The Way We Were (16 Summers): Eps 4-5

Drama ReviewsTaiwanese Dramas

Note: I will be referring to The Way We Were by its original title translation, 16 Summers.

16 Summers continues to impress me with each and every episode.  I find that this isn’t the kind of drama that makes me instantly want to watch the next episode..but rather, the type that I have to slowly process in chunks.  So I ended up waiting to watch episodes 4-5 back to back rather than watching one episode per week, heheh.  I kept on grinning all throughout ep4, which is the more lighthearted episode, and also sniffling a bit during ep5, where the drama starts to take on a much darker tone.  These episodes are leading up the the time jump to the present-day, which may be why the drama is transitioning into a more serious atmosphere with its themes of loss & regret.

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In the first few episodes, Wei De was kind of a mystery of a character.  It’s not that we couldn’t tell what he was thinking (his feelings for Jia Ni are written all over his face), but more that we had no idea about his background or his motivations behind his playboy tendencies.  Thankfully Wei De gets more character development in ep5,where we finally learn about his family background & see his vulnerable side.  Wei De starts to get his act together and even plans to confess to Jia Ni…but then he gets the news that his mother is terminally ill.  Wei De spirals back into his playboy ways as he struggles to cope with his mom’s death, and later cuts off contact with his group of friends as he prepares for the funeral.  One of the saddest parts is when he’s about to get it on with one of his old girlfriends and she stops him a moment to ask if he really loves her…and he just stops and can’t say anything.  Then he just lets out a wretched scream as she hugs him.  :'(((   OMGAWWD.  Obviously the answer to her question is “..no..”..that Wei De is only using his girlfriends as some substitute for love and that it’s hard for him to grasp what love really is.  Part of this stems from his childhood experience with his mom, who left him and his dad for another man.  I felt pretty bad for the girlfriend (technically ex-girlfriend since they broke up prior to this) who seemed to realize that Wei De was empty and hurting, and that he couldn’t give her the kind of love she desires.

I like the way the drama conceptualizes love in different ways through Wei De’s experiences.  I also think it’s interesting that the drama does so through Wei De–a playboy who you would expect not to understand love all that well in the first place.  i.e. At first we see Wei De’s relationships with his girlfriends as shallow and frivolous, without much substance.  But then in ep5 it shows that his flings are deeper than they appear; that his girlfriend (the one in that scene I mentioned..remember he has multiple girlfriends.. T_T”) really does care for Wei De and that Wei De needs her for comfort.

It’s really sad when Jia Ni and Wei De miss the chance to be together due to their circumstances–Wei De left before he could confess and Jia Ni found his confession letter too late.  X_X  Really it is all a matter of missed timing, a slip of the tongue and unexpected moments in life.  Wei De waits too long to confess to Jia Ni until it’s too late, and once his mom passes away he decides not to pursue her anymore.  Jia Ni accidentally hurts Wei De by dismissing him as someone who couldn’t understand what love is (since he’s a playboy) & is always chiding him for being a womanizer.  And by the end of their friendship, Jia Ni found out about Wei De’s feelings too late.  :'(  The way things unfolded, Wei De and Jia Ni could only move on.  It was the natural course of things.

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A lot of people were rooting for Wei De but I found that I wasn’t really rooting for anyone. O_O  I like Wei De AND Jun Jie, and sure I have a bit of a Melvin Sia bias/second lead syndrome tendencies….but I’m not rabidly shipping any OTP or hoping for a certain outcome.  I felt bad when Wei De and Jia Ni miss their chance to be together, but it’s not like I was cursing the drama for not letting them get together or anything like that. O_O”  I even feel like I want to root for both Jun Jie & Wei De!?!?!  Is this even possible!?! It’s obvious that Jun Jie is the second lead, and that in the end he probably won’t be together with Jia Ni.  However so far, I feel like the ending of the drama isn’t too predictable because there’s no telling whether Jia Ni would really start over with Wei De again (in the present day) or not.  What if the drama pulls a ‘no one ends up together’ ending on us?

