Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I couldn’t resist having Commander Meng headline our post today; doesn’t he look fierce in full regalia? 🤩
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! ❤️
Things are heating up in no small way, and I suddenly feel like our story is racing forward, somewhat.
I don’t know much at all about what you can glean from taking someone’s pulse, but I can verify that in Chinese medicine, they get a whole lot more from taking your pulse, than your heart rate.
When I was a kid and had some pain in my tailbone, my mom took me to a practitioner of Chinese medicine. He didn’t need to ask me a thing; he simply ran his fingertips against mine, and in seconds, whipped me around to fix my tailbone issue.
I never had to tell him what the problem was; he could literally feel it through my fingertips. All that to say, the Poison of the Bitter Flame may be fictional, but the nuances of Chinese medicine, and the ability of a good practitioner to read A LOT from your pulse (and possibly your fingertips), is very real.
What I find most moving about this scene, is how emotional Noble Consort Jing is, at the realization that Xiao Shu is before her, and has suffered so greatly.
Noble Consort Jing has always been so serene and calm under almost any circumstance, that it is quite startling that she would lose her composure so completely, in this moment. But that just demonstrates how dear Xiao Shu is to her heart, as well as how terrible his affliction must be.
I also think it’s significant, that Mei Changsu is the first to overtly acknowledge his identity, by addressing Noble Consort Jing as “Aunt Jing,” like he’d always done in the past. I think he realizes, from Noble Consort Jing’s tears, that she already knows, and that there’s no point in trying to deny it.
Jingyan is suspicious, of course, with his mother unceremoniously ordering him out of the tent, which she’s never done before, but there isn’t much time to ponder these things, since it isn’t that long before Jingyan receives news about Prince Yu staging a rebellion.
The whole rebellion takes shape really fast, I have to say.
From Prince Yu convincing the Empress to order that the protection of the Capital come under the Jin army rather than the patrol army, to the closing of the Capital gates, to Prince Yu making a dark alliance with General Xu Anmo, of the Qingli army, and the Emperor’s camp at Jiu An Mountain receiving news of Prince Yu’s rebellion, it all seems to fall into place in short order.
As my mom pointed out to me, it’s interesting that Prince Yu frames the rebellion as a matter of life and death. He believes that if Jingyan were to come into power, he would not allow Prince Yu nor the Empress to live, because of what they’ve done in the past.
I personally can’t imagine Jingyan killing Prince Yu in order to secure the throne, but perhaps this is another example of how Prince Yu takes after the Emperor. After all, he is also now walking in the Emperor’s footsteps, in staging a rebellion.
Shout-out to Fourth Sister, for making the decision to help Tong Lu escape, while telling him of Prince Yu’s rebellion. She could have just let Tong Lu be, especially since he’d already lost his trust in her, but she not only undertakes the difficult task of saving him, she also sacrifices herself, to ensure that he’d have enough time to get away.
Aw. She really did love him, after all.
I also appreciate how loyal Tong Lu is. Even though he knows that he’s earned the distrust of his Jiangzuo brothers, he goes straight to them with the news, and even sacrifices his own life, so that Zhen Ping would be able to escape the Capital, and bring news of the revolt to Mei Changsu.
Sniffle. I do feel sorry for Tong Lu. So earnest, from beginning to end. 😭
I have to admit that I was a little confused, when I saw Xia Jiang all cleaned up and talking with Banruo, when we’d last seen him in chains, in his prison cell. I literally paused the episode so that I could ask my mom what I’d missed, heh.
As it turns out, Show doesn’t tell us everything in such explicit detail, because Show expects us to be smart enough to figure out some things on our own.
And what we are supposed to figure out, in this case, is that since Prince Yu’s gained control of the Capital, he’s gone ahead to release Xia Jiang, since he’s in cahoots with him.
I’m nervous, though, that Banruo’s now told Xia Jiang that Mei Changsu’s been afflicted with the Poison of the Bitter Flame. Can Xia Jiang use this knowledge to his advantage? I can’t quite think of how, but Xia Jiang’s such a crafty schemer, that I’m just reflexively cautious.
It’s good to see Jingyan and Mei Changsu strategize together; it feels like a symbiotic coming together of two very complementary, very bright minds. I found it part poignant and part funny, that they are so much on the same wavelength, that their discussions leave Commander Meng – and me! – flailing helplessly in their wake.
Thank goodness for Commander Meng asking for clarification, otherwise I’d feel completely lost, watching their discussion! 😅
How interesting, that in the midst of all this urgent strategizing, Jingyan picks up on more quirks and tidbits of information, that point to a link between Mei Changsu and Lin Shu.
Not only is there the thing where Mei Changsu grabs Jingyan’s sword to use as a pointer for the map they are studying, which is a thing that Xiao Shu had done in the past, there’s also the thing where Mei Changsu appears to have knowledge of a very obscure path on Jiu An Mountain, which Jingyan only knows about, because he and Xiao Shu had stumbled on it together, by chance.
Not only that, as my mom pointed out, the way Mei Changsu talked about it, was as if he already knew that Jingyan also knew about the path.
It’s enough to give Jingyan quizzical pause, but again, I feel it’s not realistic to expect Jingyan to guess Mei Changsu’s identity, because Mei Changsu looks nothing like Lin Shu, and well, plastic surgery didn’t exist at the time.
The fact that Jingyan’s instinctively intrigued and somewhat suspicious, is quite enough for me, and is the extent of my expectations of him, on this matter – for now, anyway.
I know it’s probably not very appropriate, but I couldn’t help feeling a touch amused, at how quickly the Emperor decides to put his trust in Jingyan, while denouncing Prince Yu for being treacherous.
Ha. How far we’ve come, eh? From being the least favored Prince in the Emperor’s eyes, Jingyan has now become the Emperor’s expressed only hope of saving the kingdom.
I do find it satisfying to see that in such a critical time, the Emperor defers to Jingyan’s plans, and does not attempt to control or analyze the situation himself. He really is at a loss, and the plan that Jingyan presents, really is the only hope they have, of surviving the revolt.
What I find moving about our last scene, is how, when Jingyan expresses concern that he might not make it back in time, Mei Changsu tells him that in such an event, he should head to the Capital and command the armies, and ensure that Prince Yu does not succeed.
This is literally a life and death situation, and Mei Changsu, with Commander Meng’s quiet but emphatic agreement, is telling Jingyan that even if everyone on Jiu An Mountain dies, Jingyan has to succeed in saving the kingdom. Guh. They literally are prepared to die, if that’s what it comes down to. 😭
What a dizzying episode this was, to watch. I feel like I’m still reeling a little, as I type this.
I have to say, it was quite a treat, to watch Mei Changsu consistently anticipate Prince Yu’s next moves, and then give instructions to counter each of those moves, so that Prince Yu is foiled at every step.
Sure, suspension of disbelief is required in spots (like, where did they come up with so many boulders at such short notice?), but the satisfaction of knowing that Prince Yu is growing more and more frustrated with each foiled step, more than makes up for it.
As my mom pointed out to me, Prince Yu is no match for Jingyan, Mei Changsu or Commander Meng, when it comes to military strategizing.
In fact, I feel that the Emperor himself comes across rather poorly, in this whole thing. He really doesn’t do much more than sit there in disbelief, that Prince Yu would actually dare to raise a revolt against him.
It’s everyone else that rises to the occasion, and shows their mettle.
I do love how Noble Consort Jing, ordinarily so restrained and quiet, takes charge and instructs Yujin to sort out how many additional able-bodied fighters they’d be able to muster, from among their entourage. She’s also the one who soothes the Emperor’s nerves, and assures him that Jingyan will make it back in time.
It’s a difficult situation, but Noble Consort Jing just exudes oodles of calm control and unwavering grace. I love her.
And of course, there’s Commander Meng, Zhen Ping, Yujin, and everyone else who fights in battle. When it gets to the point where there’s no other option but to guard the Hunting Palace until help arrives, they really give it their all, and fight without any fear in their eyes.
I really appreciate that while Yujin, not being a military man, could have easily opted to stay indoors with his father, he chooses to put on armor and join the battle. Everyone basically avails themselves to the maximum, and it’s quite stirring to witness.
I was horrified when Zhen Ping got shot in the chest by an arrow, because I really don’t want us to lose him, but his act, of leaping up there into the line of fire, in order to push those vats of oil down on the attacking troops, is such a selfless one.
He could have gotten killed doing that, but he did it anyway, because there was no other way to get the oil where they needed it, so that they could fight the enemy with fire. I’m just SO relieved, that Zhen Ping’s ok. When he pulled that arrow out of his chest and kept on fighting, I found that I could finally breathe easy.
I’m also quite pleasantly surprised that the person who ends up giving the Emperor a bit of a pep talk, and prods him to take up his royal sword, is none other than Marquis Yan.
