It's Monday, which means more untamed. We're at episode ten now, and well, things are getting dangerous quick!
Let's get right to it, shall we?
LWJ's YI fragment starts to go bananas, prompting him to turn around to spy Xue Yang, sitting on the roof of the house, observing them (Xue Yang, you remember, was a guest of Wen Ruohan, and was sent away from the Nightless City to wreak some havoc, which he seemed particularly excited about. Turns out, this is what made him so deliriously happy. The little buggar is quite the psychopath). He greets them with a very cheerful, "Hello!"
I want to note something here which I did pick up in the first viewing, and that it's Xue Yang starts off by observing his pinky finger, which is always gloved and always sticking up, as if he's forever delicately sipping tea. Note it. It will become important later on.
Enter Xiao Xingchen, who I can confidently say is the single most beautiful man you will ever behold. There's just no way to describe it. He's very, very pretty. I mean, pretty much all the men in this series are that, so, perhaps it means nothing, but...
Aaaanyway, turns out that Xiao Xingchen has been tracking Xue Yang for a while now, hot on his heels following the obliteration of several smaller clans. Xue Yang admits to it all, then says that he cannot be punished if he's not caught. And flies off over the other side of the roof.
WWX uses his new talisman, the one he annoyed LWJ with while they were walking, to catch a hold of Xue yang and drag him back over the roof. Xiao Xingchen and Xue Yang fight. This sword fight was legitimately good. I mean, that's not really how swords work - gravity either, for that matter - but it was at least far less goofy than the sword fighting I've seen to date.
Xue Yang is bested, but then he uses some weird smoke charm and nearly ends up killing Xiao Xingchen.
Enter Song Lan.
"Best friends" if you catch my drift.
The are a perfect mirror to LWJ and WWX - even down to one in white and one in black. They have turned their backs on the strict clan structure, and travel the world curing its ills unattached to any clan. I'm not sure if in the original story these two are occasional lovers, but something in me says they are.
An aside: this seems like the perfect arrangement to me. Each going their own way and doing their own thing, but still quote devoted to one another, and meeting occasionally to... uh... touch base? Strengthen their bond?
Perhaps it's the way Xiao Xingchen greets Song Lan when the saving happens - that strange, restrained and still very clearly extremely pleased.
While the very polite introductions are happening, LWJ's Yin Iron goes off again, making LWJ think that Xue Yang, who is currently in the Chang house hanging by his wrists, has it. Xue Yang claims he doesn't, and so WWX decides to do a full body search.
It's not a good reason, by the way. But what are you going to do? Psychopath is going to Psychopath.
Nie Huaisang shows up the Dimples McGee (Meng Yao), with news from both LXC and Nie Huaisang's older brother (who is the clan leader). LWJ is informed that his brother sent the clan leader a letter, and that the clan leader is requesting LWJ and WWX come to his house...? castle...? palace...? Place, come to his place. And since Xue Yang has been captured, bring him along too for judgement.
Xiao Xingchen and Song Lan are invited, but they decline. In that exchange, we find out that Xiao Xingchen is a disciple of Bao Shan the Wander - WWX's mother's master. Xiao Xingchen reveals to WWX that he cannot tell him about his mother, other than she was Bao Shan's favourite disciple. Xiao Xingchen himself has never met her, and he's unlikely to even meet Bao Shan again, as it's their tradition that disciples who have graduated and become successful in their own right never return to her.
Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen then take their leave.
So, the adventurers, except Xiao Xingchen and Song Lan go to the territory of the Nie Clan, and are greeted by him. He's nicknamed Red Blade, by the by, and carries one hell of a sword. Look, in real life, no one would ever be able to lift that sword let alone wield it, but this is a fantasy so I'll let it pass. It's not as if it's as bad as Cloud's sword from Final Fantasy.
Anyway, Nie Mingjue (the clan leader) greets his visitors, and we learn that the Wen Clan has been making threats, sending around a letter demanding that each family send their heir disciples to the Nightless City for indoctrination. This is basically to mimic the lectures of the Lan Clan..
Nie Huaisang is, by the way, terrified of his older brother, and there is another really cute sibling moment between WWX and Jiang Cheng, who mention it and make fun of the poor lad behind his back.
