Open Thread: Nirvana In Fire Episodes 46, 47 & 48

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Today we have Jingyan headlining our post, because, doesn’t he look so regal, as he walks in for his coronation? 🤩

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 46

Y’know, based on the situation and the accumulation of the various pieces of evidence, I’d been so sure (like, 90% sure) that we were on the cusp of a Jingyan-Xiao Shu reunion, at the end of the last episode, but as it turns out, Jingyan’s suspicions have been deflected for another day.

I feel so bad for Jingyan, whose mind is basically imploding from trying to reconcile everything in his head, in a way that makes sense. I mean, he even talks about having the completely illogical thought, that Mei Changsu is actually Xiao Shu, in the middle of the night, while he’s supposed to be sleeping.

This is where instincts and logic clash, because while his instinct is exactly right, the logical pieces don’t add up. Not only does Mei Changsu look nothing like Xiao Shu, there are such stark differences in their health and temperament, plus, there’s the thing where Mei Changsu’s and Noble Consort Jing’s stories line up so well, that there’s no room for Jingyan to question things any further. Poor, frustrated Jingyan. I think he viscerally knows something’s up, and that Mom and Mei Changsu are keeping something from him; he’s just stuck, in terms of finding his way to the truth.

On the upside, at least Nihuang finds a confidante in Noble Consort Jing.

It hadn’t occurred to me, until this scene with Noble Consort Jing, that it’s been hard for Nihuang to keep Mei Changsu’s secret to herself, and deal with the implications of his poor health, on her own. At least now, she can talk about it with Noble Consort Jing. That in itself is cathartic, I think.

This episode, with Grand Prince Ji’s conversation with the Emperor, I’m reminded all over again, of my mom’s belief, that he’s actually quite terrified of the Emperor. He does look extremely uncomfortable when the Emperor asks his opinion on the matter regarding succession to the throne. And, his nervous haste, in brushing off any potential hint of interest on his part, towards the throne, says a lot.

It does corroborate my mom’s theory, that the Emperor had likely killed at least a brother or two, in order to secure the throne. Grand Prince Ji had likely been spared, not only because he’s the Emperor’s younger brother and therefore not technically in the way of his brother’s ambition for the throne at the time, but also, because of his chosen public image, of being too interested in food, wine and music, to be at all interested in becoming Emperor – and therefore not likely to raise a revolt at any time.

Clearly, even though that’s served him pretty well all these years, Grand Prince Ji still doesn’t feel very safe, when talking with the Emperor about this topic.

It’s worth noting, I feel, that this is the first time the Emperor has expressed that he’s considering Jingyan as a potential successor. That’s a big deal, especially considering where we’d started, with Jingyan as the least favored prince.

What an interesting reveal, via Mei Changsu’s conversation with Grand Prince Ji, that Grand Prince Ji had been the one to save Tingsheng, when things had gone south for the Qi household. That’s.. a little unexpected, given Grand Prince Ji’s reputation for not being involved in matters of the court. This gives us a glimpse, I think, into Grand Prince Ji’s true nature, underneath the carefree, laidback public image that he projects.

Also, there’s quite a strong flavor of poetic justice to the scene where it’s Consort Hui who gets to relay the decree announcing the Empress’s deposition. All these years, the Empress has bullied Consort Hui and made life difficult for her. Now, I can only imagine the catharsis Consort Hui must be getting, from this opportunity to deliver the biggest blow that the Empress will receive in her life.

I do have to credit Consort Hui, though, for carrying out the task with only a very slight sense of sternness. She’s mostly gracious, and doesn’t take the opportunity to gloat, which I feel like most people would have done. No wonder she and Noble Consort Jing get along.

I find it fascinating that in Prince Yu’s conversation with Mei Changsu, when Mei Changsu visits him in prison, he tells Mei Changsu that the most satisfying thing he’s done in his life, is to surround Jiu Ah Mountain. The phrase he uses is “破釜沉舟” (“pòfǔchénzhōu”), which literally refers to the act of sinking one’s boats after crossing the river, ie, without leaving any means of retreat.

I hypothesize that Prince Yu found it completely satisfying, because he was finally not holding himself back, and acting in full accordance to his own will and desires. And now that he’s failed, he has no regrets, despite it meaning his death.

His comparison of his situation to that of Prince Qi’s, however, brings out a contempt and fury that we haven’t yet seen in Mei Changsu. That righteous indignation, as Mei Changsu bites out that Prince Yu is nothing like Prince Qi, is so compelling. And Mei Changsu is right; Prince Yu never does find out who he is, in his lifetime, since Prince Yu commits suicide soon after this conversation.

One thing that does make Prince Yu slightly more noble than the other villains we have in our story, is how he gives up his life in the hope of saving his wife and unborn child. That’s something I hadn’t quite expected of him. Given that he had so little wiggle room in his situation, he really did do everything in his power, to protect his wife and child.

How forward thinking of Mei Changsu, to have Prince Yu’s wife rescued from the prison, to be whisked away to live a normal life as a commoner.

Ahh. So her suicide had been a cover story, so that they could swap her out with the body of a recently deceased female prisoner (whom the dialogue indicates had died of natural causes, so they didn’t, say, kill someone to take her place).

Mei Changsu is right; it would have hard for Prince Yu’s child to grow up in the Capital, with everyone knowing that his father was a traitor. It really is for the better, for mother and child to live as commoners, away from the complexities of court politics.

Episode 47

There’s quite a lot of stuff going on at this point in time, in our story world – Jingyan’s been named as the next Crown Prince, the selection for his Royal Consort is in full swing, and Mei Changsu’s working to arrange for Xia Dong and Nie Feng to meet, plus Xia Jiang’s on the run – but we’re told that separately, both Jingyan and Mei Changsu have appeared rather moody and troubled, after returning to the Capital from Jiu An Mountain.

Significantly, they both admit to being preoccupied with the same matter: they are both thinking about the Chiyan case, and how and when to revive it. How interesting, that even without prior discussion, they are so alike in where their thoughts and hearts flow. Ahh, these soulmates; I am so looking forward to the day when they’ll be reunited. 🥺

I’m intrigued by Gong Yu’s idea, to disguise herself as Xia Dong for a few days, so that Xia Dong can be smuggled out to meet with Nie Feng, at least for a while. Gong Yu really is quite talented, isn’t she? I’m wondering if this is just pure disguise, or if there’s some sort of magic to this, where she actually takes on Xia Dong’s likeness. Either way, I still feel that undercurrent of jealousy from Nihuang, especially at the part where Gong Yu says that she doesn’t mind suffering, if it’s for Mei Changsu’s sake. Ooh. Girl’s wearing her heart on her sleeve, whenever she has the chance, isn’t she?

How smart of Mei Changsu (of course), to deflect Gong Yu’s efforts as a favor to Nie Feng and Xia Dong, rather to himself.

I’m personally not really into the lighthearted tone that Show serves up around Lin Chen and his arrival; somehow, the lightheartedness doesn’t blend so well with the heavier stuff, in execution, at least to my eyes. I keep wanting Lin Chen to stop joking around, and attend seriously to the matter at hand. 😅

One thing that does strike me about Lin Chen’s conversation with Mei Changsu, is how Mei Changsu essentially articulates the thing that some of you guys have been discussing in recent threads; that to the Hua tribe, regaining their kingdom is the justice that they seek, and that with everyone on different sides, each with their own perspectives, it’s hard to determine who was right, in the end. Show doesn’t present a solution, but I’m glad that it acknowledges that all these will have to be considered by Jingyan, when he ascends the throne.

