Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 16)

Recap

Xin Yu glares at Bo Ya, who asks if she’s remembered everything. She passes over the note she found in his notebook and asks him to explain. He counters, asking if she’s gone to see Qin Guang already. He reveals that not only does he know that, he knows a lot about the memories she’s forgotten.

Bo Ya smirks and says that he’s glad she’s willingly looking for these memories. He’s been waiting for thousands of years for her this moment. But he’s also impatient and leans in threateningly close, demanding to know why she hasn’t already given up her divinity in order to retrieve her memories. He grabs her roughly by the arm and drags her upstairs to his evil lair, where he shows her the Rafflesia flower.

The flower is the only way for them to go back to the way they were a thousand years ago. He secretly transported the flower into the mortal realm in preparation for this day. One whiff of its scent and Xin Yu’s memories will be returned to her.

Bo Ya grabs Xin Yu and forces her near the flower. She struggles, but then faints when she smells the flower. He nestles close. Now she can be his forever.

Memories come back to Xin Yu. Zhong Kui asks him to wait for her. Lu Qi promises to take care of her, always. Zhong Kui comes back and asks why she didn’t wait for him. Lu Qi watches and angrily punches a tree trunk. She finds Zhong Kui dead and cries over his body. Lu Qi tries to play go with her, but she’s distracted and murmurs, “I’ll finally come find you.” Lu Qi angrily says to himself that he may have lost this time, but even in death, she’ll be his.

Qin Guang asks her if she’s sure of her decision: as a Meng Po, she’ll need to abandon all mortal concerns. Qin Guang suggests they should wait for Zhong Kui before making a decision, but Xiao Bing says that she was the one who betrayed Zhong Kui. She can’t face him. All she wants is to forget everything and never be trapped by emotion again. She only hopes that in her next life, she can always be by his side and never know what she did.

When Xin Yu wakes up on Bo Ya’s couch, he immediately gets in her face with an unsettlingly eager smile. Does she remember? Xin Yu looks down with tears in her eyes and says, “Long time no see, Imperial Chancellor Lu.”

She asks him why he’s doing this. He blames her, saying that if she’d just obediently stayed by his side back then, none of this would have happened. But that’s of no matter now. He hugs her and she doesn’t resist, though she keeps crying. He tells her that losing her divinity isn’t so bad. He promises that he’ll tear down any obstacles that prevent them from being together and then they can strive for immortality together. But that’s a secret. All he can promise her is that when the time comes, she’s the only one who can accompany him to immortality and no one — god or ghost — will be able to stop them.

Bo Ya wants Xin Yu to promise to come back to his side. He’ll tell her whatever she wants to know.

Later, Xin Yu leaves Bo Ya’s house, shell-shocked. We see how Bo Ya has been involved every step of the way, from attacking Zhong Kui so that he landed in the alley behind the bakery, to mesmerizing Zhao Jia Jun and turning him into a drug dealer, to making Yu Han go mad in order to lure Wu Qing Yuan into serving him.

Zhong Kui calls Xin Yu, who tries to hide her sobs and claims that she’s fine, rejecting his offer to come pick her up from wherever she is. After they hang up, Zhong Kui gets a text from Xiao Qi: Chen Zhe Xuan is dead.

Cheng Huang finds Zhong Kui to break the news of Zhe Xuan’s death, but realizes that Zhong Kui somehow already knew. They get into an argument when Cheng Huang thinks that Zhong Kui isn’t taking Zhe Xuan’s death seriously enough and accuses him of being the one to kill Zhe Xuan by not doing enough to protect him.

Afterward, Cheng Huang drops by the underworld offices to do some investigating of his own. He discovers that several death applications have been rejected because the souls are incomplete. Cheng Huang notices the names on the files — they’re all ghosts who had been victims of Lu Qi’s meddling.

Xin Yu sits in a park, reflecting on the last few moments of her time at Bo Ya’s house. She had rejected his offer to tell her anything she wanted to know, but he stopped her anyway before she could leave, asking if she remembered what she said to him before she died. She claimed she didn’t remember, but he decided to tell her anyway: she said that she forgave him and that she hoped she wouldn’t be entangled with him in their next life. But Bo Ya didn’t understand — what did he do wrong? Xin Yu told him that it wasn’t his fault — she just couldn’t forget Zhong Kui. Bo Ya angrily shook her and shouted that he wanted to be entangled with her forever. She can’t hide from him.

