The Untamed Episodes 11 – 20 Synopsis
Episodes 11 – 20 sees The Untamed hit its lowest and saddest point as the Yunmeng Jiang Clan suffers annihilation after Wei Wuxian’s provocations during Qishan Wen Clan’s training and education conference sees Wen Chao target the clan ending in the deaths of Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli’s parents—Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan (Zhang Jing Tong)—and the Yunmeng Jiang Clan disciplines.
Jiang Cheng loses his cultivating abilities after what is suggested to be a reckless decision to head back to Lianhua Wu amidst Wen Clan occupation, leading to Wei Wuxian making the decision to try save Jiang Cheng using a dangerous and risky method that is suggested to affect Wei Wuxian, too.
The Wen Clan’s reign is on the verge of ending as three of the great clans, Lanling Jin Clan, Gusu Lan Clan and Qinghe Nie Clan, join forces in an uprising to overthrow the Wen occupation at Qinghe Nie Clan’s Bujingshi and Gusu Lan Clan’s Yunshen Buzhichu. Near Yunmeng, a mysterious dark power appears to takes out a sea of Wen Clan retainers and guards. This mysterious dark power—to Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng’s shock—turns out to be Wei Wuxian.
Because of the Yin Metal, the Gusu Lan Clan are in danger of facing a calamity which may see their clan decimated with Qishan Wen Clan declaring the Gusu Lan Clan an enemy. “Eliminate the delinquent sects!” the Qishan Wen Clan chant. Under the command of Wen Xu (Wang Rong), Wen Chao’s brother, the Qishan Wen Clan’s invaded Yunshen Buzhichu and is reportedly on fire after breaking through Gusu Lan Clan’s energy barrier.
In the Elegant Room, against the rules of the clan, Lan Xichen makes a desperate plea to his uncle to take the ancient texts and leave Yunshen Buzhichu—a plea which Lan Qiren won’t hear of. He believes if anyone should leave, it should be Lan Xichen. Only if the ancient texts are preserved with the Gusu Lan Clan Leader can the Gusu Lan Clan survive. Lan Qiren tells Lan Xichen he will instead—and makes the order to—withdraw and head to the Cold Pool Cave with the inner Lan Clan disciples (those with forehead bands) and outer Lan Clan disciples (those without forehead bands). They should be safe from Qishan Wen Clan attacks as without the forehead bands, no one can enter the Cold Pool Cave (unless accompanied by someone who wears a forehead band by how the outer disciples can enter).
Lan Qiren and at least all the inner disciples make it into the Cold Pool Cave thanks to Lan Wangji who show up just as it looked like Lan Qiren was needing help defending himself and the disciples from the attacks of Wen Xu.
While the inner disciples make it in safely, the outer disciples were being threatened and killed. Unable to stand for a situation where those inside the Cold Pool Cave remained safe while those outside were killed, Lan Wangji leaves the Cold Pool Cave to agree to return with Qishan with Wen Xu.
Of the group of outer disciples who were outside the cave, only one outer Gusu Lan Clan disciple survived by the name of Su Minshan. While not a single outer Gusu Lan Clan fell to Wen Xu’s demands to know the secret to entering the Cold Pool Cave or where Lan Xichen was (he had escaped with the ancient texts), Su Minshan fell to Wen Xu’s intimidations and revealed it to him.
Over on Wei Wuxian’s side of things, he and Jiang Cheng have since returned from Qinghe to Lianhua Wu in Yunmeng. Wei Wuxian had initially worried about Yunshen Buzhichu and Lan Wangji’s journey back to Gusu, knowing the Qishan Wen Clan had sent Wen Xu to Gusu to cause destruction. However, fearing that the Qishan Wen Clan had sent people to Yunmeng, Wei Wuxian decided his first priority was to return home.
Lianhua Wu showed no signs of an attack from Qishan Wen Clan. What greeted them was a boisterous welcome from villagers left and right with only one worry: receiving punishment for leaving Lianhua Wu to go on the Yin Metal mission without getting permission first. On this occasion, neither were punished because Jiang Fengmian was already aware of the situation with the Yin Metal and the strange incidents being linked to the Qishan Wen Clan. So, they only received questions about their well-being before invited to eat.
The parent who was angrier was Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli’s mother, Yu Ziyuan, but it isn’t over Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng leaving without permission. The news of the Qishan Wen Clan demanding every great clan to send at least one direct disciple to Qishan Wen Clan for training or be charged with rebellion and the crime of harming hundreds of families needing to be rid of had Yi Ziyuan in a bad mood. It meant she was required to send either Jiang Cheng or Jiang Yanli. She didn’t want to send either as this was just a means for them to control them and use them as hostages. But they had to send someone, otherwise (as past-mentioned in Episode 10) the Qishan Wen Clan will send someone to “invite” them. In other words, have them attend by force.
Out of Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli, it was clear to her it had to be Jiang Cheng. They weren’t going to send Jiang Yanli. However, it angered her that her son was being sent to death whilst Wei Wuxian (who she interestingly does admit is a better cultivator and monster-hunter than Jiang Cheng) appears to be able to enjoy having the choice of going or not going. When Jiang Fengmian was asked whether Wei Wuxian was going to be sent, he had left it up to Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian was very willing to go shown as his hand shoots up to accept. Wei Wuxian accepting doesn’t change the point Yu Ziyuan was making, though. Wei Wuxian had the choice while Jiang Cheng didn’t.
The scene gives a bit of a look into the status and relationship Wei Wuxian has with the Jiang family. It’s a brotherly, externally critical but internally a caring one between Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian. Jiang Yanli and Wei Wuxian is a doting one. She was seen giving him a plate of hand-peeled lotus seeds before continuing to hand-peel more for him. The sight of her doing this has Yu Ziyuan scold Jiang Yanli for acting like a servant when she’s the lady of the house.
Maybe it’s because of the Qishan Wen Clan that has her so high strung, maybe it’s just what she thinks, but it looks like she believes there should be a class separation between Jiang Yanli and Wei Wuxian. Just to have Wei Wuxian know this, Yu Ziyuan is heard calling Wei Wuxian. It’s an address which Wei Wuxian seems to find hard to listen to, but he bounces back and brushes it off easily enough when the rant led to getting Jiang Fengmian to make Wei Wuxian attend that Qishan Wen Clan training with Jiang Cheng.
With the high-tension talk about who will be sent to Qishan decided, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng attend the training no clan willingly wants to attend. They arrive seeing every direct disciple from the great clans present. Nie Huaisang from the Qinghe Nie Clan is there. Jin Zixuan from the Lanling Jin Clan is there. The only clan missing a direct disciple is the Gusu Lan Clan which worried Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng had tried to comfort Wei Wuxian with suggesting it must be because Lan Wangji hasn’t been found and the Yin Metal is safely sealed in the Cold Pool Cave, not knowing that Lan Wangji had been captured and was at Qishan Wen Clan.
Not long after Wen Chao makes his entrance, Lan Wangji is escorted out to the front where Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng stand.
With Lan Wangji at Qishan, so is his Yin Metal. It’s been added to to Wen Ruohan’s collection which now consists of three with Wen Chao discovering the third Yin Metal in Tanzhou, a city near Yangyue where Xue Yang was sent by Wen Ruohan.
The rules of training and education are announced: no one is to carry any weapons on them. The supposed training and education at Qishan is looking more and more as what Wei Wuxian as well as what Yu Ziyuan has said about it: it’s not training and education, but a hostage situation.
Everyone reluctantly complies with the surrendering of their swords after Wei Wuxian starts the ball rolling. Lan Wangji follows. Then Nie Huaisang. Come Jin Zixuan’s turn, though, he puts up a fight and is nearly taken away for refusing. Fortunately, fellow cultivator Mian Mian (Wang Yi Fei) saves the situation by subtly reminding Jin Zixuan the words his father, Lanling Jin Clan Leader Jin Guangshan (Shen Xiao Hai), had said: these words being to endure a moment of humiliation so as to not make things more difficult.
If Jin Zixuan’s proud and arrogant air is anything to go by, even as proud of a clan such as the Lanling Jin Clan is forced to submit to Wen Chao and the Qishan Wen Clan. When dealing with anyone from the Qishan Wen Clan, all clans must exercise caution else face retaliation for opposing. In an announcement of the state and situation of the great clans, Wen Chao warns exactly this. Between the Lanling Jin Clan and Qishan Wen Clan, as long as the Lanling Jin Clan don’t cause trouble, they will continue to remain on good terms as they have been. But it’s gone pass this for the Qinghe Nie Clan and the Gusu Lan Clan. With Qinghe Nie Clan aligning with Gusu Lan Clan over the Xue Yang capture back in Episode 10, the Qinghe Nie Clan has joined the Gusu Lan Clan in being subdued and controlled.
