The Fangirls are geared up to start our next positive recap, and this time it is a swoon doozy of a show. Come join us as we discuss soulmates, revenge, and a ton of eye candy visuals as we chat about the Chinese drama Word of Honor.
The rule of a positive recap is that we only talk about the drama’s parts that make us happy. This means we might not get that deep into the plot unless that is making us happy. So if we have nothing nice to say about the story or the characters, then we’ll talk about eyeliner and abs.
The rules make us a bit picky about what shows we choose for a positive recap, but Word of Honor checked all the boxes, and we decided it would be perfect! So join us as we talk about all our favorite things regarding episodes 1-4.
An assassin atoning for his sins
We meet one of our OTP just as he (Zhou Zishu) has decided that he cannot live any longer killing people for the king. Zhou Zishu feels the death of those that followed him as well as those he killed and has decided to put down his blade. The only problem is that to retire from his sect Zhou Zishu must impale himself with 7 large nails, inserting them into pressure points that will take away the majority of his power. To add to the seriousness of this moment, the nails give him only three years left to live.
Kmuse: Is it wrong that I was more focused on Zishu’s chest when he inserted the nails than how much this would really suck? Abs aside, I loved how intense the opening of this drama was. Not alone does he give himself his own eventual death sentence, Zishu decides that he is going to spend the last of his days drinking and enjoying being free… but mostly drinking. He disguises himself with a mask to hide his identity and lives the idyllic life of a nobody. I have to admit, watching him just lying in the sun made me a bit jealous. I want to lie in the sun too!
Kdrama Jen: I could not stop thinking about these torture nails. I mean, how do they work? I have seen other Chinese dramas where they use a similar concept. I think they are usually needles, though, but I was totally distracted by the idea that they somehow are exactly timed to end someone’s life in three years. And then, once we were past the torture nails, I was thinking about the major disguise-making skills of our former assassin. I am still not sure if being a drunken and lazy fellow was an act or a really nice break from all of the killing. If I had only three years until my torture nails stopped the Chi from flowing or whatever, then I would also like to just laze around in the sun.
Drama Geek: I’ll admit I had a hard time watching the torture nail scenes. I’m on week three of my first acupuncture experience, and I didn’t need anything to make me worry about my life force being taken away. But, it was a good way to show how committed Zhou Zishu was to leaving his old life behind.
Soulmate at first sight
Word Of Honor is a drama adapted from the BL novel Faraway Wanderers” (天涯客) by Priest. The original work is about the romance between two men. However, this a Mainland Chinese drama which means that any kind of LBGQT content is not going to get past censors. So instead of a traditional romance, what we do get is a pair of bromantic “Soulmates.” But never fear, it is not hard to get the subtext of the novel from the actions within the drama. The script writer is a huge fan of the novel’s writer, so they made an effort to get it as close to the line as they could and still get approval to air. This is obvious right from the beginning when our leads make eye contact for the first time. To say sparks fly would be an understatement. Their following tussle/flirt fighting just cements that these two have instant chemistry.
Kmuse: Give me a moment to catch my breath! These two are so swoony, and the chemistry between them is sizzling hot. I especially enjoyed watching them fight, and the teasing smirks that Wen Kexing has throughout the whole interaction. Watching him pull Zhou Zishu’s metaphorical pigtails is going to be a lot of fun.
Kdrama Jen: As our co-blogger, Clkytta likes to say: “Mama, needs a fan.” Maybe I could just borrow Wen’s fan because these scenes are sizzling with “bromance.” The combination of smirky smiles and smoldering looks is really swoon-worthy.
Drama Geek: I love the style of fighting they chose for these two. It’s like a beautiful dance with their robes twirling through the air, and they slow things down so you can see these two make flirty eye contact as they fly past each other. I’m also in love with how Kexing uses his fan to flirt his little butt off, or kill someone, whichever he’s in the mood for.
Flirty and delightful Wen Ke Xing
This brings us to our other leading man, Wen Ke Xing. A mysterious martial artist with an impressive fan fighting technique who falls for Zhou Zishu. Wen is also quick on the uptake when realizing that there is much more to Zhou Zishu’s wandering beggar routine than meets the eye. Wen Kexing doesn’t lack his own set of mysterious circumstances that indicate he is more than he seems. A master martial artist himself, he hides his deadly side behind a smile and his flirtatious nature.
Kmuse: Wen Kexing is my favorite kind of character. I am a sucker for a good smirk, not to mention the use of a dramatic fighting fan. Those alone would have won me over, but in episode three, we see that Wen Kexing has some hidden kick-butt talents. One that results in people dying. I love a good ruthless character and Wen Kexing is all kinds of ruthless in both flirting and fighting.
Kdrama Jen: He is just delightfully obvious in his clear interest in Zhou Zishu. I am also all in for some fancy fan-work. I love that he uses it for dramatic effect, but also as a deadly weapon. Wen clearly has some secrets, and his smile just invites viewers to wonder what might be hidden.
Drama Geek: He is just all sorts of swoony. His cheeky comments to Zhou Zishu and persistence draw the other man out and make him engage, even if what he really wants is to just drink more wine. Wen definitly has a darker side that he doesn’t show Zishu. I think he wants to be the man he’s presenting to Zishu. This actor is nailing the smirky and lovable character so well.
Butt-Kicking sidekick Gu Ziang
There are other characters throughout these four episodes, but since this is a positive recap and we only have to talk about the things that brought us joy, we will only focus on Gu Xiang. Wen Kexing’s underling, Gu Xiang, is sassy, impetuous, and a joy to watch. Always the first to join a good fight, Gu Xiang manages to bring feminine energy to an otherwise male-dominated cast.
