Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 30)

Xuan Ji and the rest of her crew are so close to saving Ling Long’s soul, but at what cost? The cost seems steep for everyone involved.


Recap

Si Feng summons Xiao Yin Hua again and threatens to kill Ling Long if Wu Tong harms Min Yan. But Wu Tong just smirks. He doesn’t care if a flower demon dies. He was able to create Ling Long once — he can do it again.

Ling Long doesn’t like the sound of that and says Wu Tong’s name, momentarily distracting him enough for Xiao Yin Hua to jump onto him and bite his hand. He’s startled into releasing Min Yan, who tries to make a grab for the bottle in his hand, but Wu Tong evades his grasp. He kicks Min Yan back toward the others.

The group’s bracelets have only a little bit of light left. They don’t have much time before they’ll be pulled back into the mortal realm. Wu Tong takes advantage of their weakened magic and has his demons attack.

Hao Chen recovers his energy while watching the candles dwindle. The demon he fought wasn’t ordinary, but he wonders why the demon didn’t just extinguish Xuan Ji’s candle.

The group’s strength dwindles along with the light in their bracelets. Min Yan sees what’s happening and drops his sword, saying that he surrenders. He approaches Wu Tong with a proposition. He’s willing to give himself in exchange for Ling Long’s soul. He’ll betray the five sects and help Wu Tong get the rest of the spirit keys, or he’ll be Wu Tong’s dog. Whatever he wants.

Wu Tong suggests to Ling Long that she dig out Min Yan’s heart to see whether his intentions are pure. She picks up a sword and smirks. Min Yan closes his eyes.

Wu Tong stops Ling Long before she can actually stab Min Yan. It looks like Min Yan is being honest. But if they want Ling Long’s soul back, they’ll have to give up another life, too. Some demons bring out Min Jue. Wu Tong tells Min Yan to kill him.

He pulls out a black and white ring, which allows the demons to exist in Buzhou Mountain without having to go through all the loopholes that the group did to enter, and tosses it to Min Yan, leaving it up to him whether he wants to stay and save Ling Long’s soul, or watch both Ling Long and Min Jue die. Min Yan catches the ring and puts it on his finger, saying he’ll stay.

Min Yan catches a sword that Ling Long throws him and approaches Min Jue. He apologizes to him, saying that if he doesn’t do this, then he won’t be able to save anyone. He raises his sword and cuts off Min Jue’s arm.

Min Yan turns to Wu Tong and says that he can’t kill his fellow brother disciple, but by cutting off his arm, he’s given himself no way out. He can’t return to the sects now, and this should be enough to show his intentions. Wu Tong agrees and tosses Min Yan the bottle. In the process, his robe flies open and Si Feng catches a glimpse of another bottled soul tucked into his belt.

Min Yan tosses his bottle to Xuan Ji. Si Feng throws his sword at Wu Tong, then rushes him and grabs the hidden bottled soul. He rescues Min Jue as well, flying him back to Xuan Ji and Ruo Yu.

Ruo Yu frowns. Their bracelets have gone dark, so they should be returning to the mortal world. Why are they still here? Wu Tong attacks them.

Hao Chen frowns as the Buzhou Mountain portal closes, but a black cloud of smoke circles the now burnt-out candles. He guesses that Yuan Lang must have cast a spell to prevent the group from leaving Buzhou Mountain. If Xuan Ji dies there, then she will fail her final chance of redemption. He can’t let that happen.

Wu Tong laughs at the group. It looks like someone wants to keep them here. But mortals can’t survive in Buzhou Mountain, so it looks like they’re just waiting to die. At least Min Yan was smart and found himself a way out.

Ruo Yu mutters that he can’t die here. He approaches Wu Tong and says that he’s also willing to defect to Tianxu Hall. Xuan Ji and Si Feng protest, but Ruo Yu tells them that they won’t be able to convince him. He lost his mask, so he’s sure to die upon returning to Lize Palace anyway. At least this way he has a chance of survival.

