship would’ve seen her parents not let him off for sure.

Han Shangyan hugging Tong Nian
Tong Nian in a hug with Han Shangyan, happy.

Han Shangyan reassures Tong Nian that when it comes to the matter of whether he loves her or not, he would never lie. Han Shangyan reveals to Tong Nian what he thought during the time she was in his room drunk and with his stepmother’s necklace that he tried to get back from her (Episode 12).

Han Shangyan:

“Do you know that what I wanted to say at that time was, ‘Tong Nian, I think I’ve fallen for you already.’ All the splendour is all fake. Except for you. This man called Han Shangyan is lacking. I have nothing and am alone. Only this is true.”

Episode 34

With a comment from Mi Shaofei saying Tong Nian is at quite a disadvantage dating someone older like him, Han Shangyan takes time out to spend some time with Tong Nian at her university.

His time accompanying Tong Nian at the university has Han Shangyan unexpectedly meet his old classmate, Tong Nian’s professor. Tong Nian is unaware of this. When Han Shangyan goes to sit in on the lecture class, her worry towards her professor being unhappy with finding him sitting in class with her has her tell Han Shangyan to say he’s her brother who has come to pick her up. When Tong Nian’s professor notices Han Shangyan and asks him who he is, Han Shangyan says he’s her boyfriend. Tong Nian is stiff from worry. It dissipates when her professor lets up on the act with introducing Han Shangyan to the class as an old classmate of his studying industrial design.

Han Shangyan intimidating, with an arm draped over Zuo Zhenghui.
Zuo Zhenghui confront Han Shangyan.

Zuo Zhenghui shows up with gifts for Tong Nian. When Tong Nian asks Zuo Zhenghui why he’s giving gifts for no reason and Zuo Zhenghui begins what looks to be a confession, Han Shangyan doesn’t let Zuo Zhenghui finish. Han Shangyan has Tong Nian wait for him at the entrance while he warns Zuo Zhenghui he will take action if he continues to openly show his desire to steal his girlfriend who (Han Shangyan says) will be his wife in a month’s time. Han Shangyan seems to have Zuo Zhenghui in line when Zuo Zhenghui says he didn’t know but now knows. As Han Shangyan goes to leave, Zuo Zhenghui speaks out his thoughts and his plan to continue pursuing Tong Nian.

Zuo Zhenghui:

“You’re older than Tong Nian by many years. Do you know what things Tong Nian likes? Tong Nian and I study the same thing. We have the same interests. We’re in the same field. To love someone is not the same as raising a pet. Hear me say this today: if Tong Nian haven’t personally told me you’re the person she likes, I won’t give up. I won’t give up.”

Han Shangyan feels himself to be someone who doesn’t know how to date and a person who looks hostile and unapproachable. He asks Tong Nian if this is how she sees him. Tong Nian can’t say much about his question on him not knowing how to date because she’s never dated. Tong Nian says she’s inexperienced like he is. She finds a positive with them both being inexperienced in dating, though: it’ll be interesting and they can learn together. With regards to Han Shangyan looking hostile and unapproachable, Tong Nian doesn’t see him to be. She sees it as putting on a front which he has to do when he’s leading a group of youngsters. She adds that the more hostile-looking he is the cuter he is.

Han Shangyan’s time accompanying Tong Nian at her university ends with him fulfilling Tong Nian’s simple wish she had when she was studying for her undergraduate degree. Tong Nian’s simple wish was that a boyfriend would wait in line for her. At the cafeteria, Han Shangyan waits in line to get Tong Nian food. Eating the food in each other’s company, Han Shangyan informs Tong Nian that the world team finals is in Norway. He suggests for her to apply for a visa because he wants to bring her there. Tong Nian agrees to apply for one as she thinks in her thoughts that Han Shangyan will be able to get there.

Han Shangyan and his stepmother with Tong Nian's parents.
Han Shangyan and Han Shangyan's stepmother

Han Shangyan’s stepmother has flown in from Norway to Shanghai upon the request Han Shangyan asks of her to help him out with handling the disapproval Tong Nian’s mum has of him. Han Shangyan’s stepmother doesn’t understand why her future in-laws are disapproving of him when he’s someone very outstanding and capable. She realises what the issue might be when Han Shangyan tells her that Tong Nian is studying a PhD next year. His low IQ is bringing down their smart genes.

At the meeting with Tong Nian’s mum and dad, Han Shangyan’s stepmother talks about her experience with Han Shangyan. It attempts to have Tong Nian’s mum and dad see Han Shangyan as being a good kid.

Han Shangyan’s stepmother talks of Han Shangyan having gone to Shanghai at the age of nineteen. Wanting Han Shangyan to live at home in comfort, she hadn’t given him any money and had hoped he’d return home after running out of the money he had with him. However, a year had past and he didn’t return home. She worried she had wronged Han Shangyan’s deceased father and immediately bought a ticket bound for Shanghai to see what Han Shangyan was up to. She explains that what she found after heading there is an understanding of the difficulties that he and the others faced and how it’s not easy to emerge as champion. They have to grit their teeth and train hard.

Han Shangyan’s stepmother continues with saying that those people who don’t understand them, Han Shangyan simply takes all their bitterness and never says a word. Han Shangyan had taken on all the everyday expenses for the group back then for two and a half years. He also does this now with his club. She says Han Shangyan doesn’t have making money as his goal. He perseveres for the club even when it’s making a loss. What he does is for his dream which now is for the dreams of many more people.

Han Shangyan’s stepmother then requests of Tong Nian’s mum and dad for the engagement between Han Shangyan and Tong Nian. Tong Nian’s mum and dad feel it to be much too early for the two to be engaged with both Tong Nian and Han Shangyan having not known each other for very long. When Tong Nian’s dad says an engagement isn’t really popular now after making a suggestion to let Han Shangyan and Tong Nian discuss it a bit more and see how it goes, Han Shangyan suggests going straight to marriage.

Tong Nian's mum and Han Shangyan
Han Shangyan

Han Shangyan’s suggestion brings him to follow Tong Nian’s mum out for a talk.

Tong Nian’s Mum:

“What is this? Do you think by bringing out your stepmother we’ll then agree to you and Tong Nian?”

It’s not Han Shangyan’s intention. His want is to officially and seriously be in a relationship with Tong Nian. Tong Nian’s mum thinks Han Shangyan is forcing them to agree when he suddenly mentioned marriage. Again, it’s not his intention. Rather, it’s that he loves Tong Nian more and more. He wants to see her everyday and wishes these days to continue forever. Tong Nian’s mum becomes scared when she wonders if the want to get married so quickly is because Tong Nian is pregnant. Han Shangyan emphatically says that it’s not the reason and has Tong Nian’s mum recall the promise he made about not doing anything before they’re married.

Han Shangyan makes progress with getting Tong Nian’s mum to agree to allowing him to be with Tong Nian. Tong Nian’s mum asks Han Shangyan if Tong Nian likes him. She goes to answer this question herself when she says that she herself can see Tong Nian likes him a lot. Han Shangyan answers the question, nevertheless. He says he believes he and Tong Nian truly love each other. He likens it to her and her husband’s relationship. Tong Nian’s mum says he’s not quite right in saying this when he and her husband often argue. Though that’s the case, Han Shangyan says to Tong Nian’s mum he can see that she and her husband protect the family, cherish each other and dote on Tong Nian’s heart. Doting on Tong Nian’s heart is something that he has been constantly trying to do.

Han Shangyan:

“Please believe me and give me a chance. If Nian Nian disagree, I won’t force her and leave myself.”

Tong Nian’s Mum:

“It’s the first time Nian Nian has dated, so I want you to dearly love her and cherish her. No. You must promise me.”

Han Shangyan:

“You don’t need to worry. I will definitely be able to do that.”

Episode 35

Han Shangyan’s stepmother pays a visit to Solo’s mum as appreciation for the years she took care of Han Shangyan when he was in Beijing with the Solo team. Han Shangyan is reluctant to agree to head in, but upon a bit of force from Han Shangyan’s stepmother, he heads in. The place brings back memories for Han Shangyan. He’s shown Solo’s room and he sees the trophies the Solo team won in the past on display. Solo’s mum says the trophies in the room continues to be displayed there and Solo doesn’t let them be touched in any way. Han Shangyan finds the photo of them at the amusement park and recalls the day of him not wanting to go on the rollercoaster ride.

