[Review] The Untamed (Part 2)

This is the second part of my review of The Untamed.

As I said in the first part of my review, I wasn’t planning on watching this drama but Heaven Official’s Blessing didn’t have manhua and donghua updates so I figured I’d take a look at “The Untamed” to see what the hype was all about.

This is the second part of my review of The Untamed. If you’re interested, you can read the first part of the review.

Characters

Now, I’ll pick up where I left off. I’m going by characters…

Main Characters

Wei Wuxian / Yiling Patriarch / Wei Ying / Mo Xuanyu

Reincarnation

I must admit Wei Wuxian in the flashbacks were more interesting for me. Wei Wuxian’s complexity as a character was explored in the past. He was confident to be himself in front of everyone.

Here are the list of things that didn’t make sense to me:

  1. Why did Wei Wuxian felt the need to hide from people?
    He was using Mo Xuanyu’s body. He went overboard with the whole hiding thing. I mean, he had a mask and another name inhabiting a completely different body. It was a perfect disguise. People could just think he’s crazy and would probably just leave him be.
  2. If his spiritual power can be felt, how come Lan Wangji could sense his spiritual power but Jiang Cheng couldn’t?
    Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng grew up together in Yunmeng as brothers. Granted that Wuxian was a better cultivator, it’s not like Jiang Cheng was completely incompetent. He’s the clan leader and has the golden core of Wei Wuxian.
  3. If for some odd reason, only Lan Wangji can sense Wei Wuxian’s spiritual power (because MAYBE that’s the soulmate level shit Jiang Cheng didn’t have with Wei Wuxian), then why did Wuxian have to hide from Wangji?
    The present Wei Wuxian disguised as Mo Xuanyu hid from Lan Wangji. After watching the entire flashback, it was not clear to me why he wanted to hide from Lan Wangji. Wangji tried to save him from falling off the cliff. If anything, Wangji was the only ally he had until the very end.

The post-reincarnation Wei Wuxian did three things:

  1. Be a nanny to the little intern cultivators from different clans.
  2. Accidentally fix his relationship with people from the past
  3. Protect Jin Ling while being he himself was being protected by Wangji

He was only half as badass as he was compared to him sixteen years ago. The ending was obviously going to be anti-climactic because of China’s censorship. But god! There was already sixteen years of soul searching. Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji didn’t need a break from each other. NOBODY needed to find themselves. They already found each other. Be it as “brothers” or as soulmates. That part was frustrating.

Lan Wangji / Hanguang Jun / Lan Zhan

I didn’t like how he kept disappearing. His role in his clan wasn’t very clear to me compared to Zewu Jun. Zewu Jun was more of a right hand to Lan Qiren. Wangji was just roaming around looking for Wei Wuxian but what was his main task in the Lan clan after Wei Wuxian’s death. Was he just the top-tier errand boy of the Lan clan? FIghting evils the little intern cultivators couldn’t handle? Well, OK.. Maybe..

Lover boy right here had no holds barred when he figured out that Mo Xuanyu was Wei Wuxian. Lan Wangji’s boyfriend mode was activated. I gotta say he had growth in terms of expressing himself. I mean, if you spent sixteen years looking for someone, you probably would do everything in your power to show how much you care for him or her. Still, that’s a good character arc for me. All that repressed gayness sprung to life, respectfully and censoredly.

If there was anyone I couldn’t be any sadder for the ending, it was Lan Wangji. Based on the loyalty he’s shown towards Wei Wuxian, Wangji would never have agreed to part from his Wei Ying. He would have gone to hell and back if that meant never separating from him again. Wangji betrayed his clan for him, looked high and low for him. The ending could’ve been they eloped as “brothers” or something. It’s just out of his character to allow the whole soul search shenanigan.

Supporting Characters

Gusu Lan Clan

Lan Qiren

Ah! Lan Qiren was the clan leader of the Lan clan and he didn’t like Wei Wuxian very much. As a lecturer, Qiren saw Wuxian as a student and heard his logic. Wei Wuxian was the troublemaker, the rule-breaker and the great student with questionable method of solving problems. The fact that he didn’t like his nephew to be associated with Wei Wuxian made sense. I can only imagine his disappointment when he found out about Lan Wangji’s protecting Wei Wuxian.

Of course, this continued to Wei Wuxian’s post-reincarnation. As a character, I have to say he was a sensible leader. He was the only one who seemed to be doing real clan leader work instead of hosting parties. He gave commands to hunt for the Yin Iron, tried to solve the man zombie situation in Gusu, conducted cultivator workshops to impart knowledge to the future generation of cultivators, you know leader stuff.