Wu Tong agrees to let him in if he proves his sincerity: he needs to kill the others. He tosses Ruo Yu a ring. Ruo Yu catches it and puts it on, then slowly turns toward Xuan Ji and Si Feng. “Don’t blame me,” he says, then attacks. Si Feng throws himself in front of Xuan Ji and gets stabbed through the back.

Si Feng collapses. Xuan Ji looks horrified as she grips his shoulders. He can’t die. In a flash, her inner god awakens. She’ll kill everyone who dares to hurt him.

In the mortal realm, Hao Chen uses his power to try and force the Buzhou Mountain portal open. He manages to crack it open just enough so that Xuan Ji and Si Feng are whisked back to the mortal realm in a golden sparkle of light.

Xuan Ji cries over Si Feng, who is bleeding profusely, after they land back in the mortal realm. He weakly tells her to not cry and tries to smile, but then he falls unconscious.

Hao Chen comes running up, looking pale. Xuan Ji pleads for him to help save Si Feng.

Si Feng hasn’t died yet. Ying Hong and the other Shaoyang elder whose name we don’t know try their best to heal him, but Ruo Yu intended a killing blow and the only reason Si Feng has survived so far is because of his advanced cultivation skill. He coughs up blood, regaining consciousness, and both Xuan Ji and Xiao Yin Hua — now in her human form — rush to him. Ying Hong says that even though he’s holding on now, he probably doesn’t have much time left. Xuan Ji is in denial that he could die.

Xuan Ji tries to touch his face, but Xiao Yin Hua pushes her away from Si Feng and throws herself in front of him as a shield. She blames Xuan Ji for everything that has happened to Si Feng. If not for her wanting to rescue Ling Long, he wouldn’t have even been at Buzhou Mountain. He took that stab in the back for her. Xiao Yin Hua wants to take him back to Lize Palace if they can’t save him, but the Shaoyang elder warns her that Si Feng can’t be moved in his current condition.

Xuan Ji asks if she can use an advanced Yangjue technique to save Si Feng. It’s possible, but extremely dangerous. If anything goes wrong, she’ll die too. Hao Chen and Chu Lei won’t let her, but she’s adamant. She doesn’t care if Si Feng is meant to die, she will save him, or die trying. She starts to summon her magic, but Hao Chen grabs her arm. He says that he’ll do it instead. His skills are more advanced than hers.

Xuan Ji says that he doesn’t have to, but Hao Chen asks if she’s going to make him watch them both die instead.

As Hao Chen heals Si Feng, he says that he’ll save him this time because if he dies, Xuan Ji’s internal demons will make her turn evil. But he resents how Si Feng is leading Xuan Ji on. He’s saving him today so he can oppose him later.

Hao Chen coughs as he exits Si Feng’s room. Ying Hong scans him and realizes that he has an internal injury — why did he insist on performing such heavy magic if he was already hurt? Hao Chen explains that he was injured earlier after running into a demon while looking for Xuan Ji, but he’s self-aware enough to know his limits. Unfortunately, he was only able to protect Si Feng’s heart with his magic. He’ll have to wait before attempting to heal the rest of Si Feng’s body. He guesses that there must be something different about Lize Palace cultivation that makes it so.

Ying Hong thinks up of another way to help Si Feng heal, using the spirit energy from a medicine brewed using an ancient tree. The elders depart to search for the tree and Xiao Yin Hua tags along, leaving Xuan Ji to watch over Hao Chen and Si Feng.

Hao Chen asks Xuan Ji what’s so great about Si Feng that she would throw away her own life for him. Xuan Ji responds that she knows Si Feng is someone she can’t live without. If she were to lose him, she could not go on living alone. Hao Chen angrily says that to let herself be tied down by emotion is the most foolish thing she could do.

He stalks off and fumes by himself over how foolish Xuan Ji is. No wonder she failed at her last nine attempts. Without him here to keep her in line, she would probably fail forever.