Going up to the attic and onto the roof, Han Shangyan receives a call from Solo. Xiao Ai had informed Solo of Han Shangyan being at their place. Solo asks Han Shangyan where he is. Han Shangyan says he’s at the usual place in his house. Solo asking Han Shangyan if he remembers the time they sat up on the rooftop talking about their dreams as they drank merrily, Han Shangyan asks why he’s still in this old house of his. The house is the place where they lived their most glorious and adventurous time of their lives. Solo isn’t able to let it go and have someone else live in it. The call ends with Solo asking Han Shangyan to have a get-together in the evening. With Han Shangyan having a girlfriend, Solo wishes to carry out their custom of examining the other half and having them pass their judgement. Han Shangyan isn’t so keen. Another time, he says.

Han Shangyan's stepmother
Tong Nian and Han Shangyan in the distance

Before heading to Beijing for the National Championship finals, Han Shangyan brings Tong Nian to his stepmother for a meeting as his stepmother requested. Han Shangyan’s stepmother finds on Tong Nian’s wrist her necklace she had Han Shangyan help collect from an antique jewellery store in Norway some time ago. She simply comments how pretty it looks.

Han Shangyan’s stepmother uses this meeting to have Tong Nian know Han Shangyan a bit better. Something that Tong Nian already knows is that the more hostile he is the more he cares. How he shows himself may not be what he is. Han Shangyan’s mother then says that when Han Shangyan’s heart is in a mess he will put up a front of indifference. Han Shangyan is not a manly man. He has a fragile heart. Extremely attached to things like feelings and love, he’s afraid of losing them the most. Han Shangyan’s stepmother says if they fight, just have a fight and don’t bring up ‘break up’ because Han Shangyan won’t be able to handle it.

In Beijing for the National Championship finals, Solo manages to wait long enough outside their hotel to ask Han Shangyan to have that get-together. Solo wants Tong Nian to join them as well. She doesn’t wish to impose on a get-together between him and Han Shangyan which isn’t easy to come by. Solo however says it’s a custom of theirs that they examine each other’s other half. Han Shangyan makes Tong Nian move along in joining them with a few words asking if it’s that she’s afraid she won’t pass.

They head to a restaurant where Solo describes as having been the Solo team’s base of operations. It’s the place they had gone to after competitions and drank till they were uninhibited and proud. The evening sees only Solo getting rather drunk. He’s still sober enough to answer Tong Nian’s curiosity of how the five of them were like back then, though. Solo says they were happy, but also had their frustrations. Every time something frustrating came, a particular sentence of words always comes to mind which Solo recites for Tong Nian to hear. He recites words which speaks of their dream being sound asleep for a long time and a reset on all their past experiences and honour to take place.

Han Shangyan and Solo
Ai Qing, Solo and Han Shangyan in a group hug.

The friendship between Han Shangyan and Solo get patched up after heading back to the hotel where Han Shangyan speaks out what he has been keeping to himself for a long time.

Han Shangyan:

“Do you know that ten years I had wanted so much, and without hesitation, for us to drink like we did today. Whether I was happy, sad or if it was winning a competition, I wished for you to be beside me and share the joy every time. But you, you were like a coward hiding from me.”

Solo disagrees with Han Shangyan seeing him as having hid when he felt he had been rather mature back then.

Solo:

“I didn’t hide. I was very mature. I carelessly became a dad. A dad. Do you understand? I didn’t want to burden you all. Han Shangyan, you are a person who should be heading to the world stage. To the world stage do you understand?”

Solo’s consideration for his future doesn’t make Han Shangyan feel what Solo brought upon their Solo team any more forgivable when what he wanted was for Solo to always be there with them.

Han Shangyan:

“So you abandoned us so we can climb to the top? Wang Hao, no matter how high we go or how far we get, I always hope it’s you who will be the pillar that supports us. Do you know how lonely I am? Do you know I’ve been waiting for you to say sorry. I’ve waited for so long.”

Seeing Han Shangyan breaking down into a cry, Solo apologises over and over before he gives Han Shangyan a sincere apology. Han Shangyan finally lets go of his anger towards Solo.

Ai Qing also offers Han Shangyan an apology for the breaking up of their Solo team when she arrives a little after Han Shangyan and Solo patched their friendship up again.

Ai Qing:

“We won our first trophy in Beijing. The last one was also in Beijing. I’m sorry, Han Shangyan. These are the words I really wanted to say to you these few years. I’m sorry. I finally am able to say it out loud to you this year. At your peak, we implicated you. If it weren’t for us, you would’ve gotten even further.”

Solo feels Ai Qing is not at fault for any of what happened back then. He says all the fault is on him. To Ai Qing, Solo is forever and always the best captain and she expresses this to Solo. Han Shangyan seems to agree also as he pulls in Solo and Ai Qing for a group hug.

Episode 36

Han Shangyan apologises to Tong Nian for an evening seeing him uncontrolled. Tong Nian finds nothing Han Shangyan should be sorry for when she feels getting a little bit drunk is good because things that has been kept inside for a long time can be said aloud. Tong Nian uses this time to let Han Shangyan know he has her support no matter what. She extends her credit card which contains money from New Year’s, performances, scholarship money and money from signed records. All totals up to about sixty-seven thousand yuan. This gesture from Tong Nian which Han Shangyan sees as giving every bit of oneself has Han Shangyan think it to be something people can easily say, but rarely able to do. He’s done it before. However, whether it’s friendship or love, Han Shangyan sees there should be some room for a bit of safe distance from one person to the next. He declines the gesture. What he will accept, though, is Tong Nian herself.

Han Shangyan:

“Let’s forget about the money. Just give me you. Whenever you want to get married, give me a hint. I’m not proposing to you. I’m just letting you know it’s really great to have you. I hope that you will be there in the days into the future.”

The National Championship finals now upon the team, Han Shangyan gives some words of advice to the K&K youngsters. He congratulates the youngsters on getting to this point which isn’t easy to get to because they have to carry honour as well as withstanding the pressure that comes in order to reach this point. Han Shangyan wants the youngsters to not have any regrets. He says that though he’s had some pretty good achievements as a professional player, it didn’t mean success for him when he gave up. Han Shangyan hopes the youngsters don’t give up halfway. He wishes for them to put all of their strength into every competition and go all out because he doesn’t want them to have any regrets especially in this CTF circle where players are forced out not by choice, but because the requirements concerning hand speed, age and brain is very harsh. Each generation of players are replaced by the next in just a few years.

On the day of the National Championship finals, Han Shangyan is late to arrive. No one dares to go to him. The K&K youngsters don’t dare and neither does Mi Shaofei or Wu Bai and there’s only one minute left. When Han Shangyan finally appears, he appears with Tong Nian in a K&K top. Everyone is surprised by the sight. Wu Bai says he never thought Han Shangyan would give the K&K uniform to a girl. 97 says Aunty Zhao and Su Cheng are two females who got given one. One follows with saying it’s a first for the K&K uniform to be given to a girlfriend, though. Seeing Tong Nian with the K&K top, the youngsters see Tong Nian as now being one of them. The K&K youngsters bring her in to do their group signal that they use to cheer each other on.

The SP team celebrate win.
Han Shangyan congratulate Solo on the win.

The National Championship finals held at the arena where the Solo team once had won the National Championship finals ten years ago has the K&K team go up against the SP team. Before the competition begins, Han Shangyan, Solo, Ai Qing, and Mi Shaofei are surprised with a poll which ranked former and current CTF players on their popularity and who the CTF fans wish to see back on the competition stage in a CTF celebrity exhibition match. All five former Solo team members, Han Shangyan, Solo, Ai Qing, Mi Shaofei and Ou Qiang, are ranked top five. Of the younger and current players, Wu Bai, Grunt, 97 and InIn take the next four spots. Buff comes in tenth.

Han Shangyan isn’t particularly pleased with being surprised with an exhibition match. Manager Xiang pleas Han Shangyan to agree to the exhibition match. He says he didn’t play around this time. He didn’t vote at all. Real fans voted. Meanwhile, Tong Nian expresses being envious of Sun Yaya who got to see Han Shangyan compete. Tong Nian also wants Han Shangyan to participate in the exhibition match so she can see him up on the stage competing. She says that one time she saw him go up again 97 in Sanya doesn’t count after Han Shangyan reminded her she had seen him compete. Han Shangyan whines he’s too old to compete. Tong Nian disagrees. She says he’s at his prime.

