Open Thread: Nirvana In Fire Episodes 49, 50 & 51

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Today we have Mei Changsu headlining our post, because I find this shot of him so gently compelling. Also, can you believe that we’ve only got 3 episodes left? 😱

Edit: I would normally announce the brainstorming for the next group watch alongside this penultimate post for this show, but since NIF’s such a long show, I thought everyone might appreciate a bit of a breather between this group watch and the next. So I will put up the brainstorming post next week, alongside our final NIF Open Thread. (Thanks manukajoe, for checking in!)

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 49

The Big Event this episode, is the Emperor summoning Mei Changsu to the Palace, on Xia Jiang’s persistent claim that Mei Changsu is actually Lin Shu.

There are couple of things that strike me, right off the bat. Some, irreverent, like how it’s so hard to get things done without advancements like Google and mobile phones, ha. That would have saved a lot of tension and drama, if the Emperor had been able to Google the Poison of the Bitter Flame, or if Jingyan had been able to call Mei Changsu, to tell him not to enter the Palace. I know, this is so irrelevant, I’m sorry! 🙈

Another thing that strikes me, is how important it is, to be shrewd, and to have good connections, within the palace. It’s only thanks to Noble Consort Jing’s seemingly innocuous gift of a bowl of white lotus soup to the Emperor, that gives Gao Zhan the opportunity to send a warning to Noble Consort Jing. You really do have to think five steps ahead, in order to survive in the palace, I think.

And, even though we’ve seen hints of it from time to time, I do think this is the most overt we’ve seen, in terms of Gao Zhan showing that he’s on anyone’s side.

Not only does he send that warning via Noble Consort Jing’s maid, he also feigns puzzlement, so that he can point out to the Emperor that there is no evidence to prove that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu. Plus, he also alerts everyone to the suspicious nature of the wine, by innocently pointing out which cup of wine is meant for Mei Changsu. He really is quite the MVP, this episode!

One other thing that strikes me, is how Jingyan, Nihuang and Commander Meng are all ready to storm the Palace, in order to rescue Mei Changsu.

I mean.. that would be an outright revolt, which would be punishable by death, of the individuals and their entire families.. right? Which means that to avoid that, they would have to storm the palace, and kill the Emperor.. right? And they plan this without hesitation, in what feels like the urgency of the moment. It blows my mind quite a bit, to see that they would be willing to stage a rebellion, for Mei Changsu’s sake.

Our characters are too smart to not know the implications of the rescue that they’re planning, so I can only put it down to Mei Changsu being that important to them, that they’d feel it worth taking such a risk.

As for the “interrogation” in the throne room, where Mei Changsu, Jingyan and Xia Jiang share an audience with the Emperor, my mom pointed out two things to me.

The first is, this possibility, was likely a big reason for Mei Changsu choosing not to tell Jingyan his true identity. When Xia Jiang accuses Mei Changsu of being Lin Shu, Jingyan’s eyes literally look like they’re about to pop out of his head. And he easily protests that this is an illogical assumption, and that he doesn’t believe it.

My mom’s point is, if Jingyan had known, he may not have been able to put up such a convincingly innocent response. His immediate reaction to Xia Jiang’s accusation, would have more likely been fear (for Lin Shu’s safety) rather than disbelief, and that would have been a tell-tale sign of Jingyan being in cahoots with Lin Shu.

I think that’s a great point, actually. Even though we’ve seen Jingyan act reasonably well on occasion, there have also been times when he’s been too stiff and straightforward, when he would have benefited from putting up a more cool and detached act. Also, given how vehemently Jingyan had protested at Xia Jiang taking Mei Changsu into Xuanjing Bureau for questioning, when he hadn’t even known that this was Lin Shu, it’s easy to imagine that Jingyan would likely also be unable to contain himself in this situation, if he knew that Lin Shu’s cover was close to being blown.

The other thing that my mom said about this scene, is how Xia Jiang’s very good at distracting the Emperor, and how clear-thinking Mei Changsu is, to bring the Emperor’s attention to where it needs to be.

Xia Jiang’s strategy is to draw the Emperor’s attention to the various pieces of circumstantial evidence that point to Mei Changsu possibly being Lin Shu, and he even shifts the focus of the discussion, to why Mei Changsu would have chosen to assist Jingyan instead of the previous Crown Prince, or Prince Yu. In Xia Jiang’s estimation, it’s because of Mei Changsu, that both the previous Crown Prince and Prince Yu, who had been powerful and favored, had fallen within two short years of Mei Changsu’s arrival in Jinling.

And, it does seem like the Emperor is being drawn along by Xia Jiang’s flawed logic, until Mei Changsu interjects, to remind everyone that, 1, the previous Crown Prince’s fall had been his own doing (which the Emperor is most clear about), and 2, it was Xia Jiang – and not Mei Changsu – who had been involved in the rebellion staged by Prince Yu.

I love the fiery way Mei Changsu levels the question at Xia Jiang, “Did I force him to start a rebellion?”