Xin Yu starts crying again as she realizes again that this is all her fault. She tells herself to stop crying, but the tears continue to fall.

She goes to Zhong Kui’s house with a bag of groceries in hand, steeling herself before she rings the doorbell. She can’t let him find out anything is wrong.

Xin Yu makes Zhong Kui cold spinach noodles, one of his favorite dishes from their past life together. He frowns slightly, wondering whether this is all just a coincidence or if she remembered something from the past. But Xiao Bing vowed to never make the dish for him again, so he decides that this must be a coincidence, even though something feels off to him.

Xin Yu stays the night and takes the lead in pushing Zhong Kui into the bedroom. Zhong Kui continues to comment that she seems strange, but is easily distracted by their make-out session. Xin Yu tells him that he should cherish this night because who knows what will happen tomorrow?

Bo Ya spies on their bedroom antics through Zhong Kui’s huge, curtain-less windows, looking furious.

Zhong Kui wakes up to an empty bed and remembers Xin Yu’s ominous words from the night before. He teleports around trying to find her and tries calling her, but she doesn’t respond.

He finally finds her at the coffee shop, smiling as she chats with Bo Ya and hands him a cup of coffee. Her face immediately falls when she spots Zhong Kui and she asks him to stop bothering her at work. Bo Ya tries to interrupt but Zhong Kui tells him to shut up and stay out of it. Xin Yu tells Zhong Kui to leave her alone and stay as far away from her as possible in the future. Bo Ya smirks.

After Zhong Kui leaves, Bo Ya tells Xin Yu that she’s smart, but she’s acting the same way she did a thousand years ago. Because she loves Zhong Kui, she’s willing to wrong herself. But since she’s so obediently returning to Bo Ya’s side, he’s willing to consider letting Zhong Kui go.

Bo Ya grabs Xin Yu by the shoulders and leans in as if to kiss her, stopping only centimeters away. Xin Yu stares evenly ahead and doesn’t react. Bo Ya pulls away with an evil smile, then leaves. Xin Yu calmly returns to brewing her tea.

Ouyang Kai broods at home, playing video games. His father calls him to lecture him about not attending to his school trustee duties — the easiest job his father could find for him — but Ouyang Kai barely listens.

Zhong Kui paces outside Xin Yu’s apartment building, waiting for her to return home. She shows up holding hands with Bo Ya. Zhong Kui tries to pull her away to talk, but she shakes him off. She has nothing to discuss with him and instead suggests they break up, then invites Bo Ya back to her apartment and ignores Zhong Kui.

Zhong Kui takes out his anger on wayward ghosts while trying to learn more about the Big Boss and Lu Qi, but is unable to discover anything.

He invites Ouyang Kai over to his house, where they eat and drink and commiserate over their broken hearts.

The next morning, Ouyang Kai is the one to spy on Xin Yu and En Xi’s apartment building. Xin Yu opens the door to leave and is surprised by Bo Ya, who spins her into a rough hug and says that they’re not going to the coffee shop today — they’re going on a date instead.

Bo Ya isn’t shy about PDA on their date and they’re spotted by a gaggle of his students from the university, who sneakily take photos and post them to social media.

En Xi arrives at the coffee shop and is surprised to find it closed, then surprised again to find Ouyang Kai behind her. Ouyang Kai asks her why she thinks Bo Ya is a good person. Why does she like him so much? She responds that he’s kind and has a stable job — who wouldn’t think he’s a good person? Ouyang Kai’s biggest flaw is that he doesn’t offer stability — everyone knows he’s just a lazy fuerdai (rich second generation kid).

Ouyang Kai retorts that he’s at least better than Bo Ya in one way: even though he’s a serial dater, at least he’s sincere about every one of his relationships, unlike Bo Ya who is a cheater. He reveals that Bo Ya closed the coffee shop in order to go on a date with Xin Yu.

