Sooo... LWJ and WWX have escaped, killing the slaughter tortoise. Heh. That’s just such a hilarious phrase. LWJ has gone to the Cloud Recesses, and WWX has returned home to Lotus Cove, where his adopted father dotes on him. But shit’s about to go down.
Turns out the Wen Clan are systematically obliterating all the clans whose heirs escaped the cave of the slaughter tortoise and thus the Wen Clan indoctrination.
WWX with Jiang Cheng’s aid convince Jiang Fengmian that the Jin Clan would be helpful here. Even if the Jin Clan leader will not publicly revolt against the Wen Clan, his son, Jin Zuxian (the peacock) is definitely on their side, and will be able to help them. Sweet. Allies in unexpected places.
Jian Fengmian decides to go then to the Jin Clan, bringing his daughter with him. This leaves Jiang Cheng and WWX in charge. In a pretty sweet moment, Mama Jiang, who is actually called Madam Yu, brings a bounty of food for her daughter, and medicine for her husband, revealing that she actually cares about him, even if she’s acting really bitchy about it currently.
We find out that Xue Yang, that weird little psychopath, has gone awol, and Wen Ruohan wants Wen Chao to track him down and get his fragment of the Yin Iron. This enrages Wen Ruohan, and with his worsened temper, he loses control of his own hand. When he demands Wen Qing for his acupuncture, Wen Chao reminds him that he sent her away. Why would you send your doctor away? What a tool. He refuses to recall her.
Back at Lotus Cove, we’re at another session of archery, where everyone is shooting at kites. Jiang Cheng and WWX are supervising. Bored WWX declares he’s had enough, and the youngest disciples are sent to go collect the arrows and kites.
In the collecting, they come across Flirty McBitchface and a contingent of Wen Clan soldiers. She’s holding a kite and demands to know whose it is. It belongs to the youngest disciple (we met him previously when Jiang Fengmian was showing him how to shoot properly). Flirty McBitchface demands that the soldiers seize the boy.
Don’t all the disciples come running to Jiang Cheng and WWX.
All the commotion brings out Madam Yu.
Flirty McBitchface says that servants should know their place. A little hypocritical, since she herself was a servant before Wen Chao decided he liked her better than his wife, her mistress. She says that Madam Yu’s servant would earn herself a slap to the face if she behaved that way in the Wen Clan.
Madam Yu tells Flirty McBitchface that no one can slap them. No one would dare. Flirty McBitchface insists that servants should behave like servants. Madam Yu does the equivalent of saying, “Yeah, WWX. Know your place.”
When pressed as to why she seized their disciple, Flirty McBitchface says that it was because the child was conspiring against the Wen Clan. She uses the kite as proof - it’s round and golden, like the sun, which I guess is the symbol of the Wen Clan, apparently. WWX points out that if that’s the reasoning, then no one should be peeling and eating oranges, as they are golden and round like the sun. But oranges are a personal favourite of Flirty McBitchface.
Madam Yu demands the reason for the visit - was it really for a kite. Apparently not. No, Flirty McBitchface is there to seek punishment for a particular someone. That someone apparently distracted Wen Chao when he was fighting the slaughter tortoise. Luckily, Wen Chao killed it anyway (the lying cow), but the person who cost him the first fight needs to be punished. It’s WWX, obviously.
Jiang Cheng tries to step in, but is silenced by his mother.
Then Flirty McBitchface strikes a nerve, saying that if anyone in Lotus Cove was shielding him, it would lend credence to the rumours that WWX is actually Jiang Fengmian’s illegitimate son. Well, Madam Yu is having none of that. WWX loses his temper and goes for Flirty McBitchface, but Madam Yu hits him full in the chest with a whip of purple electricity that magically unleashes from a bracelet on her wrist. It’s the same weapon that older Jian Cheng lashed WWX with in the second episode.
