Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Love and Redemption (Ep. 39)

Yuan Lang is finally in a truth-telling mood, but it’s not necessarily the truth that Si Feng wants to hear. Si Feng gets pulled into Palace intrigue while Xuan Ji broods over the choices she’s been forced to make. Ling Long struggles with her own lingering trauma.


Recap

Yuan Lang reveals the truth about the Palace leader and Hao Feng. She didn’t know he was a demon until she gave birth to Si Feng and saw his true form. The only reason Lize Palace’s secret wasn’t leaked was because the old Palace leader showed up and killed everyone present. How could Hao Feng love the Palace leader after seeing all of her brethren slain just shortly after giving birth to a demon? No, she could only hate him, until the Palace leader killed her himself. Ever since then, he’s been trying to delude himself into believing that she always loved him the way she once did.

The Palace leader accuses Yuan Lang of making this all up. He trusts no one but himself. Yuan Lang reminds him that when he forced Hao Feng to remove the lovers’ curse mask, she was full of hate. How was that love?

For a moment, the Palace leader remembers a flash of the truth. After his mask was removed, he had tried to approach Hao Feng, but she had backed away fearfully, holding her hairpin out at him like a weapon.

Yuan Lang describes how Hao Feng had a chance to escape after the Palace leader succumbed to the effects of the curse. Does the Palace leader remember how he couldn’t even control his demon form and got caught by He Dan Ping, Xuan Ji’s mother? Yuan Lang points out that the Palace leader has never had Lize Palace’s safety in mind. He didn’t even bother finishing He Dan Ping off before chasing after Hao Feng. He’s lucky Yuan Lang had followed him and killed He Dan Ping for him, otherwise Lize Palace’s secret would have been discovered long ago.

Si Feng steps forward. So he killed Xuan Ji’s mother? Yuan Lang teleports to stand in front of Si Feng and says, “Yes, and so what?” He only did it to clean up after the Palace leader’s mess. Yuan Lang accuses the old Palace leader of being so biased toward the current Palace leader that he turned a blind eye to all his mistakes, all because he was a twelve-feathered garuda.

Yuan Lang reveals that the old Palace leader doted on the current one so much that he purposely cast a spell that would make the current Palace leader forget the truth — he was afraid that the current leader would succumb to the lovers’ curse if he didn’t.

The Palace leader is in denial and says that Yuan Lang is making this all up. Hao Feng said she would love him no matter what. But then he clutches his chest and coughs.

Yuan Lang smirks and tells the Palace leader that the person who killed Hao Feng wasn’t someone else — it was him. The Palace leader is still in denial, but Yuan Lang says that Elder Luo knows this too. He can ask him.

The Palace leader turns to Elder Luo and asks him to tell him that Yuan Lang’s words are all just lies. But Elder Luo evasively responds that regardless of whether it’s true or not, it’s all in the past.

Yuan Lang says it doesn’t matter if Elder Luo won’t say it. He pulls out a letter that he’s kept for the past twenty years. It was written by Hao Feng to her father using her own blood. Yuan Lang says that he’ll read it out loud for the Palace leader.

In the letter, Hao Feng describes how she’s been held captive by the demons and how she regrets letting herself be deceived by the demons. With her death, she swears to forever be separated from the demons.

The Palace leader takes the letter with shaking hands, but says it’s impossible. He smiles manically at Yuan Lang, asking him to say that none of this is true. He’s been at Lize Palace for so long but has never heard a spell that can change someone’s memory. Yuan Lang pulls up the Palace leader’s sleeve, revealing a green feather mark on his wrist.

The truth breaks the Palace leader, who starts vomiting blood as the final bit of the lovers’ curse takes hold. Si Feng and the elders who are on his side rush to him. The elders beseech him to take the forgetting pill that is the antidote to the lovers’ curse. Yuan Lang continues to taunt the Palace leader — if he and Hao Feng were really in love, then why is the curse taking hold now? Si Feng tells him to shut up, but Yuan Lang just calmly responds with a question — doesn’t he want to know whether his parents’ relationship was love or a sin?

Si Feng turns back to his father. His father tells him that his mother will wake soon and will tell him the truth about how much she loved him. As for Yuan Lang — he’s lying.