Considering all that’s happened between them, and how, not that long ago, Marquis Yan had wanted to kill the Emperor himself, this is a Huge Deal.
I honestly doubt that Marquis Yan has forgiven the Emperor for everything, but I do think that in this moment, where everyone’s in a life-threatening, precarious position together, it makes sense to put grudges aside, and choose to fight side by side against a common attacker.
Happily, they don’t actually need to personally engage in battle, thanks to Princess Nihuang’s timely arrival.
Huzzah! What a happy surprise to see her here, after so many episodes of her absence. And what a badass entrance she makes, riding in all fierce on horseback, and eliminating the commander of the Qingli army right away.
That’s exactly the right thing to do, from what I can tell, because an army without their commander is immediately left without direction. Ah! Such great thinking on Jingyan’s part, to send her a letter while on his way to ask for assistance from the Ji city army.
When Prince Yu’s surrounded by Jingyan and his men, it does look like he’s ready to fight to the death, in this moment, from the way he draws his sword. But it’s Jingyan who raises his hand to stop his men from shooting, even though they would be justified in doing so, since Prince Yu is clearly a traitor.
See, this is why I think Prince Yu was wrong to think that if anything were to happen to the Emperor, and Jingyan were to ascend the throne, Jingyan would have him killed. In this instance, when Jingyan has every right to kill him, he doesn’t. Instead, he has him captured and imprisoned, so that the Emperor can decide how to deal with him.
As Mei Changsu observes, even though this was a dangerous situation where they could have literally lost the kingdom and their lives along with it, now that Jingyan has prevailed, there is no stopping him, going forward. He’s essentially become the savior of the kingdom, and I’m sure that the Emperor’s going to be favoring him more than ever before, henceforth.
I mean, for the first time, the Emperor’s even concerned about Jingyan’s wounds, as he comes in to give his initial report on the battle situation. The Emperor’s never cared to ask before. Things have changed, for sure.
In the scene where the Emperor confronts Prince Yu in his makeshift prison, what strikes me is how the Emperor looks sincerely dismayed and betrayed.
It’s rather ironic, really, that the Emperor berates him for his ambition, saying that someone like him, with such poor ethics that he would start a rebellion, is not fit to be a ruler.
Uh. I mean.. isn’t this exactly how the Emperor himself had come to rule? It feels like he’s really deluded himself, after feeding himself thoughts of “alternative truths” after all these years.
The Emperor looks really quite shocked, though, when Prince Yu tells him that he should have killed the prince born of Princess Linglong, in order to root out future problems.
This final conversation between Prince Yu and the Emperor is pretty sad, actually. I just feel a lot of disillusionment and rejection on Prince Yu’s part, which makes me pity him, even though I do still think he ought to be punished for his crimes.
It’s just that, in this moment, when a death sentence is inevitable, all he wants to hear from his father, is the truth.
And that truth turns out to be so.. disappointing, honestly. The Emperor admits that Princess Linglong had helped him to ascend the throne, but thereafter, her existence had made him feel unsafe, because it meant that his secret would not be secure.
And so, despite him acknowledging that she had helped him, he had “let her disappear, along with the Hua clan.” Gosh, he makes genocide sound so gentle, doesn’t he? “Let her disappear” indeed! Huh.
After all is said and done, I can’t believe that the Emperor even goes so far as to attempt to get affirmation from Prince Yu, that he would have done the same in the Emperor’s shoes. That’s so self-centered, isn’t it?
This reminds me so much of the time when the Emperor had tested Jingyan, and asked what Jingyan thought of how the Emperor had handled the Chiyan case.
This is his guilty conscience talking; that’s why he’s always seeking affirmation from others. He doesn’t truly believe he’d done the right thing, and that’s why he’s always hungry to hear other people tell him that he was right, or that they’d do the same in his shoes.
Last episode, I’d wondered if there had been any jealousy in the way Nihuang had looked on, while Mei Changsu checked on Gong Yu and gave instructions for her to be seen by a physician. Well, as it turns out, there absolutely was jealousy involved, heh.
I’m rather amused, actually, that Nihuang’s all calm and amiable while she thinks that Gong Yu’s there to take care of Mei Changsu, but the moment she realizes that Gong Yu had gone there of her own accord (ie, not under orders), because she’d wanted to guard Mei Changsu, Nihuang’s calm demeanor is immediately replaced by one of sharpness, as she declares that she will now be personally responsible for safeguarding Mei Changsu.
It’s quite cute, how she leaves in a bit of a huff.
The main event this episode, is the capture of the strange beast, which has been mentioned from time to time for quite a while now.
I personally feel that Qi Meng’s played rather too clownish in this beat, where he takes such glee in anything to do with the beast, who turns out to be Xia Dong’s husband Nie Feng, who’s been believed dead all this time.
I’ve come to accept that anything to do with the Poison of the Bitter Flame has something rather mystical about it.
Not only does it alter people’s appearances, in Nie Feng’s case, apparently drinking Mei Changsu’s blood helps to alleviate his symptoms.
It’s one of the more mysterious elements of this show, and while I would like more information on how all this works, I wouldn’t be too surprised, if Show doesn’t provide that.
What I do like about this arc, is how gentle Mei Changsu is with the “fur man” (毛人 máo rén; that’s literally what they end up referring to him as, once they realize he’s not a beast), from the very beginning, even before he confirms his identity.
There’s something very compassionate about that, particularly when it’s juxtaposed with Qi Meng’s sense of fascination and glee.
What an emotional reunion, between Nie Feng and Lin Shu, who have both suffered so much that they are literally both unrecognizable now. It feels quite surreal, that they’ve managed to survive, and come face to face with each other, in spite of everything.
I’m glad that Mei Changsu is there to help Nie Feng, and that Noble Consort Jing is there too, to assist with interim treatment, until Lin Chen arrives.
I really feel for Jingyan, though, as all of this is going on. His suspicions keep getting aroused, with the various bits and pieces of things that don’t quite add up.
I feel especially sorry for him in that scene, where Noble Consort Jing gives him her cover story, and Mei Changsu corroborates it, and Jingyan responds with a bit of pique, “Fine. Everything seems to be normal. I won’t ask anymore.”
Jingyan definitely knows they are lying to him, but he can’t find any fault with their cover story. He seems so resigned, frustrated and wistful, all at the same time. And when he tells his mother that he trusts both her and Mei Changsu, but just feels alone, I feel his wistfulness extra. 💔
While I understand Mei Changsu’s desire to help Nie Feng, the way he gives Nie Feng his own medication, worries me. After all, he needs that medication too, and without it, he becomes dangerously weak. It’s hard to watch him collapse, with neither Physician Yan nor Lin Chen around to help him.
I’m glad Zhen Ping is there, and that Fei Liu thinks to yell for our water buffalo, and that our water buffalo thinks to call upon Noble Consort Jing for help.
In his feverish delirium, Mei Changsu calls out for his father using his military term of address 父帅 (“fù shuài”), which basically translates kinda as “Father-Commander-General,” and then goes on to say, “Jingyan, don’t be afraid.”
Ahhhh!! Is this when Jingyan finally finds out that this is his Xiao Shu, whom he’s been longing for?!?
We got a reunion between aunt and nephew this set of episodes; will we get a reunion between our cousins-besties-soulmates next?? 🥺
Character Reference Guide
(In order of appearance and description is based on their place in drama at time of appearance)
Places/Sects Reference Guide (in order of appearance)
No new characters in E44 or places in E44 and E45
Character Reference Guide
(In order of appearance and description is based on their place in drama at time of appearance)
Fun fact: In the novel there’s a scene in which Jingyan carries the unconscious MCS in his arms. This scene is not in the drama because Wang Kai failed to carry Hu Ge in his arms (Wang Kai is quite skinny, and Hu Ge is obviously not, so it’s understandable).
