Alice in Wonder City
Sorry It’s been a while since I last wrote up my recaps! I fell behind in watching… there’s just so many out there! So onward to Episode 3! In this episode we see a Bromance blossom! and I become quite taken by Aaron Yan. heh. He’s just so pretty!
Ting Yu is out drinking with Hai Jie after ditching the smancy pantsy shindig they played at, and he comments on how he’s useless outside of his talent as a violinist, he feels that outside of that role there’s nothing he’s capable of doing. Playing at those parties and securing happy patrons are the way he contributes to finance since he doesn’t understand a thing about it. Hai Jie is surprised at the honest confession and sincerely thanks Ting Yu for the chance to join the orchestra. Ting Yu smiles and thanks him for actually accompanying him to that boring party. They clink their wine cups and continue to share some more wine.
Ting Yu comments on Hai Jie’s playing at the audition, saying that despite Hai Jie saying that he’s someone who has come down to reality, in his violin playing there’s something there that makes him think that he’s stubbornly holding on to a relationship and refusing to come to terms with reality. Hai Jie agrees and shares his story of Alice and how he’s still waiting for her.
When Ting Yu gets back to his apartment he finds that Lisa’s daughter stayed and fell asleep on his couch. (this girl has boundary issues- she barely knows the guy and was rude to him and now she’s sleeping in his apartment?) Ting Yu is a gentleman though despite his cold exterior and goes to get a blanket to cover her with.
As he covers her, Seiko/Alice wakes up and asks him how he met her mother. He sits on the floor next to the couch and has a flashback to a beating he received and tells her that Lisa is his life saviour and the most important person to him. Next thing we know it’s day time and he’s the one that has the blanket on. There’s a note saying Sorry from Alice or as we’ve met her this time around- Ito Seiko.
Hai Jie for his part has had an early morning despite having drunk as much as Ting Yu, but he’s up and about serenading Alice pictures with the song Für Elise on a flute. Ok. I get it. You love her. but man, SHE LEFT YOU! please forget her. There’s something fishy about her and I don’t want you to get hurt Hai Jie!!!
They have rehearsal for Schubert’s Death and the Maiden string quartet. But our sensitive violinists all have different opinions on the direction the piece should go in and who should be the main attraction in the piece. The third violinist says that they are support for Ting Yu’s violin, nothing more. This is something that Hai Jie doesn’t agree with since it doesn’t go with the image he has for the piece. Pissy annoying background violinist starts trying to start something with Hai Jie who just civilly states his opinions. However it makes Ting Yu’s position uncomfortable since it might seem that he has no control over his orchestra and it leads to him walking out in the middle of rehearsal. (turns out the pissy violinist is the orchestra Director/ Conductor)
Hai Jie talks to Die Fei (who he continues to call Fei Fei) about his vision of the piece and he’s so earnest about it that it sends her giggling. She does tell him that he probably went about it wrong and that he shouldn’t anger Ting Yu like that. He looks over to a picture of Ting Yu and cutely promises to explain everything to him later.
Ting Yu calls Die Fei over and ends up ripping into her for not being organized and instead being confused all the time. Because he’s so curt with her, this makes her nervous and appears doubly scatter-brained and useless… She still hasn’t learned how to deal with him despite already having worked for him a year.
She runs from Ting Yu and ends up in the café complaining to Hai Jie about all the people with bad tempers she’s surrounded with and how she doesn’t know what to do, or if the reason they’re so bad tempered is because of her… etc. Just as she’s falling deeper into the pit of self pitying Hai Jie distracts her by teasing her with the cafe cream and tells her that she is complicating things too much and over thinking them, instead she should probably just look at things simply and work hard for what she likes like he is. For example if because of what he said during rehearsal gets him fired then the orchestra isn’t the place for him, he’ll just look for something else.
Surprisingly or not, Ting Yu is much more open minded about what happened during rehearsal than a lot of people might have thought. The director starts to talk about finding a way to let Hai Jie go, but Ting Yu nips that thought in the bud, he won’t stand for that. He will not let Hai Jie leave the orchestra because of this, and the director should begin to arrange the score to fit Hai Jie more and stop using such a limited view on what should be done from now on.
Hai Jie and Die Fei return with coffee for everyone only to find that Ting Yu’s dispersed the group and ended the rehearsal for the day. He goes on to scold Die Fei for taking so long and being useless in general, Hai Jie tries to be a buffer and fails. However Die Fei has had enough of his constant ragging and explodes, she tells him in no uncertain terms that while she loves his music he’s lost her respect because of his conceited self important view about himself. You can tell he’s never been talked to like this and is rather shocked that this little shorty dares to call him out on his arrogance.
