Understanding the final episode of Sealed with a Kiss
Are you unsatisfied and frustrated with the final episode? Expected a happily ever after? Apparently, the scriptwriter succeeded in getting us all hooked onto this series for 28 episodes and suddenly bombarded us with a really CRAPPY open ending. My reaction when I first finished watching the final shot of Mo Shaoqian walking lonely toward the police station was like this...
To cure my poorly frustrated mood, I rushed to reread the dreamily happy epilogue that the author wrote for Sealed with a Kiss novel. After reading various analyses by different viewers online and the scriptwriter's comments about the ending, I still thought the ending was bad, but less "unacceptable." There were many questions left unanswered. I'll try to provide some logical explanation and point out all the subtle symbolism shown to give us a more "hopeful" interpretation of the drama ending. Anyway, I just want to make it clear...No matter how depressing the ending seems to be, the author, director, and scriptwriter all agree Mo Shaoqian and Tong Xue will get back together...eventually. Both are now aware of their love for each other. It's just a matter of time. The scriptwriter and director just don't want to show it to us onscreen.
Will Mo Shaoqian need to go to prison?
First of all, the scriptwriter added the scene to satisfy the nosy intervention of SARFT. Tong Xue's uncle embezzlement of public funds is a very touchy topic in China and the fact that Mo Shaoqian did not fulfill his public duty and report his crime is a BIG NO-NO. To get SARFT off the production team's back and avoid political backlash from the almighty Chinese government, the scriptwriter must include a scene where Mo Shaoqian atones for his "immoral" behavior. However, the scriptwriter made a big mistake by horrendously making this scene the FINAL SHOT of the freaking drama!
According to Chinese netizens, Mo Shaoqian committed no crime that warrant him prison time. Failure to report an embezzlement case is not a serious criminal offense, just a moral offense. He was not an complice in Tong Xue's uncle embezzlement case. He's just going to the police station to give a testimony and more facts about the case to prevent YongFei from stirring anymore troubles. If he actually HELPED TongXue's uncle in embezzling the money, then he would probably need to go to jail. But all he did was not report the crime and had nothing to do with the crime itself. He may have to do some community service and get on probation or pay some fines. Judging from the housekeeper and chauffeur's reaction, it doesn't seem like ShaoQian's case is that criminal or serious. They didn't seem all freaked out about him going to the police station. They just thought it wasn't necessary. The housekeeper even said, as long as the house is still there, she'll be waiting for him to come back. Mo Shaoqian didn't help Tong Xue's uncle break any laws.
The only reason why he even bother to turn himself in the police station was to "protect" Tong Xue. Right before he went to the police station, he told his chauffeur Lao Ma, "I don't want them to use me to threaten Tong Xue." He doesn't want to leave any lingering entanglements that YongFei may use against TongXue. To seal up any loopholes, he reported his knowledge of Tong Xue's uncle crime. More importantly, the scriptwriter confirmed this interpretation. So again, it's just a matter of time Shaoqian and Tong Xue reunites. At the end, they both are fully aware of their love for each other. According to some, Shaoqian going to the police station is symbolic of his rebirth and cleansing of his conscience so he can start fresh again with Tong Xue.
Some worry that Mo Shaoqian may have used some illegal means in the GPS project to bring down the Mu family, and Mu Yongfei may have hard evidence to sue him. Being the ever scheming and shrewd businessman, I doubt Mo Shaoqian left any evidence behind. Even if YongFei wants to fabricate some false evidence to frame Shaoqian, her righteous brother will probably stop her and save Shaoqian.
Does Tong Xue know the house she designed belongs to Shaoqian? Does Shaoqian know Tong Xue has feelings for him?
Yes, it's implied that Tong Xue knew Shaoqian is the homeowner. Someone asked the scriptwriter this question. The scriptwriter replied that at first, she didn't intend to let Tong Xue know the homeowner was Shaoqian, and everything she did with the house was just her own subconscious doing. Somehow later on, she also felt Tong Xue somehow knew anyway based on her email correspondences with "Professor Chen." I don't know how the heck she found out, but it's pretty evident that she knew since she came back to look at the house one last time before her departure. As for Shaoqian, he probably felt Tong Xue's feelings for him due to several clues:
1. She left the kaleidoscope that her father made her on the baby's crib. The kaleidoscope is like a family heirloom - first given to TongXue, then to her little cousin, and now left to the unborn baby that Tong Xue lost. This baby room and the kaleidoscope prove to Shaoqian that Tong Xue did not purposely abort their baby as she first claimed. She had wanted the baby as much as Shaoqian did.
