Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 17)

Xin Yu continues to act like a happy, willing girlfriend to Bo Ya while callously ignoring Zhong Kui whenever she sees him, but it’s not an easy act to keep up, especially as Bo Ya continues with his nefarious plan and extend his power. Zhong Kui tries to do some investigation of his own, but doesn’t get very far, though we do get a celebrity cameo.


Recap

Xin Yu asks Ouyang Kai if he would protect the person he loves from danger or watch them face it. Obviously, Ouyang Kai would protect the person he loves. Xin Yu is trying to do the same — she’ll protect the person she loves until the end. Ouyang Kai interprets this to mean that Xin Yu broke up with Zhong Kui because she wanted to protect him. Does that mean Zhong Kui is in some kind of danger? Ouyang Kai recalls how Zhong Kui asked him to protect Xin Yu and En Xi the last time he left. Does that mean En Xi is in danger, too?

Xin Yu goes back to Bo Ya’s house, where she greets him with a soft smile when he opens the door. He stares at her for a moment, then smiles, saying he was reminded of the day a thousand years ago when she agreed to marry him.

Inside, En Xi sits statue-like on the couch. She gets up and smiles when Bo Ya waves her over, then lets herself be led upstairs to do something very important. Bo Ya tells Xin Yu to wait for him in the meantime.

But Xin Yu is never one to listen and goes upstairs to look around. She finds Bo Ya’s walk-in closet/evil lair and finally takes a good look at the jars holding pieces of every wronged ghost’s soul. Bo Ya finds her there and compliments her on her astute observation, then boasts that these little pieces he’s kept are so small that they escaped the underworld’s notice.

Xin Yu demands to know what Bo Ya is planning to do with all these pieces of souls. She watches with alarm as Bo Ya kisses En Xi on the forehead and then reveals that because all of these souls are full of resentment, they can strengthen En Xi when he binds them all to her soul.

Bo Ya sends En Xi away after telling her that she did a good job and should keep it up. En Xi fixates Xin Yu with a glare, wanting to know when she’s leaving, but Bo Ya reminds her that it’s not her place to ask such questions and that it’s time for her to go. She obediently walks away.

Bo Ya turns to Xin Yu, who looks troubled, and asks if she wants to know why he’s doing this En Xi. He tells her that demonizing En Xi is the key to his plan for immortality. Then they’ll really be together forever. He calls Xin Yu “Xiao Bing” and asks her if she’s happy. She feigns jealousy and asks why En Xi is being included. Why is she so important? Bo Ya tells her that it’s a secret he can’t reveal yet, but he likes that she’s jealous. He asks Xin Yu to move in with him.

Zhong Kui goes looking for Qin Guang and gets roped into doing a facial routine with her. She guesses he’s shown up because he’s gotten in trouble with the higher-ups and is glad that she’s not the only one being punished. But when Zhong Kui doesn’t respond to her provocations, she snaps at him to get his head back in the game. Xiao Bing is a mortal now.

Zhong Kui responds that there’s nothing he can do. He’s not one of the heavenly immortals. Qin Guang suggests that he should just treat Meng Po as Xin Yu, the mortal, and leave her alone. They both know that relationships between mortals and immortals can only happen in novels. Instead, Zhong Kui should focus on his job. She says that she ask Si Ming, the “Master of Fate,” to give her an oracle log which she’s passing on to Zhong Kui. She reminds him that the planetary alignment is coming up. It’s his one chance to catch Lu Qi. Zhong Kui wants to know what she knows, but she claims to know nothing. Before she leaves him alone, she tosses him a ring, saying it’ll be of use to him.

Xin Yu moves in with Bo Ya. When she wakes up the next morning, she remembers with a frown the night before. Bo Ya had tucked her into bed and leaned in to kiss her goodnight. She turned away at the last moment. To Bo Ya, this indicated that she hadn’t quite accepted him yet. She tried to make up an excuse, but he didn’t need one. As long as she’s by his side, he’s willing to wait as long as it takes. She’s still the same she was before, unable to hide her feelings.

As Bo Ya was leaving her room, Xin Yu said that if he truly wanted to be with her, then he wouldn’t include anyone else in their relationship. She doesn’t want to be a concubine anymore. Bo Ya kissed her hand and told her that she’s the only one in his heart and there’s never been anyone else. This time, he’ll agree to her request and make her his only wife.

Now, Xin Yu rubs her face, not quite believing that she had actually moved in. She hears Bo Ya outside her room and quickly lies back down in bed, pretending she’s still asleep. But Bo Ya knows she’s awake and tells her to get up — there’s a friend waiting for her downstairs.