The Yunmeng Jiang Clan remain safe for now; and it would seem Wen Chao doesn’t expect the Yunmeng Jiang Clan would do anything to change things as he sees Yunmeng Jiang Clan Leader Jiang Fengmian as being someone who’s timid, cautious and only dares to hide and won’t come out.
There’s little chance Jiang Cheng will cause trouble from the way he is often telling Wei Wuxian not to do anything which might affect the Yunmeng Jiang Clan negatively, so Yunmeng Jiang Clan should remain off Qishan Wen Clan sights when concerning Jiang Cheng. That leaves only Wei Wuxian who could and actually dares to stand up to Wen Chao and provoke the Wen Clan young master.
Wei Wuxian’s been suspecting something must have happened between the time Lan Wangji left Qinghe for Gusu and now, but hasn’t been able to talk to Lan Wangji to find out exactly what had happened. Guards at the door had prevented him from leaving his room to see Lan Wangji when he tried. So, when called up to read and memorise from the teachings in the Glories of the Wen Clan (which serves as their first task on the Qishan Wen Clan training and education schedule), Wei Wuxian takes the opportunity to purposefully act out so he could get punished and be sent to a place somewhere together with Lan Wangji (who was picked alongside him as well as Jin Zixuan for the task) to find out.
Wei Wuxian doesn’t recite the Wen Clan teachings which he actually did read and memorise well. Instead, he reads Gusu Lan Clan teachings. His downright insolence gets him sent away with Lan Wangji (and Jin Zixuan), off to the fields to pick up manure. It’s punishment Wei Wuxian seemed to feel bad about; he didn’t expect it would be this kind of punishment it seems. But, Wei Wuxian’s plan had worked exactly the way he had hoped.
Wei Wuxian learns nothing from Lan Wangji at the fields, though. When the three arrive at the fields and Wei Wuxian finally gets the chance to ask about things, Wen Chao shows up to interrupt him. It’s Wen Chao who actually has Wei Wuxian learn half of what he wanted to know as Wen Chao offers up the fact that Lan Wangji’s Yin Metal piece had gone to Wen Ruohan and that the fourth piece is still yet to be found. Along with this information, Wen Chao adds his suspicions over Wei Wuxian’s knowledge and possession of the fourth Yin Metal piece. His suspicions arise from Lan Wangji having no idea where it is and Xue Yang having not left with it, and seemingly Wei Wuxian being the only person to have spoken to Xue Yang alone before being taken to Qinghe in Episode 10. It’s a belief which is later widely believed to explain how Wei Wuxian is able to move towards Demonic Cultivation.
As for learning about what happened to Lan Wangji and the Gusu Lan Clan, he learns the whole situation from Wen Ning. Wen Ning had witnessed this whole sencounter with Wen Chao from afar and had snuck into the underground dungeon after Wei Wuxian ends up being sent to an underground dungeon with a ferocious black canine.
As someone who has been rescued by Wei Wuxian back at Lake Biling (Episode 5), Wen Ning’s not forgotten Wei Wuxian’s help and goes to Wei Wuxian to bring him medication for the injuries Wei Wuxian suffered whilst fighting the ferocious black canine. It’s during this visit Wei Wuxian learns the details of Gusu Lan Clan having been “cleaned” and the how fires were set and had burned half of Yunshen Buzhichu. Wen Ning also tells Wei Wuxian about Lan Wangji’s leg having been broken by Wen Xu because they couldn’t find the last Yin Metal piece. Lan Wangji appears fine at the beginning of the episode, but by the end of the episode, he is seen limping.
Wen Qing herself appears to have gone against her own advice to Wen Ning to stay away as well as her own promise to Wen Ruohan to never repeat her mistakes by helping Wei Wuxian. Before Wen Ning showed up with medication, Wen Qing looked to have helped Wei Wuxian with sedating the canine. She was nowhere to be seen, but sedating needles were seen lodged in the animal right when Wei Wuxian looked to be struggling to fight off the canine.
Wei Wuxian is released from the underground dungeon the next day to join the rest of the disciples a little worse for wear and hungry (which Jiang Cheng tries to fix a little by giving him a steamed bun which Jiang Cheng looked to have especially kept in his pocket for Wei Wuxian), but still trying to appear his usual upbeat self.
What appears to be a spontaneous decision, Wen Chao has everyone travel to Mount Muxi to hunt some monsters as their next activity. It’s no monster hunt, though. A Wen Clan retainer reports frequent movements in the area caused by monsters and beasts gathering there. It’s a place which only cultivators can enter, but once they do, they have great difficulties leaving without suffering harm—that is if they can leave at all. The retainer suggests reporting the matter to Wen Ruohan, but Wen Chao decides he’d do the investigating himself using the cultivators as “flesh and bone shields” whilst he goes in to investigate.
Wen Chao and his wife’s servant turned lover, Wang Lingjiao (Lu En Jie), throw their might around in their hunt for the cave entrance to the beast the disciples are supposedly meant to lure out and hunt. They are just all talk, no walk and no skill. It takes a bit of sensing ability and an incantation for Wei Wuxian to uncover the cave entrance for them all to make their way in.
Once inside, Lan Wangji show his sensing abilities by sensing the direction which the beast reside, down a high bank that is dark and steep. Wei Wuxian concurs, sensing the same thing. Wen Chao, on the other hand, shows all he has is the power gained from being a Wen Clan family member, but has no guts. Instead of leading the way and bravely seeking out this beast, Wei Wuxian is pushed down the high, steep bank to go investigate and look for it, causing alarm in Jiang Cheng and Lan Wangji and even Jin Zixuan and Mian Mian.
Though Jin Zixuan denies being concerned, he and his clan send down ropes to follow both Lan Wangji (who is first down there to check that Wei Wuxian is alright) and Jiang Cheng (who arrives second). The rest of the disciples from the other clans touch down, too, likely thinking the same as the supposed reason Jin Zixuan gave for joining Wei Wuxian: rather than watch Wen Chao and Wang Lingjiao flaunt their might, they’d rather join Wei Wuxian down below to fight the beast.
Wen Chao’s shouts from above, wanting to hear what they see, gives Wei Wuxian an idea of their approximate distance from the outside through the echoes. But, as Lan Wangji adds, there’s an anomaly. This anomaly he might be referring to is the beast which resides just a short distance from their location, in the black pond next to them all.
Before they all come face to face with the beast, a fight breaks out after Wen Chao and his clan finally make it down to join the disciples. Over a suggestion Wang Lingjiao makes to use Mian Mian as bait to lure the beast out, and Jin Zixuan’s fight against Wen Chao’s eventual order to do as Wang Lingjiao suggests, it sees Wen Chao declare a rebellion and an order for his men to attack.
As everyone is busy attacking each other, Wei Wuxian takes on Wen Chao to expose Wen Chao’s ignorance and show him how he and the others are just following Wen Clan teachings which are actually very noble: “Those who use their family’s influence to break the law and commit crimes shall be killed. Not only must they be killed, but they must be beheaded, be spit and cursed upon and serve as a warning for later generations.” These are the famous sayings from Wen Chao’s founding ancestor, Wen Mao (Zhang Bin), but it’s completely lost on him.
Failing to recognise this, Wen Chao falls into the trap of calling those famous Wen Clan words disgraceful and a load of nonsense. For that, Wei Wuxian recites the punishment for Wen Chao’s remarks—and that is death on the spot with the authority of the law—and thus justifying Wen Chao’s death if he or the others wish to do so.
For Wei Wuxian’s clever use of the Wen Clan teachings, Wen Chao attempts to strike Wei Wuxian, but Wen Chao is no match in wit or martial arts skills. Wen Chao’s attack sees his own sword turned against him and pressed against his neck. Taking Wen Chao to a small rock island (which is actually the back/shell of the tortoise-like beast) in the middle of the dark pool, Wei Wuxian threatens to “accidentally” let out some blood from the Wen Clan’s second young master if attacks don’t stop. Wen Qing, who appears to be internally eager to stop the attacks, moves to order everyone drop their weapons.
The beast makes its appearance through the water here. As the huge tortoise-like neck surveys the area, not initially attacking because of its poor sight, Wen Chao fails to contain his fear and screams for his henchman, Wen Zhuliu, to save him. It triggers the beast to attack, ending any hope they remain unnoticed by the beast.
Whilst everyone is fighting the beast, Wang Lingjiao has her eyes on Mian Mian again. For Wen Chao having made a comment about Mian Mian’s good looks while she talked Jin Zixuan out of being taken in for not complying with handing his sword initially, Wang Lingjiao is now intent on ruining her pretty face with a branding iron (as opposed to a sword which she can’t weld and support with the little spiritual power she has). Luckily for Mian Mian, she escapes unharmed, saved by Wei Wuxian who took the hot iron on his own body.