But Yuan Lang smirks with another truth to tell. The old Dianjing leader searched for years for the chalcedony that would save Hao Feng and he finally found it, but then someone broke into Dianjing Valley in the middle of the night and stole her corpse. The time limit passed and the Dianjing leader died. There’s nothing left.

The Palace leader doesn’t seem to be listening as he weeps over Hao Feng’s bloody letter. But Si Feng asks what Yuan Lang means by “time limit.” Yuan Lang reveals that the chalcedony can only be used to revive someone within three years of their death. After that, their soul disappears.

Yuan Lang has Hao Feng’s casket carried in. Shall they see whether Hao Feng is alive or dead?

The Palace leader knocks down the Lize disciples as he flies toward Hao Feng’s casket. Her body rises up. Yuan Lang appears beside the Palace leader and says that he was just joking — it looks like Hao Feng is alive and smiling at him. The Palace leader smiles as he sees Hao Feng smiling at him. In reality, her body float up, then disappears. But to the Palace leader, Hao Feng’s expression suddenly turns angry as she yells that she’ll never be with a demon like him.

The Palace leader reaches out toward a vision only he can see and says, “The phoenixes are in flight.” Then he collapses. Si Feng catches him and weeps over him as his father tries to tell him that he and his mother were really in love, before she found out he was a demon.

Yuan Lang shakes his head as he looks pityingly down at the father and son. They’re both the type who easily fall in love. It’s not worth it. He teleports himself onto the Lize Palace throne.

Si Feng’s father says that he tried so hard but he ended being such a fool. He’s wronged Si Feng, but more than that, he wronged Si Feng’s mother. He holds the forgetting pill out to Si Feng, telling him to take it now so that he doesn’t end up like him, hurting himself and others. But Si Feng shakes his head. He won’t. He tries to get his father to take it.

His father tells him that he needs to take care of Lize Palace and their garuda clan. Si Feng nods and tries to get his father to take the antidote, but it’s too late. His father follows his vision of Hao Feng and slowly floats out of the Palace in his garuda form. Once he’s outside, he dissipates in a golden sparkle of light. The Lize Palace disciples kneel in respect for the Palace leader’s passing. Si Feng rushes outside, but all that’s left of his father is his cape and the Jinyu token. He bows.

The two elders who are on Yuan Lang’s side stand, refusing to show their respect for someone they think was crazy and undeserving of his position. They bow to Yuan Lang instead, recognizing him as the new Palace leader. All the other Palace disciples except for Elder Luo and the other elder on Si Feng’s father’s side also turn and bow to Yuan Lang.

Si Feng picks up the Lize Palace leader token. He wipes away his tears and turns back toward Lize Palace. Yuan Lang holds out his hand, asking for the Jinyu token. Si Feng refuses to hand it over and instead asks how many members of Lize Palace have already joined Tianxu Hall.

Yuan Lang says that all demons are one family. Why differentiate between Tianxu Hall and Lize Palace?

Si Feng asks Elder Bai to remind them of one of Lize Palace’s rules — once a disciple has entered Lize Palace, they may not enter any other sect. Si Feng holds up the token, invoking the authority it gives him. The disciples stand. He announces that any Lize Palace disciple who joined Tianxu Hall can stand up now and be considered innocent. After today, they will be killed. Si Feng reminds them that he grew up at Lize Palace. They should not let themselves be led astray by Tianxu Hall. The disciples whisper amongst themselves and several step forward to stand before Si Feng.

Si Feng accuses Yuan Lang of defying the Palace rules. Si Feng promised to protect the garuda and won’t give up until he catches Yuan Lang. Yuan Lang smirks. Since he promised to protect the garuda, wouldn’t it be terrible if his fellow garuda died because of him?

Several Tianxu demons show up with their swords at the throats of Lize Palace disciples. Elder Bai is appalled that Yuan Lang would kill some of their own. Yuan Lang slits his throat, then flies to Si Feng and tells him to hand over the Jinyu token, otherwise Elder Bai’s death will only be the first of many.