En Xi sits downstairs at the dining table. She doesn’t seem to register Bo Ya and Xin Yu’s presence. Xin Yu asks Bo Ya what he did to her. Bo Ya waves his hand and a dark cloud of power floats over to En Xi. En Xi starts screaming in pain. Xin Yu rushes to her and demands to know what’s happening. Bo Ya tells her that if he can’t use En Xi’s attraction to him to control her, then he’ll have to resort to using a curse instead. That’s not what Xin Yu wants. She promises not to doubt Bo Ya again.

Bo Ya releases En Xi from the curse. En Xi goes back to seeming catatonic. He tells her that she’s completed her task for today and can go home. She stands up and leaves.

Cheng Huang calls Zhong Kui when he returns to the mortal world to tell him that Xin Yu has moved in with Bo Ya. He waits outside Bo Ya’s house and sees them leave holding hands. Xin Yu’s smile falls and she refuses to make eye contact when she sees Zhong Kui. Bo Ya tells her to greet him, then makes her be the one to tell Zhong Kui about their new relationship: they’re getting married. “I hope you can wish us well,” Xin Yu says.

Zhong Kui goes home and broods in bed, but Ouyang Kai shows up, seeming chipper. He tells Zhong Kui that he shouldn’t brood. He got his heart broken too, but look at him, being strong. En Xi told him that if he wanted to be loved, he had to start by changing himself, so that’s what he’s going to do.

The mention of En Xi makes Zhong Kui wonder if she knows about Xin Yu and Bo Ya getting married. The upcoming marriage is news to Ouyang Kai as well. Zhong Kui decides to go check on En Xi.

En Xi watches sadly as Xin Yu and Bo Ya act couple-like at the coffee shop. Xin Yu has Bo Ya taste some coffee, warns him not to drink too much coffee because it’s bad for him, then cleans the cup when he’s done. He smiles, saying that she used to do this a thousand years ago, too. En Xi broods, remembering how Xin Yu and Bo Ya had already been interacting like that back before they were “dating,” when Xin Yu still had no clue who Bo Ya was.

At the end of the day, Xin Yu tells En Xi to wait and tries to offer to walk her home. But Bo Ya tells her to let it go. En Xi won’t want to be their third wheel and — he glances to the side, where Zhong Kui steps back into the shadows — someone is waiting for her.

Zhong Kui catches up to En Xi after Xin Yu and Bo Ya leave. She’s unhappy to see him and doesn’t believe him when he tells her that Bo Ya and Xin Yu are getting married. She claims that Bo Ya told her they would be together forever. She’s his forever. Bo Ya once told her that as long she’s willing, not even the gods can tell her what to do. She tells Zhong Kui to leave her alone and storms away.

Bo Ya tries to get Xin Yu to make spinach noodles for him, knowing what the dish means to her. Xin Yu tries to claim that her specialty is Italian pasta now. Bo Ya grips her arm and tells her that he knows she didn’t come to his side because she wants to, but it doesn’t matter. Soon he’ll have an eternal life’s worth of time to win back her heart.

Cheng Huang shows up at Zhong Kui’s house and finds him reading a heavenly notice in the oracle log, warning everyone to be on their guard for chaos during the planetary alignment, which will happen in thirty days. There must be something big happening for there to be such an explicit warning in the log. The last time there was a planetary alignment, Zhong Kui died. Now, he’s determined to find some evidence in the log to explain what Lu Qi is trying to do.

Wei Yun Han tries to summon the courage to apologize to Yu Han, but before he can, he’s intercepted by Bo Ya. Yu Han knows that Yun Han has been following her and turns to talk to him, but finds that he’s disappeared. All that’s left is a business card for Bo Ya’s coffee shop on the ground.

Bo Ya makes Yun Han code up some sort of 1990s-looking website/online community that quickly gains members. Then he puts Yun Han under his influence.

Around the city, people start going crazy and attacking one another. Bo Ya smiles as he watches a news report on the chaos. Xin Yu guesses that he has something to do with the chaos, but Bo Ya tells her that the chaos doesn’t involve just him, it’s for them both. Not only can he cause chaos in the three worlds, but in the future, he will control them.

Bo Ya and Yun Han’s new website promises immortality to anyone who joins. Several people are lured to Bo Ya’s coffee shop and he places them all under his control. He hands out a packet of herbs (?) that are to be lit when the “eternal night” comes — the moment when they can all achieve immortality together.

