Love and Destiny – Final Episode & wrap-up thoughts

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So it’s episode 60 and OK HERE WE GO. I’m pretty darned sure this series is going to have a happy ending, but honestly…

So back at Fuyun Hall, Yun Feng is pacing and Ling Xi has just swept in. She faces off at the door (Yun Feng braces) and says: Are you really not going to come back for Qing Yao? She’s drunk and in pain and you hurt her multiple times–beginning with the loss of her first husband and now you’re still hurting her to this day–High God Yun Feng!

And then she blasts the doors open. (took you long enough, girl.)

Yun Feng is standing there with his head hanging. But he tells Ling Xi it’s no use, Jiu Chen is gone. Ling Xi has to yell at him to tell her the freaking rest.

So cut to: Ling Xi at the black hole portal. She says: I should have known you’d do something like this. Duty is everything to you, isn’t it? And you left without even saying anything to me?! Not even any message with Yun Feng?!

Meanwhile, Jiu Chen is having little success guarding the portal on his own, even when he poofs extra hard.

Meanwhile, Yun Feng is addressing the Emperor…he’s going to take on responsibility. And Qing Yao crashes the party. Slap him Qing Yao!

HAHAHA SHE DOES AND STORMS OUT. AND LOL LORD BAISHAN STANDING THERE TELLS HIM GET GOING AFTER HER BOY RIGHT NOW.

So he does and she beats up on him for a while. He says: do it! You can kill me and it’ll stop hurting then.

But finally they hug and he apologizes. Well that was easy.

Ling Xi, meanwhile, is at her Phoenix Queen desk, doing stuff. Oh, it’s the succession decree. Is…is she going to go down into the black hole, too? She takes off her fancy robes and her queen jewelry (good, she looks better in her old clothes, with her hair down, honestly), and YEP. She’s at the portal and dives in.

Jiu Chen sees the flashing lights as she beats off some of the black smoke ghosts and looks up…they spot each other.
He says: Why are you here!?
Ling Xi: smiles slightly.
He yells at her and tells her no one said she could come!
She holds up the marriage contract, hah.
They hug.

Meanwhile, Demonized-Jingxiu is doing something with a box of….leaves? Demon leaves? Huh? Dude, I used to like you. He’s sad that Ling Xi chose Jiu Chen. Aw. So sad why oh why did she not give him a chance instead, it’s not faaaaaaair! DROP DEAD JINGXIU IF SHE DIDN’T LIKE YOU WHEN YOU WERE HUMAN SHE WOULDN’T LIKE YOU WHEN YOU’RE EMITTING BLACK SMOKE. Anyhow, he decides he’s going to destroy the world, then, “and it’s Ling Xi’s fault.”

So Jiu Chen says: well, we have to stay on guard down here. And, by the way, we’re stuck.
Ling Xi says: Well, let’s finish up that marriage ceremony quick, then. All that remains is the bows. BTW, the scenery down here ain’t that bad. And it’s in a well-trafficed area, at least: everyone who dies passes through…

So she kneels down and announces her wedding vows. And now they’re married!

Jiu Chen says: well, um, OK then.

Meanwhile at the Phoenix Border, Shi San (in men’s clothes) comes over to look for Ling Xi. But the new king, Changting, has sealed the borders. And then Demonized-Jingxiu arrives. Shi San draws her spear and stands ready to fight. It ain’t a fair contest, but she did try.

So, Hell on Earth commences, spreading outwards from the Phoenix Tribe territory, and passing Peach Blossom Forest. The delegation from Heaven poofs in fairly quickly, and Si Ming and Qing Yao go to Shi San. Thunder delegates the efforts to check things out.

Meanwhile down below, Demonized-Jingxiu poofs in to pay his respects to the lovebirds. And the worst thing about it is that he still has his polite, earnest way of speaking. Anyhow, they have a philosophical discussion on what exactly demons are.

They say: you’ve become a demon. He says: everything’s a demon, really.

Lol, Jiu Chen’s skeptically stoic face on hearing this.

Ling Xi says: Jingxiu, turn around. It’s not too late.
Jiu Chen says: …yeah. Do that, Jingxiu.
Jingxiu says: Nah.

So Jiu Chen turns into a white dragon and Ling Xi turns into a phoenix and Jingxiu turns into black smoke and they fight. Much CGI. Pretty colors and flashes.

Jingxiu has that retarded looking demon king sword now, but Jiu Chen also has his own sword and Ling Xi at least has power to be fighting the ghosts, too.

And then Jiu Chen bladelocks with Jingxiu and STABS HIM AND THEN GOES OVER TO THE PORTAL AND PULLS HIM THROUGH. Ling Xi yells for him to come back out, and Jingxiu gloats: she is not going to do it.

Jiu Chen says: I AM GOD OF WAR AND YOU ARE QUEEN OF THE PHOENIX TRIBE. DO WHAT I TELL YOU SEAL THE GATE.

She screams and does it. (Jingxiu’s “oh shit” face, though.)

