Love and Destiny – ep 51 – CDrama Recap

So this is episode 51! The heroine has returned and been recognized and reunited and pardoned, etc. I am terribly excited about this and also rather worried. We have ten more episodes to go and I don’t know how much plot is going to get stuffed into that amount of time.

So back at Fuyun Hall, everyone is assembled. What, wait, still no kiss?

Si Ming hustles an exuberant Shi San out. The other guys make their bows and also hasten out. So! Recommence the staring. Also, Jiu Chen is back to giving Ling Xi orders…that’s a habit the boy is going to have to give up. Ling Xi remarks that he has a heartbeat now and they go in for a cuddle. Still, I will point out, with no kiss.

Outside, Shi San is fussing over the lack of Ling Xi. Meanwhile, HuaYan asks: so what happened to Jingxiu if he gave her his life? The military bro says, well obviously he was terribly injured.

HuaYan says: well, he must like her a lot if he gave her his actual life.
Bro 1 says: yeah, you must be right.
Bro 2 says: Too bad for him, then.

Meanwhile, Jingxiu is back in his Phoenix palace, playing with his guitar. Lieutenant, Orc Commander, and a doctor have come. They’ve defeated Rebel’s men except for a few remnants, the black hole abyss is closed, and the Queen is still unconscious. They need leadership right now, sir, please…

Also, since the demon king is dead, Lin Mo successfully became Ling Xi, Orc Commander points out. This is the only thing that brings Jingxiu back to life. He realizes that she must be in Heaven…but then…why didn’t she come back?! It’s Jiu Chen’s doing!

Outside, Lieutenant and Orc Commander have a conference. But they figure he’ll be ok once he figures things out. The main thing right now is Phoenix Queen–they will be in grave danger if she wakes up.

Meanwhile–AHA, Princess Baoqing is vindicated. She did not kill the old lady who was taking the message to the other tribe. (Her being the psycho she is, I was rather worried.) Phoenix Queen may or may not wake up, and her energy is being sustained by medicine. Right now, BTW, Jingxiu is covered in glory for having killed Rebel and “rescued” Phoenix Queen.

Meanwhile, back at Fuyun Hall, Ling Xi is dreaming and remembering Lin Mo’s last words…Jiu Chen knocks on her door. But then Shi San wanders up. She’s asleep? What does the boss want to do in Ling Xi’s room? (Jiu Chen: stares.) Shi San retreats.

He’s got midnight snacks–but Ling Xi is not hungry. Being a high god means you can absorb energy from the sunlight, but this medicine is good for her anyway. Ling Xi spoons it up, but she won’t let Jiu Chen touch her right now….also, she’s kicking him out again.

Meanwhile, at the punishment place, Yuan Tong is being tortured/interrogated. OH MY GOSH SHE IS STILL NOT BEING EXECUTED. Just stripped of all powers and banished to the mortal world. The god tells her to be good and not repeat her mistakes in the mortal world.

Yuan Tong: glares.

Meanwhile, Jiu Chen is staring out at the power-draining pool. Ling Xi comes up to chat. He asks her to call him Jiu Chen, like she used to.
She says: that was Lin Mo, who did not know the rules.
Jiu Chen says: Do we need rules between us?–you’re leaving.
Ling Xi says: I need to go see my mother. I want to be with her, the way I never was.
Jiu Chen says: ….will you come back? Or, can I visit you?
Ling Xi says: Don’t bother. It’s too hard on you to be with me. OH MY GOSH GIRL.
Jiu Chen says: …what?
Ling Xi says: I’m both Lin Mo and Ling Xi. I’ve had a long, hard ninteen years, and I need some time here. Anyway, love is not the only thing. We also have responsibilities and duties. I must go and be filial to my mother, since I don’t have a father anymore. So yes, I’m leaving.

So Jiu Chen walks her to the gateway. Poor guy is visibly sad beneath his stoic face. Oh, harsh. Ling Xi takes of without kissing him good-bye.

Meanwhile, Baoqing has arrived at the palace. She wants to know how her mother is, and how Brother Jingxiu is. She goes over to see Jingxiu. She’s going to have to join the line–he’s got about fifty people who want to see the State Advisor, but Lieutenant is holding them off, lol. (They’re also not particularly happy that Orc Commander is suddenly a model subject and in charge of the army.) They need leadership!