The champion of the National Championship finals is the SP team. The K&K team takes second place. Han Shangyan congratulates Solo on his team’s win. Solo returns Han Shangyan’s congratulations with saying his team’s performance was very solid. After the competition and before their exhibition match at nine at night, Han Shangyan, Solo, Ai Qing, Mi Shaofei, Ou Qiang and Tong Nian have a meal and drinks at the restaurant the Solo team had once treated as their base of operations. Also joining them are the former Solo team substitute players, Xiao You and Yi Qian, who have come into Beijing for a few days to watch their old teammates’ teams compete in the National Championship finals.

Han Shangyan and Solo with neighbourhood in the background.
The old Solo gang and friends with Han Shangyan and Solo in the background.

Han Shangyan and Solo spend some time chatting with each other by the balcony, recalling the old times and expressing thoughts. Where the view on the balcony allows them to see the old alleyway below, Solo asks Han Shangyan if he remembers the time they fought here. Han Shangyan is surprised Solo would recall such an event. The mention of the fight they had is Solo recalling and missing the happy days they had when they were together in this old alleyway. Han Shangyan comes in with wanting to say something to Solo that he hadn’t had the chance to say on the evening when they had too much to drink.

Han Shangyan:

“A poor fellow holding up the China division of SP mustn’t have been easy. You didn’t embarrass your bros.”

Solo:

“It wasn’t easy at all. Same to you. The K&K team is a top team in the country. It must’ve been hard establishing it.”

Han Shangyan:

“It was okay. Rather, Nan Wei got screwed quite a bit and suffered quite a lot.

At the table, the talk is on Mi Shaofei having a fan who’s very pretty (referring to Sun Yaya) at his side and Tong Nian explaining how she and Han Shangyan met. It moves onto a talk about Han Shangyan and Solo. Xiao Yo says the Solo team wouldn’t have gone anywhere without either Solo or Han Shangyan. With each member in different parts of the country, Solo had brought them all together and created a team. Meanwhile, Han Shangyan allowed them all to be able to eat food and keep going.

Episode 37

Before entering the arena again for their celebrity exhibition match, the former Solo team members are met with support from their fans. They have waited a long time for them and have come from outside of Beijing for them to express their support. Han Shangyan sees a fan and remembers he was there at the 2009 Guangzhou competition. Another says they came from Shenyang of whom sat in a train for twenty plus hours especially to see him. They express their never ending support towards them. In Han Shangyan’s thoughts, he also thanks the fans for their constant support and encouragement. He recognises them to be their team’s strongest supporters.

Solo bowing to the crowd.
Han Shangyan take in the boisterous atmosphere of the crowd.

The crowd chants Han Shangyan’s name as he takes centre stage then the crowd’s chants go to Solo as he takes centre stage. Solo thanks everyone for their constant support before Han Shangyan makes his speech.

Han Shangyan:

“We all have the dream of being champions. We want to stand on the world stage with the flag draped over ourselves. However, we can only forever be like we are now. This will be our only regret that we can’t make up for. Talking about something pleasant, we are considered something like legendary gods. Talking about something unpleasant, we’ve retired and can’t play anymore. However, CTF China will not stop. There will always be new players coming out of this CTF circle. Our Solo team will be in this circle as it has been before. We will be within SP and within K&K. We’ve only changed our identity. We’ve become people who assist them in success. In such a manner, the champion will be China.”

After the match, Han Shangyan and Tong Nian head out to the train station where Han Shangyan came to Beijing and met Solo and Ai Qing in person. Han Shangyan recalls feeling dead tired and exhausted from sitting in the train for ten hours. When he saw Solo, however, he was vitalised. The recollection of that time brings Han Shangyan to speak about the desire he had which brought him to establish his K&K club.

The Solo team could have continued on with a different team leader. Solo had wanted Han Shangyan to lead the team. However, Han Shangyan rejected Solo’s wish for him to lead the Solo team. He felt the team wouldn’t have the same feeling with a change of its captain. He wished for his teammates to be back together in a new team that was much stronger. This was his reason for establishing K&K. He established the club when he returned to Norway. Three years ago, he established the China division of K&K. He had been anxious to do so, afraid the others couldn’t wait and retire. What he found was the four of them had gone to the SP team.

Tong Nian’s response to Han Shangyan’s words telling her about how his K&K club came to be established is finding Han Shangyan to have been left by himself to be the boss of K&K. After Han Shangyan continues a bit more on the topic with expressing how the five of them had thought there was nothing they couldn’t achieve if the five of them worked together, Tong Nian has the want for Han Shangyan to keep looking forward. She says the earth revolves around the sun because it’s so people don’t remain in their original position and so people will continue looking forward whether they’re happy or sad. Tong Nian rhetorically asks Han Shangyan if his dream has not but already been realised after so many years. Past experiences will allow him to be even better.

Han Shangyan has one more dream he has yet to realise and it has to do with his wish to have Tong Nian by his side forever. When Han Shangyan brings out the championship ring that he won on his first win in CTF, Tong Nian wants to accept it. She comes up with ways to be able to wear it when Han Shangyan says the ring might be too big for her to wear and so she doesn’t have to wear it. Tong Nian continues to want to accept the ring until she realises accepting it means accepting his proposal.

Tong Nian pale white after Han Shangyan proposes.
Han Shangyan hugs Tong Nian.

Han Shangyan:

“Tong Nian, let’s get married. Shall we get married?”

Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan what they’d do about her mum and dad when they don’t like him. Han Shangyan explains he’s resolved the issue during that meeting he and his stepmother had with her mum and dad. Han Shangyan realises Tong Nian is turning white from panic over his proposal when she asks for a moment after showing and expressing how very nervous she is, how she’s seeing double and her hand is cold. Han Shangyan brings Tong Nian into a hug and soothes her.

Han Shangyan:

“Don’t be nervous. Don’t be nervous. It’s okay. Don’t be nervous. It’s okay.”

Tong Nian becomes worried when Han Shangyan takes the ring back and returns it to his pocket. When Han Shangyan says he had been a bit too compulsive and will propose another time, Tong Nian asks when the next time is. When Han Shangyan says they’ll talk about it again later and suggest for them to go get something to eat, Tong Nian again asks when that next time will be.

Tong Nian:

“Then… when will the next time be that you’ll propose to me?”

Han Shangyan:

“When you don’t have any doubts or hesitation. When you truly and sincerely want to accept.”

While Tong Nian wonders why she didn’t accept and wonders what it is that she’s afraid of, Han Shangyan wonders if it’s that there are some unresolved issues between them that has made Tong Nian reject him.

Han Shangyan is able to get a bit of his thoughts out with the get-together he has with Solo and the others before the guys head out for some instant noodles. They catch themselves up with what Xiao Yo and Yi Qian has been doing since the Solo team broke up. It’s doing regular type jobs which isn’t as grand or spectacular as the e-sport that Solo, Han Shangyan and the others have made as their career. However, Xiao Yo makes a good living selling medical equipment that allows him to not have to worry about food or making enough for a living.

Tong Nian calls Sun Yaya and asks her to tell her how to handle this situation with Han Shangyan. Sun Yaya doesn’t make Tong Nian feel any better or have any ideas when she indicates Tong Nian to have deflated what had been an evening of greatness for Han Shangyan. Sun Yaya saw the evening to have been spectacular for Han Shangyan when it saw him returning to the stage and playing a match where he defeated five of the current and strongest players. Adding to this, Sun Yaya has Tong Nian understand how valuable Han Shangyan’s championship ring is that he used to propose to her with. The championship ring is the one he won in his first ever win, its unique with it being the only one in the world and it has GUN on it. With Sun Yaya’s disapproval of how she handled Han Shangyan’s marriage proposal, Tong Nian wonders if she should ask for the ring back. That idea is a definite no for Sun Yaya.

