Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 10)

Zhong Kui, Bo Ya, and Xin Yu work together to try and capture Wu Qing Yuan. Meanwhile, En Xi continues to cold shoulder Xin Yu while Ouyang Kai tries to cheer her up.


Recap

Xin Yu tries to think through the circumstances around Wu Qing Yuan’s death and his lingering presence in the mortal world. He died before he could confront his daughter’s harasser, so that’s the grudge that’s kept him around and made him vengeful. But that seems too simple to explain what actually happened.

Zhong Kui tells Xin Yu that her instincts are right. No matter how vengeful Wu Qing Yuan is, that alone is not enough to give him the ability to cause the explosion at Naihe Bridge. And when he returned to the human world, he disappeared instead of going to look for his daughter or the boy who caused her downfall. His appearance in the videos that Bo Ya found is also suspicious. All these incidents happened after Xin Yu landed in the mortal world. Why was Qing Yuan there? Who took the videos?

Zhong Kui tries again to convince Xin Yu to move in with him, saying he’ll feel more at ease about her safety if he can keep an eye on her all the time. Xin Yu wants to wait until the situation with En Xi calms down.

When Xin Yu gets home, En Xi is waiting for her and angrily confronts her about where she was. She knows that Xin Yu went looking for Bo Ya and is upset that Xin Yu is saying one thing and doing another. She refuses to let Xin Yu explain herself, saying she doesn’t care anymore, then storms out.

En Xi runs into Ouyang Kai downstairs. He has a huge bouquet of roses, which he gives to her. He can tell she’s in a bad mood and manages to cheer her up a little bit. Then he offers to take her somewhere to make her feel better.

Ouyang Kai brings En Xi to hidden hill high above the city where they can see all the night lights as well as the ocean. She thinks that he brings all the girls he wants to hook up with here, but he reveals that she’s the first person he’s shown this place to. He doesn’t know what put her in a bad mood, but offers himself up to cheer her up if she needs it.

Zhong Kui shows Qin Guang and Cheng Huang the videos Bo Ya discovered. Cheng Huang pulls up Wu Qing Yuan’s file and they discover that he was born on the yang hour of the yang day of the yang month of the yang year, an exceptionally rare event that also means he has a rare fate. It might explain why his grudge has manifested so powerfully.

A restaurant worker is watching a TV show on his phone when the screen suddenly switches to a video of Wu Qing Yuan during his fight with Zhong Kui at the beginning of the show. Wu Qing Yuan emerges out of the video and attacks the restaurant worker.

Bo Ya is on his laptop when he finds a video that he can’t delete. He clicks on it, revealing the same Wu Qing Yuan video, but he pauses it before Wu Qing Yuan can emerge from the screen.

Cheng Huang tries to find a connection between the ghosts that Wu Qing Yuan killed and Wu Qing Yuan himself, but can’t. Qin Guang notices that the ghosts all died during the yin hour of the yin day of the yin month of a yin year. Zhong Kui guesses that Wu Qing Yuan intentionally used these ghosts’ wrongful deaths to augment his own resentment. Because these people all died when they should have — the only difference being that Qing Yuan killed them instead of them dying as they should have — they didn’t raise any red flags.

Xin Yu is concerned about En Xi — who hasn’t come home or called since last night — on her way to work at the coffee shop. She’s surprised when she arrives to find Zhong Kui also there, looking over Bo Ya’s shoulder at his laptop.

They show Xin Yu the video of Wu Qing Yuan that Bo Ya discovered last night. Zhong Kui freezes Bo Ya, then gives Xin Yu some background on the video, which is from his initial encounter with Wu Qing Yuan when he was supposed to bring him in to the underworld. They both find it strange that Zhong Kui didn’t notice whoever was taking the video.

En Xi wakes up in the morning in Ouyang Kai’s car. He appears behind her with a coffee in hand and tells her that he walked over an hour to buy it for her. She asks why he didn’t just drive her home last night. He responds that he wanted to spend more time with her.

Bo Ya manages to track down the IP address of the account with the Wu Qing Yuan video, which may or may not give them the perpetrator’s location, but there’s a more pressing issue. He shows Xin Yu and Zhong Kui a forum post with the video and a story about how a ghost emerged from the video. Zhong Kui frowns. Could Wu Qing Yuan be hiding in a video?

Zhong Kui sends Xiao Qi to the university campus to investigate. She finds Wu Qing Yuan in an abandoned classroom when he comes out of a static-filled laptop screen. He runs away before she can catch him. Wu Qing Yuan appears through a video in an internet cafe.

Xiao Qi returns to the coffee shop, empty-handed, and sees Bo Ya, Xin Yu, and Zhong Kui watching security footage of Wu Qing Yuan’s appearance in the internet cafe. Xiao Qi notes that the timestamp matches when Wu Qing Yuan disappeared from the classroom.

