Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 20)

The end is finally here! Bo Ya seems to think his evil plan is unstoppable and indeed goes ahead with much of his plan facing little resistance. Will he succeed? Ouyang Kai is determined to do anything to save En Xi and demands answers and action from the gods who seem content to sit back and wait.


Recap

En Xi urgently warns Ouyang Kai to not interfere with what’s to come. It’s too late for her to turn back, but it’s not too late for him. She came today in order to protect him. Ouyang Kai doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, but tries to get her to stay, sensing that if she leaves now, he’ll lose her forever. He doesn’t want to lose her — even if she likes Bo Ya, he’ll be okay with it. En Xi turns back toward Ouyang Kai to kiss him, then abruptly starts walking away. Ouyang Kai tries to chase after her, but she swipes an arm at him and knocks him out.

Ah Fu catches Ouyang Kai and demands to know what she wants. En Xi responds that Ouyang Kai will be fine. She tells Ah Fu to remind him when he wakes up of the warning she left for her brother.

Bo Ya smiles triumphantly after putting a bit of Wei Yun Han’s hair in a jar and sealing it with a talisman. His soul was the missing piece and now Bo Ya’s collection is complete.

Zhong Kui is fighting evil ghosts who are wreaking havoc on the city when he gets a message from Ah Fu about En Xi dropping by.

Bo Ya catches En Xi right as she returns to his house. He asks where she went. When she doesn’t respond, he tells her that it’s time for them to move somewhere else. Soon, she won’t be troubled by her heart anymore. After tomorrow, her suffering will end.

The eternal night means that the sky is dark and the sun is gone even though it’s supposed to be the middle of the day. A woman whose daughter Zhong Kui saves from a zombie-like horde asks if it’s the end of the world. Zhong Kui responds that it’s not the end of the world yet. The woman and daughter fall to their knees and pray.

There are too many ghosts for Zhong Kui and Xiao Qi to handle so they go to Ouyang Kai’s house instead to find out what happened with En Xi. Ah Fu reports that En Xi struck Ouyang Kai with her malicious energy. Xin Yu looks pale but wants to help. Zhong Kui tells her to rest instead. He and Xiao Qi investigate Bo Ya’s house, which is empty.

Bo Ya brings En Xi to the coffee shop where he infuses her with Wei Yun Han’s vengeful spirit fragment in a candlelit ritual. When she opens her eyes again, they’re red. Bo Ya laughs evilly.

Ouyang Kai tells Zhong Kui that he’s willing to do anything if it means saving En Xi. Xin Yu continues to look pale and tells Ah Fu that she should be out there helping instead of hiding in here. This all started because of her, so maybe she’s the only person who can end it. Ah Fu tells her that it’s highly unlikely Lu Qi hid for a thousand years and went through all this effort just for love — his true motive must be to take over the three worlds. The best way she can help right now is stay safe here so Zhong Kui can fight his battles out in the world.

But Xin Yu has thought of a way that she can help even without her divine powers. She still knows how to make the soup of forgetting and maybe that’s the key to curing En Xi. After recovering her memories, she remembered the exact details of how the soup of forgetting plays a role in helping vengeful spirits shed the experiences of their past lives before they reincarnate. If they can’t use divine energy to remove En Xi’s malicious energy, then maybe they can make her forget everything. Ah Fu points out that if it works, En Xi might forget everything about her current life. Xin Yu says that might not be a bad thing.

Xin Yu’s shawl falls from around her shoulders. Ah Fu helps her pick it up, then comments on how cold her skin is when he hands the shawl to her. Xin Yu smiles nervously and waves it away as a lack of sleep, but after Ah Fu leaves, she glances worriedly down at her hand. It flickers in and out of view with starry sparkles.

Cheng Huang tells Zhong Kui about Wei Yun Han’s death and how a piece of his soul was missing when he reported to the underworld. He must be the final soul required to demonize En Xi.

Cheng Huang uses the power of his command to locate En Xi at the coffee shop. The place is dark and empty but for candles everywhere when they arrive with Ouyang Kai and Xiao Qi in tow. But then Bo Ya reveals himself, holding En Xi at his side.

Zhong Kui and Cheng Huang hold Ouyang Kai back from rushing to En Xi. They can tell that they’re already too late — En Xi is now a demon.

Bo Ya laughs — they think they can still stop him? There’s nothing they can do now. It’s all about what he wants to do. He tells En Xi that they’re here to see her. It’s time to show them what she can do.