Speaking of whom, it’s such a milestone, that we get to see Jingyan receive the title of Crown Prince, this episode. It’s always felt like a distant possibility, that it’s quite startling to see it actually come to pass, in the now. It reminds me of how little time left we have, to our story. 😢

It really feels like the beginning of a new era, with the Emperor deciding that Jingyan should start to govern in his place, due to his ailing health. Perhaps the Emperor will regain some strength in future episodes, but for now, he does seem like a shadow of himself – a lot less intimidating than before, in my eyes.

In the meantime, Xia Jiang’s in hiding at the residence of a Minister Fan, and judging from their conversation, he plans to find an opportunity to speak with the Emperor, in order to reveal Mei Changsu’s identity (or what he believes to be Mei Changsu’s identity), which he believes would then derail all of Mei Changsu’s work, including the effort of making Jingyan Crown Prince.

I’m curious to know how Xia Jiang plans to gain an audience with the Emperor, especially given that he’s now a wanted criminal, and for treason, no less.

We also get news that Xie Yu has died – which means that the letter in Grand Princess Liyang’s possession can now be retrieved, and its contents, revealed. This is going to become important in future episodes, I’m sure. For now, Mei Changsu needs to wait for time to pass, so that news of Xie Yu’s death has time to reach the Capital. Ahh. Our Divine Talent always has a firm grasp of all the details.

The reunion between Xia Dong and Nie Feng is emotional and heartfelt; I definitely teared up, along with everyone else on my screen. As Nihuang says (poignantly, from experience I’m sure), it doesn’t matter what Nie Feng looks like now; it’s a happy thing in itself, for Xia Dong to be reunited with him.

With Lin Chen’s detailed explanation of the Poison of the Bitter Flame, we not only get a clearer idea of what Mei Changsu had suffered, through the process of being poisoned, to the process of being treated, the people around Mei Changsu also finally get insight into the fact that he does not have long to live. 💔 Oof.

This is such a painful realization for all, and especially for Nihuang, who has trusted and believed all this time, that all her Lin Shu Gege needed, was extra rest and care. I imagine that the dawning realization that she will eventually lose him again, must be so horrifying to her.

However, now that we know that the only other course of treatment available to Lin Shu, was to remain furry and without the ability to speak, I can see why he chose the harsher, more thorough treatment, that would afford him a normal appearance, and the ability to speak, even while it shortened his life. Given his burning desire to restore justice to his family as well as Prince Qi’s family, this was the only way he could have had even the shadow of a chance to do so. Still, what a price to pay. 😭

In light of this, it feels like a luxury, almost, that Nie Feng has the option to choose the less thorough treatment, with the knowledge that Xia Dong simply wants to be with him, even if it means that he won’t be able to speak.

Episode 48

I guess the thing about more and more people knowing Mei Changsu’s identity as Lin Shu, is that sooner or later, someone’s going to let it slip – which is exactly what happens, with Wei Zheng referring to Mei Chang Su as Young Marshal, when talking with Lin Chen. Xia Dong’s realization is so apparent, as her eyes grow as big as saucers. At this rate, I feel like it won’t be long before everyone else knows too.

Mei Changsu’s conversation with Commander Meng, about why he hadn’t told Commander Meng the truth, indirectly answers some of our questions, about why Mei Changsu hasn’t told Jingyan, all this time. He says that Commander Meng’s affection and friendship towards him has often been a burden; that if Commander Meng had known, there would have been many orders that he would not have followed.

I understand where Mei Changsu is coming from; it’s true that in the course of all that’s happened, there have been times when Mei Changsu had been put in danger, or had to suffer hardship. If Commander Meng had known that his friend Lin Shu, already frail from ill health, was not long for the world, I can imagine that he would not have agreed to certain plans. And I hypothesize that the same logic would apply to Jingyan as well.

However, I understand Commander Meng’s anguish as well. I feel like, on top of the shock of finding out that Mei Changsu is dying, there must be some level of guilt in there too, about not realizing what his friend is going through.

Nihuang’s response to her Lin Shu Gege is so heartwrenching; there is so much heartbreak in her eyes, as she asks him to tell her the truth about how much time he has left. And, while I understand Mei Changsu’s rationalization in terms of why he doesn’t tell her the truth (which he later articulates to Xia Dong), I’m actually gutted for Nihuang, that she now has the false belief that she still has 10 years left with him.

It already doesn’t sound like much, and yet, she unhesitatingly commits herself to those 10 years with him, not caring to think about herself, or what would become of her, after. She only cares about savoring the time that she does have, with him, and it’s.. gutting to know what she doesn’t; that the time she has left with her Lin Shu Gege is a fraction of what she thinks. 😭

Their embrace is so full of emotion, and in particular, I feel like I can practically see Mei Changsu’s heart breaking into pieces, with the lie that he’s told Nihuang. 💔

While I haven’t enjoyed Lin Chen’s flippancy too much since his arrival, I do appreciate him pointing out to Mei Changsu, that overturning the Chiyan case is not his responsibility alone; that Mei Changsu’s essentially taken on the weight of the world on his shoulders, and made himself responsible for everyone and everything, and that’s contributing to his deteriorating health.

That’s so true. This desire to overturn the Chiyan case is as much Jingyan’s desire as it is his, and I agree with Lin Chen, that Jingyan’s more capable of shouldering his burdens than Mei Changsu appears to give him credit for.

At the same time, I see Mei Changsu’s point, which he’d earlier made to Commander Meng, that overturning the Chiyan case is something that cannot wait until Jingyan ascends the throne; it would only be fully effective, if the case is overturned by the present Emperor. With the Emperor’s time on the throne apparently limited, given that he’s already asked Jingyan to start governing, I can see why there is a sense of urgency about this.

And of course, with Xia Jiang angling to take Mei Changsu and Jingyan down, that definitely complicates matters further.

I have to admit, I was quite puzzled at the contents of the secret letter, because I couldn’t figure out when Xia Jiang came to know that Mei Changsu is actually Lin Shu. Which is why I consulted my mom on this. Heh. It’s so helpful, to be able to consult Mom on this anytime I’m confused; she’s seen this show 6 times now, and basically has thought through everything already, on her various watches.

My mom’s analysis of the situation, is that Xia Jiang doesn’t actually know for sure that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu; this is just his best guess. And his best guess is mostly based on the fact that he knows Mei Changsu has been poisoned by the Poison of the Bitter Flame. That poison can only take effect in Meiling, because those snow bugs only live there. And, the Poison of the Bitter Flame can also only take effect under certain very specific conditions, where there’s snow and fire. This points to the fact that Mei Changsu had been there among the Chiyan Army, at the time of the massacre.

Add on the facts that, 1, Lin Shu’s body was never found, 2, Mei Changsu is as brilliant as Lin Shu was once known to be, and 3, Mei Changsu has a very specific belief that Prince Qi was framed, and a very specific agenda around that, and circumstantially, we can see why Xia Jiang would conclude that Mei Changsu is very likely Lin Shu himself. Especially since one treatment option for the Poison of the Bitter Flame involves a complete change in appearance.

I must say, as much as I dislike Concubine Yue, she really does know how to play her cards, when it comes to the Emperor. It’s no wonder she was such a favorite of his, for so long. 😏 She knows exactly the kind of pitiful act to put on, and she knows exactly what to say, and importantly, when to pull back, so that he not only becomes curious to hear what is contained in the letter, but commands her to speak its contents, even though those contents are considered taboo.

