Open Thread: Nirvana In Fire Episodes 34, 35 & 36

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Isn’t Mei Changsu quite magnificent, while flexing his chess master prowess? 🤩

Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 34

We continue from where we left off last episode, and the thing that strikes me about this scene, is when Jingyan mentions that Xia Dong would be suspicious if Mei Changsu were to approach her for help, in rescuing Wei Zheng.

It feels like an unusually unguarded moment for Mei Changsu, in that he allows his emotion to show, albeit in a subtle manner, when Jingyan refers to himself as someone within the situation (局内人, “júnèirén”) and Mei Changsu as an outsider (literally, someone outside the situation; 局外人, “júwàirén”). There’s a hint of tears in Mei Changsu’s eyes, and an understated sense of irony about him, as he agrees with Jingyan.

It also feels like a bit of a slip-up, for Mei Changsu to thank Jingyan in advance for his efforts towards persuading Xia Dong to help them. Again, this is unlike Mei Changsu to say something that is not in line with Mei Changsu’s prescribed persona and background. Jingyan picks up on it immediately, asking Mei Changsu why he would thank him for this, when Jingyan is the one who wants to rescue Wei Zheng in the first place. I can’t help thinking that Jingyan maybe-possibly might have gotten another clue of Mei Changsu’s true identity, if Commander Meng hadn’t jumped in then, to create a bit of a distraction in the conversation.

I’m slightly surprised that the Crown Prince’s deposement is handled with so little fanfare. I know it’s something that I’ve been waiting for, since (as we all agree) the Crown Prince is extremely ineffectual and really quite annoying.

It is quite satisfying, however, to see Jingyan receive more royal pearls, putting him on the same level as Prince Yu – to Prince Yu’s great displeasure. Which, in itself, also gives me a sense of satisfaction, heh. Banruo’s ability to spin this situation into something more helpful to Prince Yu, is quite impressive. I mean, I’m surprised that Prince Yu even believes her, that this promotion is actually a warning to Jingyan, that he better toe the line and not do anything unbecoming of his new station. Seems like you really can spin almost anything, eh?

Further to the conversation that opens our episode, it seems significant, that we get another conversation – this time with Zhen Ping – where Mei Changsu indicates that he’s not as neutral or objective as he would like to be. It feels like a rare moment of vulnerability, for him to tell Zhen Ping that if this rescue mission fails, it could derail Jingyan’s political ambitions, and it would all be Mei Changsu’s fault for not having been able to convince Jingyan not to act; that Mei Changsu, in fact, can’t even convince himself not to act. For everything that Mei Changsu had said to Jingyan, to dissuade him from attempting to rescue Wei Zheng – and which had angered Jingyan enough to cut ties with Mei Changsu – those had not been words from his heart, and it’s clearer now than ever.

It looks like Mei Changsu is the one that triggers the spate of burglaries around the capital, thus giving Jingyan a reason to increase the surveillance done by the Capital Patrols. I’m guessing that this is all in service of creating a situation where it would be possible to rescue Wei Zheng.

Xia Jiang watching the increased patrols with a look of anticipation on his face, is quite dissonant, since that’s not quite how most people would react, when they notice that the area around them is suddenly more heavily guarded than ever. He really must be very confident, that he will be able to entrap Jingyan. 😬

However, Mei Changsu himself appears to be reasonably prepared as well, and this time, he even has Marquis Yan and Yujin agreeing to help him.

I am pleasantly surprised at how willing Marquis Yan is, to assist in a mission like this, that has a high risk factor, and yet no guarantee of success. However, when he explains his point of view to Yujin, his reaction makes perfect sense. Marquis Yan has always been a man of passion and principles, and so, when he realizes what this foolish yet courageous mission is about, and that it is something that his departed friends would approve of, I completely believe that he’s willing to give his all towards making the mission a success.

I do love that Yujin is so willing to pledge himself to the cause as well, even though he doesn’t know Jingyan personally, because of his implicit trust in his father, and in Mei Changsu. He’s so pure and so earnest. I am definitely growing very fond of him.

We also get two other key reveals this episode, namely, that Consort Jing really is keeping a secret memorial tablet for Consort Chen, and also, Xiao Xin really is a spy! Ack, this is not a good combination of things. And you guys were so right, to be suspicious of Xiao Xin!

As it turns out, Xiao Xin’s actually part of the Hua tribe, which also makes her part of Banruo’s network. It’s rather mind-boggling, that she had been planted in the palace since she was a child. That’s a really long time to be undercover, isn’t it? But, it looks like she’s ready to dive into the thick of the action now, what with all her snooping around, and then presenting herself at Zhengyang Palace, in order to report her findings to Prince Yu.

It looks like Stuff is going to hit the fan very soon, doesn’t it?

Episode 35

There’s a whole lotta scheming and plotting going on this episode, and it’s nail-biting and intriguing at the same time, seeing the various pieces come together.

The plan that Mei Changsu puts in place is truly multi-pronged.

There’s Marquis Yan luring Xia Jiang and Xia Chun out of the Capital, and Xia Dong luring Xia Qiu out of the Capital, and paving the way for the Yaowang boys to enter Xuanjing Bureau. And then there’s the burglars who will appear outside Xuanjing Bureau just as the Yaowang boys exit, so as to create enough confusion with the Capital Patrol, so that it would provide the Yaowang boys with some cover to escape with Wei Zheng in tow.

Yujin’s also tasked to bring Grand Prince Ji to see Gong Yu, but we’re not told why yet, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how it’s all related either. All I know is, there’s a small army of people involved in this very elaborate plan to break Wei Zheng out of prison, and there’s a lot hanging in the balance for Jingyan and Mei Changsu as well.

In terms of specific points of interest, one of the things I thought I’d mention is the way Prince Yu’s Consort refers to her relationship with Banruo as that of sisters (姐妹 “jiěmèi”). We’ve seen that aside from actual biological sisters, this term is also used among wives of the same man, to refer to their “sisterly” relationship.

We know that Banruo isn’t actually Prince Yu’s concubine, but my mom theorizes that, judging from the way Prince Yu’s Consort uses the term, and how she tends to have a sense of discomfort about her whenever she comes upon Banruo in Prince Yu’s company, and also, judging from the way Banruo’s often seen massaging Prince Yu’s shoulders, and the way Prince Yu in turn holds her by the shoulders like in the screenshot above, it’s a reasonable conclusion that Banruo is something of an unofficial concubine of Prince Yu’s.

I thought that was really interesting, and it does blow my mind a little, that Banruo is willing to go this far, for so long, for the sake of her mission.

On another note, now that Prince Yu is aware that Consort Jing has erected a secret memorial tablet for Consort Chen, I do wonder what he’s going to do with that information.

I’m not especially worried for Consort Jing, because I’m assuming that the Emperor will protect her, since he’s the one who’d asked her to create this memorial tablet in the first place. However, there is that niggling thought, that the Emperor has been spoken of repeatedly as a cruel man, so there’s part of me that worries about whether he will pretend that he never asked Consort Jing to do this, and expect her to shoulder the blame for this on her own.