Bo Ya guesses that Wu Qing Yuan is transmitting himself like a computer virus. He has an idea for how to stop him, but will only help if Zhong Kui and Xin Yu tell him the whole story. He suspects that there’s a lot more than what they’re letting on.

Xin Yu tells Bo Ya the whole story of how Wu Qing Yuan became a vengeful ghost after planning to kill his daughter’s boyfriend. Bo Ya wants to know who exactly they are, but Xin Yu says it’s not important who they are — what’s important is that they’re trying to solve this problem. Bo Ya agrees to help.

Ouyang Kai drives En Xi home, but En Xi remembers her fight with Xin Yu and doesn’t want to go inside. When Xin Yu gets home, En Xi isn’t there. She texts En Xi, offering to make her some late night snacks. En Xi is at Ouyang Kai’s house and ignores Xin Yu’s text.

Xin Yu picks at the food she made for En Xi, feeling sad as she reflects on all the happy moments in their friendship. She tearfully calls Zhong Kui and says she misses him. Zhong Kui appears almost immediately over her shoulder and hugs her while she cries.

Ouyang Kai has prepared a table full of food for him and En Xi, but she’s mostly interested in drinking, so he pulls some wine out of his cellar. En Xi chugs the wine and challenges Ouyang Kai to a question-asking drinking game. Ouyang Kai asks her what happened with Xin Yu. En Xi only says that they’re fighting. She shows Ouyang Kai how Xin Yu has texted her 35 times but she’s ignored all of them. Ouyang Kai thinks she should just open the messages since she obviously wants to know what Xin Yu is saying, but En Xi refuses. She’d rather pretend she doesn’t know and doesn’t know how to face Xin Yu.

Ouyang Kai offers to help, then grabs En Xi’s phone and calls Xin Yu. Zhong Kui picks up and says that Xin Yu has fallen asleep, then asks why Ouyang Kai has En Xi’s phone. Ouyang Kai tells him that En Xi is safe and with him, but En Xi steals her phone back and hangs up before he can say more.

Zhong Kui lays a blanket over the sleeping Xin Yu and leans in to kiss her, but then Cheng Huang appears and interrupts. He has a message from Qin Guang. Their higher-ups are asking about the Naihe Bridge explosion. Zhong Kui has only one day to catch Wu Qing Yuan, otherwise they’ll all be in trouble. Zhong Kui tells him that they already have a plan in the works and he’ll have Wu Qing Yuan by tomorrow.

When En Xi wakes up the next morning, Ouyang Kai has laid out breakfast downstairs. She glares at him when he insists on sitting right next to her, despite how big the table is, but he only scoots a few inches away. Ouyang Kai shows her an itinerary for the day, with locations guaranteed to improve her mood. She reminds him that she has class, but he says that he already got her excused from them.

Ouyang Kai heads upstairs to get changed. En Xi gets a text message. When she looks at the notification, a deep voice says, “Come watch the fun.” Her entire demeanor suddenly changes.

When Ouyang Kai comes back downstairs, En Xi is nowhere to be found.

Wei Yun Han, Yu Han’s ex-boyfriend, looks terrified as he slowly opens up his laptop on an abandoned rooftop. Earlier, he had paused the Wu Qing Yuan video right before the ghost could exit the screen, then taped up his laptop. Now, he plays the video and Wu Qing Yuan appears.

Wu Qing Yuan tries to attack Yun Han, not realizing that he’s in the middle of an Eight Trigrams map. Ah Fu and Xiao Qi appear to protect Yun Han while Bo Ya and Xin Yu trap Wu Qing Yuan inside an enchantment.

Qing Yuan continues to try to attack Yun Han even though he’s held back by a magical barrier. Zhong Kui appears and fights him.

Ah Fu reminds Zhong Kui that they need to bring Qing Yuan back for questioning, but Zhong Kui becomes incensed after Qing Yuan attempts to attack Xin Yu. Zhong Kui manages to teleport himself over, bearing the brunt of Qing Yuan’s attack, in order to protect her. Then he makes Qing Yuan kneel and upon discovering that Qing Yuan doesn’t seem to have answers to their questions about Naihe Bridge and knowing how to control the Sword Spirit, threatens to destroy his soul.

Xin Yu intervenes before Zhong Kui can destroy Wu Qing Yuan. Wu Qing Yuan claims he doesn’t care if his soul is destroyed. Xin Yu slaps him and tearfully demands if he really knows what it’s like to never be reincarnated. She calls him selfish and reminds him of his mother and daughter, who are faithfully waiting for him. Those are the people she cries for. Does he know what it means to never be able to meet them again in future lifetimes? She turns to Zhong Kui, beseeching him to give Granny Wu and Yu Han a chance at closure with Wu Qing Yuan.

The mention of family seems to get through to Wu Qing Yuan, who turns to Zhong Kui and begs him for a chance to see his family one last time. In return, he’ll share everything he knows.

