Love & Destiny 三生三世宸汐缘 - Episode 23 (Recap)

kakashi: Go away, sad episode, shoo! (but the images! He looks SO GOOD!)
JoAnne: We just love misery.
Bunny: Is it over yet?

Episode 23

Jiu Chen is back in the Heavens and the loyal, hovering Yun Feng is completely appalled: Where is his senior's Nüwa Stone heart? Instead of an answer, Jiu Chen conjures Shennong Cauldron out of his sleeve, making it clear to Yung Feng where the heart went.
So damn fine.
Jiu Cheng keeps his Junior from rushing to the Demon Prison to get it back. He says that Ling Xi will die without the Cauldron, there is no other way. It doesn't matter to him that he will die without the heart - everything is his fault, he needs to put an end to it. He is already the 4th God of War (Mo Yuan! Were you the first? Are you dead?!), he says - there will be another after him, so who cares.
Uh, lots of people care. You're more than just your JOB, silly.

And we get to hear his plan: he wants to send Ling Xi to the mortal world so that she can cleanse herself off the miasma through three trials. The Cauldron? He wants to use it to preserve Ling Xi's soul and rebuild her flesh and blood, then throw her down that maelstrom in the Cleansing Pond. He already knows exactly when that has to happen because the Pond isn't quite as vicious in three days compared to all other times (planetary constellations).
Look at little Mister Planner, all of a sudden.
So... Ling Xi will have to die first? Yeah, shit. That won't be pretty. (He is though. Wow, he looks handsome in this getup, all pained and sexy)
If he dies does he get to go to the mortal realm?  If she dies because of the Blue Demon will his plan still work as long as he throws her down the well?  When he dies, does he go to the Mortal Realm?  We have QUESTIONS. (Apparently the last question was really important because I didn't realize I asked it twice.  I'm leaving it because it IS important.)
This is his best look, hands down. I'm so mad at him, but I'm still swooning.
She's currently sacrificing her hearing to the Blue Demon. It hurts like hell and will continue to for a few more days until her hearing will be entirely gone. Poor, poor bb. TT________TT Very satisfied, the monster puts the hearing into his own head... for a moment, I'm thinking he will trick her, but he does uphold his end of the bargain and gives her the fire spirit. She puts it into the Longevity Knot later (I'll say something about the timing further below).
I do love our sweet little fairy baby.

Ling Xi is picked up not much later by two Celestial soldiers for an interrogation by Heavenly Emperor. Where's is Jiu Chen? Is all she's interested in. Oh, he'll be there, Puhua informs her with a smirk. Once they've dragged her in front of Heavenly Emperor, she still doesn't understand what's going on, always looking for GoW for guidance. She looks so frail and weak in that Palace... TT_________TT And GoW is just sitting there with that signature scowl face.
She can't hear anything, right?  And he looks like that because he's got a stone for a heart?  Or because he knows he's going to kill her?  Why doesn't he TELL HER, gaaaaaaah
Fuck, we've been asking that question for how long?! 
Ling Xi says she doesn't know what she has done wrong when the Emperor asks her about her wrongdoings. Even though people have told her about the miasma by now, she doesn't understand what it means. She never did anything wrong in her entire life. Is it her mere existence that is the problem? she asks, choking from tears. She knows at this point that she has to die - and she is ready to.
I...just finish without me.
They need to make haste and execute her, Lord of Thunder bellows. To everybody's huge surprise Yun Feng gets up not to contradict him - but to agree with him. Everybody present is in agreement, actually - only Jiu Chen has remained silent. When directly addressed by the Heavenly Emperor, he says "I concur". He even adds: "she must be executed immediately". Fuck.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah her FACE  I can't, I can't.
There goes my guts all over the place.
Fastforward through Ni Ni's broken expression. Goddamn, she is good. And she can still hear at this point in time... every word she hears. He says he only used her as bait for the demons, now she is of no use to him anymore.Jiu Chen seems to have abandoned her completely.
-1,000 cultivation points, bastard.
Ah, but at least he delivers evidence that Yuan Tong killed the guards the other day and not Qing Yao. (Remember, Yun Feng was collecting that, though mainly off screen)
1 point.  Just one point back.  So mad at you.
Ling Xi is brought back to the Tower after the interrogation, thinking about everything GoW told her and promised her. Crying. Ni Ni shouldn't be allowed to cry, it's just too heartbreaking.
So when I fell asleep in the last episode and woke up in this episode, this is what I woke up to.  I was so confused and disoriented, I woke up and started crying because she was crying.  And then I had to go back today and find out WHY.
Ni Ni is so damn talented. Can somebody please give this woman some awards? She deserves everything. When she cries, my eyes turn into faucets.
Now her hearing is completely gone: That's why she doesn't hear a word of what Jiu Chen comes to tell her (he's saying these things outside the Tower, they don't let him in - maybe a bit hard even for those with good hearing to hear it? It could be the case that he has a way to basically whisper this just into her ears... which are now the Blue Demon's). GoW explains his plan and tells her not to be afraid. We know that he knows he'll die soon, but he doesn't tell her that, of course, the silent hero until the end.
Shit I take back everything I said bebe.
I'm just gonna hold it in. 
Important: even though Ling Xi believes GoW has abandoned her, used her, hates her, she puts the fire spirit into the Longevity Knot now. This is important for later - despite of everything, she's still thinking of his well being.
Execution day! Ling Xi is in shackles, grasping the Longevity Knot. Jiu Chen is thinking about the Cauldron with its trapping function that he'll use to preserve her soul and reconstruct her body etc. etc.. Yeah, so he's basically repeating his stupid plan for us in all the details. There's some urgency to killing her right then and there because of the planetary alignment they need once they chuck her into the Pool.
I thought it was stressful trying to CLAP on beat once...
Oh no... Ling Xi turns and bids farewell to the God of War with a deep bow, then offers him the Longevity Knot, to return to its owner... Jiu Chen takes it from her and there's that little smile on her lips, it kill me.... "Execute her now!" he says again.
Fate is cruel. She should at least be able to know.  And if anyone is counting, this is way worse than Mo Yuan taking eyeballs.  Just for the record.
Wrong twin, Jo. 
But this:

