Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 7)

This episode starts off feeling like a lot more of the same as En Xi continues to try pushing Xin Yu and Bo Ya together, but we also finally get something a little bit different as the relationships in this show finally start going… somewhere!


Recap

Ouyang Kai follows En Xi who chases after Bo Ya after class. She asks Bo Ya if he really likes Xin Yu. Is he sincere toward her? What if the memories she lost reveals that she’s actually a murderer? Would he still like her?

Bo Ya smiles and says he doesn’t care about her past. He just likes her.

En Xi decides to tell Bo Ya the “truth” about Xin Yu’s past: she was once married and has a child, but her husband passed away. Bo Ya doesn’t mind. What he likes is Xin Yu’s heart and that won’t change. If this past is the reason Xin Yu is rejecting him, then he thinks he needs to have a chat with her. He’s willing to take care of her and her child.

Two of En Xi’s classmates frown and gossip about her as they watch her chatting so casually with Bo Ya.

Granny Wu notices Zhong Kui staring at his phone while he bakes and teases him about waiting for Xin Yu. He claims that’s not the case, but keeps an eye on his phone, which doesn’t light up.

En Xi ropes Ouyang Kai into helping Bo Ya win over Xin Yu by threatening him with their friendship. Ouyang Kai is reluctant because he’s loyal to Zhong Kui, but also seems to care more about maintaining a relationship with En Xi.

Xin Yu gets a text from Granny Wu, asking her to drop by the bakery since they haven’t chatted in a while. Bo Ya offers to take Xin Yu home when she prepares to leave for the day. Xin Yu tries to refuse, saying Ouyang Kai and En Xi will go home with her, but En Xi quickly makes up an excuse, saying that she and Ouyang Kai are going to the movies.

So Xin Yu is forced to accept Bo Ya’s offer and shows up to Granny Wu’s bakery with him. She smiles at Zhong Kui over Granny Wu’s shoulder. All the female customers who were fawning over Zhong Kui immediately flock to Bo Ya when he shows up.

Bo Ya introduces himself to Granny Wu and apologizes for not bringing a gift. Instead, he tells all the customers that everything they buy is on him today.

Zhong Kui glares at Bo Ya and freezes him. He’s about to childishly draw on Bo Ya’s face when Cheng Huang shows up and calls Zhong Kui out for using his magic in pursuit of a woman. Cheng Huang ends up comparing Zhong Kui to Bo Ya with a (literal) magic marker that he confiscates from Zhong Kui. Bo Ya has a bunch of strengths to list; Zhong Kui has none.

Cheng Huang decides to help Zhong Kui out a little. He farts, then spreads the scent all over Bo Ya. Zhong Kui picks Xin Yu up and sets her down next to him on the other side of the counter, putting her arm in his, before unfreezing time.

Both Bo Ya and Xin Yu look slightly confused. Xin Yu asks Zhong Kui what he did, but he says it’s a secret. He gives her a piece of bread that he makes look like a heart shape. She smiles and accepts it. Granny Wu tells Zhong Kui to hurry up and go after Xin Yu, but he reassures her that he’s got this.

On her way home at night, Xin Yu runs into two ghosts arguing. She steps in to try and mediate. Zhong Kui watches her with a smile, remembering how she used to try to solve everyone’s problems — ghosts and gods alike — back when she was in the underworld.

Xin Yu sneaks up on Zhong Kui, having guessed he was around when the two ghosts she was talking to suddenly disappeared. He suggests that she should thank him for helping her, since she frequently gets pulled into ghostly matters. But Xin Yu didn’t ask for his help and says that if he really wanted to help, he would’ve shown himself earlier. She knows that he’s been following her and guesses that he has been for a while.

Zhong Kui asks how she knows that he’s been following her. Xin Yu doesn’t know how to explain it, but she thinks she can sense when he’s around. It’s a feeling of “you’re here.” He might be mysterious and unwilling to tell her who he is, but even if he does tell her who he is, she will still choose to trust him. As long as he’s by her side, she feels at ease.