Wu Bai
Tong Nian

Tong Nian goes to Wu Bai to figure out whether Han Shangyan handles rejection well. She goes the roundabout way first with asking if Han Shangyan has ever been rejected before. Wu Bai says he’s never been rejected when she’s his first love and he has never looked at anyone else before. This response has Tong Nian wonder why Han Shangyan likes her. Wu Bai guesses that it could be because she’s the first one who likes him for him and not for his achievements in the CTF circle. She also doesn’t go a mile away when she comes into contact with his hostile expression or his bad temper. When Tong Nian asks if Han Shangyan bears resentment or becomes fragile and sensitive if someone rejects him, Wu Bai gives the example of Han Shangyan bearing resentment until now towards Solo breaking up the Solo team.

The roundabout questions has Wu Bai ask Tong Nian to straightforwardly ask what she wants to ask. When Tong Nian tells him the issue that’s now between Han Shangyan and her, Wu Bai sees a positive out of it.

Wu Bai:

“This is good. Let him feel the crisis of losing you. This is probably not a terrible thing. I’m guessing he still doesn’t know how to love you.”

Tong Nian and Han Shangyan contently gaze at each other.
Tong Nian and Han Shangyan

Tong Nian gets things talked out with Han Shangyan by the time they return to Shanghai. Han Shangyan was never angry at Tong Nian for not accepting his proposal. He was only disappointed. Coming from the argument Tong Nian and Han Shangyan had in the hotel dining hall where Han Shangyan didn’t wish for Tong Nian to wait on him and wished for her to make her own individual choice regarding what she’d like to eat, Tong Nian wonders if Han Shangyan sees her as useless, without personality and with shortcomings. Han Shangyan says he’s the one with shortcomings. She has personality, but because she adapts to every aspect of him, she has lost her own personality. Han Shangyan also disagrees with Tong Nian thinking she’s useless when she has helped him a lot. Rather, Han Shangyan has been putting effort in improving himself and it’s because of her. He thanks her and asks that she continues to wait for him to be a better him.

Landing back in Shanghai and parents not home yet, Tong Nian invites Han Shangyan into her house. Han Shangyan at first declines, saying he’ll hang out with her after he’s finished the work he has to do for the Asian championships. However, when Han Shangyan finds Tong Nian accepting his decline, but looking dejected, he chooses to head in. It’s not proper to not head in when he’s at the gates, Han Shangyan explains for a change of mind.

Episode 38

Han Shangyan and Tong Nian are in the house with just the two of them for a short time before Tong Nian’s mum and dad come home and Han Shangyan has dinner with the family. Before this time, Han Shangyan looked at photos of Tong Nian when she was little. Han Shangyan thought Tong Nian was pretty enough to be a child star. Tong Nian told Han Shangyan she has been on TV when she was little. A short time before Tong Nian’s mum and dad comes into the house, Tong Nian asked Han Shangyan what his stepmother and her mum and dad talked about at the meeting they had. Han Shangyan chose to answer this with a bit of a story instead of retelling what actually happened in the meeting. He first said how Tong Nian is better than he is with how likeable she is with her faultless personality. Han Shangyan then went into a story about how he went down on his knees and asked her mum and dad to agree to him marrying him or he’ll be a bachelor forever. Tong Nian had listened intently and believed everything Han Shangyan said until she became aware Han Shangyan was making things up again.

Han Shangyan have dinner with Tong Nian's mum and dad.
Tong Nian's dad trying to get Han Shangyan away from doing the dishes.

Dinner with Tong Nian’s mum and dad for Han Shangyan has him a bit tense and careful to not say something that would have Tong Nian’s mum and dad find fault with him. Tong Nian’s dad is friendly and welcoming enough when he says for Han Shangyan to come over and he’ll cook for him. The invitation comes after Han Shangyan responds to Tong Nian’s dad asking if what he cooked was good and Han Shangyan says it is and adds he has been at the club only eating bentos ever since his grandfather returned to Norway. Tong Nian’s dad found eating only bentos not good for the body. Tong Nian’s dad also notices Han Shangyan looking a bit tense and asks for him to relax a bit more.

Tong Nian’s mum isn’t particularly unfriendly or unwelcoming towards Han Shangyan. She asks Han Shangyan about the results of the National Championship finals. Han Shangyan says his team lost and came second place. Tong Nian’s dad thinks second place is a very good result when it’s a ranking in the whole of the country. Tong Nian comes in with saying Han Shangyan has only champion and failure in his vocabulary. Tong Nian revealing this fact to her mum and dad gains her a kick under the table from Han Shangyan. He thinks Tong Nian has just gotten him in trouble with her mum. Tong Nian’s mum doesn’t show any dislike towards what Tong Nian said. She asks Han Shangyan why he’s so hard on himself. Han Shangyan doesn’t seem to know how to answer this. He simply finishes his bowl of rice with speedy scoops into his mouth. Tong Nian’s mum offers to get him another bowl of rice and Han Shangyan politely accepts.

At the end of dinner, Han Shangyan does well to show he, like Tong Nian’s dad, is someone who routinely does the chore of washing the dishes. When Tong Nian’s dad finds Han Shangyan doing the dishes, he tries to get Han Shangyan to stop doing the dishes. Tong Nian’s dad says matters of the home are a woman’s domain and matters outside of the home are taken care of by men. What Tong Nian’s dad said is something that doesn’t happen in his household. Tong Nian’s dad normally does the dishes.

When Tong Nian’s mum comes in and finds the scene, she’s not happy with Tong Nian’s dad for letting a guest wash the dishes. Han Shangyan says he’s fine doing the dishes since it should be something he should do. Tong Nian’s mum disagrees and asks Tong Nian to drag Han Shangyan out. Tong Nian uses this opportunity to prop Han Shangyan up more with saying that Han Shangyan normally does the chores. He’s a model worker. Han Shangyan says to Tong Nian’s mum and dad he’s almost finished and asks for them to go watch some TV. With mum and dad out, Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan if he wants her to help. As always, Han Shangyan doesn’t want her to do chores. He tells her to just watch on the side.

Tong Nian and Tong Nian's mum
Tong Nian hugging her mum.

By the end of the night, Tong Nian’s mum sees Han Shangyan as someone who is serious about his relationship with Tong Nian and she realises she has misunderstood Han Shangyan.

Tong Nian’s Mum:

“Nian Nian, I originally thought you’ll become bad if you chose Xiao Han. I also thought he wasn’t serious. However, I later realised I have misunderstood him. Whether it’s pursuing his career or love, he’s an extremely conscientious person. The key thing is I really feel you are very happy.”

Tong Nian says to her mum she is extremely happy. She also lets her mum know that Han Shangyan is someone who cares that she has her own views and that she has a personality of her own instead of following what he says. This brings Tong Nian’s mum to express to Tong Nian how much Han Shangyan loves her with letting Tong Nian know of the conversation she had during the meeting she had with Han Shangyan and his stepmother (Episode 34).

Tong Nian’s Mum:

“He said originally there was only the word, ‘championship’, in his eyes. However, it isn’t the case now. In his eyes there are now these words, ‘championship’ and ‘Tong Nian’. He also said he wants to marry you. His mind will be at peace once he marries you. He will then be able to continue to work towards his championship for China. And you, you can attain however many PhDs you want because he hopes you have your own dream. Furthermore, he will support you with all that he has.”

Tong Nian says Han Shangyan is a very great person. She says that back when Han Shangyan was poor and living with his five teammates, he cooked, swept and cleaned with not one bit of squeamishness. He treats his friends very well as well. Tong Nian’s mum says to Tong Nian she has scrutinised Han Shangyan a lot and has found that he has slowly changed because of her. Tong Nian’s mum says he’s changed in a way that he and her are in step with each other and both of them see each other’s views without the need for words to be spoken.

Tong Nian tells her mum Han Shangyan has proposed to her. However, she hadn’t accepted. Tong Nian’s mum is surprised she hadn’t accepted the proposal. Though surprised, she feels Tong Nian wasn’t wrong to not accept. She says to Tong Nian she hopes that whatever decision she makes will have been made after careful consideration.

Zuo Zhenghui visits Tong Nian to confess. The visit sees Zuo Zhenghui rather aggressive compared to his usual polite and timid nature and he has Tong Nian scared and attempting to calm him down.