Wen Chao orders retreat at this point, apparently seeing the situation too dangerous to stick around. Wen Qing follow her clan out, too. She probably has no choice being her clan. But seeing Wen Chao order ropes cut and the cave entrance blocked with large rocks has her crying out in vain for the men to stop, fearing they will die in there.
The cave entrance isn’t the only way out. Lan Wangji’s keen observation of maple leaves in the black pond leads him to believe an exit is beneath the black pond. Using the fire sticks they’ve been using to light their way to distract the beast, Jiang Cheng is able to swim under the black pond to verify the size of the opening to be big enough for five or six to go through at a time.
The good news has Wei Wuxian command they all get going whilst he stays behind to provide a distraction. The beast has since lost interest in the fire sticks, snuffing them out just as Jiang Cheng had resurfaced. A train of fire, created through one of Wei Wuxian’s incantations, was keeping the beast’s attention, and was providing everyone the opportunity to escape. That is until Mian Mian accidentally slipped over the rocks, contaminating an area of the water with blood from her cut.
The area was small, but it was enough to pull the beast out of Wei Wuxian’s control and into a frenzied attack which sends Wei Wuxian flying with Lan Wangji narrowly escaping being snapped up in the beast’s sharp teeth in his failed attempt to pull Wei Wuxian out of the attack. Escape for Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji via the opening under the water disappeared then. Wei Wuxian tells a worried and distressed Jiang Cheng (who was still around with Jin Zixuan) to bring people to save them.
Trapped they may be, but finally Lan Wangji is able to rest that injured leg of his and Wei Wuxian is able to apply the medicine Wen Ning snuck in for Wei Wuxian which Wei Wuxian saved for Lan Wangji (Episode 12). Wei Wuxian also helped Lan Wangji bring up that clotted blood in Lan Wangji’s system that’s been making him uncomfortable by appearing to strip in front Lan Wangji—help which Lan Wangji clearly needed as he offered a sincere thanks for it.
Lan Wangji shows more concern for Wei Wuxian with him wanting Wei Wuxian to stop using all of the medication on him, and save some for the wound Wei Wuxian suffered from Wang Lingjiao’s hot iron. It’s an injury Wei Wuxian brushes off. He’s used to being hurt and not treating his wounds because of the lack of coagulating grass back in the days to treat them he reveals. Whenever he was hurt in the past, he’d just go off to the lake to play. But that aside, Wei Wuxian saw Lan Wangji’s injury more serious than his own.
The downtime also allows Wei Wuxian to hear from Lan Wangji the state of Gusu, Lan Qiren and Lan Xichen. Talk about which family would arrive faster to save them—Wei Wuxian’s or Lan Wangji’s—has Lan Wangji express his doubts he can wait for his family’s arrival with Yunshen Buzhichu having been burned. Lan Wangji also lets out that his uncle is seriously wounded and his brother is missing when Wei Wuxian asks about them. Lan Wangji falls asleep shortly later as the night hits haishi (between 9pm and 11pm). It’s one of Lan Clan rules to sleep when it’s haishi. For this rule, Wei Wuxian is thankful.
To give them any chance of getting out of the cave, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji make the decision to attempt killing—what Lan Wangji believes to be—the Black Tortoise of Slaughter which could very well be the same one as the tortoise Xue Zhonghai had used together with the Yin Metal to slaughter immortal sects (Episode 6). They anticipate a tough battle, maybe one which could end their lives, but with no sign of Jiang Cheng returning to save them so far, as well as discovering the underwater opening to the outside blocked up by the beast, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji work together to achieve the impossible.
Lan Wangji had wanted to use the Xian Sha Technique and attack from the inside, but the extremely strong shell and the tight space inside the tortoise’s shell had Wei Wuxian thinking the Xian Sha Technique’s attacking power would be limited. To add to that, Lan Wangji was still injured in the leg. It was best he enter and attack from the inside instead.
Traversing deep into the tortoise’s shell, Wei Wuxian begins his mission to lure the tortoise out of its fortress that is its shell. Meanwhile, Lan Wangji stands waiting on shore, ready to attack from the outside. It looks to be a revolting experience inside. As Wei Wuxian walks cautiously though the red, fleshy interior, his sense of smell is attacked by a smell so unbearable Wei Wuxian almost throws up. There were also whole embalmed human bodies as well as human spirits which the tortoise looked to have stored away for consumption.
The experience is also a paralysing one as Wei Wuxian comes across a curious sword that overwhelms Wei Wuxian senses. Gripping the sword, shrill screams attack his ears; intense feeling of resentment coarse through him, causing him snap back his grip. The sudden appearance of the tortoise has Wei Wuxian reflexively grip the sword again, though.
In combination with the bundled arrows Wei Wuxian carried in with him, he slashes across with the sword. Missing, he uses his arrows to puncture its head with the bundled arrows, but doesn’t quite get in a good enough attack and is forced backwards towards a wall. The tortoise’s snake-like head continue to lunge at Wei Wuxian. It’s following this attack, Wei Wuxian manages to thrust the sword up its jaw and have the tortoise finally leave its shell with Wei Wuxian holding tightly onto the sword handle.
Lan Wangji makes his attack with his makeshift harpoon-like weapon following Wei Wuxian’s call, thrusting the weapon forward and having its long rope wound around the tortoise’s snake-like neck. With a good hold of the neck and a sword in its jaw, it keeps the tortoise from making further attacks, but it takes a toll on Lan Wangji’s hands as blood starts flowing from his hands from gripping tightly on rope. Wei Wuxian’s state is worse.
Suspended in mid-air, Wei Wuxian is thrashed around and forced to grip onto the handle of the sword while forced to endure the shrill screams and the resentments coarse through him again. Momentarily, Wei Wuxian looked like he was going to drop away. However, what looked like such could very well be Wei Wuxian trying to overcome and harness the force of the resentments to use it to defeat the tortoise—a feat which he actually achieves as his whole body is surrounded by black tentacles of haze before the swords and arrows on the battleground below fly through the air to thrust them into the length of the tortoise’s neck at Wei Wuxian’s command.
Lan Wangji gives the final blow through a final tug of the rope which has the tortoise descend to its watery grave below. At this point, Wei Wuxian’s appears to finally have used up all his strength as he follows suit, falling to the water below, showing no sign of movement.
Lan Wangji rushes to pull Wei Wuxian’s spent body to shore, after which Wei Wuxian does regain consciousness, but only long enough to utter how he seriously thought he wasn’t going to make it through before he slips into a feverish state. Lan Wangji is able to bring Wei Wuxian back with an injection of Lan Wangji’s spiritual energy. This time, Wei Wuxian stays conscious long enough to listen to his request for Lan Wangji to sing him a song to fill the silence he seemed to find suffocating before Wei Wuxian drifts off to unconsciousness yet again and appears not to wake until after their rescue.
Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji’s rescue doesn’t come for another several days, totalling seven days in the cave before Jiang Cheng returned with help to get them out. The help came from neither the Gusu Lan Clan or the Qinghe Nie Clan with both these clans confirmed as under Wen Clan’s control. Jiang Cheng couldn’t ask his clan to help as without their swords it was too far and would have taken much longer than seven days. So, the help came from the Lanling Jin Clan, which according to Jiang Cheng, took lengthy persuasions from Jin Zixuan to convince Jin Clan Leader Jin Guangshan to go against the Wen Clan (who, as passed mentioned in Episode 12, the Lanling Jin Clan have a good but cautious relationship with) and finally send people to bring out Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. For Jin Zixuan to manage to persuade his clan to go against the Wen Clan and potentially suffer being a target is no small matter. Wei Wuxian, who have shown not to like Jin Zixuan because of his arrogance, seems to recognise this and sends his sincere gratitude for his help.
With Lan Wangji returning to Gusu (he’s done so before Wei Wuxian regained consciousness) and Wei Wuxian having regained consciousness, Jin Zixuan, Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian all quickly take their leave. In the works looks to be a uniting of clans to suppress the Wen Clan following Wen Chao’s attempt to use every clan’s direct disciples as his shields and leaving them to await death. Yunmeng Jiang Clan have yet to join the movement, but Jiang Cheng plans to have his clan do so.