I find the conversation between Marquis Yan and Xia Jiang fascinating, not least because it gives us a glimpse into Xia Jiang’s past, as well as his character, as a person.

I don’t know why, but I’d never thought that Xia Jiang had a family. I suppose, because he comes across as such a dedicated villain type, I just assumed that he wouldn’t be into the idea of having a family. And as it turns out, I’m not entirely wrong about that.

What an interesting reveal, that Xia Jiang’s wife had saved Princess Xuanji from slavery and taken her in, only to be heartbroken by her husband’s growing connection with Princess Xuanji. Xia Jiang must have been very involved with Princess Xuanji indeed, for his wife to have taken their young son and run away, because she’d given up hope of getting her husband back.

It really is very telling, that when Marquis Yan hints that he knows the whereabouts of the person Xia Jiang cares about the most, Xia Jiang only cares to ask for information about his son, but not his wife. I guess he never felt sorry for treating her the way he did? Did he really consider Princess Xuanji his One True Love, then? Or.. is he his own true love, because he is too selfish to truly care about anyone other than himself..?

I thought that Marquis Yan does a solid job of playing dumb, when Xia Jiang outright accuses him of collaborating with Prince Jing, to break Wei Zheng out of Xuanjing Bureau.

What a terrible reveal, though, that Wei Zheng has been removed from Xuanjing Bureau, and in his place, Xia Jiang’s had explosives installed, ready to blow up the entire place, along with the people who are storming the place in order to rescue Wei Zheng. Yikes. No wonder Xia Jiang looks to be in no hurry at all to return to Xuanjing Bureau, despite guessing correctly that Marquis Yan’s deliberately brought him out of the Capital, to pave the way for Wei Zheng’s rescue.

Marquis Yan’s observation, that Xia Jiang has no care for whether Xia Dong lives or dies, is eerily spot on. Even though Xia Dong is a disciple that he’s kept by his side for many years since her youth, I absolutely wouldn’t put it past Xia Jiang to see her as necessary collateral damage. Plus, he hadn’t hesitated to kill her husband in the past, when it had served his purpose. Why wouldn’t he do the same to her now, since it serves his purpose, and he’s lost trust in her anyway?

Meanwhile, Jingyan and Mei Changsu can do nothing but wait for news of how their plan has unfolded. Eep. If they only knew about the terrible trap that Xia Jiang has set. 🙈

Episode 36

Well. Things certainly didn’t unfold the way I’d expected. I think I’m as surprised as Xia Jiang himself, heh.

I’m majorly impressed, of course. To think that Mei Changsu had anticipated that Xia Jiang wouldn’t risk Prince Jing actually being successful in rescuing Wei Zheng from Xuanjing Bureau, and would therefore have Wei Zheng moved, to ensure Prince Jing’s failure, no matter how deep into Xuanjing Bureau his men managed to get.

Now that I think about it, it makes complete sense, that Xia Jiang would move Wei Zheng, and it’s really clever of Mei Changsu, to stage the attack in a way that would convey that the attack on Xuanjing Bureau itself, was just a distraction – thus leading Xia Jiang’s side to quickly check on Wei Zheng, at his actual location. It’s brilliant.

The thing that shocks me the most about Xia Jiang’s plan, which he reveals to Marquis Yan with such condescending satisfaction, is that he would literally kill an entire multitude of people, in order to pin the crime of breaking Wei Zheng out of prison on Prince Jing – even if Prince Jing really was completely innocent. How evil. 😳 That blows my mind, seriously.

I do love that Yujin thinks to hide Xia Jiang’s and Xia Chun’s horses, making it necessary for them to run toward the Capital gates on foot. Muahaha. That feels like a great little punishment for Xia Jiang, for acting in such a high and mighty manner around Marquis Yan. Such great thinking, on Yujin’s part!

On the thing about the special rock that pleases the Emperor so much, the characters that they see etched within the natural lines of the rock, are 梁聖 (liáng shèng), which means Sacred Liang. In Simplified Chinese, the characters look like this: 梁圣. I should probably also mention that traditionally, Chinese is read from left to right right to left (thanks Elaine, for pointing out my typo! 😅) which is why, in the dialogue, they refer to the rock as containing the characters 梁聖 and not 聖梁.

I have to admit, I got quite a bit of satisfaction from seeing Xia Jiang all mussed up, with his hair in disarray; it really makes him look like he’s been defeated, and is at his wits’ end.

However, I don’t think very well of the Emperor, for being so quick to jump on the theory jointly suggested by Xia Jiang and Prince Yu, that Prince Jing is the one behind Wei Zheng’s jailbreak. After all, there is no evidence to support their claims.

I’m impressed with the way Jingyan handles the interrogation by the Emperor and Xia Jiang. He stays calm throughout, and everything that he says is reasonable and logical; even the Emperor has to admit that Jingyan makes some kind of sense, when Jingyan points out that he would need a huge secret army, if he were to be able to successfully penetrate the likes of Xuanjing Bureau.

Prince Yu is so sneaky, to have the Empress report on Consort Jing’s treasonous act, right when the Emperor is feeling so vexed on the matter of Wei Zheng’s escape.

The Emperor’s reaction is heated and emotional, mostly because he’s already angry and upset to begin with. I hate that he goes ahead to kick Jingyan, and does so repeatedly, even though he himself has admitted that there is no evidence to prove Jingyan’s involvement, and Jingyan’s defense is reasonable. I’d say that the Emperor’s reaction is most UNreasonable. Huh.

As a matter of interest, the phrase that the Emperor keeps saying, as he kicks Jingyan, is 狼心狗肺 (lángxīngǒufèi). My subs translate this as ungrateful, which is not wrong, but I just thought you guys would find it interesting to know that the phrase literally translates as “wolf heart dog lung,” meaning to say that the person on whom this phrase is used, possesses the heart of a wolf, and the lungs of a dog. This saying is used to refer to a person who is unusually cold and cruel. There’s a legend behind this saying, which I thought you guys would find interesting. You can read about it here.

I hope the Emperor doesn’t punish Consort Jing, because, after all, he’s the reason that that memorial tablet even exists, and I also hope Jingyan successfully weathers the storm of accusation that’s swirling around him right now, while staying calm and aggravatingly reasonable. For now, I’m guessing that Grand Prince Ji’s witnessing of Xia Dong bundling Wei Zheng into the carriage, was orchestrated in order to point the finger back at Xuanjing Bureau, and thus, Xia Jiang himself. Ooh. That could be an interesting turn of events, no?

