Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Eternal Love (Ep. 1)

I’m back! For a little bit, while I’m on break (we’ll see how long it lasts). Life just got a little too busy to be watching or recapping dramas, and I lost steam on some of the ones I was watching before. I’ve been feeling like watching a wuxia/xianxia drama after watching Alchemy of Souls. Seems like a good time to watch Eternal Love (aka Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花) – I can’t believe it’s already five years old!

It’ll take some adjusting for me to get used to the dubbed voices and video game character CGI that are signature for this genre of C-dramas again (and two of my biggest pet peeves with C-dramas, unfortunately), but I can do it!

Recap

A yellow-robed figure meditates and forms a magical fan out of pure power. The fan flies around the world and then darts in front of some white-robed disciples, who all struggle to catch it. Mo Yuan (Mark Chao), presumably the same person who created the fan, catches it. It wriggles in his hand and zooms away when he releases it. He wonders if this means he will have new disciples.

Bai Qian (Yang Mi) is the only daughter of Bai Zhi, the Fox Monarch of the Qingqiu Nine-Tailed White Fox Clan. She’s quite the troublemaker so her parents have handed her over to Zhe Yan (Ken Chang), a phoenix god whose domain is the Ten-Mile Peach Grove. Zhe Yan disguises Bai Qian as Si Yin, a common male fox spirit so that she can study at Kunlun under the God of War Mo Yuan (Mark Chao), who accepts only male disciples.

The day she arrives at Kunlun, Si Yin catches the magical Yuqing Fan, leading Mo Yuan to believe she is fated to be his disciple. He immediately sees through her disguise, but takes her on as his seventeenth disciple anyway. In exchange for making her junior to Zi Lan, the young man who shows up on the same day as her, Mo Yuan gifts her the Yuqing Fan. It’s a decision that ruffles the feathers of the other disciples and makes waves in the court of the Celestial Monarch.

Fast forward 20,000 years and Si Yin is still a troublemaker. But she’s also highly favored by Mo Yuan, who gives her special treatment even though she frequently does things she’s not supposed to, like visit the mortal realm. Mo Yuan’s bias for her is so unusual that even the immortals of the Celestial Court gossip about it.

The high goddess Yao Guang, who has a bit of a history with Mo Yuan and is in love with him, kidnaps Si Yin. Mo Yuan frees Si Yin and challenges Yao Guang to a duel to settle the debt she created by kidnapping his disciple. The Celestial Monarch sends a messenger to convince Mo Yuan to drop the duel, but Mo Yuan goes through with it anyway and handily defeats Yao Guang, then tells her to move out of Kunlun.

Xuan Nu, a member of the Fox Clan and Bai Qian’s childhood playmate who is known for looking remarkably like Bai Qian, shows up at Kunlun. She brings a letter for Si Yin from Bai Qian’s brother Bai Zhen, asking her to let Xuan Nu live with her for a while so she can escape an arranged marriage. Mo Yuan allows Xuan Nu to stay at Kunlun, saying she can live with Si Yin. Xuan Nu doesn’t seem to see through Si Yin’s disguise, but does comment on how much Si Yin looks like Bai Qian.

Mo Yuan tasks Si Yin with sutra copying as a punishment. Before she leaves to do this time-consuming task, she drops by a lotus pond and says goodbye to her golden lotus flower friend. The flower emits a golden light after she leaves.

(Translation note: Translating these kinds of fantasy dramas is always pretty difficult because the direct translation isn’t always the one that makes the most sense and there are a lot of different translations out there depending on what streaming service or website you’re on. For my recaps, I’m using a mash-up of different translations and just picking what I think fits best, even if it’s not a direct literal translation.)

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