@BE- while I know that you used the word “mature” when referring to Secret Love Affair in the sense of how people have real relationships that can be a tad bit messy, I couldn’t help but think about a conversation I had recently on the blog (but I can’t remember which thread or who with), about the sweet innocence of Kdrama that some people love (count me in this group) and some find prudish. For those who are looking for more adult stories in Kdrama, there’s Yaksa (the name is spelled differently everywhere you see it so, here’s a link https://wiki.d-addicts.com/Yaksha ) The name doesn’t matter cause it’s a hot mess and I call it “K-Gladiators Drama in Response to Spartacus 2010”).😆 Full frontal nudity! (female only, of course)🙄 *sigh*. And I’m currently watching a weird show called “You Raise Me Up” about a young guy who’s impotent and his female/first love who’s now a urologist. 😆 Although the show is funny, of course, the humiliation this poor guy faces in these first two episodes is just awful and made me feel bad for laughing. I wonder where these networks with these riske shows just pop out of nowhere. Or maybe they are making plenty of these shows that just aren’t well known of you don’t live in S. Korea and have the right cable networks. 😆 I only discovered Yaksa because somebody posted a pictures of it’s star Jo Dong Hyuk in full gladiator regalia so…
But I digress. I should do a Dear Fangurl Question about what dramas are more mature (i.e. realistic) as far as OTP relationships go. (I certainly don’t consider the two that I listed as “mature”. “Adult” or “Y-17”, but not “mature” by relationship standards)😆
@Ele Nash – so you’re attracted to the agility, hmmmm? I’m trying to picture what all you would need him to do? I don’t need Gen. Meng to be as agile as Pingie. 😉 😉 😂
@BE -if you have no plans to ever watch Chicago Typewriter, please, please, just check out episode 15 for YAI’s performance. Amazing! (And of course, Six Flying Dragons.)
I love this point, and reading it made me wonder if this take-charge attitude may be reminiscent of her time back in the Lin household, a readiness to dive into a martial situation born from experience or having seen many times how it’s done.
@phl1rxd – are you referring to the Monkey King in all of versions of Into the West that are out there? If so… yeah. But NIF is such a different type of vibe that I don’t know… I just expected something… different looking?
@Geo – Yoo Ah in creates a conundrum for me as I like to hail Jang Hyuk as the greatest actor of the century. But once YAI came on the scene, I’ve had to modify that statement to JH is the greatest actor of his generation. However, YAI just doesn’t create that “pop!” In fact, I don’t know why JH has “it” for other women. I know, for me, it’s that quiet machismo that he carries around in an aura that isn’t about trying to be macho, he just is. But other than that, I’ve tried to analyze what is it about JH that gets all the girls squeeing. For my personal taste, his lips are far too thin. He’s got some odd mannerisms like blinking a THOUSAND times when he’s nervous. 😆 and yet…? It might be his intensity that unconsciously translates to passion.
YAI doesn’t have that for me, even though he brings intensity to his roles as well. In his early career, I thought he might be gay. As we all know, that doesn’t mean not attractive but it doesn’t throw the same vibe at straight women, imo. At least it doesn’t for me no matter how fine a guy might be. I guess it’s really not explainable.
@beez: See my response to phl1rxd on the Jang Hyuk Yoo Ah In comparison. At least we all agree Yoo Ah In is a great actor. As someone says, the heart likes what the heart likes and it’s often difficult to explain why.
@BE – I totally get that and had many parenting feats of magic like that. 😊
@phl1rxd – I’m sorry but Yuhjin? Pretty face? Are you talking about the Yujin in the book?
I’m sorry but I couldn’t let that one slide. 😂😂😭😁😁😁
@Beez – I think he is a cutie pie! Hey, not everyone can be Meng Zhi, right? 🤣😂 Our hearts may not be able to take all that wonderful machismo. 💖💖💖
@phl1rxd @Elaine Phua I’ve copied the link to watch later (20 minutes is to long at the moment). I just want to say, I’ve heard before how all Chinese dramas are redubbed. Why is that? I’m really curious (although I’m sure I’ll find out once I watch the video). Because in some of the Chinese dramas that I’ve watched, the FL’s voice has sent me up the wall! The one that stands out for me is FL in The Wolf. They had her giving orders to an army and that pipsqueaky voice sounded ridiculous. I can’t see any army following that voice (especially in the circumstances they were in). The FL’s voice in The Rise of the Phoenixes is one reason that I luff her. It’s nothing special by western standards but it’s oh-so-soothing after so many high-pitched voices. I’m also wondering if it’s cultural and the problem is me just not being used to the squeaky. And if it’s cultural, I wonder if our women’s lower voices get on Chinese people’s nerves? lol
@Beez – the video is very enlightening (thanks Elaine for posting it) and I have watched it a few times, mostly to get the actors aligned with the faces behind their voices in certain dramas. The video answers every one of your questions. I understand your frustration on the squeaky voices. You do get used to it after a while. I agree with you Beez that Ni Ni has a lovely voice.
In this video AvenueX mentions Chen Kun’s (the ML in TROP) good friend Zhou Xun who has a very deep voice. You can catch her (Chen Kun is on this too) very sexy deep voice in The Ying Yang Master (movie) on N-Flix.
The kicker is when you watch BTS scenes and hear them talking in their real voice.
@Elaine “But oh, the horses! Was it digital FX or real horses and riders tumbling to the ground???”
Best not v to think about it.😣
@Ele -That’s okay. To each his own. Besides, I’m used to fangirling over the guy that nobody else seems to want. 😁
LOL. Is it true then? You have Jang Hyuk all to yourself?
@Beez: What do you think of Yoo Ah-in? I’ve been quite impressed by him in the shows I’ve seen, Six Flying Dragons and Chicago Typewriter, I think he’s a very good actor but I’m not sure he gets the sqeeing Jang Hyuk does.
Geo – excuse me while I butt in! – sorry Miz. B! – I think Yoo Ah In is one of the most talented young actors in SK. I think he is fascinating and I have watched almost everything he was in (except the gangster movies as I cannot take the violence and he is so realistically bad in these). He blew my mind in The Throne. A great actor!
He as a certain bad boy/innocence (different from Jang Hyuk). I always get a feeling of dependability with Hyuk (even in roles when he is supposed to not be dependable) but not with YAI. YAI is a scarier bad boy to me. He has incredible potential.
@phl1rxd: Feel free to butt in, more views and opinions the better. I would never pretend to know what women like but I agree with your view of Yoo Ah In, he seems like a nice, wholesome guy but I sense a darker, deeper element below that surface. Agree he could be scarier than Jang Hyuk who’s more of a traditional “bad” boy.
I just started Jang Ok Jung because it featured him (Kim Tae Hee is a bonus) and after 4 episodes, I’m blown away by his screen presence. My drama viewing time is more limited these days so it says a lot that I started this show.
The best thing by far I have seen him in is Secret Love Affair.
@BE: It’s on my list, may move it up with your recommendation.
Geo – BE is correct and it is worthy of a move up the list. YAI is very good and the FL just rocks her role. My favorite YAI role is Prince Sado in The Throne. I just gasped at my screen.
@phl1rxd: I had The Throne on my list but I’m a little turned off by the plot outline, YAI losing his life in a rice chamber. I may come to it one of these days.
So great, one of my all timers, and as great as Yoo Ah In is in it, Kim Hee Ae is beyond great, a world master class performance. So good.
@BE: I’ve seen Kim Hee Ae in one show and was quite impressed.
I am not a swooner. Her Hye Won in Secret Love Affair ….
I have said it before; if there are more group watches, I will throw SLA in the ring, a contemporary drama with a lot to chew on, besides being the thoroughly most mature K Drama love story I have seen.
I thought the “hairy man” costume was silly thing until I just saw that apparently it’s based on nature.
@Beez – research the Monkey King – remade a lot of times (most of them with very bad CGI). Once you read about it, it all makes sense.
On the cover stories by Consort Jing and MCS, actually I think they’re something like what MCS told Xia Jiang – just enough of the factual truth to not be a lie. Yet not enough of the full story to satisfy the questioner, who knows there is a bigger mystery behind the words that will impact him greatly.
A few comments have come up about dubbing in this drama, it is a prevalent practice in C dramas for practical reasons. Thought this video was v helpful. https://youtu.be/GcRYGmzcWv8
Elaine – I really chuckled while watching this – saw it when she released it and it is still on point and very informative. Sometimes I will watch BTS videos just to hear the actors speak in their natural voice.
I wonder how Beez would like Chen Long’s natural voice! Not as deep as the dubbed but plenty of expression!
@Elaine – I’ve added the link to my daily to-do list but I’ve been too busy to watch it yet. I’m so far behind just reading the blog comments that I don’t think I’ll ever catch up! I’m just reading as many comments as I can squeeze in each day.
I have not (re)watched NIF for weeks due to a busy period at work. Tonight I couldn’t resist, rewatched episodes 41-44 aah! I will have panda eyes tomorrow. So good. Shout out to Commander-General Meng for a badass cavalry charge too, I had forgotten all about it! (Beginning of episode 44 when they launch a surprise attack against the rebel army’s advance troops, first the foot soldiers and archers took the brunt then Mengy and his mounted cavalry charged in. With one fell swoop he beheads the rebel army vanguard captain and yells “Kill! Kill! (Sha! Sha!)
But oh, the horses! Was it digital FX or real horses and riders tumbling to the ground??? 😮
And another random comment, it is a well-worn tradition for women to not wear makeup and ruddify their complexion if they are pretending to be male soldiers (see the Hua Mulan movies), why the heck is Gong Yu wearing blush and thick mascara in a military camp! Lol.