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phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago

Character Reference Guide
(In order of appearance and description is based on their place in drama at time of appearance)
Episode 34

  • -Prince Yingting/Prince Ning – one of Consort Hui two sons, played by one of the Art Directors of the drama

Episode 35

  • Taoist Master Wen – previously seen in E13, head of the Hanzhong Temple

———————————————-
Places/Sects Reference Guide (in order of appearance)
Episode 35

  • -Hanzhong Temple – a Taoist temple near Jingling where Xia Jiang meets Marquis Yan for tea

Episode 36

  • -Dengjia Alley Location of Gong Yu’s new residence after Miaoyin Court was closed. Prince Ji witnesses Xia Dong and Wei Zheng in this alley.
  • Grand Court of Review was also known in the novel as the Imperial Court of Justice – where prisoner Wei Zheng was kept
Last edited 1 month ago by phl1rxd
phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago

As always Fangurl, this is a great review, I really appreciate the backstory on the rock. Loved the links to “wolf heart dog lung,” Filing these!

E34 – To hear Prince Jing say that it is better that he goes to Xia Dong for help with the rescue attempt because MCS has no involvement in the matter of the past made me feel so sad. 😞 Thanks for the explanation on the words Fangurl.

Bye Bye to the Crown Prince who is finally gone, 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️banished to one of the provinces. Prince Jing officially gets bestowed the Seven Pearl Crown status. This means a promotion for Consort Jing as well who now gets to sit near the Emperor. whenever he holds events, wearing her new headdress signifying her new status.

Prince Yu is not pleased and we are getting a clear view of his personality so like his father. These are two insecure human beings.

We catch a quick glimpse of Xia Dong returning.

Consort Jing finds out that the eunuch who assisted Xiao Xin to leave the Palace has quickly been disposed of and hmmm. 🤔 She also inquiries about the health of Xiao Xin, the maid who made Prince Jing so mad. We see her rub her fingers together just like MCS. Consort Jing has set up a memorial tablet for her best friend Consort Chen. Is she setting up Xiao Xin?

I love that new gorgeous bronze cloak that Jingmom wears when she visits Consort Hui. We get to meet her son Prince Jingting/Prince Ning who is being played by one of the Art Directors of the drama. You can spot him in some of the BTS videos in street clothes.

Fei Liu loves his sweets. Can anyone confirm that Taishi cake is also called Moon cake? MCS dotes on Fei Liu here and I wish we could see more of how he treated him in the novel. MCS literally babies him to the point of ridiculousness.  😙 

The New Year’s Eve celebration is come round again. Emperor mentions Liu Cheng also known as the Grand Secretariat in the novel – he is the cute little old man who makes the Emperor laugh. He is adorable – remember him.

Xia Dong brings food to prisoner Wei Zheng and I think Wei Zheng looks absolutely magnificent with his hair loose. Props to the hair and makeup folks for this! I am a sucker for a man with long flowing black hair.

Oops – looks like 4th Sister and Xiao Xin are under Xia Xiang.

Looks like all is in order and I cannot wait to see what MCS has cooked up to keep us on the edge of our seats:

E34 Recap

  • -MCS visits Marquis Yan and Yujin to get their assistance which we will see soon. Marquis Yan seems to have gotten the pep back in his step which I love to see.
  • -Looks like Lin Shu was not a very patient young man with his younger relations and that Jingrui always loved him the most. 💔

DID YOU KNOW…

  • -Here is what the novel says about the robbery: It turned out that a few bandits roaming outside had taken advantage of the New Year celebrations to sneak into the capital to pull off a grand heist. The night before, they had broken into the homes of several high-ranking officials and nobles in succession, stealing jewelry and treasure. Even the fire phoenix beads in Bao Guang Pavillion, a tribute from Ye Guo (a small country along the Silk Road) had been stolen. Source
  • -The novel states that the Crown Prince was in power for 10 years

——————————————————————–
E35 – Prince Yu’s wife, Princess Consort Yu, lets Prince Yu know about the memorial tablet and he is almost giddy with delight over his new weapon against Prince Jing. 

When Yujin visits Prince Ji it is important to take note of the mention of Prince Yu’s brother-in-law Zhu Yue. Yujin is so good in this scene!

MCS outlines the steps in more detail. He will plant the robber outside of the Bureau and create a commotion with the Capital Patrol allowing Chief Tianshu’s men to escape. I do not know about you but I am getting really, really nervous…😟

Xia Jiang sends Prince Yu to the palace with a gift for his father as an excuse to await the news.

In the early morning Marquis Yan (with Yujin) arrives at the Hanzhong Temple where we again meet the adorable Taoist Master Wen (who was last seen in E13 arranging the wick for the bomb in the sacrificial altar). When Xia Jiang and Xia Chun arrive, take note of the verbal dig he gets in by mentioning that if Xia Jiang’s son was there he too would be the same as Yujin. Here I would like to comment on how beautiful the tea serving was. Marquis Yan’s actions are skilled.

Their conversation is pretty important. Marquis Yan hands it to Xia Jiang and berates him. Wow – so Xia Jiang had an affair with that leader of the Hua Zu, Princess Xuanji and his wife and son left him because of his infidelity. That explains his connection to Banruo and 4th sister.

The site of that single stick of incense burning is so masterful. Thank you Fangurl for using that picture in your post!

Marquis Yan tells Xia Jiang that his son is dead and actor Wang Yong Quan nails the emotional response. You can see multiple emptions flashing in his eyes. These are two great and solid actors honing their craft just for us. Marquis Yan laughs at Xia Jiang’s suspicions. When Xia Jiang reviews his plan Marquis Yan shows a bit of concern. Looks like Xia Jiang has it all figured out according to his own mind and his plans to set off bombs and kill Xia Dong and the rescuers.

Xia Dong lets in Chief Su Tianshu’s crew and they go to work…..

Recap E35

  • -I struggle telling Xia Qiu and Xia Chun apart (they are both quite handsome) and thank goodness one is taller than the other
  • – Xia Jiang is so, so bad 😈

DID YOU KNOW…

  • When Yujin went to visit Prince Ji he was dressed exquisitely and all the Capital Guards noticed him. He was a picture of style and grace.

——————————————————————–
E36 – Marquis Yan continues to read Xia Jiang the riot act and even Xia Chun is concerned about his Shifu’s attitude toward Xia Dong.

In the meantime the plan goes as proposed with the rescuers almost getting to the jails before promptly leaving and Xia Jiang knows he has failed to comprehend the scope of what is happening. He rushes to the Imperial Court of Justice which is run by Zhu Yue, the brother of Consort Yu/Lanjin so he is the Prince Yu’s brother in law. He has Wei Zheng locked up there.

But the key rescuers have followed him and here we see Fei Liu in all his glory!! This smack down is glorious. Here is some information on this fight from the novel: Xia Jiang simply could not believe that the person [Fei Liu] who had applied such overwhelming force on him just a moment ago, was actually so young, but he was forced to believe it when the second wave offensive followed quickly in succession. Such vicious and cunning moves, with an internal force that was mingled with a warm and sunny disposition, two completely different types of martial arts contained in one person, made one feel decidedly strange, so strange that one loses confidence when fighting against him. Source Fei Liu had a bit of fun, although not as much has he would have liked.

Xia JIang – you have been played! Chief Su Tianshu has managed to get his adopted son Wei Zheng out of the prison.