En Xi smiles, then opens her red eyes and screams. (I assume her scream shatters glass, but it kind of looks like she’s just spitting confetti…)

A news report on the chaos in the world plays on the TV while Xin Yu continues to shiver and flicker in and out of existence.

Ouyang Kai demands some solutions from the immortals assembled before him, but they’re all silent. Is there really nothing they can do? Cheng Huang tells him that this is all just fate — if it’s fated to happen, then it will. There’s nothing the gods can do to interfere. But Cheng Huang reassures Ouyang Kai that Zhong Kui won’t let anything happen to En Xi. Ouyang Kai is fed up with their empty words. Where is En Xi now? Is Zhong Kui really going to abandon his sister for a lover?

Xin Yu stares out the window while they argue, but turns to look at them after Ouyang Kai speaks. Ah Fu suggests to Zhong Kui that she might be the only one who can get close enough to Lu Qi to stop him. Zhong Kui recalls what Si Ming told him earlier: that it won’t be long before Xin Yu’s soul dissipates. Xin Yu shivers and thinks the same thing. Her time will soon be over.

She returns to her room and Zhong Kui follows. They have the same old argument about how Xin Yu thinks that Zhong Kui thinks she’s useless and he refuses to budge when he’s made up his mind. She points out that he’s doing this all for her, but has never asked or thought about what she actually wants. Zhong Kui tells her to “not be like this.” Xin Yu tells him to leave her alone.

Zhong Kui can’t see what’s wrong with him wanting Xin Yu to be safe while he fights Lu Qi. He already has enough going on worried about his sister’s soul being destroyed at any moment. He tells her to calm down and wait for him to come back.

Xin Yu doesn’t look at him or respond and he closes the door with a sad expression. After he’s gone, she shivers and whispers that she’s sorry.

The gods and Ouyang Kai all wait around, then at some undetectable signal, Zhong Kui stands up, saying it’s time. He tells both Ah Fu and Ouyang Kai to stay behind — Ah Fu to protect Xin Yu, and Ouyang Kai because as a mortal, he shouldn’t get involved in a conflict between immortals.

Zhong Kui apologizes to everyone for dragging them into his age-old feud with Lu Qi. He hopes they can all survive. Xin Yu comes downstairs and asks if she can go with him. He hugs her instead, then freezes her in place with a spell and disappears.

Ah Fu frees her and she collapses to the ground, crying. Ouyang Kai notices her hand disappearing. Xin Yu cries that she might never see Zhong Kui again.

Bo Ya waits with En Xi at the site of the crack between the worlds and basks in his inevitable success. He tells En Xi that once he rules the three worlds, what he wants most is Xiao Bing. He believes that Xiao Bing loves him and will meet them at this location because he told her where it is, roughly tossing En Xi aside by the throat when he thinks she doesn’t believe him, even though she doesn’t speak. The planets align above them and Bo Ya grabs En Xi’s chin, forcing her to look.

Three underworld employees arrive at Ouyang Kai’s house, ready to escort Xin Yu to the underworld. She asks Ah Fu to let her go see Zhong Kui one last time. Ah Fu doesn’t want to disobey Zhong Kui, but eventually lets her go. Ouyang Kai gives her a ride on his motorcycle and they speed past the underworld employees.

Zhong Kui, Cheng Huang, and Xiao Qi arrive at the portal location and confront Bo Ya. Cheng Huang and Zhong Kui join efforts and fight Bo Ya, who seems to be stronger than them both and is armed with a sword full of resentful energy. Bo Ya manages to injure Cheng Huang and Zhong Kui manages to strike Bo Ya once, but Bo Ya uses En Xi to his advantage.

Ouyang Kai and Xin Yu zoom in. Bo Ya smiles when he sees Xin Yu. She walks toward him, asking him to let the others go. She’ll go with him.

The sky crackles with lightning and swirl with red clouds as the crack starts to open. Bo Ya uses the distraction to pull Xin Yu to his side and warn the others away. He holds En Xi up to the portal and she starts being sucked into the crack.

Zhong Kui tries to attack with Xiao Qi in sword form, but she’s not strong enough to break the force field around them and falls back into her human form, wounded. Bo Ya notices Xin Yu disappearing. She tells him that her soul is dissipating — she can’t be with him, nor can she be with Zhong Kui. Zhong Kui tries to rush them, but Bo Ya strikes him and knocks him away. He falls to the ground, coughing blood, then falls unconscious.

