Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 9)

Xin Yu and Zhong Kui continue trying to figure out their relationship, with no help from En Xi, who seems determined to sabotage Xin Yu’s happiness because she can’t have her own.


Recap

Zhong Kui leans in, as if to kiss Xin Yu, but instead of kissing her, he tells her that he couldn’t sleep after she left last night. He kept wondering why they had fought. Had he done something wrong? What did he do wrong?

Xin Yu tells him that he didn’t do anything wrong. He just reminded her of what her duty is as a god. He asks if that means that they’ve made up now. She says they have. As for Granny Wu, she’ll listen to him from now on. After all, she’s on vacation right now and shouldn’t be thinking too much about these things anyway.

Xin Yu struggles to support the drunk Zhong Kui as they head home. Cheng Huang appears to offer some help and also use this opportunity to teach another lesson. He explains that Zhong Kui’s legendary drinking ability only applies to alcohol brewed according to Tang dynasty standards, which is not nearly as strong as modern day alcohol.

Cheng Huang isn’t much help in supporting Zhong Kui’s weight, so he teleports Zhong Kui and Xin Yu back to Zhong Kui’s house and disappears. Xin Yu lands on top of Zhong Kui on the couch.

Xin Yu tries to get up to get a glass of water for him, but he pulls her back down, telling her that she’s not allowed to sneak away. “Promise you’ll never leave me again,” he murmurs.

Xin Yu wraps her arms around Zhong Kui and promises to never leave him.

Th next morning, Xin Yu is about to head out on her own when Zhong Kui pulls her back inside. He suggests she should move in with him — then they can be together all the time and will never have to miss each other. Xin Yu gets a text from En Xi, asking where she was all night. She realizes that she never told En Xi that she would be out — she’s probably mad at her now. She’ll be even angrier if Xin Yu moves in with Zhong Kui.

For now, Xin Yu and Zhong Kui walk together to the bakery, Xin Yu clinging to his arm. Xiao Qi is guarding the front of the bakery when they arrive. She and Xin Yu bicker, just like old times.

After Xiao Qi leaves, Xin Yu comments that it must be hard on her, having to guard the bakery all the time. Zhong Kui says that someone has to. The bakery is the only place Wu Qing Yuan is likely to appear on his own. But now that he’s a vengeful ghost, who knows what will happen?

Xin Yu asks if Zhong Kui is worried about Granny Wu, then smiles. He’s changed. The old Zhong Kui only cared about catching ghosts and never cared about friendship. She hugs him and taps at his heart. He’s growing warmer there.

Xin Yu notices that Granny Wu isn’t in a good mood today and wonders if they should delay telling her the truth. En Xi finds Xin Yu at the bakery and is upset that she didn’t tell her she wasn’t going to be home last night. She gets more upset when Xin Yu says she’ll make sure to tell her “next time” — there’s going to be a next time?

En Xi watches Xin Yu and Zhong Kui interact and guesses that they’re actually together. She asks if they’ve reconciled, then says that she has a way to make sure they reconcile.

She turns to Granny Wu and expresses her sympathy for her son’s death. Granny Wu demands to know what kind of nonsense she’s saying. Xin Yu tries to intervene, but En Xi just keeps rolling. She tells Xin Yu that she’s trying to help Xin Yu and Zhong Kui — didn’t they fight about this before? Then she feigns surprise that Granny Wu doesn’t know and gets angry at Xin Yu for trying to stop her from telling the truth and not appreciating the “help” she’s giving her.

En Xi leaves, and leaves destruction in her wake. Granny Wu is distraught that both Xin Yu and Zhong Kui knew about her son’s death and didn’t tell her, then swoons. She is in denial that Qing Yuan could be dead and tries to believe that they’re lying to her.

Zhong Kui taps Granny Wu on the forehead, transporting her into a vision of the past. Wu Qing Yuan walks down an alley while on the phone. Granny Wu holds out her arms, overjoyed to see her son, but he walks right through her.

Qing Yuan is surrounded by several men in black who want him to come with them. Qing Yuan has tried to leave their company, but it’s not so easy to get out of the criminal business. He refuses to go with them, saying he already promised his mother that he wouldn’t participate in their drug business anymore, but they converge on him and beat him up.

Granny Wu cries for Zhong Kui to save him. Zhong Kui teleports them to the next part of the vision. The men carry a battered Qing Yuan to the edge of a pier. He’s chained to cinderblocks. He seems to look right at Granny Wu and Zhong Kui and weakly says, “Mom,” before the men toss him into the water.

