Episode 20 of The Devil Punisher jumps straight in with En-Hsi’s goodbye and warning to Ouyang Kai. He tries to convince her that with Chung they can find another solution. She kisses him then zaps him with black aura to prevent him from following.
Lu Chi celebrates gaining the last piece of soul needed to fully transform En-Hsi into the guide. Meanwhile, spirits continue to attack the city and Chung and Hsiao-Chi get rid of them as quickly as they appear.
Lu Chi greets En-Hsi before she can even enter their house, telling her that after tomorrow she won’t have any more pain.
Citizens thank Chung and Hsiao-Chi and continue to pray for protection. Chung heads back to Ouyang Kai’s house, hearing that En-Hsi made an appearance.
Meanwhile, Fu removes the black aura from Ouyang Kai and Hsin-Yu, clarifying to Chung that En-Hsi used it to protect Ouyang Kai. Chung notes that Hsin-Yu doesn’t look well.
At the Café, Lu Chi releases the final dark soul into En-Hsi, dancing while she writhes.
Ouyang Kai passes Chung a message from En-Hsi then makes a case for joining in the fight against Lu Chi. Hsin-Yu ponders making an Oblivion Soup for En-Hsi to dissipate the black aura. Her hands seem to be disappearing.
Joining the team, Cheng Huang reports that Yun-Han’s soul has been reported to the Underworld and is missing a piece. They assess that he must represent the final element of fear that’s needed to demonize En-Hsi.
Hsin-Yu works on the specialized Oblivion Soup at home while Cheng Huang tracks En-Hsi. He puts out an APB to all Earthly gods, discovering that she and Lu Chi are at the café. But when they confront Lu Chi, they find an already demonized En-Hsi.
The news covers the the Nine Star Alignment and as they watch the coverage, Hsin-Yu notices her hands are dissipating further. The team regroups to consider options while a frustrated Ouyang Kai just wants a solution that will save En-Hsi.
Fu suggests that Hsin-Yu has the greatest chance of getting near Lu Chi but Chung recalls she’s mortal. Knowing her soul is dissipating, Hsin-Yu makes a private appeal to Chung to let her help. But he won’t be dissuaded even though she’s most likely to be able to change things. He defends that if she stays home at least when he’s battling Lu Chi he’ll know she’s safe.
At the time of the alignment, Chung, Hsiao-Chi and Cheng Huang depart for battle. Chung asks Fu to stay with Hsin-Yu and Ouyang Kai to sit out and trust him. Afterwards, Hsin-Yu continues to dissipate and begs Fu to let her follow as she may not last until Chung returns.
Lu Chi awaits the Alignment with En-Hsi, telling her his greatest wish is to get Hsiao-Ping (Hsin-Yu) back. He believes she’ll show up before it’s over.
Hsin-Yu tries to convince Fu again – to let her go before she turns to ashes. Fu agrees so she and Ouyang Kai take his motorcycle and blaze past the guys guarding the house.
On the rooftop, Lu Chi begins the fight using a resentment-filled sword. As they spar, Lu Chi receives his wish – Hsin-Yu shows up just in time for the Alignment.
Lu Chi uses En-Hsi to open the crack in the realms. He tries to take Hsin-Yu’s hand and sees she’s disappearing. Chung aims to grab her back but Lu Chi hits him hard. A knocked-out Chung reviews information from the Director of Destinies, thinking of the humans who pray to him.
Then, a revitalized Chung uses increased power to blast Lu Chi and pull black aura from En-Hsi. He defeats Lu Chi, reminding him that fear is the reason humans have faith. The three souls inside En-Hsi appear, making it clear she’s not completely demonized as they died with happy memories.
Lu Chi tries to take his revenge and as Chung braces to protect Hsin-Yu, Lu Chi instead thwacks a bolt of power at En-Hsi. Ouyang Kai jumps in to safeguard her, the force knocking them both to the ground. Chung hits back at Lu Chi who’s then sucked into the Alignment.
The heavenly thunder flashes down on Chung, who shields Hsin-Yu through two strikes. But she manages to take the third assault to shelter Chung. Once the trial is over, he tries to think of ways to regather her soul but she disappears in his arms.
At home, En-Hsi wakes to Ouyang Kai and fires questions at him but he talks about their memories together. Chung steps in and confirms that Hsin-Yu is gone. As she tries to take Ouyang Kai’s hand, she passes through him. Chung shares that Ouyang Kai’s there to say goodbye and she tearfully thanks his spirit.
Chung tries to help En-Hsi with her grief. He offers her the Oblivion Soup capsule left behind by Hsin-Yu, which will remove the last of the black aura. He tells her if she doesn’t take it, she’ll eventually lose her humanity, like a zombie. She swallows it, even though she’ll forget Chung, Ouyang Kai, Hsin-Yu and everything that happened. They say goodbye.
Cheng Huang waits for Chung with a bottle of whisky. He consoles Chung with information that Ouyang Kai and En-Hsi are a seven-lifetime couple. Chung realizes that Ouyang Kai was his friend 1000 years ago, whom he’d matched with his sister.
In the Underworld Transit Centre, Ouyang Kai bets everything on his hand of cards, playing against Chung, Chia-Chun and Che-Hsuan. Ouyang Kai asks after En-Hsi and for a favour from Chung.
The now reinstated Underworld Queen and Cheng Huang work on bringing Lady Meng/Hsin-Yu back using loopholes in the system based on clues from the Director of Destinies. After a quick chat with her, Chung heads to meet the newly appointed Lady Meng 1314.
Chung and Lady Meng visit Earth to check on En-Hsi who’s now a news reporter. She finds a bracelet in her pocket, the one Ouyang Kai had wanted to give her, left by her mother. From afar, she seems to recognize Chung as her brother.
Chung Kuei: As long as the Devil Punisher exists, the world’s order remains.
The Episode Review
Heavens. The end is a bit of a muddle, forcing several rewinds to figure out exactly what’s happening. Its mix of fast spurts of action sandwiched by explanatory conversation made it tough to watch, breaking the flow but also not adding enough clarity to make it worth the pause.
The wrap-up with Lu Chi seemed a bit hokey, without a realistic battle or dramatic end with the Nine Star Alignment. We spent a lot of time getting here – twenty 70-80 min instalments – but didn’t get the big finish this drama of gods deserves. The Alignment was cool-looking but the rest of it was kind of boring. They didn’t manage to hold the tension nor make it visually or structurally interesting.
The last twenty-odd minutes felt like more of a conclusion of the couples and key players which was nice, building some satisfying links across the characters and their 1000-year history. But ultimately, it wasn’t enough to make this a strong episode let alone a impactful end to the series.
Overall, this lacked cohesion, using wiggly lines to reach the final moment. I’m disappointed – the Nine Star Alignment was built up to be a massive, pivotal event. And in the end, the almighty Lu Chi who’d tricked the gods for 1000 years was simply sucked into the vortex of the realms. Done.
Many of you have been diligently watching this story too – what did you think? Were you satisfied with the final battle and the story ending? Was a resolution for the characters was enough? Feel free to share your thoughts below and we’ll include some links in the Full Season Review to come!