Xuan Ji keeps vigil at Si Feng’s bedside, holding his hand and begging him to hold on. Xiao Yin Hua returns with medicine, but it’s not strong enough to help Si Feng. Xuan Ji cries, begging Si Feng to hold on. Her tear drops onto her hand and glows. She brings forth the Liangyuan flower Hao Chen gave her, not realizing that its spirit energy was so strong. She tries to feed it to Si Feng, but his mouth doesn’t open, so she presses it in with her own mouth.

Hao Chen sees them and frowns, then turns and walks away. Si Ming finds him floating in the middle of a storm and reports that there seems to be an influx of heavenly spiritual energy around Xuan Ji. Hao Chen explains that it’s because she gave his Liangyuan flower to Si Feng. He gave it to her to reduce her evil energy, yet she used it to save some outsider?

Si Ming suggests that maybe Hao Chen should just leave Xuan Ji be. As long as her evil energy doesn’t rise, then she still has a chance of succeeding. Mortal lives are short. Once Xuan Ji returns to the heavenly realm, she’ll forget all about Si Feng and return to being his. But thunder booms and lightning crackles as Hao Chen says that Xuan Ji was always his and will always be his and the heavenly realm’s. He’s intent on taking Si Feng away from Xuan Ji and ending their ill-fated relationship.

Xuan Ji hands her father the bottle with Ling Long’s spirit in it. He asks what happened to Min Yan. Xuan Ji tells him what happened and asks if her father said something to him, but Chu Lei looks distraught. He never told Min Yan to do any such thing. He at first blames Zi Hu for leading Min Yan astray, then asks about the other Lize Palace disciple who went with them — Ruo Yu. Xuan Ji realizes that maybe it was Ruo Yu — he was the one who stabbed Si Feng.

Chu Lei starts lecturing Xuan Ji again about her recklessness, but then gives up. She’s already learned enough from what’s been lost. He turns to the subject of Si Feng and Hao Chen, reassuring her that Hao Chen always follows through on his word. But then he manages to turn the conversation back to the subject of her marriage with Hao Chen. Can’t she see how special she is to Hao Chen? And they have a fated relationship. But Xuan Ji kneels before her father and then bows, begging him to not push marriage on her anymore. She won’t marry anyone other than Si Feng. He tells her to rise and says that they can talk about it more later.

Si Feng starts to get feverish and is in clear distress. Xiao Yin Hua hovers worriedly over him and frowns. It’s as she feared — human magic isn’t working for him. If the spiritual energy around his heart is too strong, it’ll actually harm him. She pulls open his robes, revealing several glowing things in his side. She wants to create some openings in his seal to help him heal, but he tells her not to. She knows that he’s afraid he won’t be able to suppress his demonic form if she opens the seal, but she warns him that if she doesn’t, nothing will save him.

She tells him to trust him and removes two of the glowing things in his side, but it doesn’t seem to help. Instead, his forehead starts glowing with a gold mark. He manages to tell Xiao Yin Hua that the spirit energy Xuan Ji gave him is conflicting with his own internal energy. She tells him to stop trying to suppress himself. The Palace leader told her that if he’s ever in danger, she’s supposed to remove his Longjing (“dragon crystal”) seal. Maybe some human essences will help. She gets up to go find some live humans for him, but he orders her to come back. He demands she give the Longjing back and go find Yi Huan.

Si Feng tries to put the Longjing back in his side, but gets distracted and drops them when Xuan Ji pounds at the spell he placed over the door. He falls out of bed. Xuan Ji hears him struggling and starts pounding harder on the door. Desperate, he summons his energy. Xuan Ji smells demonic energy and breaks open the spell on the doors. When she gets inside, the room is empty. She manages to see something fly out the window.

Xuan Ji rushes outside and tells her father, Hao Chen, and Ying Hong that she saw a demon take Si Feng away. They go into the woods to look for him.

Hao Chen finds Si Feng stumbling through the woods and holds him at swordpoint. A swarm of leaves suddenly attacks Hao Chen and he turns to deflect. By the time the leaves are gone, Xuan Ji has found them and rushes to Si Feng. Hao Chen asks if she saw what the demon looked like, but she didn’t, and her focus is on making sure Si Feng is okay. Hao Chen is suspicious. Why did the demon bring Si Feng here and run away instead of killing him?