Zhong Kui smiles and takes her hand, saying, “Then… let’s go home?” She smiles shyly and they hold hands back to her apartment.

Xin Yu and Zhong Kui are alone in her apartment — En Xi is with her mother and won’t be coming back tonight. Zhong Kui wonders if it’s safe to leave Xin Yu alone at night. As he thinks that, Xin Yu slips on a floor outlet cover. Zhong Kui catches the mug that flies out of Xin Yu’s hands and her in one smooth motion. Flustered, Xin Yu quickly busies herself with tidying up the apartment. Zhong Kui decides that Xin Yu isn’t safe by herself and that he should stay with her.

He comes up with different ways to prolong his stay: first he drinks several cups of coffee, then eats several bowls of noodles. Eventually, Xin Yu calls him out for intentionally trying to stay late, but tells him that he can’t sleep over.

He protests, saying that it’s raining. When she goes to the window to investigate, he snaps his fingers and makes it storm, then pretends to fall asleep on the couch behind her.

Xin Yu sighs, but smiles and covers him with his coat. When he opens his eyes later, he finds her researching the Rafflesia flower online. Xin Yu finds the flower very familiar and turns to ask Zhong Kui. He quickly closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep again.

Xin Yu smiles as she watches Zhong Kui sleep and leans in toward his face. She reaches out her hand to touch his face. He grabs her wrist before she can, then spins her onto the couch. They stare at each other for a moment before he leans in to kiss her. She closes her eyes in anticipation.

Xin Yu’s phone chimes, ruining the moment. When she checks it, she has a text from Bo Ya, inviting her out for a walk the next day. She sighs and glances at Zhong Kui, who guesses that it was Bo Ya who texted her. He gets up and puts on his coat, saying that it’s time for him to go home.

Xin Yu asks if she can come see him after work tomorrow. He says that he’ll wait for her.

When Zhong Kui gets to work at the bakery the next morning, he finds Granny Wu frowning over a piece of paper. She tries to hide it and act like nothing’s wrong when he asks about it, but he uses his powers to see what she was looking at: a bill from a nursing home.

At school, two of En Xi’s classmates try to bully her about her relationship with Bo Ya. En Xi refuses to let herself be bullied and loudly stands up for herself, but when Bo Ya shows up and asks what’s going on, the two classmates rush over and claim that En Xi was trying to bully them and even threatened to hit them. Bo Ya doesn’t believe them, knowing that En Xi isn’t unreasonable like they’re claiming. He wants to hear the truth. The two classmates drop the matter.

Afterward, En Xi and Bo Ya drink coffee together. He asks if she gets bullied often, then tells her that with him around, no one will dare to bully her again. She asks him to hide the bullying from Xin Yu, then admits that she lied about Xin Yu’s having a husband and child and apologizes for it. Bo Ya is understanding; he knows that En Xi just wanted to see if he was sincere toward Xin Yu. Nothing can change the way he feels about her.

En Xi wonders why her heart feels strange hearing Bo Ya’s words, but shakes it off, deciding that she will help Bo Ya win Xin Yu over.

Xin Yu dresses up nice and does her make-up to meet up with Zhong Kui later. She wonders if she should show up early, but then decides that two hours early might be a little too early. She’s trying to figure out how to kill time when En Xi texts her, telling her to meet at the coffee shop.

Xin Yu goes inside the dark coffee shop to find a surprise candle-lit dinner with Bo Ya. He tells her that since she’s already here, she should stay and eat, and she sits down in a chair he pulls out for her.

Bo Ya senses that Xin Yu looks uncomfortable and asks if she’s not hungry. She smiles awkwardly and tells him that he doesn’t need to do all this. If he has something he wants to say, he should just say it.