Xia Jiang rushes to the Liang Emperor with his disheveled appearance and attempt to fan high the flames of anger of this overly suspicious Emperor. How is he going to get out of taking this prisoner out of the Bureau? Pay close attention to MCS when he asks what will Xia Jiang’s next moves be?

I just love Chief Secretariat Liu Cheng talking about the rock – what a little doll!

In the novel MCS explains to Prince Jing why Xia Jiang moved Wei Zheng to Prince Jing: “Because Xia Jiang didn’t intend only to hold on to Wei Zheng,” Mei Changsu smiled coldly, “His primary objective was to seduce Your Highness into taking action. If he had kept the place heavily guarded, the hopes for success would have been so slim that Your Highness would have been unable to act. Then what would have been the point of capturing Wei Zheng? For him, Wei Zheng wasn’t that important. He had merely lost a Chiyu Battalion Deputy General. It was Your Highness’s inability to just sit by and watch Wei Zheng be executed that made him important….Although Xia Jiang knew that Your Highness would definitely not just look on without acting, he was uncertain of how much you would actually be able to accomplish. Whether or not Your Highness would shrink back if he had taken precautions to make Xuanjing Bureau impenetrable, these are questions that Xia Jiang had to take into consideration. If all he wanted to do was hold on to Wei Zheng, I would have been at [my] wit’s end. Because his motives were so complicated, the matter also became complicated, but no matter how shrewd and clever his game was, it could be deciphered. What I was afraid of was that he had no game plan at all.” Source

Prince Ji is really a cool dude and he can afford to be as he has tons of money and influence. What he does not have and does not want is political power. When he visits Fairy Gong Yu who is now living on Dengjia Alley he sees something important. Looks like Xia Dong has control of prisoner Wei Zheng. Hmmm…

Now I do have to stop and say that Prince Jing has learned quite a lot from MCS. He totally takes care of his stance in this slanted discussion and even goes on the attack pursuing a line of questions that makes Xia Xiang confess that the prisoner was moved. I am pretty impressed.

Recap E36

  • -Poor Fei Liu is not getting enough martial arts practice
  • -I cannot help but wonder how far Xia Jiang will go to revenge this. I am filled with dread. 😖

DID YOU KNOW…

  • -The two poisons used by the rescuers at Xuanjing Bureau were “poison powder worms” and “smoke-inducing powder balls”
  • -The novel says that the journey from the Taoist Hanzhong Temple back to the city took three hours
  • -The scene in the temple tea room and that scene in the novel are almost identical
  • In the novel Fei Liu and Xia Jiang’s fight occurs outside the prison cell holding Wei Zheng I prefer the drama version especially when Fei Liu kicks him to the post!
  • -Prince Yu did not have to fake surprise when Xia Jiang announced that the prisoner was abducted. He was truly shook up that it was a success.
  • -The Grand Court of Review was also known as the Imperial Court of Justice.
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[…] | E4-6 | E7-9 | E10-12 | E13-15 | E16-18 | E19-21 | E22-24 | E25-27 | E28-30 | E31-33 | E34-36 | E37-39 | E40-42 | E43-45 | E46-48 | E49-51 | […]

beez
1 month ago

@BE – That’s probably a wise choice. 😉

beez
1 month ago

@BE – Well, it’s be his choice, of course. 😉

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

I can think of many snappy comebacks @beez, but I don’t think I should touch upon it.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

One thing I’ve noticed and find slightly surprising is how absolutely firm the Emperor’s grip on power seems to be. Aside from a couple of mentions of possible threats from outside, there seems to be no discussion of actually carrying out an all-out coup. And inside the palace, everybody to a person is completely deferential (at least to Big Daddy’s face). Seen in this light, MCS’s plan, focusing on succession instead of upheaval, seems absolutely conservative.

Of course, Show could well have other ideas that will arise when we least expect it.

beez
1 month ago

@Ele Nash – I shouldn’t have said “the credits change”. I’m trying to see if you meant the clips during the closing credits change (are different each episode). (Although I’ll find out what you mean the next time I watch.) 😉

beez
1 month ago

@Ele Nash – I didn’t realize that they use different shots for the ending credits on every episode! That’s what comes of fast-forwarding thru…

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

Oh no,@beez, the credits don’t change with each ep, I meant that the clips used are spread over the whole series so for thirty episodes I’ve been waiting to see when Xia Jiang looks all turtle-necked 😆

beez
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Hey! While my answer isn’t under the comment I’m responding to, it didn’t float to the top either! That’s progress!

beez
1 month ago

@Ele Nash – Darn it! I got all excited when I first read “Meng Moments” as I was picturing comments listing his various ways of being hawt (like the way he looks in his armored helmet; the way he sits a horse; the sexy way he throws back his head when he laughs; the sound of his laugh, etc.) But then I realized you’re talking about Meng befuddledness. 😞

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

I will literally create Meng Moments just for you, @beez, as I lurve him too and find his befuddledness adorable – and familiar as I am regularly equally confused… Here’s a great Meng Moment right here 😋

Meng.jpg
beez
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Awwww. But that’s not sexy. Bubba is in pain 😥. I’m gone have to talk to this Emperor cause of there’s any spanking of Meng Bean to be done… I’ll just have to roll up my sleeves and handle it.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

Jeez @beez the least you could do for the man is apply some ointment. More spanking? I guess you don’t figure the man has outgrown the kinky yet.

beez
1 month ago

@GEO -LIKED –

Ele Nash
1 month ago

On a maybe random note, does anyone else always watch the end credits? I’ve got totally hooked on the song. And I appreciate show’s efforts with their choice of little cropped scenes to accompany the credits. I was waiting for the scene they use of Xia Jiang, where he cranes his neck around like a very shocked turtle 🐢 and it was from that last episode, when he realises he’s led Jingy’s men straight to Wei Zheng! Love it. My favourite clip they use, though, is that bit after Mei Changsu hollered “Xiao Jingyan!” and walks up behind him in the snow. His face is a picture of longing, upset, fear 😍 My husband thinks I’m weird for watching the credits of every episode of every show but, well, tough because to me they set the tone and eke out the enjoyment I had watching. I almost always love them and NIF’s are, in my opinion, excellent.

J3ffc
J3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I am usually an opening and closing credit fanatic and am disappointed when they are not present (often the case on Viki shows in the US), but I’ve not watched all of these just because I’m having to squeeze everything in these days. I just happened to last night, though, and was struck by the butterfly (or moth? I’m terrible at entomology) in the opener – perhaps a metaphor for MCS’s transformation in fire (I assume from title)?

On a related topic, I really have enjoyed the classic, 40-50’s movie-style scoring of this drama. And the sparing use of actual songs, so that they are more meaningful when they arise. I can right now think of the one love theme between MCS and the Princess and

TINY MUSIC SPOILER FROM NEXT EPISODE
There is even an expository song in the next episode

Last edited 1 month ago by kfangurl
J3ffc
J3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

Sorry, I failed at using the spoiler feature. [Fei Liu grunts in disgust!]

