March 19, 2016

Alice in Wonder City 給愛麗絲的奇蹟 2012- Taiwan Drama (EP 10-12)

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*Disclaimer: All pictures come from and Google image search. No copyright intended.

EP 10

This episode opens with Hai Jie going to find his old teacher, who gave him his violin. Hai Jie finds out that his teacher has gone blind, but this doesn’t hinder the man, who accurately guesses that the purpose of Hai Jie’s visit is because of problems his student has in Taipei. Hai Jie tries to return the violin to Teacher, but Teacher refuses it and has a long talk with Hai Jie about the recent goings on. Hai Jie confesses he’s hung up on a girl and she’s the reason he’s giving up the violin. They have a nice talk and Teacher encourages Hai Jie.

Meanwhile, Die Fei has left a note for Ting Yu, saying she knows he doesn’t want to see her, so she leaves his house and goes to find Hai Jie. She finds him at his parents’ house and he’s surprised to see her. She sees that he’s upset and tries to comfort him. She also mentions that there will be a contest for Ting Yu’s play and she’ll be competing, so Hai Jie should come back to watch her. He disappoints her by telling her he’s not going back. She gets frustrated with him and tells him Ting Yu wants to know what music means to Hai Jie; what does the violin mean to him? She leaves him to his thoughts and goes to the train station to go home. Hai Jie later chases her down at the train station and decides to return with her.

Ting Yu eventually goes to Lisa because he’s a little worried about Alice. Lisa is surprised they broke up, but doesn’t want to interfere. At this point Ting Yu questions Lisa if there’s a possibility that Alice isn’t actually her daughter and is an imposter. Lisa says there’s never been a moment she’s doubted Alice.

In Japan, Alice’s grandmother has collapsed and is in the hospital. SJ shows up, but Alice kicks him out. He says he’ll take care of all the costs if anything happens to the grandmother (definite foreshadowing) and, once again, uses their impending marriage as leverage to remind her of her mission.

Die Fei goes back to Ting Yu’s to find him holed up in his house. She attempts to coax him out of his funk, but he petulantly refuses to acquiesce, even after her best attempts at annoying him. She then tells him she’ll participate in the competition. He tells her she first needs to find her courage. She scolds him for acting like a child and stomps off mumbling to herself that her efforts to care for him were wasted. He hears her and jerks up, surprised at her comments.

Alice’s grandmother has passed away; Alice and SJ act as primary mourners at the memorial, and Alice is reserved, not shedding one tear. However, she later goes to be by herself and screams and cries. She goes back to her grandparents’ house and finds an envelope of pictures of her father. She remembers when her grandfather had tried to burn all the pictures of Lisa and Alice’s father, but her grandmother salvaged a few of them from the fire. She also remembers her grandmother’s last words: to find her mother; her grandparents took her away from her mother when she was a child.

Ting Yu is over at Lisa’s, still wondering why Alice would suddenly leave. He also asks Lisa why she abandoned Alice all those years ago. She says Alice was taken from her and she never thought she’d see Alice again. She tells him to be grateful for every person he encounters and to believe that Alice is a good person. Lisa comforts him and treats him like a son. He then realizes that Lisa has referred to Seiko(Alice) as Alice and wants to know if it’s possible Alice is the same Alice Hai Jie has been looking for. He later makes a call to a friend to investigate Alice.

Alice confronts SJ with a picture of her parents and tells him she knows he lied to her about her mother. He basically tells her it doesn’t matter now; if she can’t finish her job, he’ll find her mother and tell her Alice hates her for being abandoned as a child. Alice can’t predict how Lisa will react, so she begs for a month’s time to find the X-seed. He eventually relents and Alice tells Lisa she’s returning to Taiwan.

At the orchestra hall, there’s a press conference being held for the singing competition. The director announces the competition’s purpose is to find the lead for their new musical “The Garden of Dreams/Dream Garden” (not sure which is more correct), and the winner will also receive a NT$1,000,000 contract (I’m not sure what the conversion is in American dollars). The reporters question Ting Yu as to why he has suddenly written a musical, especially since he’s never done so before. He responds that it is just another aspect of music and the director emphasizes that Ting Yu has put forth a lot of effort composing this musical. The director is also asked about the rumors surrounding his recent affair and if the musical is a way for him to shift the media’s focus away from his scandals.

Die Fei tries to make ramen for Ting Yu and herself, but is so distracted she messes it up. She then complains to Ting Yu about how nervous she is about the competition. He gets a text from Ash in the midst of their conversation and rushes off to pick up a USB that contains information about Alice. The USB states that Alice’s real name is Fei Niao Wen and there’s a possibility she’s the fiancée of Sasaki Junior, the successor to a large biotech company. Before he can look in depth at the information, Die Fei comes home and goes to take a bath. Ting Yu (being the typical brat he is) bursts in the bathroom and reprimands her for not practicing. He tells her the lead he has in mind should be able to sing as if she can bring a dead flower back to life.