Bo Ya walks around to Xin Yu’s side of the table, then kneels down beside her. He tells her that he really likes her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. “If you don’t hate me, can we try dating?”

Xin Yu hesitates, then apologizes and says that she only sees him as a friend and that there’s someone she already likes. Bo Ya guesses that she likes Zhong Kui and admits that he knew it, but wanted to hope that he still had a chance. He did this because he didn’t want to have any regrets.

She apologizes again, but he doesn’t need an apology. He’s just glad that they can still be friends. He tries to convince her to stay and eat a little, but she awkwardly tells him that she has a date.

When they go outside, Xin Yu immediately breaks into a smile to see Zhong Kui. She asks him how he knew she was there. He says that he placed a tracker on her. She asks where. He places her hand on his chest and says, “Here.” (🤮 I am dying from how cheesy this is! I had to GIF it.)

Zhong Kui asks Xin Yu to agree to something for him: if she ever runs into any problems, she should come to him.

Bo Ya broods over Xin Yu at work. A fellow teacher asks him to help out with Chen Zhe Xuan — the pianist has locked himself in the practice room and has been in there for three days.

Bo Ya goes to look for Zhe Xuan. Zhe Xuan finally leaves the practice room, but walks, zombie-like through campus. He passes by Xin Yu and En Xi. En Xi notices Bo Ya behind Zhe Xuan, while Xin Yu is distracted by the sight of Zhe Xuan and seems to sense that something isn’t right with him. En Xi invites Bo Ya out to lunch with them. Bo Ya is distracted by Zhe Xuan. Xin Yu asks to go with him in pursuit of Zhe Xuan. They turn to follow Zhe Xuan, who collapses.

The three of them take Zhe Xuan back to his house, where Bo Ya starts setting out small bowls of black vinegar to disperse negative energy.

Zhe Xuan wakes up, confused and with no memory of the past three days. Xin Yu asks him if he’s been alone at home. He says yes. She and Bo Ya exchange a look.

Xin Yu brews tea for Zhe Xuan and drafts a text to Zhong Kui, asking him for help, but then she deletes it without sending it. Zhong Kui continues to watch his phone while he bakes, but doesn’t get anything from Xin Yu.

It’s nearly 1 AM by the time Zhe Xuan falls asleep. Xin Yu insists on waiting and En Xi keeps her company while dozing off. They’re about to leave when En Xi feels a sudden chill. Xin Yu’s eyes widen as she hears the sound of the piano and turns to see Zhe Xuan’s mother’s ghost playing. Bo Ya can also see her, because he suspected that something was off with the house and came prepared with a vial of cow’s tears. He offers the tears to En Xi, but En Xi doesn’t want to see any ghosts and clings to Xin Yu in fear.

Zhe Xuan’s mother stops playing and turns to look at Xin Yu and Bo Ya, asking them what they did to her son — why isn’t he practicing? Xin Yu tries to reason with her, saying that Zhe Xuan needs to sleep, but Mama Chen resents the insinuation that she would try to harm her son. She tries to attack Xin Yu. Bo Ya throws himself in front of Xin Yu as a shield, but Mama Chen easily tosses him aside.

Xin Yu closes her eyes as Mama Chen springs toward her, calling Zhong Kui’s pseudonym. Zhong Kui appears almost instantly in front of her and knocks the ghost back.

He looks into the woman’s death and frowns. She clearly died of a heart attack — a natural death — and shouldn’t have lingered in the human realm. Why is there such a strong evil energy around her?

He turns to Xin Yu to check if she’s okay. Mama Chen is down, but not out, and gets up to try to attack again. Xin Yu sees her over Zhong Kui’s shoulder and shoves him out of the way. She gets hit in the head instead, and collapses onto the couch.

Zhe Xuan comes downstairs and sees his mother, surprising her. Zhong Kui knocks out Zhe Xuan and En Xi and tries to do the same to Bo Ya, but Bo Ya crawls toward Xin Yu to check if she’s okay. Zhong Kui settles for dispatching the ghost first and summoning Xiao Qi to take her away, then turns to check on Xin Yu.