Plus, Mei Changsu’s point – that Jingyan could have easily held back, in the rescue on Jiu An Mountain, and that would have easily gained him the throne, if that’s what he was after – is ironclad. It’s true that Jingyan had given his all to rescue the Emperor, and then had given back the military seal without hesitation. Not only that, Mei Changsu also points out, by bringing up Consort Yue and Prince Xian, that underneath it all, this is all related to the fight for the throne. Ahh. Finally. The Emperor is seeing clearly again.

HOWEVER. Xia Jiang knows the Emperor too well. Even while he’s being carried out of there (after trying to kill Mei Changsu on the spot, gasp!), he yells a reminder to the Emperor, that it’s safer to kill the innocent, than to set the guilty free.

..And that hits the Emperor exactly in his insecurities, which is why he orders poisoned wine for Mei Changsu. I’m so thankful for Gao Zhan innocently sounding the alarm, and for Jingyan stepping forward, to take that cup of wine from Mei Changsu’s hand. And, I’m so thankful that Jingyan doesn’t foolishly drink that wine, but pours it on the floor. Ohthankgoodness.

It’s a relief to everyone outside the palace, that Jingyan and Mei Changsu leave the Palace unscathed (also, phew, no rebellion!), but Jingyan’s mind is clearly still reeling from everything that’s happened. This scene, of him walking through the Palace, so regally, and yet, half in a daze, as he thinks upon the various times when Mei Changsu’s behavior had given him pause, is so beautifully done.

I am SO READY, for Jingyan to officially know the truth now.

Episode 50

Poor Jingyan. It’s such a heartbreaking, surreal moment for him, as he talks with Noble Consort Jing, about Mei Changsu’s true identity. There’s such a little boy lostness about him, as he laments that he’s the only one who hadn’t known. Aw. There’s such a plaintive cry in his voice, as he says that, and he’s clearly grappling with a lot of guilt, for not having recognized Xiao Shu, on his own. I can’t help but feel sorry for him. 😭

Noble Consort Jing does an admirable job of talking Jingyan through this, telling him that Xiao Shu’s expectations and hopes for Jingyan are different from that of other people. And, when Jingyan asks the uncomfortable question about whether Xiao Shu is very ill, Noble Consort Jing’s answer says all that needs to be said, “I’m only going to say this one thing, fulfill his wish.”

Augh. I believe that Jingyan knows, with this simple statement, that his Xiao Shu, just now found, won’t be long for the world. What a rollercoaster of heartbreak this is for poor Jingyan.

I’d expected – ok, hoped – that Jingyan would get to speak with his Xiao Shu again, sometime this episode, but instead, life goes on as planned, and my head implodes a bit, at the thought that Jingyan doesn’t get to reunite with Xiao Shu, for what feels like many days, after finding out his true identity. How could he stand it..? 🥺 But, as my mom pointed out to me, with Jingyan now living at the Eastern Palace, they can no longer meet in secret, and with this suspicion around Mei Changsu’s identity, it’s not safe for them to meet either.

Again, shout-out to Gao Zhan, for knowing exactly how to put the Emperor’s restless mind at ease.

Gao Zhan’s explanation for why he doesn’t think Mei Changsu is Lin Shu – that if Mei Changsu was really Lin Shu, Jingyan would have never allowed for him to be taken in for interrogation at Xuanjing Bureau – is perfectly reasonable, and is watertight enough for the Emperor to accept as true. Yes, the logic is faulty, but this just shows how strong Jingyan’s friendship with Lin Shu was; that it’s easy to believe that if Mei Changsu were really Lin Shu, there is no chance that Jingyan would not know about it.

On a tangent, this is another reason why it turned out to be beneficial for Jingyan not to have known Mei Changsu’s identity, at the point when Xia Jiang asked to interrogate Mei Changsu at Xuanjing Bureau. I do believe that if Jingyan had known, he would have never allowed it, even if it meant stepping even more out of line than he’d done, when he’d believed that Mei Changsu was simply Mei Changsu.

After this scene with Gao Zhan, in particular, I became curious to know exactly what Gao Zhan knows, because, from his actions, it’s clear that he’s working to protect Mei Changsu. Yet, we’ve never been explicitly shown what he knows, and who he supports.

..And so, I did what any fangurl with a rich resource in Mom would do; I consulted Mom again, heh.

Mom pointed out that Gao Zhan’s been serving the royal family for many years, and would have not only seen Lin Shu grow up, he would have also been very familiar with his parents, especially since Lin Shu’s mother was Grand Princess Jinyang, the Emperor’s sister. And, being in the background, and seeing and hearing all the things that have happened in the court, he might well have personal feelings about Grand Princess Jinyang’s death, when her husband and son had been accused of treason.

Additionally, when all this stuff with the secret letter being sent to Consort Yue had gone down, and the Emperor had that secret meeting with Xia Jiang, Gao Zhan was there, observing everything, and hearing everything. As we’ve seen, Gao Zhan’s a very shrewd and intelligent person, and so, it’s likely that he’d pieced everything together, and working on his best deduction that Mei Changsu is indeed Lin Shu, he’s doing what he can, to protect him.