Also, she’s so shrewd in acting somewhat suspicious of the contents of the letter – which actually nudges the Emperor towards investigating the legitimacy of the Poison of the Bitter Flame. Plus, the Emperor even goes so far as to send a message to Xia Jiang, saying that he will give Xia Jiang a chance to defend himself, and if Xia Jiang’s words prove true, the Emperor’s prepared to pardon all the crimes committed by Xuanjing Bureau.

Wow. That’s huge. The Emperor had considered the Xuanjing Bureau’s transgressions unpardonable. But.. I suppose this is how important the Chiyan case is, to the Emperor.

How worrying, though, that Xia Jiang appears to have laid out a whole lot of plans to create chaos in Jinling, in and out of the Palace, whether he survives or not. Plus, he’s even given orders for certain individuals to be killed, at all costs. And, he’s setting the wheels in motion now, even before he gets to speak with the Emperor. Yikes. I guess we’ve got our Final Conflict in place, as we go into our next set of episodes? 😅

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phl1rxd
phl1rxd
20 days ago

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

Episode 47

  • -Minister Fan Chengxiang – Imperial Censor, harbors Xia Jiang
  • Yaozhu – concubine of above  
  • -Miss Liu – granddaughter of the cute Grand Secretariat Liu Cheng and future wife of Prince Jing – nowhere in the novel or drama is her real name ever mentioned, the poor dear

There are no new characters in E46 or E48 and no new places mentioned in E46, 47 or 48

trackback

[…] 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 | […]

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
14 days ago

Hello everyone, just popping by to give an off topic two thumbs up for the new Marvel movie Shang Chi! No it’s not so complex and political as NIF but I think it has a story with heart, worth telling. Toby Leung is incredible! And the action is very very well done, great martial arts fights. There is also very very little “Marvel” in it, it can stand on its own, it is not really plugged into the Avengers shenanigans yet.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Thanks for that info Elaine as I was on the fence with this. I will definitely watch this now.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Welcome! 10 to 20% of the dialogue is in Mandarin with English subtitles. Apparently some people thought they’d wandered into the wrong version as the whole opening prologue is in Mandarin.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

LOL Elaine – I will definitely watch knowing that. I strongly feel that shows (including anime) should be watched in the native tongue with subs. I am a anti-dubbed kind of gal. I am very happy to hear this.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine – Just bought my tickets for tomorrow at 1PM. I will follow up and let you know my impression.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine – it was really good. Sumi Lie and Awkwafina were very good and their relationship was completely natural. I wanted to see more of them together. Tony Leung – what can I say? He is a legend.

I will say that the one thing I appreciated was that the dialogue was in Mandarin. That was the right choice to make. I could see people around me struggled with the subs but I whizzed right through them, as reading subs is so easy for me, having done it for so many years.

My favorite part was the bus scene which was breathtaking. I am looking forward to sequels. Thanks for this post Elaine as I probably would never have gone to see it and I would have missed out on a great experience.

beez
16 days ago

@Elaine – thanks!

CP
CP
18 days ago

Re: Poison of the Bitter Flame incident

I find this subplot very interesting (and also confusing), but this is what I’ve put together:

For someone to be poisoned by this disease, they need to first be burned (MCS on top of the cliff), and then they need to be bitten by those snow bugs that live only near Mei ling (this happened to MCS after he fell off the cliff and landed in a snowy area where the bugs were). This disease is said to both kill you & save you, because while the person would have died from being burned, the snow bugs release a poison that contains 冰寒之氣 (like cold qi?) that basically controls the fire in the body (essentially think of Yin/Yang concept in Chinese medicine) and therefore saves the person’s life, however this poison will still eventually kill you.

After MCS contracted this Poison he was later healed by Lin Chen (through the brutal procedure that changed his appearance completely, and shortened his life significantly.) Nie Feng contracted the same poison, but he was in hiding and wasn’t saved or healed by anyone before this point, therefore his hairy appearance/ inability to talk etc. is the natural effect of this disease. From what I understand, Zhen Ping, Wei Zheng and Li Gang survived probably just through fighting / running away. They didn’t fall down the cliff / get bitten by the snow bugs so that is why they didn’t contract the disease.

Given of the super specific circumstances required to become poisoned, it is a pretty rare disease, and there are also very few survivors from the Chi Yan army massacre who could even have the potential to be poisoned. I would say this is why Xia Jiang was able to deduce that MCS was Lin Shu, and also why the Emperor had to research so hard to find the disease and would be then willing to give Xia Jiang a listen based on that.

Geo
Geo
18 days ago
Reply to  CP

@CP: Thanks, your explanation makes sense, I didn’t get that the bugs save you from the burns but poison you at the same time.

Ele Nash
18 days ago
Reply to  CP

Thanks for that, CP. I get you! So he burned, fell off a cliff into the snow and while the snow bugs bites medicated him into living, they also poisoned him to be like Nie Feng. Phew! Kind of luckily unlucky 😅

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
18 days ago

So much Prince Yu love on the thread this week! I love Victor Huang’s performance too but let’s not forget that he sanctioned a bombing which killed dozens of civilians, and he was about to slaughter his father, uncle and three of his brothers, not to mention dozens of courtiers!

beez
19 days ago

– Not so! Your mind has to be razor sharp to keep track of all these details in NIF!

Geo
Geo
19 days ago

A few comments on these episodes.

Like others, I’m not clear how the poison of the Bitter Flame was introduced to MCS and Nie Feng. It seems to have been a “natural” result of the Meiling area where the massacre of the Chiyan army occurred that afflicted certain survivors, but not others. Wei Zheng, Zheng Ping and Li Gang were not affected, not clear why. This maybe what Alfred Hitchcock referred to as a MacGuffin, a plot element that seems important to the story but isn’t really, it just serves the purpose of moving the story along. In Hitchcock’s case, creating the suspenseful atmosphere, in NIF, explaining MCS’ ability to enter the capital and do all his plotting, incognito as it were.

The Hua people issue seems a bit clearer now. MCS said they helped the Emperor gain the throne, then 3 years later, they defected to the Northern Yan. From the Emperor’s perspective, this is more than enough reason to wipe them out but perhaps the Hua leaders were very wary of the Emperor’s growing suspicious nature after he assumed the throne? I think MCS says it’s a situation where both sides have some justification for their position but doesn’t change the fact the Hua will still be a problem for Prince Jing.

MCS is so accustomed being the puppet master he can’t help himself continuing to play the role. However, I think he’s still the one who is needed to develop the strategy to redeem the name of the Chiyan army and so I trust he’s doing the best thing by keeping information close. Mind you, the secret of his identity and mission are close to being revealed to all. I think Prince Jing not knowing his identity will play better if/when Xia Jang gets his day in court, as seems likely now.

KFG, thank your Mom for her insight again as to Xia Jang’s perceiving MCS is Lin Shu, it wasn’t clear to me how Xia Jang would have made the connection. What a nest of vipers and spies is the court, can you trust anyone, even among the maids? Speaking of vipers, Consort Yue really knows how to play the Emperor.

It seems cruel but I understand MCS sneering at Prince Yu, who did not relay Prince Qi’s messages to the Emperor, and to think they were similar is a slap to Prince Qi’s memory, Prince Yu rebels, Prince Qi was framed. Reading between the lines, MCS also seems to be saying Prince Yu was happy to see Prince Qi gone, eliminating a major competitive threat to Prince Yu’s ambitions.