Kmuse: I adore this character. She has no filter whatsoever and often blurts out truths that no one wants to acknowledge. She also ships her master with our tragic hero, so that alone would have won me over.
Kdrama Jen: I originally thought she might be a potential love rival, but…nope. She is fun and spunky and quite talented. I love that her careless remarks often get her in trouble!
Drama Geek: She is a wonderful character to bounce off both men. I love that she knows what she wants, and doesn’t let anyone boss her around. She is loyal to Kexing though, and seems to owe him some type of debt. I’m glad that she’s not interested in him, and we don’t have to worry about her getting jealous or plotting to keep them apart.
The ten devils of the Ghost Valley
The leader of the Ghost Valley has sent the ten devils (leaders) of the sect into the world to retrieve five keys that combine to unlock a great treasure. Whoever retrieves the keys and returns them to the Ghost leader will become the head of the ten devils. They are pretty much given carte blanche to do whatever is necessary, so they begin to terrorize and murder various leaders in the area in search of these hidden keys.
Kmuse: So far, I have really enjoyed these ghost leaders being the big bad in the drama. They are just creepy enough to make it enjoyable but don’t take away much from our OTP.
Kdrama Jen: They have really eye-catching costumes. It makes their blood-thirsty fights that much more enjoyable to watch.
Drama Geek: I honestly had to go back and watch the above scene because someone was talking about walnuts… make sure you pay attention to the nuts in this show, they might just be product placement, but they show up everywhere. I admit I have a thing for the ghost lead leader with the white hair, she’s just so evil and pretty. LOL.
Zhou Zishu travels to Jinghu Villa, the home of his deceased compatriot. It also happens to be the home of Zhang Chengling, the young boy our OTP had met in the city. Zhou Zishu arrives just before the villa is set upon by one of the leaders of Ghost Valley. They murder everyone in the villa looking for the glazed armor but do not find what they are searching for. Thanks to Zhou Zishu and Wen Kexing’s interference, Chengling survives the massacre, and the two men accompany him to an uncle that lives in a nearby province. Along the way, our OTP has plenty of time to flirt fight, which happens to be our new favorite type of fighting.
Kmuse: Let me stop drooling over our bickering hotties for a second and comment on how much I’m enjoying the performance by the kid who plays Chengling. He is doing a wonderful job and really holding his own which is difficult with two such dynamic actors opposite him.
Kdrama Jen: I think this character adds an interesting dynamic. I particularly love how he looks at Zhou Zishu with some hopefulness. I also enjoy his interactions with Gu Ziang.
Drama Geek: I love how both men ending up acting like cute uncles with Chengling. His character did have to grow on me though. He was a bit wimpy, but later I realize what was going on with him, and it made sense. I also enjoy Ziang’s interactions with him. They’re like bickering siblings.
Who are you behind the mask?
Zhou Zishu hides his true visage behind a “mask,” which is like catnip for Wen Kexing. We get line after line about what beauty and mystery Zhou Zishu is hiding behind his fake visuals. This new look also works as a disguise from the Emperor’s spies searching for Zhou Zishu. All in all, his secondary look is a big hit for we viewers. Beggar chic works for this man.
Kmuse: I’m going to confess that I was super unobservant and actually thought it was two different actors the first few episodes until someone on our Discord channel pointed out that it was just the same actor. I guess he was super believable, or I am very distracted by the sexy scruff. Either way, I totally had fun with the two different visuals.
Kdrama Jen: I was very impressed with his transformation. I am not sure which look I like better, but I am fine with either!
Drama Geek: I guess I’m on the outside here by saying I really couldn’t wait for him to have his real face again. I’m never a fan of when they make someone look poor in Cdramas. We won’t dive too deep into that, but let’s just say I was happy when the actor looked like himself.
You can borrow my flute anytime
The euphemisms continue as we now have a flute thrown into the mix. In episode four, we discover that mystical flute playing is a thing. It can take down bad guys trying to get you to kill yourself and recharge your chi batteries. Wen Kexing serenades Zhou Zishu with his magical flute songs all night to help Zhou Zishu recover from his injuries. It seems to work as the former assassin wakes up refreshed, having slept better than he had in years.
Kmuse: I don’t sleep well… where is my magical flute playing hottie?
Kdrama Jen: I can’t stop giggling like a middle-schooler at all the very obvious double entendres. In fact, they seem so obvious that I started to wonder if they really didn’t mean them that way. I feel like my university English teacher would be all over this and making us write about the meaning of the dropped walnuts…
Drama Geek: The walnuts are used as weapons too! I really want to know if any of these actors know how to play the flute, because they have to use the skill so often in period dramas. I’m pretty sure that the director is using ALL the euphemisms they can that are normal in these dramas, but put into this context the viewer can read them however they want to.
Kmuse: I can’t even say how committed I am to watching this drama. I even rewatched episodes in order to do this recap and I rarely ever have the time to watch things a second time. I can happily say that the rewatch totally stood up to my initial feelings and several times I liked it even more than the first time. I look forward to watching this “soulmates” story.
Kdrama Jen: I am so excited to keep watching and talking about all the pretty. I am trying to pace myself for this positive recap, but I feel a weekend binge-fest may be in my future. How can I resist?
Drama Geek: I had to pace myself as well because I didn’t want to watch too far ahead of our recap schedule. It’s sad because I was really enjoying the chats we were having about it. I’m totally here for all the side eyed longing and smirks, along with that fancy fan work. Bring on the soulmate flirt fest!
Are you watching Word of Honor? Let us know and be sure to tune in every Friday for a new positive recap.
Til the next flirty moment,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi