- He Hao Yi is chased by the police, and as he’s running away, Ai Li Si runs past him and drops her wallet. So he chases after her to give her back her wallet.
- Hearing her father’s voice encouraging her, Bai Shu Lei wins the 2003 national high school swimming competition.
- Song Han Ming takes detailed notes of Bai Shu Lei’s races. Chen Qi Tai finds out about this, so he bullies and humiliates Han Ming.
- He Hao Yi mistakes Ai Li Si for his twin sister Liu Xiao Fen, so he makes things hard for her as she is cleaning.
- Bai Shu Lei decides she wants to try out smoking because her dad has good relationships with his friends who smoke. Ai Li Si and Liu Xiao Fen stop her from doing so.
- He Hao Yi plants Bai Shu Lei’s cigarettes in Ai Li Si’s bag and then tattles to the teacher that he saw another student smoking.
- Ai Li Si is caught with cigarettes. Her mother has to come to school, but she doesn’t get much punishment.
- Song Han Ming, who overheard He Hao Yi tattle, tells Ai Li Si about it, and she goes to confront Hao Yi.
- When He Hao Yi finds out he mistook Ai Li Si for Liu Xiao Fen, he runs away from the confrontation.
- Ai Li Si goes to borrow volume 16 of Naruto, but it turns out He Hao Yi has borrowed it. He kindly lets her read it as he prepares ramen for dinner.
The episode starts off with He Hao Yi running after Ai Li Si in the present day, although we don’t see Ai Li Si. He thinks back to how he was running after her from the first moment they met. Thirteen years later, he’s running after her again, unable to catch up to her.
Back to 2003, when our story begins. It’s the day of the national high school swimming competition, and a huge group of students from Chong Ying High School come to cheer on their “Queen” Bai Shu Lei. Liu Xiao Fen leads the cheering and announces to Shu Lei that she saved a seat for Shu Lei’s father. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to the competition. Song Han Ming goes through his notes and remembers that Shu Lei strained her back muscle during the last practice.
Ai Li Si skips class to see Shu Lei’s father, Bai Guo Dong. Unable to get past a crowd of supporters who are chanting their support for him to get elected, she throws her shoe overhead and it lands right in front of him.Immediately, the crowd parts in the middle as they look for who threw the shoe. Ai Li Si introduces herself as Shu Lei’s friend and asks him for a favor.
He Hao Yi lays in bed and reads an essay by Liu Xiao Fen. He looks at a picture of his mother and sister and says “Mom, Sis, I’ve come to find you.” As he leaves his room, he overhears the hotel worker telling the police that he was afraid Hao Yi was a runaway because he didn’t show his ID and had a high school uniform. Hao Yi quickly goes back to his room, packs, and flees as the police chase after him, asking to see his ID. After jumping some stairs, he is on one knee when Li Si, running past, has to jump over him, which causes her to drop her wallet. He grabs her wallet and runs after her, chasing her all the way to Chong Ying High School.
Hao Yi is the new transfer student at Chong Ying, and Li Si helps him get past the security guard. She rushes to the swimming pool to cheer on her friend. She had recorded Bai Guo Dong’s “Jia You” cheers and plays them into a microphone so that Shu Lei could hear. Shu Lei wins the race.
Meanwhile, Hao Yi goes into his sister’s classroom and looks through all the stuff in her desk. In a flashback, we see Hao Yi celebrating his sixteenth birthday with his father. His father is sitting in a hospital bed as Hao Yi sings the birthday song to himself. His father remarks, “It’s your birthday today. Why are we still drinking energy drinks? Why isn’t there a birthday cake?” Hao Yi simply replies “Because I want to drink this.” Later, Hao Yi finds a letter that his father wrote to his twin sister about how he read her award-winning essay and how he wants to see her. On another day, his father tells Hao Yi that when he dies, Hao Yi can go live with his aunt. Hao Yi says that he would go to Taipei to look for his mother. He tells his father that he knows about the letters, and his father tells him that he’s never received a reply. So he tells his father not to worry because he’d take care of everything. He reminds his father that he always taught him that “a man needs to be independent, be strong, have his own opinions, and absolutely must not cry.” As doctors attempted to resuscitate his father, Hao Yi writes a letter to his mother and sister asking them to come visit his father because he’s very sick and misses his daughter. Sadly, the doctors were not able to save his father.
After Song Han Ming finishes updating his notes on Shu Lei’s chances of winning, Chen Qi Tai and his group of friends snatch his notepad. Upon discovering that he’s been recording the times of “Brother Tai’s woman’s” races, they proceed to bully him.