I did not recognize Banruo without her elaborate make-up, it’s only at the end of her fight with Fei Lu that I recognized the flash in her eyes. I wonder what Lin Chen plans to do with her, he sounds quite susceptible to a pretty female.

Most moving scene, Nihuang hearing Lin Chen’s words about the Poison of the Bitter Flame and realizing MCS chose the normal looking but shorter life option.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
18 days ago
Reply to  Geo

Sniff that scene made me awfully sad too!

Regarding the Poison of the Bitter Flame. What I understand is it needs both searing fire and bitter cold and the bite of the snow beetle. Remember Lin Shu was burned (he had ashes on his face anyhow) before his dad dropped him into the abyss? He then fell into the snow and got nibbled by the snow beetles and hence got infected by the poison. Which saved his life yet was a double edged sword. Actually I do wonder how any Chiyan army members like Li Gang and Zhen Ping got out alive. Wouldn’t they have fought to the death to save their comrades? Or were they told to run and live like Lin Shu was. Hmm.

Leslie
Leslie
19 days ago

My small contribution to this week’s discussion is to comment, again, on the visuals of this show. The scene of Prince Jing becoming the Crown Prince was breathtaking. From Prince Jing’s long ascension to the palace (yes, he was magnificently regal, KFG), to his robes – and the clothing of all those present -, to the last bit where he approaches the throne across a gorgeous red rug, to the ornately beautiful throne itself – it is a feast for the/my eyes. What resources it took to create that one scene.

I thought the ceremonial reading of the decree by Gao Zhan, backed by almost liturgical music, was more riveting than any ceremony we’ve seen. And then, like that, Prince Jing becomes Crown Prince. The story has been building to it for so long, that it was almost disconcerting to me to have it accomplished. And, a reminder that getting to this point has only been in service to the larger goal, that of vindicating the Chiyan Army. We’ve (and MCS) still have another mountain to climb. 😅

I’ve also been noting the difference between historical Chinese and historical Korean garb and home design. The Chinese color palette is much more somber and dark than the Korean palette. I’m used to the brighter colors of sageuks, and the pale, pale skin of most noble characters. Korean homes are often spare in design and neutral in color, as compared to the ornate and colored Chinese abodes (including palaces). And somewhat along those lines, I find the kits of the Chinese army more fierce than most Korean military styles. The deep red, heavy plating, and fearsome helmets of the Chinese military are quite menacing.

Natalia
Natalia
18 days ago
Reply to  Leslie

Leslie, you are right to highlight the differences. I was also thinking that when compared, the Koreans look kind of like the poor relatives (if that expression exists in English…), but also like a much merrier people.
Also, let me add that I love it when Gao Zhan reads out edicts. Very regal. I also like him in general. It was a great touch, his expression while Consort Yu was trying to manipulate the Emperor. One could clearly read “what’s this bs now” written on his face.

beez
19 days ago

@BE – it’s okay be. I can take it. You deserve to say it looks and clear – “I TOLD YOU SO!” 😆

beez
19 days ago

@Ele @BE – BE has been giving me the exact same argument regarding MCS’ kid gloves treatment of Prince Jing but I’ve been resistant. But the way youhilariously put it has me going “Well, that’s true. I guess Prince Jingy won’t jump over a balcony…” 😆

beez
19 days ago

I really didn’t like Lin Chen early on but I grew to anticipate his arrival because it means I’m going to see Fei Liu’s feathers ruffled and some teasing plus MCS will have one of his tiny smiles.

beez
19 days ago

@Natalia – Yup. Yup. And yup again.

beez
19 days ago

– I almost forgot – Gen. Meng bean’s saddle, I didn’t notice but I did notice how good he looks astride a horse!

beez
19 days ago

I’m not sure if this was mentioned in these eps or later (that’s what I get for not being able to resist going forward
Did MCS ever drink human blood?

Did I miss the discussion on why is Jingxuan is called Prince Jing when Jingyu could also have been called Prince Jing?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago
Reply to  beez

#Beez – your spoiler answer is no. As for the names – I have to go look as I cannot remember. I’m getting old Miz. B!

Natalia
Natalia
18 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez, I think all three princes we spent time on (Jingyan, Yu, the Crown Prince) were named Jingsomething. Plus Consort Jing. Jing must mean something nice in Chinese.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
18 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Ah the Jing for Jingyan Jingyu and Jinghuan is a different Jing (景)and is part of their first name (family name is Xiao 萧.

Consort Jing and Prince Jing (different Jing 靖) is a ceremonial title, kinda like Duke of Gloucester. Similarly when Consort Yue was demoted she became Consort Xian, and Crown Prince became Prince Xian.

CP
CP
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Just to add on to the confusion, the “Jing” in Prince Jing (靖)and Consort Jing (靜)are also different characters. In fact it’s really just a coincidence that they happen to have the same spelling in English, but I don’t think it’s intentional that the princes & their respective mothers have ceremonial titles that are homonyms.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
18 days ago
Reply to  CP

Oh wow, thanks for pointing it out! 靖 and 静 even sound the same in Mandarin, both with fourth tone whereas 景is third tone.

Now that you mention it, Consort Hui’s son is Prince Ning. So indeed the ceremonial title doesn’t have to match.

But me knowing that Consort Jing is a ceremonial title made me confused when MCS called her “Aunt Jing”, unless there happens to be the character Jing in her real name too!

For non Chinese speakers, this is the reason why Jingyan asked his mum and MCS separately on the so called father’s name Mei Shinan “which nan and which shi” because there are sooooo many characters which sound the same yet are written different and have different meanings. So we use context. Like I will say one of the characters in my name is 灵,from agile 灵敏not 玲 which is more common in girls names.

Natalia
Natalia
17 days ago
Reply to  CP

Thanks for explaining all that! And I who thought that “Jing” must be a really awesome word for everyone to want it in their name…

BE
BE
19 days ago

Well reading comments this AM, all Zo can say to everyone,ahem, is welcome finally, to the Jing oughta be let in on this train, people!!!!!

BE
BE
19 days ago
Reply to  BE

All I (gosh this tiny phone keyboard) can say is, ahem, how long have I been pointing this out?

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
19 days ago

RIP, Prince Yu. You were conflicted and compelling character. Your wife and baby will live away from the clutches of the Emperor.

I am also curious about Banruo’s fate. Will she turn against Xia Jiang?

I have been wondering about The Poison of the Bitter Flame, and the show finally provided information. Poor MCS. But how will poor Niguang react when she finds out that he lied to her?

I did like Lin Chen. Besides comic relief, he supplied some key piece of information (being the CEO of Google), so I can’t fault him for that.

Where is Jingrui? Also, how long will it take for the news of Marquis Ning’s death to reach the capital? Now I am worried that someone will silence Princess Liyang before she reveals her husband’s confession. We know that Xia Jiang has spies literally everywhere…

Ele Nash
20 days ago

Well now, yah, I’m scared to say what I thought of these episodes because I know I’ll be treading on some NIF-lovers toes… It’s not that I’m not aboard the NIF appreciation train; there is a whole lot I love about the show, not least the characterisations and strategy. BUT I think these episodes showed me where I haven’t connected. I think it may be in part because of the way show tells instead of shows (Marquis Yu just died off camera?!) and also because I haven’t entirely understood things early enough.