He comes up closer to her and uses his superior height and scathing remarks to cut her down. He tells her that he’s arrogant because he strives for perfection in the moment he plays in the spotlight, he asks her if she ever strove for perfection in her job. He leaves in a huff and she runs the other way crying leaving Hai Jie behind divided on who to follow.
Before Hai Jie leaves Ting Yu pulls up and tells him that he agrees with Hai Jie on the interpretation and changes will be made. Hai Jie tries to talk about what happened with Die Fei, but Ting Yu’s busy. He does however set aside a day to meet up with Ting Yu to continue talking.
lol They are so dating! hehe, just kidding! but wouldn’t it be the perfect twist to the story? It turns out that Hai Jie’s idea of a get together is to ride bikes up a hill. Before going up Hai Jie tries to talk to Ting Yu about his personality being like a dormant volcano that will eventually blow up and cause pain to those around him. Ting Yu’s miffed at Hai Jie’s comment and scoffs that Hai Jie sure knows him well. Cuteness ensues as Ting Yu tries to beat Hai Jie, but in the end he loses to Hai Jie’s who didn’t exhaust himself in the first half of the bike ride.
Hai Jie is waiting for Ting Yu at the top and after getting coffee for the both of them he asks Ting Yu why he feels the need to come out first. Ting Yu says that it’s not that he likes to win but that he hates being left behind. Hai Jie wonders what’s wrong about going behind someone, at least that way he wouldn’t get lost. They talk some more and Ting Yu brings up the reason he wanted to get together with Hai Jie… he’d wanted to ask Hai Jie to state his opinions about the music and it’s arrangements personally, and not in a group since he’ll really take Hai Jie’s recommendations seriously and decide on the changes accordingly. After all he’s not a tyrant. Hai Jie accepts this request easily though he does warn Ting Yu that he will voice his opinions when necessary.
Hai Jie calls in the favour he’d earned by going to the patron’s party and asks that Ting Yu accompany him to a party later that day. Ting Yu complains but accepts the request.
Seiko and Lisa have a meal together and though it’s awkward on both their parts, it’s easy to tell that Lisa’s really glad that she has her daughter back despite being unsure of how to treat her.
Ting Yu and Hai Jie go shopping for gifts to take to the party and Hai Jie gets a necklace while Ting Yu goes for the Vienna Philharmonic complete Beethoven collection.
They arrive and it’s a costume party celebrating Die Fei’s birthday. Die fei comes out with her vampire outfit but is completely taken aback by Ting Yu’s arrival. They do however have a good time and Ting Yu even smiles a bit during the party and when Die Fei hugs him in thanks for the collection he’s taken aback but not displeased by it.
However they’re playing drinking games and they end up pressuring Hai Jie into confessing about Alice from which point he becomes an extremely depressed drunk. It’s like he could hold his hurt in as long as he ignored the reality that Alice left him, and when he’s forced to confess it the situation becomes way to real for him.
As he’s drunk we get a flashback to Alice telling him how she’s the osmunthus fragrance who will eventually be forgotten. Of course Hai Jie goes on to swear that he’ll never forget her and asks that she tell him all of herself so that he’ll be able to remember everything about her.
Die Fei and Ting Yu try to take Hai Jie to his apartment but they aren’t even able to move him. Ting Yu coldly tells the sobbing and flailing Hai Jie that what he had with Alice could at most be described as a Fling. but Hai Jie insists that they were much more than that to each other despite their short acquaintance. Die Fei asks Ting Yu to comfort Hai Jie not distress him more. She goes on to mother Hai Jie which seems to make Ting Yu’s expression darken. Is this a twinge of blossoming interest and jealousy in regards to Die Fei? Die Fei turns out to be the one to take Hai Jie to his apartment.
Meanwhile Alice can’t sleep and keeps hearing her name be called by Hai Jie. She gets a text from a mysterious SJ guy who demands she report her location and progress. Is she with the mafia or something? but what could the mafia want with Ting Yu that she’d search his apartment?
Turns out that Ting Yu is waiting for Die Fei outside Hai Jie’s apartment complex. He says that he suddenly wants to take the bus, that’s the only reason he is walking with her. SHe remarks that it’s so strange it’s like seeing a prince become a peasant, he lifts up his nose and snootily declares that he wants to ride the bus since he’s never ridden in it before.
She remarks on how different he and Hai Jie are, that Hai Jie is such an all around warm person who doesn’t seem like a city person at all. Ting Yu clocks her emotions and teasingly calls her out on having fallen in love with Hai Jie . She denies it saying that she just likes him because he’s warm after all who’d like a cold person… which she tries to assure him that she wasn’t referring to him. Ting Yu studiously acts indifferent and says that people aren’t coffee to be described as hot or cold.