Si Feng takes on his garuda form and attacks Yuan Lang, grabbing him by the throat. A Tianxu demon kills one of the Lize disciples. Yuan Lang tells Si Feng he’ll make sure all the disciples die unless Si Feng hands over the token. Yuan Lang claims he wants it just for a few days for safekeeping, until the danger is over. Then he’ll promise to give it back to Si Feng. Yuan Lang asks if Si Feng thinks the token is more important than the lives of his brethren. Another disciple dies.

Si Feng turns away, then tosses the token to Yuan Lang. Yuan Lang smiles. He declares that his first order as the new Palace leader is for Lize Palace to join Tianxu Hall. Anyone who refuses will be killed.

He leaves and the rest of the disciples follow him out of the hall, leaving behind only Si Feng and Elder Luo.

Xuan Ji drinks herself into oblivion, recalling the message Si Feng wrote to her that she never saw: I love you, but you don’t know. She sighs and says that she finally understands his heart, but it seems like it’s a bit too late.

A Dianjing disciple tells Hao Chen about Xuan Ji’s drinking and asks him to go talk to her. He finds her talking to herself and pauses with a frown.

“They say that you’re a demon and I’m the God of War, so I must kill you,” Xuan Ji says to no one. She starts laughing sadly. Kill him? How can she kill him? She’d rather not be the God of War.

She says to Si Feng that she knows she realized his intentions a little too late, but he still shouldn’t have lied to her. Why did he lie to her?

Hao Chen watches her, then turns and leaves without saying anything.

Xuan Ji passes out. She wakes up in her bed with Si Feng’s hairpin in her hand and his lock next to her on the bed. She sniffs the air, smelling Zi Hu. Zi Hu appears with a smile and sits down next to her on the bed.

Xuan Ji asks if Zi Hu has recovered, then tells her that she shouldn’t be here — it’s too dangerous. Zi Hu says that she’s all better now. She found Ting Nu and Yi Huan and Ting Nu healed her. She only came back because she was worried about Xuan Ji.

Zi Hu says that she heard about Xuan Ji and Si Feng and that they fought. She never thought that Si Feng would be a garuda. She looks curiously at Xuan Ji — does she care that he’s a demon? “Should I not?” Xuan Ji asks.

Zi Hu points out that Xuan Ji helped heal her and that she became friends with her and Ting Nu. Si Feng isn’t the kind of evil demon who hurts people. Zi Hu thinks that he probably didn’t know about Tianxu Hall and Lize Palace working together, either. So can’t Xuan Ji…?

Xuan Ji says it’s not the same. He shouldn’t have lied to her. He’s the person she trusted the most. Now, she doesn’t know what was real between them and what was just a lie. Zi Hu thinks it’s quite simple. Xuan Ji should just grab him and demand to know the truth. If it was all lies, she can just kill him. But if there is a misunderstanding there, then it can be resolved.

Zi Hu says that the worst thing that can come between two people is a pointless misunderstanding. If they let each other slip by, it could be for the rest of their lives. They’ll regret it.

Xuan Ji doesn’t say anything so Zi Hu stands up and says it looks like Xuan Ji has made her decision clear. Zi Hu will go find Si Feng for her and tell him that Xuan Ji has decided she’ll never see him again and he should just give up. But Xuan Ji rushes to grab onto her arm and says that’s not what she wants. She just doesn’t know what to do.

Ling Long broods by the river, remembering how Wu Tong had taunted her — in front of all the disciples — about how they had slept together when she was his prisoner, and how later the Dianjing disciples had rudely gossiped in front of her and Min Yan about it. Min Yan finds her there. She asks to be left alone, but he wants to know what’s on her mind. She doesn’t answer, so he says that he’ll wait here until she’s ready to talk.

Zi Hu drinks with Xuan Ji, who broods again over how Si Feng protected that evil demon who killed her mother. What should she do?

Zi Hu tells Xuan Ji to think about it from Si Feng’s perspective. What could he have done? He was only a child when his master, the Palace leader, did what he did. The Palace leader is the one who raised him. She shares what she learned from Yi Huan — that Si Feng’s master is also his father. What could he have done? She points out that Si Feng’s suffering is not any less than what Xuan Ji is going through.