For example, how the heck is the Poison of the Bitter Flame administered?? I’d (incorrectly) thought from early on, Lin Shu fell down a cliff face and some doctor (Lin Shen?) had administered the poison as a way to save Lin Shu’s life. Clearly, this was wrong on my part. But then I’m still totally non-plussed on why the Chiyan Army received the poison and if it was Xia Jiang behind it and if so, dur, why do it in Meiling where there is those little snow bug which eat away the poison?! Like, what??!! I don’t understand 😭 I’m so sorry if this is stupidly dense of me.

Another thing I realise I don’t feel anything for is connected to this poison and that’s Nie Feng. I mean, ridiculous hairiness aside (though that’s a big ask to set it aside given the fantasy elements of this show have thus far been minimal and actually grounded in a good deal of reality) I felt nothing for his reunion with our very beautiful Xia Dong. I wondered if there was something amiss with my emotional compass but then I definitely got teary-eyed with our Nihuang, heart breaking with Mei Changsu’s “ten year” revelation. Poor Nihuang!

Which brings me to the realisation that MCS is bugging the heck out of me!!!! I’m so annoyed that he’s lying every which way and, worse, others are lying for him too or have been and (like Meng) now realising they don’t know the full story either. MCS has SUCH a low opinion of how well everyone could cope with the truth of what happened to him and how close to death’s door he is. Like, Jingy is literally going to go out of his mind now when he finds out – not least because of much he’s been lied to!! How can he trust Meng now? Or his own mother?! Does MCS really believe he can outlast Jingy getting the Emperor to pardon Chiyan Army? Because, if not, Jingy is quite likely to throw the whole thing out the window and jump off a cliff instead. Whereas if MCS had told Jingy from the get-go, he had TWO YEARS to come to terms with the fact and work as MCS wishes to get to the Emperor to pardon him. Jingy may well have been cautious and worried for his friend – as Meng would / was too – but, heck, he’s not a baby! Why does MCS think Jingy is so preciously weak as to not see the big picture? I feel this plot point has just become cruel on Jingy with his own mother lying to his face. It is frankly all too much of a plot device to keep me on side.

So, with my heart hardening to our MCS, I was more on Prince Yu’s side. I HATED MCS sneering at him through the bars like he was so superior. Ugh. If Prince Yu was ignorant of who MCS really is, MCS is also really ignorant of who Prince Yu really was: son of the Hua tribe, wronged by the Emperor (and his Chiyan Army). Yeah, MCS may well reflect (and did he shrug?! Really?!) about the rights and wrongs of that to Lin Shen, but I have still seen nothing to make me believe the Hua tribe deserved to be massacred. I mean, “deserved” anyway?! How many were in this tribe? How many were children?

Which brings me – phew – to the last little thing I wanted to say which is I felt totally bad too for Banruo. This Lin Shen guy, I mean, is he a bit… oily? I’m scared for her. And yet for all Lin Shen’s slightly off-kilter undertones, he does say a lot of astute things that make sense.

How will it all end? How will Nihuang get over that MCS chose clearing the Chiyan Army’s name over being with her? And what ever happened to Jingru, the guy who went to meet his father?! And is the Emperor bluffing when he tells Consort Yue that he’d pardon the Bureau if after speaking to Xia Jiang he believes in the Poison and that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu? I mean, it’s a stretch how one fact would mean the Bureau were on the side of justice! 🙄 This Emperor…

Natalia
Natalia
20 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Ele, YES! I’m 100% in agreement with you. I think I said about the same things in my comment (Jing being fooled again, Prince Yu, this strange poison, Nie Feng, Lin Chen, Marquis Yu and even Banruo), and I should have added that MCS also got to my nerves too when speaking to Prince Yu. The only thing I appreciated is how he did care to get Mrs Yu and the baby out of the capital.

Ele Nash
19 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

@Natalia! Yes, I did see your comment and thought, well, at least it’s not just me 😅 I didn’t even get that bit about him saving Mrs Prince Yu so as I watched, my annoyance with MCS wasn’t quelled! So, in his defence, he did condescend to spare her and the baby which is more than some might have done.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
20 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I’m an NIF fan but I have to agree with you. Exactly all the points you mentioned, the lying (which is really feeling cruel towards Prince Jing by this point and grossly unfair to Nihuang) and ruthlessly shrugging off the fate of the Hua tribe did not sit well with me on second watch (of course my first watch was completely hunky dory into the heroics!)

Ele Nash
19 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Oh, thanks, @Elaine. I feel bad because as a fangirling fan of some shows / actors, it’s not so great when others come along and diss them! Dissing can spoil it! But I felt, having invested so much viewing time, I couldn’t not vent those niggles. Still, NIF is very watchable and I’m totally committed to following it until the end. Maybe it’ll make more sense by the end, once I see how Jingy does react. I mean, assuming he uncovers the truth eventually!!

Geo
Geo
18 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele et al: I understand the negative sentiments expressed about MCS but I still overall support his positioning and strategizing.

BE has done a good job explaining MCS’ contemptuous dismissal of Prince Yu and I would add, I think MCS holds Prince Yu partly responsible (and selfishly motivated?) for Prince Qi’s demise under trumped up circumstances. Prince Yu committed treason whereas Prince Qi was innocent. I don’t think it matters in the least to MCS that he knows Prince Yu may have been partially motivated by his 50% Hua blood, a totally irrelevant issue. Prince Yu still has the choice to not lead a rebellion. He is irrationally angry not because of his Hua blood or what the Emperor did to them but because he feels used by the Emperor but that’s what Emperors do, and Prince Yu is actually no different.

The Hua people are not blameless but maybe they were justified in defecting from the Emperor to join the Northern Yan. MCS sounds pretty cold about the fate of the Hua people but this is one of those situations where both parties are prisoners of their past and the future is what it is, the Hua and Da Liang are destined to be enemies. Could Lin Xie have defied the Emperor’s orders to destroy the Hua armies and people after they defected?

MCS remains the strategist without peer, Prince Jing nearly ruins everything when Zheng Ping informs them early of Prince Yu’s revolt. Prince Jing immediately plans to march to head off the rebels, a good military move but disastrous strategically. MCS wisely says, Prince Yu, in such a case would deny this was his intention and turn the tables on Prince Jing, accusing him of using a fake report to actually plan treason himself. Unfortunately, as MCS said, we have to wait until there are actual combat signs of the rebellion so the Emperor would have no doubt as to Prince Yu’s intention.

I think MCS needs to keep Prince Jing in ignorance of his identity so Prince Jing can be more effective if there is a court confrontation with Xia Jang which seems likely now. Prince Jing would make a much more effective and convincing advocate for MCS if he didn’t know MCS’ identity. I think Prince Jing’s personality is too straight forward and blunt to engage successfully in convoluted verbal battles in the court over MCS’ identity, if he actually knew who MCS was. I recognize he has his suspicions about MCS’ identity but without confirmation, he can actually be indignant about such an accusation. I can’t see him lying convincingly if he actually knew.

MCS’ lying to Nihuang about how much time he has left, I think, is designed to lessen the shock she has just experienced. Whether he should have told her minutes after she has learnt that he is living on borrowed time that the borrowed time is quite short is a tricky question, I think the way he chose allows Nihuang to internalize the loss before learning it’s coming much too soon. What would be her reaction if he said he literally has a few months at best. I think her reaction, supported by Meng and others, would be to tell MCS to abandon everything and spend his last few days in peace and harmony with her. It would become an unnecessary distraction with MCS so close to his goal. What would then become of his goal to redeem the Chiyan army and his family?