Lan Xichen / Zewu Jun

Zewu Jun was the founder and the number one fan of WangXian fan club. He saw the gay before any of us did. Members of the WangXian club, greet your master!

I like how he looked past people’s public reputation, gossip and social status. Xichen tend to judge them based on how he knew them personally. It was a double-edged sword. For example, this made him a more understanding brother to Wangji which was a good thing. Even when the public already painted Wei Wuxian in a bad light, he was one of the last people to judge Wei Wuxian. He only did that when his brother’s feeling and reputation was on the line.

While this side of his personality helped him see the real person within Wuxian, this also led him to be used by Meng Yao / Jin Guangyao. He was a credible man and him believing Jin Guangyao made other people believe Guangyao, too. Okay, technically, Jing Guangyao had no ill intention against him which made Xichen’s trust easy to earn. Who are we kidding? There are some serious repressed gayness and unresolved sexual tension between those two. However, since he trusted his gut and refused to listen to other people, it did slip his radar that Guangyao was onto something.

He was a well-balanced character despite the rigid Lan clan culture. Growing up under Lan Qiren’s guidance wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. With the history of Xichen and Wangji’s parents’, Qiren’s method of upbringing was understandable. It wasn’t necessarily acceptable, though. You see, Xichen encouraged Wangji to be friends with more people especially Wei Wuxian. Wangji was not the type to tolerate incompetent people. However, he needed someone to balance his uptight personality with a much more carefree ones. Xichen saw through that. Hence, he wingmanned his way through this fanclub. And there I was, happily watching him do his wingman thing.

Lan Sizhui / Wen Yuan / Ah-yuan

Ah-yuan in the flashback was still a kid when he first came into the scene. He was from the Wen clan. I am glad that Wangji found him and raised him in Cloud Recesses. He was the very first baby cultivator of the Lan Wangji – Wei Wuxian household.

In the present time, I didn’t expect for him to be Ah-yuan. After all that one hell of a flashback, I completely forgot about that kid. I’ve seen some posts comparing him to Wangji but I disagree. Wangji was snobby, cold and uptight. There are only certain people that are qualified to talk to him (his words, not mine). Sizhui was kind and does not judge people based on their capabilities, public reputation or social status. A good example would be on how he treated Mo Xuanyu. He knew that Xuanyu was “the fool” in the court. Yet, he treated Xuanyu with the same respect as he would on a sane person. He was the mini version of Lan Xichen.

Lan Jingyi

Jingyi was my favorite supporting character. If only all comic relief characters were this adorable! Apart from being Hanguang Jun’s number one fan, he was also way too blunt to be in the Lan clan. He was the sassiest young cultivator in The Untamed. Jingyi was the mini version of Wei Wuxian. Younger Wei Wuxian would’ve been best friends with him.

Lanling Jin Clan

Jin Guangshan

I am still not clear as to why the Jin clan was wealthier than other clans. With a non-functioning clan leader like Guangshan (at least visually he wasn’t doing anything), I find it difficult to comprehend where all that wealth come from. Ok maybe he hosted some gatherings but who are we kidding? That was just his way of hosting parties and having more women around him all the time. And maybe to the audience it doesn’t matter but it does to me. I wanted to know where all that arrogance came from.

Although Guangshan was an awful character, I still cannot put him under the “villain” category as he didn’t intentionally harm the cultivator realm. It’s just that his poor decisions led capable people to well-planned realm destruction.

Nevertheless, he was still the worst father of the century. Let’s start from the beginning. During the flashbacks he was always surrounded with women. Alright, it’s a common knowledge that kings and/or leaders have many wives / concubine / women hanging on their arms. But I have never seen this man do any real clan leader work. He was not good at raising his children, either.

Exhibit A: Jin Zixuan. I will discuss Jin Zixuan in a bit but let me discuss the whole Yanli insult at the Cloud Recesses drama. Guangshan knew Zixuan was in the wrong but he neither apologized on behalf of his son nor asked his son to apologize. There’s a difference between spoiling a child and teaching him / her manners.

Exhibit B: Meng Yao. Meng Yao introduced himself as his son on Zixuan’s birthday. Not only did he turn his back on his illegitimate son, he also kicked him down the stairs like a dog. The thing is, Guanghsan didn’t have to do that. He could’ve just closed his doors and walked away. If you refuse to treat him like a son, at least treat him like a human.

Guangshan was a spoiled brat in an old person’s body. It was easy to understand Meng Yao’s motivation for murdering him.

Did he deserve his death? Yes and no. He died having sex with old, deformed prostitutes. Yes and no. Yes, because that was one heck of a great form of revenge. No because the women didn’t have to go through that kind of trauma.