Hanging her clothes out to dry at the window of her dorm room, Tong Nian sees Zuo Zhenghui. She tells Zuo Zhenghui she’ll come out to see him, but she gets a surprise when she finds him at the door. Tong Nian invites him in. With the dormitory being only for girls and male visitors not usually allowed, it’s the first time Zuo Zhenghui has been in Tong Nian’s room. Tong Nian apologises for the room being disorganised. Zuo Zhenghui asks if the reason her room is not so organised is because she’s been busy with dating. Tong Nian doesn’t answer the curiosity. She just invites Zuo Zhenghui to sit wherever he pleases.

Zuo Zhenghui feels Han Shangyan has been in her dorm room before. Tong Nian confirms Han Shangyan has been in her dorm, but she makes sure Zuo Zhenghui doesn’t misunderstand Han Shangyan to be the type of person who has done anything. Tong Nian becomes uncomfortable when Zuo Zhenghui gets into her personal space and asks if she feels Han Shangyan sees her as a young girl who worships him or possibly an accessory of his to use during the downtime on his road to obtaining the championship. Zuo Zhenghui scares Tong Nian with an abrupt grab at her shoulders.

Zuo Zhenghui desperate to have Tong Nian see he's the better match for her.
Tong Nian frightened by Zuo Zhenghui.

Zuo Zhenghui:

“Tong Nian, look at me carefully. Why aren’t you paying attention to me?”

“I like you. I like you. I like you. I like you! I’ve liked you for two years. Have you not realised I treat you well? No matter if it’s knowledge, temperament, age or field of study, I am the most suitable for you. I will definitely earn a lot of money. I will become even better. I will beat him. I will make you happy. I will do it to the best of my abilities.”

Tong Nian escapes Zuo Zhenghui’s hold and lets him know she knows he will be all those things he says he will be able to do in the future. She thanks Zuo Zhenghui for liking her. She asks for them to continue being only as much as they are now. However, Zuo Zhenghui continue to not accept not being the one Tong Nian likes.

Zuo Zhenghui:

“Why? Why? How do I not compare to Han Shangyan? How do I not compare to Han Shangyan? Tell me. I can change, Tong Nian.”

Tong Nian:

“You’re very good. You’re truly great, Zhenghui. However, do you know the feeling of two people being together? When Han Shangyan and I are together, there’s this feeling, this tacit understanding. We don’t have to say anything and we’d know what the other is thinking. After we got together, I didn’t care about him not giving me enough. Rather, I worried whether I gave him too little. When I’m with him, I only hope he is happy. I hope that each day he will be even happier.”

These words get through to Zuo Zhenghui. He begins to accept her choice to be with Han Shangyan.

Zuo Zhenghui:

“So you’re certain? You’re certain you like him.”

Tong Nian:

“I love him. I love him very much. Each day I love him more and more.”

Watching Zuo Zhenghui leave, Tong Nian expresses realising that she loves Han Shangyan not because he’s the Gun God that everyone knows him to be. She says she is someone who truly feels Han Shangyan’s sadness and happiness and she’s someone who wishes to work hard together with him to work towards his dream.

Episode 39

Buff has entered the K&K club and with him inducted into the team, the K&K youngsters go through two weeks of assessments to find the lineup that will go into competing in the Asia Pacific Championships. Han Shangyan has the assessment scores for the matches they carried out and server rankings which can be used to determine the lineup. The youngsters don’t wish for the results from the assessments and server rankings to be revealed just yet after Han Shangyan says he wishes to give another opportunity for them to take up the last three positions on the team going out to compete. Han Shangyan suggests a one-on-one match with him. The youngsters are shocked they have to battle Han Shangyan as Han Shangyan is the king of one-on-one matches, but the youngsters and Buff agree. Wu Bai is excluded from the battle. He wishes good luck to his teammates going into this one-on-one match with Han Shangyan which gives everyone the opportunity to have another go at being in the lineup.

One getting earphones on preparing for a match with Han Shangyan.
One shows he has no hard feelings to Buff with offering a cup of coffee.

The purpose of the one-on-one match is not only to give everyone another opportunity to be in the lineup. It’s also a way to have the eliminated player convinced of the results. After the one-on-one match, Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan why he held such a match when he already knew the substitute player would either be Demo or One. Han Shangyan says a real live match is more useful than a table of rankings in getting the eliminated player to accept the results wholeheartedly.

The person becoming the substitute player for K&K is One. The lineup for the Asia Pacific Championships consist of Buff, Grunt, 97, Demo, and of course, Wu Bai.

One is devastated with being the player who becomes K&K’s substitute player. However, Han Shangyan reminds One that unlike Buff who most likely has only two years left, he is only twenty. Buff is currently thirty-one. One has eleven years until he is Buff’s age. Han Shangyan says One still has forty-four opportunities to compete in championships. The calculation comes from the eleven years that One has before he gets to Buff’s age of thirty-one and there are four world championships in a year. The talk with Han Shangyan helps One see things more positively. One also shows no hard feelings to Buff when he offers Buff his share of the cups of coffee that Tong Nian made with the new fancy coffee machine she bought for everyone and immediately goes to improve his skills on the computer.

For the semifinals of the Asia Pacific Championship K&K goes up against SP. Meanwhile, the other semifinals match is between the Australian team, VIPO and the Thailand team, GEAR. When the draw comes out to show K&K going up against SP, Mi Shaofei expresses it to be rather unlucky. Grunt isn’t too pleased that two Chinese teams are going up against each other in the first of two semifinals matches. 97 expresses believing China would be able to take first and second place before mentioning the fact that they lost to SP before. Grunt says they’re not the same as before when they have a huge change in the team, referring to Buff. 97 asks Wu Bai if he has any thoughts on the competition. Wu Bai says they must win.

Han Shangyan and Ai Qing has the same thought on the unfortunate draw of K&K going up against SP. The two teams going up against each other happened too soon and they feel that the championship should have been the Chinese teams.

Before the Asia Pacific Championship semifinals, Solo accompanies Xiao Ai to Norway to study and be with her mum. Xiao Ai is unhappy that her dad is being selfless again with him taking the time out of his busy schedule to accompany her to go to her mum. This has Solo find Xiao Ai having grown up without him noticing. He’s thinking about the future with a bit of sadness as he sees Xiao Ai growing up more, becoming independent and able to take care of herself. She’d find a boyfriend secretly then love him and go hand-in-hand down the altar. This future that her dad says is the happiness in his life and happiness that he wishes all the people he loves to have has Xiao Ai say she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t want to go to her mum as well. Solo says time doesn’t wait for anyone and she should go to her mum because she needs her more. He asks for her to study well over there. After the competition, he will go visit her.

At the Asia Pacific Championship semifinals, the K&K team and the SP team both have a round where they win. The third round is where K&K seems stronger with momentary weakness. At the point of the match where there are only four nodes left, SP loses a node. SP’s Hua Ti gets bypassed by Wu Bai and SP’s Inin gets into a trap. The trap has Inin’s teammate, Bug, sacrifice Inin in order to prevent himself from being seized by Grunt. Bug manages to infiltrate and stay hidden even as Demo discovers him. It puts K&K in a dangerous position as Bug looks for the vulnerability and he bypasses Demo. However, Wu Bai draws Bug out. At this point, only one node is left. Wu Bai goes up against the five SP players as the other K&K players defend. Hua Ti gets bypassed and three other SP players isn’t able to seize Wu Bai. Ou Qiang, the only remaining active member of the Solo team, fails to stay alive to continue the dream the Solo team had of being world champions. Wu Bai ends the match and the semifinals win goes to the K&K team.

Episode 40

The night before the Asia Pacific Championship finals everyone is unable to sleep. After Han Shangyan heads out from making sure they are sleeping well, the K&K youngsters get out of bed and sit around the table. Demo expresses feeling super nervous towards the finals and 97 expresses it’s his first time feeling panicky. The finals is a huge occasion that Demo has never been in. For 97, Grunt points out that his panic is probably due to him having the lofty dream that Han Shangyan has with Han Shangyan being 97’s idol.

Grunt discusses a new strategy to use in the finals competition that he found. He says for them all to attack the opponents together, find the vulnerability and break through the node. Demo sees Grunt’s strategy to be giving their opponent no time to deal with their attack. Grunt says forcefully attacking together would make their opponents all head over to defend it. He also gives instruction for Demo to purposely leak out their vulnerability then strengthen the server.