Also also I love that Yujin stepped into battle! We have seen way earlier when he and Jingrui protected the injured Xia Dong that he can fight quite capably. But of course MCS had to make sure Fei Liu protected him haha.
Yes as Snow Flower has mentioned, from my first watch the rebellion siege did remind me a lot of the Battle of Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings (I am just remembering that in LOTR, Gandalf was the one who rode out to get reinforcements. I just checked the net for what he said, and it was “Look to my coming on the first light on the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.” What a lovely moment when they rode in with the light to save the day. NIF siege is smaller scale but still very well done with lots of visceral action. Pingie! Meng Zhi! And yessss Nihuang riding in to save the day.
Actually the LOTR epic fantasy might be a more apt analogy for NIF than the superheroes (I keep making mention of how NIF treats story moments differently from superhero/conventional action movies because I have watched and rewatched most of the Marvel Avengers movies. I enjoy them very much but NIF is epic in character and depth of story on another level!)
Continuing my stream of consciousness comments, the most emotional and teary we have seen MCS get in show so far may be his reunion with Nie Feng! He calls him “Nie-dage” or older brother Nie, and they give each other a bear hug. Very touching. With Wei Zheng (his subordinate) MCS was commanding and evinced his martial spirit, but with Nie Feng, older, respected, MCS almost sounds like a boy again, clinging to an old friend he thought he had lost.
Love your stream of consciousness Elaine!
Yes on Yujin – he is much more than a pretty face and a cheery disposition. He has his father’s genes! The growth in the relationship between Marquis Yan and Yujin was really nice to see.
I was so scared something terrible was going to befall our Yujin! He’s the one I expected to get horribly wounded in some way. I was relieved, of course, but also thought it unlikely somehow.
@Elaine: I thought the same thing, no way the other guards or anyone else for that matter aren’t going to know Gong Yu is female with all the make-up plus I think she makes an awkward looking, though very attractive, guard. But what’s a girl to do when her crush is in potential danger and hope springs eternal…maybe if I save him…
I seriously cringe when I see horses and extras in a drama fall down like that. I really hope they all survived. It looked real to me. I am assuming that Hengdian Studios supplied them as they have all kinds of props, extras, clothing, etc. I wonder if this is discussed anywhere online.
These episodes were thrilling!
Another 3 tremendous episodes and after political scheme after scheme, intrigue after intrigue, several cold war skirmishes with occasional physical conflict, we get a hot war and actual battle scenes. I am reminded of Von Clausewitz’s words, War is politics by other means, and a cornered Prince Yu, his scheming having failed spectacularly, plans to emulate his father and take the throne by force. War as politics by other means indeed.
MCS proves his worth as a battle strategist but it is Meng in battle armour, fighting to the bitter end, who looks the ultimate superhero as he valiantly defends the Hunting Castle, a warrior without equal. Nihuang, in her brief scenes, is so dramatic and dashing. It is difficult to believe she had been thrown from the horse in a previous take of this scene (thanks, Elaine for that nugget) because she looks absolutely breathtaking and magnificent as she rides to the rescue and she enters the Castle with such swagger, exuding an incredible, invincible aura.
While I tend to agree with your Mom’s interpretation of Prince Yu’s argument with the Empress that he is projecting what he would have done in Prince Jing’s shoes if he had won, I think he had to frame the argument such as to get the Empress to go along with his plan. Her downside with Prince Yu failing has been limited so far, she’s still the Empress, she’s never had a good relationship with the Emperor so nothing lost there, so while she has lost a lot of face, she has to be really pushed to take the next step and commit treason by aiding a rebellion and so Prince Yu reminds her of the things they had done in the past, and that this is a life or death struggle.
“Say, that’s a nice storefront (city/kingdom), it would be a shame if anything should happen to it… ”
Unrelated to the above quote, it’s worth noting how he convinced the queen that she had no choice but to support him. In for a penny, in for a pound. It was truly an all or nothing gambit.
So once again, is this set of group watch postings, the best such thing going or what? Thanks K; thanks phl1rxd; thanks everyone!
The very very best BE!
Another variety show tidbit from Liu Tao . The scene where Nihuang gets jealous about Gong Yu wasn’t in the original script. Hu Ge couldn’t believe it and kept asking Liu Tao, wouldn’t you get jealous if some other woman keeps hanging around your husband? And Liu Tao said no I won’t. And Hu Ge told her, you should get jealous, it would make you more womanly. Lol. So the two actors worked out that scene together! I actually read the scene as Nihuang trying to play it cool that MCS has a comfort woman,which is how I interpreted when she said “It’s good to know you have someone to take care of you (照顾 zhao gu) .” can anyone more well versed in Chinese culture tell me whether 照顾 has a sexual meaning? Haha.
MCS then awkwardly tried to assure her that Gong Yu isn’t there to “take care of him”. I love his uncomfortable “Uh.” And Nihuang pertly says well then I’ll stand guard! Lol. 😂😂
Interesting thought!! I’m not sure about the connotation.. however, given Mei Changsu’s frail health, I’m leaning towards the more literal meaning, in his case. He really does need someone to take care of him! 😅
Ahaha thank you, that’s a reasonable interpretation too!
Yes well I can certainly get Liu Tao’s pov. “Let this girl fawn all over my attractive man; nothings gonna come of it. At the end of the day, I know in whose arms he’s gonna be, cause he knows & I know only a fool would run around on me. He can look all he likes over his shoulder, cause he’s never gonna leave my side.”
Hee Hee! That’s it.
@Elaine;@KFG: I thought Nihuang’s flash of jealousy was so cute and reminds the viewer of her intimate relationship with MCS after seeing what a magnificent warrior she was in coming to the rescue. I interpreted her comment to MCS that she was glad that he had a woman to take care of him, apart from the guys, as designed to do one of two things:
MCS denies Gong Yu was even a “comfort woman” which makes Nihuang happy but she speedily tells MCS she’ll guard him from now on. MCS maybe unaware of Gong Yu’s feelings for him but Nihuang is not in the way she looks at their original interaction. Without being sexist, I think women have a sixth sense about this.
@KFG: I think the pointed way Nihuang says it was good for MCS to have a woman to take care of him supports more Elaine’s interpretation because MCS does not lack for male caregivers and bodyguards.
Ahaha I like how you laid out the two objectives so systematically Geo!
Oh MCS is well aware of the infatuation, why he keeps her at arm’s length all the time, using command as vehicle of communication rather than the gentler, more informal, sometimes teasing manner with which he treats his male “caretakers.”
Though men are probably less susceptible to this sort of thing than attractive women are, certainly every male teacher or professor has encountered this kind of puppy love from a younger woman, and those with a sense of ethics, perforce communicate with their young admirers with same sort of awkward distancing as MCS does in show.
As someone watching show one wishes that she would cast her eye upon Yu Jin, who might quite welcome her ravishing admiration, relieving her of this rather hopeless unwholesome torch she is carrying for MCS and replace it with a whole lot of wholesome and passionate fun and support.
BE – I am totally with you on Yujin and Gong Yu – I think they have some kind of future beside their love of music. 😉
Well, though I am not as enamored of the battle scenes in this as others, viewing them as a lotta guys in armor grunting and falling to the ground pierced by arrows or swords–not a big fan either of rolling heads–or spears, (albeit I did get a kick out of the bowling ball boulders rolled down out of the woods) and looking sideways at the horses, hoping none of them were seriously injured for my entertainment, I did quite like when Yu Jin came to the resucue and saved Gong Yu’s butt.
And just sayin’ on Yu Jin’s behalf as a fightin’ man, while he is no match for his mentor Nihuang or sparring partner Jingrui, Nihuang is a mentor and Jingrui, a sparring partner. He is quite likely, as he showed defending the palace, considerably more adept than your average lunk in armor, his skills none too shabby.
@BE: I feel similarly about battle scenes, they’re generally a lot of hacking, stabbing etc and you usually have little sense as to how the overall battle is going. LOTR handled the battle scenes well by showing the macro view and highlighting the different strategic moves before panning to the individual characters’ combat. There’s a movie about samurai Japan, called Heaven and Earth, which has the most beautiful battle scenes I have seen and very little blood is visibly spilled. You don’t see much of the hand to hand combat but with a bird’s eye view, the audience sees the waves of soldiers as they thrust and counter and the charges of the cavalry from both sides at full gallop with different colour flags waving in the air is a sight to behold. This is actually one of the most beautifully photographed movies.
Geo – are you referring to the the 1990 film that used over 800 horses? There are a few H and Es – just want to be sure which one you mean as it sounds interesting.
y@phl1rxd: Yes, the battle scenes were filmed in Alberta, Canada, if I remember correctly. The movie is slow in parts but the storyline was interesting and the cinematography superb.