Returning to Yunmeng, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng returns to excited welcomes from Jiang Fengmian and Jiang Yanli, but just like the last time, the welcome soon develops into another family argument which sees Yu Ziyuan enter to condemn Wei Wuxian’s actions as asking for trouble to be brought to the clan. Her criticism isn’t baseless. As she speaks, Wen Chao has made the order for Wen Zhuliu and Wang Lingjiao to head for Yunmeng. Because of Wei Wuxian provocations, the Yunmeng Jiang Clan is now on Wen Chao and by extension the Qishan Wen Clan’s target list.
However, staying still and not doing anything despite knowing it’s wrong just to stay in good standing with clans doesn’t speak the Jiang Family Motto. Wei Wuxian’s actions are examples of knowing when to insist on trying and knowing when to hold back, knowing when to attempt the impossible and when not to. This is the Jiang Family Motto.
Yu Ziyuan’s dissatisfaction with Wei Wuxian’s actions of speaking up for Lan Wangji has her label Wei Wuxian’s actions as trouble-causing and interfering with matters which she thinks are not Wei Wuxian’s to interfere with. She doesn’t seem to approve of Wen Chao’s actions, but clearly thinks Wei Wuxian should have stayed out of it.
Yu Ziyuan’s view appears not to be one shared by Jiang Fengmian as he’s seen trying to stop Yu Ziyuan’s verbal attack on Wei Wuxian. It’s also Jiang Cheng who gets told to hold hold his mouth when Jiang Cheng ran his mouth about Wei Wuxian deserving to be stuck in the cave with Lan Wangji and feeling suffocated from the silence.
Jiang Cheng seemed to not mean anything by it. He seemed simply down about not being there with Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji when they achieved a great feat such as killing the Black Tortoise of Slaughter. Wei Wuxian had seemingly picked this up and had tried to comfort him with bringing up how it wasn’t all that great, especially being stuck in the cave with all that silence, leading Jiang Cheng to say what he said.
But these words of Jiang Cheng’s had Jiang Fengmian unimpressed with how Jiang Cheng spoke without thinking. Jiang Fengmian was possibly also concentrating on the first part to Jiang Cheng’s retort which mentioned how Wei Wuxian shouldn’t have tried to be a hero (referring to Wei Wuxian’s insistence on staying back at the cave to save everyone). It makes Jiang Cheng come off as someone who doesn’t think of others, who will shrink back to avoid difficulties or trouble. (Jiang Cheng actually isn’t this kind of person. He just comes off this way.) This seems to be what had Jiang Fengmian scold Jiang Cheng.
It’s that, or as Yu Ziyuan reveals, it’s because Jiang Fengmian actually doesn’t like Jiang Cheng because he’s a son Yu Ziyuan birthed. Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan may be married, but it seems Yu Ziyuan is someone Jiang Fengmian doesn’t like all that much. The woman Jiang Fengmian holds in his heart seems to be Wei Wuxian’s mother, which is revealed through Yu Ziyuan’s suspicions why she thinks Jiang Fengmian treats Wei Wuxian so well is because Jiang Fengmian is still hung up on Wei Wuxian’s mother, revealing a past romantic relationship between them. Apparently, because of how well he treats Wei Wuxian, rumours that Wei Wuxian might be Jiang Fengmian’s illegitimate son exist.
This whole scene creates a bit of a crack in Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng’s good relationship as Jiang Cheng takes all of what his mother had said to heart. Wei Wuxian rushes to fix such thoughts. He starts off with trying to get Jiang Cheng thinking a different way about the reason for the difference in treatment, mentioning that maybe Jiang Fengmian is stricter on Jiang Cheng because he is the biological son and the future clan leader. He on the other hand is someone else’s child. The nicer treatment is out of politeness because of the close friendship Jiang Fengmian has with his parents.
Jiang Cheng’s mind isn’t convinced, believing it is as simple as what his mother said as well as simply not having the strength of character to be his father’s ideal heir to take over clan leader position. Wei Wuxian tries to get Jiang Cheng to see otherwise. He uses Gusu Lan Clan’s 3000 rules as an example: if people lived by all 3000 rules people wouldn’t be able to live at all. He uses Lan Yi as another example: she was quite an eccentric clan leader, but no one could deny her skills or skip her period of leadership.
Thirdly, Wei Wuxian doubts every Yunmeng Clan Leaders were all the same. So, just because Jiang Cheng doesn’t conduct himself in a way that is in line with the family motto, it does not necessarily mean he’s not suited to be clan leader. If that didn’t convince Jiang Cheng, Wei Wuxian lets him know that he has no intention of taking the clan leader position as he pledges to be Jiang Cheng’s right-hand man, beating up anyone who dares look down on him when he becomes the future clan leader. They will be the Twin Prides of Yunmeng like the Two Jades of Lan a.k.a Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji.
It sounds like a beautiful future, but it’s one which can only be a nostalgic wish and dream as the actual future looks a lot different based on the relationship they end up having.
The Wen Clan is flexing their power and authority. The latest clan to get on the wrong side of the Qishan Wen Clan is the Pingyang Yao Clan, a small clan who never before offended them. What had set off the Qishan Wen Clan is the simple act of their disciples having attempted to flee Qishan. Consequently, the whole clan was annihilated, leaving only the Pingyang Yao Clan Leader and his guard still alive and seeking asylum at Lianhua Wu.
Not one to turn a desperate plea for help, Jiang Fengmian accepts the remaining members of the Pingyang Yao Clan—only the asylum won’t be at Lianhua Wu, but in Lanling with the Jin Clan. With both Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian believing Lianhua Wu won’t be spared from Qishan Wen Clan’s aggressions, Jiang Fengmian (with Jiang Yanli) sets off down the river to accompany the Pingyang Yao Clan Leader to Lanling.
Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng are told to stay back to watch over everyone instead of going on the journey. The journey is only a few days, but in that short amount of time, the whole world at Lianhua Wu is turned upside down with Wang Lingjiao and Wen Zhuliu touching down and carrying out Wen Chao’s orders. What started off as a request for Yu Ziyuan to punish Wei Wuxian for causing severe distress to Wen Chao in the cave at Biling Mountain turned into Yu Ziyuan reminding Wang Lingjiao of her lowly status, Wen Zhuliu and Yu Ziyuan fighting it out (both of who appear very well matched in martial arts and cultivation skills) and an SOS call from Wang Lingjiao.
With Wei Wuxian down and out from having suffered under Yu Ziyuan’s debilitating Zidian Whip (Yu Ziyuan had been provoked to punish Wei Wuxian like one would a servant or admit rumours about Wei Wuxian being Jiang Fengmian’s illegitimate child to be true), only Jiang Cheng could stop the SOS from going through. With Wang Lingjiao having little fighting and cultivation ability, he could have seen to that easily. However, a call from Wei Wuxian for Yu Ziyuan to be careful saw Jiang Cheng miss the opportunity to stop the flare from alerting the Wen Clan army to descend on their location.
Recognising an impending bloodbath about to take place, Yu Ziyuan has two of her trusted disciples, Jin Zhu or Yin Zhu, hold down Wen Zhuliu whilst she takes Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian to a boat. She seems to have decided this battle may not be one they will come out of alive and has decided to send them off down the river to save their lives. She relinquishes her Zidian to Jiang Cheng before screaming what is looking to be the last scolding at Wei Wuxian for the trouble he’s brought on the family and does not hold back in expressing the hate she has for him. Despite her feelings about Wei Wuxian, she seems to still see use in saving him; and that’s to keep Jiang Cheng safe: even if Wei Wuxian dies, he must keep Jiang Cheng safe she demands Wei Wuxian.
It’s a promise Wei Wuxian doesn’t immediately agree to keep as that would mean allowing to leave and return to die trying to protect Lianhua Wu. Wei Wuxian’s shout of her name has her cut him off, demanding he give her his word which Wei Wuxian does.
Both Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian tied up and protected by Yu Ziyuan’s (now Jiang Cheng’s) Zidian, they scream and cry out to Yu Ziyuan as they watch her get further and further away after Yu Ziyuan sets it off down the river with a strong kick.
Jiang Fengmian and Jiang Yanli return from their trip to Lanling, meeting Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian on the river. Jiang Fengmian is told about the attacks, about Yu Ziyuan fighting Wen Zhuliu and how the Wen Clan had been alerted. Jiang Cheng’s hope was they reunite and all return to fight alongside Yu Ziyuan and save Lianhua Wu, but the hope is quickly dashed when Jiang Fengmian repeats Yu Ziyuan’s previous actions adding Jiang Yanli to the bounding. He seems to also think the chances of getting out of this alive is low.
