We’re back with episode 2 of The Devil Punisher as our motorcyclist and his ghostly rider happen to crash. Zhong Kui is trying to draft a flirting text to Meng Po when the team is alerted and zips to the scene. I’m not kidding about the zipping – it’s a flash of light and they appear. The ghost immediately takes off with a screech.
Meng Po, known as Hsin-Yu on Earth, and her friend En-Hsi celebrate Meng Po’s new job with a few selfies. The fleeing ghost heads right for them, but Zhong is able to intervene.
At the hotel, the girls can’t remember what happened or how they got there. They look at photos they’d taken on the bridge – Meng Po can see a ghost but En-Hsi doesn’t see it.
At home Zhong recalls briefly holding Meng Po in his arms, but his team appear killing his alone time. They question him about Meng Po and talk through possibilities. They ponder whether Wu Ching-Yuan, the ghost that kidnapped her, has a hand in her losing her aura and memories. A Fu confirms they erased their memories of the bridge.
The team identifies the ghost from the bridge, Li Shu-Hui, and her story. They conclude her violence indicates that she likely died a wrongful death and is out for vengeance.
Because of her danger to humans, they need to act quickly. They check CCTV to identify her position and Zhong says he’ll take care of it. The team, clearly quite collaborative, remind Zhong that it’s probably best to leave Meng Po out of it for now. Zhong discovers that the CCTV footage is inconsistent.
Back on the bridge, Meng Po tries to recall the previous evening. Zhong can’t stay away and chats with her. The sticker gag continues. She starts to ask questions, so Zhong takes off.
She follows him none-too-discreetly but runs straight into her new boss, Professor Lu, spilling his drink. She takes him to buy new clothing.
Zhong is still waiting for Meng Po and is disappointed to have lost her. Cheng Huang shows up to tease him but Zhong talks to him about the tampered CCTV footage. He denies responsibility but then checks it himself and agrees there’s something fishy.
After a flash to his hand – a ghost detection signal – Zhong zips to where a ghost will show up next and spots it near the bakery. Just as he’s about to approach, Mrs Wu grabs him with an offer of employment.
Meng Po and Professor Lu are shopping to replace his outfit and she nearly swallows her tongue when she sees the price tag.
Back at the bakery, Chai-Chu and his men threaten Mrs Wu, telling her to move out. Zhong takes over and blinks everything back into place, even completing the bread order. He gets a baker ghost to help; Mrs Wu is ecstatic with the result.
As she steps away, Zhong gets another little flicker on his hand. Meng Po sees the Shu-Hui go after her friend Cheng-Ming. Zhong shows up in time to intervene. Meng Po and Zhong talk about ghosts. She seems to innately understand that Shu-Hui is in pain.
When Cheng-Ming awakens, Zhong confronts him about Shu-Hui’s death. Cheng-Ming tells the story of how he and wife separated. He wasn’t there when she died. Zhong tells Cheng-Ming that his wife believes he killed her.
They visualise the scene from Shu-Hui’s memory where a man who looks like Cheng-Ming pushes her off a building. Cheng-Ming begs for help. Zhong decides to catch her with Meng Po’s help. Chai-Chu makes the perfect bait.
Knowing the Shu-Hui is likely to attack men who are heartbreakers like her husband, Meng-Po sets up Chai-Chu to look as though he’s cheating on her. Just as she’s accusing him of abandoning her, En-Hsi shows up, getting in on the act. In the end they and his current girlfriend all give him a good slap.
Shu-Hui appears, ready to avenge all women, giving Chai-Chu a good scare. Zhong calls on blue-haired Hsiao-Chi to take care of it. A Fu brings Cheng-Ming to clarify things with Shu-Hui. They reconcile and Shu-Hui is able to move on peacefully.
As Zhong walks Meng Po home, they talk about Oblivion Soup as a way for souls to move on after death. Meng Po questions his information and says she’s not afraid of Zhong.
The next morning on her way to work, Meng Po runs headlong into xx again. He notes their meeting must be fated. En-Hsi asks her about her meeting with Chai-Chi the day before and Meng Po claims it was just a prank.
Later Meng Po helps a neighbour Mrs Chou by donating food to local orphan, Ping, saying he can come for a meal anytime.
Zhong goes to work at the bakery. There’s indication he can find information they need if he’s based there.
We close the episode with Mrs. Chou bringing the sandwich to Ping. She sees him speaking to the air, as if it’s his deceased father. Does he see a ghost or is it PTSD? We’ll have to wait ’til the next episode to find out for sure.
The Episode Review
Who else is digging the intro music? And how about Zhong Kui’s coat – it’s like the Matrix version of the one I nabbed at Zara last winter.
The Devil Punisher is complex as a series of episode stories leading through to the larger scenario, like TV shows of old. In this drama, the balance between the episodic arcs and big picture seems to be right, gradually leading us to end game. At least so far. Let’s see where we land. And whether Mike He catches us.
Mike He plays Zhong Kui, the Ghost King, and can be seen most recently in 2018 drama Tree in the River and film Come On Teacher. Ivy Shao is Meng Po who’s in The Perfect Match and Back to 1989, both available on Netflix.
The setup of this series is intriguing with some lovely details and special effects. There’s some complexity with several of the characters having multiple names and translated differently on Netflix versus other sources. So far, even with all the names, the story is easy enough to follow. But I haven’t felt drawn by the characters – yet. However, it’s only episode 2, so we’ve only just begun.
In any case, it’s an interesting take on the processes of the afterlife. A quick search reveals that Zhong Kui is a legit Chinese deity known for his intelligence and as the vanquisher of ghosts. As this modern take is based in tradition, we’re getting a glimmer of a history lesson too, making it all the richer. Bring it on.
