Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 17)

Si Feng and Xuan Ji try to figure out the strange vibes on Fuyu Island. Meanwhile, Xuan Ji discovers that love is complicated and hard to understand and decides that maybe she doesn’t want anything to do with it at all.


Recap

Si Feng is invited to Qing Rong’s chambers by the sect’s steward at night. He finds her playing a song on her zither. After she finishes the song, she asks Si Feng what he thinks of her beauty and asks how he made his wine. But when she sees Dongfang Qing Qi coming, she shoves Si Feng away and lies to Dongfang that he was trying to assault her. She asks Dongfang to kill him.

Si Feng tries to proclaim his innocence, but Dongfang doesn’t believe him and attacks. Xuan Ji shows up and throws herself in front of Si Feng as a shield. Si Feng points out that if Dongfang has kicked out all of his disciples because they’ve been untoward to his wife, then who is really the problem? That makes Dongfang pause. Qing Rong gets annoyed that her husband believes Si Feng instead of her and storms off.

Xuan Ji sees that Si Feng has a cut on his neck and insists on treating his wound. He comments on the fact that she defended him without even seeing what happened. Does she trust him that much? Xuan Ji knows that Si Feng would never do anything bad to anyone, even if he found them attractive. Si Feng makes her stand up and stares into her eyes as he tells her that he has no interest in other women, no matter how beautiful they are. Does she understand?

Xuan Ji clearly doesn’t — she asks if it’s because Lize Palace disciples aren’t allow to wed. Si Feng patiently explains that when she took off his mask, he decided he wasn’t going to wear a mask again and renounced Lize Palace’s customs. Now he can wed if he wants.

What Xuan Ji gets out of that is that he won’t be going back to Lize Palace. That means he can go back to Shaoyang with her! Si Feng asks in what capacity he would be going back to Shaoyang with her. She says that he would go back with her as her friend. Si Feng tells her to try again. But she still doesn’t get it. She lands on him entering Shaoyang as a disciple — which would make him her junior. Si Feng smiles back at her, but silently realizes that she still doesn’t understand love. So why was she able to remove his mask?

Si Feng decides that they need to address the important matters first. He’s already verified that Dongfang Qing Qi is being poisoned by his wife, thanks to the wine he gave him. He asks if Xuan Ji remembers hearing anything about Dongfang’s wife. Xuan Ji recalls the story of how Dongfang met Qing Rong. When Xuan Ji was young, an evil sect near Zitong Mountain would frequently kidnap girls from the local local town and force them to make drugs. Dongfang rescued the sole survivor, Qing Rong, who became his wife.

Si Feng finds the story suspicious. How could Qing Rong have survived? She must be in collusion with the evil sect. They only have two days before the poison in Qingfang’s system runs its course.

Dongfang tries to reconcile with his wife, who tries to get him to drink. He notices her slip something in his wine, but drinks the glass anyway. Qing Rong starts playing a song on her zither. A bug flies toward Dongfang, but he catches it with one hand, crushing it, before it stings him. Xuan Ji and Si Feng show up in time to see Dongfang confront his wife.

Si Feng guesses that Qing Rong isn’t just a member of the evil sect, but its leader. But Dongfang must be astute enough to have known who she was. If he could move past it after so many years, why can’t she? Qing Rong retorts that Dongfang destroyed her entire sect. How could she move on? She also despises Si Feng and Xuan Ji, members of the other major sects who act like they’re so high and mighty when they’ve killed just as many people as her sect.

Qing Rong resents being confined to the island like an exotic zoo animal. She just wanted Dongfang to feel a bit of what she felt: a life that is worse than death. It’s unfortunate that she was discovered, but she doesn’t care anymore. Dongfang can do with her what he wants.

Dongfang’s disciples are ready to kill Qing Rong for him, but Dongfang looks pained and says that she’s free to go. Whether she believes it or not, the truth is that he kept confined her to Fuyu Island in order to protect her.

Qing Rong pulls out a dagger and says that he can have her life. She has no family left and nowhere to go if she leaves. Dongfang rushes to wrestle the dagger out of her grip, saying that he doesn’t want her to leave, but he doesn’t want to see her in pain here. Qing Rong plays coy, saying she was worried he would ditch her once she was no longer beautiful. Dongfang reassures her he would do anything for her, even die. Qing Rong claims she would have given him the antidote to the poison, even without the others here to force her hand. She’s pregnant with his child, and wouldn’t want her child to grow up fatherless. She presses a pill into his mouth, then demands to be alone with him. She doesn’t want to see the others.

Later, Qingfang asks his disciples, Xuan Ji, and Si Feng not to let word of this get out. His wife was just playing an elaborate prank on him, but everything is fine now. They can all pretend that they were never here tonight.

