Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 12)

Xuan Ji, Ling Long, and Si Feng go to the Xuanyuan sect, where they have a strange encounter with the sect’s elders. Yi Huan shares with Si Feng some newfound knowledge about the mask, giving him a glimmer of hope. Xuan Ji learns more about what it means to like someone.


Recap

Si Feng destroys Yu Er’s runestone so that she’s free again. She immediately turns and runs away. Yi Huan chases after her. Yu Er is upset that her father never cared about her while she was alive and now won’t leave her alone after she’s dead. Yi Huan promises that he won’t leave her side anymore.

Ling Long decides that their first course of action should be to report what happened to the Xuanyuan sect leader, Zhu Shi. She tells Si Feng and Xuan Ji to come with her and says that everyone else can wait in town for them to get back. Min Yan tries to follow her and Xuan Ji, but Si Feng holds him back, reminding him what he said earlier about being mindful of Xuan Ji’s feelings. Si Feng tells Ruo Yu and Yan Ran to watch over Min Yan and make sure he doesn’t follow them to Xuanyuan.

Ling Long flies ahead of Xuan Ji and Si Feng and ignores Xuan Ji when she calls her name. When they get to Xuanyuan, the grounds look empty and deserted. Zhu Shi doesn’t bother acknowledging them when they arrive. He’s flanked by two dark-hooded men. The two other elders say they’ll take care of the matter with Ling Shi. Si Feng is ready to leave, but the elders suggest they should stay for a meal before heading out. Zhu Shi finally speaks, asking how many are in their group. Si Feng says six, then lies and says that if they don’t return, they’ll go back to their sects and report them missing.

The elders switch course and decide to let the three disciples leave. Before they do, Zhu Shi tells them to wait and asks them to deliver a gift to the Fuyu sect leader’s wife. He holds out a box, which Xuan Ji takes. One of the elders makes eye contact with one of the hooded men, then says he needs to inspect the box. Zhu Shi tenses. The elder opens the box, revealing a colorful stone, then hands it back to Xuan Ji.

Ling Long asks Si Feng why he lied to the Xuanyuan elders about the others waiting for them. Si Feng responds that he felt weird vibes in the room, so he improvised. But maybe he was overthinking.

Back inside, the two hooded men hold swords to Zhu Shi’s throat, unhappy that he went off-script and decided to randomly send a gift. The two other Xuanyuan elders plead for them to spare Zhu Shi. The one who inspected the box says he saw nothing amiss. Zhu Shi says he would rather die than have his sect be controlled by demons. The elders plead with the demons for more time to convince Zhu Shi to produce the spirit key. The demons remind them that they only have three more days, then leave.

Zhu Shi waits until they’re gone, then coughs, spitting up blood. He’s been poisoned and can’t hold on much longer. The elders plead for him cooperate — they already lost so many disciples; does he want to see them all perish? But Zhu Shi stubbornly says that Xuanyuan already made one mistake. He won’t let them make another.

Yan Ran and Min Yan wait in silence for the others to return. When Ling Long gets back, Min Yan tries to talk to her, but she claims she’s tired. He follows her, and Xuan Ji follows after them. Si Feng tries to follow too, but Yan Ran blocks his way. They go back to his room, where she pleads for him to go back to Lize Palace. Being with Xuan Ji will kill him. Si Feng warns her not to say anything to Xuan Ji. Staying holed up in Lize Palace for the rest of his life is no way to live.

Si Feng reminds Yan Ran that he let her take on a human form and pretend to be a Dianjing disciple so that they could experience the world together, not so she could meddle in his affairs. They’re connected — she should understand how happy he is right now. She should know how he felt when he first put on the mask: he thought he would never be happy again and thought the mask would control him for the rest of his life. But now, no matter what happens, everything he does is his choice. Whatever happens, he will bear the consequences and have no regrets.

Yi Huan suddenly shows up, saying that they shouldn’t sound so tragic about it. Yan Ran immediately puts a knife to his throat. Si Feng disapproves of Yi Huan’s habit of eavesdropping on people, but Yi Huan responds that if not for his eavesdropping, Si Feng wouldn’t know of a way out of his mask. He reveals that when he sneaked into Si Feng’s rooms at Lize Palace the other day, he also happened to overhear a conversation between the Palace leader and Yuan Lang. It turns out there’s a secret scroll inside a secret room in Lize Palace. The scroll describes a way to lift the lovers’ curse.

Yan Ran is ready to do whatever it takes to lift Si Feng’s curse, but Yi Huan tells her that only Xuan Ji can do it. If Xuan Ji whole-heartedly reciprocates Si Feng’s love for her, she can remove his mask.

Si Feng thanks Yi Huan for finding a solution for him, but says that they all know Xuan Ji’s heart already belongs to someone else. The mask is his burden to bear alone. He can’t force her.

Yi Huan tells Si Feng to trust him when it comes to women. He can believes that Si Feng can do it. He’s seen that Xuan Ji doesn’t even know what love is yet. Winning her over won’t be as difficult as he thinks.

Xuan Ji thinks about what Min Yan said to Ling Long earlier in the day and knocks her head against a doorframe. Earlier, over dinner, she had asked Yi Huan what he meant when he said that Min Yan and Ling Long fought because of her. Yi Huan told her that it was obvious the two liked each other, and was astounded when Xuan Ji didn’t understand why Min Yan also liking her would be a problem. He tried several different ways of explaining the different types of “like” and how some things that are like can be shared, but there’s always that one person who will make you give up everything else you like. For example, if she were to be stuck on a deserted island for the rest of her life, would she ditch Ling Long and take Min Yan with her? Xuan Ji had shaken her head. Now, Xuan Ji realizes that the way Ling Long and Min Yan treat each other is different than the way they treat everyone else. Did she get it wrong?

The next day, Yi Huan tries to coach Si Feng on how to court Xuan Ji while they eat, but Si Feng is uncooperative, so Yi Huan decides to act on his behalf. Xuan Ji asks Ling Long and Min Yan what happened last night. Min Yan tries to put some food in Ling Long’s bowl. She turns away. He stands up, exasperated, and says he can’t do it anymore. He wants to make things clear in front of everyone today: he likes Ling Long.

Ling Long threatens to kill him again, but he doesn’t care. He’s willing to say it to anyone. Xuan Ji intervenes, admitting that her feelings for Min Yan were all a misunderstanding. She didn’t realize it until yesterday, but the only reason she thought she liked Min Yan was because at the time, she had just gotten out of Mingxia Cave and remembered how she couldn’t wait to see him everyday and eat food. Then she realized that she just wanted the food. It wasn’t the same as the feelings that exist between Ling Long and Min Yan. Yi Huan smiles slyly at Si Feng, who looks hopeful.

Xuan Ji presses Min Yan’s family dagger into Ling Long’s hands, saying she’s returning it to its rightful owner, then forces Min Yan and Ling Long to sit back down and eat. She returns to her seat. Si Feng finally puts some food into her bowl with a smile.

But Ling Long suddenly remembers how they found Min Yan and Xuan Ji in a compromising position the other night and accuses Min Yan of still trying to take advantage of her sister. Xuan Ji rushes to calm her down and tells her the truth about the secret they were hiding from her.

Min Yan asks if Ling Long will forgive him now. Ling Long doesn’t let him off that easily and is still offended that he didn’t tell her — it’s not like she would’ve hurt Xuan Ji or told anyone else. Min Yan grovels some more and says that he always intended to give the dagger to her — he even etched her name onto the hilt. He’s always wanted the same person to be his wife. Ling Long throws the dagger back at him and says that she won’t accept it that easily, then storms off. He chases after her. Xuan Ji tries to follow, but Yi Huan stops her, explaining that they’re flirting.

Yi Huan tries to tell her, in a very roundabout way, that there’s someone else who is very suited for her. Sometimes the grass is greener on your own side; all you have to do is turn around and look. They turn around, but Si Feng and Yan Ran have disappeared and instead, Ruo Yu is there holding a plate of food. Yi Huan facepalms and tells Xuan Ji to pretend he didn’t say anything. Xuan Ji didn’t seem to get it anyway.

Si Feng knows that Yan Ran was responsible for creating the questionable situation with Min Yan and Xuan Ji the other day. She tries to explain herself, but he warns her to be on her best behavior, otherwise he’ll make her return to her original form.

Yi Huan finds Si Feng and tries to coach him again on ways to make moves on Xuan Ji. Si Feng is unreceptive and unamused, and Yi Huan eventually gives up. He tosses Si Feng a pouch before he leaves, saying, “Don’t say I never helped you.”

Xuan Ji and Si Feng return to the inn after taking a long walk together. Xuan Ji knows that she can be dumb and foolish and admits that seeing the tension between Ling Long and Min Yan the past few days made her feel bad. She’s always relied on them to be there for her growing up. She suddenly starts crying, which alarms Si Feng. He tries to wipe her tears away. She suddenly smiles and sticks her tongue out at him, reminding him that she can’t actually cry. It’s just the mermaid’s tear. She admits that she faked crying because she felt like that’s what she was supposed to do. When one of the senior disciples got rejected, he ugly cried a lot.

Si Feng tells Xuan Ji that tears are precious. Even if they’re fake, she shouldn’t let them flow so freely. Xuan Ji frowns and sits down with a sigh, admitting that she feels embarrassed. She wishes she were more like everyone else.

