Let me just preface this by saying this is likely the last recap I will be doing for Fondant Garden. While Fondant Garden may be cute and sweet for some people, I have found myself increasingly unable to stomach Fondant Garden’s various antics and plot points. Luckily, we saw some much needed character development in this episode, in particular with Xi Huan, but I feel like there’s still a long ways to go before Xi Huan becomes a sympathetic male lead whom I care about.
We rewind a little from last episode, and start with Mi En baking in the kitchen. Her coworker comes in and gives her cell phone back, all while gushing about Xi Huan. Mi En calls Han Xiang after hearing the voicemails he’d left, but he doesn’t pick up.
At the airport, Han Xiang gets picked up by his subordinate and after seeing Mi En’s missed call, immediately calls her back. Han Xiang tells her how worried he’s been since he didn’t see her in Korea, and Mi En covers after realizing that Ai Lin & her family must have gone to Korea.
In his car, Han Xiang flashes back to his conversations with his father and his father’s employee (who had suggested he marry Ai Lin to boost his chances at becoming the successor). It’s clear that while he does like Mi En, part of his actions are motivated by his desire to succeed his father’s company with a politically advantageous marriage.
Later, Mi En is still working when she gets a mysterious call from Han Xiang, who coughs into the phone before promptly hanging up. Mi En rushes out of her kitchen in worry, only to find him waiting for her at the top of the stairs. He’s touched by how worried she was for him, and he brings her in for a hug. Han Xiang then leans in to kiss her, but he’s thwarted again – this time by Xi Huan, who bursts out of the shop to find Mi En.
Han Xiang is shocked to see Xi Huan and asks him why he’s there, to which Xi Huan replies with a blank stare and a “who are you?”. Han Xiang is taken aback that Xi Huan doesn’t recognize him, and nods when Mi En asks if he knows Xi Huan. Mi En explains that Xi Huan lost his memory, and Han Xiang asks for a few private moments with Xi Huan.
In private, Han Xiang starts to worriedly question Xi Huan about his memory. At first Xi Huan looks confused / conflicted, but that quickly turns into a mischievous smile as Xi asks him if he’s mailed the postcard yet. And the cat is out of the bag!
Xi Huan explains that he’s been faking his memory loss and begs Han Xiang to keep it a secret. Han Xiang brings up how his father has been looking for him everywhere, and the negative impact that his disappearance would have on the Board accepting him as the successor. Xi Huan tells Han Xiang he doesn’t care and that Han Xiang should be the successor, which makes Han Xiang flashback to the shady successor talk back in Korea. Thinking about how he could build his credibility in Xi Huan’s absence, Han Xiang agrees to help keep Xi Huan’s secret.
Back inside, Han Xiang faces an inquisition from Mi En and the cake shop employees about Xi Huan. Han Xiang explains that he was friends with Xi Huan and that Xi Huan escaped to Taiwan from Korea because he had a lot of debt in Korea.
Mi En backs up Han Xiang’s story by mentioning all the bodyguards she had seen chasing Xi Huan, mistaking them for debt collectors. Han Xiang lies that his Korean friends might recognize Xi Huan if Xi Huan stayed with him – so he still needs to stay at the cake shop!
Outside, Xi Huan is angry at Han Xiang for painting him in such a negative light and demands a better lie, but Han Xiang points out that it got the job done. Xi Huan asks Han Xiang why he’s there, and Han Xiang says that he find Ai Lin to be an interesting girl with many ideas, and a valuable person to get to know better. Xi Huan calls him on out on liking “Ai Lin”, who he thinks is the real Ai Lin.
Han Xiang asks Xi Huan why he chose to stay at the cake shop, and deduces that Xi Huan must like a girl at the shop (Mi En). When Xi Huan refuses to divulge the name of the girl, Han Xiang headlocks Xi Huan and tussles his hair – giving us a rare glimpse of their brotherly love (they should have more of these moments!)
The next day, Xi Huan awakes to find himself treated entirely differently now that everyone thinks he’s a poor guys escaping his debts, as all the cake shop employees hand him their chores to do. When he rejects the easier jobs they give him, the cake shop manager, Mei Lin Jie, tricks him into taking the harder job, which is the only type of job he can take, since he said he couldn’t do the easy jobs!
His task? Cleaning the outdoors stairs that lead down to their shop and scraping off the gum. While he whines that he doesn’t like this type of work, Mei Lin Jie doesn’t take any of his crap, telling him that she doesn’t care if he likes it – he’s going to do it. She stalks off, still chafing at the fact that he insulted her cooking.