The next day, the competition takes place and Ting Yu is one of the judges. Die Fei performs, singing to Hai Jie the entire song. Ting Yu does not go easy on her, but says she did well overall. The other two judges have differing opinions. One says she sings well, but doesn’t express the emotions well. He does admit she has potential, though. The other judge is much harsher and compares her singing to a pirated CD and doesn’t think she’s cut out for the competition.

The director has Ting Yu and Hai Jie come to his office to discuss the orchestra’s upcoming annual album. Hai Jie takes the opportunity to confront Ting Yu about being harsh on Die Fei during the competition. Ting Yu, obviously jealous, tells Hai Jie to stop defending Die Fei; if she has a problem she can tell Ting Yu herself. She doesn’t need misplaced chivalry and she’s a very strong person. She won’t lose the competition and she doesn’t need to be babied. Hai Jie realizes that Ting Yu is being hard on her because he truly believes in her ability and is purposely pushing her to be her best.

Sometime later, at Ting Yu’s house, Die Fei asks Ting Yu what dreaming is like and what it means to him. She confesses that she’s never dreamed before. He tells her that it’s scary because it feels like he’s trapped in someone else’s body; he can’t control his dreams. He tells her she should go back home to try to find her own inspiration and to try to dream. She agrees and is going to renew her efforts in the competition.

Since the first round of competition, Die Fei has become a topic of debate in the media. People generally like her but want to hear different types of songs (specifically not English songs). She leaves Ting Yu’s house encouraged. At the next phase of the competition, she overhears other contestants gossiping that one of the competitors has connections to the orchestra and is the whole reason for the competition.

EP 11

The episode picks up with Die Fei hearing the gossip backstage and getting nervous. She performs much better this round, but gets so emotional that she forgets her lyrics and messes up. Ting Yu gets jealous seeing Hai Jie watching Die Fei so intently and Die Fei getting so emotional over Hai Jie. He asks her if she wants to sing or if she’s ready to go home. She hesitates but says she wants to stay. He responds that she is honest and he was able to hear her heart’s words, so he gives her a 9. The other two judges come down on her for her mistakes; one gives her a 6, but the other gives her a 9 saying her emotions touched him.

Backstage, Ting Yu is pissed at Die Fei. He tells her that if she’s only going to sing for one person, then why should any effort be wasted on her to perform? He tells her she has to prove to him that she actually wants to perform or there might be a chance that someone wins and is chosen for the play.

The director talks to someone (presumably a reporter) on the phone about how dramatic it was when Die Fei forgot her lyrics. He agrees to an exclusive and will send pictures of Die Fei to them at a later time.

Yu Shu are hanging out at their friends shop discussing Die Fei’s media attention. They both comment on how accurate one report is about Die Fei’s life, to the point where Die Fei jokingly wonders if someone from the orchestra was interviewed. Yu Shu brushes off her suspicions, but it’s obvious she has her own suspicions about where the information came from.

Later, Die Fei and Hai Jie are hanging out at his house looking at her online poll results and comments from netizens. They meet up with Yu Shu at a local bar, where live music is being played. It turns out it’s the two girls Hai Jie took to the orchestra to get a record deal. He talks to them after the show, thinking they had been on tour in mainland China. They nervously avoid his questions but admit they didn’t go on tour and have decided to go back to street performing. Understandably, he’s a little suspicious, but he gets a call from Ting Yu to meet up at a kendo dojo.

Ting Yu has also called Alice to meet, intending to confront her about her true identity to reveal the truth to Hai Jie. She arrives first, wanting to know why he called her. He directly asks if she’s Alice or Seiko and tells her he knows she’s really Fei Niao Wen. She quickly realizes he’s not playing around anymore and gets serious. She tells him she broke up with him because she didn’t want him to know too much. He calls BS, right as Hai Jie shows up. Alice still pretends to not know Hai Jie. Ting Yu gets so fed up that he starts attacking Hai Jie, finally forcing Alice to confess she’s the same Alice that Hai Jie has been looking for.
Hai Jie is elated, but no one else is. Alice tells Hai Jie that he meant nothing to her. He refuses to believe her but she still tries to perpetuate lies. He tells her that he will never forget the times he spent with her and he believes the Alice he loves will return. He walks out, dejectedly. Ting Yu hen steps in and demands to know what her true purpose is. He says if she won’t tell him, he’ll take her straight to Lisa; he won’t tolerate Lisa being hurt, for any reason.

Back at the competition, the five remaining competitors are given their next challenge: to perform a piece they think will best interpret the theme, “I Have a Dream”. They will be paired with professional vocal coaches for mentoring purposes, but are generally left to their own devices before the last round.

