Last episode, we were introduced to the supposed death of Wei Wuxian, also known as the Yiling Patriarch, in the midst of an epic battle 16 years ago. Now he has been resurrected by Mo Xuanyu, an abused young man who seeks revenge on his abusers. As he complies with Mo Xuanyu’s wishes for vengeance, Wei Wuxian must also hide his true identity from friends and enemies from his previous life 16 years ago.
We open with Wei Wuxian traveling with his adorable donkey companion but it is not long until the two bump into another group of travelers. As he covers his face with his mask, he cannot help but overhear that the group is headed to Dafan Mountain, a once scared location that has now become the site for soul snatching. As two of the members of the group argue about a seemingly malfunctioning compass, it is revealed that Wei Wuxian had in fact been the creator and the idol of one of the men. The exchange leaves Wei Wuxian flustered and eager to move on but his stubborn donkey has other ideas. One of the young women from the group rushes over and offers an apple to be used to lure the donkey. The donkey finally shows signs of cooperation, resulting in him being named Ping Guo, or Apple. The young woman childishly claps her hands together and jumps up and down in delight as an older woman looks on with concern.
Wei Wuxian continues on his journey but soon bumps into the young woman, Yan, again at the top of a small peak. Suddenly, she begins to dance and the older woman, her mother, stumbles up behind her and begs her to stop. Subtly, Wei Wuxian casts a charm on Yan, making her stop her dance and fall into her mother’s arms. Between sobs, Yan’s mother reveals that Yan’s fiance had been killed by a mysterious being while he was out one night and Yan had insisted on finding him. After she got back, she had become a different person who could not recognize those she loved and would dance in the direction of Dafan mountain. She laments as she tells Wei Wuxian of Yan’s father’s soul being snatched and his death soon after. Before Wei Wuxian can say anything, a cry for help comes from the forest and he and Apple rush off.
Wei Wuxian rushes into a small clearing where the cries of help are coming from people suspended in spirit nets hanging from trees. As he moves to help, he notices a man dressed in golden white robes running into the clearing with arrows drawn. The man is Jin Ling (Qi Peixin) also known as Rulan and is the one responsible for setting up spirit nets throughout the mountain. Wei Wuxian recognizes the white Jin robes and stays hidden but Yan enters the clearing calling for Apple. The stubborn donkey races towards her, exposing Wei Wuxian. Now in the open, Wei Wuxian in the form of Mo Xuanyu is forced to interact with the Jin clan. As Mo Xuanyu is the illegitimate love child of the Jin clan leader, Jin Ling speaks to him with disrespect and alludes to the fact that Mo Xuanyu had been driven out of the Jin clan. Wei Wuxian gives a snarky response, insulting Jin Ling’s lack of maternal instinct, and the two fight. Wei Wuxian quickly incapacitates Jin Ling with a seal and uses his sword to set the men free from the nets. Jin Ling continues to mock “Mo Xuanyu” and warns him that his uncle is coming to hurt him. (This exudes big Draco Malfoy “I’m going to tell me father” energy.) Just as Wei Wuxian asks who his uncle is, a man in green robes walks into the clearing.
Jin Ling’s uncle is none other than Jiang Cheng (Wang Zhuocheng). Wei Wuxian moves to leave but is stopped by Jiang Cheng. He reprimands his nephew and destroys the seal, allowing Jin Ling to move. Jin Ling immediately stands up and threatens to break Wei Wuxian’s legs but Jiang Cheng says that anyone who uses the tricks on the Yiling Patriarch should be killed and fed to the dogs, hinting that maybe he knows that something strange is going on. Jin Ling lunges at him with his sword but a blue energy knocks the blade out of the way and Wei Wuxian ducks behind a tree for cover. Lan Wangji and his men enter the clearing, having arrived to discuss the excessive amount of nets the Jin clan has placed in the mountains. Jin Ling once again speaks rudely but Lan Wangji is not as forgiving. With a cold stare, he seals Jin Ling’s mouth closed with a silencing spell. Angrily Jiang Cheng orders Lan Wangji to lift the spell but is interrupted by a member of the Jin clan who informs them that a blue sword had destroyed all the spirit nets the Jin had set up in the mountains. Jiang Cheng reluctantly but furiously recognizes Lan Wangji’s authority and orders his nephew off to kill a monster before returning home. The Lan clan offers to reimburse the Jin clan for the nets but Jiang Cheng refuses and stalks off angrily. Lan Wangji speaks for the first time and orders his men back to their positions. Although he notices Wei Wuxian behind the tree, he does not say anything and continues to walk away.