Xuan Ji shows Si Feng her book containing the names of people who are important to her. He flips through and smiles, surprised, when he sees his own name, on the same page as Hao Chen. Xuan Ji smiles at him and says that of course he’s in the book — he’s important to her. But she doesn’t understand what it means to like someone in a way that’s unique and can’t be shared. Why can’t she like everyone in her book the same?

Si Feng smiles to himself slightly as he realizes that in Xuan Ji’s mind, friends, family, and love are all jumbled together. He tells her that these are all feelings. Eventually, she’ll learn the difference between them, but she doesn’t have to force them to be separate.

Xuan Ji frowns, thinking that she will never understand, because of her lack of senses. She doesn’t think she’s capable of that kind of feeling. She envies people who know what they’re feeling and know what they want.

Xuan Ji asks Si Feng if he still has that piece of mirror he found. He asks if she’s thinking about looking for the mirror again. She says that she wants to find all of her senses and doesn’t want to misunderstand people anymore, but she’s also afraid. She promised Hao Chen not to go looking for the mirror, and she’s afraid that her strange, uncontrollable power will hurt everyone. She asks Si Feng what he thinks she should do.

Si Feng says that if she doesn’t know her own heart, then she won’t be able to empathize with others or protect others. Hao Chen wants her to be a force for good and eliminate evil, but what’s good and evil isn’t always clear. If she’s ignorant, how will she differentiate between the two? She says that she’s afraid of her strange power, but it also only manifests when others are in danger. That means that it’s more like a secret weapon than demonic influence. With the right guidance, it can help her. Also, she has him. No matter what happens, he will protect her.

She smiles at the last part. Does that mean he isn’t leaving anymore? He points out that she already fed him the truth serum so she should know. She beams. She knew he wouldn’t leave them.

“Are you ready?” Si Feng asks. He takes out his piece of mirror and hands it to her.

Xuan Ji closes her eyes and looks troubled as she sees more visions of a battlefield. She tells Si Feng that she saw the general killing on the battlefield again. But who is she? And why is she in her mind? Si Feng tells her not to worry too much about images from the individual pieces. Once they have the whole mirror, things will be more clear.

Xuan Ji suddenly smells demon energy again, but Si Feng doesn’t sense anything. She sniffs around some more, then realizes that it’s the smell of the flower in her hand. Si Feng smiles, realizing that she’s recovered her sense of smell.

Si Feng takes Xuan Ji to a peach blossom grove, where she goes around sniffing all the flowers. Then she sniffs him, saying that he smells good in a way that’s different from flowers or food, but in a way that feels familiar. Affected by her proximity, Si Feng takes Xuan Ji by the shoulders and starts to stammer that there’s something he wants to say to her. But then she sneezes, having smelled too many things, and ruins the moment.

Later, Si Feng pays the innkeeper to teach him how to cook. Xuan Ji reads over a draft of a letter she wrote for Hao Chen. She starts to send it, then changes her mind at the last minute, deciding that she shouldn’t say anything at all, otherwise Hao Chen will guess that she wants to look for the mirror again. But Hao Chen still receives the letter and frowns when he reads Si Feng’s name.

The next morning, Xuan Ji sniffs a table heavy with food while Ling Long, Min Yan, and Ruo Yu hesitate in the doorway. Yi Huan follows his nose and shows up, then promptly sits down to eat, ignoring everyone else’s protests. Xuan Ji, Min Yan, and Ling Long follow suit, saying that whoever ate first can pay. Ruo Yu is the only one who walks away with a sigh.

“How does it taste?” Si Feng asks as he walks in holding another dish. Everyone freezes and doesn’t say anything, but then Xuan Ji beams back.


Commentary

This episode was a good one for all of our main characters as they finally come clean with one another and clear up all the misunderstandings. It’s a hopeful one, too, with Si Feng learning that there is a way out of the curse and Xuan Ji becoming so much more available. Of course, I’m sure Hao Chen will find some way to stop her from recovering more of her senses and knowledge of who she is.

Hao Chen has ulterior motives for not wanting Xuan Ji to recover all her senses, but I appreciate how much he emphasizes that there’s nothing wrong with Xuan Ji being different. She might not have traditional senses, but she has a strong sense for danger and demons and a different view of the world because of it. Si Feng suggested she recover her senses, but at the same time, he loves her regardless with or without them. He respects her autonomy and her choice, which I feel is more important.

Having all her senses may make Xuan Ji more “normal,” but I also wonder whether it will have any negative impacts on her as a person. By being able to smell all the smells, will she lose her acute ability to smell demons?

Also, Zhu Shi totally gave them the Xuanyuan spirit key, right?

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