Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 16)

Xuan Ji and Si Feng discover that the wooden stick in their cave is more than what it seems. Their attempts to break the enchantment on their hiding place creates a ripple effect that reaches the heavenly realm…


Recap

Si Feng stares at the mask, hands shaking. Why is it like this? He looks at his arm — the green feather mark is still there. Xuan Ji asks if he’s okay. He forces a smile and says that it’s fine. What matters is that the mask is off. It doesn’t matter whether it’s smiling or crying.

Xuan Ji shows Si Feng the stick in the ground. He identifies it as the center of the enchantment and uses the power in the mask to try and break the spell. But his attacks are unsuccessful and he ends up getting struck by lightning and starts coughing blood. Xuan Ji can’t bear to see him suffer, so she goes to grab the stick.

Si Feng’s attacks combine with the lightning strikes to create a swirling ball of energy around Xuan Ji and the stick. She pulls and manages to pull the stick — a wooden staff — free of the ground. Dark blue lightning and smoke surround her as she holds the staff. Si Feng tells her to drop it and tries to break its hold on her, but his attacks reflect back at him and he chokes more blood.

A deep voice shames Xuan Ji for being brash and unrepentant. Xuan Ji closes her eyes and is engulfed in another vision. She stands on a pedestal, shackled with chains of lightning held down by immortal soldiers. She declares that she did nothing wrong — they’re the ones who are wrong — and struggles, knocking out many of the soldiers around her. She strains toward the sky, yelling for Dingkun.

Xuan Ji opens her eyes, which crackle with blue lightning. She starts levitating off the ground, swirling with her dark blue energy, and throws the staff against a wall. The wood surrounding it breaks off, revealing a sword. She yells “Dingkun!” again and lifts her hand to the sky. Lightning strikes.

The boom is so loud that Yan Ran and Ruo Yu see and hear it. Yan Ran immediately senses that Si Feng is involved and picks up her pace.

The skies rapidly start to clear as a celestial sword lands on the ground between Si Feng and Xuan Ji, still crackling with lightning. Xuan Ji closes her eyes and faints. Si Feng catches her.

Teng She’s token lights up with a steady glow. He smiles. The enchantment binding Dingkun has been broken? He’s finally found the God of War. He returns to the exit being guarded by the immortal soldiers and shows them the token.

Elsewhere in the heavenly realm, a blue crystal glows and swirls with light.

Xuan Ji wakes up in Si Feng’s arms with no memory of what happened. Si Feng points out the celestial sword. She recognizes it from her visions and remembers its name: Dingkun. When she says its name, it immediately attaches itself to her.

Xuan Ji tells Si Feng about how she has visions of a general on a battlefield whenever she holds a piece of the mirror. But this time, she saw her face, and she looked exactly like her. Who is she? Why do they look alike? When she held the sword, it felt familiar. Everything the general went through feels familiar, too.

Si Feng hugs Xuan Ji and tells her that no matter what, she’s still Chu Xuan Ji. But Xuan Ji isn’t sure. She recalls what Ting Nu told her: she is herself, but she also is not herself.

Si Feng suggests that maybe what she’s seeing is who she was in her past life. Once they find all the pieces of the mirror, it will become clear.

Yan Ran and Ruo Yu find them and are surprised to see Si Feng without his mask. Ruo Yu congratulates Si Feng. Xuan Ji is confused — is that a Lize custom, to congratulate someone when their mask is removed? She congratulates Ruo Yu, because his mask is also off. He starts to explain that Si Feng’s mask is different, but Si Feng interrupts, saying they should leave this place.

Out in the woods, Si Feng tells Xuan Ji to go ahead and scout if there are any demons nearby. Once she’s gone, Ruo Yu tells Si Feng that he plans on going back to Lize Palace immediately to accept his punishment for losing his mask. He departs.

Si Feng tells Yan Ran to go infiltrate Tianxu Hall and figure out where the mirror is. She doesn’t want to go, having guessed that Si Feng is hiding something, and is proven right when she sees the curse mark still on his wrist. Si Feng tells her that he isn’t sure what happened, but thinks it might be because of Xuan Ji’s lack of senses. His quest to find all the pieces of the mirror is for himself, too. Yan Ran hates that the person causing Si Feng the most harm is also the only one who can save him, but has no choice but to listen to Si Feng’s orders.

Si Ming reports to Bai Lin — who is actually Hao Chen — down in the mortal world. He tells Hao Chen that no one has discovered that he’s left the heavenly realm yet. Then he reports that “she” has once again evaded Hao Chen’s attempts to control her and unlocked the enchantment around Dingkun.

They teleport to the place where Dingkun was hidden and find only a hole in the rock. Si Ming starts waxing poetic about how Hao Chen had personally brought up the God of War. If they became a couple, they would be the envy of everyone else; it’s a shame that they never had feelings for each other. Hao Chen recalls the God of War’s rise from the day she first woke as a new immortal to the day she reported back to him after winning the war against the demons.

The sky suddenly glows above them, and Si Ming whisks himself and Hao Chen away, right before a ball of fire lands in the cave and turns into Teng She. Teng She looks around for the God of War, then laments that she didn’t wait for him. He’s suddenly grabbed into a rough hug — or more accurately, a headlock. It’s his favorite friend, Qing Long, who tells him that Bai Lin decreed that no one is to ask or learn about the God of War’s whereabouts, then whisks him back up to the heavenly realm.

Once they’re gone, Si Ming blinks them back into the cave, praising how well Hao Chen has hid his identity from the immortals. He also wonders who Teng She thinks he is — what right does he have to pursue the God of War? It’s not like he’s Bai Lin. Hao Chen reminds him that he didn’t come to the mortal world for anyone. He came here for the stability of the three worlds. Si Ming pulls out his book and says that he came here for the God of War. Hao Chen warns him that if he keeps writing nonsense in his book, he’ll burn it. Si Ming puts it away, chastised.