Granny Wu returns to reality, clutching her head and crying no. She turns to Zhong Kui. If he can bring her to the past, then that means he must be able to back and save Qing Yuan, right? Zhong Kui responds that once something is in the past, it can’t be changed.

After Granny Wu calms down a bit, Xin Yu apologizes to her for hiding the truth about Qing Yuan. Granny Wu responds that she knows they did it for her. Zhong Kui is surprised that she accepts the vision he showed her as the truth, and not just a hallucination. Granny Wu says that she knows he’s not an ordinary person.

She reveals that she saw Zhong Kui summon the ghost baker to teach him how to bake that first day. She knows he has magic, but she also knows that he’s been trying to help her this whole time and that’s why she trusts him.

“I won’t let you get back together,” En Xi mutters angrily as she arrives at the coffee shop. Suddenly, she hears a deep voice say her name. She turns, but there’s no one around.

When Xin Yu arrives at the coffee shop, En Xi is all smiles and reading her tarot cards. Xin Yu sits down and starts to ask her about what happened at the bakery. En Xi interrupts, guessing what she’s about to say, and repeats her claim that she’s just trying to help Xin Yu. She’s all smiles and innocence, but seems insincere, saying, “Oh, I forgot. You like to do everything yourself, right?”

Xin Yu looks serious and puts her hand over En Xi’s, gently telling her that she’s her best friend, but things aren’t as simple as she thinks.

En Xi looks conflicted and then asks why Xin Yu didn’t tell her about recovering her memories, if they’re best friends. Xin Yu explains that she hasn’t fully recovered her memories, but En Xi seems to have zoned out.

Xin Yu has to repeat En Xi’s name several times before she snaps out of it. En Xi momentarily seems to have forgotten what they were talking about, then says that she just wants to help share Xin Yu’s burden.

Xin Yu’s scar suddenly flares in pain and she gasps, looking around. But Wu Qing Yuan is nowhere in sight.

Granny Wu decides that she needs to take responsibility for Yu Han now that she knows her son is dead. Zhong Kui goes with her to get Yu Han discharged and brought home.

Yu Han is mostly unresponsive when Granny Wu brings her home, but she recognizes her father when her grandmother shows her a photo and tears slide down her face when Granny Wu tells her that her father is gone and won’t be back.

Xin Yu is on her way to meet up with Zhong Kui when her scar starts hurting. She touches it — there’s blood and it glows red. She turns to find Wu Qing Yuan glaring at her. He approaches; she finds that her feet are immobilized.

Xin Yu remembers a moment from her life as Meng Po. Zhong Kui had asked what she wanted from him after she dropped off a thermos at his desk. Why was she being so good to him? At the time, she had lied and claimed that she wanted to learn magic from him. He had taught her a basic spell to repel evil ghosts, guiding her through the motions with both hands on her arms.

Now, Xin Yu recalls that spell and brings her arms through the motions. Qing Yuan is thrown back as she pushes her hand out. He gets to his feet with a look of fear, then runs away.

Xin Yu stares at her hand, then realizes that Zhong Kui is right behind her. He’s the one who scared Qing Yuan away. Xin Yu moves to chase after the ghost, but Zhong Kui pulls her back into his arms. All that matters is that she’s okay.

At night, Xin Yu struggles to remember how to brew a tea that Zhong Kui asks her to brew. She tries, but the results are unsuccessful. Cheng Huang pulls Zhong Kui aside. He knows what Zhong Kui is trying to do by asking Xin Yu to brew the tea, but it looks like the only way for Xin Yu to fully recover all her powers is for whoever placed the original enchantment on her to remove it.

Xin Yu continues to experiment the coffee shop the next day, but no matter what she tries, there seems to be something missing. She knows that all her ingredients are right, so what could it be?

En Xi reads tarot cards for herself and pulls The Lovers, reversed. She interprets it as saying that all of her efforts so far were based on hopes and dreams, and she should go back to the way things were.

Xin Yu brings her some coffee and tries to cheer her up. She asks about the tarot card. En Xi claims that she was doing a reading for a friend who likes someone who doesn’t reciprocate. The card suggests that their relationship is about to end.

Xin Yu tries to be optimistic about it. The end of one relationship can mean the beginning of a new kind of relationship. She tells En Xi to tell her friend that she should be brave and be honest with the guy she likes. At worst, she’ll be rejected and can move on.

