- Title: Immortal Samsara
- Original Title: 沉香如屑(Chénxiāng rú xiè)
- Year: 2022
- Number of Episodes: 38
- Genre: Romance, Wuxia, Fantasy, Drama
- Country: China
- Where to Watch: Youku, Viki
List of Recap:
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 1-2 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 3-4 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 5-6 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 7-8 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 9-10 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 11-12 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 13-14 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 15-16 Recap)
- Immortal Samsara (Episode 17-18 Recap)
The long-awaited Immortal Samsara drama is finally here!! Ever since the trailer a year ago, I have been patiently waiting for this drama to be aired. Last year it was titled ‘Agarwood Like Chips’, which hurts my brain, because…. What is it? What is Agarwood…? I had to google it first and that’s not how this works. In the end, they were kind enough to change the English title, but I still had to google Samsara ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ) *this is me flipping the table.
So now we have a Chinese drama with a Sanskit word which basically means rebirth. Ooooohhh, is this going to be one of those secret character backgrounds?? We shall see. So here’s a Immortal Samsara recap for episode 1-2 for you. Enjoy!
The scene starts at the Bridge of Emptiness where we can see our two main leads seemed to be contemplating something. Ying Yuan, played by Cheng Yi, had his back to Yan Dan, played by Yang Zi. Yan Dan was crying and said she regretted the lotus that have bloomed. As she let herself fall off the bridge, Ying Yuan did not turn his back but only clenched his fist.
As Yan Dan’s body seemed to undergo torment and was slowly dispersing little by little, the scene moved to 500 years earlier.
The Supreme Majesty was holding a lively gathering by the Jade Pool, waiting for the majestic four-leaf lotus, declared to have the ancient bloodline, to bloom. All entities from the three realms are invited to witness the rare event. Before the supposedly solemn occasion has even begun, scuffles began to emerge.
The quarrel began when the demon entities boldly announced that they would take claim of the four-leaf lotus and take it to the Demon King as his birthday present. Naturally, nobody agreed to this.
As the fighting continues, the strong demon entities seemed to have the upper hand and they were beginning to break open the barriers to the four-leaf lotus.
Then things were beginning to turn grim, Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan appeared and brought down the transgressors.
As the situation was under control, almost instantly the four-leaf lotus bloomed and transformed into two beautiful twin maidens. Not feeling satisfied, the leader of the demon entities launched his last assault and tried to kill the two maidens. But his attack was smashed by Ying Yuan.
As Ying Yuan saved their lives, the Supreme Majesty requested him to name the two maidens. Thus, the older of the two maidens was called Zhixi (the girl in the pink dress), while the younger one is called Yan Dan (the one in the blue dress).
Fast forward to 500 years later, Yan Dan was recklessly not doing any work but was sleeping in the Pavilion of Books. Another low ranking immortal attendant came and woke her up to say that her sister was coming. And they should hide the artifacts they have won from whatever gambling game they were playing.
The purpose of Zhixi’s visit was to urge Yan Dan to take the Imperial Examination so she can secure a prestigious position in the Deity realms. To which Yan Dan refused on the basis that she was not as smart, studious and exceptional as Zhixi.
Yan Dan was more than happy to let Zhixi shined as one of the lotus maidens, while she was free to pursue her own stress free and leisurely life.
Having failed to convince her sister, Zhixi received word that her superior requested for her help at the Magical Pavilion to prepare for the Star Catching Ceremony. Zhixi seemed to hesitate a little before she advised Yan Dan to study more and left.
After Zhixi left, the immortal attendant, Luming, asked her if she also wanted to watch the Star Catching Ceremony. The Star Catching Ceremony is actually the deity’s Ascension Ceremony which takes place once every 500 years. During this event, all the deities will gather at the Heavenly Corner to receive the blessings from the four Sovereign Lords. However, as they were only two lowly ranked immortal attendants, they can only find other ways to catch a glimpse of the ceremony.
At the Heavenly Corner, Zhixi was busy helping for the preparation of the Star Catching Ceremony. Zhixi was the youngest Vice Curator of the Magical Pavilion and they were in charge of the occasion this time.
As the other deities were congratulating Zhixi for her achievement, the Curator, Ying De, came and plucked the flower from Zhixi’s hair and crushed it. (My brain: waaa which wrong side of the cat litter did you wake up from? So vicious). Ying De seemed to loathe Zhixi, she showed her disdain to her in a straightforward manner.
She then asked Zhixi to stand guard at the furthest location of the Star Catching Ceremony, where she won’t be able to witness the procession. Ying De said that Zhixi was a lowly deity and was unworthy of the Sovereign Lord’s blessing. Zhixi gloomily obeyed the Curator’s command.