Xin Yu begs Bo Ya to spare Zhong Kui. She’ll do whatever he wants. He holds his sword up to her neck, asking if she’s really made up her mind.

Cheng Huang checks Zhong Kui’s pulse then falls backward, thinking that they’re doomed. But Zhong Kui is powered by the prayers of the people, whose voices start swirling around them. Bo Ya looks around, confused, and demands to know what’s happening. Zhong Kui heals and opens his eyes, which flash blue. He sits up.

Bo Ya tries to attack Zhong Kui, but gets repeatedly knocked back by a protective golden bell shield. Zhong Kui stands up and casually strikes Bo Ya. En Xi stops being absorbed by the crack and the red fades from her eyes. Bo Ya staggers back, coughing blood, as Zhong Kui protectively pulls Xin Yu back.

Zhong Kui tells Bo Ya that he made a mistake believing people could be controlled by fear. It’s because of fear that there is faith, and faith is what’s most powerful. Bo Ya tries to make a grab for En Xi, but gets thrown back. Three of the vengeful spirits used to demonize En Xi — Chen Zhe Xuan, Zhao Jia Jun, and Wei Yun Han — appear behind her, glowing golden and smiling. Because the three of them were actually good people before they died, they weren’t able to fully convert En Xi over to the dark side, despite their wrongful deaths.

Bo Ya says that he won’t let Zhong Kui be happy. He’ll make sure he pays for taking away the person he loves. Zhong Kui throws himself in front of Xin Yu, thinking that Bo Ya is about to attack her, but he attacks En Xi instead. Ouyang Kai throws himself in front of En Xi and takes the brunt of the hit, but they both fall to the ground, unconscious.

Zhong Kui attacks Bo Ya with a powerful punch. Bo Ya starts turning to ash and gets sucked into the red void above.

Cheng Huang checks En Xi’s pulse — she’s alive. But Ouyang Kai is gone.

The skies rumble and Cheng Huang warns Zhong Kui that the heavenly lightning is about to strike.

Zhong Kui grabs Xin Yu and shields her with his body as he’s struck twice by lightning. He tells her that this is their tribulation — if they make it past this, they’ll be fine. Xin Yu asks to share the burden of the final strike with him, but he doesn’t want to given her weak state. She kisses him to distract him, then flips them so that they take the final strike together.

The clouds disperse, the sun comes back out, and the world is light again. Zhong Kui gathers Xin Yu in his arms, crying as he asks her why she did that. She responds that she wanted to endure their tribulation together. He’s determined to find some way to save her soul. They can go find Qin Guang. But Xin Yu shakes her head. There’s nothing they can do — this is her punishment for trying to recover her memories.

Xin Yu tells Zhong Kui that she doesn’t regret any of this and waxes poetic about how she knows that their hearts have always been one, even though she married the wrong person a thousand years ago. Zhong Kui admits that he became King of Ghosts for the same reason she become a god — to escape his emotions and past relationships — but ironically it made him realize just how much he loved her. It’s a love that even death can’t change.

Xin Yu reaches up to touch his face, but disappears before she can.

Zhong Kui screams at the sky in his grief. (This moment loses all seriousness and is actually hilarious when you watch it at 1.5x speed… oops,)

En Xi wakes up to find Ouyang Kai standing by her bed. Her first thought is Xin Yu — where is she? But Ouyang Kai doesn’t answer her questions and instead reminds her of the day he said he’d be her boyfriend.

Cheng Huang and Zhong Kui show up and tell En Xi that Xin Yu is gone and that Ouyang Kai is here to say goodbye. En Xi doesn’t understand — until her hand goes straight through Ouyang Kai.

En Xi sobs, unwilling to accept what’s happening. Cheng Huang tells them that it’s time. En Xi is in denial but eventually calms down enough to tell Ouyang Kai how grateful she is for how he gave her everything and asked for nothing in return. She asks for an opportunity to thank him. They both get on their knees and she bows to him.

They both sob. When En Xi looks up, Ouyang Kai and Cheng Huang are both gone. She cries harder. Zhong Kui kneels down to comfort her.

En Xi broods in bed all day and night with the blackout curtains drawn, wanting it to be dark in case Ouyang Kai comes back. Zhong Kui brings her some food and opens the curtains, gently reminding her that Ouyang Kai isn’t coming back and that he wouldn’t want to see her like this.

