Are we all recovered from last week's episode? Good. This one is sad, still, but nowhere near as devastating as the last one. Also, Wei Wuxian has acquired a cape. Somehow.
Incidentally, I've never had a lotus seed. I wonder what it tastes like. Anyway, back to the episode...
The guards all kinda just, collapse, and Wen Ning shows up, looking for WWX with a very unconscious Jiang Cheng on his back. Once in the boat, Wen Ning lists all the injuries Jian Cheng has, and probably others besides. And his friends have retrieved the bodies of the Clan Leader and his wife, which will be delivered later on. Oh, and here's Jiang Cheng's purple lightning whip thing.
WWX takes the snake bracelet-turns-into-a-whip thing and puts it near Jiang Cheng's hand. OF SIGNIFICANCE THAT I ABSOLUTELY MISSED THE FIRST TIME AROUND, it doesn't react. It stays dormant. It doesn't recognize Jiang Cheng.
With no better plan, WWX agrees to go, and off he goes in the boat, holding Jiang Cheng while Wen Ning paddles.
We head back to Lotus Cove now, and it's morning. Wen Chao is being shaken awake by Wen Zhuliu, who informs him that the alcohol was drugged. The drug will take several days of recovery before anyone will be feeling better. Oh, and Jiang Cheng has been rescued. Wen Chao is upset by all this news.
Meanwhile, back at Lotus Cove, Wen Chao has been interrogating the guards, and finds out that Wen Ning was near the alcohol the night everyone was drugged. Uh-oh. He orders Wen Zhuliu to crush the guard's core for some imagined slight and well...
He vows to kill everyone if it turns out that Wen Ning was indeed involved in this rescue.
We cut to Yiling and the wagon carrying the refugees pulls up to the gate. WWX is on high alert. He's a little strung out, the poor dear. He doesn't quite trust Wen Ning, or perhaps it's himself he's second-guessing, and he's projecting that on his helper. Anyway, once inside, and he realizes that Wen Ning has taken them to the Wen Clan Supervisory Office in Yiling, he kinda loses his mind at Wen Ning for a bit.
Wen Qing shows up and there's a bit of a tense staring competition until guards start pounding on the door, demanding to know what all the fuss is about. WWX steals Wen Ning's sword and points it at Wen Qing in a silent threat not to give them away. Wen Qing does not, telling the guards it's only Wen Ning returned, and that he's unwell again. She sends them away and WWX lowers the sword.
Anyway, Wen Qing, I guess, decides she's going to do what she can for these poor folks. There's a sweet moment between her and WWX when they're outside of the place Jiang Cheng is sleeping, talking at night. But when Wen Qing asks about lotus cove, WWX exposes his darker side, vowing to kill all those responsible.
Wen Qing enters, I think having overheard everything, and tries to tend to Jiang Cheng. But Jiang Cheng sees her Wen Clan robes and loses. his. shit. screaming at her to get out and leave him alone.
It makes me especially hurt because we all know Jiang Cheng has an enormous crush on Wen Qing.
Way to blow your chances, my dude.
A little while later, because clearly Wen Qing has not done enough for him, WWX seeks her out and asks a favour - all of the medical books she can possibly lend him. Wen Qing's all like, you need rest bro, but WWX is all like, no, I need books.
CUE STUDYING MONTAGE
Honestly, we don't get enough studying montages in shows.
He studies so long and so hard that he's neglected at least one meal, and stubble is growing all over his face. Okay, not all over his face. In select parts of his face. Wen Qing brings him food, and though he appears to be sleeping, she gives a report of all that's happened thus far:
Physically, Jiang Cheng is healing well, but he wasn't eating or sleeping so, at the request of Jiang Yanli, Wen Qing darted the poor bastard to send him to dream land. It was Yanli, incidentally, who was making all the food WWX wasn't eating. Also, WWX, visit your sister. She's worried.
So, WWX goes and visits his sister.
It's about as cheerful as you can imagine. Poor WWX, strung out and stressed and sleep deprived... His sister notes he's tired.
He, however, can only think about creating a golden core in Jiang Cheng again. He gets the bright idea that LWJ would help him and leaps up to go adventuring, but his sister stops him, telling him he needs to rest.
WWX quotes Madam Yu. What if this is all his fault? That Jiang Fengmian and Madam Yu are dead because of him? The Clan is on the verge of extinction because of him..? It's not true of course, but I know exactly what it's like to take on the burden of blame for things that I really needn't. So, of course, my heart is breaking right about now.
Oh, it gets worse.
Jiang Yanli bursts into tears, noting that her parents are dead, her home taken from her, Jiang Cheng on the verge of death. She can't loose WWX too. He's all the family she has left.
WWX basically collapses at this point, sobbing into his sister's lap. She holds him and sobs. Even Jiang Cheng cries.
We get a studying, looking after each other montage, and can I just say that Jiang Cheng's days of facial hair growth looks way better than WWX's? So much better.
Wen Qing falls asleep, and lo! He's found it! WWX has found the solution. What I love about this is you can see his elation fade as he learns just what that will mean.
It's a lot like the quiet, vaguely sad peace that comes over some people when they make the decision to die. I know this from experience, and so might be reading too much into it. It might not be the intent at all. It's just really, really similar to me.
Also, .gif by Canary3D again, because they've used the perfect one:
We cut to Wen Ning, who is carrying a plate of treats for them (UGH, HE'S INFURIATINGLY SWEET!), who happens upon the pair in the middle of an argument.
WWX practically begs for Wen Qin's aid.
Wen Ning, who surely cannot know what he's asking, joins in begging his sister to help.
WWX: If we don't do this, Jiang Cheng's life is ruined.
Wen Qing: AND WHAT ABOUT YOU!
I love that she genuinely cares for this family, and for WWX. This argument brings her to tears. Of course, as always, WWX gets his way. Wen Qing, by way of agreeing, notes that this scheme has only a fifty percent chance of working.
What I Loved
My heart being ripped to shreds.
No, seriously. The situation these kids are facing is completely fucked. The writing and acting here - the desperation and fear, the stress, WWX starting to come undone, the responsibility he feels - it is all brutal and brilliantly done. I feel for everyone, and I understand their decisions. Hell, this is one of the rare instances where the character's decisions didn't frustrate the hell out of me because the were stupid or nonsensical.
I understand Jiang Cheng's anger at the undoing of all his plans and dreams. While I don't agree with it, I also understand his lashing out at those he loves (both WWX and Wen Qing). I'm pretty sure I'd do the same. Hell, I have done the same when I was a youngin'.
Similarly, were I in his place, I'd probably do exactly what WWX does. And I'd probably come unhinged, too (a lot faster, if I'm honest with myself).
What Could Have Been Better
Again, without any really goofy fight scenes (it being a drama, not an action piece), there's little that I find that I can complain about.
Does Jiang Cheng get his core back, or will this be just another tragedy for both boys? STAY TUNED!