Anyways I wish we could give Jun Jie a fair chance although he’s not as natural of a pairing with Jia Ni as Wei De is.  The thing I like about him is that he’s very steadfast in his love for Jia Ni and he can see the good in the bad.  He’s not very confident in himself but he is confident enough to believe that he can be a good choice for Jia Ni.  ANYWAYS…the ending of ep5 is a doozy because we skip to the present day (in 2008) and JIA NI AND JUN JIE ARE MARRIED.  OMG!!!!!  This is no surprise if you’ve seen the preview but STILL!!  *in shock*  We don’t know why or how they got married, so hopefully the future episodes will clear that up for us…

In ep5, Jia Ni guilt-trips herself big time after Jun Jie gets injured trying to save her from a giant earthquake.  The conclusion may be that she decided to give Jun Jie a chance out of her gratitude towards him.  But I REALLY hope that gratitude is not the reason for their marriage.  X__X  I think it would be way too easy if that were the case…because then the drama could use Jia Ni/Jun Jie’s loveless marriage as an excuse for her to break up with Jun Jie and get back together with Wei De.  It would pave the way for Jia Ni & Wei De to be the fated OTP.  On the other hand, if Jia Ni really married Jun Jie because she loved him, it would make her feelings for Wei De much more complicated & interesting.  Can her present-day feelings for Jun Jie measure up to her love for Wei De 10 years ago?  Could she still love Wei De even though he was out of her life for almost a decade?

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At the moment Jun Jie seems like the perfect guy–caring, pure, and down-to-earth.  I think he is a darker character than we make him out to be though….it’s just that he usually doesn’t show his darker emotions when he’s with his friends.  His leg injury & Jia Ni’s rejection are big blows to him and there are some moments where we see his discouragement (i.e. bottom right pic).  And even though he’s very good-natured, happy-go-lucky he isn’t scared to warn Wei De to back off from Jia Ni.

There are barely any Rui Rui scenes in these episodes, darn it!  I still really like her character, especially whenever she has scenes with Jia Ni.  I love it when she tells Jia Ni that she’ll always support her no matter what decision she makes (to be with Wei De or not).   She’s also kind of like the mediator between Jia Ni and her friends, always having to make judgment calls on how to handle the situation.  I hope we get more Rui Rui scenes coming up.  *w*

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Ruby Lin is still nailing her role as Jia Ni.  We now see that she’s the kind that is always too hard on herself, taking on her burdens alone.  I think Jia Ni’s time at university is like an escape for her, since she doesn’t have to face her family troubles when she’s away.  Yet whenever she returns home, all of her family issues are still there, waiting for her.  She’s always reminded that she’s less favored in the family and even feels like the black sheep since her parents spoil her older brother.  It’s interesting that Jia Ni is the odd one out in her family, even though she’s the center of her friend group back at school.

Overall

I just have to comment AGAIN about how much more I love the title 16 Summers than The Way We Were.  Heheh.  Considering how quickly the drama fast-forwards to the present, I think 16 Summers will be more focused on the present rather than the past.  “The Way We Were” evokes the feeling that the characters are always dwelling on the past, on how they used to be…whereas “16 Summers” is more about their journey to the present.  Their past is important and it made them who they are today, but that doesn’t mean that ‘the way they were’ is more important than the way they are now. 😉

And I just want to clarify, currently the drama has skipped forward to the year 2008…which I’m calling the present for now.   So I think it’s the 10th or 11th summer?  I’m supposing the drama will somehow get to 2014 by the ending, so we have 10 more episodes for the next 6 summers. O_O  Hrm I’m not sure if we’re gonna have many more time jumps..

Where to Watch: The Way We Were is subbed on Viki.

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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    • I really love this drama for the exact reasons you mentioned above. I really like how they delve into developing our characters, helping us understand why they are the way they are, their struggles, missed opportunities, feelings of guilt plus all the wonderful moments (like that bittersweet moment during the New Year celebration) that all of us are so familiar with. That is why I am also glad that the cast is a bit older because they bring all these experiences in life that we make to the forefront, something that younger actors find it harder to do. Can’t wait to see how and why Jun Jie and Jia Ni got married and what happened to the rest of the gang during those ten years. Wonder who Ai Qing (I hope I remember his name correctly) is getting married to. I will definitely continue to watch this show as well 🙂

      • Oh yes, the New Year’s scene was really bittersweet since they were entering the new millennium! Hm I didn’t think about the age of the cast, but I agree. They are experienced actors so there’s a more mature feeling to the drama.

