Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 2)

Xuan Ji starts to experience strange things after leaving the secret place. She and Si Feng are both punished for their transgressions. Ling Long and Min Yan try to figure out a way to prevent Xuan Ji from being permanently banished.

Recap

Xuan Ji’s blood flies toward a pulsing red light. The broken piece of pottery she cut herself on glows with a purple light. When she picks it up, she sees flashes of images from the heavenly war. A silver-white light surrounds her and Si Feng and they’re lifted off the ground. Xuan Ji, seeming possessed, asks, “Who are you?”

Possessed Xuan Ji whisks herself and Si Feng back to the surface to escape the torch dragon. Once they land, Xuan Ji seems to come back to herself. Si Feng manages to get Yin Hua back, but realizes his mask is still in the cavern. Xuan Ji doesn’t let him go back in.

The torch dragon bursts out of the water and roars at them, but a man, Hao Chen (Lin Xue Yi), appears and uses magic to subdue the dragon and push it back into the secret place. Hao Chen ignores both Xuan Ji and Si Feng when he’s finished and instead reports to his master, Heng Yang, a white-bearded man who approaches behind them.

Xuan Ji’s father shows up with several disciples in tow. He greets Heng Yang as his senior. Heng Yang introduces Hao Chen and explains that they noticed the disturbance in the secret place’s seal as they passed by. Now, they must hurry back to Xuyang Peak so he can stabilize the seal.

Chu Lei scolds Xuan Ji and punishes her by banishing her to Mingxia Cave, where she’s to repent until she realizes her wrongs. Both Min Yan and Ling Long plead unsucessfully for Chu Lei to lighten Xuan Ji’s punishment.

Yuan Lang, the Lize Palace’s deputy leader, is summoned to deal with Si Feng. He’s furious to find that Si Feng has lost his mask and promises to punish him severely. He also asks curiously about what’s in Shaoyang’s secret place, but Chu Lei refuses to reveal his sect’s secrets.

At night, Chu Lei’s second-in-command, Lu Yang, is still concerned by how Xuan Ji was able to get into the secret place. He remembers a prophecy made by the previous sect leader: the one with no feelings will be the one to light the Liuli lamp. Could Xuan Ji be the one? She’s missing her senses and has never cried. Chu Lei is unwilling to accept the possibility.

Lu Yang reminds Chu Lei that if Xuan Ji is the one, she poses a danger to the whole sect. Perhaps they should consider keeping her permanently in Mingxia Cave until she can prove that she has feelings. Ling Long overhears the last part about permanently imprisoning Xuan Ji until she cries.

Xuan Ji contemplates the piece of broken mirror that she brought back with her. She holds it and it immediately starts glowing. She’s launched into a series of images again — the God of War fighting Mosha Star. She lets go and the images stop, but her hand still glows.

Ling Long rushes in and tells Xuan Ji that their father plans on locking her away forever. Xuan Ji doesn’t seem as scared as Ling Long thinks she should be. Ling Long tells her that if she would just cry, then their father might spare her, but Xuan Ji can’t cry.

Ling Long decides to come up with another plans. Right before Xuan Ji is about to be taken away, Ling Long presses a little bit of chili powder into her eyes, so that they turn red with irritation. Then she pushes Xuan Ji toward their father, telling him that Xuan Ji is so upset she’s crying. But their father is suspicious and discovers their deception. Xuan Ji gets taken away.

Si Feng receives a lashing as punishment for losing his mask while Yuan Lang watches with a smirk. It’s only the beginning — once he returns to Lize Palace, he’ll receive even more severe punishment. Yuan Lang wants Si Feng to be returned to Lize Palace immediately, but Ruo Yu, one of the disciples and Si Feng’s friend, points out that Si Feng has already formally registered for the upcoming contest. If he drops out, it’ll be viewed as an insult to other sects. Yuan Lang agrees to let Si Feng stay for the duration of the contest and encourages him to try to get his mask back. Maybe his punishment will be lighter if he finds it.

Later, Ruo Yu helps him secretly apply some undetectable ointment on his back. He asks if Si Feng has thought about how he will endure his upcoming punishment. It’s rumored to be so bad that past disciples have killed themselves rather than suffer more. He suggests that Si Feng should try to perform well at the “flower picking” challenge tomorrow. He heard that the mission will be to capture a gudiao. If Si Feng is the one to catch it, maybe he will earn enough glory to make up for his transgression.

At Mingxia Cave, Xuan Ji is surrounded by the moaning voices of the ghosts of past disciples trapped within its walls. She gets swept up in a swirling whirlwind of snow and unceremoniously thrown against an icy rock wall. Then she falls asleep during a brief reprieve; her hand glows while she sleeps.

Si Feng goes to the lake that leads to the secret place, but can no longer sense the magic’s flow. He wonders if he needs to find Xuan Ji again.

Chu Lei visits his deceased wife’s shrine, apologizing for not taking care of Xuan Ji as much as he should have, but saying that he has no other choice. Ling Long leads several other disciples in begging Chu Lei to let Xuan Ji go. Ying Hong, Ling Long’s aunt, interrupts them, reporting that the stone linked to the secret place is showing movement again.

Chu Lei, accompanied by Ying Hong and another sect member, He Yang, arrive at the lake to find Hao Chen working his magic on the enchantment that seals it. Hao Chen formally introduces himself to his elders. They all praise him on how skilled he has become at such a young age.