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks so much, kfangurl! I will stash this away for future reference.

CHECKING
It works! Yay!

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

I’ve resisted your spoiler (Fei Liu satisfied nod of approval) but agree, the music is just right.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

Viki will automatically skip the credits but during the 10 second count down to the next episode you can press the “X” button on the top right corner, which will then show the end credits. I find it a bit spoilery to see those clips in the end credits but agree the song is excellent! Hu Ge is multi talented indeed. Liu Tao and Wang Kai also sing excellent songs but their music videos are even more spoiler-ific so I won’t post the links.

Geo
Geo
1 month ago

If there was ever a doubt MCS was worthy of being called a “Divine Talent”, it’s all dispelled in these three episodes. His plan to rescue Wei Zheng, an almost impossible mission, is a masterpiece of feints, misdirection and timing, fuelled by his understanding of Xia Jang, his most deadly opponent to date and almost his equal in strategic thinking. The creation of the thief in the city, necessitating increased patrols especially around Xia Jang’s headquarters, convince Xia Jang a rescue is being planned and Xia Jang, ever the master planner, goes for the overkill, hoping to kill Prince Jing with the bomb while moving Wei Zheng so even if they survive, he still has Wei Zheng. Taking no chances. Xia Jang, realises as long as Prince Jing is alive and a potential heir to the throne, he is not safe because of his role in the Chiyan army massacre. It is life and death for him.

But despite the success of MCS’ rescue plan, it’s not over yet. This situation is more precarious than the one involving Marquis Xie because after the birthday party reveal, Marquis Xie was essentially done for and was no longer a serious opponent. In this case, Xia Jang is still around, has access to tremendous resources, and in league with Prince Xu will no doubt be forming more plots against Prince Jing and by extension, MCS.

I think Xia Jang must suspect a sharper mind than Prince Jing developed the rescue plan and more importantly, coached Prince Jing on the line of defence he adopts when faced with accusations from Prince Yu and Xia Jang; it’s fair to say Xia Jang looks perplexed by this “new” Prince Jing who, instead of being a “water buffalo”, coolly handles all the accusations and turns the arguments around so effectively that even the Emperor is swayed. And this is all MCS is seeking to accomplish, confusion and uncertainty.

It was very difficult to stop here just as Consort Jing is facing a serious situation.

beez
1 month ago

@Natalia – about your question regarding Consort King previously not being among three Emperor’s favorites. I can only suppose that Consort Jing is not a freak wink-wink if you know what I mean. But now that the Emperor is older and less in need of the kinky, he’s valuing the peace and calm (and uninterrupted sleep) that’s provided in Consort Jing’s tea, incense and presence. winkity-wink-wink-wink

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

Lol older and less in need of the kinky!

Natalia
Natalia
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

Beez, that is a very good point… Very realistic one, too!

beez
1 month ago

@BE – Prince Jing does have my respect! No better emperor material. But I still think he’s predictable in his actions/emotions where the Prince Qui-Chiyan Army injustice- tragedy is concerns.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: just note what happens when Jing is left out of the loop and contrast that with when he is in on it.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago

I tried to comment posting a silly pic but it seems to have disappeared! It might randomly turn up later. Never mind, here’s another silly pic!

tumblr_p5328m7Kwt1utcu5bo2_540.jpg
Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

And another! Too cute not to share.

tumblr_23978e9b3e9d2cda870e315242c1d885_9243cd01_540.jpg
Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago

Too cute not to share – Wu Lei (the actor for Fei Liu) was only 14 when he did NIF. He started off as a 5 year old child actor and at the time took a pic with Hu Ge! 10 years later they replicated the pic!

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine: Thanks for the pics, very cute. I appreciate the little nugget of info about the actor playing Fei Lu. These little extras add a lot to the group watch.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Trying again – pic of Hu Ge carrying Wu Lei

SmartSelect_20210812-080853_Chrome.jpg
Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Apologies that it’s so low resolution. I had to take a screenshot as my browser said the original pic was not safe to download.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Oh my gosh, adorable!! Thanks, Elaine!

Melka
Melka
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Such a cute pic. Leo Wu (Fei Liu) played the child version of Hu Ge (MCS) in flashbacks in The Young Warriors, the same series in which Chen Long (Meng Zhi) played Hu Ge’s older brother. Small world! After it was mentioned in another thread, I went back to that series, they all look so young! I remember watching the series on TV, and hadn’t made the connections at all. I must say, everyone has aged very, very handsomely.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Ah that probably explains why the three of them took so many funny pics together – they have the last working bond, whereas I could find hardly any for Wang Kai and Hu Ge.

tumblr_p5328m7Kwt1utcu5bo1_540.jpg
Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

I heart Meng and Xiao Shu bromance

2015 NIF BTS 11.jpg
Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

The only two fun pics I could find of Jingy and Xiao Shu

1517481778-tpEgSHYKTJ.jpg
Melka
Melka
1 month ago

“You were the one who killed most of our friends in the capital back then. I’m the only person left alive.”

Marquis Yan has balls of steel to deliver this line so calmly, while facing a sociopath who can easily kill him. The first time I watched NiF, I sort of skimmed over Marquis Yan’s meeting with Xia Jiang, it was so obviously a diversion. But over time, I realized it offered incredible exposition, not only about Xia Jiang, but everything about the past. The entire confrontation is tinged with such danger and menace. Such a casual statement, made me truly wonder, how the hell did he stand engaging him in conversation for so long?

Taking apart their encounter step by step, line by line, from the very beginning, they manipulated each other so masterfully with nothing but words. Xia Jiang comparing Yujin to Marquis Yan’s past self (hard to imagine!), Yan’s not so subtle dig, that if Xia Jiang’s son was around, he would have been Yujin’s age. Ouch.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Ooh yes, Marquis Yan is badass.

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

@Melka: Like you, on my first watch, I totally glossed over the dialogue between Marquis Yan and Xia Jang, I remember just being on tenterhooks wondering how MCS was going to pull off the rescue and not really taking in this conversation. However, this conversation is so much more than a diversion, it fills in a critical piece of Xia Jang’s history, explains his connection to the Hua people and exposes his corrupt soul to the viewer.

