What can I say about the characters of the show?
Zhou Zi Shu / Ah Xu
The story began with Zhou Zi Shu being an excommunicated Chief Assassin from Window of Heaven and the last descendant of Four Seasons Manor. All the 81 disciples of Four Seasons Manor were dead from the battles under his command and in support of Prince Jin. He blamed himself for their deaths and he had no more reason to live. Thus, he used the Seven Nails of Torment as a slow suicide and an atonement. On the brighter side, he got to travel ( like what most of us cannot do during pandemic ), drink the finest wines and spend all that Chief Assassin money from his bank account.
Of course, things turned around when he met Wen Ke Xing and Zhang Cheng Ling. He found a new purpose in life and people to live for. Wen Ke Xing became his soulmate a.k.a the love of his life. After a tireless and relentless pursuit, Cheng Ling became his disciple. Four Seasons Manor had a new descendant. Hooray!
He’s been alone for most of his adult life. His mind was fixed to the fact that he was dying. Eventually, he opened up to the people around him. Although he didn’t want to live a life without his martial arts skills, he was open to the possibility of living longer by finding a cure for the seven nails on his body. As far as character development goes, that’s a win for me.
I like the complexity of his character. On the professional front, he was able to set his morals aside. If he needed to kill a child, he would. Zhou Zi Shu had superior martial arts skills and ruthless professionalism. A Chief Assassin must have both, right? He took a complete (but gradual) 180 when he dealt with people who were dear to him.
Cheng Ling reminded him of his dead brother, Jiu Xiao. He tried to let Cheng Ling go and leave him to his uncles’ care in Sanbai Manor and Yueyang Sect. However, upon seeing that the Five Lakes Alliance didn’t have Cheng Ling’s best interest, he formed a sense of responsibility around the kid. I saw it as a second chance for him to be an older brother and a second chance to do it right. This is why I believe that Cheng Ling will never die in this show.
Wen Ke Xing was his equal. The fact that Zhou Zi Shu just ran with his instinct on this one says a lot about. He was totally fine calling someone his soulmate even if he wasn’t even sure of Wen Ke Xing’s real name.
Wen Ke Xing
Ah Xu’s soulmate. Philanthropist. Lunatic. Ghost Valley Chief.
Yes, those were all his titles according to me. Wen Ke Xing is my favorite character in this story. His past was shrouded in mystery. Apart from being the Ghost Valley Chief and hell revenge against Five Lakes Alliance. There wasn’t really much about him that we knew. Even Zhou ZI Shu got annoyed from time to time because he won’t open up. I guess from that perspective, Zhou Zi Shu understood how broken Wen Ke Xing must be to hide his identity to the man he considered as his soulmate.
When he kept the truth from Ah Xu, it wasn’t because he was being sketchy. Rather, he was insecure of his identity. The entire world painted him evil and rightfully so. I mean, you can’t be a Ghost Valley Chief without killing so much people. To quote Scorpion King:
Obviously, his reservation stemmed from knowing Zhou Zi Shu from the past. My money is still on childhood friends because that’s the trend these days. It could be that they knew each other pre-Mount Qingya immigration days.
Wen Ke Xing was the type to show his affection to the people he cared about (Ah Xiang, Ah Xu, The Unfaithfuls) openly but he won’t let anyone in. Secretive and sexy. That’s what hooked Ah Xu in. Moving on!
WenZhou Family Members
This cinnamon roll adopted by the couple. Look at him doing Swift Moving Steps! I am nothing but a proud mama hen watching that. He had a huge character development.
Before the Mirror Lake Sect was obliterated, he wanted to live an easy life. Upon Mirror Lake Sect’s annihilation, he wanted revenge. After realizing his father’s friends didn’t have his best interest, he just wanted to be better at martial arts. Now, he’s continuing the line of Mirror Lake Sect and Four Seasons Manor. He’s grown so much! Despite everything that’s happened to him, he remained kind.
He would make a great sect leader one day.
I. LOVE. HER. She made portraying a “tough chick” character look adorable. Look at her! She’s so cute. Obviously, her martial arts skills were nothing compared to the WenZhou couple. Based on how protective Wen Ke Xing was of her, you can see how much he cared about her. The fact that he trusted her to carry out tasks on her own with minimal supervision meant she’s street smart, she can defend herself and others, too.
I swear she needed more screen time!
I think of her as the alternative reality of Wen Ke Xing. If Wen Ke Xing had no intention of wiping out the entire Five Lakes Alliance, this would have been his life. He would be a ghost in Mount Qingya who would return to the martial arts world, meet the love his life and live like a normal person.
Ye Bai Yi
I gotta be honest. While I like his, I don’t like his bullying and bullying in general. Let’s make a list, shall we?
- Remember episode 14? I’ll never forgive him for humiliating Wen Ke Xing.
- I don’t like that he just calls Zhou Zi Shu as Qin Huai Zhang’s disciple.
- I don’t like how he called Cheng Ling dumb. Leave that poor baby alone.
He probably meant well. He cared about the WenZhou family a lot. I’ll give him credit for that. I felt a little sorry for him. Whenever death was mentioned, he had that melancholic expression.