I don’t think MCS has a low opinion of others, it’s his judgment that this is the best way to achieve his goals and on balance, I think he’s right. There are very few decisions in life that are clear-cut one way or the other.

Ele Nash
18 days ago
Reply to  Geo

Thanks for that, Geo. I guess those points are true. Maybe the actor playing Prince Yu just got to me, making me take his side more than I should!

BE
BE
19 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

So Ele I am with you on the Nie Feng subplot, and the confusion vis a vis the flaming poison bit–may phl1rxd with the novel at her back can clarify that a bit. But inre MCS–first of all I think a good lens is not look at him as some sort of perfect hero, but remind yourself what the man has gone through: witness to genocide, almost all he loved near and dear to him, and the flower of enlightened governance, for which someone of his cultural gestalt holds up everything in life he holds dear and not some petty ambition to be king for the sake of its own power and renown but in service of humanity, cut down. Witness to genocide! Dropped from the hands of his own father soon killed hundreds of feet into a wild river. Mortally poisoned deep down to his marrow. Then, flayed to the bone in what must have been a horrific and prolonged surgery. Years accumulated gathering a following among the pugilist society, carefully planning for a decade before acting upon that plan to get justice for all that he had witnessed, then under threat of death on more than one occasion, let alone failure, that is every step of this plot fraught with danger. So as much as I really get Yu, I really get MCS’ change of tone when Yu has the gall to compare himself with Qi to MCS. Why should he do anything other than sneer at someone who was a part of the abject betrayal of all he held dear, whose thinks his petty ambition is comparable to that of Lin Shu’s shining and guiding light from youth?
I wish MCS were more forthcoming with those he loves including Nihuang, but I cannot overlook what he has gone through, what it has taken to get where he is, the mental fortitude being exacted (can MCS really bear to see Nihuang fall apart because of his impending mortality and pull this whole deal off). Because he is so brilliant, we might forget he is a man who has suffered unspeakable loss and physical torture, and that he has come as far as he has the way he has done so, even if it has meant being emotionally selfish towards those he loves, more than ever at this point in the story renders him sympathetic in my eyes.

Ele Nash
19 days ago
Reply to  BE

Yes, I do feel for Mei Changsu and his past agonies. I was just pointing out that his sneer toward Prince Yu – while fair enough, he wasn’t a patch on Prince Qi by all accounts – actually blinded him to the fact Prince Yu only acted on his plan to overthrow the Emperor after finding out about his mother and Hua lineage. Prince Yu (without opening up to Mei Changsu – why should he? Mei Changsu played him) states his position as like Prince Qi in relation to this point I think: the Emperor (oh, villain that he is) betrayed Prince Qi and himself equally. I think, if Mei Changsu had reined in his contempt, he would have used that nonce of his to find out the motivation of Yu’s attempted coup. Maybe he didn’t have to know the why, but I’d argue, by not even trying to, he made me, as a sympathetic viewer, narrow my eyes and not take his side. He doesn’t have to be perfect – ugh, no one wants perfect heroes – but I think it might have been nice for him to feel / show / acknowledge that he is flawed. That someone as morally dubious as Prince Yu had first the strength to concede defeat to Prince Jing (remember, he gave up his quest for the throne) and then the full-on conviction to overthrow the Emperor once he realised the crime the Emperor had taken toward his mother and her (his) people.

BE
BE
19 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Nah, I do not buy the Hua bit as Yu’s true motivation. it was his excuse. I thought Yu was a great and tragic character, but I am not sold on his rebellion being anything more than his lust for fame and power. In the end, by his own admitting, it was that he dared to victory, he was most proud of and would not apologize for. And Yu was part of the coverup and continued to be with regard to Qi and the Chinyan. Nah, I think MCS had every right from his pov to sneer. He would hardly be human otherwise.

Or to put another way in more modern and actual historical terms, just because the Treaty of Versailles broke Germany after WW1, that does not mean that those who suffered under the Vichy period in WW2, especially French Jews, would likely be in a forgiving mood. We are talking about human nature. And once again I would say because MCS is so brilliant and his cause just, it is easy to forget he is a character with a context.

Ele Nash
19 days ago
Reply to  BE

You’re a harsher judge than me, BE 😉 Fine. And sorry for not adding in my initial comment that you’d been like saying this for eons! I at least never disagreed with you. It’s just that these episodes I actually felt cross about the lies MCS has woven 🙄

CP
CP
20 days ago

Yay, thanks for the recap Kfangurl! After what felt like months away due to being derailed by Real Life… it feels like a happy reunion to come back to the comments section in the NIF open thread again! And even better that I get to come back just as we’re getting into the real juicy parts of the plot now as we build toward the final climax.

Some of my favourite moments of this set of episodes:
1) Prince Yu’s death & his conversation with MCS – Mad props to Victor Huang for his brilliant acting and nuanced performance, and to Hai Yan for her dedication to writing extremely 3-D villains. Prince Yu is my second fave villain in this show (after Marquis Xie) and I love how they’re all kind of impossible to hate completely. Although he is by no means a good person, I am able to understand the events from Yu’s perspective and why he did the things he did, and empathize with him to some extent. And MCS’ righteous anger when Prince Yu compares himself to Prince Qi – I really felt that one. Seems fitting, that Prince Yu never figured out who MCS was even up until the bitter end.

2) Nie Feng & Xia Dong reunion – the whole Nie Feng arc is actually one of my favourites. The most touching part to me is when MCS reunites with Nie Feng (i think this was last week’s episode), but the reunion with Xia Dong is beautiful as well. Maybe because I’ve watched this drama too many times, I am used to Nie Feng’s appearance and it doesn’t bother me or distract me at all. I find it lovely to see Xia Dong, who while normally such a badass and independent woman, also has a softer side and that she truly does love her husband that much.

3) Nihuang’s conversation with Noble Consort Jing – for some reason I tear up every time at this scene. As Kfangurl mentioned, up until now we don’t really see Nihuang’s perspective on the whole MCS secret situation, and I enjoy how what with the reveal of MCS’ identity and state of health to almost everyone (sorry Prince Jing, not you….) we start to explore both Nihaung and MCS’ feelings on the whole relationship in more depth. It is heartbreaking, but their loyalty, love and dedication to one another is also so, so beautiful.

4) Lin Chen’s arrival – it seems like most people aren’t a huge fan of Lin Chen, but he is by far my favourite comic relief character in this drama! And aptly timed IMO, as this is a drama in desperate need of comic relief, given how our Super Serious drama is taking a turn for the Super Duper Serious as we hurtle toward the epic end. I can see how viewers may be turned off my his seemingly flippant attitude, but like everyone else in this drama, there is a lot more depth to him than at first glance that will be revelaed as the we keep watching. Also I think it’s worth noting that him and MCS are extremely close friends, and somehow I don’t think MCS would be able to respect him as such if he were really as unreliable and ridiculous as he acts.

Natalia
Natalia
20 days ago

2 more weeks to go? Incredible! I think this is the longest show I have watched (I have normally trouble with the classic 16 episodes format).

My thoughts this week:

Ep. 46:

  • The whole thing with Jingyan not knowing starts feeling like a prank. Also, now EVERYONE knows, but him. I would be seriously mad if I were him. Especially if he gets to find out who MCS is on the latter’s deathbed, as it looks like right now.
  • I really didn’t understand what the Emperor said: “Prince Jing is not my best son”???? What is that supposed to mean? And, as I foolishly commented last week, mistaking the episodes (thanks to K for covering it up), I really got stressed for poor Prince Ji. Who, once again, proves to be a lovely person. Some of you had predicted that he is not the happy-go-lucky teddy bear he looks. I would have never guessed!
  • I was so sorry for Prince Yu. At least his wife and child got away. I’m kind of worried though, now that he’s gone, that we got left with Xia Jiang as the big villain for the last stretch of episodes. Once again, although the actor is commendable, I just don’t find Xia Jiang a particularly attractive villain. Rather boring, I would say.