We return to the second episode of The Devil’s Punishment, when our motorcyclist and his ghost rider accidentally crashed. Jun-Wie tries to write a flirty text for Meng Po when the team is warned and lightning strikes the stage. I’m not kidding about the lightning. It’s the lightning, and they appear. The ghost flies away screaming.
Meng Poe, known on earth as Hsin Yoo, and his friend N.C. celebrate Meng Poe’s new work through various egoists. The escaped ghost is heading straight for them, but Jun can intervene.
The girls at the hotel don’t remember what happened or how they got there. They look at the pictures taken on the bridge – Meng Po can see a ghost, but the NSC can’t see him.
At home Jun remembers that he had locked up Meng Poe for a short time, but his team seems to kill his loneliness. They ask him about Meng Poe and discuss the possibilities. They wonder if Wu Ching-yuan, the spirit that kidnapped them, has a hand that has lost its aura and memories. Fu confirms they erased their memories from the bridge.
The team identifies the spirit of the bridge, Li Shu Hui, and its history. They conclude that her violence indicates that she probably died wrongly and that she is looking for revenge.
Because of the danger they pose to people, they have to act quickly. They’re checking the security cameras to determine his location, and Joon says he’ll take care of it. The team is really very cooperative, Jun reminds him that it might be better to leave Man Poe on the side for a while. Jun notices that the video recordings contradict each other.
Back on deck, they try to remember Poe the day before. Jun can’t stay away and talk to her. The sticker continues. She starts asking questions, so Joon leaves.
She follows him quietly, but runs straight to her new boss, Professor Lou, and spills her drink. She’s taking him to buy new clothes.
Jun is still waiting for Men Poe and is disappointed that he has lost her. Cheng Huang shows up to annoy him, but Jun tells him about fake CCTV footage. He denies the responsibility, but he checks it himself and agrees that there is something suspicious.
After a flash on his arm – a ghost detection signal – whistle Joon where the ghost then appears and finds it near the bakery. As he gets closer, Mrs. Wu grabs him with an offer of a job…
Mix Poe and Professor Lou are shopping to change her outfit, and she almost swallowed her tongue when she saw the price tag.
Back in the bakery, Tea Chu and his men threaten Miss Wu by telling her to leave. Jun takes power and blinks at everyone until the bread order is ready. He has the spirit of a baker to help him; Mrs. Wu is happy with the result.
When she leaves, Joon finds a little sparkle on her arm. Meng Po sees Shu Hui following his friend Cheng Min Jun in time to intervene. Mix Po and Jun talk about ghosts. It seems innate to him that Shu Hui suffers.
When Cheng Min wakes up, Jun faces the death of Shu Hui. Chen Min tells the story of the divorce between him and his wife. He wasn’t there when she died. Jun told Cheng-min that his wife thinks he killed her.
They visualize a scene from Shu Hui’s memory in which a man like Cheng Min pushes her out of the building. Chen Ming is asking for help. Jun decides to catch them with Men Po. Tea-chu is the perfect bait.
Knowing that Shu Hui can handle heartbreaking men like her husband, Man-Po Chai Chu makes it look like he is cheating on her. The moment she accuses him of leaving her, N.C. comes in, comes in. In the end, he and his current girlfriend beat him up pretty good.
Shu Hui appears, ready to avenge all the women by frightening Tea Chu. Jun calls on the blue-haired Xiao-chi to take care of it. Fu brings Cheng Min to clarify Shu Hui’s situation. They are reconciled and Shu Hui can go on quietly.
When Jun returns home with Men Po, they talk about the soup of oblivion as a way for souls to live on after death. Mix Poe doubts his information and says he’s not afraid of Jun.
The next morning, on his way to work, Meng Poe starts to turn his head again in xxx. He says their meeting should take place. N.C. asks him about his meeting with Tea Chi the day before, and Meng Po answers that it was just a joke.
Later, Meng Po helps the neighbor Miss Zhou by giving food to the local orphan Ping and tells him that he can come and eat at any time.
Jun is going to work in a bakery. Looks like he’ll be able to find the information he needs once he’s settled in.
We’ll finish the episode with Mrs. Chow bringing a sandwich to Ping. She sees him talking in the air like he’s her dead father. Does he see a ghost or PTSD? You’ll have to wait until the next episode to be sure.
Who else digs into the intro music? And Jun-ku’s jacket, which looks like a matrix version of the jacket I stole at sunrise last winter.
The Punisher Devil is more complex than a series of episodes that lead to a larger scenario, such as the old TV series. In this drama, the balance between the arc of the episode and the big picture seems to be good, which brings us gradually to the end of the game. At least for now. Let’s see where we land. And if Mike catches us.
Mike He plays Jun-Qui, the king of ghosts, and recently, in 2018, can be seen in the drama The Tree in the River and Come, Master. Ivy Chao is Meng Poe, who in 1989 participated in the Perfect Game and Back games, both available on Netflix.
The installation of this series impresses with cute details and special effects. There are some problems when different characters have different names and are translated differently in Netflix than in other sources. So far, despite all the headlines, the story is fairly easy to follow. But I hadn’t been attracted to characters yet. However, this is only the second episode, so we’ve only just started.
Anyway, it’s an interesting look at the processes of life after death. A quick search reveals that Jung-Who is a legal Chinese deity known for his intelligence and as a conqueror of ghosts. Because this modern double is based on tradition, we also have insight into history education, which makes it even richer. Come on, let’s go.
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