Ah, I’m so glad we have Gao Zhan! He’s like a silent guardian angel of sorts, isn’t he, stepping in where necessary, to nudge things in a certain direction, in order to protect those whom he deems need protection. 🥰

I was mildly amused by how Lin Chen solved the whole conundrum of how to get Xia Dong back in prison, after Minister Cai discovered Gong Yu in her place; more than that, I’m grateful that, with Mei Changsu ill in bed, he’s there to nudge Commander Meng into investigating how the news of the swap had leaked in the first place. Ahh. No wonder Mei Changsu had asked Lin Chen whether he wanted to advise Jingyan in his place; he really is quite up to the task, it seems.

What I’m more interested to talk about, is the appearance of Xia Jiang’s wife and son, at the end of the episode. That threw me for a bit of a loop, since, based on Marquis Yan’s conversation with Xia Jiang, I’d believed them both to be dead.

Again, Mom to the rescue, heh. Mom’s analysis is that the letter, while functioning as a farewell note to those in the city, had not actually contained specifics as to the wellbeing of either wife or child.

However, with it being a farewell note, it did line up nicely, with the fib that Marquis Yan told Xia Jiang, that his son had died young, and his wife was in poor health and not long for this world either. As for why Marquis Yan told that lie, it was very likely to give Xia Jiang a big enough shock, that would distract him and cloud his judgment, so that he wouldn’t catch on to the real reason why Marquis Yan had invited him out of the city.

How handy, that Madam Han is able to provide information on the various followers of Xia Jiang whom she’d known of, who were Hua tribe spies. That’s exactly the information that Mei Changsu needs, in his effort to root out Banruo’s remaining network.

I’m curious to know who the person is, whom Mei Changsu pinpoints to Lin Chen, saying that he has plans for this person, and so would like Lin Chen not to touch them. I’m also very curious to know the contents of the letter that Mei Changsu gives to Xia Jiang in prison. Both such mysterious plot points, and both pointing to the likelihood of more excitement, coming up next in our story.

Episode 51

Ahh. We finally get to see Jingyan and Mei Changsu together this episode, like I’ve been waiting for. I have mixed feelings about how this pans out, in that, while it is somewhat cathartic to see them finally relating as Jingyan and Lin Shu, it is still a rather angsty experience for them (and for me), because there’s so much that remains tamped down.

I feel like it’s encapsulated in this screenshot, where it’s Jingyan who desires more from Xiao Shu, and it’s Xiao Shu, who keeps looking resolutely ahead.

Importantly, Jingyan’s finally moving forward in pushing for the retrial of the Chiyan case, and that moment at the beginning of the episode, when he says to Mei Changsu, “Don’t worry Prince Qi and the Chiyan case will be resolved soon,” is a small but very significant indication, of how Jingyan’s entire perspective, concerning Mei Changsu and the Chiyan case, has changed.

Before, he’d considered Mei Changsu an outsider who could never understand how he felt about the Chiyan case, but now, he’s assuring Mei Changsu – as an insider, who’s even more involved than Jingyan himself – that he will make sure to get the case retried, and bring the truth to light.

It’s a momentous step, because this is THE thing that Mei Changsu – and our entire story – has been gunning for, all this time. It’s surreal to think that this thing that we’ve been waiting for, for 50 whole episodes, is finally starting to happen.

An important piece of the puzzle slips into place, that will help Jingyan in his cause: news of Xie Yu’s death reaches the capital, which means that the letter which Grand Princess Liyang has been carrying, can finally be opened.

Before we get to that, however, Xie Bi sets off to do his last duty as Xie Yu’s son; to collect his body and bury him. And Yujin, in his bright and guileless way, generously sends Xie Bi off, and even gives him a map and some money for the journey.

Meanwhile, Wei Zheng, Zhen Ping and Li Gang eagerly present Lin Chen with a precious blade of Bingxu grass, which they believe will be able to cure Mei Changsu of the Poison of the Bitter Flame. I.. can’t figure out the purpose of introducing this Bingxu grass, only to tell us that Mei Changsu would never agree to use it for treatment, because the treatment involves 10 people giving up their lives, in order to save the one.

My best guess, is that this plot point is to establish that, 1, Mei Changsu’s followers are so devoted and loyal to him, that they would easily choose death, if it meant Mei Changsu’s survival, and 2, Mei Changsu is too honorable to ever agree to such a treatment; that he would rather choose death, than to lose his morals by allowing 10 people to die, just so that he might live.

Also, I think this is also possibly to amp up the tragedy of Mei Changsu’s impending death; that it’s not that there is no way for him to live, but the way is so inhumane and cruel, that he would rather die. 😭

That said, bearing in mind that this show is unlikely to introduce things just for the heck of it, it’s entirely possible that this blade of Bingxu grass will come up again, in future episodes.

Y’know, I’d thought that when Noble Consort Jing urged Jingyan to fulfill Xiao Shu’s last wish, she’d been abundantly – albeit indirectly – clear, that Mei Changsu doesn’t have long to live. However, it does appear that Jingyan’s in denial about this, judging from the way he wants to make it such that Mei Changsu can become Lin Shu again, and live as Lin Shu again.

He literally looks devastated, when Mei Changsu explains why it would be better for him to never live as Lin Shu again.