Meanwhile, back at the Pavilion of Books. Yan Dan was watching Luming trying to project his power into a Merfolk Orb, the treasure of his Merfolk clan. Luming stole the Orb from his father and this was his first time trying to use it to watch the Star Catching Ceremony (you know, like a TV).
Unfortunately, he was not able to do it by himself, so Yan Dan helped him, and they were able to watch barely a minute of the Ceremony before the Orb ‘broke’ down. Regardless, all the immortal attendants were happy to at least be able to see the Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan’s back (my brain: bahahahaa…a bunch of cute, grateful lambs).
Unfortunately, Yan Dan was not impressed. She thought that the Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan was arrogant and troublesome. To which the other immortal attendants harped on and on about how he was powerful, invincible and also reminded her of the fact that he saved Yan Dan and Zhixi when they first bloomed and transformed into deities.
Yan Dan’s memory then went back to the time when she and Zhixi were just ‘born’ and were walking behind Ying Yuan. Ying Yuan told them that as twin maidens, one will be weaker than the other and the weaker one was Zhixi. Hence, he advised that Zhixi she must be diligent to undergo treatment and personal training to make herself strong. He also said that her hard work will shape her future and she should not feel defeated.
Yan Dan, however, was not happy hearing Ying Yuan calling Zhixi weak. Zhixi was the one who protected her from the wind and rain when they were still lotus flowers. Yan Dan defended Zhixi and demanded Ying Yuan to immediately apologize. But Ying Yuan only flicked her forehead and left without saying a word. This was the beginning of Yan Dan’s dislike towards Ying Yuan.
Back at the Star Watching Ceremony, Ying De was looking at Ying Yuan with eyes full of admiration and devotion. While Zhixi who missed the ceremony felt dejected as she stood at her spot. Seeing the beautiful specks of blue lights raining all around, she took out her crystal bottle and collected the specks of lights.
At this time, Ying De came and mocked not only her for being lazy but she also ridiculed Yan Dan. This made Zhixi angry, and she snapped back to say that Ying De was cruel for betraying the previous Curator, Sixuan, who took care of all of them at the Magical Pavilion.
However, Ying De said that Sixuan had it coming as she was involved in a forbidden relationship. She then boasted of her superiority, what’s with her being the candle wick of the Supreme Majesty in her previous life (my brain: whatt???). So much so that when she reached divinity, it was the Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan himself who placed the headpiece on her hair.
It can be implied that the source of the Curator’s hostility towards Zhixi and Yan Dan was because they received the grace of having been personally named by Ying Yuan. She then continued to say that Zhixi did not deserve any blessing by the Sovereign Lord and asked her to throw away the blue specks of lights in the crystal bottle.
When Zhixi hesitated, the Curator tried to forcefully snatch the bottle from her but was stopped by Ying Yuan.
He said that it was a waste to let the divine powers in the form of the blue specks of light to just fall to the ground. Collecting them as memorabilia was not against the rules. Zhixi was grateful for his intervention and perhaps she seemed to secretly harbored adoration for Ying Yuan, while Ying De burned with anger.
At this time, Yan Dan was lamenting the fact that while Zhixi became a respectful deity at Magical Pavilion, she was only a housekeeper for the Celestial Deity, Beiming. Suddenly Zhixi came and presented her with the blue specks of light inside the crystal bottle. Turns out Zhixi was collecting them for Yan Dan to share in the festivities.
Zhixi then told Yan Dan what she saw during the Ceremony. She also said that she hoped she could one day be as strong as the Sovereign Lords. Secretly, she also wished for Ying Yuan to also one day place the headpiece on her hair when she achieved ascension.
Yan Dan supported her and expressed her belief that Zhixi will be able to achieve her dreams. Whereas Yan Dan, being someone who loved reading and writing, she wished to be able to one day have her self-written play be performed and enjoyed by everyone in the six realms.
Zhixi supported Yan Dan’s goals. However, she also told her that before ascension, she will have to go to the mortal realms. This made her feel scared as she has never left the divine realm before. Yan Dan then assured her that she will always be around to help her.
At Xuan Xin Cliff where Yan Dan is assigned, she finally witnessed the perpetrator who kept on flipping the turtle in the garden upside down every time. She confronted him but turns out it was Ying Yuan, but Yan Dan could not recognize him though she thought his face was familiar.
Unable to capture the perpetrator, she immediately reported her finding to Beiming. At this time Beiming was busy solving a weiqi puzzle given by Ying Yuan. He has spent some time and still was not able to solve the puzzle. Yan Dan then proposed to help Beiming solve the puzzle under the condition that she would be allowed to come and leave earlier every day once her chores are finished. Since she was able to solve the puzzle, Beiming naturally agrees.
Her action was noticed by Ying Yuan who thought that Yan Dan was a smart and gifted rare gem. He then secretly decided to guide her so she can be a great talent in the future.
