Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 14)

The pace continues to pick up as Zhong Kui doubles down on his investigation into Lu Qi despite warnings not to. Strange incidents keep happening at the school and Zhong Kui grows suspicious of Bo Ya again.


Recap

Xin Yu asks Zhong Kui if he’s discovered who Wu Qing Yuan’s accomplice in the human world is. Ouyang Kai notices En Xi zoning out with narrowed eyes as she eavesdrops on the conversation behind them. It takes him a couple of tries to get her attention.

Zhong Kui tells Xin Yu that Wu Qing Yuan’s accomplice is a powerful evil spirit — Lu Qi. Xin Yu doesn’t recognize the name. Does he have something to do with her? En Xi smirks.

Later, Xin Yu is still troubled by the mention of Lu Qi. Right as she tries to bring him up with Zhong Kui again, they spot a woman collapsed on the ground: Hu Xian.

They bring Hu Xian back to Zhong Kui’s house, where they help her regain a bit of her strength. Hu Xian tells Zhong Kui that the Big Boss was the one to do this to her and that he left a warning for Zhong Kui to not try and interfere with happenings in the mortal world. It’s not his place. She hands Zhong Kui a criminal evidence bag that the Big Boss dropped as he left. Before she leaves, Zhong Kui asks her to confirm something: the Big Boss is “him”, right? She nods.

The chatty police officer gets a phone call: some evidence has gone missing.

Zhong Kui looks at the evidence contained within the bag: an empty vial. It’s proof that Zhao Jia Jun didn’t kill himself, but was murdered. But why would an evil spirit want to steal the evidence? Fingerprints? Xin Yu guesses that maybe whoever stole it is trying to draw attention away from the Huoxin drug. What are they trying to hide?

Xin Yu asks if Lu Qi is the Big Boss. Zhong Kui reluctantly nods, and she leans in, wanting to know why the name sounds so familiar to her. Zhong Kui tries to lighten the mood and tells her that there’s nothing to worry about with him around. He hugs her, but frowns, wondering who the Big Boss’s next target will be.

The next day, En Xi goes to Bo Ya’s house to ask him to review a paper she wrote, since she couldn’t find him at school. He suggests she should add more data to back up her thesis, then gives her Wei Yun Han’s contact info — he can help her with the data-crunching. En Xi gives Bo Ya some of the vegetables she bought at the roadside stall in the mountain. Bo Ya asks her to help out at the coffee shop, since business has increased.

Xiao Qi is still following Bo Ya and again wonders why Zhong Kui is having her tail him. Zhong Kui appears behind her and asks what she thinks. She reports all of Bo Ya’s very normal movements. Zhong Kui still seems concerned and places a protective spell over En Xi.

Zhong Kui turns himself invisible, the snoops around Bo Ya’s house. He watches as Bo Ya tries to replicate Xin Yu’s daylily tea but is unsuccessful. Bo Ya talks to himself and doesn’t seem to notice Zhong Kui, then sits down to flip through En Xi’s paper.

Zhong Kui meets up with Xiao Qi outside and tells her that she doesn’t need to follow Bo Ya anymore. Instead, he wants her to track down Lu Qi, starting at Hu Xian’s club.

En Xi and Ouyang Kai both show up at the coffee shop to help with the expected influx of business, but it’s completely empty. Instead, they drink Xin Yu’s tea themselves. En Xi pitches the idea of creating a delivery app for their coffee shop and volunteers to connect with someone to develop it and pitch the idea to Bo Ya.

At night, Xin Yu drops by Zhong Kui’s house, but he’s not there. She leaves a note saying she was there, but shortly after she leaves, someone removes it.

Zhong Kui calls Cheng Huang up to a rooftop to talk about Lu Qi where Xin Yu can’t overhear. Cheng Huang issues a decree for everyone to keep an eye and ear out for any sign of the Big Boss.

The next morning, En Xi launches the online ordering system, but orders are slow to come in. Xin Yu frowns when she learns that Wei Yun Han was the one to help En Xi set up the platform.

The first order comes in and En Xi heads out to do the delivery. A few steps outside the coffee shop, her expression turns sly and she smirks as she pulls out a vial.