Inside, Orc Commander notes that this sudden loyalty to the state and faith in Jingxiu is a rather recent attitude…he’s still of the opinion they should kill the Queen. Which is the smart move. He also points out that Jingxiu is not dealing with his trials very well: just one setback and he’s staggering, and allowing everything to slip through his fingers. Also, Ling Xi is the true princess, and going to come by sooner or later.

The ministers are about to force their way in–swords are drawn–and then Baoqing arrives. She scolds the ministers.

Inside, Jingxiu is doing something with his third eye? His life bead? He puts it back into the place with his vine magic? Huh? He’s decided to do as Orc Commander wanted–wait for Ling Xi. Meanwhile, there’s a flash of light inside, and everyone outside says: woah, that looks like high god magic. Oh, cool, he ascended. Now be nice to your nice lil’ psycho sister.

Heh, the oh so loyal ministers are the last ones to congratulate him. But, awwww, he ignores Baoqing and doesn’t let her come to the conference. Also, he’s got some evil shoulderpads going now. Dangit Jingxui don’t go all evil chancellor on us! You’re too handsome! I mean, noble and good-hearted! And you’ve done SO WELL so far!

But meanwhile, the Old Lady won’t let Jingxiu come in to see the Queen. She also dismisses him with elaborate politeness. Jingxiu merely says that if he wants to go in, who’s going to stop him? Fortunately, at this point the message arrives that Ling Xi has arrived.

Jingxiu looks very cute and also rather evil (the tattooed eyeliner) when he rushes over to see her. But, while she smiles and agrees that she’s back, she calls him State Advisor. And then everyone else catches up so he has to behave more formally: this is Phoenix Queen’s daughter, our princess, Ling Xi. Everyone kneels and salutes. (What about Baoqing?!)

Jingxiu explains that there are multiple layers of injury operating on the Queen. And, no, it is not Ling Xi’s fault it happened, Sheesh.

So outside, a report: Lieutenant says that the people must be running pretty scared. Also, Orc Commander is right–Phoenix Queen will figure things out very quickly and is dangerous to them. What do they do? But, Jingxiu doesn’t want to kill Ling Xi’s mother. No killing the Phoenix Queen! Just keep her unconscious, if necessary.

Back at the Heaven Palace, the Emperor is congratulating Jiu Chen…he worked hard and his wish is fulfilled. By the way, where is Ling Xi?–oh, ok, right. By the way, the Phoenix Queen is still unconscious right now, I heard. Good thing, though, they still have Advisor Jingxiu, right? What a great guy, Jingxiu. [Stare.] [stare.]

Jiu Chen goes out and asks for a report on the Phoenix Tribe. Everything looks peachy, except for the appointment of Orc Commander to the royal guard. Ling Xi is in the palace with her mother and hasn’t been seen. Also, Jingxiu has ascended to high god, or so it is said.

Jiu Chen doesn’t doubt this, and says: continue reading.

Meanwhile, Jingxiu is meeting with the doctor and Lieutenant. The poor doctor is getting the third degree. Jingxiu wants her to agree that the Queen’s soul has gone off somewhere else. So, basically: no more stimulants–only sedatives from now on.

OH MY GOSH YUAN TONG IS STILL AROUND OH GOSH WHYYYYYYYY. She’s telling Thunder about some fairy stealing the magic Needle. Thunder already knows and already is investigating.

WHY IS YUAN TONG NOT YET GONE AND DEAD?! She’s stalling hard. She says: surely the demon king is not yet dead! Ling Xi is still around! She’s such a witch who pretends and beguiles people!

Ah, awesome. Thunder tells her to shut the hell up, she is STILL persisting in the wrong. No, he doesn’t like Jiu Chen and no he doesn’t like Ling Xi, but it’s not a selfish dislike–he’s trying to do his job. And he TEARS into Yuan Tong for what she’s done, for purely and utterly selfish reasons. What is being a demon? Evil thoughts, evil desires, no conscience, and harming others is being a demon. And Yuan Tong isn’t even grateful that she’ been shown enormous mercy!