He laments that Hao Chen came down to the mortal realm this time, yet the God of War still found her weapon. Hao Chen recalls the day that the God of War was sent back to the mortal realm as Chu Xuan Ji. He acted like he didn’t care, but then he was reminded him that this was the God of War’s tenth tribulation in the mortal realm. If she failed again, she may never be able to come back. Moreover, this time it seemed like the demons were interested in her whereabouts as well.

So Hao Chen had decided to go down to the mortal realm as a mortal, claiming that he was doing it for the three worlds, not for the God of War herself. He knew life as a mortal would be difficult, but he was also confident that he could do anything he wanted to. Hao Chen remembers the first day he saw Xuan Ji as a child, sleeping in her tree.

Now, he reminds Si Ming that he will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. He will find some way of bringing her back to the heavenly realm.

Ling Long looks pale and weak, surrounded by sounds of torture in Wu Tong’s prison. He enjoys taunting her and tells her that she can always beg for her freedom, but she refuses. Instead, she mutters that she’s going to kill him. Her resistance only makes him more turned on. He strokes her cheek. She bites him. He admires how daring she is and says it only makes him like her more.

Qing Long drags Teng She back to the heavenly realm, kicking and screaming. Teng She spots Si Ming, who is scribbling in his book in a corner. Si Ming tries to hide his book, but Qing Long grabs it out of his hand and starts reading. It’s a romance about a love triangle involving Teng She and Qing Long. The woman Qing Long likes, likes Teng She. Si Ming explains that his story is rooted in truth. Teng She loves it and tells him to keep writing while Qing Long gets upset and chases after Si Ming, trying to get him to change it.

Si Feng and Xuan Ji pass by a group of Fuyu disciples who have been kicked off the island. Their fellow disciples, Pian Pian and Yu Ning, promise to try and put in a good word for them with the sect leader. Si Feng and Xuan Ji introduce themselves to Pian Pian and Yu Ning, who agree to show them onto the island.

Hao Chen catches up on his letters from Xuan Ji. The first one is all about Si Feng and how skilled he’s become and how he helped her figure out that Min Yan and Ling Long are actually the ones who like each other. Hao Chen frowns at the constant mention of Si Feng. The second letter is more urgent and communicates everything that has happened recently with the Tianxu demons, as well as their plans to reconvene with Ling Long and Min Yan at Fuyu Island.

The Fuyu elders don’t believe that Tianxu Hall is a real threat and think that the Xuanyuan sect is just trying to hide their failed attempt to strengthen themselves using drugs. But when Xuan Ji presents the Tianji Pearl, they seem slightly more convinced. Dongfang Qing Qi, the Fuyu leader, says that he will take responsibility for guarding the Tianji Pearl. Xuan Ji assumed he would, then shares what they found out about spirit keys and Mosha Star. The elders laugh. Mosha Star was vanquished long ago — resurrecting him is impossible.

Si Feng tries to persuade them that Tianxu Hall is a real threat, but Dongfang just declares that he’ll activate the shielding spell around the island. Let those demons try to attack. The elders try to convince him that maybe it’s a bad idea — won’t the disciples be alarmed? Xuan Ji and Si Feng also try to speak up, but Dongfang pulls seniority and demands to be respected.

Xuan Ji asks if they can get a ride off the island to go find Ling Long and Min Yan, but Dongfang refuses to let them leave. How is he to face her father if something happens to her? He says that he’ll send his own men to the mountain to look for them.

Dongfang suddenly reels, light-headed. Si Feng notices that his arm is covered in small red circles. Dongfang seems to calm down and dismisses Si Feng and Xuan Ji, apologizing for his earlier agitated behavior.

Yu Ning shows Si Feng and Xuan Ji to a section of the grounds that is full of empty rooms, saying they can pick which ones they like. Si Feng asks her if Dongfang has been anywhere lately. She responds that he hasn’t left the island in months. In his spare time, he helps his wife take care of the island grounds. Si Feng asks about Dongfang’s wife, but doesn’t learn much before they’re distracted by a hum as the island’s shield is activated. Yu Ning reminds them that they’ll need to ask Dongfang’s permission before they leave, otherwise they’ll be injured by the shield.

Si Feng and Xuan Ji both feel that Dongfang is acting strange. Si Feng thinks he’s been poisoned.

Dongfang opens Fuyu’s own secret vault to store the Tianji Pearl for safekeeping. The sect’s steward, Ouyang, watches with some interest and looks suspect.

At dinner, Si Feng gifts Dongfang some special wine from Lize Palace and watches with interest as he drinks. He thinks it tastes like water, then scratches his arm. They’re interrupted by the arrival of his wife, Qing Rong, who seems drunk. She also drinks some of Si Feng’s wine, then starts talking about what happened to Xuanyuan and saying that they only have themselves to blame.

Dongfang looks around awkwardly at her harsh words, then tells Si Feng and Xuan Ji to eat and drink. Xuan Ji and Si Feng make eye contact.


Commentary

I know we’re supposed to root for Xuan Ji and Si Feng, but I can’t help but want to root for Hao Chen, too! We don’t have any reason to dislike him yet, and I find it so compelling how he’s supposed to be this dispassionate god who feels nothing and claims that all he cares about is the stability in the universe, when in reality he cares so much about Xuan Ji. He just wants what he thinks is best for her, and it’s hard to fault him for that, other than the fact that it’s not what Xuan Ji wants.

I really like that we’re seeing more of the heavenly realm and all the whimsical gods.

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