Floating in the middle of the river, Jiang Cheng, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli is left with a command to not turn the boat around, not return to Lianhua Wu and to find a way to go to Mei Mountain to ask their grandma for help instead. Gazing sadly at all three children, he takes one last look at each of them up close. “Silly boy, why are you crying,” he says to Jiang Cheng, a hand wiping away his tears. “It’s not like I’m not coming back.” He moves to Jiang Yanli and tells her softly not to cry. Finally, to Wei Wuxian, he tells him to take care of Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli. It’s his last show of affection to all three children before he heads back to his boat and sails off, forcing Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian to watch a second time a parent head back into a fight they might not survive.
Meanwhile, over at Buyetian, the Qishan Wen Clan appears to be at the pinnacle of power and strengthening it even more with the Yin Metal, but Wen Ruohan’s attempt of refining Yin Metal appears to be hitting a bit of a problem as his hand used to refining the Yin Metal pieces appears to be experiencing spasms. With Wen Qing apparently having been sent to Yiling with Wen Ning, Wen Ruohan is left to suppress, and manages to suppress, the hand spasm himself.
He receives further bad news when told Wen Chao’s search for Xue Yang has been unsuccessful with Wen Chao thinking Xue Yang may be dead with how calamity follows him wherever he goes. Even worse news is that, not only has Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji killed the Black Tortoise of Slaughter, but the object which suppressed the beast is gone. This object which Wen Chao had just discovered exists is the sword Wei Wuxian had found and removed from the inside of the beast’s shell. The discovery it is nowhere to be found has Wen Ruohan furious as an object which can suppress such a beast must be extraordinary.
Lianhua Wu and the Yunmeng Jiang Clan are no more. Yu Ziyuan fought well to defend Lianhua Wu, fighting dozens of Qishan Wen Clan members before she took her own life. It wasn’t that she fought all she could and had no more left in her. It was the sight of watching her husband killed before her eyes by Wen Zhuliu’s sword which went right through his back to the other side.
Yu Ziyuan had been adamant she would do fine without Jiang Fengmian when Jiang Cheng had tried to get her to go with him and wait for Jiang Fengmian’s return from Lanling (Episode 15). It seems they were just words. In the end, after seeing Jiang Fengmian fall, she took her own dagger and stabbed herself in the heart to join him in death.
Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng would not learn of the annihilation of Jiang Fengmian, Yu Ziyuan and their entire clan till nightfall when the two finally make it back to Lianhua Wu following their released from Zidian’s bind. Silently and tearfully watching helplessly from the roof overlooking the main hall, they see Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan lie next to each other, their fingers interlaced together. The grief inside Jiang Cheng is so great, he faints momentarily, falling off the roof before he seemed to regain consciousness mid-fall to run off towards the fields.
Wei Wuxian runs after Jiang Cheng and receives a hand to the throat as Jiang Cheng moves to let out more of his grief: had Wei Wuxian just minded his own business and let Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan be, he might still have his parents. Jiang Cheng does eventually let go, and it sees both fall to their backs. Wei Wuxian lay weeping as Jiang Cheng lay crying out for his parents and his disciples who are now gone with Lianhua Wu.
It’s a sleepless night for Jiang Cheng as he is already up at the crack of dawn. Wei Wuxian looks to have gotten some sleep, but tears appeared to have flowed throughout the night as he wakes with a tear falling down his cheeks. With Jiang Yanli still waiting for the two to return, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng make their way back to her to break the news. It has them all in another round of tears as the skies appear to join the three when rain begin to fall in a steady stream.
No home to return to, they set down the river to an inn where Jiang Yanli ends up developing a fever. Jiang Cheng is removed from all around him, appearing unconcerned with the state of his sister. The suggestion of this state of Jiang Cheng’s is that he could possibly be thinking about doing something reckless like going back to Lianhua Wu. When Wei Wuxian heads out to buy Jiang Yanli medicine as well as some fried pancakes for everyone to eat, Jiang Cheng is found missing from the inn. When Wei Wuxian makes his way into Lianhua Wu, Wen Ning (who he fortunately runs into as opposed to some other Wen Clan member) confirms Jiang Cheng was indeed at Lianhua Wu and had been captured by Wen Chao.
There’s actually a bit more to how Jiang Cheng landed at Lianhua Wu and ended up being captured, but it isn’t told until much later. For now, though, the story is that Jiang Cheng had made the decision to go back and now needs rescuing.
With how the Qishan Wen Clan had just massacred the Yunmeng Jiang Clan, Wei Wuxian’s not feeling the most trusting of anyone from or associated with the Qishan Wen Clan, not even his recent saviour, Wen Ning, who assures Wei Wuxian he had no involvement in the massacre. Wei Wuxian’s encounter with Wen Ning saw Wei Wuxian threatening to snap his neck thinking he was any Wen Clan member. Discovering the throat he had around his grip is Wen Ning, Wei Wuxian released it, but only to grab at Wen Ning’s collar over questions regarding Wen Ning’s involvement, which as already mentioned Wen Ning had none.
He, with Wen Qing, had actually been sent to Yiling while this was all happening (this was mentioned in Episode 15). Wen Ning had only headed for Lianhua Wu after hearing about the massacre, apparently arriving not long after running into Wei Wuxian.
With Wen Ning before him, Wei Wuxian had thought to use Wen Ning as a bargaining chip to demand for the handing over of Jiang Cheng as well as the bodies of Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan, but had gone against the idea. Firstly, he seemed to question how effective Wen Ning would be as a bargaining chip, but mostly, it wasn’t in his nature to use such a villainous method.
It’s probably also not in Wei Wuxian’s favour to try carry out the rescue and retrieval alone. The place is surrounded by Wen Clan guards. What’s more the bodies of Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan are currently hanging like war trophies at the main hall entrance where Wen Chao, Wang Lingjiao and Wen Zhuliu have direct view as they celebrated their victory with a banquet.
So, in the end, Wei Wuxian makes the decision to put his trust in Wen Ning coming through for him—trust he questions the whole time he is waiting on a boat below the pier, ready to receive Jiang Cheng. Uncharacteristically lacking confidence in his decisions, his mind a mess, he considers going back to Jiang Yanli and leaving Lianhua Wu as he considers the possibility that Wen Ning could be lying to him. There’s a possibility Jiang Cheng isn’t at Lianhua Wu at all he is heard thinking. But finding a positive side, Wei Wuxian is heard thinking how it would be a good thing if Jiang Cheng wasn’t there.
But that would then mean Wei Wuxian is just waiting to be captured.
Wen Ning was telling the truth the whole time and has come through for Wei Wuxian. He’s brought out Jiang Cheng as well as his Zidian Whip after spiking the wine with Bai Ru Jui which, not only had knocked everyone out, but makes them weak and requiring several days to recover from. Jiang Cheng is unconscious, had a few broken ribs as far as Wen Ning can tell as well as well as internal injuries, but Jiang Cheng is alive.
Alive Jiang Cheng might be, but it’s not until he is taken to Yiling to be examined by Wen Qing do Wei Wuxian and Wen Ning learn the true extent of Jiang Cheng’s injuries. Jiang Cheng’s external scars and his three broken ribs sustained from the Wen Clan’s use of Jiang Clan’s own disciplining whip–Jie Bian—are expected to heal with time. Jiang Cheng’s internal force is expected to recover in several days, too, but upon feeling his pulse, Wen Qing discovers something not quite right.
Wen Qing doesn’t reveal what had her alarmed, but the following morning reveals a situation which sees Jiang Cheng wish Wei Wuxian hadn’t gone to save him. Jiang Cheng’s jindan (Golden Elixir/Essence) which one only gets one chance to develop, which separates him from being a cultivator and a normal person, has been completely destroyed. Hua Dan Shou (Essence-dissolving Hand) as Wen Zhuliu is also called is the one responsible for destroying Jiang Cheng’s jindan.
With no chance to redevelop another jindan, Jiang Cheng is faced with being mediocre, no longer able to realise his dreams to reaching the top and unable to take revenge for his dead parents. He can only watch the Wen Clan flaunt their arrogance, which has Jiang Cheng highly distraught.
The guilt Wei Wuxian feels starts to mount at this point. Because he stood up to Wen Chao, the Yunmeng Jiang Clan was annihilated, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan died, and Jiang Cheng lost his cultivation abilities. He’s starting to believe that maybe what Yu Ziyuan said was right and that all of this is his fault. For days on end, Wei Wuxian all but reveals this thought as he trawls through medical book after medical book, scroll after scroll looking for any method that might save Jiang Cheng and give him back his cultivation abilities. He doesn’t move from his desk, he skips meals Jiang Yanli prepares for him, and even seem to ignore checking up on her. It takes Wen Qing to tell him how worried Jiang Yanli is about him and suggesting he visit her for him to finally see her.