Bo Ya is also concerned about Xin Yu and hovers over Zhong Kui’s shoulder. Zhong Kui suggests that he should go home and rest, since he was injured, and gives him some advice on how to treat it. Bo Ya already knows, but doesn’t leave. Zhong Kui ignores him and picks Xin Yu up to take her home.

En Xi wakes up to find that Bo Ya is carrying her on his back. He lets her down when he realizes she’s awake and says that he’ll walk with her home. He starts walking, but En Xi stops him. Does he really not feel upset seeing Xin Yu with Zhong Kui?

Bo Ya lets out a sheepish laugh and says that if he felt upset seeing them together, then that would mean he doesn’t respect Xin Yu’s rejection. He’s happy knowing that Xin Yu is happy. En Xi starts to protest, but Bo Ya interrupts her. There’s an element of fate when it comes to love. If God has decided that he and Xin Yu aren’t meant to be, then who is he to force it?

Zhong Kui brings Xin Yu back to his own house, where he looks pained to see her in pain. He’s about to transfer some of his divine energy to her when Cheng Huang shows up and warns him to stop. If even a little bit of divine energy returns to Xin Yu, the underworld will find her and all of Qin Guang’s help will have been for nothing.

But Zhong Kui can’t stand to see Xin Yu suffer more and ignores Cheng Huang. The evil energy that Xin Yu was attacked with exits her body. She collapses, still unconscious, against Zhong Kui’s chest, but this time she seems at peace. Cheng Huang is confused by why she’s still like this when Zhong Kui gave her some of his divine energy, but leaves. He’s said all he needs to say. Zhong Kui hugs Xin Yu to him and presses the remnants of her Meng Po nametag into her hand.

In her dreams, Xin Yu remembers being Meng Po and how she was always so close yet so far from Zhong Kui. She tried to find ways to show him that she cared about him, but she could never be sure if her secret feelings for him were reciprocated. Has he ever liked her?

When Xin Yu finally wakes up, she immediately recognizes Zhong Kui for his true identity. He beams and hugs her. She’s surprised, but then smiles.

Zhong Kui asks Xin Yu if she remembers everything. She frowns. She remembers that she was Meng Po, but everything else is still in bits and pieces. She feels like there’s a lot she doesn’t remember, but what she’s certain of is that she remembers him. He smiles and takes her hand. Remembering him is enough.

She asks if the ghost who kidnapped her has been caught. He shakes his head. She’s surprised there’s a ghost he can’t catch. He explains how they think Wu Qing Yuan will show up at the bakery, because he’s Granny Wu’s son, but other than that lead, they have no other way of finding him because it’s like he’s disappeared. Wu Qing Yuan is the reason why he started working there.

Xin Yu asks why Zhong Kui didn’t tell her who she was when he first met her. “Would you have believed me?” he asks.

Zhong Kui adds that he knows Xin Yu had grown weary of her Meng Po job, so he wanted to give her a chance to fully enjoy life in the human realm. She looks into his eyes and asks if that means he had noticed her when they were both in the underworld. Does that mean he likes her?

Zhong Kui teases her, saying that just because he noticed her doesn’t mean he likes her. But he does like her. He’s always liked her.

Xin Yu asks if she should report to the underworld now that she’s recovered her memories. Technically she’s supposed to, but Zhong Kui wants her to stay in the human realm. He still wants to figure out why her divine energy was sealed. Xin Yu is worried that Qin Guang won’t let her stay, but Zhong Kui feels confident he can convince her.

Xin Yu starts laughing as she remembers how she had thought Qin Guang and Zhong Kui were involved before she recovered her memories. Zhong Kui teases her, saying she’s cute when she’s jealous.