From an interview she gave on a Chinese variety show, before NIF, Liu Tao (actress of Nihuang) had actually sworn off riding horses for drama serials as she had been thrown off a horse twice before in filming for two previous serials. But for Nihuang she simply had to ride again (her words were – “Nihuang is the head of the cavalry, if I don’t ride who will ride??”) Man am I glad she decided to take the reins. She has all the female Marvel superheroes beat for sheer awesome. Apparently in that cavalry charge, Liu Tao’s horse stumbled and she flew off the horse, thankfully the cameraman tossed his camera to the side and caught her! What a tale!
Elaine – that is really interesting because getting thrown from a horse is no laughing matter. It took real courage for her to get back on a horse. Thank goodness someone caught her. I do love how they all really ride in this drama. Now if they had only gotten the music scenes right 😆
Yes when she described her injuries from the first two accidents, no joke indeed! Her first incident her face was full of sand scraped and painful. The second incident resulted in back injury!
What a tale indeed!! The dedication!! 😱 So glad someone caught her!
Egads! 😨 So much happening these episodes, where to start?! Oh, well, you said pretty much everything, kfangurl. Thank goodness.
I’ll only add that I thought:
1. Prince Yu acted his socks off and I loved his passion in that cage.
2. Mrs Yu’s peacock dress looked spectacular as she wilted to the floor.
3. Pingy has the swag. He was awesome.
4. Mama Jing thinks wickedly fast on her feet – how smoothly she counters Jingy’s questions. Poor Jingy. I’m feeling bad for him. He must be knackered too.
5. Ah, la, Nihuang sweeping in to help save the day 😍 Then in a heartbeat, super jealous! She’s my girl.
6. Emperor’s brother’s scared face throughout echoed my own 😆 Very claustrophobic and intense – I hate scenes like these. Very Game of Thrones.
7. After the battle, I thought we’d follow Meng to the capital but instead we’re side-swiped by Fur Man’s capture and that segue was for me really bizarre. Furry?! Why’s he furry?! It makes it silly when the undercurrents of emotion are very raw.
8. Wily as the most cunning of foxes, Xia Jiang is no doubt working out that if Mei Changsu is full of the Poison of the Bitter Flame, there can only be a few reasons for it…
9. Sorry that Tong Lu died but guessing he would have chosen that death if he could. I did expect more casualties from the battle, though. They were afterall seriously outnumbered. Just as well that Mount place had lots of handy rounded rocks…
And lastly 10. Eek, Mei Changsu mumbling in his sleep. How can’t our Jingy finally really truly think the impossible is in fact the truth: it’s his Lin Shu. 💔
Love your top 10 list! Simply amazing bunch of episodes indeed.
There was too much to say! Fortunately, kfangurl and all of you cover what I’m thinking – and some 😅
In re fur man, given that we can all see from the razor work on the men’s temples, the question on the tip of my tongue is, after bathing the fellow combing out all that hair into something elaborately coiffed, why not also give rhe man a shave?
Ah Ele – I had to laugh at this: “Mrs Yu’s peacock dress looked spectacular as she wilted to the floor.” Yes Ele, she did exactly that! Perfect description.
Pingie is the man. I gotta find that BTS video of him for sure where he is leaping around. He is a very good martial artist in real life and that scene on the wall showed off his real skills. As BE said: “dodge arrows by bare handed side swipe“. Boom!
There is a similar battle scene in NIF2 that is just as good as this. The directors (they did both NIF 1 and 2) do these very well.
I appreciate him so much more on this 2nd watch! The fellow is indispensable!
BE – I am a huge Pingie fan! I really have to find his un-subbed BTS video.
He impressed me more than Meng – sorry beez 😉
Me too–sorry beez.
Oh but Gen Meng gave such inspiring, manly speeches about fighting to the death and defending the country! I liked that.
Hey, I am a big advocate of Meng, arguing on several occasions that the fellow is more perceptive than everyone gives him credit for. I do not know if that helmet of his is such a good look, however. But as a solid sender, hey, Meng is a champion. Still in the palace fortress skirmish, Pingie’s bit with the sword and parapet, incoming arrows and over the top vats of oil, just more derring do per second than anyone else in the fight including our valiant, virutous, rousing, dark and handsome, manly Meng.
@phl1rxd @BE @Ele Nash @Elaine Phua
Pingie may have been the MVP and saved the day, but he doesn’t have all the other stuff that pushes my buttons, rings my bell, etc. like Gen. Meng Bean does. 😂😂😂
And look where this comment is located. Meng is a swell guy, and so available in this.
@BE – YAY! My comments are starting to appear in the right place! I’ve done nothing different. 🤞
@Beez – he showed his worth in these episodes. He was inspiring. He also looks very cool in these sunglasses.
@phl1rxd – Thanks. I snurched it.
Oh, I get the Meng charm, @beez, I really do. He just looks less agile than Pingy 😉 And, obviously (as he seems to have somehow been mentioned here!) Jang Hyuk in everything he’s ever been in 😍 Squuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-eek 😍
True, manly speeches are important going into battle 😉
Last week, I think I said something like “this Spring Hunt is probably going to be big, like Jingrui’s birthday”. HA HA HA. In the end, we got a full scale rebellion, even if it was (and felt) kind of rushed. I am mildly disappointed by Prince Yu, although I guess he really didn’t have many options left, and if the plan worked, he could blame it all on the (conveniently dead) Prince Jing and get the throne. Still, disappointed. And sad he won’t be around any more. Such an intriguing character and a very good actor, even if I think that the voice over did him wrong at that scene in the cage, where he confronts the Emperor. It felt as the visual acting was way better than the audio acting, if you understand what I am trying to explain in admittedly inadequate english. I wonder if it’s the actor himself of a voice actor we hear.
Speaking of voice actors, I also find the voice actor for Tinsheng ridiculous, we get a teenage boy with a toddler’s voice.
Elaine (?) was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT last week, the Emperor is the ultimate villain in this show, even if occasionally he comes across as a middle aged gentleman with a lot of worries.
Jingyan: I get why MCS’s identity has not been revealed to him so far, but I think it’s time they tell him. I mean, they have more or less eliminated competition by now, and everyone lying to him is not ok, I think. But I was pretty excited to read what you said about MCS calling out “Father Commander-General” while unconscious, I didn’t get that on my subtitles, so maybe yes, there will be a revelation? I surely hope so.
Nie Feng: that was bizarre. I have a million thoughts about that, but I guess the word “bizarre” sums them up pretty efficiently.
And, last but not least, a question for those who have read the novel: how is MCS supposed to look like? In the show, it has been mentioned multiple times that he has changed completely and that he is of a weak constitution. Still, Noble Consort Jing’s reaction, all that pitty and stuff, certainly felt exaggerated when looking the MCS we have on the screen. Am I right to suppose that the novel MCS does not look like a movie star, then?
Oh my God; now that I read your summary K, I am afraid that that scene with Prince Ji may be the first scene in the next episode (I have watched about 10 minutes into episode 46). I am so, so sorry if it’s the case. I can’t seem to find an edit button, so that I can erase all that just to be sure. Is there a way to erase it or cover it up?
I’ve just put in the spoiler tag for you, @Natalia!
Thank you so much!! Sorry again, I lost track of which episode I was watching – this is why generally speaking I avoid going further and I stick to the three episodes of each week… I hope noone saw that – at least noone that hasn’t watched ep. 46 yet!
Natalia, it was so tempting to watch on this week! I tend to watch the episodes on Monday-Tuesday so I don’t have time to go beyond the group watch. I’d end up in a right pickle if I did. Re Nie Feng AKA Fur Man, bizarre is my word of choice too 😆
Hi Natalie – Prince Yu is voiced by Bao Mu Zhong Yang. The reason why you probably noticed Tingshen voice being a little ‘off’ is because the voice over artist is a young woman, Zhang Kai.
In the novel MCS is described as such – ‘frail and sickly, yet still handsome and elegant’. In fact, he is described as handsome throughout the novel. He is also described as looking serene and also as pale.
The reason that Consort Jing was so distraught when she saw him is that she was comparing him to what he used to be. This is a both physical but, more importantly, she is very concerned for his health. She is shocked to realize how sick he really is and remembers him as the glorious Lin Shu. I do wish the drama had shown us more scenes from Lin Shu’s youth. He was cheeky, hale and hearty, brilliant and headstrong. Now he is hanging on for dear life.
I agree. We would have seen more and felt more the tragedy of Lin Shu had they spent a bit more time with him as a youth.
Ah BE! I really think it would have added so much depth.
You know that I was really hoping the NIF3 (again, a Daylight Entertainment production) would be a prequel. I just read an article on a rumor that ‘Zhao Liying and Wallace Chung were approached with the lead roles’. This may negate a prequel although there is basically a big muzzle on the whole NIF3 production.