Mi Shaofei is unable to sleep from excitement. He goes to Han Shangyan who is doing some work in his room. When Han Shangyan hears Mi Shaofei say he’s come because he doesn’t want to disturb Buff’s rest, Han Shangyan asks if he’s not worried he’s disturbing his rest. Mi Shaofei isn’t worried when he isn’t competing and he isn’t valuable. Han Shangyan chuckles at this response of Mi Shaofei’s.

Mi Shaofei speaks about the celebrity exhibition match where their team won against the other players on the top ten poll. On that day, he had hoped Han Shangyan would come out of retirement. Han Shangyan says lots of luck was on that day. There was also the fact that the five players they played against weren’t from the same club and don’t have a tacit understanding between them. Their team won by a margin only. Han Shangyan says he’s past his prime. Mi Shaofei disagrees with Han Shangyan. He, himself, is past his prime, but Han Shangyan isn’t past his prime.

Mi Shaofei feels it’s a pity that Han Shangyan has no desire to compete not even in single player competitions. Han Shangyan says he’ll be like Buff who will only be able to compete for another two years at most. He sees leading a group of youngsters to be a better way to continue being in the CTF world. Leading a group of youngsters, there’s at least ten years. Mi Shaofei sees Han Shangyan’s point and adds that tens or even hundreds of championships can be won. Han Shangyan says he doesn’t care if anyone remembers the name, Han Shangyan. He’s also not pursuing individualistic heroism of any kind. He only cares about the reputation of the club.

Eleven o’clock at night, Tong Nian and Sun Yaya aren’t able to sleep, either. Tong Nian suggests going over to the K&K club. Sun Yaya isn’t sure about going over there since she worries it might disturb them. Tong Nian suggests staying at the 24/7 convenience store nearby until light. Sun Yaya agrees.

Early in the morning, both Tong Nian and Sun Yaya are at the entrance of K&K and Tong Nian attempts to open the door with the face recognition access system with her face. Tong Nian has trouble unlocking it. She says she must have forgotten to program herself in. Han Shangyan lets them both in. While Sun Yaya chooses to have a lie down after staying up the whole night, Tong Nian accompanies Han Shangyan in a morning coffee and a bit of a chat where she asks Han Shangyan if he thinks they’re fated before Tong Nian also gets some sleep.

Where Tong Nian sleeps is also where Mi Shaofei has been sleeping—in Han Shangyan’s room and in Han Shangyan’s bed. Both Tong Nian and Mi Shaofei realise they’re sleeping in Han Shangyan’s bed with each other after Mi Shaofei says to wake up and Tong Nian responds asking for the time and Mi Shaofei answers again. Both scream and bolt out of bed wondering why the other is there. Han Shangyan apologises to Tong Nian over and over for forgetting that Mi Shaofei was sleeping in his bed when he comes in and finds the situation. Mi Shaofei wonders if Han Shangyan sees him as a man at all. He says to Han Shangyan all he needed to do was tell him and he’ll go elsewhere if Tong Nian needed to sleep. Han Shangyan retorts with saying he’s coming at him all superior when he has yet to demand an answer from him about if he did anything with his girlfriend. Mi Shaofei isn’t impressed and simply announces that he’s leaving the room.

Grunt comes down with his chronic illness.
Han Shangyan tells One he will replace Grunt.

Grunt’s chronic illness of gastric ulcer has him very sick again, but he wants to compete and pleas Han Shangyan to let him. Grunt’s desperation in his want to compete is because the competition is at home and they can’t lose the competition hosted in their home country. Han Shangyan won’t agree. He says for Grunt to go to hospital. Grunt tries again to change Han Shangyan’s mind. However, he collapses and falls unconscious.

Han Shangyan gathers everyone for a meeting and announces One is to replace Grunt. The change has Han Shangyan command practice to take place immediately and he will be their captain who will accompany them from start to finish. The need to have a sudden round of training is because the competition is at home and they must win. There is no other alternative.

At the Asia Pacific Championship finals event arena, the SP team has played their third place match and wins. The K&K team is up next to play. As the K&K team’s finals competition against the Australian team, VIPO, takes the stage, Tong Nian’s thoughts are on Han Shangyan and the proposal he made previously.

Tong Nian:

“We have finally made it to this day. I see pride on his face. He is Han Shangyan. He is my man.”

“He will accomplish his dream because he’s put so much effort and stands out from the crowd. It’s not that I didn’t want to accept his proposal. I wanted to. It’s because I’m waiting for this moment where you are most proud.”

Tong Nian gets Han Shangyan’s attention and proposes to Han Shangyan.

Tong Nian:

“Han Shangyan, let’s get married. Win or lose I’ll accompany you. Let’s get married.”

The screen on stage is focused on the two and Han Shangyan directs her to look at the big screen first. Tong Nian wave and smile enthusiastically to the crowd before Han Shangyan answers.

Han Shangyan:

“No problem. We’ll get married when the competition ends.”

His K&K team up on stage, Han Shangyan reflects on the ups and downs that he and those in CTF faced in the last ten years.

Han Shangyan:

“Seeing these youngsters before my eyes is seeing myself ten years ago. The world seemed to be beneath my feet back then. I didn’t have the word ‘lose’ in my dictionary. You live for CTF. I’m unsociable by nature. Although CTF is a world stage filled with noise, it feels like it’s only in this world that I feel myself peaceful. With CTF, either you don’t come into contact with it or you must win. It’s that simple. However, I instead quit first because I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of losing and afraid of betrayal. At that time, I then knew I wasn’t strong at all. I hid behind my shell and continuously cried. What do I do? Having failed, do I hand over the dream to another?
“Maybe it’s knowing small and weak people before you become stronger. I decided to be with those who are like me, those who will stand up no matter how many times we failed, and together we protect the thing that’s more important than dignity. Dreams. This road is difficult. Some succeed. Some cower. However, they have come before. They fought before. They let those who questioned them feel ashamed. They let those people without a goal find direction. They believed their own two hands will create a future for themselves.

“In the ten years I have never thought to return to stage competition. I thought I had abandoned that pounding of youth, put down that testimony of pride. However, it was that day that I knew that even with so many years having passed people who were quietly protecting us never abandoned that perseverance. They persevered in that dream. It’s memory to their youth. It’s magnificent and brief. Ignorant but passionate. You can lose youth, but who doesn’t have regret in their youth?

“Looking at these kids, even if there is only one left standing, they will fight to the end because they aren’t fighting by themselves. Behind them are people who support them. It’s the youth of every person in CTF. It’s the hope and tears of every person in CTF in China for the last ten years. They might be going all out on the stage or they might be striving outside of the stage. Thank you all. The world owes you a championship.”

K&K hold China flag up after winning Asia Pacific Championship finals.

One step closer to the dream of the world championship title for Han Shangyan, the K&K team wins the Asia Pacific Championship finals. Wu Bai and the K&K youngsters hold up the Asia Pacific Championship trophy.

Han Shangyan hugs Tong Nian who is beaming, but in tears.

Han Shangyan:

“No, wait. Why are you crying on a momentous day?”

Tong Nian:

“I was so scared just now.”

Han Shangyan:

“You only have this amount of endurance. How are you going to watch the World Championship finals?”

Contrasting to ten years ago where Han Shangyan threw his championship ring out into the audience when he announced retirement, Han Shangyan throws a China flag onto the stage for the K&K team to have it draped over them.

Han Shangyan carries out his word of getting married when the competition ends. He gets Solo to swap out his suit for his K&K outfit before taking Tong Nian to head to her mum and dad’s place. Meanwhile, 97 gets his first female fan and Mi Shaofei calls home. He tells his grandma, mum and dad of the news of winning the Asia Pacific Championships. Sun Yaya becomes Mi Shaofei’s girlfriend when Mi Shaofei hands the phone over to her so his grandma can hear the voice of the girl he says he likes.

Episode 41

When Han Shangyan arrives into Tong Nian’s house, Tong Nian’s mum says they’ve watched the competition and Tong Nian’s dad compares the excitement to the Olympics when he saw Wu Bai hold up the trophy.

Han Shangyan has come to get Tong Nian’s mum and dad’s permission to marry Tong Nian. He begins expressing the day to be a particularly special day with the K&K youngsters continuing on the path for him by winning the Asia Pacific Championships. He thanks Tong Nian’s mum and dad for their support before requesting them to agree to handing Tong Nian over to him.

