Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 4)

The four friends save Ting Nu, seems to know more about Xuan Ji than she knows about herself. Si Feng learns what friendship is. The tournament starts.


Recap

Si Feng and Min Yan try to fight off the demons while the Tianxu crony grabs hold of Ling Long with his dark magic and starts strangling her, trying to force her to reveal herself. Xuan Ji tries to intervene, but he pins her to a column.

Ling Long starts choking. Xuan Ji watches, distressed. Her eyes flash blue and her hand glows. The demon gets distracted by a blue spirit sword flying toward him. He releases Ling Long and Xuan Ji as he tries to defend himself against Hao Chen, who has appeared.

Hao Chen manages to chase off the lead demon while Ying Hong appears and helps Min Yan fight off the others. When they regroup, Ting Nu is gone. Si Feng claims that the merman was taken by the demons and gets admonished for dragging Min Yan into his ill-advised rescue mission.

Hao Chen and Ying Hong leave to see if they can track the demons. Si Feng shows the others to where he hid Ting Nu, hidden behind a glamour.

They bring Ting Nu to the closest water source they can find. Xuan Ji offers him her medicine, but he just smiles at her and doesn’t accept it. She looks at him, confused. Do they know each other? “Not in this world,” he responds, “But now we do.”

Ting Nu tells them that the demon clan has gathered the Tianxu Hall sect and is in search of the spirit keys. They don’t know what he means, but he tells them that their elders will understand. He uses the water to heal himself, then gathers enough strength to dive in. When he resurfaces, completely healed, he cries a single tear — which turns into a pearl — and gives it to Si Feng. Si Feng explains that a little-known fact about mermaids’ tears is that it can make a person cry when held under the tongue.

He hands it to Xuan Ji and tells her to give it a try. She puts the pearl in her mouth and sure enough, she starts crying.

Ting Nu tells Xuan Ji that if she wants to recover the rest of her six senses and be able to cry for real, she should look for the broken pieces of the Wanjie Bahuang Mirror (something like Eternal World Mirror? I’m just going to call it the mirror.) The mirror belonged to Xiwangmu (Queen Mother of the West) and allowed her to see the whole world. If Xuan Ji collects all the pieces, she’ll recover all her senses and be able to know who she really is.

Xuan Ji says that she knows who she is: she’s Chu Xuan Ji. Ting Nu responds that she is her, but not completely her. Maybe it’s best if she never knows, but only fate will tell. He wishes her luck and says that he hopes they’ll meet again, then swims off.

Min Yan wonders if Ting Nu will be able to swim out to sea from here, then comments that he’s never seen the sea. They know that Lize Palace is by the sea, and Ling Long says that next time they can go visit Lize Palace to find Si Feng. Si Feng tells them that women aren’t allowed in Lize Palace. Once disciples enter the sect, they’re forbidden from marrying.

Now Min Yan gets why all the Palace disciples wear masks. But now that Si Feng has lost his mask, does that mean he needs to marry whoever has seen him? Si Feng responds that there is no such custom, but it does make him feel like he owes them something. Xuan Ji says that friendship is about the relationship, not about owing each other. Si Feng has never thought about friendship before.

Min Yan suggests that maybe Si Feng should join the Shaoyang sect instead. Then he doesn’t have to deal with all of Lize’s strange customs and they can all hang out and secretly drink together. Min Yan summons a specialty wine from the local area and suggests they should drink it together to celebrate their lifelong friendship. Min Yan promises to help Xuan Ji find the pieces of the mirror so she can be fully herself.

The Tianxu Hall leader is displeased to find out that Ling Long is not the person they were looking for. He blames his crony for messing up sixteen years ago so that they lost track of which bodies the God of War and Mosha Star entered. The crony promises to focus on retrieving the spirit keys, freeing the Left Hand, getting Juntian Cehai, and ensuring that the leader will once again rule all three worlds.

Ling Long comments on how Si Feng and Xuan Ji are fated with their matching birthdays, unlike her. She and Xuan Ji are technically twins, but because Xuan Ji waited so long to be born, they were born on different days.

Xuan Ji’s stomach growls so the boys go off to catch some fish. Ling Long notices that Xuan Ji still has her old notebook, the one their mother used to teach them how to write. They’re supposed to write the names of the people most important to them in the book. Ling Long flips through, but the list of names is short: their parents and her. Xuan Ji doesn’t know who else to write. Ling Long suggests she could write the name of someone she likes. She starts describing what she means by “like” — always thinking of someone and wanting to share secrets with them — and trails off as stares out at the river where Min Yan and Si Feng are catching fish.