The only thing that gives me hope is that Daylight Entertainment is behind this and I would think they respect the millions of fans.
A prequel would be really cool. I am wondering if in the sequel whether
BE – Who can say at this point because everything is under serious lock and key, but it should have close ties to NIF1. In NIF2, the story is about Tingsheng and his family 50 years after NIF1 so it is a direct nod back to S1. I think you will enjoy it.
Your spoiler is a whole other story in itself. That would really be interesting. But my first desire is a prequel done well with a script by the original author and directors Kong Sheng and Li Xue. I feel NIF is worthy of a prequel.
But heart breaking, really tragic.
Yes BE, it is very tragic.
One more thing I forgot to mention Natalie – Hu Ge’s fans bombarded both the production company and Hu Ge himself to play the role of MCS. The web novel was very popular before Daylight Entertainment decided to make it into a drama.
After reading the novel, I will say that Hu Ge fits perfectly with the description of MCS. If you ever get a chance to read the novel you will see how good a fit he really is.
Novel readers are a serious bunch – this is why when a drama screenwriter botches a novel interpretation it makes them so annoyed. The best part of NIF is that the author herself wrote the script and it shows in all the little details throughout the drama. Yes, there are some differences – 2 major – but overall it is a sound dramatization of the written word.
Thanks for the book info! I do know what a tough bunch book fans can be when it comes to film/TV adaptations. I have spent almost 10 years of my life watching Game of Thrones!
I agree with you, we should have seen a little more of the “original” Lin Shu, just to get a better idea of the contrast with MCS, who does not really look that sickly, but I accept that Consort Jing got a real dramatic idea of his state of health by checking his pulse. Which brings me to the big question, if his problem is not a disease but that poison of bitter flame, could we poor viewers hope for a miraculous antidote and a happy ending? But then again, better not answer that now, we only have 6-7 episodes to go…
Unfortunately Natalie, we will have to wait for the answer, but you are right in that we do not have to wait long.
Middle aged gentleman with a lot of worries
Made me almost spit the food in my mouth out from laughing
aBE – yes, I’ve got to give it up for Prince Yu in the cage scene, the Emperor as well.
There hasn’t been a lot that I missed in my first watch, thanks to phl1rxd’s instructions to “pay attention to everything, there are no throw away lines”. Of course, before the rewatch is over, somebody may point out something that I missed). But there was something that I missed on my first watch in Ep 43 – Prince Yu said that Consort Chen was FORCED to commit suicide and that the Empress had a hand in it. Before this, it had been said, and believed by everyone at court, that Consort Chen voluntarily committed suicide being grief stricken at the death of her son.
There was an earlier mention that Consort Chen might not have been a straightforward suicide. Someone said pointedly that the attendants who found her and carried her out were already dressed for a funeral, implying that the death was pre planned by higher ups. Can’t remember who said it, maybe Consort Jing…
@Beez – As always, you got me thinking. So I queried Consort Chen so see if the novel could shed some additional light on her death but it does not. The scene in question is not in the book so I cannot reference it. So sorry Miz B!
Elaine’s comment below is very interesting and I may look around the drama to see if I can find it as it sounds familiar.
If I find anything I will answer to this comment…
@beez; @ Elaine: could it be that the emperor thinks consort Chen committed suicide even though he pardoned her but the Empress forced her to commit suicide? I also thought before this episode she did it voluntarily, the emperor certainly thinks so.
This could explain the inconsistency.
Geo – that is an interesting thought!
K an alternative understanding to the Yu-Empress tete a tete issue might be that he said that to convince the Empress to back him, knowing the business about him being a son of Linglong the Hua, and thus this rebellion springs from a preordained hopeless that he ever had for ascending the throne. The Empress might not go along with that reasoning, but on the other hand, and it certainly seems by now that the Empress is not really the brightest bulb among the court ladies, but rather someone who is quite pinched and determined to act out of petty motives, would feel far more responsive to Yu thinking Jing and Consort Jing would make her life miserable should Yu fail.
Here I wonder how the novel frames it.
@BE – this scene is not in the novel and was written for the drama so I cannot address this for you.
As for the drama I am torn between this and Fangurl’s Mom’s explanation as both make good, solid sense. I thought of both these reasons while watching that scene.
I think the scene in which Emperor goes to Consort Jing’s palace to see what the foofooraw was all about, and instead of excommunicating Consort JIng, he blow by blow by blow eviscerates the Empress, one stunned and stupified expression on her face after another, as every shred of her power in that utterly misogynistic world is cut from her, pretty much reveals how susceptible Empress is at this point to Yu’s argument, and as determined as Yu is at this point, he would be ruthless whatever he really thinks, albeit it could be a touch of his own narcissistic paranoia as well, at driving that facet of his mindset home with her.
Solid review Fangurl! As for the practitioner who took care of you as a child I totally believe you. Mom knows her stuff! Also, these three episodes are so, so good.
E43 – Consort Jing continues her conversation with MCS. She cannot help but cry after feeling his pulse. This is such a moving scene. It is more emotional in the book (as if that is possible, as the drama did a great job). The novel explains that MCS knew it would be hopeless to fight against Consort Jing’s efforts to examine him. Also – in the novel Consort Jing’s reaction is a little more pronounced – she broke out into uncontrollable sobs. Her tears overflowed, gushing out continuously, as if more than ten years of suppressed emotions had chosen that very moment to burst forth.Source
The outfit Consort Jing is wearing is such a beautiful color of cornflower blue. Really gorgeous!
I am with you on Prince Yu and his conversation with the Empress. Half of me thinks he is laying it on thick to convince her to do such a dangerous thing and half of me thinks just like your Mom. Prince Jing would never kill either of them. The Emperor would, but not Prince Jing. Point in E45 is well taken.
Tong Lu, Tong Lu, what did you do? Pingie and Tong Lu plan a daring escape from the city as Tong Lu sacrifices himself. Poor Tong Lu – 4th sister truly was the end of him. But Fangurl is right in that at least she did truly love him.
Fangurl – no truer words were ever written than “I can’t quite think of how, but Xia Jiang’s such a crafty schemer, that I’m just reflexively cautious.”
Pingie brings the rebellion info to the Spring Hunt Camp. MCS quickly figures the situation out in the Capital. Oops – MCS does a Lin Shu and freaks out Jingy. Now I ask you all, if the censors remove that flashback scene wouldn’t it would be a shame? It is such a necessary scene. We are looking at Lin Shu’s mind right now reviewing battle plans with Prince Jing.
Prince Jing‘s plans are now in place but nothing is to be done without official notification – see below ** for MCS’ additional comments on waiting for the announcement of Prince Yu’s rebellion.
An aside – Poor Jingy is getting more suspicious with every passing moment of this situation. Between the sword grab, the quick military schemes and the knowledge of the hidden path, Prince Jing is perplexed. ***Prince Jing even remarks on this – see below.
The Emperor gave Jingy the seal because he knows that Jingy truly loves his mother and would not betray him as long as Consort Jing was with him (as a hostage? We all know he thought of this though!).
I love the pep talk MCS gives Prince Jing – because Jingy is hesitating, worrying about the people he loves.
DID YOU KNOW…
E44 – This episode brings us some of the most thrilling scenes in the drama. BIg thanks Fangurl for including that pic of our Meng Zhi holding his sword out. It is one of my rotating PC backgrounds! LOVE that pic!
MCS uses his military intelligence to set up a very pro-active strategy. Very bold on his part I must say as they are so undermanned. Beez must be holding her heart right now (I know I am) as Meng Zhi rides to the attack with his elite troops. He manages to crush Qing Li’s forward troops at the head of the army. Meng Zhi is totally breathtaking when he is in battle mode. Whew!
Even though MCS did not predict Prince Yu’s desperate actions, he can certainly plan and work against them. Prince Yu did not help himself by setting up camp because he gave them another day to plan and attack his front line troops . Prince Yu has not been in a real battle because those types of unwanted assignments were always dumped on Prince Jing.
Gonna say it again – Meng Zhi is so dam impressive! Marquis Yan, Pingie (sigh!) and Yujin as well. Fairy Gong Yu is doing her part as well and Fei Liu is a one man wrecking ball.
While the rest of the court start to panic, MCS soothes Tingsheng and remains calm. I feel a part of MCS wants to be out there with the action. Check out how Tingsheng throws himself in front of MCS when the fiery arrows appear.
Just when all is about to fall, our gal Nihuang appears. She is so fierce in this scene. On a personal note I am so very glad that it was a woman who saves the day! And who is her first thought for? MCS!
Big Daddy is going to make a personal visit to Prince Yu and this will be one of the great scenes in this show (among the many!)….