She asks him how he’s come about his theory of her interest in Hai Jie. He informs her of her heightened concentration towards Hai Jie’s comments, how she’s happy when Hai Jie wants her to be happy, and how she never argues with Hai Jie (Ting Yu’s probably thinking on how much she does argue with him- I’ve got to say though that for somebody who doesn’t care about anybody he sure has observed her well.) he tells her she’s better off giving up because Hai Jie won’t see her because he’s in love with a fantasy. She jumps up to defend Hai Jie saying that just because something isn’t seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Just then the bus appears and she jumps into it fully expecting it to follow but he stays behind proving that he’s truly a gentleman who merely stayed to keep her safe due to the hour.
Hai Jie wakes up and he goes up to his wall of obsession and smiles like a fool to the pictures.
Lisa’s having coffee at her shop when Hai Jie’s sister shows up and calls her name. Turns out that Hai Jie’s sister Hai Na is one of the lost kids that Lisa has helped towards a better path in life.
Die Fei puts on the necklace Hai Jie gave her but takes it off as she recalls how Ting Yu accused her of having fallen for Hai Jie.
Ting Yu is in a meeting with Die Fei’s older sister Xiao Shu and the Producer as they look over various different violins, and it seems like the meeting is a bust until a picture of a Violin called Siren comes up. Ting Yu’s interest is immediately piqued and he asks more about it. He doesn’t even care that it seems to be cursed and that all it’s previous owners who actually played it have died before the age of 35. He asks about it’s current location and he’s told it’s in Ehime prefecture which is where Alice had said she was from. (I can almost see the wheels turning in Ting Yu’s mind and the beginning of a plan begins to form)
Alice and Lisa go out to a botanical garden and Lisa reminisces about Alice’s father. He’d been a passionate botanist who traveled all over the world and they’d been very much in love. She’d been devastated when he died. Lisa starts tearing up but she smiles bravely and says that at least her husband left her a treasure. Alice’s face lights up and asks where it is and Lisa smiles and tells her that it’s right here with her- Alice is the treasure he left behind. Alice’s face becomes shuttered and her smile forced. Alice receives another text from SJ telling her to speed up her job or he’ll send assistants to help her.
Ting Yu surprises Hai Jie and Die Fei by telling them that the three of them are going to go and experience the cursed violin for themselves. He smiles evilly as he pours sugar into his coffee, Hai Jie and Die Fei confer and wonder at the evil smile. With a couple of words from Ting Yu, Hai Jie is convinced and willing to go with him to see the violin, Die Fei remarks at his easy acceptance. Hai Jie shrugs, it can’t be helped. ( love the bromance between Hai Jie nad Die Fei) The producer guy (Who I think is scummy) comes in and orders that Die Fei go with Ting Yu as his special assistant… Ting Yu hides his smirk in his coffee at Die Fei’s reaction.
It’s amazing how invested I am in this drama, but I think it’s because I like the relationship between the boys. They are perfect together and sometimes I wonder what the OTP really is! hehehe
Hai Jie is the perfect foil for Ting Yu and yet he’s not a perfect person himself. He’s cheerful to Ting Yu’s gloominess, he’s sweet while Ting Yu pours on the vinegar, however he’s oblivious to others feelings while Ting Yu is actually extremely sensitive, he’s also too much of a dreamer while Ting Yu is strictly pragmatic. They complement each other and I look forward to future bromantic scenes. But I also fear the moment when that wonderful connection they have will be severed, or at the very least damaged.
Ting Yu despite acting cold, haughty and confident, is actually quite a broken and self loathing person. That’s why he puts himself down as having nothing going for him but his violin. It’s the one talent he has and he doesn’t know anything besides that, and somehow that makes him feel that if he were to lose that, he’d be worthless. I think that’s what makes him strive for perfection and demand that others strive for the same thing.
The most distant character for me is the Titular Alice… I don’t know what she’s thinking and mostly we get our information about her through Hai Jie’s loving gaze and there’s a discordance with the person that she is in the present time.
The drama is beautifully shot, and I absolutely adore the dreamy quality that the director has given the shots. In a way it’s very similar to the tone and quality of In Time With You (which I absolutely adored).
I’m liking this song from the Sound Track- Aaron’s voice is really growing on me.
- Alice in Wonder City- Episode 1 Recap
- Alice in Wonder City- Episode 2 Recap
- Franz Schubert’s “Death & the Maiden” Quartet: Up Close & Personal – This is an article that discusses what Schubert might have been going through as he composed Death and the Maiden String Quartet in D Minor. I found it really interesting and informative and I thought I should share with you in case you all might be interested.
- About Für Elise– a site that takes on the rumours and info out there on the story behind Für Elise.