Nie Mingjue tries to execute Xue Yang for his crimes, but a combination of WWX, who points out that he knows where a fragment of the Yin Iron is, and Meng Yao convince him he's better off alive right now, and so Nie Mingjue tells Meng Yao to being him to the dungeon and put more guards there. Meng Yao goes out to the yard to relay the orders to the captain of the guard, who disdains him (because, you know, he's a whore's son, like that should matter). Meng Yao manages to keep his grace and makes a dignified exit. I'd have slapped the fucker. Stupid captain of the guard.
Back inside the public room of the Nie Clan's house, WWX makes the connection between Xue Yang and Xue Chonghai (the clan leader from Yiling, who first corrupted and used the Yin Iron). HOW DID I NOT GET THIS MYSELF ON THE FIRST WATCH-THROUGH?! HOW DID I MISS THIS?!
WWX then suggests turning the Yin Iron fragment into a weapon to counteract Wen Ruohan, but Nie Mingjue reminds him that Xue Chonghai was unable to control the Yin Iron and was controlled by it. Also, Clan Leader Lan Yin could not handle a single Yin Iron fragment so... you know... maybe don't do that. He then informs LWJ that his brother has requested LWJ and his Yin Fragment return to the Cloud Recesses as soon as possible. Plans have changed.
We cut to later in the evening, to WWX, who has, no big surprise, alcohol... perhaps a bit too much. He comes across Meng Yao after yet another insult by the captain of the guard (who was very drunk himself). Meng Yao, it is noted, was not at the feast. He informs WWX that he had to check on Xue Yang, which, given the captain of the guard's complete lack of cooperation, seems completely reasonable.
Quite drunk, instead of going to bed, WWX climbs up onto LWJ's roof. When LWJ leaves his room, WWX tells him of his intention to sleep on his roof. And then he falls asleep on his roof.
The following morning, who shows up but Wen Chao. He demands Nie Mingjue hand over his Yin Fragment piece and meet the Wen Clan's demands. Not having it, Nie Mingjue fights. Wen Chao declines, leaving this fight up to his bodyguard. This fight is also much less dorky than the others I've seen in this show to date.
It's a full on battle now. Somehow the Wen Clan gets inside the walls. Nie Mingjue is still fighting the bodyguard when someone cries out that Xue Yang has escaped. Going after him, Nie Mingjue rounds the corner to see Meng Yao murder the captain of the guard. The shock and the betrayal leave him open to attack. Confusingly, Meng Yao throws himself in front of the sword, and gets run through. Nie Mingjue catches the collapsing Meng Yao, leaving him open to attach again. This time, it's Wen Chao who strikes, and his palm is so powerful, it practically disables Nie Mingjue.
That's when WWX, Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng catch up to the action. Wen Chao has essentially won this battle. Informs WWX that his adopted father has made it clear that he is to go to the indoctrination, and then he leaves. He didn't get the Yin Iron fragment, near as I can tell... but perhaps he did?
Nie Mingjue commands Nie Huaisang to bring Meng Yao to the throne room, and there Meng Yao plead his innocence - or, rather, how the captain deserved it. He claims that he had to do it, not because of the constant disrespect and insult, but because he saw the captain release Xue Yang. Nie Mingjue doesn't believe him, and calls him an liar outright.
However, because Meng Yao saved his life, well...
And so ends the episode.
What I Liked
HUGE improvement in the fight choreography this episode, but like all of this series, the emphasis is always on the characters and how they interact and deal with the world around them. I like that the Wen Clan was busy making moves while we focussed on our heroes and their friends. I like that things are looking quite dire for everyone all of a sudden... I mean, forced to go to the Nightless City for indoctrination? Oh dear. The growing tension threading the series is really well done. It's a brilliant slow burn. I'm really loving the way this series is constructed.
Also, LWJ's soft goodbye to a drunk WWX is the first real indication that he might be starting to like the impish orphan.
What Could Have Been Better
With the improvement of the swordplay, there isn't too much I can gripe about this episode. While fifty episodes might seem like a lot, it's really allowing the characters room to breathe and grow at a pace that doesn't feel weird or wrong or out of nowhere. We can safely say that LWJ is now fond of WWX, and that things are getting pretty tense between the Wen Clan and everyone else.
Okay, so now I have to go. Come back next Monday for episode eleven. Or don't. It's happening all the same.