Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 26)

Zi Hu and the friends look for Ting Nu, but end up finding Yi Huan instead. He offers to help them look for Ting Nu, but they end up finding much more than what they bargained for.


Recap

Zi Hu explains how Wu Zhi Qi trapped her in his vineyard and would constantly mess with her. They spent hundreds of years together like that. Wu Zhi Qi had one problem, though — he loved beautiful women. Zi Hu’s main purpose in achieving her human form was to show him that the most beautiful woman in the world had been right by his side the whole time. But when she finally showed him her human form, he said that he liked her better as the fox.

Before Zi Hu could win Wu Zhi Qi over, he left. At that time, the demon clan had been preparing for war against the immortals. His friend, Yuan Lang, convinced him to join up as the Left Minister. Zi Hu blames herself for not being able to stop him. But that’s why she needs to rescue him now.

Ruo Yu points out that Wu Zhi Qi never made her any promises, yet she’s waited for him for a thousand years. Is it worth it? Zi Hu responds that there’s no “worth it” when it comes to love. She wants to love him and she’s happy to do it.

Xuan Ji smiles and glances at Si Feng, then says that she thinks Zi Hu’s feelings for Wu Zhi Qi are much better than Dongfang and his wife. Zi Hu says that there’s no point in hesitating when it comes to love. She’s willing to do anything to rescue Wu Zhi Qi.

Everyone is silent for a moment, no doubt thinking about their own loved ones.

Later, Si Feng and Xuan Ji sit apart from the others, who sleep around the campfire, chatting on their own. Xuan Ji says that she never realized demons like Zi Hu could have such deep feelings. Si Feng responds that demons are living beings, too. Like humans, they have emotions. Xuan Ji admits that she used to think Zi Hu was a frivolous kind of demon and never thought that she’d be so infatuated with someone. Now, Xuan Ji almost likes her. Si Feng tells her that the only reason Zi Hu was after the mirror was so that she could relive her memories with Wu Zhi Qi.

Xuan Ji wonders who the general she sees in the mirror is. What’s her story? How are they connected? Si Feng half-teases Xuan Ji, saying that she’s already fated to be with Hao Chen. He’s been looking for her for a thousand years. Maybe the person in the mirror is him.

Xuan Ji teases Si Feng, asking if he’s being jealous right now. Si Feng jokes that she’s pretty quick at learning the things he isn’t teaching her (about love). He also jokes that her father might put out a wanted notice for him soon. Xuan Ji responds that her father might be old-fashioned, but he still cares about her. As long as she doesn’t pick a demon, he’ll accept anyone eventually. She reassures him that she’ll convince her father. Si Feng doesn’t look as certain.

The next day, Ting Nu’s scent trail runs cold at the same place Zi Hu lost him before. Xuan Ji suddenly thinks of Liu Yi Huan: he has the heavenly eye and should be able to help them find Ting Nu. Maybe Zi Hu can smell Yi Huan’s trail? Zi Hu needs something of Yi Huan’s to use to get his scent. Si Feng remembers the pouch that Yi Huan tossed him before. He brings it out, then hides the pamphlet inside, refusing to show Xuan Ji even though she begs.

Zi Hu tracks Yi Huan to where he’s hiding out in Qingyang city. Si Feng gets roped into paying for his lodging in order to ask him for help. They ask him if he’s found Yu Er and tell him how they last saw her at Tianxu Hall, where she decided to stay. Yi Huan feigns surprise.

Si Feng asks Yi Huan for help locating Ting Nu, but Yi Huan balks at the mention of opening the heavenly eye. He says that normally, he would be happy to help, but he had actually just opened it a few days ago. Yi Huan suggests that they stay a few days whie he figures out how to help. Both Si Feng and Zi Hu frown and seem slightly suspicious.

At night, Yi Huan looks grim as he remembers how Wu Tong had tortured Yu Er and threatened to kill her in order to blackmail him into finding Xuan Ji and giving her the piece of mirror so that she would recover her memory. He goes out to meet one of Wu Tong’s demons, who tosses him the mirror in a pouch. The group had done exactly what they expected and come to Yi Huan for help looking for Ting Nu.

Yi Huan wakes everyone up in the middle of the night to tell them that he finally got a sense of where to find Ting Nu. Everyone looks excited, except for Si Feng.

He takes the group to a compound in the woods that’s guarded by demons. Yi Huan is ready to sneak in over the wall and rescue Ting Nu, but Si Feng is more cautious. Something feels off to him, and he doesn’t want to go in without knowing more about these people and their motives. Zi Hu is ready to go in herself if the rest are afraid. In the end, they end up deciding to sneak in and split up looking for Ting Nu.

Zi Hu, Xuan Ji, and Si Feng look for Ting Nu together. Zi Hu smells Dang Kang, Ting Nu’s spirit beast. A tiny, pig-like creature runs up to them and starts trilling at them. Si Feng apparently speaks animal and translates that Ting Nu is being held captive in a secret room. The creature shows them the way.

