Love and Destiny – CDrama Recap – ep 35

Back at the god of war palace, Shi San is hobbling around and HuaYan is scolding her.

LOL SHI SAN ASKS IF THE BOSS COULD POSSIBLY LIIIIIIIKE LING XI. Hah, they both think it’s out of the question, but, you know, weird…and then Jiu Chen walks in behind Shi San. He continues the scolding and then tells them to go get some of his own medicine for Shi San. What a good boss.

Meanwhile BACK AT THE PEACH TREE FRONT….some peaches have been delivered. Jiu Chen is going to go down and check on her, isn’t he? He doesn’t even know if she’s managed to eat the peaches yet…?

Back at the house, Jingxiu is sitting around, being blind, and making friends with the animals. Except for Antler Puppy. Lin Mo has been accepted as Doctor Sun’s pupil! But, more importantly, Puppy keeps barking at Jingxiu.

Jingxiu is trying to heal himself? Or at least, do magic. He’s getting slightly better, but is haunted by flashbacks. Lin Mo walks in and tries to ask a few questions, but gets shut down. He finally admits that no amount of her medicine will cure his eyes…it might take an immortal pill.



And at this point, he’s getting worried about what he’s going to do with himself if he is permanently blind. For one thing, he’ll never be able to see her. Dude. Priorities.

Lin Mo tells him to think positive. Look at her–born deaf, but who had a good life anyway, and who found a path to walk. She even says she’s missing her family, including (UGH) Grandma and Lil Sis. But she wants to better herself before she goes back. For ex: learning good medical skills and becoming a famous doctor. Or, perhaps, curing her deafness.

GIRL EAT THE DAMN PEACHES ALREADY. She wants to hear a song first of all.

So they want an immortality pill. Jingxiu promises to get one for her. (PEACHES GUY JUST EAT THE PEACHES RIGHT THERE IN YOUR YARD! OH MAN.)

Back in Occupied Phoenix Land, Orc Commander is reporting a certain amoun of failure in their search for Ling Xi. Rebel Rebel says: follow Jiu Chen and you’ll find her. Orc Commander also says: they don’t know exactly when the Significant Date is. Also, some other evil stuff, etc. Also, where’s Student Rebel? He’s been hanging around the prison cells a lot lately, hasn’t he….

And that’s because Phoenix Princess Baoqing is still in her art-deco cage. And she’s still certain that Brother Jingxiu will come rescue her. But Student tells her what happened to him, and that manages to break through her haughty veneer, as do some other truth bombs re: the Queen and her inability to govern. Student wants her to surrender and swear loyalty, so he can speak up for her to his father. She refuses. He walks off with a think about it. That is not a very good courtship method, kid.

Meanwhile, Kind Aunty Lady is trying to be a matchmaker. This is very nice of her, but LIN MO IS TAKEN STAY AWAYYYY. And it seems that Jingxiu is off at the docks, looking for an immortality pill? A bird flies down to him, and he smiles. He’s back to doing magic in his room, and, it looks like there’s quite a lot of demonic smoke rising. He’s purifying himself, right? (Bloodspit) (faints).

Guess not.

But, Antler Puppy fetches Lin Mo. Oh, it might have worked? He brought the sealing/poison darts to the surface and she pulls them out. Time passes. Lin Mo has tied a string to their arms so she can nap at the table until he wakes up, too.

(Peaches, dude….)

It’s been four days. Is he cured? His magic is, looks like! (EAT PEACHES, PLEASE!) Jingxiu is more stricken by the fact that she managed to pull out the darts (Oh, it’s because only the Phoenix tribe can do that!!)

