It’s befitting to accompany the last recap I’ll be writing for this drama with the ending theme song, sung by Hu Ge: Enjoy!
Winning the lottery may not bring as much happiness as it is for her husband to call to her and order her to prepare water for his wash. This domesticated model wife, Bao XiRuo, happily hurries off to the well (perhaps surprised by her own incandescent reflection in the water for a second) and returns to her husband’s side with the shyness of a newly wed. She offers to wash his feet for him. (AHH! So that’s where Yang Kang got his foot fetish from! Mystery solved! 😀 )
She bends down to tend to his feet (what a pair of marvelously dainty, er, masculine feet!) when he stops her. She looks up and meets his eye. They remain immobilized for half a minute, then Yang TieXin slaps his wife. She cups the slapped side of her face in one hand and with tears welling up, she thanks him for finally coming forth with his feelings.
They have been keeping their unhappiness private for so long, that they only end up delving deeper and deeper into the wound, ripping it open again and again. Now, they can both open up and discuss their faults and most importantly, fill in the 18 year gap instead of living in repression and awkwardness.
“I hope we can start over again,” and she slaps him. He laughs and she laughs. Then, they join in a tight embrace and are made up. “Let the past stay in the past. The road for the future will be difficult, but I believe, we can get through it together.”
With the good news always comes the bad. Bao XiRuo and Yang TieXin’s reconciliation also means that Mu NianCi and Yang Kang are officially siblings. Fearing her romantic feelings for Yang Kang will pave a difficult road for their new role, NianCi retreats to the forest to escape the shock of reality.
In the Jin palace, WanYan HongLie has also decided to seek revenge. He still desires Bao XiRuo as much as he did 18 years ago, he isn’t going to let her walk out on him like that…
It’s a stormy night, everybody is staying dry in the hut. The lightening strikes and Guo Jing runs out of the kitchen, holding three bowls of noodles. He puts the bowls down and drags Huang Rong and Yang Kang to the table. When prompt the reason for such oddity, Guo Jing explains that his mother had told him that people who have done terrible deeds must eat noodles on rainy days, otherwise the lightening will strike these people down. (He’s calling Yang Kang a naughty boy!)
The family laugh at Guo Jing’s silliness, then the conversation takes a heavier turn as Guo Jing explains his intention to hunt down Duan TianDe, his enemy, with Huang Rong. With departure knocking on the door, Yang TieXin mentions that he wants to marry NianCi, his adopted daughter to Guo Jing. None of the four youngsters are pleased with the decision, yet none have the courage to object. The matter is set for the present.
Having seen Guo Jing’s look of envy when he was teaching his son kung fu the other day, Yang TieXin devises a set of kung fu and teaches Guo Jing it, claiming that it’s passed down from Guo Jing’s father. The silly boy is of course filled with happiness to know something of his deceased father. Yang Kang sees through the lie but keeps it a secret.
Although everything seems nice and wonderful on the outside, WanYan HongLie’s soldiers are slowly marching into the picture of harmony as they come to bring Bao XiRuo back to the palace. NianCi and Huang Rong spotted them at a distance, while Huang Rong distracts the troops to buy time, NianCi runs back home to notify the others.
Still a hero at heart, Yang TieXin grabs his spear to face off the enemy. XiRuo calls after him, not wanting to be left alone again. Yang TieXin pauses and turns slowly, unwillingly. He is, however, dissuaded by his son at last, “18 years ago, you chose to leave my mother behind to fight the enemies, now I’ve grown, let me take the responsibility of protecting the ones I love.” Yang TieXin nods at his son once and grabs Bao XiRuo’s hand to run away together.
The four youngsters arrive at the first line of defense and Yang Kang pulls out a sword at his adopted (sort of) father. WanYan HongLie is displeased at the Yang Kang’s display of hostility and tempts WanYan Kang to return to his side. Yang Kang snorts proudly and replies, “My name is Yang Kang. There is nothing between you and I. I only feel hatred toward you.” (Ouch. That’s harsh.)
A fight ensues.
Bao XiRuo and Yang TieXin come to a halt to catch their breath. “I’ve been selfish to always want to keep you by my side. But both you and I know, you belong to the battlefield,” Bao XiRuo sighs. Still holding his wife’s hand, TieXin replies, “No, this time, I won’t let you go again.” Bao XiRuo smiles in gratification, “This time, I will go with you. If we were to die, we will die together.” He holds both her hands in his and nods firmly. When they look up again, they are surrounded by WanYan HongLie and his men.
Riding high on horseback, WanYan HongLie threatens Bao XiRuo to surrender herself in exchange for her son, who is currently in captivity. (An obvious lie.) Bao XiRuo considers it…
Then she smiles and replies with the sweetest voice she can muster, “your majesty, I have finally understood what I wanted all along.” She turns to her husband and says sadly, “Tie Ge, I’m sorry.” Then she breaks off from Yang’s grasp and walks toward WanYan HongLie slowly.
WanYan HongLie extands both hands and leans forward to welcome XiRuo, what he receives is a sharp, cold knife. She tries to assassinate him but he shies away from her attack. Yang TieXin grabs the fallen knife immediately and stabs WanYan HongLie. He succeeds in producing a shallow cut in WanYan but before he can thrust the knife in deeper, the archers separated them and shot a million arrows at the old couple’s direction.
The arrows penetrate Yang TieXin’s body as he turns his back against the archers to protect his wife, but a last arrow hits XiRuo nonetheless. They die in each other’s arms.
WanYan HongLie watches in pain as Bao XiRuo dies in her husband’s arms. Knowing full well that the love she has for her husband is something he will never have, no matter how powerful he is, WanYan HongLie rides away completely dejected.
When Yang Kang and the rest arrive on the scene, it was too late.
Watching his parents who had happily reunited only a few days ago draw their last breath, Yang Kang grabs his spear to avenge his parents. More desperate fighting follows suit.
WanYan HongLie survives Yang Kang’s frantic attack under OuYanKe’s doing. He laments how he had come with no certainty of whether or not Bao XiRuo will return, and yet he still came. It’s l’amour fou. He is even more disillusioned to find that she had tried to kill him. Alas, c’est la vie. She’s dead, but he’s still alive. The show must go on.
On the other side of the battlefield, Mu NianCi picks up a wounded Yang Kang in her arms. Watching life fading from Yang Kang’s eyes, NianCi can’t contain her feelings anymore. “Don’t die,” she confesses, “Because, I have fallen in love with you.”
After 18 years of separation, Bao XiRuo and Yang TieXin have become more understanding of each other. She’s willing to let him do what he’s most inclined to do and he is accepting of her need for security. Unfortunately, their happiness is as effervescent as the sizzling bubble.
So this is it, the last recap I will write for LOCH. Honestly I was disappointed by the drama. Wu Xia has always been and remains one of my favorite drama genres. But the ever strong passion for this particular genre also means I have seen way too many of its kind for my own good and have grew extremely picky about it. Legend of the Condor Heroes being one of my least favorite of Jin Yong’s novels also makes me harder to impress. But hey, at least this version tried to make some of the “villians” more sympathizable. (Although I’m not sure it’s all that successful.) But, props to the endeavor.