        His nickname is Ah Qing, by the way. 😉

  • Nooooo don’t pull the no one ends up together ending!!! That will be a nightmare. Although before Ep 5, I was more on the Wei De ship but then after everything that happened, I accept that it just wasn’t meant to be. (in 1999 anyway) Am feeling rather conflicted re Jun Jie. He does have a darker side especially when he ‘lost’ Wei De’s book after he saw that drawing inside. He tries to justify it by saying he doesn’t want Jia Ni to get hurt, but that wasn’t his decision to make.

    I didn’t see that ep 6 preview before and omgosh the song! And the way he brushes it off…. the look on her face. This is going to be painful…

    • I think it is a possibility because it seems like the kind of drama that might have a more somber ending. >_> Perhaps some of the characters will end up alone, while others will get their OTP.

      Jun Jie is very insecure compared to Wei De. I hope he won’t get too possessive when he finds out that Jia Ni coincidentally met Wei De (in the next episode)..

      • *sigh* Yeah, if we’re going with the theme of regret.. then it’s possible.

        I guess it will have to depend on how Jun Jie and Jia Ni got together. He might still have some doubts as to whether it was just pity… unless something did happen between and she eventually fell in love with him.

  • Girl! You are watching 16 Summers too?! Horraaayyyy! Can’t wait to read all your reviews!
    Now… I hate to say this but either Tiffany is destined to be a 2nd lead because she’s awesome here and in Autumn’s Concerto or she has no luck with script as 1st lead.
    Ruby! Veteran actress never disappoints me!
    And my new obsession: Leroy! Back then when he was in LF, I was like skipping his stuffs but after 2 Fathers, OMG now… 16 Summers! *dies*
    I really enjoyed the first few eps when they were younger. The writing, the cinematography, and the theme song! Kyaaaa!
    I have more to say regarding the recent eps but I won’t spoil anyone and wait until you have reviewed those eps!
    I’m busy these days.. watching this on Saturday, korean drama Discovery of Love on Monday-Tuesday, and Taiwanese Friday drama ‘Sister”. This one I quite like too! Check it out if you have some free time! Haha!

    • Ah Man!!! Yup I’m loving this drama. 😀 It’s interesting to see how far Leroy has come with his latest dramas. He’s definitely improved a lot since his role in Love Forward. Did you watch Tiffany’s drama where she was the heroine? I didn’t check it out so I’m not sure how it was..

      • Heisui, I’ve only seen bitz and pieces of her in Love Me or Leave Me because I was fastfowarding to Chris’s part. I love Chris Wang but the drama wasn’t good or bad, same feeling for Tiffany’s part in there. I’m afraid she meant to be an outstanding 2nd lead. But who cares to be the best actress when you’re the future Mrs. Ethan Ruan?! Haha!
        Leroy~~~~~~~~ Yum! I can’t can’t can’t wait for next ep! KYAAAAAAAAAAA

  • I agree with you, ” I find that this isn’t the kind of drama that makes me instantly want to watch the next episode” and I’m still far behind, at ep2 only but since I’ve been spoiled by the 10min trailer, I kinda know how will it go and I’ll probably marathon it once it’s almost done. I prefer marathoning emotional dramas like this because I’ll easily forget the feelings I’m feeling while watching if the wait is too long. This is a really beautiful drama and a well-received one as the latest episode broke 1 in rating, YAY!

    • I’m a couple episodes behind now, heh. I’m so curious about what’s gonna happen next, but I don’t want to watch ahead until I finish my review for the previous episodes. And yay I’m happy the ratings are good! 😀

  • Wow, so great to see a forum that reviews this show! Thanks Heisui, for your comments above, I thought too that “16 Summer is way better than the Way We were. Your reviews and comments has helped me more in understanding this show. I am not really a fan of Tdrama but with this show, I think I need to watch more of them.
    I love the show’s premise of friendship and love! The waiting time is killing me 🙁 I am now a fan of Leroy, his abs are great, he’s hot in some scenes! I am enjoying this drama, I dont want to further comment since I might say some spoilers! I am now in eps 10!

    I will wait for your future comments. Now i am a fan!

  • Hello Heisui, Rigby, Carolie541 🙂 looks like we meet again here!

    I’m craving to share notes on this drama as Jia-ni & Wei-de relationship seemed to have some hope, but I guess that’s not it yet. arghhhhh…. please … Just wish for some happy moments for Jia-ni & Wei-de and a bit of lovey dovey part rather than the feeling of guilt and crying again…

    Its ep 11 now and another 4 more weeks to go… !!

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