Han Shangyan lets Tong Nian’s mum and dad know Tong Nian’s positive influence on him. She is someone who can make the troubles in his life seem to disappear with her smile. She has also taught him how to love someone. He expresses finding himself to be older yet more childish than Tong Nian. With Tong Nian accommodating him on everything, he hopes Tong Nian will not do this, but instead have her be the centre of his world. Han Shangyan wishes to take care of Tong Nian.

To be at ease with handing over his only daughter, Tong Nian’s dad wants to make sure Han Shangyan won’t ever let Tong Nian suffer any hardships. He also wants him to love her like he does. Han Shangyan assures Tong Nian’s dad he will not let Tong Nian suffer any hardships and he will love Tong Nian like he does and more.

Tong Nian’s mum expects Han Shangyan to love Tong Nian well when Han Shangyan says to her he understands her discomfort towards the huge age gap that he and Tong Nian has. It’s something he can’t change. However, he will love Tong Nian with all his heart to the best he can and treat each day like a lifetime.

With Tong Nian’s mum and dad agreeing to hand over Tong Nian to Han Shangyan, the only thing left that Han Shangyan needs is Tong Nian’s residence registration booklet to register their marriage. Tong Nian’s mum and dad head upstairs to find it.

In the brief time that Tong Nian’s mum and dad go get Tong Nian’s residence registration booklet for Han Shangyan, Tong Nian expresses surprise towards Han Shangyan springing this on her without letting her know beforehand. Han Shangyan says it’s his sincerity towards agreeing to her proposal. Han Shangyan asks Tong Nian where they should go for their honeymoon. He says the prize for winning the Asia Pacific Championship finals is quite a lot. Tong Nian is unprepared with this topic of their honeymoon. She returns a response that questions it. Han Shangyan says a honeymoon is the next step after getting married. He asks if she finds an issue with it. He doesn’t hear her answer when Tong Nian’s mum and dad return with Tong Nian’s residence registration booklet.

Han Shangyan wanting to join the group hug with Tong Nian and Tong Nian's mum and dad.
Han Shangyan carrying Tong Nian in his arms.

Before Tong Nian’s mum hands Tong Nian’s residence registration booklet over to Han Shangyan, she says for Han Shangyan to make sure to go to them whenever he faces any difficulties. They are a family now. Tong Nian’s mum also expects them to come home three times a week and have a meal with them. Han Shangyan promises to do both. Tong Nian will do so as well. Han Shangyan receives Tong Nian’s residence registration booklet and Tong Nian’s dad reminds Han Shangyan to treat Tong Nian, soon to be his wife, well.

Han Shangyan and Tong Nian spend a bit of time at K&K to celebrate the win with everyone before heading to the wedding registration office. They arrive to closed doors where it’s still two more hours before it opens. Tong Nian hadn’t expected the office to be empty and closed. What she expected was a long line like on TV. She thought she was late rather than early. Han Shangyan only finds the situation to be another outrageous thing he has done ever since being together with her.

Remembering he needs to call his grandfather, Han Shangyan uses this time to give his grandfather a call and let him know Tong Nian will officially be his granddaughter-in-law in two hours. Han Shangyan’s grandfather is pleased with Han Shangyan. He tells Han Shangyan he has finally done something that has put him at ease. Han Shangyan’s grandfather expresses to Tong Nian he wishes their wedding to be on a massive scale. There will be five weddings all up and cannot be carelessly done: one in Shanghai, one in their hometown and one in Norway also. The weddings will be Chinese-style and western-style.

After the call, Han Shangyan brings out his championship ring. He doesn’t know if it should be placed on the middle finger or the ring finger. Tong Nian has Han Shangyan put the ring on the ring finger. The championship ring ends up going on Tong Nian’s thumb with the ring being too big and Han Shangyan says it’ll later be replaced by a real ring. With the ring on her thumb, Tong Nian feels like an emperor, but she likes it.

Tong Nian wearing Han Shangyan's championship ring.
Han Shangyan's forehead placed on Tong Nian's hand.

Han Shangyan:

“This is my first and only championship ring I’ve kept. The Solo team actually got the national championship ring. However, I threw it away and I’m left with only this one. I’m sorry I retired too early and didn’t win more championship rings to give you.”

Tong Nian is pleased with this ring Han Shangyan has given her. It’s pleasing to her eyes and she likes this one only.

Han Shangyan:

“I am someone who doesn’t show emotions. I keep many things to myself. I always feel being romantic isn’t important. It’s not something that’s necessary. However, in a lifetime that’s long, I will give it all to you. I love you.”

Han Shangyan’s words saying he’s willing to give everything to her and expressing loving her, Tong Nian doesn’t hear it when he says this in his thoughts. She asks Han Shangyan why he didn’t finish what he was saying. Han Shangyan says he did finish and calls Tong Nian silly. Tong Nian calls Han Shangyan silly also.

Han Shangyan wants to know where he will live after they get married. He expresses a few options they have. Tong Nian can live in his room at K&K, but the double bed will have to be changed to a bigger one. She can live at his home. With this option, she can immediately move in with the double bed ready to use. Choosing this option is good also in that Tong Nian can take over in raising their cat, Little Squid. As another option, he can move into her house, explaining there will be no issues with this as his and her family are family friends. Tong Nian brings up the issue of her still studying for her PhD. Han Shangyan says he can move into her dorm. This, however, can’t work when her dorm is girls only.

Tong Nian asks Han Shangyan to give her some time to mentally prepare the idea of moving in to a place and live together. Han Shangyan jokes she has two hours. Two hours is the time that she becomes his wife and it’s that amount of time she has until she can’t escape anymore. Answering with seriousness, Han Shangyan says they can think about this after the wedding which will come after the world championship finals.

As Han Shangyan and Tong Nian wait for two hours for the wedding registration office to open, as they both rest contently by the door, Tong Nian expresses finding themselves to be full of happiness in the future. Whether they’re happy or arguing pettily, she feels they will be happy. Han Shangyan isn’t daring enough to say he’ll be able to take everything. Whether it’s being happy or not, he hopes Tong Nian drinks less in the future so she doesn’t bully him. Tong Nian says her bullying him is because she loves him. Tong Nian also thinks he bullied her quite a bit as well and she has given quite a bit of her towards him. Han Shangyan says he knows and it’s truly great he has her.

Solo, Han Shangyan and Tong Nian
Han Shangyan and the crew headed for the world championship title.

A new day, Han Shangyan, Tong Nian, the K&K team, Ai Qing and the SP team are in the K&K bus heading to the airport. Both teams are headed for the World Championship finals. Upon arrival, Solo is not particularly pleased they’ve arrived late again. Han Shangyan doesn’t make a reply on this but asks why he hasn’t brought any substitute players in the event something happens. Solo doesn’t need to bring any. He jokes they can select from the K&K team or Han Shangyan can go up for them. Han Shangyan runs with the joke and outlines fees he expects for performance, gaining third place and second place. There is no option for first place, though. First place has K&K’s name on it already.

Solo:

“Do you have a dream?”

Han Shangyan:

“I have. Get the championship title. Get the the world championship title for China.”

Comments

We really enjoyed watching Go Go Squid! The main reason for loving the drama is Han Shangyan. We hooked onto Han Shangyan’s misunderstood character. Though he’s well-respected and highly regarded in CTF, away from CTF he’s got people thinking he’s underwhelming and of bad character. He’s neither of these two things and we waited for people to realise it.

When Tong Nian’s mum praised Zuo Zhenghui on how capable he is because he was helping her and Tong Nian’s aunt on sorting green beans in Episode 28, we thought, “Yeah, okay, Zuo Zhenghui can sort a basket of green beans, but do you know what Han Shangyan can do? He can prepare and cook a table of food. Take him out shopping for some groceries and you’d be amazed by the knowledge he has about produce! Watch him chop a cabbage and also make dumpling skin from scratch! Han Shangyan’s homey skills surpasses Zuo Zhenghui’s by a mile!” Han Shangyan is more than meets the eye. Zuo Zhenghui on the other hand might only be able to help out with the odd chore here and there.