In an empty dorm room, a laptop screen displays the coffee shop online order management system, with a message saying, “Transmitting data…”

A female student looks for Chen Zhe Xuan in an empty auditorium, holding a drink from the coffee shop. Her phone chimes with a notification from the coffee shop’s app. Chen Zhe Xuan appears onstage, playing “Moonlight Sonata.” The student smiles to hear her phone playing the same song as Chen Zhe Xuan. She takes a sip from her drink and suddenly freezes, tearing up.

En Xi makes a delivery to a male student. He’s at a supermarket when the coffee shop app chimes and starts playing “Moonlight Sonata.” He starts weeping in the middle of the shopping aisle and multiple other shoppers start recording him on their phones.

The video of the crying student goes viral, along with several other incidents of students suddenly breaking down. Zhong Kui watches a news segment on the sudden mass depression that’s affecting top students and immediately notices the link to the daylily tea from the coffee shop.

Bo Ya visits Ke Xin, the female student who broke down in the auditorium. He tries talking to her, but she’s catatonic. He writes down some observations.

Zhong Kui visits the coffee shop at the same time that Xiao Lei shows up to tell them that his classmates seem to have fallen under a spell after drinking the drinks. Zhong Kui asks to see the app (looks like they call the tea “blissful tea”). He frowns thoughtfully as Ouyang Kai mentions how Bo Ya has been busy trying to visit and counsel all the students who suddenly became depressed. Bo Ya calls and says that he’ll be too busy to help out at the coffee shop for the next few days.

Xin Yu sees the wheels turning in Zhong Kui’s head. He pulls her outside to ask what she knows about Wei Yun Han and the new app. Xin Yu tells him about how Bo Ya connected En Xi with Yun Han. Zhong Kui finds Bo Ya’s disappearance and Yun Han’s involvement suspicious.

The chatty police officer drops by the coffee shop, looking for Bo Ya. He reveals that Bo Ya was at the bar the night that Zhao Jia Jun died.

Zhong Kui catches up to the police officer and returns the missing evidence from the Zhao Jia Jun case. Then he places the man under a spell and asks him to share what happened the night of Jia Jun’s death.

Zhong Kui visits the student who started crying in the supermarket. The boy lies in bed, catatonic, until Zhong Kui turns on his phone screen. The coffee shop’s app starts playing “Moonlight Sonata” and the student starts sobbing.

Bo Ya returns home at night and is startled to find Zhong Kui sitting on his couch in the dark, waiting for him. Zhong Kui suggests that the recent issue at the university might be related to the Huoxin drug and seems interested in Bo Ya’s student records. Bo Ya is adamant that he can’t share student records with Zhong Kui. He tells Zhong Kui that someone like him shouldn’t be interfering or involved. It’s an exact echo of the message Hu Xian relayed from the Big Boss.

Zhong Kui summons Xiao Qi and demands to know why he didn’t know about Bo Ya being at the bar the night Jia Jun died. Xiao Qi didn’t even know he was there — she thought he had been the whole day. Zhong Kui puts her back on Bo Ya surveillance duty.

Bo Ya drops by the closed coffee shop at night and pulls out the shop’s laptop. He frowns as he looks at the laptop screen, which looks exactly the same as the laptop in the empty dorm room that was transmitting data.

Zhong Kui drops by Xin Yu’s apartment — En Xi isn’t there — to share that he didn’t learn much from Bo Ya, but that it seems undeniable Bo Ya is somehow connected to these incidents. He also shares that he suspects Xin Yu’s tea is involved; he’s suspicious of En Xi.

Xin Yu watches En Xi uneasily the next day when she arrives at the coffee shop. En Xi is delighted by the large orders they’ve already received. She delivers an order and calls the recipient. Zhong Kui picks up and disguises her voice, telling her to leave it in the lobby. After she leaves, he picks up the order and almost immediately receives a notification from the coffee shop app. It starts playing “Moonlight Sonata.”

Xin Yu sniffs the drinks that Zhong Kui brings back to his house and recognizes the Rafflesia flower scent. So En Xi is the one spiking the drinks. But why? Zhong Kui thinks that En Xi is just a pawn. The person behind the spell must have a somewhat strong understanding of magic. There’s only one person they know who fits that description: Lu Bo Ya. But neither of them can figure out a motive.

Zhong Kui and Xin Yu wait at her apartment for En Xi to return home. They confront En Xi about the Huoxin drug, but she claims to know nothing and is offended that they already decided she was guilty, then storms out.