Maybe, the reason why he does not call Zhou Zi Shu by his name was because he missed Qin Huai Zhang so much. The closest thing he had to call his late disciple’s name was to call Zhou Zi Shu as “Qin Huai Zhang’s disciple”. Imagine waking up one day and all the people you love were either dying or dead. It must have been terribly lonely for him.
Anyway, it’s always good to have a powerful ally on WenZhou’s side. They’ll definitely need one.
I like his scheming and plotting against the Five Lakes Alliance. This just showed his anger ran deep. So far, he’s my favorite villain here. I’m curious of his back story, his motivation and his end goal.
Plus, you can already see how observant Zhou Zi Shu was when he found Zhao Jing suspicious.
If Zhao Jing was sketchy, this dude right here was the backbone of that scheming. I want to see more of him and his motivations. I find him clingy-lunatic-obssessive. He does remind me of Xue Yang but with a plan.
Old Homies Gang [Huang He / Tao Hong /Lu Liu]
Look, I like villains who made sense but this one didn’t. His existence was irritating and dumb. He didn’t have a plan and he was the main reason why the Heroes Conference were dragged out for way too long. Ugh. He’s the worst.
In addition, Grandma Tao Hong and Grandpa Lu Liu, Cosmo and Wanda of ancient China – they were unnecessary characters for me. Except for episode 3 when they determined the Soul Winding Thread was actually from Hanged Ghost, I think their other appearances didn’t bring anything to the show.
What are the things that does not make sense?
Zhou Zi Shu unrecognized by the Five Lakes Alliance
He was the chief assassin of Prince Jin. How in the world did he go unrecognized just because he was wearing an ordinary person’s clothes?! Sure, his identity must be classified and other sect leaders who were nobodies wouldn’t have recognized him. However, in episode one when he killed the military governor, high-ranking officials knew who he was. Gao Chong, Zhao Jing and Shen Shen were all up in everyone’s business because they brought peace to the martial arts world for twenty years. At the very least, these three men should know him. It just does not make sense they don’t recognized him.
And OK, let’s just say Zhou Zi Shu was hidden from Five Lakes Alliance on purpose, Zhao Jing wouldn’t miss that information. Why? Because Scorpion King recognized him! All that planning and spying around people around him wouldn’t have let him miss that information.
As much as I love this show, I just got BORED TO DEATH whenever the old men started talking.
wasn’t effective because Cheng Ling was kidnapped, heads of the young masters from known sects rolled over the floor. What the hell were the guards doing?
Imagine a meeting that didn’t have any agenda. That was exactly how it felt. The meeting circled back to the same topic infinitely I wanted to tear my eyes out. Elder Huang made it so much worse OMG. And what the hell was the preparation for? Was it all for the sect leaders’ accommodation?
Gao Chong Killing Himself and People Tore His Body into Shreds
A tough leader like him didn’t seem like he would commit suicide just to prove his point. Yet, he did. There’s gotta be a smarter way than that. As a leader of Five Lakes Alliance, I expected more from him. It’s disappointing. Obviously, the Glazed Armor he destroyed wasn’t real but they sure were willing to risk their lives to keep it safe.
The fact that the Gentle Wind Sword Sect left before the Heroes Conference was suspicious enough.
Shen Shen being a Sect Leader but didn’t seem like it
He does strike me as a nobleman who was freeloading on Yue Yang Sect the whole time. No, seriously. First, not once did he have his own guards. Not even on important events like the Heroes Conference. But okay, I get that they have budget problems. They could’ve plucked two extras from Gao Chong’s guards. He had a lot. Second, he lacked political acumen. For someone who co-ruled the martial arts world, I would assume he’d know better than to scare the shit out of Cheng Ling to get the Glazed Armor.
The plot was intriguing enough in the beginning. The balance between the plot, the mystery and the comic relief was just right to get you hooked. I like that I didn’t get bombarded with so much details right off the bat.
Although the pacing was fine for the most part, there were times when show was a little bit slow and/or repetitive. I also got a little confused in the beginning with all the sects involved. There wasn’t enough introduction on the Five Lakes Alliance individual sect. If there was, it was only mentioned in passing. I would’ve loved to see a brief flashback for Danyang Sect’s history before Ao Lai Zi got the Glazed Armor.
Honestly, every time I think of what’s lacking for this show, it’s always an additional episode. Then again, I had to keep reminding myself the crew did this on a dirt cheap budget and still managed to create a high quality drama. And you know what? I’m willing to over look this.
I really love the plot twist that Zhao Jing was the mastermind behind the Heroes Conference Drama. It does remind you that in real life some of the sketchy people are hidden in plain sight.
And of course, what kind of mid-series review would this be if I didn’t mention all the WenZhou flirting and their chemistry? Everything started at episode 2. Was the censorship committee on a tea break? Because this show really pushed the boundaries of BL. And you know what? Thank you! Haha!
Wen Ke Xing single-handedly raised the bar for Chinese BL flirting. If they aren’t as good as Wen Ke Xing, why even bother?
Yes, they are the main reason why I will keep watching (for the second time). LOL