The following day, Yan Dan put up a trap at Xuan Xin Cliff to catch the turtle flipper (what did I just say…?) red handed. Beiming has promised to give her the famous Four Riverside Dreams play if she succeeded in catching the evil doer.
Of course, her plan backfired.
Feeling defeated, Yan Dan decided she needed to learn Divine Arts to improve her skill. She went to Zhixi for guidance. Zhixi was in the middle of her chore to deliver the Huanyuan Jade Belt of the Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan. However, due to Yan Dan’s recklessness, the belt fell and the ornament broke to pieces.
Zhixi was worried and terrified since the belt is Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan’s favorite belt. Another deity then came and reprimanded them when he saw the broken belt. Feeling guilty, Yan Dan quickly admitted that it was her fault that the belt broke and not Zhixi’s fault. The deity then asked for Yan Dan to follow him to Yanxu Heavenly Palace to receive punishment from Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan, whereas Zhixi’s negligence will be reported to the Curator at the Magical Pavilion.
Yan Dan tried to beg so that Zhixi will be spared from being involved in the incident, but it was to no avail.
The scene then changed to the battle between the deities and demons. The demons have stolen some artifacts from the Magical Pavilion. Marshall Huo De passed a message to one of the deities to let Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan know of the matter and intercept their plan to end the war.
Ying Yuan came to the rescue and battled one of the elders of the demon race, Elder Zhan Yi (guest starred by Zhang Tian Yang from Who Rules the World).
Moments before the group was obliterated, Elder Zhan Yi noticed the Asura totem on Ying Yuan’s forehead. Turns out Ying Yuan is the descendant of the Asura clan.
Ying Yuan then flashed back to his conversation with the Supreme Majesty who revealed to him that his father was the leader of the Asura Clan while his mother was a deity of the divine realm. Being bewitched by his father, his mother decided to perish together with his father. Before her death, she trusted Ying Yuan to the Supreme Majesty.
As Ying Yuan was just a child, the Supreme Majesty decided to erase the totem on his forehead and raised him like he would his own child. He warned Ying Yuan not to let anyone know of his true origin for fear that he will be hunted down by people in the divine realm.
Back to present time, Ying Yuan reported the heavy war casualties to the Supreme Majesty. It was due to Sixuan, the previous Curator’s betrayal that the demon entities were able to get their hands on the numerous elixirs from the divine realm and thus able to deliver a heavy blow.
The Supreme Majesty went on to confirm whether the Demon King, Xuan Xiang, is involved in all this transgression. But Ying Yuan says that the Demon King supported Ying Yuan’s move and that he was not ambitious. This carefree quality seemed to be good, but it was not suitable to rule over the demon realm. The demons who were having ideas to cause trouble were left to their own devices. Hence the divine realm needs to be on their guard.
At an altar, Sixuan was being imprisoned within a sphere, ready to receive her punishment for having betrayed the divine realm.
The Supreme Majesty made her an example for having been misguided because of love. However, at this time Ying Yuan begged the Supreme Majesty to be lenient to her as she has been loyal and dutiful for several millenniums to the divine realm.
The Supreme Majesty then agreed for her to retain her spirit and cleanse herself at the Night Forgetting River and be reincarnated as a human, as long as she admitted to her mistakes.
However, Sixuan refused to admit her mistakes and claimed that the divine law was unfair. She said she did not do anything wrong and would rather die now that her love, Elder Zhan Yi, had perished. But the mistake she made was indeed to fall in love (my brain: meh…. this is not my favorite typical plot) and thus she must receive punishment.
The Supreme Majesty then went on to warn Ying Yuan the dangers of falling in love and the calamity that might follow.
Sixuan, on the other hand, begged for death as she would rather die with love than to live a life with heartless beings in the Nine Heavens. This confused Ying Yuan, but as if it was an ominous sign, Sixuan continued that Ying Yuan will know what she means and how she feels in the future.
Granting her wish, Ying Yuan delivered her a fatal blow. However, he still kept a piece of her spirit so she can be a mortal and live the life she wanted, despite her being unremorseful of her mistake.
At Yanxu Heavenly Palace, Yan Dan was escorted by the deity who reported her, to receive her punishment. Facing Ying Yuan, Yan Dan realized he was the culprit who flipped the turtle whom she has been looking for. However, receiving Ying Yuan’s facial cue, she did not continue to reveal him in front of the immortal attendant by his side.
(His facial expression is on point!) After Yan Dan clarified the incident with the belt, Ying Yuan announced that she will need to repair the belt personally and serve as one of the attendants at his Yanxu Heavenly Palace.
This means Yan Dan will have to leave Xuan Xin Cliff and Celestial Deity Beiming. During their goodbyes, Celestial Deity Beiming gave her some magical artifacts as parting gifts to her.
Thus, before she left, Yan Dan helped Beiming to solve one last weiqi riddle. But it was at this time that Ying Yuan came to find Beiming hence revealing the secret that it was Yan Dan who has been solving his weiqi puzzles all this time.