So far, Jiang Yanli has not said anything in support of his actions or against like Jiang Cheng or Yu Ziyuan has. She’s not shown any anger towards him or anyone. She’s only showed care and worry, and this continues to be the case with her for the most part. Only during Wei Wuxian’s visit and seeing him read, research and insisting on not resting till he finds a way to save Jiang Cheng despite clearly being exhausted, does she finally let out some of her feelings on the matter.
Hearing Wei Wuxian admit his fault in everything that’s happened has Jiang Yanli burst with anger. Rhetorically she asks him what she should blame him for—for her parents’ death, for the annihilation of the Jiang Clan or for Jiang Cheng losing his cultivation ability. Although she isn’t saying he played a part in things becoming this way, she’s not exactly saying he didn’t either. But she has no interest in finding blame in anyone. All she cared about was that she doesn’t see anymore people die or fall ill. She didn’t want to lose him, too, because he is the only family she has left.
With tears flowing down her face, she takes Wei Wuxian’s hands and reminds him of the promise he made to her when he set off to rescue Jiang Cheng (Episode 16). That promise is that the three of them would all return to Lianhua Wu together. Her meaning behind this is that for him to keep this promise, he must take care of himself. Tears roll down Wei Wuxian’s cheeks before his head falls into his Shijie’s lap as he realises the meaning and had momentarily neglected to ensure he kept that promise.
The next morning, he continues to read through the books. But he does so looking more rested, and judging how he enters the library bringing Wen Qing food, on a full stomach as well. Before, when he was forcing himself to read without break or sleep, it was Wen Qing who was bringing him food and trying to get him to eat. Now, it’s reversed and Wei Wuxian is reminding her to eat.
Having quietly witnessed in the background the heartbreaking scene between Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli the night before, Wen Qing’s joined Wei Wuxian in looking through the books and scrolls for a way to restore Jiang Cheng’s jindan. Many days past with no success in finding anything, causing solemn and worried expressions on everyone.
In this time, Jiang Cheng’s external injuries have recovered, but he’s not been eating, drinking or sleeping because of his jindan. In order to get him to sleep, Wen Qing’s had a few of her needles put in him to force him to sleep.
It’s not until maybe the fourth or fifth day does Wei Wuxian comes across a scroll that suggests a way which Jiang Cheng can get a second jindan. Wei Wuxian’s face lights upon the discovery, but as he reads further, his expression straightens. By the way Wen Qing responds with multiple and firm “No” when he asks her to carry it out, this method is risky with only a 50-50 chance success rate. It’s dangerous and it impacts Wei Wuxian negatively. Despite it all, Wei Wuxian is willing to give it a go.
Out catching a wild bird for a dinner which Wei Wuxian intends to feed Jiang Cheng whilst sharing news he knows will bring back Jiang Cheng’s appetite back, Wei Wuxian unexpectedly runs into Song Lan again with eyes that have been injured by Xue Yang.
Xue Yang, who have been so hard for Wen Chao to track, looks to have visited Song Lan’s training place, Baixue Pavillion, and spread his destruction again. To take revenge on Xiao Xingchen for the incident which led to his capture in Yue Yang (Episode 10), Song Lan’s master and all the disciple were killed during the massacre. Song Lan, on the other hand, had his eyes assaulted by a pink powder Xue Yang had waited on the rooftop to scatter all over the top of him.
Bringing Song Lan in to be treated by Wen Qing, Song Lan tells a story of how Xiao Xingchen had left him in Yiling for Baoshan Sanren to discover. Legend has it Baoshan Sanren is able to bring the dead back to life, regrowing bones and flesh. It appears to be just a legend as (again) the truth about Song Lan’s eyes isn’t revealed till Episode 38.
Right now, though, Wei Wuxian comes off as believing in this legend as he shares with Jiang Cheng his plans to send him up the mountain he vaguely recalls to be where his grandmaster is to seek her help in restoring Jiang Cheng’s jindan. There are hints that Wei Wuxian’s original plan—the one Wen Qing had refused to help Wei Wuxian carry out at the end of Episode 17—is still the one he’s going with as before Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian set off, Wen Qing is seen making sure Wei Wuxian had thought things through. Wei Wuxian’s answer is an unwavering one: not once had he hesitated about the decision. An earlier conversation with Wen Qing had him tell her he plans on never letting Jiang Cheng know what he’s about to do forever.
To ensure Jiang Yanli is safe while all of this is happening, Wei Wuxian plans to have her stay with the Lanling Jin Clan. He knows if asked to go there, she wouldn’t willingly go. So, his plan is to have an incense burner wafting some of Wen Qing’s calming powder to help Jiang Yanli sleep soundly enough she can be put into a palanquin and head to Lanling with Song Lan escorting her there.
Wei Wuxian is served one of his favourite soups, Shijie’s Lotus Root Spare Ribs Soup, when he visits to initiate his plan. As he waits for the calming powder to take effect, a story about the first time Wei Wuxian had the soup is told through a flashback. Associated with the soup is a warm story about how a young Wei Wuxian and young Jiang Cheng finally got along as brothers after an incident which saw Wei Wuxian go missing for half a day because of Jiang Cheng’s words for Wei Wuxian to get lost.
Because of Wei Wuxian, Jiang Cheng had to share his room. Because of Wei Wuxian’s fear of dogs, Jiang Cheng’s three dogs were all sent away. Because of the dogs, Wei Wuxian was throw Wei Wuxian out into the cold, told he had no right to send his dogs away or come back into the room, and to get lost.
Jiang Cheng’s words seemed to be out of having a bad temper rather than hate towards Wei Wuxian. According to Jiang Yanli, Jiang Cheng hides the fact that he’s actually happy to have another person to play with. He was just sad that the dogs he really liked were sent away.
She definitely knows Jiang Cheng best, as after discovering Wei Wuxian was nowhere to be found, Jiang Cheng had gone to Jiang Yanli in the middle of the night wanting her to go look for Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng had also gone out into the dark, had hurt himself, got mud on himself looking for Wei Wuxian.
After Jiang Yanli finds Wei Wuxian high up a tree worried the dogs Jiang Cheng had previously threatened Wei Wuxian with would get him, Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian became brothers after that. They promised to look out for each other with Wei Wuxian telling Jiang Cheng first that he won’t tell Jiang Fengmian about how he ended up hurting his leg (which was caused by slipping off the tree he climbed) and Jiang Cheng promises to chase away all dogs for him. They play fight with each other in their room before Jiang Yanli walks in with her Lotus Root Spare Ribs Soup. It’s the first time he’s ever had it and the first time he, Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli all came together to be siblings.
After this flashback, Jiang Yanli’s unchanging wish for them to stay together is yet again expressed. She has Wei Wuxian promise the three of them must stay together, to never part again. It seems it’s a promise at risk of being broken with Wei Wuxian’s plans to send her to Lanling, Jiang Cheng sent off up the mountain with no certainty that his plans will succeed and Wei Wuxian possibly impacted by these plans. Still, Wei Wuxian seems to still believe he can keep his promise to her and assures her they will.
After some time, Jiang Yanli is finally asleep sound enough for Wei Wuxian to send her off towards Lanling with Song Lan before he and Jiang Cheng make their way to the mountain where mid-way up Jiang Cheng is blindfolded and left to continue up the mountain on his own. According to Wei Wuxian there are rules Jiang Cheng must follow to ensure he doesn’t risk angering Baoshan Sanren, rules which include not memorising his surroundings (hence the blindfold) and making sure he refers to himself as Wei Wuxian and answer all the questions correctly to prove he is Wei Wuxian—such as being the son of Cangse Sanren (Wei Wuxian’s mother) and Wei Changze (Wei Wuxian’s father) and how they died 10 years ago. Only after that will it satisfy Baoshan Sanren.
There’s a good reason why Wei Wuxian mentioned these rules and had Jiang Cheng follow them quite strictly and it’s nothing to do with angering Baoshan Sanren. The reason isn’t revealed until Episode 46.
In any case, Jiang Cheng remembers it all and answers the questions perfectly when he finally meets the supposed Baoshan Sanren whose face is concealed by a black veil (so we as the viewer also can’t see what this Baoshan Sanren looks like). It sees Jiang Cheng asked to follow her, seemingly having been accepted by her.
As Wei Wuxian seek a way to get Jiang Cheng’s cultivation abilities back, the three great clans—Lanling Jin Clan, Gusu Lan Clan and the Qinghe Nie Clan—seeks suppression of the Wen Clan and revenge for the annihilated Yunmeng Jiang Clan. In what is known as the She Ri Zhi Campaign (Shooting Down of the Sun—“Sun” symbolising the Wen Clan), Nie Mingjue and his people are seen storming Wen Clan’s Qinghe Supervisory Office; and Lan Wangji are seen felling the Qishan Wen Clan’s flag at the entrance to Yunshen Buzhichu.