And, for good measure, a quick flashback to them JUST AGREEING that they were married and won’t be separated AGAIN, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY’RE LOCKED IN THE SPIRIT ABYSS. Gah. There’s still twenty minutes left. There’s still twenty minutes left! (But at least he promised that no matter WHAT, he’s going to return. Tell me how this spirit abyss thing works, then, hmmmm?)

There’s still twenty minutes left! I’m still holding out for a happy ending for EVERYONE INCLUDING BAOQING AND STUDENT REBEL DAMN YOU ALL.

What, wait? WHAT? Three hundred years later?! WHAT? HOW COME LING XI GOT OUT OF THE ABYSS??

Where is this? HUH?

OKAY, SO: Ling Xi is at Fuyun Hall (home of the former god of war) and meets the new HuaYan, who is spunkier and brattier than the previous version…but who is interested to hear that this is the lady of the house. ALSO LING XI HAS A KID OH GOSH. It’s a girl? And, ahahaha, the kid asks why HuaYan is in Daddy’s house because with the exception of Mom, all the women who hang around Daddy are bad people. HEH.

AAHAHAHAH WOW PERFECT HuaYan is the disciple of Cultivator’s disciple (you know, the dumb apprentice of the dumb apprentice who forced Jiu Chen to take him on?!) Ling Xi just says: if you need anything, look me up at the South Pole. I’m glad to see you–you’ve changed a lot.

HuaYan, of course, is puzzled.

In Peach Blossom Forest, meanwhile, Qing Yao and Yun Feng are planning to go see Shi San’s transformation ceremony. She didn’t die when Jingxiu hit her, apparently…but QY is more worried about Ling Xi. Well, it’s only been three hundred years…

Baby Girl is also anxious to meet this Shi San. Hah, Ling Xi doesn’t allow Yun Feng to babysit Baby because he fed her wine last time and she slept for twenty days.

Si Ming is also there–he’s been guarding Shi San in her fish form, heh. So they don’t really know whether or not she’s going to come back and what form she’s going to come back in. Also, Yuli is there and she giggles when Military Bro says something slightly amusing, so that’s nice, maybe they’ll get together after all.

And then Shi San poofs back in! As a mostly-human, but also with blue skin, gills, and giant ears. Why does a fish have ears? Also, she’s apparently lost her memory, because she doesn’t recognize Si Ming. Poor guy! Or any of the other people. Aw.

Ling Xi says: don’t worry. You’ll get to know us, and it’ll be fine.

But her smile has sadness in it, as well, well, of course it does.

Back at the South Pole, Ling Xi, Baby Girl, and Antler Puppy discuss things. Heh, Baby Girl wants to be a boy who kills enemies on the battlefield like Uncle Military Bro. Ling Xi just tells her that girls can kill enemies, too, don’t worry. Baby Girl wants to go out and practice, ahaha, with a little toy sword from a GIANT RACK OF TOY WOODEN SWORDS, lol.

Ling Xi is cleaning up a very long line of scattered toys on the ground when she notices that they’re in fact lined up and pointing somewhere…AND THERE’S THE KNOT CHARM!!!

Jiu Chen is getting interrogated by Baby Girl! And he’s got a really lame smile for Ling Xi when she catches up with them. But aw, they have a family hug (and Antler Puppy is there, too, even better). And they all go home together.

The…end…

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FUCKING WORDPRESS WILL NOT ALLOW ME TO PUT CAPTIONS ON THE IMAGES. SO ANYHOW. LEFT TO EFFING RIGHT: Yuli, I think HuaYan but maybe Shi San, Yun Feng below her, Si Ming in the green robe, Qing Yao, and then The Emperor. Middle is Jiu Chen and Ling Xi. I think the Old Dude is Teacher. Yuan Tong is in white and Jiu Chen is in black with the head tattoos. The Phoenix Queen is to his right and Baoqing is in red behind her. SERIOUSLY WORDPRESS YOU SUCK.

Heh, and the subtitle team introduces themselves as “state immortals”. Aw, well, these guys earned it.

Well. Frankly, I think the last ten or so episodes were completely unnecessary and poorly constructed. Ling Xi had very little relevence in her own story; Jiu Chen failed to develop further as a character and in fact backslid into worse, dumber, less interesting person than he was before. Jingxiu, while it’s understandable that he ended up evil, given his character and circumstances…is still pretty disappointing considering that it’s FREAKING YUAN TONG who mediates his fall. I don’t even want to talk about it.

And let us discuss Yuan Tong. What a freaking extraneous person. Usually the characters created to be hate sinks–the people who have no purpose except to hate, hinder, hurt, obstruct, and confuse the hero–are male. Yuan Tong doesn’t really benefit from being the exception to the rule, though….past the first arc, when she had a defined, sympathetic purpose that she was going to undefinable and unsympathetic lengths to attain, she’s completely and utterly useless. I did seem possible that she might redeem herself by hard labor and much suffering when she got demoted but still given the chance to serve in the army…but she very quckly quashed that thought by being an unmitigated snake–who has no purpose other than to be obstructive, hurtful, and a hinderance to the hero and so does nothing freaking else. So we have a snake who isn’t even an interesting snake. And, at the end when, as an exile, she gets a chance to do something else not connected to the hero (find and/or create the new Demon King)…she blows that, too. And then dissolves, or something. Completely useless. Completely disappointing.