DID YOU KNOW…
E45 – Father and son are having it out – the chess piece reference is chilling. This scene was riveting. Fangurl – you did a fabulous job explaining the psychology behind this conversation!
Prince Yu’s wife appears (in my favorite peacock outfit of this drama – this dress is a masterpiece) and the Empress knows it is all over. Please know that she really does love her husband Prince Yu and he loves her.
I am really proud of Prince Jing as he offers such sound advice (all on his own) to the Emperor. I see this as a big step and it is also a big step that the Emperor goes along with this plan.
Nihuang is such a bad ass, magnificent and self assured woman.
MCS is so proficient at lying to Prince Jing! Prince Jing is getting more and more suspicious and you can see that in the looks he gives MCS. I wonder how long can MCS make this deception last?
Qi Meng, assigned to find leftover rebels hiding on the forest, has instead found the beast. For first time CDrama watchers, and because this has wuxia elements, this may feel a little odd. Rest assured – this is no biggie in the wuxia world!
MCS loses when he realizes who is in front of him. It is a rare for MCS to show emotion, so know that this person is very important to him. Nie Feng was, after all, assigned directly to Lin Shu.
It is going to take a lot to keep Prince Jing’s suspicions in check when it comes to MCS. Even though his mother explains the connection between the two of them his mind is not at ease. He still does not get it even when she tells him he has a friend by his side. Jingy! Wassamattayou!
Uh-oh – the pills are gone and, since MCS just wrote to Lin Chen to come to look at Nie Feng and bring him more pills, know it will take Lin Chen some time to travel the distance. Can MCS hold out that long? I am with Fangurl – I am worried.
Big thanks Fangurl for that background info on what MCS said in his delirium because it is very important! Prince Jing missed that one big time. Even the translators of the novel made note of this as it is the same way he himself would refer to the Emperor. How crazy close it was to Prince Jing hearing this. MCS escapes detection to hide another day! Whew – close call.
DID YOU KNOW…
Thanks for all the additional nuggets of information as always, @phl1rxd!
One small thing I’d like to clarify, is that the way Lin Shu addressed his father, and the way Jingyan addresses his own father, is similar, but different, because the two fathers’ differing stations.
The first word is the same “父” (“fù) and an ordinary person would address their father as “父亲” (“fùqīn”). However, because of the different positions of their fathers, Lin Shu and Jingyan each have very specific ways of addressing their fathers.
Lin Shu addresses his father as 父帅 (“fù shuài”), which basically translates kinda as “Father-Commander-General,” while Jingyan addresses his own father as “父皇” (“fù huáng”), which translates as “Father-Emperor.”
Therefore, Mei Changsu calling out 父帅 (“fù shuài”) is actually a pretty big giveaway; it tells whoever hears it, that he’s from a military family, and is himself military-trained, his father had been a Commander-General as well. 😊
Thank you so much for that clarification Fangurl! That is important. I really appreciate it. I so love that you included this little tidbit. I will revise my notes and again, big thanks.
That psychological review of the Prince Yu scene was brilliant.
@KFG: thanks for the clarification, I totally missed this as the English subtitles just had MCS say “Father” so I saw little significance.
“Now I ask you all, if the censors remove that flashback scene wouldn’t it would be a shame? It is such a necessary scene.”
What censors? What did I miss?
Zhao Zhehan, who acted as Young Lin Shu in NIF, was embroiled in a scandal recently when he posed for pictures at Yasakuni shrine which has some Japanese WWII war criminals. This shrine is so sensitive to the Chinese they even make noise when a sitting Japanese PM visits, let alone a Chinese TV star! Apparently all the shows he’s starred in are being taken offline. And his scenes in NIF may be excised.
Elaine – I wonder what they are going to do with Word Of Honor? I have been trying to obtain DVD copies of NIF with English subs to use as gifts. It is an ongoing search, made more important now that this has happened.
All Chinese streaming platforms have stopped hosting Word of Honor, and the flashback scenes with Zhang Zhehan have already been edited out of NiF. No word yet on international platforms, so they’re still available in places like YouTube and Netflix, but once the license expires, WoF will probably be gone for good from Netflix.
Thanks Melka. I am going to have to find a way to preserve a copy of NIF before the license runs out. V just got the rights back to the English subbed in 2020. Sigh, oh dear.
Thank you! I have visited Yasukuni Shrine and I know it’s controversial for the Chinese, but the reaction seems a little exaggerated? I guess not paying attention to history classes in China is a big no! Without wanting to offend anyone here, I kinda feel sorry for this kid.
I agree, I think it is out of proportion too! Unfortunately nationalism is a huge deal and Chinese leaders have made sure all young Chinese learn the history of how China was treated badly by the West and Japan (and how the Chinese Communist Party saved the country).
Love all your Did you knows phl1rxd! How do you find the time after work to write these lengthy exposition? They bring a lot of extra insight, thank you!
Elaine – I am retired so that helps a lot. I also dropped a few independent work projects in the last two weeks plus I already had pages of notes and novel pastes I have made over the years. When Fangurl mentioned that she might do a NIF group watch, this NIF nerd was so happy that I prepared up to E30 before we even got started. Plus BE motivated me to pull over the novel last week which now makes queries very easy. It also helps that the translators 👼👼 allow embeds of the novel with a link back – a very generous thing to do.
I watch the drama, read the corresponding portion of the novel and then type my thoughts. I pare my comments way down – they are originally pretty big. 🙄
I cannot achieve anything near Fangurl’s brilliance so I do struggle – her words flow like water in a crystal clear mountain stream.
I said it before but it bears repeating – this group watch is an absolute blast for me. Fangurl’s posts are pure gold. Big 💖😘 👋 to Fangurl 👼 for doing this. Even after all of my watches, I learned a lot of new things from the commenters here and reading different viewpoints is great. The language details from the Mandarin speaking commenters is also appreciated. I especially love Fangurl’s Mom’s comments.
What can I say Elaine but that I just really, really love this drama.
A bon bon for you: this bolero by the greatest of the Senegalese bands, Orchestra Baobab, whose great, great guitarist Barthelemy Attiso recently passed away. A great gentleman from Togo, who as an attorney, at which he practiced on and off over the course of decades, taught himself to play the guitar, crediting Carlos Santana and Wes Montgomery as influences, along with the Congolese giant, Dr. Nico. I had the privilege to see them play a number of times, and meet and interview them all on one occasion. Performed for Kings and Prime Ministers, diplomats, and an avid world wide following in clubs, dance halls, auditoriums, and outdoor arenas, for all of this work you do for us phl1rxd:
BE – really, really nice! Thank you. 💖
Also phl1rxd: may I recommend the Gladys Palmera website, which also if you subscribe sends out weekly newsletters. Ms. Palmera has the world’s largest collection of “latin” music on vinyl and musical memorabilia. Both the website & newsletter are in Spanish, but your Spanish however rusty (mine entirely oxidized these days) would be sufficient: gladyspalmera.com
Ok BE – that was unreal. She is saving the history for future generations. That she has them in so many formats is impressive.
I can only imagine that somewhere in her collection is a song I have lost information on & have been searching for for years. I can sing a part of it from memory. I believe it was a Costa Brava song (circa late 80s, singer Mariano Civico) so I know I am going to be busy searching this site because she has all their albums listed. I even went to the biggest music store in PR, and embarrassed myself by trying to sing it for them so they could ID it. I am sure my signing capability was the cause of the problem. 😆
Thank you so much BE!
Ah, phl1rxd, you are doing so much for all of us; it makes me happy, and I was sure it would make you happy, to link you to Gladys. An incredible site for folks such as yourself.
Bonus number: this from Palanque in Colombia, with its African heritage, and its contemporary Congolese styled guitar and saxo sound, for when you are ready to get up, stretch, and dance around:
ps thanks KFG for allowing me to send ph1lrxd some dancing shoes
Saving this one BE on my play list – this is a happy dance song that makes one want to smile and get up and dance. I love it! 🤗 It makes me as happy as listening to my Christmas Parang Soca ‘Piece Ah Pork’.
Broad generalization, but
Son Palenque–Cartagena on the Caribbean
Bachata–local percussion, probably a marriage of native and African rhythm and instrumentation, also featuring call and response, percussive vocals;
Champeta–an adaptation of Congolese soukous (soukous=shake your butt) dance as it evolved in Paris and Brussels in the 80s and 90s–rhythms, melodic lines, guitar patterning styles, sometimes featuring internationally well known Congolese soukous musicians, quite popular in that part of Colombia, often inflected with Colombian cumbia, Panamanian popular dance–the ground from which Reuben Blades emerged, and Cuban rhumbas and son.
Wow, what a set of episodes!
RIP, Tong Lu and Fourth Sister. I hope you can be together in the afterlife. Your story was short but meaningful.