I mean, the way Mei Changsu explains it, it makes a lot of sense. Mei Changsu has created a reputation for being a shrewd but amoral strategist, while Lin Shu’s reputation is that of an upright and virtuous young marshal. Having Mei Changsu take on Lin Shu’s identity would ultimately taint Lin Shu’s reputation, which is the opposite of the result that they are working towards.

Also, Mei Changsu has a point, in saying that it would be difficult for people to believe that he and Lin Shu are the same person, and it would be undesirable to have this sense of distrust and unbelief associated with Lin Shu’s identity as well.

Poor Jingyan, though. He looks crushed to realize that his hope of reinstating Lin Shu is nothing more than a pipe dream now.

A number of you have been missing Jingrui in our drama world, and this episode, he’s finally back! And just in time, too, because without Xie Bi there, Grand Princess Liyang is alone and thus more vulnerable to attack from assassins who are way too interested in the letter that she carries.

It’s good to have Jingrui back, though it does feel like he’s thrust into a moral dilemma the very minute he gets home. Poor Jingrui. Will he ever not be conflicted, again?

I do appreciate his righteous nature, though. The moment he reads that letter, and realizes the gross injustice that has been done, he’s ready to fly out of there, to give voice to the voiceless, even though it is a dangerous mission with little chance of success or survival.

Jingrui’s insistence that he wants to do something about the letter, is the reason Grand Princess Liyang decides to approach Jingyan. I’m pretty sure that without Jingrui’s involvement, Grand Princess Liyang would have never thought to give the letter to Jingyan.

I found it quite jarring, to see Grand Princess Liyang act so coldly towards Mei Changsu, and I had to remind myself that she has not seen nor met Mei Changsu ever since the fateful night that changed her family forever – which Mei Changsu had had a big hand in orchestrating. I can see why she might hold a grudge against him.

It’s clearly very disconcerting for her, to realize that Jingyan trusts Mei Changsu so much, that even though she specifically requests that Mei Changsu should leave, so that she can have a private word with Jingyan, Jingyan is resolute that Mei Changsu can be treated as if he’s Jingyan himself; if it’s something that Jingyan can hear, Mei Changsu can hear it too. That’s a huge statement, and I feel like this is Jingyan honoring his friendship with Xiao Shu, in his own way.

When Jingyan makes his request of Grand Princess Liyang, however, to go public with the letter’s contents at the Emperor’s birthday banquet, in front of all the members of the royal family and the court officials, Grand Princess Liyang basically crumples in fear, and then even asks what benefit it would be to her, to undertake such a dangerous task.

Ooh. The way Mei Changsu responds, so full of righteous indignation, followed by such a deep sense of disappointment, is quite startling. It’s absolutely not the kind of reaction that one would expect from an amoral strategist, that’s for sure.

I have to admit, I took a fair bit of satisfaction from seeing Jingyan dismiss his Aunt, politely but firmly, in favor of Mei Changsu. Aunt does look rather dismayed at this turn of events. Will she surprise us, by changing her mind?

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phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago

Character Reference Guide
(In order of appearance and description is based on their place in drama at time of appearance)
No new characters for E49, 50 or 51
      
Places/Sects Reference Guide (in order of appearance)
No new places for E49, 50 or 51

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Ms Han and her son? Or did we first see them in ep. 48?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Ack Natalie – You are correct! I forgot them. Yes, I did. This is their first appearance.

trackback

[…] E16-18 | E19-21 | E22-24 | E25-27 | E28-30 | E31-33 | E34-36 | E37-39 | E40-42 | E43-45 | E46-48 | E49-51 | […]

beez
6 days ago

@Trent – Thank you!I couldn’t place the busybody neighbor on ChaChaCha. 😆 Like you, if I knew someone like her in real life… they’d be OUT of my life! (I keep people like her far away.) But she is hilarious especially her “Is this front row center?” as she plops down to observe others’ business. 😆

Trent
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez Stay tuned; I think it is ep. 8 that we get some mini-backstory that provides context for where she’s coming from, or at least why her neighbors more or less put up with it.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – that was hysterical because she was so slick an slid right into that chair in that office so fast with that innocent smile on her face. I cracked up!

beez
6 days ago

@Trent @BE – my two cents on ChaChaCha – I feel they’ve left hints that there’s a reason Ms. Dentist is standoffish that will be revealed. My miners on episode 8 (if we were betting) 😉

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez and Trent – I agree – there is a lot of back story that will come out for both characters. I just love the drama. Trent, I am also a little annoyed on the introduction of a a second man into the picture, Lee Sang Yi. He has played such evil roles in past dramas. It took me back for a second. I have to give his acting abilities some props for sure. I cannot wait for next week.

Wondering if either of you caught the candle and its possibilities in E3 but I will bring it up in Patreon.

Trent
6 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Oh, that’s wild that he’s been a villain in previous roles, and now he’s coming off as a generally outgoing, decent dude. My only previous exposure to him is as the older brother in Youth of May, where I think his character is a mostly decent guy who learns some hard lessons about the world.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – he def is a versatile actor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivo7doE78Sw and sorry about the annoying background music. He scared me half to death in a few of his evil roles.