En Xi cries that she has nothing left now that she’s lost someone who cared about her so much. Zhong Kui tells her that she still has him. They hug, then Zhong Kui tells her that the malicious energy in her is strong. It will eventually consumer her, unless she takes a forgetting pill that Xin Yu made for her before she passed. The pill will make her forget everything and everyone: him, Xin Yu, Ouyang Kai.

En Xi acknowledges that she did a lot of things to make life difficult for Zhong Kui before because she was jealous of his relationship with Xin Yu. But she’s happy that she can finally do something that won’t trouble him. She hopes that when he and Xin Yu meet again, they can love each other as deeply as they did. She’s glad that everything she experienced will just be a dream. She swallows the pill.

Zhong Kui goes downstairs for a drink with Cheng Huang after En Xi falls asleep. Cheng Huang tells him some good news: Ouyang Kai is destined to be with En Xi. He’s actually Du Ping, Zhong Kui’s best friend in a previous life and the man that he married Mei Er off to. That marriage was the start of their fated relationship.

Zhong Kui smiles at that bit of good fortune, then sobers slightly. Will those who are destined to be together always end up together?

Some time later, Zhong Kui plays poker in the underworld with Ouyang Kai and the three other boys who died too soon while they wait to be processed and reincarnated. Ouyang Kai is a huge bluffer, as expected, and predictably gets called on his bluff.

Ouyang Kai asks Zhong Kui how En Xi is doing. Zhong Kui reassures him that she is doing well. Then Ouyang Kai asks for a favor.

Zhong Kui meets up with Qin Guang, who teases him about his tribulation. He’s all smiles and in a good mood, now that he’s back with Meng Po. We haven’t seen Meng Po yet, but a cut-scene shows us how Si Ming hinted to Zhong Kui that Xin Yu would have to die in order to live. Cheng Huang and Qin Guang worked together to forge a mortal identity for Xin Yu in order to use an underworld loophole so she could apply to be a Meng Po, thus allowing her to live forever with Zhong Kui again.

Zhong Kui doesn’t linger and chat with Qin Guang for long, because he’s off to pick Meng Po (now 1314) up from her first day at work so they can go to the mortal world together.

They check up on En Xi, who is now a reporter. En Xi suddenly finds a bracelet in her pocket and frowns, finding it strangely familiar. It’s a smiley-face bracelet that her mother left for her and that Ouyang Kai asked Zhong Kui to retrieve from his belongings and give to En Xi.

En Xi looks up and spots Zhong Kui and Meng Po looking at her. She frowns, finding them strangely familiar, too, then suddenly thinks “my brother.” She smiles at them and they smile back. Zhong Kui asks Meng Po if En Xi really remembers him. “Maybe,” she responds.

Zhong Kui’s hand glows, a sign that he has ghosts to catch. He kisses her on the forehead and tells her to wait for him. She smiles and tells him to go do his job.


Commentary

With the help of 1.5x speed and a lot of willpower, I’ve made it to the end!

My issues with the finale are the same issues I’ve had with the last few episodes and most of this show. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense or just seem… unnecessary. Like did Cheng Huang really need to use his powers to figure out where En Xi is? The coffee shop is the most obvious place to look for Bo Ya after his empty house. I’m surprised that was his secret second location when everyone knows about it. Did I feel the tragic love between Zhong Kui and Xin Yu/Xiao Bing? Not really. Try Love and Redemption for some real star-crossed immortal epic love story.

I feel let down that Zhong Kui and Xin Yu had no resolution to their repetitive relationship issues. The resolution was… for her to die and come back to life? Sure, maybe you can interpret that as saying “love conquers all” but love is not all there is to make a relationship work.

On the positive side, I’m glad Ouyang Kai got to come back and have his own arc. He’s the only character who has shown any sort of growth and the only one I like. I also think that it’s kind of fun that Zhong Kui and Xiao Bing finally get to be together thanks to bureaucratic loopholes and paper-pushing. This show would’ve been so much better if we got more of these fun glimpses into the quirky bureaucracy of the underworld. I would watch a show focused entirely on this corporate underworld.

1 thought on “Recap: The Devil Punisher (Ep. 20)”

  1. Thanks for the recap!

    Totally agree with you that this drama was a pain to watch and sit through, if not for Ouyang Kai. Your reviews are really on point and your comments are spot on as well. Thanks for your time!

    Like

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