Ting Yu meets with Lisa to show her that he’s had Alice investigated. According to what he’s found, all evidence points to Alice being an imposter. He also reveals Alice is the same Alice Hai Jie was looking for. Lisa, upset, thanks Ting Yu, but defends Alice, saying she probably has a reason for lying to them.

After a grueling day of practice, Die Fei decides to have a night out with her fellow competitors and calls Yu Shu, but Yu Shu discourages her from making friends; she’s there to compete, not to make friends. At home with the director, Yu Shu begs him not to reveal that the competition is fixed. The director tells her that when Die Fei is famous, she’ll thank Yu Shu for her current efforts and forgive her for this small deception.

Hai Jie is so upset about Alice that he can’t adequately perform his solo for the album recording. Die Fei is also upset because she’s having a hard time picking a song for the competition. They console each other by going to an amusement park, and fun ensues.
Die Fei and her father seem to be getting along much better. He gives her one of her mother’s old dresses (a flamenco dress) and tells her all about how her mother danced flamenco.

Lisa goes to Alice’s hotel, intending to find out Alice’s motives for herself. She first asks what happened between Alice and Ting Yu. Alice uses an excuse as to why she thinks she and Ting Yu aren’t suited for each other. Lisa tells her that Ting Yu really likes Alice, but doesn’t know how to express himself well. Lisa invites Alice to come back with her and Alice agrees and they leave. Alice gives Lisa an old photo of Lisa, her husband and baby Alice. Lisa asks if there are pictures of Alice’s grandparents, to which Alice says she didn’t bring any. Lisa can’t shake her suspicions and retreats to her room under the guise of a headache. Later, Alice makes her the same soup Alice’s grandmother made when she was sick. She tells Lisa that she is happy they’re together.

Ting Yu goes to the recording studio and has trouble, like Hai Jie. He recalls memories of his mother and the warnings of Siren’s previous owner. That night, he calls Die Fei. She correctly guesses that he’s experiencing insomnia offers to sing for him. Surprisingly (or not), it puts him to sleep.

The director has a suspicious conversation with one of the judges. The director tells the judge that his usefulness will depend on his performance during the final round of the competition

Hai Jie, still depressed, drinks with the two girls in the band. They rant about the director and he again asks what happened with their record deal. They finally admit that they ended up performing at a lot of PR events and doing things they didn’t want to under the director. 

They snuck out of China and came back to Taiwan secretly because the company confiscated their passports. The girls warn him about getting close to Die Fei now that she’s on her way to being famous; she has connections that could ruin him if he isn’t careful. He later drunk dials Die Fei and warns her to be careful. He also says he’s found a way to forget about Alice, but ends up crying and their call ends.

The last scene is of Die Fei’s dad making signs and gaterhing people to support her at the competition.

EP 12

This episode is where things start finally picking up.

The final round of the competiton takes place and Die Fei gives it her all. She wears her mother’s flamenco skirt and adds a Spanish flare to her song. The judges eat it up and praise her a lot. Of course, Die Fei is the winner, still in the dark about the competition being fixed. At the after party, Die Fei is hiding and Hai Jie is chosen to coax her out. He acts as a shoulder to lean on and she says there’s something she wants to tell him when the party is over.

She makes a speech and thanks the person who has turned her ordinary life into an extraordinary one (she looks to Ting Yu as she says this). She also thanks the other contestants for being able to go on this journey with them. She runs into one of the judges in a back room, who drunkenly tells her the competition was fixed and she was always going to be the winner. Die Fei immediately confronts her sister about it. Yu Shu doesn’t directly admit it, but Die Fei can read between the lines and then goes to find Ting Yu for the same reason.

She finds Ting Yu at home, writing music and using her picture as inspiration. Ting Yu says he had no idea the competition was rigged, but it really doesn’t matter to him because he was always set on Die Fei playing the lead. She’s extremely embarrassed and wants to know how she’s supposed to face the other competitors now that she’s a fake. He stresses that her ability won her the competition, not someone fixing the results. She says she won’t sign the contract or sing anymore. He tells her if she won’t sing his music, then he’ll cancel the whole play because she is the only one he created the play for. Die Fei says even still, she won’t lie to anyone and refuses to deceive people. Ting Yu replies that he’s never lied and he won’t lie to himself: he loves her. He forcefully kiss her and Die Fei slaps him. They stare at each other, out of breath, but jump back into each other’s arms and make out heavily as the scene cuts.

Hai Jie waits for Die Fei to find him after the party, like she said earlier, but can’t get ahold of her. The scene cuts again, to Die Fei earing Ting Yu’s shirt and going back to bed. They have a cute scene where Ting Yu pulls her back to bed and tells her she looks sexy in his clothes. He tells her he hasn’t slept so well in a very long time and loves on her a little (There's no actual bed scene between the two). The next morning, Die Fei sneaks out, but unknowingly has her picture taken by a paparazzo.