At his office, Han Xiang feels a little conflicted when his father calls and asks him if he’s heard any news of Xi Huan in Taiwan. Han Xiang lies, denying any news, but apologizes in his head, promising to tell his father about Xi Huan once he finishes getting an important contract.
Xi Huan surprisingly does his job cleaning the stairs quite well, but when a cake shop employee walks by and dirties the stairs again, Xi Huan is angry that his work has gone to waste. So he thinks of an ingenious idea – don’t let anyone walk on the stairs! He redirects all the customers to a longer, roundabout route so they will avoid using the stairs. When Mi En sees, she yells at him for his stupid idea, but Xi Huan is miffed that she angry at him for his hard work. He stalks off in a huff.
At lunch, the other employees got out for food, but Xi Huan doesn’t have any money for lunch. He doesn’t want to eat Me Lin Jie’s food, so he asks Mi En for money since he paid for their trip using the money he got from selling his watch. She gives him $100 TWB, refusing any more, and Xi Huan stalks off again, angry at how little she gave him. While walking, he wonders what he can do with a mere $100 TWB when he sees the bus sign.
Ai Lin comes back from her jaunt in Korea and goes to visit Mi En. Ai Lin is bumbling with excitement over how she happened to bump into her college senior, and even managed to confess to him! Except, she doesn’t remember his response to her confession, only recalling that he thanked her for liking him before she passed out. Sigh… she thinks it was a good sign and decides she’s going to open a cake shop across the street from his company in Korea in pursuit of her love! (Don’t you know that all rejections begin with thank you’s?) And she wants Mi En to join her. Of course, Mi En doesn’t agree at first, but after some more whining from Ai Lin, she’s forced to agree. And thus, she’s also forced to agree to continue perpetuating the lie about their identities.
Having taken the bus to Han Xiang’s office, Xi Huan gets Han Xiang to treat him to lunch. He orders basically everything on the store’s menu and then asks the waiter why the wine glass is not made out of crystal, since that is what the wine he ordered should be drank with (having been taught to use crystal wine glasses at home).
Xi Huan complains of the terrible treatment he’s gotten at the cake shop, whining that they actually made HIM clean the stairs. Han Xiang muses that it’s a good thing since he said he wanted “freedom,” but Xi Huan says that’s not the freedom he wanted. “I want high class freedom.” Wow… spoiled much? He compares it to a stray dog who has plenty of freedom, but not the freedom that he would like. Han Xiang tells him to eat up then, as a reward for all his sufferings (sufferings???), which is when Xi Huan brings up his little request…
The cake shop female employee (who’s infatuated w/ Xi Huan) wonders why he isn’t back from lunch yet, and the other assure her he’ll be fine, when in walks Xi Huan wearing some fancy new clothes and holding several large shopping bags.
Thinking he’ll impress Mi En with his new studs, he awaits in anticipation for her reaction, except, not only does she not compliment him, but her only reaction is to ask where her father’s clothes are. He points to his bags of stuff, and she searches worriedly through them as Xi Huan shows off the gifts he got for the shop employees. He opens Mi En’s gift – diamond earrings. Mi En, however, is not impressed, asking him how he got the earrings if he had been asking her for money during lunch. He nonchalantly explains that Han Xiang bought them for him, which angers Mi En even more. She tells him that the other workers in the shop work hard from day to night and only earn 105 TWD per hour.
Mi En: Asides from us, every single person on this world is working hard to earn money for their life – but you? What have you done for Han Xiang? On what basis are you taking his money?”
Xi Huan: He’s my friend. His money is my money.
Mi En: You can say these words without feeling embarrassed? For you to so casually spend other people’s money, you’re basically just a bastard!
Xi Huan: Why would I be ashamed? Money is money, hard earned money and money given to you by others – what’s the difference?
SPOILED BRAT ALERT! Mi En tells him that she had thought he didn’t know how to do anything because he had lost his memory, but for him to this kind of thing – she’s extremely disappointed in him. Mi En walks away and leaves him to ponder her words.