Xuan Ji asks if Ling Long has someone she likes. Ling Long gets flustered and hurries off to go help the boys with the fish. Xuan Ji lingers behind and reflects on what Ling Long said. If seeing someone and sharing secrets with them constitutes liking, then doesn’t she like Min Yan? She writes down his name in her book.

Min Yan comes over to give her a gift. He bought the same thing for her and Ling Long, but Ling Long doesn’t seem to like it, so he’s giving her both. He sighs that he can’t seem to figure out what Ling Long likes; maybe it’s because he’s unlikable? Xuan Ji smiles at him and says that’s not true — she likes him! He’s the person she likes. He blushes but laughs it off. Ling Long calls him over to help cook the fish.

Si Feng goes over to Xuan Ji and asks what’s in her hand. She tells him that Min Yan gave her a gift and beams at the fabric flowers. She asks him what color they are, if they smell good, and if they’re pretty. He responds that they’re ugly. She changes the subject and tells him that she came up with a plan for getting his mask back. He tells her that it’s okay if he doesn’t get his mask back. She looks uncertain about it, but he smiles at her reassuringly.

The group returns to Shaoyang. Xuan Ji and Ling Long greet their father with lowered eyes. He looks displeased to see that Xuan Ji has come back instead of going back to Mingxia Cave. But then Xuan Ji starts crying and apologizes for her errant ways; she’ll do better from now on. Ying Hong and Chu Lei smile at each other to see her cry, and Chu Lei forgives her. Hao Chen chuckles to himself.

Xuan Ji runs into Hao Chen on her way back to her room. He knows that she cried using a mermaid’s tear, but promises to keep it a secret. He asks her if she’s actually interested in cultivation like she said to her father. Xuan Ji acknowledges that she used to not understand why cultivation was important, but after what she saw in the mountains, she understands now. Hao Chen says that Xuan Ji is just as talented as anyone else. If she had the chance to learn high-level skills, would she take it? Xuan Ji points out that she doesn’t even have the ability to formally enter the Flower Crown Contest yet — wouldn’t she be getting ahead of herself? Hao Chen tells her to think about it.

After Hao Chen leaves, Xuan Ji decides that she should still retrieve Si Feng’s mask for him. She promised. She shows up at the lake at the same time that Si Feng does. He’s surprised to see her. She tells him her plan to get in without waking the dragon and pulls out the teleporting artifact Hao Chen gave her. The object only works with one person, but Xuan Ji tells him that they can just be one person. She throws her arms around his neck.

Si Feng tries to pull away, but Xuan Ji tells him not to move — she needs to use the teleporter. The next moment, they’re back in the cavern. Si Feng quickly puts some distance between them.

They spot the mask, but before Si Feng can grab it, the torch dragon appears and crushes the mask under its talons. Si Feng manages to snag one half of it before the dragon attacks. Xuan Ji grabs Si Feng and then they teleport into a bamboo grove. The teleporter vanishes when Xuan Ji opens her hand.

Xuan Ji tells Si Feng they can go back for the other half of the mask tomorrow, but he tells her not to worry about it. At this point, fate seems to have decided that it’s not meant to be. He starts to leave, saying he should go meet up with his teacher, but then the Lize Palace sect leader appears in the grove, trailed by Hao Chen and other members of the sect.

The Lize leader is displeased with Si Feng and reminds him of the punishment awaiting him before knocking him to the ground with a wave of his hand. Xuan Ji hurries to lift Si Feng up, then stands in front of him to defend him against his sect leader. She says that she was the one who took of Si Feng’s mask — if anyone is going to be punished, it should be her. Hao Chen warns her not to intervene and tries to apologize to the Lize leader, but Xuan Ji ignores him. She doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong and is just standing up for her friend. She asks if the Lize leader values Si Feng’s mask more, or his life.

The Lize leader mockingly applauds her loyalty and ask if Si Feng has been making new friends during his time in the outside world. Si Feng says yes. Now he understands what deep friendship means. His teacher is incredulous. Si Feng’s hands shake, but Xuan Ji continues shielding him with her body and lifts her chin. Hao Chen tries to defuse the situation by pointing out that the Lize leader has a meeting to go to and shouldn’t be late.

After they leave, Xuan Ji helps Si Feng to his feet and worriedly checks if he’s okay. He asks her what she was thinking stepping in between him and his teacher. Xuan Ji wasn’t worried about herself — she just didn’t want Si Feng to be treated unjustly. She asks if his teacher is actually going to punish him. He stares into her eyes for a moment, then quickly looks away and claims that he’ll be fine. She has nothing to worry about.

