[HKTV] Once Upon A Song Episode 05

Training classes officially commence and if the allure of fame and fortune wasn’t enough in itself to shine a light on our characters’ true natures, being faced with some borderline (literally) cut-throat scenarios certainly does the trick. Of course, not all is destructive jealousy in the name of love, but with the romance coming back full-force, things undoubtedly become as cute (for us) as they get messy (for those involved).

Episode 5 Recap

With the quarrelling between the girls (momentarily) set aside, it’s time for dance class and Agnes briefly introduces her assistant, Daniel, before the two proceed to demonstrate what it means to incorporate ‘feel’ into a dance. (The background music I must add, is quite lovely and) the class is left in awe (as am I) at the performance’s concluding single-handed lift.

Agnes brushes off the demonstration as merely something any practiced dancer can execute. She affirms that their short lessons together are not intended to be so intensive but, she also cautions the class that she (personally) possesses very high expectations and as such, she fully intends to treat them as professionals.

Class formally begins with Agnes’ issuing of the instruction to pair off and stretch. Whilst Chi Ching instinctively seeks out Karlie as her partner, her best friend has her sights set on our resident (male) idol, Sky. She triumphs over the other swoony fangirls – and our fanboy also – (aw, leaving her own secret admirer in the cold too) and possessively stretches her leg over the star’s shoulder (LOL!).

Ying Jun volunteers to be Chi Ching’s partner instead and thus, it’s a scene of the two stretching together (chummily, at least, perhaps in his eyes), that Keith passes and is left unsettled by. Likewise, Dai Wei Gor is left perplexed when Agnes rushes into the hallway to ask if he had come by especially to see her (he passes by the window and smiles to see her absorbed in her teaching), only to be met with an immediate (and hilarious) change in tune when he answers in the negative.

It’s straight onto singing lessons next and the first class, Dai Wei Gor announces, will involve learning a fundamental skill – the correct breathing technique to utilise whilst singing (through one’s mouth, rather than one’s nose). To achieve this, he provides the class with pegs to clip onto their noses and instructs them to jump straight into practising.

No more than a few minutes into the activity however, Sky asks derisively if learning to breathe will be the only thing they’re to do for the remainder of the class. His fan is quick to back the idol’s superciliousness and jeers that Dai Wei Gor is supposed to be respectably talented so he won’t just be wasting their time with such a trick (the word he uses specifically is ‘hours’), right?

Dai Wei Gor smiles and suspending the lesson, he answers that even with all of his (life’s) savings, Sky’s fan wouldn’t be able to afford hourly singing lessons with him (ha!). He continues that, whilst Sky’s live singing is acceptable, his (nose-)breathing sounds are much too loud and of the entire class, it would likely be the most difficult for him to correct the habit.

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Affronted, Sky argues that it’s his method of breathing that’s trending nowadays and he mockingly imitates Dai Wei Gor’s singing style before labelling it old-fashioned. Dai Wei Gor merely directs the class to applaud the show, “because a singer talented at mimicry is a good quality; it’s like cotton which can absorb a variety of things”. Still, cotton can’t filter the good from the bad, Dai Wei Gor points out, and it’s evident that Sky is of the category who have only been able to absorb the bad.

Dai Wei Gor follows with an exhibit of how it’s really done and the class naturally breaks out into enthusiastic cheers. Even Sky finds himself applauding the display and at Ying Jun’s challenge to outdo their teacher, Sky begrudgingly removes his sunglasses and admits that he still has much to learn from the older man.

Offhandedly, Dai Wei Gor suggests that any future disagreements be brought up for open discussion. He proclaims that his job is not to criticise his students after all, but to help them to reach their fullest potential. He and Sky shake to getting along in the future (aw) and with that, class resumes with Dai Wei Gor’s lecturing that another point central to good singing is correct pronunciation.