Si Feng goes to Xiaoyang Peak, where Mingxia Cave is located, and attempts to scale it, but gets forced back by lightning strikes. Finding Xuan Ji won’t be easy. He ducks behind a rock when he hears voices. It’s Ling Long, attempting to convince Min Yan to free Xuan Ji. Min Yan tells Ling Long that no one can enter Mingxia Cave without her father’s permission. One they’re gone, Si Feng notes with interest what they said about Xuan Ji not being allowed to leave until she cries. He pulls out a battered-looking book and flips it open to a page on the gudiao.

The Luohou and Jidu stars have drawn closer together. An elder tells the Tianxu leader that it seems like the primordial spirit of Luohou Jidu is nearing its star soul. He reports that they have planted men at the Flower Crown Contest, as ordered. They have also managed to capture and are in the process of interrogating a mermaid who may know how to get Juntian Cehai.

Min Yan brings food to Mingxia Cave for Xuan Ji. He finds her shaking, though she claims she can’t actually feel the cold — her body is just shaking on its own. He gives her some congee that Ling Long made for her. Xuan Ji eats and suddenly lights up — she can taste the food! But then she frowns because it tastes really bad — how does Min Yan always finish all the food Ling Long makes for him? Min Yan responds that he doesn’t want to make Ling Long sad. He has her taste the rest of the dishes he brought, which all have different flavors. Then he asks if she can cry now. She tries, but she still can’t.

Back at Shaoyang, Min Yan tells Ling Long how Xuan Ji could suddenly taste. Maybe it has to do with the secret place? Then he notices a handbook on demons under his basket. It’s the same handbook Si Feng had looked at the night before and is bookmarked on the page with the gudiao, an eagle-like creature with a horn. The horn can be made into an incense that will make whoever smells it cry. The bookmark includes a note saying that the first mission for the Flower Crown Contest will be to take down a gudiao.

Ling Long and Min Yan eavesdrop on the name-drawing ceremony for the first mission, but get caught. According to tradition, everyone at the ceremony must enter their name in the drawing. Ling Long and Min Yan eagerly agree to participate. Min Yan volunteers to write down their names, but writes down Xuan Ji’s name at the last minute instead of Ling Long’s.

Seven people get picked for the mission: Dongfang Qing Qi, the Fuyu Island sect leader drawing the names; Hong Hing; Si Feng; Ming Yan; Chu Lei; Hao Chen; and… Xuan Ji.

Min Yan tells Chu Lei that his mind blanked and he accidentally wrote Xuan Ji’s name instead of Ling Long’s. Chu Lei doesn’t believe him, but now that Xuan Ji’s name has been drawn, he can’t forbid her from going, otherwise it would break tradition. Even Hao Chen speaks up, suggesting that Xuan Ji should be allowed out of Mingxia Cave for the mission.

Ling Long and Min Yan free Xuan Ji from Mingxia Cave. Ling Long tells Xuan Ji about their plan to catch the gudiao so she can cry and be permanently freed from the cave.

Yuan Lang reminds Si Feng the reasons why Lize Palace disciples are forbidden from removing their masks: one is to prevent strangers from trying to get close to them. The second is to keep them focused on their goals and prevent them from getting distracted by personal relationships. He warns Si Feng not to lose his heart in addition to his mask.

Si Feng finds Xuan Ji napping in a grove again. He’s lost his stutter — when she asks about it, he responds that he’s smart. She notices a freckle under his eye, often called a “tear mole,” and asks if he cries a lot. He responds that he’s never cried. Si Feng wants Xuan Ji to open the secret place for him. When she refuses, he picks her up and carries her to the lake. She claims that she can’t open it if forced. He offers to get the gudiao horn for her in exchange for being let into the secret place. He’ll make sure that her father never finds out. She agrees, sealing the deal with a pinky promise and some spit. He quickly pulls away, appalled at the close contact.

The morning of the mission, Min Yan tries to act chummy with Si Feng, but Si Feng barely acknowledges him. Xuan Ji asks to fly with Min Yan, but he feigns a stomachache and runs off. She asks Si Feng next — she doesn’t want to fly with her father because he’ll go too fast, she’ll fall off, and he’ll get mad at her. But Si Feng says he flies fast, too, and that men and women shouldn’t touch. Chu Lei comes by and tells Xuan Ji to ride with him. She looks reluctant and Hao Chen offers to take her instead, saying that he’ll ride slow.

Min Yan secretly meets up with Ling Long. He agreed to sneak her out of Shaoyang, but warns her that her father must not find out.

Xuan Ji marvels at the world below her as she flies on Hao Chen’s sword. He smiles at her wonder, then asks if she’s enjoying herself. She laments that she’s too dumb to learn how to fly by herself, then tells him that he can go faster. He tells her to hold on and they zoom off.


Commentary

More set up! It’s still too early for me to have real opinions yet, since we’re still being introduced to the story and characters. It seems pretty clear from this episode that there’s a love triangle being set up with Si Feng, Xuan Ji, and Hao Chen, and having them all on a monster-fighting mission seems like it’ll provide ample drama, especially since Si Feng and Hao Chen seem like they could be rivals in love and war. I also like how obvious it is that Min Yan adores Ling Long. It’s adorable.

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