Yi Huan leads Ruo Yu, Xiao Yin Hua, and Min Yan into an empty room where he waits until they’re distracted before activating a panel on the ground. They all get trapped in magical barriers.

The other three follow Dang Kang to where Ting Nu is being held captive. The mirror piece floats above him, trapping him in a spell. Si Feng tries to break the spell, but instead he seems to trigger the primary piece of mirror. It draws out the other pieces of mirror from their possession and starts to form a whole.

A beam of light shoots up into the sky. Zi Hu, Xuan Ji, and Si Feng’s essences all get pulled toward the light. Zi Hu sees an image of Wu Zhi Qi, asking what’s taking her so long. Xuan Ji and Si Feng get pulled into the mirror.

Si Ming frets over activity in Xuan Ji’s life column, then goes down to the mortal world to report the bad news to Hao Chen. Hao Chen frowns. It’s only been a few days since he last saw her. How could she already be in the mirror? Something isn’t right.

A large mirror floats in front of Si Feng and Xuan Ji and shows them an image of the God of War. Xuan Ji tells Si Feng that this is the person she sees in her visions. Si Feng is surprised that they look exactly alike. Xuan Ji frowns, wondering what she’s trying to tell her. She senses that the woman holds a lot of secrets in her heart.

Hao Chen asks Si Ming where Xuan Ji is right now. Si Ming stammers out that these are all mortal matters and he can’t really tell and tries to leave, but Hao Chen binds him with a spell to prevent him from escaping. It’s a spell to capture immortals that Hao Chen has bound to his soul. If Si Ming tries to escape, he’ll destroy Hao Chen’s soul, which would be a serious crime.

He asks again where Xuan Ji is. Si Ming asks why he’s so concerned. He already scrubbed the important memories from Xuan Ji’s life column. Even if she’s in the mirror, she won’t be able to see them. And even if she awakens, she won’t remember. What is he worried about?

Hao Chen says that this time, he won’t just leave her be. Si Ming scoots closer and reminds him that every person has their own fate. No matter how much he wants to save Xuan Ji, they can’t defy heaven’s mandate.

But Si Ming suddenly thinks of a way to tell Hao Chen where Xuan Ji is without actually telling him where she is. When a mortal enters the mirror, it’s considered prying on heavenly secrets. That will attract heavenly lightning. If Hao Chen follows the lightning, he could theoretically find where Xuan Ji is.

Hao Chen orders Si Ming to return to the heavenly realm and secure Xuan Ji’s life column. No matter what, she must not be allowed to awaken right now.

Si Feng guesses that the woman they’re looking at is in the heavenly realm. They watch as Teng She tries to challenge the God of War to a duel, but Qing Long and Zhu Que, the Vermillion Bird, soon appear and apprehend Teng She. Zhu Que conveys orders to the God of War from Bai Lin. The demon army is getting close and this is a good opportunity for the God of War to vanquish them. Bai Lin awaits her triumphant return.

The God of War says that once she vanquishes the Xiuluo army, then the war will be over, right? Does that mean she won’t have to fight anymore? Qing Long glances at Zhu Que, who doesn’t have a response for her.

Si Feng tells Xuan Ji that it looks like she used to be the legendary God of War, the one who defeated the demon army and saved the heavenly realm. She’s not the emotionless killer monster that she feared she was. But Xuan Ji doesn’t look relieved and instead looks even more conflicted.

The God of War prepares for battle in her sparse palace, looking into a mirror that looks like a whole version of the Wanjie Bahuang mirror. Ting Nu stops her on her way out, concerned that she’s not fully recovered from her previous injury. Should he tell Bai Lin that she’s not yet ready? But the God of War knows she’s the only one who can stand against the Xiuluo general. She tells Ting Nu not to tell Bai Lin, so he won’t worry. Ting Nu fears that the God of War is suffering layer upon layer of injury, and gently reminds her to take care of herself.

All of a sudden, the memory jumps to the God of War facing off against the Xiuluo King, who laughs and says that her killing Luohou Jidu is the biggest joke of all. Xuan Ji is confused. What does he mean? Why can’t she see anything else?

Si Feng suggests they try to break through the fog around them, but a barrier prevents them from going through. Lightning flashes around them and all Xuan Ji can hear is the Xiuluo King groaning and laughing, calling the God of War cruel. Si Feng finds it strange. It seems like someone is trying to hide something.

Xuan Ji collapses into a crouch, clutching her heart as she hears more snippets of memory. The God of War demanding to know why she was lied to. She’s nothing but a murder weapon. Why are they doing this to her? Xuan Ji wonders why she feels so bad hearing the God of War’s voice. She used to think that she and the woman in the mirror led two separate existences, yet now she feels acutely all of the woman’s suffering and turmoil.