We like Tong Nian’s dad a lot. Of course we like him when he likes Han Shangyan. He’s a great judge of character! We loved it when he described Zuo Zhenghui as boring in Episode 31. Tong Nian’s dad is right on with that. Han Shangyan is the better guy for sure. He may not be as smart and may not earn as much as Zuo Zhenghui in the future because Zuo Zhenghui is just so intelligent, but Han Shangyan is life smart, an all-rounder and with a better personality. Like Tong Nian’s dad said, Han Shangyan puts others first over himself. Zuo Zhenghui’s timid personality doesn’t seem to exert this. Compare the action Han Shangyan took when he proposed and made Tong Nian pale white from the pressure to not reject the proposal in Episode 37 and what Zuo Zhenghui did when he frightened Tong Nian with his confession in Episode 38: Han Shangyan could pick up on Tong Nian being very uncomfortable with his proposal. He stopped the proposal and soothed her with saying it was okay many times. Zuo Zhenghui on the other hand didn’t pick up Tong Nian’s fear at all. He just continued getting answers from Tong Nian asking why she can’t see he is the best match for her.

That scene of Zuo Zhenghui confessing to Tong Nian in Episode 38 really made Zuo Zhenghui so very unappealing. He was out of control. To be fair, if we stood in his shoes for a bit, yeah we can see it’s such a devastating feeling to find out that another guy has simply swooped in and taken away the girl you like in just four months when you’ve been liking her for two years. But umm… not the way to confess.

Tong Nian’s mum and Zuo Zhenghui had said Han Shangyan isn’t a suitable match for Tong Nian because he’s not in the same field as Tong Nian. We find Tong Nian and Han Shangyan perfectly matched in their fields. Tong Nian can develop software and services. Han Shangyan can find issues with them and help strengthen it against cyber attacks with his CTF skills. Isn’t this a perfect match? If they’re not a perfect match then they complement each other very well.

Han Shangyan and Tong Nian are a fun and sweet pairing. There were many kiss scenes for them in the drama and we thought all of them were sweet and nicely placed in the drama. We didn’t take any captures of these kiss scenes in our series recap for Go Go Squid! but a memorable one is the one in Episode 31 where Han Shangyan kisses Tong Nian through the window in his car with Tong Nian standing outside. There’s also the one in Episode 38 where Tong Nian wanted Han Shangyan to say goodbye like they do in dramas that often happens between the male lead and female lead characters. Han Shangyan and Tong Nian got interrupted the first time round when the neighbourhood security guard caught them, but he left them to it after recognising it’s Han Shangyan who he has had a few nights on patrol briefly talking with him and gotten a bit familiar with him. Han Shangyan then brought Tong Nian by the car and kissed her.

The secondary pairing of Mi Shaofei and Sun Yaya wasn’t focused on much, but there was an attempt to. The scenes for Mi Shaofei and Sun Yaya didn’t quite make us think they are a pairing because the developments for them were just so minor and ordinary, but it’s also not like we don’t find them to be a pairing, either. We did find it nice to see Mi Shaofei have that loyal support from a fan like Sun Yaya who was there to pick him up and give him that positivity that he needed after making that huge decision to retire from CTF in Episode 23. Actually, there was a super cool thing that the drama slipped in that we thought was a development for this pairing and this was Sun Yaya wearing a K&K uniform. In Episode 36, a big deal was made about how Han Shangyan has never given out the K&K uniform to a girl and Tong Nian was the first girlfriend to have been given one. Sun Yaya wearing one then indicates she’s special to someone in K&K. It’s obvious who that person Sun Yaya is special to&#8212Mi Shaofei! We liked that subtle development for the two!

We really love that Mi Shaofei moved over to K&K and gave Han Shangyan some company. Just as Han Shangyan had said about how he felt lonely when he expressed his thoughts on the broken friendship with Solo to Solo in Episode 35, Han Shangyan really did look lonely all by himself at K&K while his other Solo team members were all together and on the same team at SP. So, the development of Mi Shaofei going over to the K&K club was a great one for us. The scenes where Han Shangyan and Mi Shaofei work and talk together at the K&K club, seeing Mi Shaofei in a K&K uniform, and seeing him stand on the side of the K&K camp in competitions alongside Han Shangyan were all wonderful things to see. We find the K&K club is a much more relaxed and funner-looking club as well. The SP club looked so corporate and uptight. The relatively funner environment of the K&K club that Han Shangyan created should feel closer to how the Solo team operated back in the old days we would think.

Han Shangyan’s quirk of buying in large quantities is very amusing. It feels like it’s a habit of his. There was all those strawberry food items he bought for Tong Nian in Episode 32. There was also him buying that stack of video games for Tong Nian for her birthday and also the takeaway meals he bought at the end of that trip in Episode 15.

Han Shangyan holding up candy wrapper after talking to Tong Nian's mum.
Han Shangyan holding up candy wrapper as he explains to Xiao Ai.

A more interesting quirk of Han Shangyan’s is him holding candy wrapper up in the air. We know why he eats candies. He explained it in Episode 11, but we can’t quite pinpoint the reason for why Han Shangyan holds the candy wrapper up into the air and then looks through it.

The first time we remember seeing Han Shangyan hold up a candy wrapper up into the air is in Episode 15. It’s during a conversation with Tong Nian where he told her he wasn’t some perfect guy and he went to tell her why he says this. Following this, Han Shangyan asked Tong Nian if she really wanted to break up. When Tong Nian didn’t answer immediately, he took the green candy wrapper of the candy he had finished and held it up towards the sky then asked if it’s that she hadn’t thought it through or if it’s that she needed more time to think. The next time Han Shangyan held a candy wrapper up in the air was after Tong Nian’s mum told him to keep distance from Tong Nian. This was in Episode 21. He held a blue candy wrapper up in the air in the direction he was facing then turned right and moved the candy wrapper in the direction of the gate of Tong Nian’s house. The last one was in Episode 27 where Han Shangyan held the candy wrapper up into the air just before he recalled the past of what happened between Solo and Su Cheng after Xiao Ai asked him to tell her if what happened back then was that her dad didn’t want her, but her mum insisted on giving birth to her.

Every time Han Shangyan holds a candy wrapper up into the air it’s seemingly when the response or situation is/was/could be disappointing, but does he hold it up then looks through it because the response or situation turned out as he expected or is it to say it is or it had been an obstacle to his happiness? We can’t figure out the meaning of Han Shangyan holding up the candy wrapper up into the air and we’re really curious to know what the meaning is behind why Han Shangyan holds the candy wrapper up into the air.

What caught our attention and had us pick Go Go Squid! to watch was that it was a modern romance drama that was fun and upbeat which was what we felt like watching at the time. We didn’t know what to expect when the drama said it was set around cyber security. We didn’t know what CTF was and we still don’t quite know what it is really. The drama showed screens of what we found was a RAT network and screens of code, but we couldn’t figure out what the characters were doing exactly in order to win or lose except that they managed to access/not access the service. What the commentators in the drama said as they commented on the play with utterances of nodes and infiltrating this and that didn’t enlighten it more. Still, we were intrigued.

We went searching around just a little bit to see what CTF involves. The little we understood, we found that it’s trying to hack into services with writing code and using tools to get in. Points are given when you find ‘flags’. We found that these CTF events/competitions have been held by top tech giants, so tech giants like Google and Facebook. There are different categories in CTF events. We’re thinking the CTF competitions in the drama is portraying the attack-defence CTF category. Looking at real life examples of CTF, we kinda sort of see what Mi Shaofei was saying about mental strength and all that. The CTF competitions the drama showed made play to be much, much more fast-paced and action-filled than that of real life CTF competitions. The fast-paced speed the drama was showing, needing to spot and find whatever they needed to spot and find and needing to pick up incoming issues or attacks seems to really need huge skills and mental stamina.

We read there’s a 2020 spinoff of Go Go Squid! called, ‘Dt. AppleDog’s Time’ which focuses on Wu Bai and Ai Qing’s journey in robot competitions. When watching Go Go Squid! we did want to see Wu Bai come in more because he was a cool-looking character. However, the reason we really loved watching Go Go Squid! was, as we said earlier, because of Han Shangyan and his misunderstood character. Han Shangyan isn’t in the spin-off drama except for a brief appearance of which he makes with Tong Nian. We’ve seen the image that have been posted on sites of the two character’s appearances. It’s looking like the scene is a wedding. So, we’re not as inclined to follow the spinoff. That group photo looking like a wedding photo where Han Shangyan is in a suit with Tong Nian in a white formal dress with the others satisfies us enough and allows us to move on from Go Go Squid!

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