Does Tong Xue love Shaoqian?
The most evident clue is the window painting of a man, woman, and a little dog looking out at sea. Tong Xue probably got inspired by Shaoqian's own painting of his father's silhouette at the beach house, and decided to do the same with the new house. Shaoqian's dog "Loveable" or maybe his new dog "Hateable" is also included to complete this "family's portrait." Oh yeah, don't forget in the painting she's wearing a dress/top in his favorite color white too.
This painting represents Tong Xue's dreamy idyllic home life. In Tong Xue's mind, Shaoqian and the little dog have become an inseparable part of her world. Not only was Shaoqian the father of her lost baby, she had lived with him for 3 years and grew accustomed to having him in her life at the end.
Yanange from spcnet also pointed out at the airport farewell scene, Tong Xue told Yueying few things about the value of love (note: this conversation was supposed to be about Yueying's boyfriend, Zhao Gaoxing, but I think it's actually about Shaoqian. Here's a rough translation by Yanange:
"Don't blame him, forgive him. He lied to you to protect you; he lied to you to stop you getting harmed. In a lifetime, finding someone who loves you is not luck, but finding someone who loves you enough to sacrifice himself for you, even if he is misunderstood but still remains determined to protect you, then it is called luck."
Tong Xue's words really ring a bell. It sounded like she was referring to herself and to Shaoqian. They both unwillingly did things, for sake of protecting the other, that caused the other to misunderstand. Mu Yongfei blackmailed Tong Xue to say hurtful things to Shaoqian in order to protect him. Shaoqian had to repeatedly scold and push Tong Xue away so Mu Yongfei would get off her back. Tong Xue finally realized why Shaoqian did what he did. It was his own way to protect her from harm's way.
As for Xiao Shan, I really think Tong Xue has already let go of him. He's only a part of her past now, and it's very unlikely she can rekindle her relationship with him after all the things that happened to her. I think a big reason why she couldn't let go of him in the first place was due to the beautiful memories she shared with him. Her life as a mistress of a married man only brought her shame and guilt, so she needed to latch on to something optimistic and beautiful to keep her going - the innocence and freedom of first love. At the airport, Tong Xue has emotionally placed Xiao Shan in the same category as Yueying. They are all a part of her youth. Even though she's leaving the country, maybe one day she may bump into him again if fate decides to let them meet. But for sure, she's not going to try to purposely dig him out to see him. For Shaoqian, I know she will try to find him again after she reads his text message.
What does the white paper crane mean?
I personally think the white paper crane represents Tong Xue's good wish of happiness/love for Shaoqian. She wants him to overcome his internal struggles, let go of his unhappy past, live freely and happily. However, some viewers still think paper cranes are only associated with Xiao Shan. Apparently, it is NOT so! Even the scriptwriter clarified on her microblog that the white crane that Tong Xue left next to the window was intended for Shaoqian. The fact that the paper crane is white (Shaoqian's favorite color) is another big indication.
Traditionally, folded paper cranes are given to people they care to wish them good fortune and happiness. In the past, Xiao Shan folded Tong Xue a paper crane to wish her happiness and to show his love for her as well. That's why Tong Xue cherishes them so fervently and Shaoqian gets mad with jealousy from seeing the box of paper cranes that Tong Xue wholeheartedly treasured. He often asks her "who did you fold the paper crane for?"
Right before Tong Xue entered Shaoqian's bathroom in the infamous bathtub scene, Shaoqian was holding an orange paper crane in his hand. I think he was trying to fold some paper cranes since there was pile of paper lying on the side. Bascially, he was trying to demonstrate to himself or maybe to Tong Xue that "I can give you what Xiao Shan gave you." After all these clues, we can deduce that Tong Xue finally folded a white paper crane for Shaoqian to tell him that "I'm now folding this paper crane in your favorite color white just for you, not Xiao Shan."