En Xi doesn’t believe him, but runs off to Bo Ya’s house to check. He doesn’t answer the door so she decides to wait outside, but then sees a photo on her phone of Bo Ya and Xin Yu’s date.

Bo Ya holds Xin Yu’s hand in a death grip and tells her that he’s waited for a thousand years in order to hold her hand like this. She asks him if he became this way because of her. She’s always been grateful for how he held a funeral for her parents and saved her village. But Bo Ya doesn’t want her gratitude.

Xin Yu understands Bo Ya’s hatred for Zhong Kui, but asks him to stop with her. Can they not involve other people anymore?

“Then show me your sincerity,” Bo Ya says as he leans in with his unsettling smile.

He grabs her arm and drags her back to his house, where they find En Xi crouched outside. En Xi slaps Xin Yu. Bo Ya immediately rushes between them and snarls at En Xi, reminding her that he’s the only one who is allowed to hurt Xin Yu. But then he hugs her and says that he forgives her, because the more jealous she gets, the stronger she’ll become and the closer she’ll get to darkness. As long as she obeys him, he’ll continue to love her. En Xi echoes his words as if in a trance while Xin Yu stares, alarmed.

Xin Yu finally realizes that En Xi is being controlled and decides that maybe she should tell her the truth. But En Xi is in no mood to listen to Xin Yu and instead calls her out for playing Zhong Kui and Bo Ya against each other while trying to act like the victim. En Xi doesn’t want to be friends with her anymore. She kicks her out.

Xin Yu decides that because everything happened because of her, she must be the one to end it. She’s Bo Ya’s obsession. If she stays with him, will he be able to let go?

Zhong Kui uses his supernatural senses to spy on Xin Yu and discovers that En Xi kicked her out. He gets Ouyang Kai to offer her a place to stay. Ouyang Kai pitches the idea of moving in with Zhong Kui, since it might not be appropriate for him and Xin Yu to live under the same roof as single individuals of the opposite gender.

Zhong Kui gets called away to the underworld for more investigation into the Lu Qi incident. He tells Ouyang Kai to look after Xin Yu and En Xi while he’s gone.

Ouyang Kai waits for En Xi on campus in order to tell her that he’s leaving the school. He’s returning to work at his father’s company and credits her for pushing him to prove that he can offer stability. En Xi claims that she didn’t say what she said for him; she was just annoyed. He tells her to stop pushing him away. He knows that she’s not as selfish or cruel as she pretends to be.

“We’re the same,” he says. He understands her and sees through her and that’s why he likes her so much. He hopes that one day he’ll become a good person and then she will love him. Then he hugs her. She doesn’t have to love him, but he’ll protect her all the same. He says goodbye and leaves.

Xin Yu and Ouyang Kai eat together. He notices when she pointedly ignores a call from Zhong Kui and tells her that he’s been called away for work.

Xin Yu asks Ouyang Kai what he would do if he knew that someone he loved was in danger. Would he do whatever he could to protect them, or would he watch them face the danger? Ouyang Kai thinks the answer is obvious: of course he would do whatever it takes to protect his loved one.

“Same,” Xin Yu says, looking sad.


Commentary

I can’t take this show seriously anymore. I’ve started watching it at 1.25x to 1.5x speed — something I should’ve started doing long ago — because at least that makes the pacing seem faster. At least Evil Bo Ya brings a bit of fun. Xin Yu’s past memories and all the “reveals” of how Bo Ya accomplished what he did were such a let down. We didn’t learn anything new or surprising.

Even Xin Yu pushing Zhong Kui away so abruptly isn’t surprising, but I’m disappointed because the drama and misunderstanding seem so pointless. Xin Yu feels guilty for something she did over a thousand years ago so… she’s just going to do the same thing again? If she feels bad about betraying Zhong Kui, shouldn’t she not betray him twice? I feel like I’m watching a teen show. Sure, she can make up excuses about trying to protect him or whatever, but this kind of misunderstanding isn’t fresh or exciting or interesting anymore. It’s 2021. We need to stop romanticizing lack of communication!

1 thought on “Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 16)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s