Ep. 47:

  • I was also sad Marquis Yu died. Well that was a good villain. Too bad the show discarded him early on.
  • Contrary to you, I like Lin Chen. He brings a touch of lightheartedness in a show that is growing more and more serious. But it is obvious that it is only a facade. I do wonder what he has done with Banruo. She’s another villain that could have been better exploited by the show, in my eyes (random thought: I hardly recognize her when she’s not wearing the fuchsia eyliner…).
  • And I felt sorry for Nihuang, being fooled again. When MCS said “10 years”, for a moment I was “well, this is excellent news”, but of course it was a lie, again. Poor Nihuang.
  • Ok, I’m sorry, but the whole poison of the bitter flame thing and its symptoms as seen on Nie Feng is not my cup of tea. I am not a big fan of fantasy, actually. Plus, Nie Feng looks like I would imagine the yeti. I know the show wanted us to feel touched by the reunion between Nie Feng and Xia Dong, but I just couldn’t connect.

Ep. 48:

  • Good, the Emperor is googling the Poison of the Bitter Flame. I found the ancient chinese (or ancient anything) equivalent of Google pretty cool. I just can’t bring myself to care about this Poison thing, the snow bugs, whatever. Unless one of the scholars the Emperor summons will tell us that there’s a cure. Besides MCS, I would be pretty content if there’s a way for the yeti to at least get his speech back.
  • I don’t know if I wasn’t in the right mood when watching this episode, but the whole revelation that Xia Jiang has figured out who MCS is and the fact that he has found a way to get to the Emperor actually made me yawn. I know the big finale is approaching, but I still find Xia Jiang a lacking villain, as I may have stated like 40 times before.
j3ffc
j3ffc
18 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Does anyone else wonder if Nihuang knew that MCS was lying to her and therefore playing along?

Natalia
Natalia
18 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

It didn’t even cross my mind, but I guess everything ‘s possible.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
18 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

All the hearts for Prince Ji too! What a hero when you least expect it.

manukajoe
manukajoe
20 days ago

Ep 46 I found the end of the episode super confusing, something about Yujin was betrothed to someone? The subtitles got out of sync too.

Ep 47 Jin Dong fi—nally shows up. Wow he’s annoying! I agree with you KFG, he really doesn’t fit the tone of the show.

Ep 48 I find it a bit unbelievable that the Emperor would do such a 180 degree turn on Xia Jiang.

Ele Nash
20 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Is this on YouTube? My subs went out the window too and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it 😆

manukajoe
manukajoe
20 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Yes on Youtube. I’ve had a few minor audio and sub issues during the series.

Natalia
Natalia
19 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Concerning Yujin, it was something like everyone thought he would be a girl when in his mother womb so they had betrothed him to a boy; I bet this boy was Jingrui and I took this as a weird attempt to introduce a boylove element, but I could also be imagining things!

manukajoe
manukajoe
19 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

That was my guess as well. About time for Jingrui to reappear.

BE
BE
19 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I think this goes to the heart of the matter of how delicate and difficult prosecuting on behalf of the Chinyan before the Emperor is. He may have little to no guilt about the Hua, but killing his own son, and the genocide of the Chinyan who basically made it possible for his ascension to the throne, that is so big in Emperor’s consciousness, even Xia Jiang’s shenanigans vis a vis Yu et al pale by comparison.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
20 days ago

Super review as always Fangurl! I love Mom’s input!

E46 – We see Consort Jing breaking the news to Nihuang and she is so kind and thoughtful. This is why we love her.

Prince Jing is getting really suspicious now.  I can feel his frustration when he gets the same response from both MCS and his mother. Jingmom must be going through a lot of emotions as Prince Jing describes his feelings. She has to lie to her son and I am sure she does not like having to do that. The drama does a really good job of raising the reveal tension!

I worry for Minister of Justice Cai Quan now that Xia Jiang has escaped from prison under his watch. I hope that letter of apology he wrote the Emperor works to appease his wrath.

Fangurl I am with Mom about Prince Ji. The novel says “Prince Ji was trembling with fear and trepidation, and dared not even breathe.” His response here is terror filled. As for the backstory I think that will have to wait until the end but she is on target.

 When the Emperor says that Prince Jing is not his best son it makes me so angry. But he never says who his best son is and in his next breath mentions Prince Qi. How little does this Emperor know and trust his sons? It is tragic that he expected that Jingy would have played a quid pro quo game with him over the military seal. I say that the Emperor has some stinking thinking!  

Prince Ji is the one who saved Tingsheng all those years ago. Notice his look when he turns around to MCS. It is like “Do you really know everything there is to know?” expression. I would have loved to have dug into this backstory but it is different in the novel.  “In this world who is not related” shows the magnanimous nature of Prince Ji.

MCS reveals that the Emperor took the throne via a rebellion. More on this to come.

The Emperor returns. I do wish they would have given Meng Zhi a saddle appropriate to the period instead of an English saddle but that may be a lot more than can be expected. A small pet peeve compared to the musical instruments.

Did not Prince Yu think that this could be his ending? It is so, so sad that the Emperor makes a visit to Prince Yu when he did not do that for Prince Qi. All he can say is “I did not give the order yet”. Really? The Emperor is not human.  MCS, in his wisdom, truly has come up with the best solution for Prince Yu’s wife and a story arc for another drama.

Recap E46

  • -Yujin has the nicest way to get information out of people

DID YOU KNOW…

  • -The novel states that “The three words “I was forced” were not enough to absolve her [Empress Yan] of all the charges against her. Punishment was unavoidable. As atonement, [Marquis} Yan Que issued a memorial to the Emperor, requesting him to abolish the honors and titles conferred to the Yan clan for successive generations. For unknown reasons, the Liang Emperor didn’t allow it, and after a while, this matter was left forgotten without an echo. When the court held a hunting ritual at the beginning of the 5th month to confer rewards to the younger generation of the nobility, Yujin still received his portion. Regarding the preservation of the Yan family name, many of his old friends and former students, and all the court officials who secretly supported him were greatly relieved, for [Marquis] Yan Que clearly had no affiliation with Prince Yu’s faction. In the end, a total of 27 names were listed as Prince Yu’s accomplices, only two of them ranked third grade or higher. Although the other ministers who remained behind were fined for not thoroughly looking into the rebellion, the blood that was expected to bathe the streets of the capital was far less than expected.” Source

————————————————————————-
E47 – Remember that cute Secretariat Minister Liu Cheng? The one who makes the Emperor laugh? Well, looks like his granddaughter is set to become the official wife of Prince Jing.

Fairy Gong Lu is offering to take one for the team and I agree with Fangurl that there is no logical reason to do this other then she would do anything for MCS.

One of my favorite scenes – Banruo on the run! Fei Liu is just toying with her and who shows up but the great Lin Chen. Is that a lecherous look Lin Chen has on his face?

In this episode is the mention Elaine spoke about – that Consort Chen ‘was carried out by people dressed to mourn’. This is an interesting catch and I searched the novel but there is not much on Consort Chen except brief mentions here and there. Elaine makes a great point.