Xin Yu asks why Zhong Kui took her to his house when he could have taken her straight back to her home. He doesn’t want to admit that he was jealous of Bo Ya, so instead he makes up an excuse about them both being gods and wanting to make sure she didn’t have any side effects.

They’re surprised when they turn and see Bo Ya waiting outside Xin Yu’s apartment building. Zhong Kui makes sure to grab Xin Yu’s hand and murmurs that he’ll be mad if she lets go. She smiles and holds on.

Bo Ya approaches them and tells Xin Yu that he only came by to make sure she was okay. Now that it’s clear she’s fine, he’ll head out. Zhong Kui stops him. He noticed that the way Bo Ya handled the ghost yesterday was very practiced. Is he really just a self-taught amateur?

Bo Ya considers himself much more than an amateur. He grew up interested in this kind of thing and starts rambling again about how science and metaphysics actually have a lot of overlap. Zhong Kui doesn’t need to hear about all of that again. He still finds the timing of everything too much to be a coincidence — how did Bo Ya know that there would be a ghost in the house? Did he just happen to show up with the cow’s tears?

Bo Ya has explanations ready, but it’s Xin Yu who puts a hand on Zhong Kui’s arm to get him to drop the matter. She tells Bo Ya that Zhong Kui will be by her side protecting her from now on, so he doesn’t need to worry about her anymore.

After Bo Ya leaves, Zhong Kui points out to Xin Yu that it’d be more convenient for there to be one less mortal who remembers everything. She nods her okay.

Bo Ya returns home and sits down on the couch with a sigh. When he stands up, he’s surprised to see Zhong Kui suddenly appear in front of him. Zhong Kui snaps, knocking Bo Ya out and wiping his memory at the same time. He says that forgetting is the best thing that could happen to him.

Later, Zhong Kui is working at the bakery when he notices Granny Wu sadly looking at a framed photo. He asks her about the people in the photo. Granny Wu points out her son, Wu Qing Yuan, and her granddaughter, Qing Yuan’s daughter. This is the first Zhong Kui has heard of a granddaughter. He asks why she’s never come around. Granny Wu stammers something out about young people being busy when they grow up, then makes an excuse about needing to do some bookkeeping.

Ouyang Kai shows up at the bakery, but Zhong Kui is already done with his work for the morning and gets ready to head out. Ouyang Kai asks where he’s going. “Somewhere you’re not,” Zhong Kui responds.

Ouyang Kai isn’t easily dissuaded and wants to help out Zhong Kui, his friend. Zhong Kui tells him to go bother his other friends. Ouyang Kai starts to respond that he doesn’t have other friends, but then he thinks of En Xi and smiles — he does have one other friend.

Zhong Kui goes to the coffee shop to look for Xin Yu. She looks beautifully radiant as she pours coffee for some customers, who giggle and whisper when they see Zhong Kui. Xin Yu looks up and sees him and they smile at each other.


Commentary

This drama does not disappoint with the ridiculously cheesy lines, and while they make me want to vomit with how disgustingly cheesy they are, I also kind of love it because they legitimately make me laugh. Without them, I could not deal with how frustrating the characters are.

I’m really glad that we finally made some progress in both of Xin Yu’s romantic relationships this episode, because I was very ready to be super annoyed with how passive and how much of a pushover she was being with both Bo Ya and Zhong Kui. She just needed to say no to Bo Ya! And at least this time, she did.

I don’t usually fall for insta-love type situations, but I was totally willing to believe that Xin Yu loved Zhong Kui before she recovered her memories even though she had no reason to. I guess I believe in the power of past lives and true love? It doesn’t work the other way around, though, with Bo Ya and Xin Yu. Maybe there’s some past life thing going on there, too, but we don’t know about it yet and I still find his brand of insta-love questionable.

I kind of wish this show and The Haunted Heart could switch casts or writers or something. The actual content of The Haunted Heart is engaging but the acting drags it down, while with The Devil Punisher it feels like the writing is dragging the show down.

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