It's bad, y'all. You think the last episode was heartbreaking. Hold onto your butts, folks!
And we go off to Lotus Cove. It’s night now, and they’re all still fighting. It’s been a long fight. Madam Yu is a god-damned badass, fighting like, five Wen soldiers at once. She’s dying by a thousand cuts, though. God, this is hard to watch. This woman is now my idol. I will not tolerate any badmouthing of her.
Jiang Fengmian arrives and bellows for his wife. He flies (quite literally) into the fight, coming to his wife’s side. And it stabbed by Wen Zhuliu. Fuck.
Oh, and some other fucker stabs him in the back. RIP Jiang Fengmian.
Feeling watched, I guess, Wen Zhuliu turns and almost spots the boys. There’s something about his demeanour here, though it’s generally stoney and unreadable, that makes me feel as if he’s maybe remorseful about what went down. It’s hard to tell, but there’s something. It doesn’t make me like him, mind, but I feel like he’s not pleased with this result.
Anyway, unable to find their parents, Jiang Cheng and WWX try for a different vantage point.
They find it in the throne room. There, their parents lie, clasping hands, while Flirty McBitchface and Wen Chao sit on the throne talking about the battle. Unable to deal with all they’re seeing, Jiang Cheng falls of the roof, followed by WWX, and the pair run away from Lotus Cove.
We get a flashback to the battle, specifically to the death of Jiang Fengmian. Madam Yu sees her husband murdered before her eyes and, utterly believed, stabs herself. She crawls towards her husband. They clasp hands and die together.
OKAY FINE. I’M SOBBING SO HARD RIGHT NOW I CAN’T BREATHE.
ARE YOU HAPPY?
We return to the woods, where WWX and Jiang Cheng are running, sobbing. Jiang Cheng collapses and sobs before getting up and turning around. WWX stops him from returning to Lotus cove, noting that he made a promise to Madam Yu to keep him and his sister safe. There’s a fight, and Jiang Cheng ends up choking WWX, blaming him for everything that happened. He just had to be the hero. He just had to step in a defend LWJ and be the smartarse. NOW LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED!
Letting go before he does WWX any serious harm, Jiang Cheng falls back into the grass, and sobs.
Aaaand we’re back at Lotus Cove and Wen Chao decides to have a celebratory banquet... after absolutely desecrating the bodies of the dead clan leaders. That happens off-screen, thank goodness. The celebration is going to happen in the courtyard. Where all the dead people are. He orders Wen Zhuliu to chase after the missing Jiang children.
We’re back with WWX and Jiang Cheng now. WWX wakes up where he fell asleep after being choked in the grass. Jiang Cheng is already awake. He’s just sitting there, staring at nothing. WWX stands and tells him they should get going. He just sits there. Staring.
I know this form of grieving. I’ve been there. It was done so well. Right about now my heart is utterly shattered.
It’s not until WWX notes that their sister is waiting for them that Jiang Cheng gets up.
There is an appropriate rainstorm as WWX relays the news to his sister. Her grief... I just... I...
Outside, the Wen soldiers are searching for the Jiang children. They very nearly capture WWX, but a shout from elsewhere exclaiming they got him turn their focus and the soldiers around WWX run off. This cannot be good.
WWX returns to the inn to find Jiang Cheng missing. He resolves to go after him, guessing he went back to Lotus Cove. He makes his sister promise that she will stay safe. She begs him to swear he will also, and the three of them will go to their grandmother’s together.
WWX leaves without ever making that promise.
WWX returns to Lotus Cove. Hearing footsteps, he hides himself and takes the approaching Wen soldier captive. Turns out, he’s caught Wen Ning. WWX demands to know if Wen Ning participated in the slaughter. He did not, claiming to have heard the news of the slaughter and came to try and help. He laments that he was too late to do anything about it. He then confirms to WWX that Jiang Cheng is there. He had been captured.
In an uncharacteristic pattern of thought, WWX considered taking Wen Ning as a hostage so he can get into Lotus Cove and rescue his brother. Then he spies the talisman he had given Wen Ning tied to his belt, the one he gave to him to protect him, and he immediately drops that idea.
WWX asks if he could also retrieve the bodies of his parents and Wen Ning agrees, noting that he would try his best.
Looks like Wen Ning is going to keep his promise. He’s caught by soldiers hovering around the alcohol. I will note that Wen Ning proves to be a pretty slick liar, avoiding all suspicion as he claims to be on his way to meet with Wen Chao and stopped to inspect the alcohol. He's pretty low on the totem pole, and probably isn't given another thought. He knows this, and he takes advantage of it.
Slick, Wen Ning. Worryingly slick.
We see the Wen Clan banquet in the Lotus Cove courtyard. In good spirits, Wen Chao is already a little tipsy. He demands that Wen Zhuliu takes a drink. He hasn’t been drinking, apparently. And... hold the fuck on, is that the bodies of Madam Yu and Jiang Fengmian hanging in the doorway in full view of the diners?
Anyway, Wen Zhuliu is still doing that stoic-but-could-be-remorseful thing. Why is he even with the Wen Clan when they're such monsters? And why isn’t he questioning his own actions more? What the fuck, Wen Zhuliu?! You can rot in hell, too.
He does take a drink, but not before looking at the hanging corpses, and his master demanding it of him again.
Outside, hiding in a boat at the docks, WWX sits and waits for Wen Ning. He spends the whole time second-guessing himself, unsure if he can really trust Wen Ning. He's not in a good way. He’s coming a little undone, the poor dear.
And that’s where we end the episode.
What I Liked
OH MY GOD THE TEARS I SHED THIS EPISODE! Everyone played grief so well, and it wrecked me. The first time I watched it, there were full body-wracking sobs. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe. It was miserable and cathartic and awful and OMG it was all done so well.
What Could Have Been Improved
Nothing. This episode was heart-shattering, gut-wrenching perfection. I was a wreck. I cried so hard. Both times.
But then, I am a sucker for parent-child bonding stuff, and all these awful deaths hit that spot in me that makes me weep.