Trent
6 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Wow, I didn’t remember him from Prison Playbook (granted, it was a bit part); I also didn’t realize there was a Korean version of In the Heights! Wonder if there will eventually be a Korean version of Hamilton

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

I’m there on ChaChaCha, too. It sounded like a great end-of-summer watch for me; I’m just a sucker for beach or resort towns as autumn looms and love the vibe of the show. (I also loved the town and the look of late afternoons in Steve Martin’s Roxanne, as an example.) I don’t think our heroine is standoffish so much as cautious.

In the middle of ep 5 but it also has occurred to me that Mr. Do/Know-It-All has just the best dialogue. When he banters with his friends, it actually sounds (OK, reads) like someone talking to a real person.

beez
6 days ago

– Thanks again. I find that sometimes knowing a characters age can sometimes change my opinion on their actions. Although these boys are exceptional human beings in their understanding, maturity, friendships with each other and others.

beez
6 days ago

– have you ever noticed how much Hugh Jackman (of a decade ago) resembled young Clint Eastwood?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – yes I have. Can you believe CE is 91 years old?

beez
6 days ago

@BE – now that I think about it, I felt no empathy for either Katniss nor Bella. And I’m known as a bleeding heart of empathy. As a child, my family would laugh because when Shirley Temple cried – I cried. I never really got a hold of my emotions when I see someone in need whether physically or emotionally (although the Kdrama East of Eden helped me a lot with that. The characters cried multiple times every episode for 50-some odd episodes – my tears couldn’t keep up). Anyway, no empathy for the teen angst in the two movie series.

beez
6 days ago

@Trent – Yes, that’s it! Battle Royale. It came out before Hunger Games so there was buzz of a but if plagiarism.

beez
8 days ago

@BE – So sorry to hear about your challenges, BE. Your name appeared as all lower case letters “be” on one of your comments.

Looking on the bright side, I find that when life cycles us on the bottom of the wheel, you can look forward to the top soon. 😉

BE
BE
8 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: When I used to paint, I signed my paintings be (my painting teacher, who was a real Sabu to me mentioned how my initials thus as a pun were like a seal giving existence to the works). S’a good 2 letter signature for e mails too. And I use it in caps or lower case randomly.
And of course having been impatient all my life, the universe is not adverse at driving home ever more irritating lessons about the ever greater necessity to learn patience as an old fella, in this case 24-7 blurry, before I age myself right out of the opportunity to learn anything at all.

beez
8 days ago

@Trent – funny thing is Lee Jung-jae is just one of those actors I hate for no good reason and no reason at all. 😆 I don’t know if guys ever do that but we women do. I can’t tell you how many female friends and family have certain actors (many of which are on my hate list too – James Franco, John Cusak and a slew of others).

Back to the subject – Squid Game is probably the only role I would watch Lee Jung-jae in (he’s the rain that I won’t watch Chief of Staff). I actually find him kind of likeable as this sad sack loser in Squid Game. Can’t explain it tho’ 😆

Maybe Squid Game will change how I feel about him.

Geo
Geo
6 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: Have you seen Grosse Pointe Blank with John Cusack? I watched it with very little expectations and was surprised at how good it was. I think Cusack’s role fit him perfectly, the blank, uninterested, closed persona in the movie was just like him.

beez
10 days ago

@Trent – I knew it was going to be good just based on the huge name actors in Ep1. I was very surprised by shhhhhhhhh that cameo. 😉 I immediately thought of K-fangurl.

I’m also surprised because of how I had not heard much hype (or anything) about the show really and yet here it is, the entire series up on Netflix. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I no longer hang around all the Kdrama news/blogs that I used to. I barely have time to check in here these days!

Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez Yeah, that was fun. There’s another big name cameo near the end that’s like “whoa!”

I mean, this was really well-acted. Park Hae-soo, very different role than his Prison Playbook protagonist; Heo Sung-tae plays such great gangster thugs, here he’s like a downscale version of the quasi-respectable chairman he played in Beyond Evil; this is the first I’ve seen Lee Jung-jae (I’ve been meaning to ask people’s opinions on Chief of Staff, his last TV outing).

Big shoutout reserved, though, for Jung Ho Yeon, who seems to be a top model (I don’t pay attention to models, so I’d never seen her), but apparently this is her first acting job, and she’s really good in a pretty significant role.

beez
10 days ago

@BE – Wow! Mr. Burt Reynolds! I didn’t realize he was that much older than me. I guess that’s a testament to how well he took care of himself. And I should eat crow for my reaction many years ago to news articles saying that he wanted to petition the court to change his age back 10 years. He was quoted as saying “People can change their names, why shouldn’t we have the right to change our age to what we feel lie?” [or something like that] He was 40 at the time.

beez
10 days ago

– I enjoyed that backstory too – a lot!