Si Feng recalls reading that if a person’s past has been sealed, it will affect the mirror. It looks like her past has been sealed. Xuan Ji asks why the heavenly realm is still trying to erase her past. It’s been a thousand years. Why? She tries to run off, but Si Feng pulls her back, warning her to not get mesmerized by the mirror.

They suddenly hear another memory, Bai Lin telling the God of War to go capture Wu Zhi Qi for stealing the Juntian and Cehai weapons. He wants the demonic world to disappear.

The God of War fights Wu Zhi Qi, who claims that the heavenly realm stole Juntian and Cehai after she killed Luohou Jidu. He’s just reclaiming them for his friend. He lures the God of War to a location where the Xiuluo King leaves her with a parting gift in return for being vanquished. He says that he’ll show her what secrets Bai Lin is keeping from her, and that she only has herself to blame.

But they don’t get to see what the God of War saw, because the images fade away again. Frustrated, Xuan Ji summons Dingkun and swings it.

Another image appears. The God of War flies to Bai Lin’s palace and demands he show himself. Bai Lin appears only as a glowing white light, but Xuan Ji finds him familiar. The God of War demands to know how he dared to deceive her for so long. He and the rest of the heavenly realm used her. The Four Heavenly Beasts and several other heavenly warriors surround the God of War, but she doesn’t back down, saying she’s done nothing wrong. She demands to see the Heavenly Emperor, otherwise she’ll destroy the heavenly realm. She protected them, but she could just as easily kill them. She knocks away the warriors surrounding her, demanding an explanation from Bai Lin. He knocks her down with a strike.

The God of War promises to kill Bai Lin and everyone else. She’ll get her revenge. Bai Lin knocks her down again, weakening her enough so that the Four Heavenly Beasts can shackle her with chains of lightning. The God of War yells, demanding the Heavenly Emperor show himself. She’s done no wrong. They’re the ones who are wrong. She accuses the heavenly realm of using her and turning her into a murder weapon, forcing her to kill for them and kill people who shouldn’t have been killed and making her do cruel and heartless things. Yet in the end, they’re trying to accuse her of a crime? How dare they!

Xuan Ji runs toward the mirror, demanding that they free her, but the mirror flies away out of her grasp.

The God of War falls from the skies, the image accompanied by her angry voice saying that she will get her revenge. A male voice begs the Heavenly Emperor for leniency. The Heavenly Emperor says that he’ll send her down from the heavenly realm for ten lifetimes’ of tribulations. It’ll be entirely up to her what happens.

Xuan Ji shouts into the void, demanding to know why they cast her out and why they’re punishing her. She did nothing wrong. Si Feng grabs her shoulders and says her name, trying to look her in the eyes. He reminds her that she’s not the God of War, she’s Chu Xuan Ji. Everyone else is waiting for her outside. She can’t get sucked in.

But Xuan Ji says that she needs to figure out what happened and runs off. Si Feng tries to follow, but she disappears into mirror shards and fog.

A mirror approaches Si Feng, showing him an image: Xuan Ji. She dances at the center of a room while he plays the zither. This must be a memory from one of his own tribulations. She was there too?

The version of Si Feng in the memory has eyes only for that version of Xuan Ji while he plays his zither. Afterward, he helps put some ointment on her injured ankle, warning her that she shouldn’t force herself to dance with her injury. If she’s not careful, she might not be able to walk anymore in the future. She responds that she doesn’t think about the future. She also doesn’t believe that there’s any sincerity in this world. She tells him that she won’t go with him. She’s waiting for only one person to come get her.

A woman from the other room calls her name, Lan Yue, and says that Lord Qiao’s son is here to pick her up. Lan Yue turns to not-Si Feng and says, “See? I told you he’d come.”

She stands to leave, but not-Si Feng grabs her arm to stop her. She says she doesn’t believe in sincerity, yet she believes him? Lan Yue responds that she knows what kind of person Qiao is and she doesn’t expect any sincerity from him. She doesn’t trust anyone — she only trusts herself. She leaves.

“I remember,” Si Feng says. He calls out to the Xuan Ji lookalike in the mirror, saying, “Xuan Ji, don’t go!”


Commentary

So many answers instead of questions this episode! Though of course these snippets of memory also create more questions than they answer.

I think part of why I sympathize with Hao Chen so much is that he’s fighting against fate, too. He did something to destroy the God of War’s trust in him, but his feelings for her are real.

How much does Si Feng know? He knows enough to know who he is, and likely is self-aware enough to know that he’s actually a demon — his reaction when Xuan Ji said that her father would accept anyone except a demon says as much. He knows that he’s been through lifetimes of tribulations before. But he also tells Xuan Ji that she is herself, not the God of War, essentially saying that even though the past happened, it doesn’t matter. She is who she is now, not who she was before. And… that makes sense, because who remains unchanged for a thousand years? Well, the immortals, I suppose.

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