Jin Zixuan

This dude was a textbook definition of spoiled brat. While he wasn’t bad by nature, he was annoying in the beginning. He had an unnecessary army of servants and even kicked out the initial occupants of the “hotel” just so they can have the hotel to themselves without any compensation or prior notice. If that wasn’t entitled, I don’t know what is. It’s very easy why the Yunmeng heroes were against this union. I’d feel the same if I were them.

This whole Zixuan and Yanli side plot bored me to death. We didn’t have to painfully go through their high school drama. It is commendable though that while he was a spoiled brat he didn’t seem to be a womanizer. He was shy to the point where he makes his mom ask his date for him. That was funny for a bit. It he didn’t have a chance because he died early.

I did like how he had a character development before he died. Zixuan was able to put aside his pride and personally invite Wei Wuxian to Jin Ling’s first month celebration. He even let his son be named Jin Rulan which sounded like his son came from the Lan clan.

Jin Rulan / Jin Ling

This baby was the mini version of Jiang Cheng and Jin Zixuan. His character was interesting to me. Mainly because I’d like to see what kind of person he became under Jiang Cheng, Jin Guangyao and his other uncle’s care. I mean seriously, the lack of female characters here was disappointing.

All the other young cultivators looked poor before Jin Ling. I mean look at him covered in Lanling gold. Anyway, I’d say he’s the more emotionally adept version of Jiang Cheng by the end of the show. He was painfully aware about his lack of “maternal care”. Apparently, there are some things that only mothers can teach because patriarchy said so. He started out as arrogant and entitled young cultivator. It was all a facade. He was insecure and maybe, envious of other cultivators who grew up with a complete family.

After hanging out with the other cultivators from other clans and Wei Wuxian, he got better. He was more in touch with his feelings and other people’s at that matter. He had a great character arc. I liked how in the end, apart from being a better person, he was able to spot how Jiang Cheng looked like he had a lot more to say to Wei Wuxian. He even encouraged his uncle to express himself to Wei Wuxian. Yanli would have been proud.

Mianmian

This was the only female who survived the 50 episodes of The Untamed. All the women who mattered were dead. Of course, she’s worth mentioning. She was under Jin clan and stepped out of the clan before shit hit the fan. She dodged a bullet there.

Qinghe Nie Clan

Nie Mingjue

The flashbacks with Mingjue in it was interesting to me. Mingjue wasn’t exactly a angel but he did not deserve his fate. As a clan leader, he took Meng Yao in and was more of a warrior version of Xichen. He looked for the good in people. Like I mentioned before, this is a double-edged sword. Sometimes, people say what you want to hear so you would behave according to their expectation. This was what exactly Meng Yao did.

Of course, he eventually found out about Meng Yao’s real colors. Now, the succeeding actions of Mingjue didn’t make sense to me. If you find out that one of your trusted advisors turned out to be great at plotting revenge, you should know that it would be unwise to let them go out in the open. The captain of Mingjue’s army was killed. Imagine what else Meng Yao could have done if Mingjue didn’t find out. At the very least, Mingjue could have thrown Meng Yao in prison before he decided on his next move when his emotions weren’t high. As a clan leader and someone who’s been taught about war strategies, I would’ve expected more from him.

Nevertheless, the whole MIngue “headhunt” became a bit boring. The show was dragged a little too long after Wei Wuxian’s reincarnation.

Nie Huaisang

Huaisang from an outsider’s perspective was just a lucky man born in a good family who knew nothing. But ooh boy was I wrong! And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought about that in the beginning. In fact, during the flashbacks to sixteen years ago, he was forgettable. He blended in the background like a comic relief I didn’t ask for. And maybe, the show aimed for the viewers to disregard him as a valuable character. If so, congratulations! That was exactly how I felt.

He knew more than he let on and was a cunning man. He played by his strengths and I like that. Growing up with Mingjue as his brother, this probably played a role with how he approached things. He wanted to help the situation to be better without people making him accountable for it. Spotlight must have been uncomfortable for him and it could be because of how he saw his brother handle it. I can imagine how unappealing it would be to report to the clan leaders who were mostly anti-Wei Wuxian.

It was unexpected that he was behind the events that propelled the plot forward. Although he didn’t have a character arc, we saw his true colors afterwards. He was the reason we have the sixteen years later of Wei Wuxian! Who would’ve thought!!

Wen Clan

Wen Ning

This cinnamon roll did not deserve all the bad things that happened to him and his clan. He was one of the good guys. The keyword to the Wen Ning-Wen Qing-Wei Wuxian friendship was loyalty. Clan disputes did not matter to them. Wen Ning and Wen Qing helped Wei Wuxian, Jiang Cheng and Yanli during the Yunmeng destruction. They knew their lives were on the line for doing that. I like that there was a give and take balance in their friendship. He wasn’t just a pure sidekick. He protects the Yiling Patriarch during the battle while the Yiling Patriarch protects the Wen Clan. The imbalance came after the death of the remaining Wen clan when Wen Ning became Wei Wuxian’s full-time errand boy. It was as if he lived for Wei Wuxian. He was from a prominent family so this type of action did not make sense to me.