And btw, I was trying to compliment your contribution to this episode but I noticed thru the email that sent me your comment, that my previous comment had a typo. It should have said “Lots of good stuff there!”

beez
10 days ago

@Geo – Thanks Geo. I can just picture the scene. It would also explain some of the comments Yujin made about Lin Shu being impatient with him. 😁 I had thought it seemed out of character for the calm, cool MCS and thought he must’ve really self disciplined his character to have changed so much. But it seems a teenager having to stay home and babysit while everyone else goes to the amusement park would be irritable with mischievous children. 😆

beez
10 days ago

@Trent – I had just watched ep1 is why I asked about it. It does have a fantasy element BUT a thousand miles away from Hunger Games fluffiness. I’d say it’s fantasy vibe is what Hunger Games probably meant to do (at least I hope that’s what they were going for).

beez
10 days ago

@Trent – I might’ve liked Hunger Games if I hadn’t seen a Japanese movie (forget the name) that was much more stark and dire. Hunger Games with its fantasy people that looked plucked out of a live action Dr. Seuss movie just didn’t have the same… desperation… I think might be the word I’m looking for. Maybe “intensity” would describe it better.

While I don’t have an aversion to watching violence on screen, I don’t like it mixed with … fluff … again searching but not quite sure that’s the word. I felt like I was watching something a young girl might write instead of an adult.

beez
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

And on that note – Katniss? Really? Katniss?

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  beez

It was a young adult novel, aimed at a generation of (largely white) early teen American girls who were coming of age at a time in American popular culture gestalt whence dystopia, political corruption, and a hopelessness horizon were ascendant. The first of them as a cautionary tale was not so bad in that light, but the author did not know where to take it from there, the trilogy being a de rigeur expectation of fantasy epics since The Lord of the Rings. I certainly found it way more compelling than the Twilight series which traveled Euro fantasy ground–the old Wolfman meets Dracula, who do you love conundrum–in a part of Washington, the rainforest and all, that might have yielded a much more exciting, interesting piece of fantasy writing derived from the rich, local indigenous folklore and making use of the natural atmospherics of that forest.

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

Have you started Squid Games? I do not think it can fairly be described as populated with fantasy people. It’s a lot of scruffy people with a whole lot of desperation (that is, in fact, why they are involved in this lethal activity: the show devotes the bulk of the first couple episodes showing how deep in a hole the core characters are in their real lives).

Like I said, I’m finding it very bingeably compelling, and the fluff quotient is very very low, if not non-existent.

Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez are you thinking of the Japanese movie Battle Royale (came out in 2000)? Someone on another forum mentioned it (I haven’t seen it), and it sounded like what you were thinking of….

beez
10 days ago

@BE – Oh. I see Burt. I didn’t realize that was him on the movie’s poster.

beez
10 days ago

@be – what happened to your screen name? A purposeful choice or a WordPress snafu?

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  beez

do not know which one you are responding to, but for some reason both phone and computer now are not saving cookies, so I have to fill in name and email over and over, and on the itty bitty phone keyboard sometimes I put r instead of e. And then, insult to injury, I broke both distance and reading glasses a couple weeks ago and for some reason optician order has been delayed for two weeks! Oh 20-650 right eye/20 75o left eye, massively farsighted too. Since I was 7 years old. It has been adventure, especially trying to find things in my refrigerator.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I feel for you. That is why I always keep two pair of glasses plus spare contacts. 🤓

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I think that’s most likely correct, that their first meeting post-throne room happened off camera; even so, my complaint is still that even if it’s reasonably explainable that way, it’s still dramatically unsatisfying, darn it! It’s been built up for we the audience, so much anticipation and drama surrounding this central relationship, and then we’re left excluded from the payoff that happens off stage? Booooo!

(Okay, sorry to be a killjoy. I will stop kvetching now).

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I agree, Trent. The drama! Where’s the drama?!!!

eda harris
eda harris
10 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

but WHY off camera? couldn’t the camera show a private meeting between them? that’s just an excuse, after all that led to this happening, we were deprived of it. huge disappointment, lowest point in this drama.

beez
12 days ago

In all ancient dramas (Asian and western) centred around court life, I’m always screaming in my head for the good guys to not drink the tea/wine/food proffered. If it were left to me, our protagonists would be skin and bones (and eventually dead of starvation/dehydration).

be
be
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

Well beez, that is the oldest geas in fairy tales: never, ever, eat or drink while in the land of faerie. Do not do it.

beez
12 days ago

@Geo – that’s a new one for me.

beez
12 days ago

And what time period (which century) this takes place in?

beez
12 days ago

– but however they were planning to get the blood– Oh.😳 Nevermind.

Bad idea. That would be 30 dead rather than 10.

Geo
Geo
12 days ago

Xia Jang was undoubtedly MCS’ toughest opponent, smart, articulate, excellent at verbal gymnastics in weaving a web of circumstantial evidence that almost wins the day and even when he loses, he throws a deadly poisoned dart at MCS, convincing the Emperor to eliminate MCS even as he’s dragged out.

KFG, I agree with your Mom about MCS keeping Prince Jing in the dark and think I mentioned that in the comments on episodes 46,47 and 48, when there were criticisms aimed at MCS for not telling Prince Jing. He looked suitably shocked at Xia Jang’s accusation and it was pretty clear that this was news to him even as he was starting to process this unbelievable development.

I think Gao Zhan is the MVP of these episodes as he ventures to proffer a decisive opinion on an issue for the first time that even raises the Emperor’s eyebrows but he has a solid rationale, Prince Jing would never let Lin Shu be taken to Xuanjing Bureau. This follows up on all his small moves that help MCS and Prince Jing, his bringing the wine is a classic, everything he does screams “Don’t drink this wine.” All his subtle comments are designed to steer the Emperor’s thinking, a good guy to have on your side.