Chu Lei gathers the other sect leaders and shows them some iron chains that were discovered with the monsters they hunted on the mountain. The chains allowed the monsters to be controlled by an external force. He also reveals that they received an anonymous letter naming the demon clan as the ones behind the monsters. The demon clan was being gathered by a group known as the Tianxu Hall. Both the Lize Palace leader and Xuanyuan representative think that the demons aren’t a big deal. After all, they were defeated in the last great war thousands of years ago.

Chu Lei has reason to believe that the demons are after the spirit keys. The Xuanyuan representative says he’s never heard of a spirit key. The Dianjing leader thinks it’s best not to mention them. The Xuanyuan leader suggests that Chu Lei should focus on the competition.

Xuan Ji finds Si Feng kneeling in front of his teacher’s rooms. She’s worried that he’s being punished and says that she’ll go speak to his master on her behalf. She’s not worried about getting hurt — she can’t feel pain anyway. Si Feng suddenly pulls her into his chest, shielding her from view as some Lize Palace disciples walk by, gossiping about how bold Si Feng must be to break the rules the moment he came to the outside world.

Once they’re gone, Si Feng tells Xuan Ji that he chose to kneel here in an attempt to mollify his master. She pulls out some dried fruit and feeds him a bite; if he tastes something sweet, it’ll lessen his pain. He tells her to leave before someone sees her, then smiles as he takes a few more bites.

The Xuanyuan leader resents Chu Lei ordering the five sects around just because he’s organizing the competition. He’s determined that Xuanyuan will win the tournament this time.

The Lize Palace leader returns and summons Si Feng into his room. Yuan Lang eavesdrops at the door. Si Feng says he’ll accept his punishment, but his master is frustrated because he’s been put in a tough position. Si Feng is the most talented disciple the sect has seen in years. His master is worried that he won’t be able to endure the punishment and doesn’t want him throwing away his future prospects.

The Palace leader tells Si Feng that he must win first place at this contest. If Si Feng wins, then his master might be able to protect him when it comes time for the Lize Palace elders to cross-examine him and hand down his punishment. Si Feng looks surprised. His teacher warns him that he can’t mess up again. Next time, he won’t be let off so easily.

Yuan Lang acts like he wasn’t listening as Si Feng exits the Palace leader’s room, but he doesn’t look satisfied with what he heard.

Min Yan boasts about his encounter with the gudiao to some younger Shaoyang disciples while Ling Long and Xuan Ji listen and giggle. Xuan Ji asks Ling Long how Si Feng and Min Yan’s skills compare. Si Feng is way out of Min Yan’s league. Then she asks how Ling Long’s skills compare. Ling Long ranks herself pretty high.

Wu Tong overhears this and mocks her as he walks down the stairs, followed by some of his fellow disciples from Dianjing. Ling Long seems ready to attack him, but Xuan Ji holds her back.

The five sects — Shaoyang, Dianjing, Xuanyuan, Lize, and Fuyu — assemble for the opening ceremony of the competition. Xuanyuan notably has half the number of disciples as the other sects. Ling Long tells Xuan Ji that Xuanyuan used to be the most powerful sect, but no longer. Their sect leader didn’t even bother to show up to the tournament. Chu Lei gives a brief opening speech — making sure to note that intentional harm is strictly forbidden — then starts the competition.

Si Feng faces Tu Ran of the Fuyu Island sect in his first round. Tu Ran is a skilled, older opponent who has devoted time to learning how to use a lightning sword. But Si Feng defeats him easily, barely breaking a sweat.

Xuan Ji, Ling Long, and Min Yan all cheer loudly for him. Ling Long jokes that if Min Yan ever gets matched up against Si Feng, he should just surrender and not even bother fighting.

Wu Tong is up next against an opponent from Xuanyuan. He establishes himself as a skilled fighter, but also a brutal one. He destroys his opponent’s magic weapon en route to winning.


Commentary

Xuan Ji is so earnest and lovable with such a pure, simple way of approaching the world that I don’t really need another reason to watch. But I also love competition and rivalries and we’re getting a good amount of that, too.

I was a bit surprised that Si Feng so readily acknowledged his friendship with Xuan Ji in front of his master, but it’s also a testament to the loyalty that Xuan Ji inspires with her own loyalty. She may not have all of her usual senses, but she has a strong sense of justice and what’s right and wrong, which is arguably more important. Perhaps her lack of other senses means that she doesn’t get distracted from her principles.

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