The Way We Were (16 Summers): Eps 12-14
With episodes 12-14, we’re finally entering into the last phase of the story, the final time jump into the 16th summer of 2013. These episodes are all about starting over–about ending old ties and giving other relationships a second chance. You’d think that that means the drama has a more positive and uplifting tone with its transition into the ‘starting over’ theme but…no, there’s still plenty of angst and facepalming in these episodes. Arghh! Sometimes I feel like we’re going one step forward, to steps back in certain aspects of the story. I think the friendships tend to make the most progress whereas the romance/OTP’s take forever to get together. *cough* Wei De and Jia Ni *cough*.
Episodes 12-14 bring A LOT of changes to the story. One of the biggest changes is that Jun Jie and Jia Ni get a divorce. We all knew it was coming so it wasn’t a big surprise at all when it happened. Thankfully these two separate on good terms with each other–Jun Jie FINALLY has the sense to stop being so butt-hurt over Wei De! He even admits that the marriage was putting a lot of strain on him too, and that the marriage became something that wasn’t good for either one of them. BTW, I’m impressed that the divorce happens within one episode since usually dramas drag out divorces as long as they can.
And of course, before Wei De and Jia Ni can get together, Wei De has to end things on his side too. He breaks it off with Ge Qing cleanly and quickly, no wishy washiness involved. I think Wei De ends the relationship quickly out of his respect and consideration for Ge Qing. She was his lifeline during his loneliest time and he still values her a lot. And he knows that she was already suffering before he ended things in the first place, since she knew that he was falling for Jia Ni. Props to Ge Qing for letting him go gracefully. I really like Ge Qing’s character because she is so much more than the typical second female lead. She has been misinterpreted by some as a manipulative two-faced person due to some of her words that may come off as duplicitous. I was surprised by this actually because to me it seemed clear that the whole point of Ge Qing’s character is that she makes compromises for love. When she said things like how she has to try hard to act sensibly, to not to be jealous, etc. she didn’t mean that she wasn’t being truthful to Wei De. What Ge Qing means is that she made compromises–she tried to adapt herself to Wei De in order to maintain their relationship.
And thus the stage is set for Wei De and Jia Ni to FINALLY get together. *cue montage of cute OTP scenes* They are really cute and comfortable with each other which makes them feel like a natural couple. I kind of miss their old relationship when they were back in college because it would make me laugh more, heh. But oh well, I like them together now too! Unfortunately there is no happily ever after ending (YET) for Wei De and Jia Ni because..we have two more episodes left!!
There’s still time for a terminal illness sidestory for Wei De!!! *FACEPALM* *BANGS HEAD ON WALL* WHYYYYYY?!?!?! Why in the world did 16 Summers take the terminal illness route?!!? And why does the drama even resort to making Wei De into another ‘noble idiot’? I never thought that 16 Summers would have this kind of cliched plot twist. X_X So Wei De gets cancer. He decides he wants to be a noble idiot because he doesn’t want Jia Ni to see him suffering and dying. He lies that Ge Qing got pregnant and that he has to take responsibility for the child..AKA he has to break up with Jia Ni. I felt soooo bad for Jia Ni when he broke this news to her, OMG! And 5 YEARS LATER Jia Ni finds out the truth and starts to pursue him once again..but even then he consistently denies that he loves her!! Wei De frustrates me so much in these episodes!
The only interesting thing about Wei De’s noble idiocy is that the drama doesn’t portray him as noble. Jia Ni says something that hits the nail on the head–that Wei De is always running away. That the end and the beginning is always with him. Note that Jia Ni didn’t know about his illness when she said that. Still though, I think what she said implies that Wei De’s motives behind rejecting Jia Ni weren’t totally pure. He rejects her partly due to his own stubborn pride and his desire to run away from the problem. Jia Ni is the kind of person who wants to share people’s burdens but Wei De isn’t willing to let her do that.
I consistently felt horrible for Jia Ni throughout Wei De’s case of noble idiocy. It tears her apart to break up with Wei De after they FINALLY got the chance to be together, and it hurts her again when she has to constantly pursue him while getting rejected time and time again. Even when she knows that Wei De is lying when he rejects her and claims he doesn’t love her anymore, it’s gotta hurt when she hears those words coming from him. Props to Jia Ni for knowing what she wants and going for it though, even though it’s so painful for her. I thought it was really sweet when she prepares a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day so that she could confess!!! And I LOVEEEE the second confession when she has Eric Chou play her and Wei De’s special song!!!!!
^The final reconciliation between Jia Ni & Rui Rui!
After the big reveal in episode 11, I couldn’t wait to find out what would become of Rui Rui and Jia Ni’s friendship. I was really hoping that Rui Rui and Jia Ni’s friendship would survive after the confession and the betrayal, but I suppose it was just too much for Jia Ni to handle at the time. The two of them end their friendship for five years, which is the amount of time it takes for Jia Ni to fully heal and reach the point where she’s ready to forgive Rui Rui.
Unfortunately we never get to hear Jia Ni’s thoughts on the confession, not even when they reconcile later on. I take Jia Ni’s silence to be a sign of how much she was hurt by this whole ordeal. It was hard for her to cope with everything and even five years later, it’s not an issue that she wants to open up again. The whole betrayal and confession probably elicited conflicting feelings in Jia Ni…to feel such anger and hurt after being betrayed……and yet to also feel confused and perhaps even guilty over Rui Rui’s confession. When I found out about Rui Rui’s unrequited love, I felt so so sorry towards her. It’s not the same as pity…more like..I felt so bad for having misunderstood her. I felt bad that no one understood her for all these years, not even her best friend whom she loved. I should think that Jia Ni must have felt some degree of guilt for not having realized her best friends’ feelings for over 10 years.
BTW–another shout out to Ah Qing for persevering and trying to make things right between his friends. I felt so bad for him when he arranged a meet-up and no one showed up. :'( He’s the only one that Jia Ni keeps in touch with after she ends thing with Rui Rui, Jun Jie and Wei De…which I think is pretty telling of how great a friend he is.
At this point in the drama, I think I’m ready for it to end. And I mean that in a good way–I just feel that after all of the heartbreak and pain in this story, both the characters and the audience are in major need of catharsis. I am ready for the characters to reach a point of self-acceptance and forgiveness, the point when they can finally move forward. I doubt that there will be a really happy ending, but that’s ok. As long as the characters have learned something meaningful, I think that’s what matters most. Like they say, it’s the journey that matters, not the final destination. It’s cheesy but so true for 16 Summers. I feel like I have accompanied the characters on a 16 year journey, almost as though I’m moving forward with them into the present day. The journey itself was a painful one but hopefully I will be able to say that it was worth it.
Where to Watch: The Way We Were is subbed on Viki.