Bai Shu Lei gets a pile of gifts from boys and gives them to the her classmates since they’re all just chocolate and dolls. The only gift she keeps is pain-relieving patches from a mysterious “Peter”, whom Xiao Fen calls “Spiderman.” Li Si comes into the room, and after being made fun of for being a garbage truck who keeps all the bad things to herself, she tells her friends about her punishment for skipping class. Xiao Fen gives Li Si the keychain doll on her desk since it wears a necklace with a clover, something Li Si really likes. It’s a gift that Shu Lei received but didn’t want.
As the three girls eat lunch, Qi Tai comes in with his gang and Han Ming. Qi Tai gives Han Ming’s notepad to Shu Lei. The gang call Han Ming disgusting and a pervert. One of Qi Tai’s friends asks Shu Lei if she likes Han Ming, and she replies “How is that possible?” As she leaves, she returns the notepad to Han Ming and tells him “I’m not interested in you.” After being thoroughly humiliated, Qi Tai leaves behind his notepad, which Li Si picks up.
As Hao Yi contemplates what to do since he can no longer live at a hotel, he notices the keychain doll on Ai Li Si’s bag. It’s the doll that was on Xiao Fen’s desk when he was rummaging through it, so he mistakes Li Si as Xiao Fen. He follows Li Si as she goes to the bakery to pick up a birthday cake for Xiao Fen. Xiao Fen’s mother is already at the bakery to pick up the cake. She talks on the phone with Mrs. Fang. When Mrs. Fang asks her if she wants to get the letters from Tainan, she tells Mrs. Fang to just throw them away, since it’s been so long already. Looking from outside the bakery window, Hao Yi recognizes his mother, which deepens his misunderstanding that Li Si is his sister.
As Xiao Fen celebrates her seventeenth birthday with her friends and mother, Hao Yi celebrates his by himself. He sings to himself, blows out the flame on a lighter, eats a pastry, and touches his father’s cap as he says “Dad, energy drinks are actually quite good.” Back at home, his mother thinks about him and wishes him a happy birthday.
In a car ride home with her father, Shu Lei complains about her father smoking again. She shows off her medal, and her dad asks about Ai Li Si. He warns her that she needs to be more careful when making friends because their backgrounds are very different.
The next day, Li Si is cleaning and raking leaves, which is her punishment for skipping class. Hao Yi throws his juice box on the ground, making her pick it up. He then goes and empties her trash bag full of leaves so that she has to rake them all back up again! As a final touch, he throws another juice box on the ground.
Li Si: Why are you throwing your trash everywhere when the trash can is over there? … You didn’t even finish this!
Hao Yi: You talk too much. Being your little brother would be pitiful.
Li Si: There’s only me and my mom in my family. I apologize to you on behalf of my non-existent little brother.
Since he just stands there, she goes to see what’s wrong, and recognizes him as the guy from yesterday. At this time, Xiao Fen comes and pulls her away.
Shu Lei tries to smoke cigarettes that she stole from her father. Xiao Fen asks Li Si to convince Shu Lei not to, so Li Si asks Shu Lei why she wants to smoke. She answers that it’s strange how her father has such good relationships with people who smoke. If she smoked too, wouldn’t her relationship with him be better? Her friends tell her that her dad would just be angry. They understand how she feels, and they’ll support her no matter what she does, but they don’t want to see her hurt herself. They manage to convince her not to smoke. Of course, Hao Yi overhears all of this.
As he finishes his registration for school, Hao Yi asks the teacher if there’s a rule that students can’t smoke on school grounds. The teacher tells him the punishment for smoking and then questions if he’s a smoker. He says he’s not but he saw someone smoking on school grounds, so he asked about it.
The administrators go to the girls’ classroom to search all the girls’ backpacks for cigarettes. They find them in Li Si’s bag. In the boys’ classroom, Hao Yi introduces himself and tells the class that his sister goes to the same school but probably won’t have time to care about him since something big is about to happen. It turns out he took the cigarettes from Shu Lei’s bag and put them in Li Si’s.
Li Si’s mother is called to school because of the cigarettes incident. She makes a big fuss and says that the administration cannot put this delinquency on Li Si’s record if they didn’t see her smoke. Shu Lei and Xiao Fen come into the room and vouch for Li Si, saying that she was with them all day and didn’t smoke and that someone must’ve planted the cigarettes in her bag. The teacher had no choice but to minimize her punishment. Outside, Li Si’s mother tells her to wait until college to do things like smoking, drinking, and gambling. Li Si says she didn’t smoke and won’t smoke in college either. Before leaving, her mother tells Li Si that she doesn’t have to be such a loyal friend who covers for others.