As Yu Shu leaves for work, her father asks about Die Fei and Yu Shu makes up an excuse for her sister. He believes it but tells her to remind Die Fei not to fall in love with the wrong guy now that she has media attention. No one can find Die Fei, but she texts Yu Shu saying she won’t sign the contract or participate in the play.

The director goes to Ting Yu to try to persuade him into accepting the runner up as the lead for the play. The fight and Ting Yu refuses to replace Die Fei, blaming the director for the whole competition fiasco in the first place. The director eventually gives in, under the condition that the annual album is released earlier than planned in attempt to divert the media from focusing on Die Fei and the play. Meanwhile, Die Fei’s friend, the shop owner, pretends not to know where Die Fei is but is hiding her at the shop.

The director goes to the studio to listen to Hai Jie’s and Ting Yu’s recordings. He’s disappointed in Ting Yu’s recordings. He goes home to Yu Shu and tells her about his troubles. He says Ting Yu’s recordings are empty, there are no feelings behind them, but Hai Jie’s are very good. He also tells Yu Shu to get Die Fei to agree to the contract. If she doesn’t sign, the orchestra will have to pay hefty compensation fees, money they don’t have.

Hai Jie repeatedly calls Die Fei. She finally answers and bursts into tears, saying she doesn’t want to sign the contract and doesn’t know what to do. He goes to the book shop to find her. She tells him the competition was rigged, but he still believes in her abilities. He asks if she went to Ting Yu about it, but she indirectly confesses to sleeping with Ting Yu. Needless to say, Hai Jie is shocked but thinks it’s kind of funny and teases her a little. She admits that she’s in love with Ting Yu and has like him for a very long time, but was ignorant to her own feelings. Hai Jie asks if Ting Yu loves her too. She confirms Ting Yu’s feelings and reveals that the play was written specifically for her.

Elsewhere, Lisa goes to visit Ting Yu and he divulges the full story of the play and that a girl who sings very well was his inspiration.

Die Fei tells Hai Jie that she now understands his feelings for Alice. He tells her that even if Alice doesn’t come back to him, it was enough that they once loved each other.
The next day, Yu Shu goes to find Die Fei and apologizes for deceiving her. She tells Die Fei it was a selfish way to prepare her for her debut. Now days, it’s very difficult for people to break out in the music industry without some kind of help and/or PR. She also tells Die Fei the other contestants knew the competition was rigged and were scouted specifically for the competition. She also tells Die Fei that the orchestra will be hit with heavy fines if she doesn’t sign and Ting Yu won’t accept a replacement for the play. Essentially, Die Fei will make or break everything.

Just after Die Fei makes up her mind to face Ting Yu again, the news of her spending the night at Ting Yu’s house after the competition is released, along with the fact that Ting Yu was previously seen with another girl (Alice). She is now the hot topic of media debate and gossip magazines. Hai Jie rushes to show Die Fei the magazine. She’s obviously upset, but Hai Jie tries to comfort her by saying no one who actually knows her will believe the rumors.
The director confronts Ting Yu, wanting to know who the other girl (Alice) is, but of course, Ting Yu won’t tell him. He reprimands Ting Yu for causing so much trouble in the media, but Ting Yu brings up that the director was recently also the concern of rumors and gossip magazines.

Hai Jie tells Die Fei the other girl on the magazine cover is his Alice, but she was just playing with him. She frantically asks if Ting Yu and Alice were really an item, and Hai Jie said they probably were because they both seem very compatible. Hai Jie suggests he and Die Fei leave the orchestra together, but Die Fei says she finally understands her true feelings and wants to face Ting Yu without being afraid. She says she’s going to Ting Yu for answers; she won’t just accept what the media says as truth. Die Fei goes home and is about to apologize to her father, but he already knows everything and is still so proud of her.

The next day, Die Fei and Hai Jie meet Yu Shu and the director, where Die Fei says she won’t sign the contract and is leaving the orchestra. Yu Shu, under the opposite impression, is upset with and shocked at Die Fei’s decision. The director tries to guilt trip Die Fei into signing, but Hai Jie and she defend her decision. She apologizes and runs out.

Alice and Lisa go out together for some old fashioned mother-daughter bonding time. While walking around, they see some shady guys following them and make a run for it. Lisa tries to call for help, however they’re cornered and forced to fight. Lisa breaks a bottle over one guy’s head, but he pulls a short sword on her (I guess because they’re Japanese (and it’s a drama), stereotyping is acceptable?). Just as he goes to stab her, Alice jumps in the way and is impaled, instead.

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