BE
BE
1 month ago

Again the lucidity K. You are such a marvel. I tend to agree with you the idea that some shooting star in the east could accomplish what the wine soaked womanizing whining about the Emperor during mourning period for the Dowager’s passing seems, I dunno, a bit cheap. But NIF is the case of how a show that is great can be great despite its flaws, whereas a mediocre show’s holes in its fabric, no matter how minute, are startlingly glaring.
It does seem, too, that Jing, who I will repeat is nobody’s fool, no even his own, seems to have more and more items lined up in the awkward wtf column vis a vis MCS, and they must certainly be adding up. But it struck me more that once he has now come to his senses, he is absolutely accurate that (especially since their mutually overheard dungeon convo between Xia Jiang and the Marquis) he was a far better choice to convince Xia Dong of what certainly seems like a possibly suicidal mission because of their mutually shared sense of loss. We have not seen a single scene, except perhaps at her husband’s gravesite, in which Xia Dong has not been exceedingly skeptical of MCS, especially in his willingness to sacrifice others to his cause, whereas it is clear she must have suffered considerable remorse insofar as her previous attitude had been about Jing’s remaining allegiance to Prince Qi and Lin Shu, not to mention their shared and extremely unjust losses. And it did also strike me how diplomatically Jing put the whole to MCS.
Of all the ironies, and show is a marvel at its use of dramatic irony, the Emperor kicking Jing and saying of him “the heart of a wolf, the lungs of a dog” (isn’t it interesting that insulting phrases are often among a language’s most flavorful usages?). Ah shoe, meet other foot.

Thanks again K, you solid sender.

PS I believe I speak for everyone when I say as much as all of us love Consort Jing to bits, that Marquis Yan, he is our man!

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

The “heart of a wolf, lungs of a dog” idiom is such an amusing-sounding insult – though having read kfangurl’s link, it is actually quite disparaging. Add in the kicking, and I expect poor Prince Jing felt properly put out! To be fair to the Emperor, Prince Jing is guilty as charged in this particular ‘crime’ and, you know, Xia Jiang has woven quite a meticulous web of lies over the years that’s totally blinded the Emperor so the Emperor is only acting on his ‘truth’. Sure, you want your Emperor to be more discerning, especially not executing his children on the word of one man and his ‘evidence’. But, well, he’d fooled Xia Dong, hadn’t he? And she’s meant to be an ace detective, right? So, what are you going to do? Oh, right, Mei Changsu is what you do, strategising with his cough-cough breath to put right Xia Jiang’s wicked wrongs…

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Just mean this: emperor is the where the buck stops when it came to Chinyan massacre. Who is the wolf heart, dog lung man vis a vis Jing & Pops really?

GuruGulabKhatri
GuruGulabKhatri
1 month ago

If there ever has been any incentive for me to start learning chess, it is right here!

Ele Nash
1 month ago

Oh my god, and I thought I was being all too into my melodrama when I said I bet Xia Jiang and Princess-if-she’s-even-really-dead-Xuanji had “a thing”, but, lo, they really did 😆 I knew it!! Why else would he destroy the Chiyan Army other than to avenge his girl? He’s actually gone up in my estimation – though, poor wifey. Now, my melodramatic brain is guessing son is indeed not dead either…

So, I thought @BE’s mention that show errs on tell rather than show very true. I hafta say, I did glaze over a tad when Mei Changsu was relaying The Plan. So that meant I wasn’t really sure whether things were going to plan or not as Xia Jiang – oh so self-satisfied – told our very gentle Marquis Yan (who I’ve grown super fond of) about the bomb. Like @Trent, I felt tense but also fairly sure Mei Changsu would have factored in Xia Jiang’s lunacy and utter disregard for life.

I did enjoy seeing Xia Jiang unravel – and thought the credit he attributes to Prince Jing for devising The Plan based on military tactics intriguing. He clearly holds Jingy in quite high, grudging regard. I felt sure he’d realise someone else must be helping Jingy, to outsmart him in such a way.

The Emperor totally sucks. I hated that he believes Xia Jiang so readily and then kicks Jingy – pfff! Lousy. I did laugh outright at Prince Yu’s reaction to Xia Jiang’s I-can’t-say-who-I-suspect-but-oh-go-on-then-it’s-Prince-Jing reveal 😂 He was so bad at acting scandalised! It’s always amusing to me when actors have to act like bad actors!

And thank you, kfangurl, for explaining what Xia Dong was doing! I admit I was totally Meng on that plotline.

Anyway, surely the Emperor won’t abandon our Mama Jing, right?! He can’t be that terrible, right? Oh, right 🙄

Leslie A Larocca
Leslie A Larocca
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele, you are an expert at seeing around dramatic corners! I love it.

Ele Nash
1 month ago

I wonder if I’m just overly suspicious! 🤔 It was early exposure to Dallas that did it! No one is actually dead. No one is immune to a fling. No one is who they think they are. And – most important drama lesson – no one’s parents are actually their parents 😂

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

You have not mentioned amnesia. Amnesia is THE essential bleaching ingredient in clothing detergents to take out the stains of plotting ridiculousness.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Ah, @BE, I was experiencing amnesia when I wrote it 😊

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

🤣😅😂😃

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

🤣😅😄😂

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I believe the affair between the shifty shiffies was discussed several episodes past, at least when the 4th sister on the 12th night was conscripted as Tong Lu heartbreaker.
Oh, and just asking anyone posting here, but I have been for a long time now been apprised that the number 4 is NOT a number anyone in their right mind would want attached to their identity.
None of all that, seeming to have been the departure point for XJ, where the man went wrong way back when, cherchez la femme fatale and all, necessarily, just saying, portends Banruo love child status, particularly as I mentioned in previous post, the young woman does not seem to have inherited Xia Jiang’s otherworldly good looks or speaking voice.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Did they really discuss it? Oh. So I’m not a super-sleuth, then 😶 Still, I’m going to stick to my wilder prediction that Xia Jiang and Princess-not-dead-but-alive-and-secretly-conspiring-with-still-smitten-Xia-Jiang-Xuanji are Banruo’s parents – she inherited her mama’s good looks (princesses, don’t you know, are always beautiful) and her pa’s ruthless cunning… 😉

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Nope I don’t remember an affair being talked about in the 4th sister recruitment. By the way yes, number 4 is unlucky to the Chinese as it sounds similar to the word for “dead/die”. But if you are the 4th sister in sequence (of birth/discipleship) then so be it, numerical accuracy trumps superstition.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

It was raised some time previously.
@ph1lrxd: do you recall this? or was I just remembering from a previous watch.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

BE – I got hit with a major rush job Tuesday AM and will be out of commission for a few days. I would need to check for you. When I get out from under this crazy workload I will find the reference for you. Give me a few days. 😟 Thanks BE!

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

: thanks, I think you will find something because I believe this was noted in one of our earlier posts, and when you get to take time for musical breaks you might check out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfBKHX3V97Q
and then if you are unfamiliar with the Fuentes label from Colombia just follow your nose toward your own set of tastes, the above being a distinctly derivative piece from Congolese style dance music, my kinda thing, quite popular in Colombia. Fuentes, one of the world’s great “salsero” labels, like Fania in the states has a house band with a raft of musicians, stars in their own right, that fronts a whole raft of shifting groups and latin/caribbean styles.

And then from Senegal I would also recommend Super Cayor de Dakar, especially, “Capitale de la Region,” but anything really from their Sopente album. FYI for your musical break times.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

BE – Now I am out from all that workload whew – I have all of Fruko y Su Teso’s music. 😀 El Preso es mi favorite. Loved your link and at 3:08 is the time to holler “Wepa!”, jump to your feet and start dancing. As for Capitale de la Region – now that is a great Cha-Cha piece. I will check out their album.