Seven days later Wei Wuxian is weak and unable to take a punch or kick. It surprises even Wen Zhuliu who clearly only used enough power to stop Wei Wuxian from leaving the Yiling Teahouse, but the hand to Wei Wuxian’s chest had him flying back. He is easily held still by Wen Chao’s men and had no ability to fight back when stomped on. Even Wen Chao’s kick sent Wei Wuxian flying.
Wei Wuxian’s been through something the last seven days that’s had him lose his ability to fight back. There’s little clear connection to what that might be, but the contrast in state between Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng seven days later plus the suggestions in the last episode is saying Wei Wuxian’s done something to himself to get Jiang Cheng back his jindan.
And Jiang Cheng does get his jindan back. After a nightmare where he sees his happy family and Lianhua Wu go up in flames before Wen Zhuliu destroys his jindan, Jiang Cheng wakes to find he’s got his jindan back, and he’s grateful. Kneeling, he thanks Baoshan Sanren for saving him. Whether Baoshan Sanren is actually the one who saved him is still in question.
Unable to resist any kind of sadistic punishment given by Wen Chao or even Wang Lingjiao (who uses her iron to burn a line through a previous iron burn), Wei Wuxian is taken to the Yiling Burial Mounds which have become a dumping ground for anonymous corpses. It is so full of dark energy, strong rage and resentment, Wen Chao believes throwing Wei Wuxian down there would be the perfect punishment for the arrogance Wei Wuxian’s shown him. Wen Chao thinks for sure Wei Wuxian would never be able to return from the place: the energy is so strong not even a powerful clan like the Wen Clan can control it. They can only surround it and forbid anyone from entering it. It should be the end of Wei Wuxian.
However, that’s not to be the case. After Wei Wuxian is thrown down into the Burial Mounds, he doesn’t meet his death nor is he consumed by the dark energy—not in the way which kills him and leaves him without a soul as Wen Chao had hoped. During his free fall, the dark energy which have likely been called upon by an object in Wei Wuxian’s pouch (which is meant to be seen as the fourth Yin Metal piece, but later episodes reveals it to be quite a different item Wei Wuxian has) gathers underneath him, breaking his fall. This only lasted a few moments before Wei Wuxian continues falling till he hits ground.
Shrill screams and calls for help overwhelm Wei Wuxian’s senses. It’s just like when he was inside the Black Tortoise of Slaughter gripping onto that sword he found in there. On the Burial Mounds, that sword is before him again and calling to him to take hold of it and join it in taking revenge. (It’s unclear if it’s the exact same one as the last time it was seen was in Wei Wuxian’s possession.) Wei Wuxian seems hesitant, but slowly, as if drawn by the sword, he does. A burst of dark energy emanate from him as he grips the blade before plunging it into the ground. A deadly gaze crosses his eyes, the dark energy appearing to have become one with Wei Wuxian.
Three months later, what has become of Wei Wuxian is still a mystery. Not Jiang Cheng, Lan Wangji, Jiang Yanli or Jin Zixuan knows where he is. In fact, except for Lan Wangji, no one questioned his whereabouts.
Jiang Cheng never ended up meeting him at the Yiling Teahouse and put it off to Wei Wuxian having decided to go on ahead on his own to look for the others (e.g. for Lan Wangji and Jiang Yanli). Not once did it cross his mind it was because something happened to him. Jiang Cheng only learns Wei Wuxian had been thrown into the Yiling Burial Mounds when Lan Wangji and his disciples took control of the Wen Clan Education Division and hears one of the Wen Clan retainers reveal it.
Seeing what’s become of Wei Wuxian looks to be on the cards as both Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng is headed for Yiling as they put up their hands to join the battle in removing control of Yiling from the Wen Clan. Yiling is one of two territories left in the She Ri Zhi Campaign to remove Wen occupation. The other territory being Yunmeng.
So far, Qinghe has been won back by the Qinghe Nie Clan with Wen Xu dead and beheaded. A territory known as Langya has been claimed back, too. Gusu is almost back in Lan Clan’s control with Jin Zixuan reporting that Lan Xingchen has led his disciples back to Yunshen Buzhichu and expects the situation there to settle soon.
Wang Lingjiao seems to be seeing this might be going downwards, too. After learning the Qishan Wen Clan’s lost Qinghe and then the Education Division which are both such close Qishan territories (both are just at the foothill of Qishan), Wang Lingjiao thinks it’s time to cut ties with Wen Chao. To keep herself going and surviving, she thinks to take some precious gold and jade jewellery with her only to find eyeballs swimming in blood upon opening the chest of what is supposed to contain jewellery.
Since Wei Wuxian was thrown into the Burial Mounds, it’s not been fun for Wang Lingjiao. She’s become edgy as she’s been having nightmares about Wei Wuxian. She worries she and Wen Chao might’ve made some kind of mistake with Wei Wuxian and he’s actually not dead. Even if he was dead, she worries about Wei Wuxian returning as a fierce ghost like Wei Wuxian had threatened before being thrown into the Burial Mounds.
A sea of Wen Clan bodies lay dead at the Yiling Supervisory Office, all dying via different methods but similar in the way of bleeding through the eyes, ears, mouth and nose (save Wang Lingjiao who committed suicide after defacing herself). Someone with an evil aura has gone and killed everyone (except Wen Qing and Wen Ning) before Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng arrived to carry out their ambush of the Yiling Supervisory Office. The killings of more Wen Clan members continues along the road towards Qishan, all showing the same bleeding through the eyes, ears, mouth and nose.
Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng don’t learn just exactly who is behind such sweeping destruction of the Wen Clan in Yiling at this point, but the doing is all Wei Wuxian. He’s back, alive, more powerful and with a darker aura. His new weapon is a black flute and an eerie tune coupled with altered talismans using his own blood. Through the use of this dark sorcery, Wei Wuxian was able to haunt both Wang Lingjiao and Wen Chao with spirits which attacked them mentally and physically. Wen Chao had managed to avoid death by Wei Wuxian’s flute for the time being thanks to Wen Zhuliu who had come by and managed to pull him away from the Wang Lingjiao illusion Wei Wuxian had conjured to attack him. However, the attack by way of what appears to be clawing at the face, left Wen Chao’s head bald and his hands and face bloody from open wounds.
Wang Lingjiao on the other hand was seen with her branding iron, swinging at an invisible person and regretting having killed this person and promising to pay this person back for destroying their face. (Our guess is the illusion Wei Wuxian conjured up for Wang Lingjiao is Yu Ziyuan). Following Wang Lingjiao’s promise to pay her back, Wang Lingjiao defaces her own face with a broken clay piece before hanging herself like how she and Wen Chao had done to Yu Ziyuan.
Lan Wangji appeared to have picked up on the altered talismans and the four strokes which were added to turn spirit-repelling talismans into ones which conjured them. He seemed to come off as possibly suspecting Wei Wuxian. However, when Wei Wuxian finally appears before his sight in a showdown between Wei Wuxian and Wen Zhuliu at a resting stop near Yunmeng, Lan Wangji seemed genuinely surprised. It would seem Lan Wangji never expected Wei Wuxian would be behind all the killings, that the evil aura which he had felt on the road and warned Jiang Cheng to be careful about belonged to Wei Wuxian.
The killings, the darker Wei Wuxian practicing what Lan Wangji calls demonic cultivation, doesn’t worry Jiang Cheng. Partly because Jiang Cheng seemed not to recognise Wei Wuxian had taken up demonic cultivation. The other part is because Jiang Cheng only had one goal in mind and that was to avenge his parents’ death and the annihilation of his clan. Having said that, Jiang Cheng still was shocked to discover Wei Wuxian was behind everything. He notices something had changed with Wei Wuxian—sort of, as when Wei Wuxian asked Jiang Cheng if he really appeared different, Jiang Cheng thinks again and says no.
Exactly what had happened that had caused Wei Wuxian to take this path as opposed to the way of the sword and Immortal Cultivation starts a tension-filled confrontation between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. Not understanding why the sudden change to Demonic Cultivation, Lan Wangji demanded Wei Wuxian answer his questions about this matter which Wei Wuxian refused to give any honest answers. Instead, he chose to joke around in a wiseman kind of way, answering questions with another question, and attempted to tell a story about discovering some ancient text left by a skilled master which enabled him to become invincible in battle to see if they would believe him. They didn’t. According to Jiang Cheng such story only exists in fantasy novels.