Yu Han follows the business card she found to the coffee shop, which has a sign saying it’s closed until further notice. She’s about to go inside when one of the students in Bo Ya’s cult bursts out, muttering that he can’t light his fire until it’s time. She follows him as he obsessively stares at his packet and finally decides that he must light it before it can be stolen. Yu Han stops him from lighting a fire. He knocks her out. Xiao Qi shows up and knocks him out before he can kill Yu Han.

Xiao Qi reports to Zhong Kui that she heard rumors of a cult and found Yu Han being attacked. Zhong Kui tells her to keep an eye on Yu Han, then leaves to make a trip up to the heavenly realm to meet up with Si Ming (Kingone Wang cameo and a reunion of the idol stars of the early 2000s…) and ask about the planetary alignment and what it has to do with him.

Si Ming knows something, but isn’t allowed to tell Zhong Kui (of course). All he can reveal is that this is a trial for both the human realm and for Zhong Kui himself. It’s also his last chance to go through this tribulation with Meng Po and Lu Qi.

Zhong Kui broods over the little that he learned and feels powerless waiting for Lu Qi to make a move. He doesn’t know what Lu Qi wants with him and can only guess that he means him harm, but what he really cares about is that Xin Yu isn’t harmed.

Bo Ya makes Yun Han lure Yu Han to an abandoned parking garage. It’s obviously a trap, but one meant for Xiao Qi, who is still following Yu Han. Yun Han attacks Xiao Qi and internally injures her using a divine weapon. Xiao Qi manages to teleport herself out of danger and slowly climbs to her feet, then notices Bo Ya and Xin Yu behind her. Xin Yu wants to go to her, but Bo Ya pulls her back. Xiao Qi teleports away.

Bo Ya is no longer afraid of his identity being discovered. He was able to harm Xiao Qi using a mortal — does Xin Yu still doubt that he can control the three worlds?

Xiao Qi manages to get herself to Zhong Kui’s house. He’s baffled to discover that she was wounded by her own power. Xiao Qi whispers to him that “he” really is Lu Qi.

Xin Yu seems troubled by Xiao Qi’s injury and the look of betrayal on her face. She guesses that Bo Ya just wanted to prove his power to her and asks him to stop harming other people if his end goal is really her. Bo Ya just kisses her hand then says he has a gift for her that will cheer her up: an engagement ring.

He takes her hand to put on the ring and comments on the one she’s alreadfy wearing on her index finger. Xin Yu pulls her hand away, lying that she’s not unhappy. Bo Ya angrily throws the ring aside and accuses her of not actually wanting to be with him.

Xin Yu tries to explain that she just doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. “So is everything my fault?” Bo Ya demands. He tells her that none of this has to do with right or wrong — it’s just cause and effect. He tells her to go to her room. He doesn’t want to see her right now.

Bo Ya can barely contain his fury. This is exactly the type of hateful energy En Xi needs.

Xin Yu returns to her room and tells herself to not be afraid. She looks at the ring on her finger and remembers what Qin Guang told her when she gave it to her: that the best spies have a method of communication that can’t be discovered. Xin Yu hugs her knees, terrified that she’s been discovered.

En Xi gets a text from Bo Ya, saying he wants to see her. Ouyang Kai watches her as she responds out loud that she wants to see him too, but all she feels when she thinks of him is pain and fear. She notices Ouyang Kai, who tries to act nonchalant. He promises to keep his distance and not bother her, but En Xi surprises him by asking if he’ll keep her company.

Ouyang Kai takes En Xi out to an arcade and then karaoking. She seems to enjoy herself and ignores Bo Ya’s messages, but eventually Ouyang Kai asks if she should respond. Instead of checking her phone, En Xi begs, “Take me away.”

Zhong Kui makes Cheng Huang play Go with him even though the end of the world seems to be approaching. Zhong Kui’s realized that he’s not the player in the greater game of Go in the world — he’s just a stone on the board.

Someone rings the doorbell urgently. Zhong Kui opens the door to find Ouyang Kai, who rushes in with En Xi in his arms, begging Zhong Kui to save her. They set En Xi down on the couch and Zhong Kui turns her head to find a black-taloned hand clinging to her face.


Commentary

I’m so frustrated because nothing — not the plot development, nor the character development — makes sense and it all seems so unnecessary. En Xi’s character has been done such a disservice. Nothing about her makes sense and it’s all explained away as “oh, she’s being used by Bo Ya.” She is literally just a plot device. I’m sure there are other ways to handle Bo Ya without Xin Yu sacrificing herself and devastating Zhong Kui in the process. But whatever, it is what it is. I’m finishing out this drama just to get some closure, but there are other much more enjoyable shows to actually watch and spend my emotional energy on right now.

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