I love Minister Shen Zhui and Minister Cai Quen’s support of Prince Jing.

Minister Fan Chengxiangis is harboring wanted fugitive Xia Jiang.  A while back we heard Banruo tell Prince Yu that she had planted a Hua informant in the Liu household. Hmm, Xia Jiang correctly guessed who would be selected as the wife of Prince Jing. Did he and Banruo plant a spy in preparation of this event? Note that the Minister clearly does not like where this deal is going.

Ta Da! Prince Jing is receiving the title of Crown Prince and MCS closes the secret tunnel. He receives his crown from his future grandfather-in-law.  

I realize that a lot of folks struggled with Nie Feng’s appearance but even with those misgivings I find the reunion of Nie Feng and Xia Ding to be very moving and quite touching. Fangurl, I cry every time I watch this scene. We find out the story if what really happened to Lin Shu and it sounds terribly painful. I feel for Nihuang right now. From Xia Dong’s reaction here, we can all see how much she loves her husband.  

Recap E47

  • -Lin Chen is the mosquito in Fei Liu’s ear
  • -Lin Chen and MCS are serious friends regardless of the light hearted banter. The novel really brings out the deep relationship they have.

DID YOU KNOW…
In the novel:

  • -Lin Chen was a bit of a lecher in the novel – don’t let me lie – he was a big lecher.
  • -Xia Jiang was blackmailing Minister Fan Chengxiangis. The crimes that Xia Jiang held over him were accepting bribes and harboring a few murderers seven or eight years ago
  • -General Nie Feng was nicknamed “Swift Wind”
  • -Meng Zhi’s face lost all color when Lin Chen explained what the Poison of the Bitter Flame did to one’s body

————————————————————————-
E48 – I am with you Fangurl – at this rate the reveal must be imminent. I can appreciate Meng Zhi’s frustration and anger over realizing that MCS has kept him in the dark as well. Do not feel bad Meng Bean – he kept us in the dark as well!

Notice how calm Nihuang is acting because I know that this news has really been gutting for her to hear.

Hearing MCS speak I realize how he has always taken the harder path to achieve his goals. And this is even more evident when that night he has that talk with Lin Chen. You begin to realize the enormous weight of everything he is carrying on his back. His illness makes that burden so much heavier.

I am in 100% agreement with Mom again on every – single – point. Mom has some NIF knowledge Fangurl!

I love the boxes that the maids all brought in. And looks like our recipient is none other than Consort Yue. Oh the drama! Check out Head Eunuch Gao Zhan whose antennae is wiggling with high ‘BS’ alert.

MCS telling Xia Dong the truth is really painful. This scene is hard to take.

Consort Jing loved the trees in her courtyard and had both Nan anad Wutong trees. As I posted a photo of a Wutong tree I wanted to find a Nan tree but was unable to find one. She looks outside and knows Consort Yue is up to no good. She is trying to figure out what is going on and how to plan for it.

This is the week that I would imagine being the hardest for everyone to hold back from watching ahead…because the Emperor has decided to let Xia Jiang speak, and this can’t be good.

Recap E48

  • -Xia Jiang has not learned one lesson
  • -Prince Jing means business and a lot of Court folks are facing a real test of their knowledge and skills
  • -Consort Jing is going to need some extra strength Drano to flush out all those Hua spies in the Palace

DID YOU KNOW…

  • -In the novel MCS jokingly refers to Lin Chen as the “Mongolian” doctor – referring to a ‘quack’
j3ffc
j3ffc
20 days ago

Thanks, as always, kfangurl, for the recap and summary.

Re Lin Chen, I didn’t mind his comic persona as much as KFG did, although I can see how one might view it as out of sync with the serious tone of the overall show. But I will say that I found it refreshing that at least one character isn’t so completely deferential to MCS.

Hear! hear! to those toasting the late Prince Yu and Victor Huang’s multidimensional performance.

And, with some trepidation, I now ask my Clueless Viewer question of the week: I apparently missed Xia Jiang’s prison break…how did that happen?

BE
BE
20 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

In the confusion of things when Empress took over the capital, one guesses, he was spirited away. Our team gets away with it all the time, and ZsaZsa has his people. Anyway Jeffc, hsppened offstage.

BE
BE
20 days ago

Another great, well focused sumup and reax K. So good for us all when reflecting on our own takes. Thanks again.

I am going to start with a quibble to get it out of the way. My take on the Nie Gege sub plot is that it feels too much like a device for other things, in part because of the way I feel the actor appeared a bit more timorous than I would have expected of Nie. That is, certainly one can understand his being humbled, and after thirteen years not the man he used to be, but at the same time what a survivor, and one time leader of men in battle. I do also think, though folks thought I was joking last time, he could have shaved parts of his facial hair, and instead of always grunting, used writing at least sometimes to communicate. But also it struck me that he is there to extricate Xia Dong from her situation in a manner that befits her heroism and to provide show the way to bring to light what Lin Shu has suffered, not to mention his current state before Nihuang, Meng, and Xia Dong. I do not feel agency from Nie himself or how he fits into the whole betrayal of the Chinyan from these scenes, and I would like to.

In regard to all of that, I do want (hear me beez) give this week’s MVP award to the passionate General Meng. Lot of folks love MCS in this show, but none of em more than Meng. We know and he knows nothing is going to change, nor would anything different have occurred, but he has to express his grief for the man with his whole heart. Brilliantly done.

And again Prince Yu just stunningly good. And he is right, however much he is wrong about being the same as Prince Qi telling himself the lie about Qi that is the official story rather than the truth he good and well ought to know, Mei Chang Su really does not get Prince Yu at all or what makes him tick. MCS may have higher aims than historical renown, but Yu gave his life and gave up his life in that pursuit. The history of China is filled with examples of those who have succeeded thus, and this particular historical fiction has as a central character an individual who came to rule and remains with just a handful of episodes left the ruler as a result of violent takeover and battle. And it must be said, there was little evidence in that world things like a peaceful transfer of power was the rule rather than anomaly. But the real thing is Victor Huang just gave his character more depth, more human feeling, more tragic flaw than the other actors playing villains in this drama.

I wonder what has happened to Banruo.

And as they say in horse races, “around the far turn, and into the stretch they come.”

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
20 days ago
Reply to  BE

Bravo on this comment BE! “But the real thing is Victor Huang just gave his character more depth, more human feeling, more tragic flaw than the other actors playing villains in this drama.” Yes, he did.

As for Banruo – better ask lecherous Lin Chen where he stashed her. 😉😁

Trent
20 days ago

Okay, we’ve now caught up to where I precipitously plunged ahead a couple weeks ago, so I feel like I’m safe to comment again without inadvertently blowing the gaff somewhere…

Anyway, I think KFG-mom is exactly right about Grand Prince Ji, I think he has very ostentatiously adopted a very “I’m totally harmless, really!” persona as defensive camouflage; he has gone out of his way over the years to play up the bon vivant, absolutely zero ambition for court rank or position pose (which, to be fair, may actually align with his preferences) in order to signal to his suspicious, inclined-to-be-paranoid, and very dangerous older brother that he’s no threat at all.. And it’s worked out pretty well for him.

And also, Prince Yu…a tip of the cap. He was an antagonist, to be sure, but he was also, as they used to say, a man of some parts (any Aubrey-Maturin fans here?), and we cannot let his ending pass by without a moment for respectful acknowledgment.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
20 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Here, here Trent! May we all drink a toast to Prince Yu!