Wei Wuxian’s lack of real answers really tested Lan Wangji’s patience as he is seen close to getting up in Wei Wuxian’s face a couple times over it. It’s not only because what Wei Wuxian is practising is demonic cultivation, but there are consequences of taking this path. It harms the body and one’s temperament. No cultivator since ancient times have ever been able to be in control of this dark energy. Lan Yi couldn’t do it, Xue Zhonghai couldn’t do it and Wen Ruohan seems to be struggling back in Episode 15. Lan Wangji was disapproving but likely also worried about Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian stays the course, telling Lan Wangji he knows best how it harms and to the extent it harms. As for harming his temperament, he is the master of this and knows exactly what he’s doing. What’s more, only he knows what his temperament is and what it is is also none of anyone’s business. Effectively, Wei Wuxian is telling Lan Wangji to stay out of his business.
How Wen Chao is dealt with, Wei Wuxian (as well as Jiang Cheng) sees it as a Yunmeng Jiang Family matter. They believe it’s not a matter for Lan Wangji or the Gusu Lan Clan to go this far in getting involved—which Lan Wangji does, leaving his relationship with Wei Wuxian off badly.
With Wen Zhuliu already killed through a combination of Wei Wuxian’s use of his flute to conjure up another spirit and strangulation by way of Jiang Cheng’s Zidian Whip, Wen Chao is left defenseless. Wen Chao could only plead for his life and ask for forgiveness for his actions against Yunmeng Jiang Clan, but it was in vain. The way he is dealt with isn’t revealed. Only his scream could be heard from the outside of the inn they were in. But it looks like the end had come for Wen Chao.
Wen Chao presumably dead, Wei Wuxian return to the Jiang Clan’s Ancestral Hall in Lianhua Wu to pay his respects to Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan. He tell them he’s done what they asked of him: he took good care of Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli, and tells them they can now Rest In Peace.
Killing Wen Zhuliu and Wen Chao is just one part of what Wei Wuxian has done to keep his promise to his adopted parents. The true extent of what he did to keep this promise has yet to be told at this point, but there was a hint; and that was when Wei Wuxian immediately took a step back to make sure Lan Wangji didn’t get too close. Right after doing that, whether consciously or subconsciously, Wei Wuxian brought his new weapon—his black flute—which he held behind his back to the front, situating it between him and Lan Wangji.
As someone who has shown to be more than on par with Lan Wangji in swordsmanship and fighting skills, the sudden invasion of personal space shouldn’t have had Wei Wuxian react in such a way, but it did. It hints the other part to what Wei Wuxian did to keep his promise has to do with his fighting and attacking ability. Wei Wuxian comes back appearing as if he’s become even stronger, more powerful upon taking up a different cultivation path, but he looks to be hiding a great weakness which he’s yet to reveal.
Favourite / Notable Moments in Pictures
EPISODE 11: Lan Wangji returns to Gusu not without meeting trouble along the way as his path is blocked by Wen Chao and his men. Fortunately for him, he manages to buy a bit of time to escape by using one of Wei Wuxian’s talismans which sees Wen Chao and his men distracted by glowing butterflies.
EPISODE 11: Out of fear of being killed, outer Gusu Lan Clan disciple, Su Minshan, betrays his clan by letting out the secret to entering the Cold Pool Cave to Wen Xu.
EPISODE 12: Wen Chao is one mean man! Nothing scares Wei Wuxian unless it’s a dog (and Yu Ziyuan)—never mind if it’s a cute or scary one. But as it so happens the one Wen Chao locks Wei Wuxian with happens to be a black, ferocious, saliva-dripping, sharp-teethed one.
EPISODE 12: Wen Ning shows up outside Wei Wuxian’s prison to bring him medicine and the truth about what happened at Yunshen Buzhichu.
EPISODE 13: Wen Chao is so scared of Black Tortoise of Slaughter, Wei Wuxian must cover his mouth to stop him from making a sound and alerting the beast of their presence.
EPISODE 13: Wei Wuxian uses a train of fire created from one of his talismans to try distract the beast and allow Jiang Cheng to investigate an opening under the pool they might be able to make their escape through.
EPISODE 13: The Black Tortoise of Slaughter notices and attacks Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji after a small amount of Mian Mian’s blood contaminates the black pool of water. It’s up to Jiang Cheng to call for help as there’s no chance of Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji escaping out the same opening as the others now.
EPISODE 13: Lan Wangji’s injured and needs to bring up that clotted blood. Wei Wuxian’s solution? Appear to undress in front of him. It does the trick.
EPISODE 14: Wei Wuxian holds on tight as shrill screams and resentment assault his senses. The resentment energy from the sword Wei Wuxian had extracted from inside the Black Tortoise of Slaughter appear to threaten Wei Wuxian’s ability to hold on, but he does. Not only does he hold on, but appear to absorb the sword’s resentment energy and utilise it to kill the Black Tortoise of Slaughter.
EPISODE 14: Wei Wuxian is not going well after taking on and killing the Black Tortoise of Slaughter. To bring Wei Wuxian back from his feverish state, Lan Wangji transfers some of his spiritual energy.
EPISODE 15: Jiang Cheng blocks his mother, Yu Ziyuan, from inflicting her Zidian Whip repeatedly on Wei Wuxian.
EPISODE 15: Wang Lingjiao gets stomped on by Yu Ziyuan for daring to exert her power on her when Wang Lingjiao isn’t even from a clan she’s ever heard of. Yu Ziyuan is a force to be reckoned with. It’s no wonder she is one of only two things/people Wei Wuxian fears. The other being dogs.
EPISODE 15: Wang Lingjiao lets off the flare which plunged the Jiang Clan into a fight they end up not surviving.
EPISODE 15: Yu Ziyuan transfers Zidian to Jiang Cheng as she foresees the fight at Lianhua Wu one she won’t make out alive. Wei Wuxian is made to promise to take good care of Jiang Cheng even if he himself dies.
EPISODE 16: Yu Ziyuan chooses to die with her husband after watching Jiang Fengmian killed by Wen Zhuliu’s sword. In life and death she will be with Jiang Fengmian.
EPISODE 16: Jiang Cheng has Wei Wuxian on the ground, hands clasped around Wei Wuxian’s throat as Jiang Cheng’s despair asks Wei Wuxian why he had to save Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan. Jiang Cheng thinks he should have just let them die. His parents and his disciples might still been alive he suggests.
EPISODE 16: Jiang Yanli is told the tragic news of her parents, causing them all to tear. The sky seem to join them as rain start to fall.
EPISODE 16: Wen Clan has caught up to Wei Wuxian, Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli. Wei Wuxian almost gets discovered but is saved when they are called away claiming they’ve got who they’re after.
EPISODE 16: Wei Wuxian threatens to break Wen Ning’s neck not knowing it was him. His fury isn’t too much less when he discovers it’s Wen Ning as it takes quite a bit of effort to calm down and hold himself back from harming him. He is still a Wen.
EPISODE 17: Jiang Cheng’s found at Lianhua Wu after having apparently gone back there. He’s hurt but alive.
EPISODE 17: Jiang Cheng wakes after being brought back to the inn he, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli have been staying at. He’s alive, but no longer has his jindan which allows him to continue on cultivating or take revenge against Wen Chao and Wen Zhuliu. He would rather die than be saved and live like this.
EPISODE 17: Wei Wuxian breaks down when Jiang Yanli reminds him of the promise he made to her to always stay together as a family and how he’s breaking that promise by staying up days and nights on end without eating or sleeping trying to find a way to save Jiang Cheng.
EPISODE 19: Jiang Cheng thanks Baoshan Sanren for saving him, not ever suspecting someone else may have saved him—that someone who he was supposed to meet at the bottom of the mountain at the Yiling Teahouse but fails to show.
EPISODE 19: Wei Wuxian is thrown into the Burial Mounds and is called upon by the Yin Metal Sword. Slowly but surely he pulls the sword out as it continues to ask if he wants to take revenge.
EPISODE 19: Jiang Yanli’s features sink as she learns from Jiang Cheng of Wei Wuxian’s disappearance.
EPISODE 20: Wei Wuxian is alive, more powerful and with a new weapon: a flute which he plays to take revenge on Wen Chao, Wang Lingjiao and Wen Zhuliu.
EPISODE 20: Jiang Cheng’s Zidian whip gives the final blow to end Wen Zhuliu, allowing Jiang Cheng to get his revenge for killing his parents.
EPISODE 20: Jiang Cheng hugs Wei Wuxian, glad to see Wei Wuxian back and well.
EPISODE 20: Wei Wuxian gives Lan Wangji a cold stare after Lan Wangji demands to know why Wei Wuxian abandoned the way of the sword.
EPISODE 20: Wei Wuxian holds his flute between him and Lan Wangji after Lan Wangji gets too close and confrontational.
That’s it for The Untamed – 陈情令 (2019) – Series Recap, Part 2. Be sure to check back for Part 3!