To everyone’s surprise, Zhong Kui agrees, but only because of Granny Wu and Yu Han. En Xi watches from around a corner and smirks. Xin Yu seems to sense someone there, but when she turns, she doesn’t see anything.

Wu Qing Yuan is brought to the bakery where he, Granny Wu, and Yu Han get the tearful closure they all needed. Wu Qing Yuan’s last request is for Granny Wu to turn away before he leaves. Granny Wu reluctantly does, then tells him to remember her. She hopes that he will be her child again in the next life. Wu Qing Yuan sobs, then disappears.

Bo Ya and Yun Han watch from outside the bakery. Yun Han looks ashamed, but Bo Ya puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as he owns up to them. Yun Han runs off without a word.

Inside the bakery, it’s time for Granny Wu and Yu Han’s memories to be wiped. They want to remember Wu Qing Yuan. Xiao Qi is all “rules are rules” and ready to take action, but Zhong Kui stops her, saying he’ll take responsibility for the consequences. Then he lets Granny Wu and Yu Han go without the memory wipe.

Zhong Kui is suddenly weak and feels unwell as Xin Yu helps him home. He collapses onto the couch and is unresponsive. Xin Yu scrambles to call Qin Guang for help on how to heal Zhong Kui, but he cracks an eye open with a smile, then sits upright, seeming fine, and teases her. He reminds her that it’s unlikely a vengeful ghost like Wu Qing Yuan could do much damage to him, a god. She’s annoyed that he messed with her and made her worry. He swoops in with a kiss.

The next morning, Zhong Kui wakes up holding hands with Xin Yu, who is in bed next to him. Qin Guang calls him — he needs to report into work for matters related to the Wu Qing Yuan case. He kisses Xin Yu goodbye. She smiles blissfully.

Qin Guang is actually working instead of gaming for once, thanks to the Wu Qing Yuan case. Wu Qing Yuan has not been forthcoming with what he knows. Zhong Kui asks to take some vacation time. She agrees, but before he leaves asks if he knows who Li En Xi is.

Bo Ya deletes something on his laptop, then smiles. (I thought Bo Ya was maybe not evil, but then he smiled this soul-less smile and I’m not so sure anymore…)

Xin Yu lingers at work at the coffee shop the next day, even though her shift is up. Bo Ya notices and asks if she’s waiting for Zhong Kui. She denies it with an awkward smile. Bo Ya reassures her that even though he’s curious about their world, he won’t share their secret. Xin Yu responds that that’s not what she’s worried about. She’s just surprised that he’s not trying to keep his distance when they’re from different worlds.

Bo Ya says that he doesn’t want to keep his distance from someone he likes. He doesn’t care about who she is or where she’s from. He purely likes her and wants to continue doing that. Xin Yu looks awkward and uncomfortable. En Xi eavesdrops from outside, then hides when Bo Ya turns to glance out the window.

Bo Ya asks why Xin Yu and En Xi haven’t been together a lot lately. She tells him that En Xi seems to be upset with her. Maybe it’s because she wasn’t honest about her origins, so En Xi felt she wasn’t being a good friend?

En Xi waits until Xin Yu leaves before going inside the coffee shop for a tarot card reading appointment. Xin Yu sighs as she watches En Xi interact with a customer from outside the coffee shop.

Zhong Kui and Xiao Qi investigate a movie theater where the audience sits zombie-like in the seats even though the movie is over. The sense a strong ghost energy. When the lights turn on, everyone starts screaming and running out of the theater. Zhong Kui manages to knock them unconscious. Xiao Qi observes that the evil spirit energy around them is very similar to Wu Qing Yuan’s.


Commentary

It’s more obvious this episode that there is some sort of evil spirit possession going on with En Xi, but at the same time, it’s no excuse for her childish treatment of Xin Yu and Ouyang Kai. She’s been better about Ouyang Kai this episode, but it feels like she’s using him. Possessed En Xi is pretty distinct from who she is when she has her autonomy, so I don’t think we can blame evil spirit possession for all of her frustrating personality changes.

There are plenty of supposedly cute Xin Yu and Zhong Kui moments this episode, but as time goes on, I find their relationship more and more boring. Not that she and Bo Ya are any better. I think this show just hasn’t quite figured out the right tonal shifts, especially in the romantic filler moments, and I don’t feel excited about or attached to any of the characters.

I think my favorite character on this show is Ouyang Kai, because he’s turned out to be such a goofy sweetheart. Everyone else has been quite uninspiring, to say the least.

Xin Yu’s angry rant to Wu Qing Yuan about scattered souls and reincarnation is one of the vaguely interesting things to happen this episode. The whole situation seemed very personal to her. She doesn’t have her full set of memories (though it seems like even as Meng Po, she didn’t have all her memories) but it seems like subconsciously, the topic of a soul being punished to never reincarnate is struck close to home. Her own experience? Or the experience of someone dear to her?

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