Xuan Ji frowns as she and Si Feng head back to their rooms. It didn’t seem like Qing Rong was just joking around to her. She’s confused by the rapid swings in the conversation. Does Qing Rong love her husband or hate him? Why did Dongfang want Qing Rong to leave one moment, then stay the next? She thinks that Dongfang is quite sad, to love someone as bad as Qing Rong.

Si Feng explains that love is between two people and outsiders wouldn’t be able to understand. Good people can be disliked, and bad people can be loved. As long as the person loving them is willingly loving them, then they won’t view themselves as pathetic and instead will happily suffer.

Xuan Ji frowns. Love seems complicated. She hopes she won’t have to deal with it.

Xuan Ji notices that Si Feng has stopped walking. He playfully suggests that they should break into Dongfang’s wine stash and drink together.

Qing Rong helps Ouyang, the steward, get dressed. She laments that they almost had Dongfang under their control, if not for Xuan Ji and Si Feng’s interference. Ouyang frowns and says that he’ll have to think of another solution. Qing Rong clings to him with a hug. He isn’t going to leave, is he? He promised he would take her with him if he left. And there’s still the matter of their child.

Xuan Ji plays with a large pit of flower petals while Si Feng picks out a wine in the cellar. He presses a spell into the wine jug before showing it to Xuan Ji, and asks if she’ll help him with something. The thing that’s troubling him is at the bottom of the jug. He suggests they go drink by the shore.

On their way out, they run into Pian Pian and Yu Ning, who wants to join them in drinking the wine. Xuan Ji is more than happy to invite them along and suggests they stay in the wine cellar instead, much to Si Feng’s chagrin. Si Feng suggests that they should rock-paper-scissors for the wine. He makes sure to win every time and ends up drinking most of the jug. For the last sip, he plays Xuan Ji, and lets her win. But before she can grab the jug, Yu Ning takes it. Si Feng frowns, worried about the spell he cast.

Yu Ning looks into the jug and sees his message at the bottom: “I adore you, but you don’t know.” She hastily says that she can’t drink it because someone’s heart is at the bottom, and shows it to Pian Pian. Pian Pian sees it, and tells Xuan Ji to take a look. But by the time it gets to Xuan Ji, the message has disappeared. Si Feng looks annoyed. Yu Ning gets the hint and quickly ushers Pian Pian out the door, but it’s too late.

Xuan Ji asks if Si Feng is drunk. “I’m not drunk, you’re drunk,” he responds.

Xuan Ji stands up to take Si Feng back to his room, but he takes her hand and pulls her back down to him. He leans in close and tells her that she’s not allowed to leave. His problem hasn’t been solved yet. His problem is her.

He asks her why she always manages to burrow into his heart and show up in his dreams. She responds that they haven’t seen each other in so long, she dreams of him, too. “You feel this way too?” he asks. She nods, but he’s surprised she’s answered so quickly. He puts her hand over his heart, telling her to wait until she understands his heart before answering.

Xuan Ji is alarmed that Si Feng’s heart is beating so quickly and yanks her hand away. Instead, she pats his face, worried that he’s getting sick. She tries to fly them out a skylight so they can go find a doctor, but he stops her halfway and they fall into the flower petal pit.

Si Feng stares at Xuan Ji without speaking. She shifts to stare back at him, wondering why he isn’t saying anything. He tells her that she has to take responsibility now that she’s taken off her mask. She responds saying of course she will. He leans in to kiss her.

Xuan Ji sneezes, overwhelmed with the fragrance of the flower petals around them. She waves some petals under his nose and then they end up playfully trying to dump flower petals on each other.

Afterward, as Xuan Ji is helping Si Feng back to his room, they walk by a glowing stone. Si Feng explains that this stone is for fated lovers. If two people are fated to be together, the stone will glow and shine its light upon them. Xuan Ji doesn’t understand how it’s relevant to them. Si Feng says he wants to try it out with her.

Si Feng prods the stone with his magic, but nothing happens. He tries again. Xuan Ji shrugs. Si Feng mutters that it must be fake and decides that he needs to break it. Xuan Ji stops him before he can cause trouble.

The next morning, Si Feng wakes up with a hangover. Xuan Ji offers him some soup and insists on feeding it to him even though he says he can do it himself. A siren rings through the air, signaling the arrival of guests on the island. Thinking it might be Min Yan and Ling Long, Xuan Ji and Si Feng rush to the shore, only to find Yuan Lang accompanied by several Lize Palace disciples, including Ruo Yu, who is still maskless.

Yuan Lang smirks when he sees Si Feng without his mask. Did he forget what he warned him about before he left Lize Palace, about how the Palace leader had such high hopes for him? It looks like this mask wasn’t able to hold Si Feng down either. Does he know what the punishment for removing the mask is?

Yuan Lang laughs upon finding out that Xuan Ji is again the one to remove Si Feng’s mask. He congratulates Si Feng. Lize Palace won’t force him to stay now that his mask has been removed. But he has to return the mask. Si Feng claims he lost it in the fight with Zi Hu.

