Ooph. A rough ride right now, ammirite?
Don't worry. It gets worse.
Wen Ning, who doesn’t know what he’s asking for is ecstatic. Wen Qing is practically in tears and WWZX, well, he’s grateful but sad. That “thank you” to Wen Qing damn near killed me. It physically hurt.
Song Lan. You remember Song Lan, don’t you? He’s the “best friend” of Xiao Xingchen. You remember Xiao Xingchen, right? These two:
Anyway, it’s Song Lan (the one in black in the above .gif), and the dude’s unconscious and there there’s something terribly wrong with his eyes. We learn, once Song Lan is back with Wen Qing to be treated, that he and Xiao Xingchen travelled around together since the last time they met up with WWX and crew. Then they separated as Song Lan went back to visit his master for his birthday (the master’s, not Song Lan's). He arrives to find his master’s residence in chaos. Everyone is dead. He finds his master, dying, and is immediately warned.
Warned about what?
Xue Yang, who attacks Song Lan, throwing something - magical insta-blindness dust, it may seem - in his eyes.
What a fucking psychopath.
(to jog your memory, this is Xue Yang:)
This is the lie he spins: Baoshan the Wanderer is his grandmaster. Of course he would know where she is. And with her reputation - she who can revive the dead and give flesh to bones - she can restore Jiang Cheng’s golden core, no problem. He tells his sister so, and she is obviously overjoyed. Oh, poor, sweet, gullible Jiang Yanli.
WWX then goes to his brother, who is still unconscious on the bed, Wen Qing’s paralyzing needles still in his head. WWX takes those out, and Jiang Chen begins to wake up. WWX sits down and starts eating the food he brought, acting like his usual mischievous self... but it’s tempered now. I don’t know how the actor managed it, but it feels so different from his previous, more carefree impishness of previous episodes.
WWX; Yo, bro, wake up and eat something.
JC: I want to die.
WWX: but if you die, how will you restore your golden core, twit?
JC: ... Go on
WWX: I can take you to see Baoshan, bro.
At which, Jiang Cheng is utterly convinced there’s a chance that he might get his golden core back again, leaps out of bed, and starts to eat.
Obviously, it’s a lot more heartfelt than that, but that’s the general gist. While Jiang Cheng is eating, WWX lays out the rules of what’s to follow - the main one being that he must keep it a secret. No one must know what it is that he did or where he went. Not even their sister. Jiang Cheng readily agrees, while scarfing down his foot.
The smile WWX gives is bittersweetness incarnate. He just looks so pleased that Jiang Cheng is suddenly determined to live again, but there’s the cost... UGH! MY HEART!
WWX, dead serious, says he never will.
Wen Wing disagrees. It’s not the sort of thing that could be kept a secret forever..
That’s when WWX points out that if it was Wen Ning who had his golden core melted, she would make the exact same decisions he has. It appears that he’s got Wen Qing there.
Then WWX goes off to his sister. He gives her the drugs and tells her it’s incense to help her sleep. Not exactly a lie... Trusting WWX, she puts it in the incense burner, and offers WWX her homemade soup - his favourite: lotus root and ribs. Jiang Yanli and WWX reminisce about the first time she made this soup for him, and we’re treated to a flashback of the three siblings as children.
Baby WWX has just been brought into the family, and because of his terrible fear of dogs, poor baby Jiang Cheng has been forced to give up his puppies. It was a contentious beginning for the pair. Obviously upset at baby WWX, baby Jiang Cheng sends him away from their shared room, threatening to release the dogs on him. Terrified, baby WWX runs away. Baby Jiang Yanli ends up searching for him in the woods by herself at night. She finds him up a tree, and tries to convince him to come down. Baby WWX ends up falling out of the tree and injuring himself.
Baby Jiang Yanli ends up giving him a piggy back ride, after explaining that baby Jiang Cheng was the one who woke her up, worried for him. As they walk, a child starts wailing in the forest. Turns out it was baby Jiang Cheng, who had fallen and injured himself while out looking for baby WWX. Sobbing, bleeding from the head, baby Jiang Cheng apologizes to baby WWX.