And, what about Baoqing and Student Rebel? Baoqing definitely started off as an intriguing character and there was plenty of space to build her into something.–I mean, if you have a princess who was found as a baby on the back of a random giant turtle, something’s gotta give, right? And while she was bratty and somewhat of, yes, a psychopath, she was also naive, cute, and enthusiastic. In other words, she had a distinct personality that other characters reaced to, and she also didn’t actually murder anyone we really knew. What I really also liked is how she and Jingxiu played off each other: enthusiasm but naivity versus patience and tolerance…that sometimes shades into impatience (with tolerance.) I REALLY LIKED THEM, OK? And given the hints of the romance between her and Student Rebel, the fact that he straight-up disappeared and she GOT KILLED BY HER BIG BROTHER for no freaking good reason at all, is extremely and entirely upsetting to me.

And Student Rebel doesn’t have much of a personality, but he did have a potentially good arc–a student of the Good Guys who for reasons of personal loyalty serves the Bad Guys but then falls in love with the enemy, not to mention befriends the triple agent working for the Moderately-Good Guys, and slowly decides to give up on the revenge business and then finds it ain’t that easy. That’s pretty solid! You can hang a lot on that framework. But instead he just gets straight-up dropped. And it’s not like there wasn’t enough time to develop it, this series is sixty episodes long and about fifteen of them are romantic filler-slash-fluff. I mean, not that it was low quality fluff, but it was still fluff.

And…well, that’s what I have for complaints. This was a pretty good series and it made me happy for almost a whole month while serving as a tiger intern.

Repost: Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe

“So there’s this book called Dark Emu¬†about how the Australian aborigines actually had pretty intensive cultivation before the British or whoever came….”
“What? Well, that’s a lie.”
“No, no, see, he has first-hand, primary sources and so on. He says they practiced intensive cultivation of things like grass and yams…”
“Grass?”
“For the seed grain.”
“Nuh-uh.”
“He thinks its akin to the primitive levels of cultivation of wheat. You know, historically.”
“Grass seeds are not as nutritious as wheat.”
“Well, like, the grass species they used were in the process of being domesticated, the same way it was in Mesopotamia. Only the process was interrupted. Or something like that, I think he thinks.”
“That would be smart except that that didn’t happen in Mesopotamia, either.”
“Well, yes, but the primary sources do say they did have huge fields of grass–”
“Yeah, and huge, huge fields of yams, as far as the eye could see. What they did is they used fire, like all the native peoples. They didn’t cultivate because they didn’t have domesticated animals to pull plows. I’m sure they were able to have large areas to harvest, in places like the coasts where you can do that kind of thing. This guy is just a bleeding-heart liberal environmentalist who doesn’t know anything about agriculture. Have you thought about changing your major to English?”
“Well, that’s another part of his thesis. He thinks that since they didn’t plow and there were no hoofed animals, this had a beneficial impact on the soil, since there weren’t any sheep to overgraze and the soil stayed covered almost year-round. So there are places now are desert that used to be able to support a, not necessarily a large, population.”
“Nope. Nope. Did not happen. You see, Anthropology and Sociology majors have to to do something to pay off their college loans, so they have to go and come up with things like this. It makes him feel good to think about the pure, innocent, primitive natives being out there, secretly being very smart but not as smart as he is. English majors just get jobs teaching school and reading books.”
“Well, he has primary sources! And sheep are very destructive! They could have contributed.”
“Yes, and he thinks that’s a strong argument because he’s an academic. He’s never heard of rotational grazing. No farmer wants to destroy his own pasture, why would he?”
“Well, I’m against sheep on general principles anyway. And Australia has had real trouble with introduced species. Like cane toads. And rabbits.”
“Uh-huh, and are they complaining about rabbits in the original sources?”
“No! Look, what he’s saying boils down to is that the aborigines had a pretty good established system of management for the land that was very different from the European system, that one didn’t necessarily work as well. And that they had some pretty sophisticated other technologies as well, like fish traps and animal traps.”
“And if you teach high school English to the kids, you can assign them books about living off the land and learning how to make bear traps from tree bark. What was that book you used to like? It was about the two boys out in the woods.”
“See, I thought his book was interesting because it seemed like a very elvish way of cultivating the land. You live in harmony with nature, and you get a giant harvest–”
“–of grass–”
“But you use minimal effort and you manipulate the landscape so the whole system works for you.”
“Wrong. Elves live in cities made of stone and glass and they plunder the earth to mine gold and jewels. I read it in a book.”
“….those are city elves, dad.”
“City elves are better than country elves. Who wants to be a country bumpkin elf when you could be a sophisticated and glamorous–”
“WHATEVER, DAD.”

[Note….This was a more-or-less verbatim conversation. I keep reposting it because it makes me laugh every time.]