Beginning her new life at Yanxu Heavenly Palace, Ying Yuan did not assign her to cleaning duties as how she was previously utilized in Xuan Xin Cliff. Instead, he instructed her to copy divine manuals and improve her weiqi skill, announcing that she will be in charge of all the weiqi riddles in the future.
For the lazy and carefree Yan Dan, this was troublesome. She could not help but loathe Ying Yuan for his vengeful nature.
Lamenting her unfortunate fate to Luming and Zhixi, her complains fell on deaf ears as the two people’s admiration to Ying Yuan soared high instead. Zhixi told her that she should cherish her good fortune.
At the Magical Pavilion, Ying De who has heard of the matter with Yan Dan, accused Zhixi of conspiring with Yan Dan to have her sister serve under Ying Yuan. She then went on to incite Zhixi to start feeling jealous towards Yan Dan’s blessings. Zhixi should have realized that Yan Dan’s complains were her way of showing off to Zhixi. Ying De went to on to say that Sovereign Lord Ying Yuan’s favor to Yan Dan also must be because he has seen that Yan Dan is stronger than Zhixi. Zhixi seemed to be slightly affected by her words. (Have to admit, this snake plays a good game).
In the Pavilion of Books, Yan Dan was busy writing her new play. It was about the epic battle between the Asura clan together with the Demon Realms and the Divine Realms. During the War of Genesis, the Divine Realms was able to suppress the enemies and obtain peace for the Six Realms.
However, instead of writing the play based on the great war, Yan Dan wrote the play based on the perspective of an ancient clan which was annihilated; the Nine Fins Clan.
The scene then closed in on a fishpond at Wenshui Pavilion. A small black fish could be seen swimming inside with divine powers covering its entire body. A young man carrying a fan materialized by the side of the pond, wisps of divine lights enveloped his body.
This young man, who seemed to be the transformation of the black fish in the pond, snooped out of Xuan Xin Cliff and passed by Pixiang Hall, where Yan Dan practiced her play with a group of attendants. The Curator has agreed for Yan Dan and the group to use the hall as the stage for their play. The scene they were practicing was exactly the one depicting the Nine Fins Clan. This made the young man reminiscent of his Nine Fins Clan.
The young man was surprised to see the director of the play turned out to be Yan Dan. He knew her from when Yan Dan was still in Xuan Xin Cliff and he was still the black fish. That time, Yan Dan once accidentally knocked him unconscious when she flung a baby dragon, Aoxuan, out the window right into the pond where he was swimming in.
The young man followed Yan Dan back to the Pavilion of Books where she was seen having trouble continuing with the next chapters of her play. The story was supposed to also talk about the Sovereign Lords, but she had no idea how to continue.
At this moment, the young man revealed himself in front of Yan Dan and stated that he was interested in her play and wished to know what happens next to the Nine Fins Clan. Yan Dan was surprised to find another person who knew about the existence of the ancient Nine Fins Clans.
She decided on the spot to have the young man under her wing and named him Yumo. Yumo has no objection as it turns out when he was made unconscious by Yan Dan that time, she revived him using her unique lotus properties. Since then, he was able to transform into a human, but he did not tell her this.
At Yanxu Heavenly Palace, Yan Dan gave Ying Yuan the jade belt which she has tried to fix. But her stitching work was not to his liking, so he requested that she re do the repair job. He then asked her to stay and solve a weiqi puzzle. It was a complex riddle made by Ying Yuan himself.
At the Heavenly Kitchen, Yan Dan discussed her play with Yumo. She said that the Nine Fins Clan are considered heroes in her eyes and hence this was the reason why she wrote her play. Her words made Yumo appreciated her.
They then discussed more details about the War of Genesis including about the existence of the Kunlun Sacred tree which was shifted to the divine realm after the war. Yan Dan and Yumo became interested in the tree and would like to see it for themselves.
At this time, a dodgy looking attendant was seen slashing the bark of a tree and collecting the sap into a bottle. He was suddenly attacked by the tree vines and was caught by the tree.
When Yan Dan and Yumo passed by the tree, the attendant shouted for help at them. He was tied up with the tree vines to the tree trunks. The tree thrived on spiritual power and for those who were unlucky enough to be caught by the tree would have their spiritual power sucked dry if they were unable to break free.
But Yan Dan and Yumo were able to figure out his lies when they realized the attendant was collecting the sap of the Kunlun tree before he was caught. An accomplice of the captured attendant suddenly attacked them. Yan Dan countered attacked him with her spiritual power, but it hit the tree instead.
The tree reacted by extending its vines to capture both the accomplice of the attendant and Yan Dan. At the critical moment, Yumo pushed Yan Dan out of harm’s way and got himself captured instead.