En Xi wonders if she should confess to Bo Ya. Will that really mean a new beginning for them? She decides to not overthink it and just give it a try and is about to pull a new tarot card when Ouyang Kai strolls in and asks if they’ve missed him. En Xi immediately glares up at him while Xin Yu tries to silently warn Ouyang Kai that En Xi is in a bad mood.

Ouyang Kai goes over to En Xi and asks her to do a reading for him. Will his next girlfriend truly love him? En Xi responds with irritation and tells him to go away.

She pulls another tarot card and gets The World. She smiles, wondering if it’s a sign that she should confess to Bo Ya because it means a new beginning. Then she remembers that Ouyang Kai interrupted her in the middle of her reading. Could it mean something about him? She shakes her head and decides that it must be about her and Bo Ya, then smiles giddily at the card.

Xin Yu continues to feel bothered by the missing element in her tea as she walks home after work. She passes by a group of people and overhears as they share a piano video with one another — it’s the cursed video of Chen Zhe Xuan. Xin Yu turns toward them, but it’s too late — they’ve all frozen.

Zhong Kui appears behind Xin Yu, surprising her. He had been following her this whole time, but she was too distracted to notice.

They watch the video back at Zhong Kui’s house with Ah Fu and Cheng Huang. It’s concerning that even though Zhong Kui tried to restrict the video to the university campus, it managed to make its way out. Ah Fu and Cheng Huang suggest that because it only affects mortals and not ghosts or gods, it was probably created by mortals and should be dealt with by mortals.

En Xi goes to Bo Ya’s house and summons the courage to confess to him. When he opens the door, she blurts, “I like you.” He thinks she means it in a platonic sense and says he likes her as well. When she responds that she’s being serious, he frowns and doesn’t say anything.

En Xi takes his silence as a rejection and lies and says she’s just joking. She only said that because she lost a bet. She abruptly turns to leave and hide her tears. Bo Ya stops her and invites her inside, asking if she wants to be the first one to taste test a new batch of coffee beans he bought.

Bo Ya brings En Xi some coffee and guesses that she didn’t confess to him because she lost a bet. She admits that the bet was a lie and that she was afraid to tell the truth because she knew she would never be his girlfriend. He responds that she shouldn’t be so quick to shut herself down: if she really likes someone, then shouldn’t she work to become someone that person will like?

En Xi asks if that means that she’ll have an opportunity as long as she tries. Bo Ya looks down, then looks back up with a smile. En Xi smiles and promises she’ll try her best. “Wait for me,” she says.

They’re interrupted by the doorbell — it’s Xin Yu. While Bo Ya answers the door, En Xi hides.

Bo Ya invites Xin Yu inside and she tells him about how the Chen Zhe Xuan video is circulating online again, then asks him to help. He’s quick to agree. En Xi watches with an irritated frown. Why did Xin Yu come to Bo Ya for help? Why couldn’t she go ask Zhong Kui instead?

While Bo Ya sets up his laptop, Xin Yu observes a collection of herbs on his table. She smells one of the jars and recognizes the scent from her Meng Po days. This is the ingredient she’s missing. Bo Ya reveals that it’s a piece of Rafflesia flower. Xin Yu asks if she can have it. Bo Ya agrees, but seems concerned — he hasn’t tried it yet and doesn’t know what it’s effects are.

Xin Yu doesn’t care and immediately rushes out, telling him to come find her once he’s ready. Bo Ya moves to follow. En Xi comes out of hiding and asks Bo Ya to not go, but Bo Ya is too worried about Xin Yu and leaves.

Xin Yu adds the Rafflesia to the tea she’s brewing and lifts a cup of the liquid to give it a taste. Bo Ya shows up and stops her. She responds that she needs to save Yu Han. Bo Ya downs the tea instead, while Zhong Kui watches from the doorway of the kitchen.

Zhong Kui suggests that now that Bo Ya is here, he can help them find someone to deal with the video. Bo Ya responds that he already brought his laptop and he can give it a try. Zhong Kui finds it too coincidental that he happens to understand computers. Bo Ya reveals that he was the one to get rid of the photoshopped image of Yu Han several months ago.

Now, Bo Ya traces the origin of the video, but it doesn’t give any clues as to who the culprit is. The account it originated from is a zombie account. Zhong Kui smirks slightly. So Bo Ya is useless after all, but Bo Ya says not quite. He can trace the IP address and can also break down the original video file. When he does that, he reveals a second track laid underneath the main piano music.