Wen Qing

If there was any moral lesson that the Wen siblings brought forth to this drama was that your origin does not define who you are. Your ancestors’ sins were not your own but sometimes, people make it so.

Wen Qing first appeared in Cloud Recesses under Wen Ruohan’s command to spy on other clans during Qiren’s workshop. She was a smart woman and not the type to follow someone blindly out of loyalty. Right off the bat, decisions she had to make pulled her in three different directions. First, her loyalty to Wen clan. Second, her desire to protect her sickly brother. Third, her morals which does not align to Wen clan’s objective. The first and the second motivations looked aligned in the beginning but as soon as she got to know other cultivators from other clans, conflict started to happen. Hence, the third motivation.

Not only she was a great doctor but she was also a secret ally to the Jiang clan. She was the first and perhaps, the only doctor to have successfully performed a golden core transfer from Wuxian to Jiang Cheng. But it could also be because no one except for Wei Wuxian would ever think of giving up the very core of his power out of love and loyalty.

After the Sunshot campaign it was proven that the Wen clan was a formidable enemy but impossible to defeat. The remaining Wen clan members were hunted down and Wei Wuxian stood by them. This was the same way the Wen siblings took the Yunmeng trio and nursed Jiang Cheng to health when Yunmeng was under attack.

The loyalty between her friendship with Wei Wuxian was a force to be reckoned with. They defied clan leaders to help each other. It wasn’t one sided. Eventually, they had to surrender to save Wei Wuxian. She was a badass character who did not deserve her death. Then again, the turn of events made her death inevitable. She deserved better.

Villains

Wen Ruohan

Jiang Cheng should’ve given the comb to Ruohan instead of giving it to Wen Qing. I mean, maybe collecting and controlling that Yin Iron must’ve been really stressful. Ruohan’s hair was all over the place. He kind of bored me. Mainly because he was just sitting in his dark chambers giving commands like Snow White’s evil stepmother while creating zombies. This kind of villains just doesn’t give me anything.

Xue Yang

If we’re talking about interesting villain, Xue Yang was one hell of an interesting candidate. First of all, I have never been so scared and so attracted to anyone at the same time. I was so confused whenever I looked at him. Haha!

His back story of being abandoned as a child, his love for sweets, his interesting back story and his accidental attachment to Xingchen were all interesting but it was too long. They could’ve shortened that. The scenes with the lady pretending to be blind was not necessary to me. I was a little bit bored with the fight scenes with Wei Wuxian.

Jin Guangyao / Meng Yao

This has got to be my favorite villain. Honestly, it was his dimples. You wouldn’t have thought he’d play everyone like a damn guqin.

He was Jin Guangshan’s bastard. He was mocked his entire life for being a prostitute’s son as if it was his fault. His entire life he was treated as an outcast. He had to work ten times as hard to get to where he was. Yet, it wasn’t enought he was repeatedly humiliated and disrespected. Who in the world had all the patience for that? There was a limit to a human being’s kindness. If there was any moral lesson to this story would be the worst person to cross are the ones with brilliant minds. I cannot bring myself to hate him. He was such a well-fleshed out character that made me empathize with him.

I do not support murder or ruining people’s lives. However, I am in awe of how he used that hatred as his motivation for revenge. Nobody saw it coming. The patience in planning and executing his revenge was smooth. He used his charms and played the clan leaders of all sides using top-tier manipulative skills. He even built a temple with his mother’s face in it. The moment all the legitimate sons died, he took over. He became a clan leader. And no one figured him out until sixteen years later.

If Huaisang didn’t get his scheming on point and helped in reincarnating Wei Wuxian, Meng Yao wouldn’t have been caught.

Public

There was no internet in the cultivator realm whatsoever but damn gossip spreads like wildfire. The twisted stories about the Yiling Patriarch stemmed from the public had a huge impact on Wei Wuxian’s reputation. It played a huge role on how he was perceived by clan leaders and clan members. Also, it showed how easily people are affected and manipulated by gossip regardless of the source’s credibility.

It does make me think twice about the news that we get everyday even from the “credible” news outlet. What criteria does one need exactly to be trustworthy? Who is actually in control? How many Nie Huaisangs and Jin Guangyaos are out there trying to control our thoughts? I strayed too far from reviewing this show, haven’t I?

Part 1 << READ >> Part 3

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