So meanwhile, Si Ming is showing up at the Fuyun Palace. Shi San tags along after him….why is he being so sneaky so early in the morning? LOL, Jiu Chen’s look of utter impatience when he gets the call. These are the kind of times that can make a stoic swear…

Back at Baoqing’s cage, she tries ordering the soldiers to let her out…yeah, right. But Orc Commander wanders up and mentions that if anything does happen to her, enormous consequences will befall the man who did it…and he gives her back her food. He points out: he might be the enemy, but they’ve never been cruel to her, have they? Baoqing threatens him, too. Orc Commander tells her that she might as well adapt to circumstances, and, oh yeah, no one is going to come save you because you are not the biological princess. And he does dust the kicked-over food off and leave it for her. (But no. NOOOO, Jingxiu wouldn’t forget about her just because he’s found Ling Xi. NOT HIS LIL PSYCHO SISTER NOOOO).

Turns out, Phoenix Queen is imprisoned and kept drugged on magic smoke.

What Si Ming has to report is that there was a certain immortal who, blah blah blah. Jiu Chen tells him to SHUT UP AND STOP TELLING ME GOSSIP. But what Si Ming has in mind is: dude, DO NOT GO to the mortal world under any circumstances. The fire essence isn’t going to keep him going much longer. Also, Si Ming has been informed that if this all blows up, he, Si Ming, will be the scapegoat. Also, if he wears out the fire essence before Ling Xi returns, it’ll all be for nothing because both Teacher and the Emperor are going to take the McGuffin back and then Ling Xi will really be screwed.

Jiu Chen says, “understood.”
Si Ming says, “Oh, then you won’t go?”
Jiu Chen says, “I SAID I UNDERSTOOD.” and storms off to the south pole, where it is at least, quiet.
Si Ming keeps babbling and then lol Jiu Chen backhand-magically slaps him.
Lol, Jiu Chen keeps doing it, too.

So Jingxiu is now starting to ask Lin Mo questions. She doesn’t want to tell. Jingxiu throws his chopsticks at her. They freeze in front of her face and fall to the ground? So he’s thinking she’s a Phoenix scion who is mortal and has not been part of the tribe.

THEY FOUND HIM! Lieutenant reports in! Jingxiu reports that his eyesight will return soon, since his magic is coming back. And he asks about Baoqing! I knew he wouldn’t forget his lil’ Sis! Oh, they are secretly protecting her. Aww.

The Queen: is being controlled and is locked up.
Rebel Rebel: is waiting for the blood moon to open the black hole and let the demons into the two worlds.
Problem is: Jingxiu was also waiting for that day? He wants Yuandu, the former Phoenix King….and is willing to let the demon king be released?? Not very heroic, dude.

Lieutenant has been gathering the escaped Phoenix remnants.

Jingxiu says: protect Baoqing. She’s always been spoiled, and so she’s probably not taking this well. AWWW I KNEW YOU LOVED YOUR LIL SIS.

Kind Matchmaking Aunty is now hauling Lin Mo to meet a handsome young scholar who is teaching schoolkids. ARGH THIS IS ANNOYING AND UNCOMFORTABLE WHERE IS JIU CHEN?! Anyhow, mister teacher has had an interesting life, so he talks to her. He seems like a really genuinely decent guy. But Lin Mo skates off as soon as she can.

Jingxiu asks why she’s been gone so long, and…wait, someone gave her stuff? JEALOUSY ALERT AHOY!

Repost: Cobra Kai Season 1 – Spoilery QuicReview

cobra-kaiCobra Kai is the Youtube Red sequel to the 1980-something Karate Kid movie. It did well–there’s a second season planned. (I liked it less.) But! Nevertheless, Season 1 was surprisingly popular and gained legs from good word of mouth. I’ll contribute: Cobra Kai is quite good. No, it’s not great–although, bless its heart, it does try. And trying is half the battle. But….not all of it.

Cobra Kai starts off strongly, keeps swinging through the first half, puts its head down and bulls on forward for the last bit…and finishes weak.

The plot: Johnny Lawrence, the bullying blond punk from the original movie, has grown up. He’s a washed-out, borderline alcoholic, deadbeat dad with no prospects and no respect–or self respect. (Daniel LaRusso owns a successful car dealership. Motto: “We kick the competition.” And the bit with the complementary bonsai trees with purchase had me in stitches). Nevertheless, Johnny’s fate changes when he intervenes to help a wimpy kid (Miguel) being bullied. He’s inspired to restart the Cobra Kai dojo and take Miguel as his first student. Other students join as well–fellow outcasts and bullied nerds from the local high school; as Johnny teaches them the the way of the fist, their confidence improves and his life as well.