Prince Jing and MCS reunion is unnaturally subdued, it’s almost as if it happened off-camera and we’re now seeing the aftermath as they plan to restore the reputations of the Chiyan army and the Lin family.

I was a little surprised Marquis Yan did not suffer some fallout from the fall of the Empress, his sister. It usually seems these political fights are life and death not only for the protagonists but also their extended family members. Perhaps the Emperor has some sense of debt to Marquis Yan for helping him gain the throne?

This is the first time I think we are seeing the Palace Guards with those fearsome masks, are they not part of Meng’s group, the Imperial Guards? I always thought the palace guards were just a sub-set of the Imperial Guards especially as I don’t think we’ve seen them before as a separate group.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – go to https://thefangirlverdict.com/2021/09/08/open-thread-nirvana-in-fire-episodes-46-47-48/#comment-101820 and there is a wrap up on the Yan family coup d’état ramifications from the novel.

Geo
Geo
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

: Thanks, your note explains clearly what happened. I obviously missed it.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – I believe you have a very valid point in the Emperor having some sense of debt (maybe guilt?) towards Marquis Yan.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – The novel states that the capital of Jinling was divided into the inner Palace City and the outer Imperial City

The security of the inner Palace City was the responsibility of the Emperor’s (50,000 man) personal Imperial Guard, the head of which was Commander General Meng Zhi. The fearsome looking ones must be the elite guards, but every inner Palace City guard is under Meng Zhi. I believe they (regular and scary) are two separate divisions within the Imperial Guard.

The Capital Patrol was separate and responsible for the security of the outer Imperial City from the Palace City up to the gates and was previously under the direction of the Marquis of Ning. The Marquis had wanted control of the inner Palace City Imperial Guard which was why he had that contingent bearing New Year’s dinners killed (that feels like a lifetime ago doesn’t it?). He wanted the Emperor to get rid of Meng Zhi so he could take it all over. If he had succeeded he would have had control of all security from the Emperor’s throne all the way to the gates of the city.

Geo
Geo
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

: As always, your clarification is welcome. A big benefit of the Group Watch is the additional information and perspectives from other viewers and this is my 2nd watch, lol.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – Got an update for you – those scary guards are called the Yulin Guards and are the Emperor’s personal elite guards and they fall under Meng Zhi as part of the Imperial Guards.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago

Fangurl – the Google reference is very funny. Can you see Meng Zhi furiously texting? That made me laugh. Great review! Mom is a true NIFer for sure!

E49 – Ugh, it’s Xia Jiang. MCS’ slooow walk into the Palace! I have to point out the fact that the Emperor segregates Meng Zhi from what is happening – he is afraid Meng Zhi would try to control the Imperial Guards. File this thought for future reference.

It is so well filmed and the closing of the palace doors behind him. Gao Zhan’s inspection and the drawn swords! Really good directorial decisions here.

What I love is how all of MCS’ friends gather round to save him. This endears me to them even more. You can see Nihuang fighting with herself not to tell Prince Jing why she thinks MCS was taken in. We also see how far Prince Jing has grown – he made all the right decisions here. I am proud of him!

And here we have it. The big reveal. MCS is Lin Shu. Just check out Prince Jing’s face. His reaction is so natural. I agree with Mom, Fangurl – I also think along these lines. That being said, I truly relish reading the other opinions on this!

MCs counters with cold, hard facts and logic. I have to say that I really love the flying chains. It is such a dramatic moment in this scene to see them come whipping out. Pure evil to the end, Xia Jiang plants his last suspicion into the Emperor’s mind – that no matter what, MCS is a danger.

The Emperor is so very flawed. “When in doubt just kill” is his motto. We see that Gao Zhan is really behind Prince Jing and he is really stepping out to do this.

The walk to see Consort Jing….

Recap E49

  • – The Emperor gave Prince Jing a cold, hard and penetrating look to see if he really was in the dark
  • – MCS can turn on a dime

DID YOU KNOW…

  • – Author Hai Yan affectionately referred to MCS as her “Xiao Mei” when addressing questions from her readers
  • – While I cannot address the novel reveal (because it is different), I can share what the author wrote about the emotions of Prince Jing and MCS: In that split second, the both of them felt the most incredible pain, and at the same time, they each also felt the pain the other bore in his heart. Pain that could not be spoken aloud, for if they were to open their mouths, only blood would pour out.

————————————————–
E50 – Gao Zhan knows MCS true identity. I am in total agreement with Fangurl’s Mom.

Whew – this scene with Jingmom is so good. Prince Jing is gutted to find out that ‘only he did not know’. Lin Xie had rescued his mother when she was a traveling physician and according to the novel, Commander Lin had encouraged Consort Jing to go into the palace to help Consort Chen, Prince Qi’s mom and Lin Xie’s sister, who was having a hard time recovering after the birth of Prince Qi.