The three return home, and baby WWX and baby Jiang Cheng end up becoming friends after baby WWX promises he won’t tell on baby Jiang Cheng. Baby Jiang Cheng promises baby WWX that he would never release any dogs on him. Besties 4 lyfe.
It’s all very sweet.
When the flashback ends, we see Jiang Cheng “asleep” in bed shed a single tear at the recollections and WHY THE FUCK AM I CRYING. THIS ISN’T FAIR!
Anyway, the drugged incense works and Jiang Yanli is now in a drug-induced coma. Nice, WWX. Jiang Cheng stops pretending to be asleep and gets out of bed. WWX notes that their sister should sleep long enough for Song Lan to take her to Yanling - home of the Jin Clan.
We next see WWX and Jiang Cheng place their sleeping sister into a carriage. Song Lan, whose sight is totally restored, promises to ensure that she reaches her destination. He also asks WWX that should he see Xiao Xingchen... But he can’t quite get the words out.
It’s okay, Song Lan. He knows you love him. I’m sure he loves you too.
Song Lan heads off, and WWX and Jiang Cheng also take their leave of the two Wens, off to restore Jiang Cheng’s golden core. Or, more realistically, WWX’s devious plan to restore his brother’s golden core even though it will cost him a great deal is enacted.
We then cut to Yanling. Presumably Jiang Yanli has arrived and told the story of what happened to her clan, because there’s a crowd outside demanding justice for the Jiang Clan. And so beings the Sunshot campaign, a campaign to take the world back from the Wens. We’re told this via a voiceover while we watch Clan Leader Nie take back his home (which became the Wen Clan Supervisory Office of Qinhe), and we get a shot of LWJ, dressed in white, sword drawn, stepping on a Wen Clan banner at the gate of the Cloud Recesses.
We cut back to WWX and Jiang Cheng, who are still climbing a fucking hill. I mean, the way it’s cut makes it feel like they were walking for all the months that it took for the other clans to win back their territories which... might be the case, but it feels odd, you know?
Anyway, Jiang Cheng is blindfolded and told to go forward. WWX can go no further. He’ll go down into the town and wait for him. In a WWX voiceover while Jiang Cheng moves forward repeats the rules Jiang Cheng is to follow. He’s never to open his eyes. Not once.
Eventually, Jiang Cheng hears the sound of a bell, and follows it. He comes across a woman who draws her sword and demands he stop. It’s clearly Wen Qing with her face hidden, and if Jiang Cheng knew his crush at all, he’d recognize her voice, but maybe he’s just too excited to get his golden core back to worry about it.
And so ends the episode.
What I Loved
I adore the tension in Wen Qing. I love that she really doesn’t want to do the thing WWX has asked her to do specifically because of the threat it poses to WWX, because of everything he’ll be giving up. I like that she’s mad about it. I think, were I her, I’d be acting the same way.
I adore how expertly Xiao Zhan (the bloke who plays WWX) navigates all the subtleties of his character; the desire to protect and save, and the sadness for himself that this decision creates in him. I love that he’s determined to do it because it’s the right thing to do, but also lets the character be sad about it in the quiet moments - a sadness that no one but Wen Qing ever gets to see.
These two were phenomenal in this episode.
Also, as this is my second viewing, so I can see all the ways this episode sets things up for the episodes to follow (sometimes quite a ways away). It’s useful to pay attention to this episode, even if it feels like nothing much is happening.
What Could Be Better
Lordy, the hunting chicken thing was far more hilarious than I think the cast and director meant for it to be. It really was goofy as all get out, and it wasn’t meant to be, I don’t think. It still makes me giggle thinking about it.
But that’s it. That’s the only thing I would change. Oh, and maybe have the timeline figured out a bit better. It feels really odd to have the boys walking for months on end while the rest of the world rebels against the Wen Clan, especially since it takes days to get places in other instances.
Next week... things don’t get much better for our dear WWX.