At night, outside the cake shop, Xi Huan fumes at Mi En’s words. Seeing a dog (where did it come from??), he commands it to sit and lie down, but it doesn’t obey, and he calls it an idiot for not knowing how to do anything. He then flashes back to Mi En directing the same words to him. He tries to shrug it off, but then flashes back to all the other past spoiled brat incidents he’s had. It starts to dawn on him that perhaps Mi En was right, he is a useless scoundrel after all…
Next morning, Mi En & cake shop employees find the shop glistening from cleanliness, and are surprised to see Xi Huan still cleaning the shop. He offers to take on any work they might have if they’re overwhelmed, and they wonder if something’s wrong with him. He also tells them that he plans on taking all their gifts back and returning them, and giving the money back to Han Xiang. Attaboy!
While Mi En is making another cake, Xi Huan comes in and decides to help her, despite Mi En telling him to get out. Of course, we get our first glimpse into Xi Huan’s cake baking talents (or something along those lines) as Mi En is surprised by his ability to find one of the ingredients of the cake (having eaten it before). Wow – seriously? Another one of those “genius” characters who can perfectly differentiate / taste all the ingredients in food? Sigh.
Ai Lin picks up her parents from the airport, and pitches her idea to set up a cake shop in Korea. Her parents are impressed, and mention that President Yan kept asking about where she was. She asks them what President Yan they’re talking about, and they’re surprised she doesn’t know, since he sounded like he was very familiar with her. They tell her that it’s Yan Han Xiang – and her eyes open in realization of who he is.
And speak of the devil, Han Xiang is at an amusement park (for work), when the magician they had hired to come perform for kids calls in to say he’s unable to come. Whatever shall they do?
Call Mi En of course! Mi En rushes out to help Han Xiang, but gets stopped by Xi Huan, who insists on going along as well, listing the many things that he can do (clean, prepare ingredients) to help. Mi En relents and let’s him tag along, like the whiny little boy he is.
Han Xiang is waiting on the street for Mi En when she finally pulls up. Han Xiang immediately goes to greet her, clasping her face in his hands to calm her down. They smile at each other – which of course is all seen by Xi Huan in the passenger seat. He realizes that the “Ai Lin” Han Xiang liked was actually Mi En.
Xi Huan get jealous as he watches Han Xiang and Mi En talk / hold hands, and tries his best to get in between the two. When his attempts fail, he finally just grabs Mi En and drags her away.
Alone, he asks her why Han Xiang thinks she’s Ai Lin, and Mi En explains about the cake competition identity switch. She begs Xi Huan to keep it a secret, but Xi Huan gets angry, claiming that “lying is wrong” and that since Han Xiang is his friend, he must tell him the truth. Mi En calls him out on it though – asking if he’s ever lied before. Xi Huan pauses as he realizes that he’s done the exact same thing (except with Han Xiang towards Mi En). Oh the circle of lies continues…
Ai Lin has gone to confirm that Han Xiang works in Taiwan, going to his office and asking to meet him. Since he’s out at the amusement park he’s not at the office, but Ai Lin is excited to learn that he really is right there! Wow… you know so little about this guy you have such a huge crush on.
At the amusement park, Mi En is teaching the kids how to make fondant, when Xi Huan grabs a cupcake she’s finished making and asks the kids who wants it. Of course, they all crowd around him, and Mi En goes over to get them to go back into their seats. Which is when she trips over a box and falls backward. Han Xiang sees her trip and is about to catch her when Xi Huan beats him to it, catching her in his embrace. And the brotherly rivalry begins!
While I appreciate that Xi Huan grew up a bit in this episode, I felt like it was way too sudden and for all the wrong reasons. He’s only doing this to impress Mi En, and I ultimately don’t think he’s really changed. And let’s say he has – what after all the times he’s been reprimanded and yelled at, all it takes is this one thing for him to realize that he’s a useless moocher with no talents? What about all the other million times people have said that to him? It seemed unrealistic and insincere, and his realization / depression was way too short for me to feel as if he’s redeemed himself for being such a spoiled brat earlier. And when it’s 5 episodes in, and you still can’t get behind the male lead, finding him bratty, spoiled, and useless with little hope for change, then you know you have a problem.
The plot is also moving along at a snail’s pace, and the drama loves to add filler flashbacks that add absolutely nothing to the plot. We’ve already seen that scene a million times already, please stop flashing back! Really, very few substantial things happened this episode, and the previews for each week look much more exciting than the actual content of the episode.
These things, compounded with bad acting, have made it unable for me to continue watching, let alone recapping this drama. I’m really sorry, but I’ve given it the benefit of the doubt for 4 weeks already, and unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten any better over time (it may have actually gotten worse, as the Han Xiang-Mi En interactions have decreased). And of course, life is too short to waste on bad dramas!