Netflix’s Chinese-language drama ‘Light the Night’ follows the trials and tribulations of the hostesses working at Tiaotong’s Light Bar. The period drama series, directed by Yi-chi Lien, primarily revolves around the friendship between mama-sans Rose and Sue. After messy romantic encounters, rampant blackmailing, and a horrifying murder, we begin to see the complex natures and motives of the hostesses and their lovers.
The murder mystery drama dives deep into Taipei City’s Japanese nightlife culture. As the show progresses and we shift between the past and the present, Light Bar emerges as a site of passion, friendship, and crime. The shocking reveal of the victim’s identity in the finale certainly makes our heads spin and posits the other characters in an ominous light. Here’s everything you need to know about ‘Light the Night’ season 1 recap and ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Light the Night Season 1 Recap
The first season opens with a group of teenagers hiking in a mountainous forest region and coming across a dead woman wearing red heels. Wen-cheng, a cop, leads the investigation. In the past, we see Rose rescuing Sue from a horrible breakup date with He Yu-en. Rose lets it be known that her boyfriend, a writer named Chiang-han, is ignoring her calls.
At Light Bar, we see the hostesses entertaining customers with drinks and conversations. Ah-chi, jealous of Mr. Nakamura’s affection for Sue, invites herself to his golfing trip. Then, we see some goons harassing Ah-chi outside the club, demanding their money. Eventually, Rose confronts Chiang-han about his silence and he admits that he doesn’t love her anymore. Later, Chiang-han visits Sue and asks her to give Rose the money he owes her.
As the season progresses, we see snippets of the murder investigation even though the deceased’s identity is not revealed. Sue informs Rose about Chiang-han’s money, and although she initially turns it down she eventually decides, in anger, to spend it. Later, Rose, leaving her teenage son Tzu-wei behind, goes to her family’s place for her father’s birthday. Immediately, it becomes obvious that her family does not respect her due to her profession. At the golfing event, Mr. Nakamura reveals that he is moving back to Japan.
The police search Light Bar for drugs but do not find any. We, however, see Yuri hiding the drugs in a used sanitary napkin. Later, Yu-en comes to Light Bar and threatens Sue, revealing that is he aware of her relationship with Chiang-han. Later, a smitten Aiko takes Yu-en home. However, in his intoxicated state, he chokes Aiko, mistaking her to be Sue, and reveals that Sue is dating Chiang-han behind Rose’s back. In a flashback, we see Chiang-han seducing Sue by bringing up their romantic history.
We find out that Yu-en and Aiko go to the same college. However, whilst Aiko is obsessed with Yu-en, the latter only has eyes for Sue. In a flashforward, the police discover that the killer dragged the body uphill before carrying it on their back. Rose’s husband, Shao-chiang, reenters her life by interacting with Tzu-wei. Later, he gets into a car accident and asks Rose to pay his fine.
Yuri regularly meets her boyfriend Henry, a drug dealer, near the club. For her birthday party, Rose gets all the hostesses the same red heels for a guessing game with the customers. We see how Chien-ta initially suspects Hana of dealing drugs but finds out instead that she good-naturedly distributes birth control injections to sex workers. Due to Mr. Nakamura, Ah-chi and Sue become hostile towards each other. Meanwhile, Aiko convinces Yu-en to take revenge on Sue. Chien-ta, who likes Hana, finds out that she spent time in prison for stabbing her abusive boyfriend in self-defense.
Later, at Light Bar, a group of men sexually harass Hana, aware of her past as a sex worker. Chien-ta protects Hana and Rose takes her home. Flashbacks show us how Sue helped Rose get back on her feet after prison by starting Light Bar. Then, right before her birthday party, Rose finds pictures of Sue and Chiang-han being intimate during a date. The party is a disaster due to Rose’s distressed mood. Yu-en shows up and berates Aiko for stealing the pictures he took of Sue and Chiang-han. After the party, Sue and Chiang-han go to a hotel to have sex. Later, Yu-en meets Sue and tells her about Aiko’s revenge plan. Finally, Rose and Sue talk about Chiang-han. Although Sue reveals that she started dating Chiang-han after he broke up with Rose, her best friend is unable to forgive her.
Chien-ta witnesses Hana being kidnapped and pulled into a car. Hana realizes that she is being violated by the same men who abused her at the club the other day. Afterward, she is thrown out of the car in the rain. Sue and Rose rush to the hospital where Hana is admitted. Later, Rose takes Hana home. The cops find and arrest Hana’s rapists.