Xin Yu asks Zhong Kui what they should do next. “What if I told you that Bo Ya is Lu Qi?” Zhong Kui asks. Xin Yu stares back, wide-eyed. Zhong Kui gets a text from Xiao Qi, saying that Lu Qi has appeared.

Ouyang Kai chases after En Xi, but by the time he gets outside, she’s disappeared.

Zhong Kui and Xin Yu go to Bo Ya’s house, where Bo Ya lies unconscious in bed. Xiao Qi shares what happened: she was following Bo Ya and lost him. When she reached out with her senses to look for him, she saw him being attacked by a shadowy figure. She arrived in time to save Bo Ya from a second, potentially killing blow, but Lu Qi ran off before Xiao Qi could give chase.

Bo Ya groggily regains consciousness as Zhong Kui observes that the evil energy injuring him is the same as the one that injured Hu Xian. Bo Ya tells Zhong Kui that after Zhong Kui approached him the other night, he started to go back through his student records. Tonight, before being attacked, he remembers being followed by a shadowy figure, but every time he tried to get a look at the person’s face, they retreated into the shadows. The person had warned him to mind his own business, otherwise the Big Boss would show him no mercy.

For Zhong Kui, Bo Ya’s story confirms that the Big Boss is Lu Qi. He draws out the evil energy inside Bo Ya, who is surprised. Didn’t Zhong Kui suspect him?

Zhong Kui pulls out his phone and shows him the music-playing coffee shop app. Bo Ya immediately figures out that the perpetrator must be using the combination of the Huoxin drug and music to control victims’ moods. He shares that earlier, he’d asked Wei Yun Han about the app, but Yun Han claimed to have only helped En Xi with the app itself and not any of the music notifications. Bo Ya says that it would be relatively easy for someone to hack into the app.

Zhong Kui’s phone chimes with another notification, this time a text message saying that the tea can do more than make you forget about your worries. It calls for a gathering at the auditorium in two days’ time to “go to heaven together.” Bo Ya frowns — he saw the same text message on other students’ phones. The event happening in two days’ time is Chen Zhe Xuan’s solo concert, during which he will be playing “Moonlight Sonata.”

Bo Ya also visited Zhe Xuan, who was busy preparing for his concert and didn’t know anything about a text message. It was after leaving the practice room earlier tonight that Bo Ya was followed and attacked. He shows Zhong Kui a curse he found in a book — it’s probably the same curse that is affecting all the depressed students.

Zhong Kui, Xin Yu, and Cheng Huang go to the auditorium where Chen Zhe Xuan is playing his song — it’s somehow being live broadcast on the coffee shop app. Zhong Kui notices a talisman that proves Bo Ya’s guess about the curse was right. En Xi shows up and approaches Chen Zhe Xuan. They notice that she seems possessed.

Zhong Kui stops Chen Zhe Xuan from playing. En Xi angrily slams the piano keys. Zhong Kui, Xin Yu, and Cheng Huang teleport themselves onto the stage and quickly subdue En Xi and Chen Zhe Xuan. Chen Zhe Xuan looks frenzied, telling Zhong Kui that he’s Lu Qi’s man and that he’s bold to treat him like this. Then he glares at Xin Yu and asks if she’s really forgotten what happened a thousand years ago. Zhong Kui knocks him out.

Cheng Huang volunteers to try and expel the evil energy possessing En Xi while Xin Yu and Zhong Kui go around trying to break the curse, but most of the victims are too far gone and there’s not enough Rafflesia flower to brew an antidote. Xin Yu comes up with an idea that involves brewing a tea out of very specific ingredients and using the power of a bamboo grove at sunrise to break the curse. Bo Ya uses his hacking skills to lure the impacted students to the bamboo grove.

Cheng Huang shows up in the morning with En Xi just before all the other students arrive. He was unable to remove the evil energy within her and thinks that she may also be under the curse.


Commentary

At this point, I’m only watching to see some sort of resolution at the end of all of this because I’ve already sunk so much time into this show. We’re finally getting more plot and less filler, but we also keep going in circles, which is nothing new. Zhong Kui has been wavering back and forth on whether Bo Ya is a bad guy or not for basically this whole show, and we get jerked along with it. The main difference is now even Xin Yu sees reasons to doubt Bo Ya.

Even the spells and strange incidents affecting the school are more of the same. It’s just the names and faces that are slightly changed every time. I don’t really get why Jia Jun existed and also don’t get why he had to die… because he was thinking of stopping the drug dealing business?

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