Zi Hu tells Xuan Ji that in her thousand years of living, there are some things she’s figured out. Life might seem long, but there’s only one way to live. It’s up to her to decide whether she wants to pursue cultivation, or pursue her heart. Xuan Ji points out that having only her own heart is of no use. Zi Hu says that’s why she needs to figure out Si Feng’s heart. She’ll go get Yi Huan and have him help her find Si Feng. They need to meet.

Xuan Ji tells Zi Hu that she’s going back to Shaoyang tomorrow. Zi Hu reassures her that she has her own way of finding her. “Wait for my good news,” she says.

Min Yan stands silently near Ling Long until she finally says, “It’s all my fault.” She thinks it’s her fault that Wu Tong captured her. Min Yan asks how she could say such a thing, but Ling Long points out that everyone thinks that of her after what Wu Tong said. Min Yan says that Ling Long shouldn’t care about what other people say — just pretend she didn’t hear them. But Ling Long asks why she should pretend when she so clearly heard. It happened, why should she play dumb and pretend it didn’t?

Min Yan tells Ling Long about how the kids in his village would make fun of him for being an orphan. The only thing he could do was pretend he didn’t hear them, because he knew that if he showed he cared, they would only get more vicious. They might not be able to get the other disciples to shut up, but they can pretend they can’t hear. He reminds her that she did nothing wrong.

He takes her hand and promises to stay with her forever. This will all pass.

Ling Long wakes up in the middle of the night and suddenly bolts upright when she sees Wu Tong’s blurry silhouette standing at the foot of her bed. She blinks and he’s gone. She looks around and her eyes widen as Wu Tong enters her bedroom, teleporting progressively closer and telling her to come back with him. She covers her ears and closes her eyes, yelling and shaking her head, but he appears in front of her and grabs her head, trying to force a kiss on her. She yells and pushes him away — and bolts upright in bed. It was just a nightmare. She cries as she hugs herself, all alone.

Si Feng holds vigil for his father. Xiao Yin Hua joins him and prays to the Palace leader, asking him to make Si Feng take the forgetting pill and to watch over the demons and help them in their quest to kill all of the sects. Si Feng reprimands Xiao Yin Hua and tells her to leave. She stomps out.

Yuan Lang shows up. Si Feng says that he’s already given him the Jinyu token — what more does he want? Yuan Lang says that they’re part of the same clan. He also wants the garuda to thrive. He suggests they work together. Si Feng scoffs at that — Yuan Lang was willing to kill some of their own, and now he wants to work together? Yuan Lang says that the people who died were useless. But Si Feng is different. He’s powerful and if he unleashed his full potential he could be one of the most powerful demons.

Si Feng says that if he wants to work together, he needs a show of good faith. He asks what Yuan Lang’s plans are. Yuan Lang reminds him of the garuda’s status a thousand years ago. They were part of the Xiuluo King’s elite forces, fighting alongside Mosha Star. Now look at them, hiding behind masks in the mortal realm. He wants to resurrect Mosha Star so they can be masters of the three worlds. The worlds will have no choice but to worship them.

Si Feng gets to his feet and says that Yuan Lang is dreaming. Mosha Star is dead. Yuan Lang asks if Si Feng really doesn’t know that Mosha Star’s soul is trapped in the Liuli Lamp in Shaoyang’s secret place. All they have to do is rescue Wu Zhi Qi and use Juntian Cehai to break open the lamp.

Si Feng says there’s one thing he still hasn’t figured out. Why does he keep provoking Xuan Ji? Yuan Lang smiles and says that he’s shared enough today. He needs a show of good faith from Si Feng as well.

“What do you need me to do?” Si Feng asks.


Commentary

Yuan Lang — so evil yet so charismatic. The most dangerous kind of villain! I don’t like him, but I don’t dislike him, either. He’s so entertaining!

I suppose a big of the “love and redemption” in this show is the endless cycle of the same stories and mistakes being made over and over again. Everything Si Feng does is an echo of his father’s mistakes, but everything he does is also an echo of all the past lives he’s led. It takes something special for him to be exponentially doomed like that.

I also didn’t really expect this show to dive into the stigma of sexual assault and victim-blaming and all the trauma that comes with it, but I’m really glad that we’re exploring this topic with Ling Long and not acting like all problems were solved when she was rescued.

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