Yuan Lang catches Si Feng in the lie and summons the mask from Si Feng’s possession. He notes the sad expression on the mask. It looks like Si Feng wasn’t able to break the curse after all. He orders Si Feng to return to the Palace immediately to report to their leader. Si Feng asks for more time.

He turns to Xuan Ji and apologizes for not being able to stay longer with her. She’ll have to wait for someone from Shaoyang to come get her. Xuan Ji takes his hand, asking if he must leave. She’ll go to Lize Palace with him. But he just smiles sadly and says that he needs to take care of this himself.

Si Feng promises he’ll come back and find her, then pulls her into a hug. “I’ll tell you a secret,” he says. “Being a person is hard, but you’re the one I’m willing to do it for.”

Yuan Lang orders Ruo Yu to take Si Feng back to Lize Palace, but Xuan Ji tells them to wait. She tells Yuan Lang that she will go to Lize Palace in a few days to get Si Feng. Yuan Lang reminds her that women aren’t allowed in Lize Palace. She responds that she’ll wait outside. And she wants him to promise that Si Feng won’t be hurt.

Yuan Lang tells Xuan Ji that how Lize Palace punishes its disciples has nothing to do with her. She responds that if he can’t give her his word, Si Feng must stay. She holds out a protective arm. She took off his mask, so she’ll take responsibility for him.

Yuan Lang tells her how she can take responsibility: she can marry Si Feng.

Xuan Ji frowns, realizing this was what Si Feng meant last night when he said she had to take responsibility. She chides herself for not figuring it out sooner. Yuan Lang comments that she seems like she’s not willing, but Xuan Ji responds that she’ll do it. If becoming family with Si Feng is what she needs to do to protect him, then she will.

Yuan Lang points out that it doesn’t seem like she is willing, because the mask still wears a frown. He orders for his disciples to fetch Si Feng. They put their hands on their swords. Xuan Ji pulls out her own celestial sword. Yuan Lang’s eyes widen at the sight of it and he motions for his disciples to stand down.

Xuan Ji is frustrated that the mask isn’t changing even though she’s very willing, and thinks it’s stupid that a mask can determine life or death. She’s determined to destroy it, and swings her sword. It breaks the mask into multiple pieces. Yuan Lang recognizes her sword as Dingkun. How does she have it?

Destroying the mask only adds to Si Feng’s punishment, which Xuan Ji is unwilling to accept. Yuan Lang asks what she’s going to do about it — does she dare attack them, too? Xuan Ji’s eyes glow blue.

Si Feng tries to get her to stand down, but Yuan Lang is all too happy to challenge her. They leap into the air. She fires lightning at him while he defends himself with a shield. Hao Chen sees them as he lands with several Shaoyang disciples and sends a spell toward Xuan Ji to calm her down. Xuan Ji falls out of the sky and Si Feng catches her, glaring at Yuan Lang, who seems taken aback by the force of her attack.

The sect leaders meet with Dongfang, who wants to know why a man of Yuan Lang’s status was attacking a lowly disciple like Xuan Ji. Yuan Lang claims that he was forced to after she pointed the celestial sword Dingkun at him. Hao Chen says he must be mistaken: Xuan Ji’s sword is just a spirit weapon he crafted for her, not a celestial sword. Chu Lei backs him up. Yuan Lang humors them — if they say it isn’t Dingkun, then it isn’t.

What Dongfang really wants to discuss is the matter of the spirit keys. Yuan Lang claims he doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Chu Lei says it’s time they all stopped trying to lie to one another. They’re all well-aware what the spirit keys are. Dongfang mentions that he thinks the Tianxu Hall demons have greater aspirations than simply rescuing Wu Zhi Qi — they may want to resurrect Mosha Star. Yuan Lang laughs, dismissing the idea that Mosha Star can be resurrected. Dongfang acknowledges that he also felt the same way, but nevertheless, they should be prepared and can discuss further when the Dianjing sect leader arrives.


Commentary

I love how Xuan Ji can be all silly and ignorant one moment, but have a backbone of steel the next. And her change doesn’t feel jarring, either — it works. She can be both carefree and joyful, but also stubborn and principled. That’s what makes her likable, because I cannot deal with another silly, bumbling protagonist who has no real strength. Xuan Ji can act silly, but is a strong character.

Yuan Lang is a surprisingly interesting character to me right now because he’s so difficult to read. I don’t get what his game is. It’s clear that he resents the Palace leader and Si Feng, probably because of some combination of jealousy and disliking the nepotism going on there. If anything, he’s very Lize Palace in how principled he seems. He seems more devoted to propriety than the Palace leader, and spoke in favor of working with the other sects when the Palace leader was content to let them deal with demons on their own. It’s not clear yet what his motivations are. He gives off some shady vibes and he doesn’t seem good, but he hasn’t done anything evil yet, either.

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