As he stresses that a good breathing technique also underpins this, he is again interrupted – this time, by a ringing phone. He enquires as to who has disregarded class protocol, only to find it’s his own mobile ringing and with Agnes on the other end, praising the charm of his singing and inviting him to lunch, no less (ha!). Dai Wei Gor accepts dazedly.

Brought back to reality by Ying Jun’s question of when they can remove the pegs on their noses, now inspired, he recommends: during lunch (LOL); with class then concluded, Chi Ching and friends find themselves joined by Keith for lunch and upon hearing that all meals have been dietician-planned (the director’s orders, so that all his stars will shape up), Keith teasingly sizes Chi Ching up and agrees on the necessity.

Accidentally, Ying Jun spills his drink on Chi Ching and she jokes to the others that they should let him off since he’d already almost gotten arm cramps just completing some simple stretches earlier. Keith jests that Ying Jun can withdraw anytime if he finds the training too taxing, to which Ying Jun counters that their CEO can keep dreaming for he’ll persevere to the end.

A round of supportive hi-fives are shared between the group and from the adjacent table, Jade observes the display, displeased. Her irritation only grows when she overhears hushed whispers surmising on why she and Keith would be sitting apart if they were really dating; listening in from behind the building, her fan is likewise irked.

Lunch ends and we briefly crossover back to Dai Wei Gor to see his waiting for Agnes’ appearance to the restaurant had been in vain after all, aw. Meanwhile, touching up her makeup, Karlie is approached by one of Jade’s followers, who snidely warns her to stay away from Keith. Karlie tells the girl to get her facts straight.

She retorts that not only has she been friendly with Keith long before the auditions (thus she’s not attempting to pull strings to be cast), but Jade and Keith’s relationship is nothing but a rumour and, it’s not as though Jade’s snobbery is any match for their CEO either; at this, Jade interrupts with the threat that she could file a complaint and have Karlie ousted for her disrespect.

Despite Karlie’s confidence in the director’s earlier words – that there will be no special treatment during training – Chi Ching hastily joins the crowd and apologises on her friend’s behalf. Jade scoffs that at least Karlie is blatantly discourteous and she asks when Chi Ching intends to disappear from her sight already; protectively, Karlie returns that Jade should be the one to leave if she’s so dissatisfied.

Left to themselves, Chi Ching beseeches Karlie to simply ignore the goading and allow the issue to slide. It would be a shame if they were to be expelled from training over something so petty, she argues and Jade and Keith do suit other. Karlie disagrees and swears that Chi Ching is a thousand times better than Jade (aw) and that she and Keith are far more compatible.

Unbeknownst to them, their conversation is listened in on by Jade’s sasaeng and hence it’s later on, as Karlie makes her way down a flight of stairs (preoccupied with her phone), that she finds herself pushed off of them. She lands herself in hospital and (rather dramatically, haha) insists on suing Jade for ordering her follower to do such a thing.

Kelvin defends the star, sceptical (as we know him to routinely be with everything Jade-related) that Jade would ever do such a pointlessly immature thing. He pronounces Karlie’s antics absurd and overstepping her bounds (to which she declares he’s not a good person anyway, ha!) and Keith interjects that they’ll be sure to investigate the case thoroughly and fairly.

He tells a now-placated Karlie to focus on her recovery and though she pledges to return to training within a day, Ying Jun arrives with the doctor’s orders: she’ll need to rest up her sprain for at least a week. It’s only as she contemplates her predicament that Karlie suddenly notices Chi Ching’s absence. Ying Jun reports that she had left to clarify any misunderstandings with Jade.

Concerned, Karlie urges Ying Jun to find her and Keith offers Ying Jun a lift. When they return to the school however, they find Jade and her follower about to leave, with no Chi Ching in sight. Jade’s follower swears that they had played no part in the incident and Jade states they have numerous alibis. Ying Jun hurries off first to search Chi Ching and Jade is left incredulous that Keith would even suspect her.