Barring a few….hitches.

Complicating matters is the fact that Daniel LaRusso has not forgiven Cobra Kai or Johnny for his earlier days of hell, that Miguel ends up dating Daniel’s daughter, or that Johnny’s son ends up as Daniel’s pupil, and the tension is just racheting up….

It all comes to a head at the Tournament.

And there is where it all takes a sharp, short nosedive back into derivative mediocrity.


The writers wanted to end the series on a bittersweet note, with a warning about the dangers of ambition/revenge, a warning about how violence really doesn’t solve anything, guys! Don’t try this at home!, some torque to the heartstrings from the family drama, and then the looming shadow of Daddy Issues Past coming to call…ps, pls renew membership so get a next season, thx.

All that is fine, those are valid story options, and each of them has had a degree of setup. Except that the writers went way overboard on every single one. How do they accomplish their end? By turning the final fight into a carbon copy of the original Karate Kid fight, strategically ignoring everybody’s character development, and shoehorning in a hamfisted downer ending in by hook or by crook.

Want to stop being bullied? Even….maybe just a little..take revenge? Only psychopaths want that. All of the Cobra Kai students are suddenly bloodthirsty, surly, cheating maniacs. Why? Because the narrative demands that a Cobra Kai student make an illegal blow against a Miyagi student, temporarily putting him out of the game until he and his teacher decide to reenter the contest, running on sheer will and grit. Why? Because the narrative demands that Johnny be the moral loser. Why? Because second season, pls. PS, “heroes” are losers.

Want to be personally strong and capable of protecting yourself? But violence really doesn’t solve anything! Look! All the kids became bullies once they learned karate! Except they didn’t. Yes, it’s quite possible that they could have gone on to do so, given time and once they realized that they are no longer the underdogs. But one singular “show no mercy” pep talk from the coach doesn’t do that. One incidence of slapping down a bully (or wedgie-ing a bully, or defending yourself and your crush from a bully), doesn’t make you villain material. Hollywood not recognizing this? Is part of the problem.

As far as the tournament goes, only one student was completely out of control and out of line–and Johnny and the referees should both have yanked up him extremely short, immediately, on the first offense (put that back tattoo away, boy). And once he made the illegal strike–in the back, dude?–Johnny should have laid him out cold for jeopardizing Cobra Kai’s reinstatement, and for dishonoring them. The chubby black girl was surly, and should have also been lectured for unsportsmanlike behavior. Two or three lines of dialogue or a backhand to the face (Capital punishment. It works.) would have fixed this.

Some yanking at the heartstrings: Johnny’s son Robby is competing against his own father’s students–especially, against Miguel. Robby is doing it all on his own, having broken  with his own teacher, Daniel, without anyone at all to support him. Miguel, meanwhile, is having to fight the guy that the girl he likes appears to like. (Teenagers, man. GOD I HATE TEENAGERS.)–and he wants to impress his sensei and win the fight, not knowing that Robby is Johnny’s son.

No matter who wins, Johnny is going to lose, and the victory is going to be incomplete and hollow.

This is a good setup.

It could have stood on its own without stacking the damn deck against it.

With the worst of it duly complained about, is the rest of the series good? Yep. It’s funny, it has action, nostalgia (not never too much of it), good characters (although I always wonder why no one ever just gets a GED rather than stay in the toxic environment of TV-High Schools), good pacing and, barring a few failures, mostly intelligent writing.

The cinematography and production appear smooth and well-done.

Also, this series was extremely funny. After the bonsai tree offer, the competitor car dealership offering All-American, low-water-using cacti? LOL. “Who’s that?” “That’s….an illegal I picked up this morning. Brought him in to help out.”

Rated: Four out of five. Second place is only honorable if you didn’t cheat–but check it out anyway.