Hao Chen and Xuan Ji bring Si Feng back so that Hao Chen can try to finish healing him. Hao Chen grows more confused as he works on Si Feng. Si Feng should be in better shape given Hao Chen’s previous work and the spirit energy that Xuan Ji gave him. He probes further and suddenly draws out demonic poison that starts encasing his arm and trying to enter his body. Xuan Ji tries to help free him, but is unsuccessful. Ying Hong also fails.

Xiao Yin Hua returns with Ting Nu and Yi Huan in tow. Ting Nu is able to help, but Chu Lei doesn’t want to collaborate with demons, even though Xuan Ji says he’s a friend. Time is running out and Ying Hong adds her support to Xuan Ji’s request that they let Ting Nu help.

Ting Nu helps dispel the demonic poison. Hao Chen gives him a sideways glance and recognizes him. Ting Nu also finds him familiar, but can’t place his face. Hao Chen wants to keep chasing after the demon, but is convinced to rest instead.

Si Feng starts coughing up more blood. Ting Nu says he can help, but tells everyone except Yi Huan to vacate the room.

Ting Nu heals Si Feng. Yi Huan wants to put the missing Longjing pieces back into Si Feng’s seal, but Ting Nu tells him to wait until Si Feng has recovered more of his strength.


Commentary

So it’s confirmed that Si Feng is indeed a demon, as expected, and a powerful one with a powerful seal that lets him masquerade as more of a human than anyone else. The stones in his side also explain why Si Feng was so nervous about Xuan Ji seeing him naked earlier when he was injured. I thought it was purely because of the lovers’ curse, but it’s also possible he was worried that he was straight up glowing.

From the start, we knew Si Feng had something to do with Mosha Star and is likely Luohou Jidu’s spirit, but it looks like many people, like Yuan Lang and Ting Nu, know his secret. For a moment, I thought Hao Chen knew, but I suppose he only had his suspicions. What I’m a little confused by is if Yuan Lang knows who Si Feng is, why does he insist on trying to kill him or put him in situations to be killed? Unless he isn’t Luohou Jidu’s spirit? Or there’s more to that story that we don’t have answers to yet.

This confirmation of Si Feng’s true identity makes his relationship with Xuan Ji so much more tragic and also introduces so many more questions! If they’ve always had this ill-fated relationship, starting from when she supposedly killed him in the immortal war, then everything makes a little more sense… but also if he died then, how did he appear in front of her a hundred years later? So many questions.

I don’t doubt Si Feng’s love for Xuan Ji, but is love all there is to it? He knows who he is. Is it possible that he really didn’t know Xuan Ji’s true identity until the mirror? I find that unlikely. But also, he seemed to genuinely not know about his and Xuan Ji’s ill-fated relationships until the mirror, so it’s still possible that he didn’t know anything.

Has Si Feng always been a demon in all his lives? How does his ill-fated relationship with Xuan Ji tie in with his identity? They seem inextricably related, but in what way? Is their relationship doomed because of who they are, or is it doomed because Si Feng always picks her before whatever he should be doing as his true demon identity? I have so many questions.

Hao Chen seems to think that Xuan Ji’s greatest weakness is her emotions, yet if Si Feng’s past lives are anything to go by, perhaps she failed because she was so emotionless. Then again, the glimpses of how Si Feng’s relationships with Xuan Ji have ended don’t show the full picture of their relationship. If I were Hao Chen, I would probably think that Si Feng’s main purpose is to die and make Xuan Ji truly evil. Is it when she turns her back on him that the evil energy takes over?

All this excitement over Si Feng’s identity has also overshadowed so many other things that happened this episode. Like is Ruo Yu truly a betrayer (Yuan Lang has him under his thumb, after all) or is he just desperate to survive for his sister? What really compelled Min Yan to go to such extreme lengths to save Ling Long? What did Chu Lei say to him? And also, Ling Long’s soul isn’t truly even saved yet, because half of it is still in that flower demon.

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