But... Lady Ling Yue of Shan Ling Tribe has to come and delay everything, duh! Her Advisor told her about his discovery and that Ling Xi is her long lost child. Jiu Chen repeats to execute her NOW! (Look at the lone tear on her face :( - and poor Jiu Chen is rushed into this by Angry Mother who is about to destroy his great well-timed plan)
Ugh! I'm torn between wanting the execution not to happen and the situation to be resolved by another means, except that I know that's not possible - and wanting it to happen so it can get fixed, except I know that means the next arc is going to have to be all about her misery on earth and them finding their way back to each other.
We're at that scene we saw in the Water Mirror in the cave when she went to get her own cauldron. He has summoned his sword, probably gathering the courage to do what he knows he has to do. She looks at the sword in his outstretched hand, thinking she has to die anyway, so she'll spare him the pain of having to take more lives... and lunges forward to cut her own throat.
I might have screamed a little here.
This part I loved. Of all the things I criticize her for being stupid about, this is not one of them. Her throwing herself onto his sword made for the most romantic moment in this entire show. 
Shocked, Jiu Chen catches her, holds her in his arms... her last dying words? "My only wish is that I will no longer remember you." OUF

The Queen arrives and stabs Jiu Chen (her aim isn't too good though and it doesn't affect him in the least) - when she wants to stab him a second time, Yun Feng comes to his defense and keeps her away. But it's all too late anyway, Ling Xi is scattering. Soon, only the Apple Ding and bitter tears are left.
Somebody's been watching Marvel movies.
the moment Mama appears... TT________TT... I just lose it.
God of War returns to his Palace sometime later. He walks slowly, like an old man, looking lost and broken. In his meditation room, he looks at her bracelet and breaks down crying. It's goodbye. He doesn't think he'll ever get to see her again.
Um, how come it hurts his feelings when his heart is a stone?
What heart? 


But we've just all witnessed the much bigger love confession than a spoken "I love you". He has already given away his life force for her - he is only holding it together for a little longer, to be able to resurrect her as a mortal and to give her a chance to escape the miasma fate. Even when she says she wants to forget him forever, it doesn't change anything (and he thinks she just came to hate him for putting her through such suffering, not knowing that she is deaf).
Ugh, that's RIGHT.  He thinks she knows his plan. *more sobbing*

She has given her hearing for him and now thinks he has turned his back on her - and yet, she wants to protect him until the very end, handing him the Longevity Knot with the Spirit Fire inside, even smiling a little when he takes it. She is the one who cuts her own throat because she knows how hard the trauma of the war has been on him, so that he doesn't have to kill with his own hands again.
Do you think their sacrifices are equal, given that he knows she loved him right up until the very end, and that she made these final sacrifices believing that he had been lying to her all along?
I'm not sure Jiu Chen realizes that she killed herself out of love for him. 
Of course he doesn't because they don't TALK

Very, very romantic.
In the true literary sense of the term, yes.

Now go and make everything alright again, you fools!
And a baby, too, when you're done!