Then, Sue confronts Aiko about the pictures. Wen-cheng and Rose grow close and Mr. Nakamura asks Sue to accompany him to Japan. Sue confronts Yuri about her illegal dealings after the latter realizes that her drugs are missing. Chiang-han breaks up with Sue, telling her that she’s just like other women — jealous, possessive, and desperate for affection. Before leaving, he tells her that he chooses Rose over her. Sue then slashes her wrists but is rushed to the hospital by Tzu-wei; she survives.
Light the Night Season 1 Ending: Who Killed Sue?
Rose goes to Hana’s hometown to bring her back to work. Afterward, Aiko’s mother discovers her profession and creates a scene at the club. Then, a vengeful Aiko breaks into Sue’s house and approaches her with a flower clipper, before being interrupted by Mr. Nakamura. Later, Ah-chi drugs Mr. Nakamura and seduces him but finds out about his plans to move with Sue. Rose again encounters her husband at a family gathering; he is still refusing to let her divorce him. Yuri and Henry break into the nightclub to look for drugs and steal some money. Later, we see Sue talking to a man in prison.
On Sue’s last day at work, Mr. Nakamura proposes to her and she accepts, much to Ah-chi’s horror. In a flashforward, an autopsy report states that the deceased died after being hit on the back of the head. Rose comes to the mortuary and breaks down crying when she sees that the dead body is Sue’s. The big mystery, clearly, is who killed Sue and why. Almost all the hostesses, and some of their lovers, are possible suspects. Aiko, obsessed with Yu-en, might have killed Sue for breaking his heart and leaking her club photos to her mother. Additionally, Aiko goes missing after Sue’s last workday. Yu-en might have assisted in the killing as he cannot tolerate the sight of Sue being with anyone else. However, he has shown compassion in the past and an aversion to extremely immoral acts.
Yuri and her boyfriend Henry might also be Sue’s killers as the mama-san confronted Yuri about her drug dealings, confiscated her stash, and effectively immobilized Henry’s business. Ah-chi is another strong suspect since she is hostile towards Sue for stealing Mr. Nakamura. We are also aware that she is deeply in debt and buys lottery tickets to cope with her situation. Despite being the oldest, Ah-chi possesses no skills other than hostessing and cannot make a living outside of Light Bar. Thus, motivated by heartbreak, jealousy, and poverty, she might have done away with Sue. In fact, she once tells Sue, “I want to kill you.”
Although it is horrifying to think that Rose might have killed Sue, it is possible. The lifelong friendship between the two mama-sans is jeopardized due to Chiang-han. Additionally, Rose still loves Chiang-han and is aware that he chooses her over Sue. Chiang-han, who is misogynistic and fond of strong emotions, might have helped her commit the crime. However, Rose’s traumatized reaction to Sue’s body makes her being the murderer less likely. On the other hand, the mystery man Sue visits in prison can also be a suspect. He thanks Sue for saving his life but seems mildly upset when she talks about her Japan plans. Could he be a friend, ex-lover, or family member? Whoever he is, it is possible that he kills her, after being released, for deciding to move to Japan with another man. The fact that Sue’s body is carried uphill indicates that someone strong hid the body.
Why Does Sue Accept Mr. Nakamura’s Marriage Proposal?
Sue accepts Mr. Nakamura’s proposal after deciding to leave Light Bar due to her predicament with Rose and Chiang-han. Sue does not trust men as they constantly hurt her emotionally but she is smart about using them for her financial and physical safety. After Chiang-han’s betrayal, Sue is desperate to leave her sorrowful life behind and Mr. Nakamura’s proposal offers her an escape to Japan. Additionally, he is a polite person who will not mistreat her, allowing her to have her own space. Plus, Chiang-han’s rejection of her makes her insecure and desirous of being accepted and loved by another man.
Why Did Rose Go to Jail? Why Does Rose Want to Divorce Shao-chiang?
Halfway through the season, we find out that Sue and Rose opened Light Bar after Rose was released from jail. In fact, Rose became friends with Hana in prison as well. When Rose goes to meet her family, her sister states, “You went to prison for him [Shao-chiang].” Thus, it’s obvious that Rose took on her husband’s burdens and faced their legal brunt. We also know that she wants to divorce him for this very reason. Shao-chiang does not wish to divorce her, wanting a chance to make up to her and his son, Tzu-wei, for his bad behavior in the past. Considering that he even offers to give Rose enough money to last a lifetime, it seems as though Rose went to jail for some sort of financial fraud. Shao-chiang is now rich and works for a large company that imports tech parts, home items, and sporting goods. He even buys gifts for Rose’s family out of guilt, making us think that his money was somehow involved in Rose’s conviction.
Read More: Is Light the Night Based on a True Story?