She stops. Despite WWX in agony on the ground, Flirty McBitchface is not impressed. She demands that Madam Yu cut of WWX’s right hand - that’s his sword arm. Being WWX, we learn from eavesdropping on his thoughts, that he would gladly give up his right hand if it would mean the Wen Clan leaves the Jiang Clan alone.
By all accounts, it looks as though Madam Yu is going to do it, despite her son’s protestations. Flirty McBitchface then does something stupid. She reveals that the Lotus Cove is going to become the Wen Clan supervisory office - stripping Madam Yu and her son of their home. Well, doesn’t that get under Madam Yu’s skin. She full on backhands Flirty McBitchface, sending her sprawling. AND she puts her foot on Flirty McBitchface’s head and reminds her that she is just a servant, and that “I am superior, and you are inferior.”
Her badass servants then become a blur of murderous activity, slaughtering the Wen soldiers. Then they go for Flirty McBitchface. She screams for Wen Zhuliu - Wen Chao’s bodyguard, also known as the core melter (or crusher, depending on the translation you’re reading). Well, doesn’t it seem that Wen Zhuliu and Madam Yu know each other. She greets him as Core Crusher. He greets her as Purple Spider.
It looks like they aren’t going to fight, but Flirty McBitchface forces the issue. Amazingly, Madam Yu makes the first move, noting that Wen Zhuliu isn’t a Wen at all, but that he abandoned his own clan to join the Wens. That’s a backstory I’d really want to learn more about. Regardless, there’s a fight.
WWX shouts for Jiang Cheng to stop Flirty McBitchface from firing off the beacon, which would summon more Wen Clan soldiers. He does, but gets distracted when he sees Wen Zhuliu gain the upper hand in the fight against his mum. He goes to help her, but gets badly beaten by Wen Zhuliu. Meanwhile, Flirty McBitchface sends up the fireworks, sounding the alarm.
Madam Yu uses the distraction to collect WWX, who is still on the floor 'cause of his recent lashing, and her son, and flies off with them to the quay. She puts them both in a boat and checks Jiang Cheng over, relieved that the damage was not severe. My guess is she was very worried that the Core Crusher crushed his magical core.
What follows is a heartbreaking goodbye. Madam Yu ties both boys together with her purple whip, saying it belongs to Jiang Cheng now, and will recognize him as its master. Also, the bindings will not loosen until they’re both safe. She makes WWX swear he will protect Jiang Cheng with his life, if necessary. She doesn’t soften to WWX at all, blaming him for everything that has happened. But when Jiang Cheng begs his mother to come with them, she pulls him close
Distraught, Jiang Cheng screams for his mother as the boat drifts down river. They come across their father’s boat. He is returning with Jiang Yanli. He releases the boys, discovering that the Purple Lightning Whip recognizes him as a master (giving hint to his wife’s feelings for him). Jiang Cheng explains everything, and begs for his father to take them back to the fight.
Jiang Fengmian ties all three of his children up with the purple lightning, telling them they’re to go to their grandmother’s to hide. There’s another touching goodbye before Jiang Fengmian leaves his children to go to his wife’s side.
His three children:
What I Liked
Ugh! All the tears! Look, there’s a part of me that really enjoys having my heart torn out and stomped on, and this horrible tearing apart of parents and children definitely does that. I might have sobbed on my first watching. Hard. Like, my pillow was soaking wet. I held it together better this time around. Just.
There wasn’t so much action this episode, of course. It is a drama after all. But the tension in this episode was done extremely well. And they did rip my heart out. Sometimes those kind of scenes can be extremely corny - either the writing or the acting (and sometimes both) are inexcusably bad. Not so here. It was all so well done, and I was destroyed on my first watching.
What Could Have Been Better
Uh... there were no goofy action pieces this time around (which is really where I find my biggest complaints), so finding a complaint is tough. I’m not looking closely enough to see wires that appear on camera, or if there are any costuming mistakes. I honestly, don’t have anything that I’d do differently this time around.