(Yuan Tong isn’t even impressed by this lecture.)

Lol, Thunder wore himself out yelling at her. But at least she’s being immediately sent to the mortal realm. FINALLY. I wonder how she’s going to cause trouble from there, the way her glaring says she’s planning to…

The Last Wagon – 1956 Movie Review (Repost)

16974848_1300x1733The Last Wagon is a 1956 Western movie starring Richard Widmark and Felicia Farr. That should be enough information for you to decide whether or not to read further, but then again, here’s another tidbit. It’s a really good, 5-star, 2-thumbs-up 1950s Western. Which means that, now, in the 2020s, it’s a triumphant 11/10 with sparklers.

Widmark is Comanche Todd, a white man who has lived with the Indians, (spoiler: married among them), and who is currently wanted for murder–of other white men. He’s been hunted down, beaten down, and is in the process of being dragged (literally, behind a horse) back to civilization for a hangin’ by the splendidly nasty sheriff (played by That Guy who is the Thuggish Saloonkeep or Half-A-Cigar-Smoking-Storekeeper Guy in most of these kind of films) when they run into a wagon train. The settlers have decided to cross Apache territory without a cavalry escort, a grave mistake which they soon pay for. The only survivors are six teenagers who had snuck off the night before to go skinny-dipping and/or bring the would-be dippers back–and, despite being chained to a wagon wheel, Comanche Todd.

Fortunately, out of the six, three have already befriended Todd, and the others see reason and quickly follow his lead. Their only way out leads due west, across the Apaches’ land–and the Apache are gathering to take revenge on the white men for the deaths of their kin.

This is a regular, adult Western, certainly, but you could just as easily put it in the “young kids learn responsibility and grow up” genre as well: this happens, to a more or less dramatic degree, for all of the teens. There’s Ridge, the blustering, fearful one; Valinda, the haughty, racist one; and Jolie, the beaten-down half-breed. The former two learn hard lessons about humility and humanity; the latter, in contrast, learns to forgive–and hold her head up proudly. (The other three were nicer from the beginning and mostly learn: do your job).

Widmark’s Todd, rather like Fred MacMurray (see re: Face of a Fugitive), is just so gosh-darned decent and good at what he does, he’s a joy to watch. I’m sick of antiheroes, wary of ambiguous ones, and reserve strong language for incompetent ones. Widmark is a great enough actor that even what on paper is a pretty idealized character seems natural. He’s a man who takes charge of a bunch of unruly teenagers and makes men–and women–out of them–and does it while looking cool.

The other actor who impressed me in this was Felicia Farr. I’ve only seen her in two other movies (3:10 to Yuma, and Hell Bent For Leather), but she was great in all of them–and this one. She has the perfect quiet, self-contained, confident gentleness that you could buy would convince an outlaw on the run into spending the night with her instead, or a desperate man into trusting her to take his story to the posse.–tied up together with all the poised strength it would take to actually keep her wits about her and survive those same dangerous men. And all with perfect ’50s glam, too.

On the downside: this film throws some not-exactly-subtle jabs at Christianity. Young Todd’s prayers did not save his father; the settlers’ prayers of thanks for safe journey are decidedly premature; the Bible-loving general’s platitudes are dismissed with scorn by Todd and audience alike. The overall moral, however, appears to be the still-wholesome “Do your duty–and treat people well.” And General Bible-Thumper does the right thing in the end when Felicia quotes Scripture back at him, so, that’s OK then. Ah well.

On the upside, there are a couple of scenes I really loved: Todd nailing the sheriff with a hatchet (“Seemed reasonable to me…”) comes at the end of a sequence of jack-booted thuggishness that makes it just so satisfying.Todd challenging two Apache warriors to combat: (“Come! If you do not fear one Comanche!”)–awesome. A slightly-clueless Cavalry Lieutenant having decided Todd is not the Indian fugitive he’s looking for…as Todd tucks away his amulet, mounts up on an Indian pony, and picks up his bow and arrows…? Heh. (The Lieutenant doesn’t figure it out until later). In fact, Richard Widmark in general just owns this picture.

Rated: 10 throwing hatchets out of 10. Watch it!