The Battle of Helm’s Deep….ehh, Hunting Palace was quite something.
Prince Jing totally knows.
The mystery of the wild beast was revealed and I was totally surprised. I hope General Nie recovers. I can’t wait to see his reunion with Xia Dong.
I felt sorry for Prince Yu. He is not innocent, but I doubt that he would use his own son ( does he have any children?) the way his own father (the Emperor) used him.
I hope you can be together in the afterlife.
Interesting how show framed Tong Lu’s death to echo Fourth Sister’s.
Fourth Sister had an interesting and unexpected character arc, from honey trap to passive aggressive reluctant spy for the bad guys to heroic turncoat who helps the good guys. Simply amazing how she decides for herself who is on the side of good and who she should help!
She began before honey trap as reluctant, private citizen, loyal to Banruo as family, with a whole lot of please, not me, not anymore.
Indeed her character, thinking and motivations have been consistent from the start! She has accepted that the Hua nation’s destruction, while tragic, is something that cannot be reversed. So to pursue Banruo and Xia Jiang’s course of action is futile and destructive.
If the show were reframed to make Banruo the hero, Fourth Sister would be a traitor to the cause of the highest order. But when you zoom out to the big picture, perhaps Fourth Sister has evaluated Prince Jing vs Prince Yu and decided Prince Jing is the better path for the future for Da Liang and the assimilated remnants of the Hua.
@Snow Flower: I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say the tragic Prince Yu does have a loving family.
KFG: Please put the spoiler tag if you think it’s too much info.
More tomorrow, but aside from last third of 42 through first half of 45 being my favorite stretch in whole show from Consort Jing-Mei Chang Su (for me, any way, the most emotionally moving scene in the entire show: one aspect of characterization beyond what we see from the character him or herself, is how other characters, especially someone so sound and sympathetic as Consort Jing, think/feel/and react to him or her; nothing spells out the tragedy of Lin Shu more than seeing Consort Jing break down like that); to Zhen Ping doing that fling the sword into the door, trampoline off of it to the parapets, dodge arrows by bare handed side swipe, and dump one vat of oil over the top after another; to Victor Huang, my goodness gracious, flat out acting his effing heart out screaming and pounding away at the bars of his cage. Man! Victor Huang! For me, his performance in these episodes simply trumps the rest of the cast throughout.
But this: flash back to Xia Jiang interrogating MCS in his compound aerie. The first thing he tells him is that he has flayed people while interrogating them, clearly saying that as a metaphor. Well now we know from Consort Jing’s lament with him, the treatment for Lin Shu’s deadly poisoning was that he had to be flayed alive so that his skeleton could be put back together. Now think about how MCS was. “Flay me, eh? Ah, Xia Jiang, you have no idea. You have no idea!” What a wonderful, totally NIF bit of foreshadowing that went right under the radar. Why show is so rewatchable.
Yes – great, great comment BE!!
Victor Huang! 💖💥🧨🔥💖💥🧨🔥💖
We might be understanding of Banruo from her back story, or at times the Emperor, for being that middle aged guy with a lot on his mind, but Victor Huang’s Prince Yu is a fully fleshed out tragic villain, however flawed and narcississtic–he coulda been a contenda, he coulda been King.
That is a great way to look at it BE. I have been on and off with Prince Yu through my watches (mostly off) but this group watch made me view him with different glasses. Lots of digging into his personality expanded my point of view, and I can see his tragic downward spiral more holistically . I actually feel sorry for him.
A bit like Macbeth. Pride, ambition listened to his significant other (Lady Macbeth/Banruo). He could have had a comfortable retirement but was not willing to go quiet into the night.
All the heart eyes for General Meng and Nihuang in full battle glory! Nihuang was amazing riding in to save the day!
I actually blitzed through the series to nearly the end from the middle of the group watch. Wanted to rewatch along with the group watch pace but haven’t managed to these few weeks. But this attempted coup arc was amazingly dramatic. Anchored by the pathos of Prince Yu. And surprising use of characters who had been left on the sidelines for quite a while, like Fourth Sister and Tong Lu.
I agree with Kfangurl that Prince Yu’s assessment that Prince Jing would take revenge once he ascended to the throne was unfounded. But Yu’s prognosis was based on his own character – what he would do in Jing’s place (and to be fair what usually happens to older brothers of the Emperor is that they vanish! Prince Ji is younger than current Emperor) and his own ambition that will not rest unless he becomes Emperor. Quiet retirement is not for him.
Nihuang climbing the steps to the Emperor! Be still my beating heart, that woman knows how to make an entrance!
Nihuang is outright magnificent!
Ep 44 Wow I love how General Nihuang rides in to save the day! My favourite moment so far! It again underscores how feminist this show is, and probably anachronistic in this regard, having powerful and independent woman like Nihuang and Xia Dong. Makes it better though.
Ep 45 You’d think Prince Jing would be getting super fed up of being kept in the dark for so long. Everyone else is in on the secret of Mei Changsu’s identity except him! Feeling sorry for him.
Yeah I thought MCS drawing of Jing’s sword would have been a dead giveaway, you don’t put your hands on someone else’s weapon unless you’re super close friends with the person! Furthermore the secret trail down the hill! Uncharacteristic of MCS to leak details like that, usually he is in such careful control of his cover. I guess it was the pure urgency of the situation. Prince Jing’s ironic remark that this is yet another thing MCS learned from Nihuang sounded rather sarcastic to me, like Jing was onto him already, and I thought it was lame that MCS said yes!
Whether he knows or not, it is certain he thinks he knows, and yet for all the rap about him, until he knows for sure, Jing has held his fire on that account. And insofar as heroism goes, yes it is off screen, but three days and nights without sleep, by himself, the Prince of Da Liang, running down a steep, unused, mountain trail–have any of you hiked down such a trail, because I have and believe me forget about knees and ankles, with that load of full battle armor he is lugging on his person.
@BE – Agreed. Not only the 3 days and nights of travel but then he still doesn’t rest upon arrival!
@BE – Jang Hyuk was on an old variety show – something to do with celebrities taking over regular people’s farms and doing the necessary work – anyway Hyukie is always bragging about how he can start up three nights in a row, and, of course, he was showing off his manliness [let me stop and pause to picture, remember and sigh for a moment]. So Hyuk was sawing away at this stubborn tree trunk that everyone else had given up on, but he seemed to be in a sleep-sawing stupor 😆. and later that evening, he was sitting up sleeping during the group gathering. Show host Yoo Jae-suk immediately started ribbing him about it. Poor Hyukie looked so embarrassed. It was soooo sweet.
But I do believe Jang Hyuk can stay awake for 3 days in a row just because towards the end of all of his tv series, he has unbelievably HUGE bags under his eyes! I’m always thinking “there’s no way his eyes are going back to normal”. But they always do in time for his next drama.
Anyway, you talking about Prince Jing & the 3 sleepless days made me think of JH and, of course, I took the opportunity to flail a bit. 😉
@beez: how cool is that. thanks.
I have done forty eight hours straight as a young working man; I suppose at war, people are able to do things they could never later imagine themselves doing, just as, on a much more minor and playful note, I can remember carrying both daughters, all their beach toys, food and drink down a cliff to a beach; I can remember hauling my kids all over steep mountain trails and never once letting them fall, no matter how precarious their hold on me or how slippery and steep the trail. And thirty five years later, I still have no idea how that could have been possible.
Joe, Elaine and BE – they are ramping up the ‘reveal’ tension…I am here for it.
Again I’m not very well versed in Chinese history but I know there are legends of Hua Mulan, who dressed as a man to take her aged father’s place in battle, and also the semi historical semi legendary Yang family of accomplished generals, after the men in the family died or were captured, the women became generals and proved just as capable.
There is also Wu Zetian who ruled as the first female Emperor (she styled herself the mandated ruler, not ruling by wifely right).
So maybe Chinese culture is open to strong women!
Well, if one sees the epic lengthed Queen Seon Deok, which takes place at roughly the same time in Korea as this does in China, one small element is how when Seon Deok ascends to the throne of Silla (one of the three kingdoms of Korea at that time), she is at first rebuffed as illegitimate because of her gender as the ruler of a nation by the Chinese emperor.
Good point, maybe strong women generals are acceptable but not female Empresses. Wu Zetian was reviled, and other women have been blamed for the downfall of an empire, e.g. Yang Guifei (or Noble Consort Yang in NIF speak) who so besotted her Emperor that he governed unwisely and was deposed in a rebellion.
I really hoped you’d headline with a photo of Commander Meng! He was divine in the battle scene. I especially appreciated him as he ferociously charged into the fray. What a great thing it is, to get to see this battle-hardened heroic side, as compared to the second (or third) fiddle he plays in his street clothes at Mei Chengsu’s home. Simply Divine!