Now to research the question above….🤔

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele: I don’t remember it being discussed either, something I’ll have to remember to look out for on my next watch of the show.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo How many times have you watched this show? I have shows I could / have watched over and over. I can see how NIF would take several watches to catch all the multitude of details – but am thinking, because of the group watch, I’m making far better sense of it than I otherwise would have on my own.
I’m thinking of listing all my “Meng Moments” where kfangurl and all of you have explained what’s going on 😆

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele: This is my second watch, about 3 months after my first watch while the group was watching Money Flower. But even with the first watch being very recent, I’m still discovering many things I either just overlooked or missed the first time. However, I think the group watch is a fantastic way for your first viewing because you’ll get so much more about the show from KFG and other viewers.

I have a new appreciation for Meng after all the oohing and aahing by beez et al, lol. I was pretty impatient with him the first time.

beez
1 month ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – my job is partially done. 😊

beez
1 month ago
Reply to  Geo

– FYI the system is now allowing me to “like” a person’s comments multiple times. Previously, I had to hit the like bottom 3 times before it would light up letting me know that I had succeeded in looking a comment. But just now I realized that it had registered by “like” and increased the number on Geo’s post to 4, all by me (I think)

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Haha OMG indeed for your Melodramatic brain!

Natalia
Natalia
1 month ago

Good morning everyone! (well it’s morning for me…)

I will be honest with you: I found this set of episodes somehow boring, until the middle of episode 36, when it got very interesting, ep. 36 ended on a cliffhanger, so I just had to watch ep. 37 too, which also ended on a cliffhanger, and I had to watch a part of ep. 38, and it was really difficult to stop as I should to be able to get up for work this morning!

My random thoughts on episodes 34-36 (I am not going to spoil anything, don’t worry):

  • Of course, I had not realized that it was MCS that was behind the burglaries in the capital, with a view to giving Jing a pretext to have his patrols posted all over the town.
  • You were all right, the maid was a traitor and not one lured by money or whatever, but an actual sister of Banruo’s sorority of spies/assassins etc. Wasn’t expecting that either. She seemed like a dumb pumpkin to me, but I guess she wasn’t the one being dumb here…
  • Jingyan’s new wardrobe is splendid.
  • I love Marquis Yan. And his hairpin looks utterly lethal. I was completely mesmerized by it during his tete-a-tete with Xia Jiang. Who has always been a real jerk, apparently.
  • I really can’t imagine what’s Grand Prince Ji’s connection to all that. It is obvious that Yujin and Gong Yu organized the whole thing so that he would see Xia Dong and the fugitive in the back alley, but why?? Could be what you suggest, K, but then, wouldn’t that put Xia Dong in danger both from Darth Jiang and from the Emperor?
  • Speaking of Gong Yu, I wish the director or someone would give her come clues on fake-playing all the instruments she’s playing, I mean it’s quite ridiculous and does not live up to the show’s general high qualities.
  • Jingyan’s reaction to the interrogation was stellar, I wasn’t expecting him to be so cool.
  • We gotta love the actor playing Prince Yu, he’s really good.
  • I was very angry at the Emperor for the kicking incident, I hope he will regret it soon. He’s a pretty clever person, after all.
  • Thanks for the wolf heart explanation!
BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Natalia

I agree Victor Huang as Yu is terrific. His character, imo, is the far and away most complicated in show given to an amazingly large range of emotional and intellectual expressions. I don’t like Yu, but Victor Huang as Yu is astonishingly good.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

BE – I agree 100% with you on Victor Huang. He is fantastic in this.

Melka
Melka
1 month ago
Reply to  Natalia

Failing at fake playing musical instruments is practically a given in Chinese dramas. Doesn’t matter if it’s an ancient instrument or modern. So many times, I’ve seen actors put their lips to a wind instrument nowhere near the mouthpiece.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

As a former wind instrument player myself I wince at such scenes. It shouldn’t be hard to find YouTube videos of people playing the Qin or Erhu or Xiao (flute). I’m OK if the fingers don’t move exactly right according to the music as that’s hard to achieve but at least hold the instrument the correct way, move a bit with the music! Urgh!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

I agree Elaine and Melka – my only pet peeve with NIF.

BE
BE
1 month ago

Xia Dong is in the city!
Dumplings! A house full of jade and gold.

Dad Yan to Yu Jin: of all that perished back then, it was Lin Shu, flower of the empire, man among men, nineteen year old idol young Jingrui always trailed after, the one among them all whose passing carried the greatest weight.

Does it bother anyone else that coming into and going from the capital gates, everyone on horseback appears hell bent for leather?

In Marlon Brando’s great western, One Eyed Jacks, there is a scene in which Brando’s character grabs a villain by the neck, lifts him off the ground, and an inch from the fella’s nose, slowly word by word enunciates, “you scum sucking pig!” For the longest time I could not stop imagining a thought balloon just above barely restrained, long suffering Marquis Yan during his tete a tete with that old cement grinding, boiling over iron teapot Xia Jiang with just that remark being encapsulated.

And in re all my back and forth with everyone in the last post, from the beginning to the end of these three episodes, all I can say is, hey, how about that Seven Pearl Prince among Men, Xiao Jing Yan, R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Just sayin’.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Oh and I almost forgot about Xia Dong’s immaculate smoke bomb and insect mop up crew. Forget all the bodies just disappeared, but not even a single drop of blood on the ground. That was the single most fantastic bit in show to date.

J3ffc
J3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

I thought the boiling teapot was a great cinematic device, given the falsely calm demeanor in which that conversation was taking place.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

Yeah, it is touches like that which bring to life all the expository nature of the production.

Melka
Melka
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

I thought he was also using the boiling water and numerous tea refills as a way to track the time.

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

@Melka: I had the same thought too, his aim being to prevent Xia Jang from returning to the city before the first phase of the rescue was completed. Yujin made sure by letting their horses loose so they had to run/walk back to the city.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Great inference! Really like that connection.

J3ffc
J3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Could be! Stalling by beverage…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  J3ffc

🤣😅😂😄😃😀😁

Melka
Melka
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Xia Dong is an absolute badass. My heart absolutely melted for her, when she brought some New Years food for Wei Zheng and he addressed her ‘young wife’ [of Nie]. She had a brief flash of such vulnerability on her face!

I loved the reminiscing on the past. No one dares mention these supposed traitors, and here’s Marquis Yan, who isn’t afraid of talking about them, but finally processing his own grief.

I enjoy the over the top superlatives describing Lin Shu. I think I read somewhere in the novel that ppl were surprised about Prince Jing’s own sharp intelligence, and everyone tended to underestimate him because Lin Shu was just so brilliant, he made everyone else look dim.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Glad to see another here part of the Xia Dong fan club.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  Melka

Melka – you bring up an excellent point. Marquis Yan is in fact, working through his grief. He has kept it hidden and MCS has freed his soul from carrying these burdens of pain. He will now get the pep back in his step!