He apologises and explains that he was merely trying to gauge the situation. Though annoyed at his faithful relaying of Chi Ching’s message (that she isn’t purposely attempting to sabotage her), Jade nevertheless confirms that Keith will accompany her to her father’s concert that night. She departs with the advice to not mention Chi Ching’s name before her again and Keith makes to begin his search.

Inside the school entrance, he notices a bracelet dropped on the floor and the striking familiarity of the accessory leaves him perturbed. Even later that night Keith is preoccupied by the thought, forgetting to give a proper greeting to Jade and her mother before he’s prompted to do so. Still, the iciness between the two is clear to their mothers and when Keith’s mother suggests he go to get them drinks, Jade also takes her leave.

Keith reflects on Ying Jun’s earlier words that Chi Ching’s mobile must have been switched off. Ying Jun had also imparted then that he would continue his search back at the dessert shop and Keith had asked for his number. In the present, Jade’s sasaeng leaves her a message declaring that “after tonight [she’ll be] eternally happy [for] all of the people who have wronged [her] will disappear forever”.

As Keith hangs up on Ying Jun to learn that he’s still yet to make contact with Chi Ching, Jade approaches him but at the last moment, decides against telling him about the message. Right before she enters the auditorium however, she receives a photograph of a tied-up Chi Ching; clocking Keith’s increasing agitation as they’re seated, Jade consequently reveals that the same fan who had egged Chi Ching may have kidnapped her.

She shows him the photo and just as the curtain rises, Keith takes off with her phone. Jade follows suit after smilingly reassuring their mothers that something must have just come up at work and that she would just be stepping out to return Keith’s forgotten phone to him. Already in his car during this exchange, Keith (rather weakly) takes out his frustrations on his steering wheel.

He zooms in to the photo however, to find a sheet of paper with an address (just so coincidentally left) on the floor. Hastily he instructs Kelvin to report Chi Ching’s kidnapping to the police. In the meantime, Jade, left to her own devices, contacts her fan to let him know that her spirits have been lifted at his support but his kidnapping of Chi Ching would make her unhappy.

As Jade continues to communicate with her fan (and act as a decoy), Keith reaches the hotel. Hearing Chi Ching’s screams, he equips himself with a candelabra before rushing in to save her. He takes her by the wrist as the two make for the exit but the lifts aren’t in operation and they’re forced to take the stairs.

On their way down however, the kidnapper returns to find the two escaping and chases after them. Chi Ching has her stolen shoe hurled at her but just as she’s about to fall, Keith moves to cushion the blow and the two accidentally kiss. (Mood-killing as Somewhere Over The Rainbow playing in the background is,) the two safely reach the rooftop and with the door locked behind them (courtesy of the reappearance of our bear friend), the kidnapper can only shriek at his being thwarted.

Waiting to be rescued (neither have a phone, paper or bills to throw down onto the street to capture the attention of anyone with), Chi Ching optimistically notes the beauty of their view. She’s grateful at having not fallen to her death earlier and Keith jokes that she would have died with a CEO at least (and made all the headlines) whilst he would have drawn the shorter end of the stick.

For his bravery though, he guesses that at least he would be the one out of the two to have made it to heaven. To this, Chi Ching despairs that it’s been her birthday wish every year to be sent to heaven when she dies, so she can find her mother. When she catches him staring at her, she alerts him to the cut on his lip. He points out the identical one on hers and the two avert gazes awkwardly, thinking back to their earlier kiss.

Back home, Kelvin reports that the sasaeng has been apprehended and he comments that luckily the fan hadn’t gone so far as to assault his idol. Keith remarks that, of course then it had taken Kelvin so long to alert the police – the issue hadn’t otherwise concerned Jade. Kelvin denies this and simply indicates that the photo had left no means of finding their whereabouts.

It’s only then that Keith conjectures our bear friend may have been involved, as he belatedly remembers the balloon-float he had seen earlier on the rooftop, facilitating our bear’s greeting from such heights. He thanks Kelvin for his help and before leaving, Kelvin mentions that even after her tedious police questioning, Jade had still been asking after Keith.