Xin Yu and Zhong Kui listen to it through headphones and Zhong Kui recognizes the second track as the curse. It was difficult to detect because it’s a very short snippet of sound hidden underneath the higher pitch of the piano melody.

Bo Ya finds it strange that there are so many other video files stored alongside the piano video. Zhong Kui and Xin Yu wonder if the culprit wanted to use the other files to spread other curses. Bo Ya opens up the other video files to reveal grainy video placing Wu Qing Yuan at the scene of various strange happenings — Shu Hui and Jia Qi’s deaths, Chen Zhe Xuan’s ceaseless piano playing.

They’re interrupted by a scream and rush upstairs to find Yu Han screaming and throwing things onto the ground. Zhong Kui and Bo Ya hold Yu Han down while Xin Yu feeds her the tea. Yu Han calms down and seems to wake up, finally saying words and recognizing her grandmother and Bo Ya as a professor at her school.

Zhong Kui freezes time and sniffs the teacup then checks Yu Han. He finds it strange that Yu Han would recover so quickly from her mental illness. Xin Yu shows him the Rafflesia flower that she added, but agrees that Yu Han’s quick recovery is unusual.

Outside, Xin Yu thanks Bo Ya for his help. Zhong Kui suddenly tosses the Rafflesia container at Bo Ya, who catches it with surprisingly good reflexes, which Zhong Kui notices. Zhong Kui also comments that Bo Ya seems to have a lot of friends, including ones who would give him such useful herbs. Bo Ya hands the container back to Zhong Kui, saying that it seems the most useful in their hands.

Bo Ya also hands over a USB drive and tells Zhong Kui and Xin Yu that he’ll keep an eye out for any new movement with the videos. Zhong Kui accepts it, then offers Bo Ya a handshake.

Zhong Kui and Xin Yu return upstairs where Yu Han seems to be in good spirits. But the moment she spots Zhong Kui, she shrinks away, seeming afraid. Granny Wu tells Yu Han to not be afraid — Zhong Kui and Xin Yu helped her. She tells Zhong Kui and Xin Yu that Yu Han used to be very outgoing, but maybe her recent illness changed things?

Xin Yu and Zhong Kui exchange a concerned glance. Xin Yu asks Yu Han if she remembers meeting them at the nursing home before. Yu Han shakes her head. She doesn’t even remember being at the care center. The last thing she remembers is her boyfriend calling her to break up, and her father. After that, she doesn’t remember anything.

Granny Wu worries that Yu Han’s memory loss means she isn’t fully recovered. Xin Yu reassures her that she and Zhong Kui will do their best to help. She wonders if Yu Han’s last memory being her father means that Qing Yuan had something to do with what happened. Granny Wu suddenly looks away.

Zhong Kui asks Granny Wu what Qing Yuan has to do with what happened to Yu Han. Granny Wu eventually admits that initially, the thought Yu Han was just depressed because of the break-up. But then her school said she went crazy, and they had to have Yu Han institutionalized. Granny Wu recalls how once, Yu Han looked at an empty space and demanded to know why her father wasn’t helping her. She muttered that if her father knew she were being bullied, he would kill him. By that time, Qing Yuan had already disappeared.

Zhong Kui says that Qing Yuan probably wasn’t able to show up at that point. Yu Han overhears this last bit and asks why. Granny Wu breaks down as she tells Yu Han again that Qing Yuan is gone.


Commentary

Is Xin Yu’s scar like Harry Potter’s scar? It tells her whenever her attacker is near?

The more helpful Bo Ya is, the less I think he’s a villain, but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye. Even if he isn’t a villain in this time period, perhaps he played an antagonistic role in the past?

I hope we find out that En Xi has been secretly possessed this whole time or something — I guess we never really got an explanation for the weird way she responded to Ouyang Kai after she woke up from being attacked by Jia Qi’s ghost? And we get a hint that there’s something supernatural at play after she hears a disembodied voice. She’s becoming more and more destructive as time goes on and it’s really disappointing to see her turn into a villain. Her actions make zero sense and I hope that the explanation is supernatural sabotage. She’s mad at Xin Yu for not accepting Bo Ya (when Xin Yu doesn’t even have feelings for Bo Ya) so… she wants to sabotage her current relationship with Zhong Kui? This is every cliche I dislike about drama-land.

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