Qi Tai announces that someone in the girls’ class was caught with cigarettes in her bag but didn’t get severely punished for it. Hao Yi is annoyed at what happened and leaves the room. As Li Si cleans the bathroom, she wonders out loud to her friends who she offended that would frame her like this. Shu Lei posts an announcement on the bulletin board that she would award whoever has information on the tattler of the cigarettes. Han Ming sees the post and remembers seeing Hao Yi tattle. But then he thinks back to how Shu Lei told him she wasn’t interested in him, and walks away. As he reads in the library, Li Si bumps into him as she’s cleaning. She returns the notepad to him and tells him she cleaned it up and re-wrote on sheets of paper the parts that she couldn’t clean. She praises his drawings and how awesome it is that he has those records. She reassures him that Shu Lei had too much pride and couldn’t bring herself to thank him, so he shouldn’t take to heart what she said. When asked, Li Si tells Han Ming that she was framed for the cigarettes incident so she has to clean the library. So Han Ming tells her that he saw Hao Yi tell the teacher about someone smoking.
Hao Yi is by the pool reflecting on everything when Li Si comes and yells at him for treating her this way when they don’t even know each other. She mistakenly thinks he did this to get Shu Lei’s attention, so she curses him so that he’ll never get a girlfriend and then kicks him into the pool. When he doesn’t come up, she peers over the pool; Hao Yi comes up as she does so and pulls her into the water.
When they leave the pool, she continues to ask why he’s bullying her when they don’t even know each other and she even helped him yesterday. He tells her he just hates her, so she tells him she hates him too and congratulates him on becoming the first person she’s ever hated in her life. He tells her the reason he put the cigarettes in her bag was so that she would turn in her friend and lose a friend; although he failed, he would continue to do it until she couldn’t stand being in school anymore. Shu Lei and Xiao Fen interrupt their argument, and Li Si tells them Hao Yi is the one who framed her. Shu Lei asks why he’d bully Li Si. When he realizes that her name was Ai Li Si, he runs away saying he mistook her for someone else.
Xiao Fen’s mom receives a call from Mrs. Fang, who tells her a customer from Tainan wanted to see her. She asks for his name.
Li Si goes to borrow volume 16 of Naruto but is told that someone else already checked it out. When she looks for other books to read, she finds the copy on the table. She attempts to read it, but someone tells her not to touch it. It turns out to be Hao Yi. When he sees that it’s her, he lets her read it as he makes ramen. The lights suddenly turn off and Li Si screams. Hao Yi goes over to her, covers her mouth, and tells her not to scream.
This is a solid first episode that I enjoyed a lot more than I expected. It gave us a good look at each of the characters and kept the plot moving at a fast pace. The chemistry is great too.
He Hao Yi is an “independent and strong” man, but he’s also an immature little kid. He takes care of his father who was in the hospital and later sets out on his own to find his mother and sister. He does his best to live on his own without his aunt’s help after his father passes away. However, he has a very petty and immature side to him – creating a mess as Ai Li Si cleans, framing her for smoking, and pulling her into the pool. It’s a shame that Hao Yi couldn’t continue mistaking Ai Li Si as his twin sister for another episode, since that means he won’t be as petty anymore. It was cute to see him act like a little kid.
Ai Li Si comes from a poor background. She is very optimistic, has a kind heart, and does everything she can for her friends. Her friends call her “Garbage Truck” because she keeps all the bad things (“garbage”) to herself and doesn’t share them with her friends. She also doesn’t like to waste things, so she’ll keep things that others would’ve throw away. Her friends even have a little song to the tune of Für Elise (which sounds like Ai Li Si) to call her out on her “garbage truck” ways.
Bai Shu Lei is the queen bee of Chong Ying High School. All the boys crush on her and give her gifts, but she gives them all away. The person whose attention she really wants is her father. Her father is a politician, so he spends more time trying to get votes than with his daughter. Because of this, she considers doing things, like smoking, that will get him to spend more time with her.
Song Han Ming is the geek who gets bullied. He has a crush on Bai Shu Lei, like all the other boys in school, but he pays special attention to her needs. Instead of giving her gifts that all the other boys get her (chocolate and dolls), he gets her things that she needs (pain-relieving patches).
Liu Xiao Fen is not the brightest of the bunch (she scored 15 out of 100 on a test!), but she’s a creative spirit who wins awards for her writing (although it might be because she copies lyrics).
This drama has a great set of characters, so I’m excited to see them grow in the future episodes!
Love at Seventeen is a 2016 Taiwanese drama starring Lego Lee, Nikki Hsieh, Amanda Chou, Edison Wang, and Zheng Yin Sheng.