Keith acknowledges Jade’s help through the ordeal but it’s Chi Ching who he follows up with a call. The two recap the night and just as Chi Ching’s aunt had wished for her, Chi Ching (and Keith) fall asleep to a (happy) dream of their dancing together (to a befitting backtrack this time, thank goodness) at the hotel mid-rescue.

The next morning, seeing Chi Ching stretching with Ying Jun once more, Keith decidedly intrudes and bids the two a good morning. He suggests Ying Jun take a break so he doesn’t injure himself and offers to help Chi Ching in his stead; after all, he boasts, he’d started ballet from the age of four and it would be a piece of cake for him (famous last words LOL).

Nevertheless, Keith gets his Secret Garden-esque moment as Ying Jun watches on distrustfully. Having noticed Jade walk by however, Chi Ching breaks the moment and races after her half-sister to thank her for her hand in saving her. Jade nonchalantly replies that she simply didn’t want the occurrence to later reflect badly upon her and she leaves, now finding Keith outside.

Soreness aside, reliving his earlier achievement, Keith smiles to himself. He’s quickly sobered by Jade’s arrival however and her wondering if he considered his curt thankyou text from last night sufficient. Smoothly, Keith responds that he had wanted to thank her in person and buy her a cup of coffee too.

Jade is pacified by the gesture but also asks how he thinks she should respond to reporters asking her of her opinion at seeing him and Chi Ching leave the hotel together. Keith advises that she simply tell the paparazzi to read the official reports, to which Jade outlines that the report had said that he had risked his life to save an aspiring female star (otherwise a nobody).

Keith counters that just like her, he had merely acted instinctively, knowing that someone’s life was on the line; the two of them shouldn’t be bothered by such leading questions, he contends and in turn, Jade indicates it was but a friendly reminder of his status – as a CEO, it’s not his responsibility to help a female trainee stretch right?

Seeing no issue with his actions however, Keith elaborates that he intends to fully participate in all activities related to the film, in order to gain a more detailed understanding of the production process. He excuses himself to buy Jade her coffee and she’s left once again, to watch him as he joins Chi Ching and her friends for lunch.

Overall Thoughts

So as someone in a forum I happened across mentioned, cliché as it stands, the accidental kiss in this episode was executed with a relatively smooth fall. Reiterating myself though, what was definitely not smooth was the concurrent background music (largely discordant to the ‘feel’ which would/could/should have otherwise been elicited) and I say this in spite of my appreciation that the song is meant to have (some vaguely) symbolic significance attached to it!

What was nice to see however, was that whilst the episode was strongly rooted in providing romantic advancements for our leads, there remained several genuine displays of friendship; theatrical as she may be, Karlie shone in her role as best friend and though Ying Jun was substantially relegated to the role of jealousy-stirrer, Jade was also given some depth this episode.

For all appearances she’s the cookie-cutter-rival of a half-sister to Chi Ching but it becomes clear in this episode that she’s not so black-and-white a character as to uphold no scruples at all. It’s likely that she will be redeemed from her hatred of Chi Ching by the conclusion of this series (as tends to happen) but what remains unclear for now are the potential misunderstandings and grievances which exist in the family and these could turn out interesting.

In terms of our side characters, I’m relieved that Sky’s attitude problems were quickly resolved and with some degree of heart (?) and I’m also looking forward to what unravels on the front of Karlie’s supposed secret admirer (if I’m not just reading into things and amongst all the other potential storylines, the show remembers to continue this thread – and given the swiftness of plot delivery in this episode, I’m certainly optimistic!).

Ultimately, what is most apparent with this episode’s conclusion, is the hinting at/setting up of the precedent for another source of angst between our leads – the incompatible social statuses trope. It’s a drama formula I like about as much as birth secrets and amnesia (which is to say not at all!) and so, with the glimpse that our preview offers, I’ll say that I’m more than happy to be distracted with Dai Wei Gor and Agnes’ history for now!

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