Yes Lin Shu was able to outshine everyone in his youth. He was the golden child and, frankly, could be a bit of a little shite. In all honesty the drama tends to dumb Jingy down a little. In the novel he is not ‘quite’ as dense as he appears in the drama.

manukajoe
manukajoe
1 month ago

I don’t have much to say about these episodes, except that I thought Consort Jing looked absolutely regal in red in Ep 34!

So the memorial tablet was there with the permission of the Emperor? I do recall them discussing something but I didn’t realise it was to be a secret something.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Yes top secret, it is verboten to talk about Consort Chen or give her a memorial tablet as she is considered a traitor along with her son Prince Qi. But because of the Emperor’s dreams, he asked Consort Jing to help him do something to remember Consort Chen. Ie a tablet.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Yeah, as a lady in red, well then!

Natalia
Natalia
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Oh a (very) shallow note, Consort Jing is so beautiful (and smart, and kind, and pleasant, and skilled, and…) that I really wonder (and I think I might have wrote this several times before) how on earth she was not a favourite so far.
And, by the way, where’s Noble Consort Yu? I wonder if we’ll ever see her and her incompetent son (that looks like an older brother) again.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Natalia

I think Emperor’s fancy was more on Consort Chen (whom he must have liked a lot to take her away from Marquis Yan and then to make her son the Crown Prince) as well as Consort Yue. Concubine Jing is so modest and low profile. Also Concubine Jing was likely tarred by association after the Chiyan controversy as she was from the Lin family (though not blood related to the Lins), along with Jingyan’s stubbornness in defying his father on the Chiyan judgment.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Natalia

Yue was not only the mother of the crown prince, but one must infer she knew how to do those old baby doll moves in the bedroom combined with a mastery of syrupy sweet and probably slightly filthy sweet nothing double entendres at the exact appropriate moments.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Ah haha true that!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

BE – and that, in a nutshell, is the whole story of Noble Consort Yu! 🤣😂😅

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago

Fourth Sister is having second thoughts, so I am curious how this will play out.

So Xia Jiang was involved with Princess Xuanji! The idea of Banruo being a love child from this union makes a lot of sense.

Mei Changsu outsmarting Xia Jiang was so cool!

Let’s hope that Consort Jing will get out of trouble.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

4th sister, 2nd thoughts, oh ho, Snow. Let’s hope, but nonetheless, talk about non plused, as with her choice of ear gear, the woman does not seem to need deodorant to come out of things smelling like a rose.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, she is an experienced spy, but even experienced spies can fall in love. If she does turn against Banruo though, her days will be numbered.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I was speaking of Consort Jing, sorry for lack of paragraph structure, separating #4 & Consort Jing.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Consort Jing is one cool mama!
I was pleasantly surprised by #4’s change of heart.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago

Xia Jiang’s plan, and MCS’ counter plan were both excellent! What a joy to see MCs defeat Xia Jiang so thoroughly, as they say in Chinese 落花流水。I was a bit surprised that Fei Liu defeated Xia Jiang so easily, I thought his martial arts skills were very high, but I saw a Chinese Youtuber explain that Xia Jiang and Xia Chun had to use up a lot of inner energy or Qi to run super fast back to the capital. Hence they were already tired and not in peak fighting condition. But I think we could have spent more time on that fight to make it more epic and not make Xia Jiang seem so old and pathetic!

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine–show is pretty long, but its narrative approach is often more tell than show. Still we can imagine Xia Jia and Tall Q hotfooting it down the mountain horse trail a few miles at a gallop, though all their martial art in fighting leads one to believe maybe they might have flown part of the way. That all the mind melt Yan performed on Xia Jiang’s chi probably tapped the old guy out a bit as well.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Yeah, that’s one of the few things I’d like to have improved, some short sequences to show instead of tell. Especially flashbacks to the past, the parents generation! How did Lin Xie and Marquis Yan (he’s our man!) get this Emperor to the throne? What was he like before he became corrupted?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Ah Elaine – I completely agree with this. I am hoping beyond hope that NIF3 is a prequel so we can get to see these moments! Just think about it…

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago

Great review as always Kfangurl, I guess your first watch was indeed so long ago that you are surprised once again by the twists, haha! I liked your sharing on 狼心狗肺。oh and minor point, on the 梁圣rock, did you mean to say traditional Chinese is read from *right to left* not left to right?

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Haha! One spy comedy series I like a lot, Chuck, has a joke where a character gets amnesia, and his friend envies him for having the unique experience of watching Star Wars (original trilogy) again for the first time ever. And then another friend comes along and delivers the key spoilers to the amnesiac friend hahahaha!

Geo
Geo
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

@KFG: I just watched NIF for the first time a few months ago, I think, and all the twists and sequence of events are still like new though I remember the general thrust of the show. It’s a bit embarrassing but I realize I missed so much the first time.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Geo

So much is dropped in surreptitiously. Part of why I think this group watch set of posts will be a hook for future warchers to hang their hat on for some time to come. The production company ought to fund K’s tech support for the next year on the service these posts provide it/them!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Here here BE! What a great idea.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  Geo

Hey Geo – do not feel bad as I am still picking things up on my 11th watch. 🙄😏

Trent
1 month ago

Ahh. This is a great set of episodes, seriously. A lot of times straight court politics dramas tend to make my eyes glaze over because I just don’t feel invested in the stakes, but here I’m fully into it, and I found all the maneuvering and stroke-counterstroke and trying to anticipate what was happening and going to happen to be very edge-of-your-seat stuff.

I’m really impressed with our divine talent here: it was genuinely a bit scary to see Xia Jiang so unruffled, sitting in the Daoist retreat and radiating such an “I’m a super-genius super-villain, of course I am three steps ahead of your pitiful attempts to outsmart me” vibe. And of course I figured that MCS was both smart enough to realize the caliber of the opposing side he was up against, and to think far enough ahead to how to counter an opposing strategist on that level. So although I was nervous, I had faith that MCS wouldn’t have followed a solid but conventional plan that would have failed. So pleased to see that my faith was vindicated!

Also very impressed with Jingyan there in in the court. Even knowing more or less what was coming and having prepared for it, that was still a very good job of keeping his cool, striking the right tone, and parrying Xia Jiang’s accusations. Now what’s going to happen with Consort Jing? Will the Emperor stand by his private sanction of her actions, or will he decide his public face is more important, and repudiate (and punish) her?

This is the hardest time I’ve had yet not to just rush forward into the next set of episodes. Things are definitely cooking at a fine boil as we hit the two-thirds mark! Onward!

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Okay, but…directly I finished that comment, I dashed off to rush through the next three eps, so now I have to wait another week. Waaaah! 😭

Also, where the heck do we go from here?!

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Well we got some big beef out there before the whole bull is taken down Trent. Gotta get Jing to the top, find justice for the Chinyan. Immediately, however, there are the cases of the tablet and the abduction. We are hardly through this particular war, albeit we should only have a few episodes before the end of what I call season 2.