Alone, Wei Wuxian removes his mask on the rocky shore of a river. As he moves to touch the water, he sees images from his previous life of Jiang Cheng and a woman, Yanli, all getting along. As Wei Wuxian sits by the edge of the water, a group of people pass by discussing Jin Ling’s spoiled behavior and chalk it up to him being an orphan. They reveal that Jin Ling’s father had been killed by Wei Wuxian soon after his birth and his mother, Jiang Yanli, the woman from the watery reflection (Jiang Cheng’s sister), had also been killed soon after because of Wei Wuxian. This explains why Jin Ling is so spoiled by the Jin and Jiang clans and why Jiang Cheng hates Wei Wuxian and his methods so much. Wei Wuxian remembers his crase comment about Jin Ling’s mother earlier and slaps himself. He had also considered Yanli to be a sister and realizes he cannot be indifferent to the world. As he mopes, Apple finally reappears.
Meanwhile the Lan clan has continued to wander the mountain but has found no sign of a soul eating monster. The second the words leave the cultivator’s mouth, a dark figure is seen darting behind the tall grass. As the clan rushes to investigate, they discover the elderly graveyard caretaker who tells them to investigate a strange dancing fairy statue Tiannu Temple on the top of Danfu Mountain. As the elderly man struggles to remember more, the clan rushes off before he can warn them that the stone can move.
Back at the river, Apple discovers soul gathering grass which can gather spiritual energy from the earth and is usually found near the graves of cultivators. Wei Wuxian follows the grass to the graveyard the Lan cultivators had been earlier. He senses a dark fog due to the amount of cultivators who had been buried there. He discovers from the old caretaker that the graveyard is the final resting place for the no longer existent Wen clan and realizes that the monster haunting the mountains is not a soul eater. As he worries about Jin Ling, the old man has mysteriously disappeared and creepy music begins to play.
Having finally arrived at the temple, the cultivators discuss the folklore of the statue which had been discovered by a hunter from the town of Fojiao. Locals had once prayed there but the temple is now run down and dilapidated. As the Lan clan ponders why, the Jin clan arrives and Jin Ling wishes for the monster to appear before him now. Ominously, the statue cracks a smile and one of the cultivators collapses. The men rush to his aid as the state begins to crack and move. Wei Wuxian rushes in and tells the group that it is actually a soul eating statue. As Wei Wuxian attempts to cast a spell on the statue, the others run out. Wei Wuxian asks the Lan clan to set off a signal alerting Lan Wangji of their issue but all the signal shells had been used up in the Mo manor attack the previous night. Wei Wuxian takes a moment to teach the young cultivators a lesson. Forgetting that he is now Mo Xuanyu, he explains that soul eaters can live off the energy of the dead. With the amount of graves present, they would have no need to go after the living. He then deduces that Yan was another victim of the statue but her soul came back due as her father prayed for her at the temple. As a result, he died and her soul was released but it had already been damaged as she now dances like the statue. The group retraces their actions at the temple and realize that Jin Ling is no longer with them. Then they see it, a large stone statue running their way.
Jin Ling appears above the group, running on the side of the mountain. He shoots the statue over and over again but to no avail. The stone is unaffected by his attacks. Wei Wuxian grabs the sword of a cultivator and slices down a bamboo plant to make a quick flute. With the flute, he summons Wen Ning also known as the Ghost General or Qionglin who arrives just in time to save Jin Ling from being trampled. The rest of the cultivators look on in shock as Wen Ning had died 16 years ago alongside Wei Wuxian.
As the Ghost General easily destroys the statue, Wei Wuxian realizes that it was an illusion that tricked him into revealing Wen Ning. The cultivators all charge at Wen Ning but Wei Wuxian notices a dark figure running away behind the tall grass. Wei Wuxian begins to play again in order to sooth Wen Ning and stop him from killing the cultivators but is stopped by Lan Wangji. The Ghost General leaves just as Jiang Cheng and his men arrive. Jiang Cheng grills the cultivators and they reveal that the executed Wen Ning had returned by the hand of Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng begins to put the pieces together and attacks but is stopped by Lan Wanji and his guzheng. Jiang Cheng does manage to land a hit with his whip but Wei Wuxian plays dumb. The Lan cultivators come to his defense, claiming that this man could not be Wei Wuxian as he is dead and had been killed by none other than Jiang Cheng. (Flash back to the very first scene of the men at the cliff.) Jiang Cheng grows visibly frustrated and demands to know who he is. Wei Wuxian flashes back to 16 years ago where he, Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli were all joking around and heading to the Cloud Recesses for lessons. The flashback reveals a much more carefree Wei Wuxian who has found a place in the Jiang clan despite not being a Jiang descendent.
Despite being only the second episode, the backstory has already become much clearer. We now know about the relationship between Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian, who were once as close as brothers but have now become enemies over the loss of their sister. The animosity is very one sided but should lead to an interesting dynamic later on. While Jin Ling is such a spoiled brat, Wei Wuxian cannot help but to care for him as he feels like his uncle but Jin Ling only sees him as the illegitimate son of his grandfather. (So in both cases Wei Wuxian/Mo Xuanyu is his uncle?) Wei Wuxian takes dangerous measures to protect his nephew and may have exposed who he really is as a result. Is his disguise still intact? What happened between him and Lan Wangji? How did Yanli die? Will Jin Ling stop being such an a-hole? Find out next episode on The Untamed.