My pit bull Minister Cai Quan is pissed right now as he finds out that a switcheroo has taken place. Our Meng Zhi gets schooled by Lin Chen on the prison leak. His “Do you know everything?” really made me laugh. Meng Zhi!

I loved the back and forth between our Ministers Cai Quan and Shen Zhui!  

Check out how relaxed MCS is with Lin Chen. As I said last week that yes, Lin Chen does not seem serious, but he really is. The novel explains that he had an unrestrained manner of speaking and no one in the Su manor knew how to deal with him except MCS. It was said that Lin Chen had a clear view of the world and spoke his mind. Pengie even removed Fei Liu during one MCS/Lin Chen conversation because he said that “Lin Chen was unbearable and a bad influence on children.”

A tasty novel tidbit from a LC/MCS Conversation – Lin Chen looked up at the sky and after a long while, said, “I’ve always been arrogant, making fun of everything under the sky. You worry so much about so many things, and there are many things you do that could make me laugh, but I always find it difficult to laugh at you. Source This really tugged at my heart. Lin Chen had a great admiration for MCS.

Fairy Gong Yu – the poor dear – I felt so sorry for the poor love-struck gal I gave her some props below.

Lin Chen has a habit of inviting people to the Capital and looks like Xia Jiang’s ex-wife and son are among the latest.

Prince Jing’s future bride is really a cutie pie and looks like her grandfather. She confronts the Hua spy and my comment on Banruo planting spies in the Liu household does not apply to this nursemaid.

The Palace is getting fumigated.  

Recap E50

  • – I personally preferred the blue outfit for Fei Liu for the party
  • – It is refreshing to see MCS laugh over the Lin Chen/Fei Liu antics
  • – To Lin Chen, MCS is simply MCS and not “Young Marshall”
  • – What was in MCS’ note he gave to Xia Jiang?

DID YOU KNOW…

  • Round 1 For those of us who debate the wisdom of ‘to tell’ or ‘not to tell’, here are Prince Jing’s own words, taken from his conversation with his mother immediately after he finds out who MCS is: “Looking back now, I can understand why Xiao Shu didn’t want me to know,” Seeing his mother’s tragic expression, thinking that she was merely feeling sad about the past, he took her hand and held it tightly. “If I had known his identity earlier, we would probably not have taken this path….” Source
  • – When Lin Chen berated MCS for treating Gong Yu so coldly he replied: “I don’t have so much energy these days to take care of everyone’s sadness, so I will have to let her down.”
  • – Fairy Gong Yu was just ignored by MCS and because I feel bad for her, here is a nice little novel note (and verification that Gong Yu is a fairy from the author herself) – “As the leading lady of Miaoyin House, Gong Yu, who sold her art rather than her body, was undoubtedly the most exclusive lady on Spiral Market Street, and although she was not famous for her appearance, this was only because her musical talent was truly dazzling. In fact, Gong Yu was very beautiful, with her slender brows, her almond-shaped eyes, and her skin like snowy-jade, and she carried an air of concentration about her, without the slightest sign of weakness and frailty, so that even if she wore only a long robe of raw white silk, she gave off an appearance of an ethereal fairy of sorts.” Source I would say that Wei Wei (Tong Lu) nailed his selection for Gong Yu when he picked Jocelyn Zhou to play this role.
  • – In the novel the nicest thing MCS ever said to Gong Yu was that he ‘never had to worry about her’. If he did not love her at least he trusted her implicitly.
  • – Another tasty Lin Chen novel tidbit – When Fei Liu splashed that basin of water on Lin Chen’s head, MCS decided that Lin Chen had lost the game and he made Lin Chen wear a long skirt and dance the fan dance. The whole Su house cheered and hollered and had a party.
  • – Yujin has another fan – Lin Chen. Here is what he said in the novel: “I like that smiling young master [Yujin] of the Yan family. He once came to Lang Ya Pavilion and spent money to ask what his future wife would be like. So very adorable.”

————————————————–
E51 – The time has come to start the review of the 13 year old case.

Brother Bie has redeemed himself in my eyes.

I have to say how much I love Princess Liyang’s Blue/Black outfit here. Jingrui is in the house and I am so happy to see him! Mother and son share the pain of the Marquis’ letter. Dear Jingrui! Princess Liyang is deeply afraid. I can only imagine that this is the same fear all those folks felt all those years ago.

Princess Liyang was cold to MCS. I feel that she still holds feelings about the unhappy birthday party in her heart. Not only that but she is now asked to be a part of another one. If I were her I would be very concerned. She does not trust her brother and who can blame her?

I totally agree with MCS rationale on why he can never publicly be Lin Shu again.

The scene in the prison was cathartic for me as Xia Jiang’s karma has come back to him.

Recap E51

  • – Jingrui has matured but he still has his beautiful heart

DID YOU KNOW…

  • Round 2 For those of us who debate the wisdom of ‘to tell’ or ‘not to tell’, here are Hai Yan’s own words when Meng Zhi asked MCS if he was willing to risk alienating Prince Jing by not telling him he was really Lin Shu: Mei Changsu’s face turned pale, and he remained silent for a long while. Pain twisted in his heart. Due to Nie Feng’s appearance, he could no longer conceal it to the end as he had anticipated. But he understood Xiao Jingyan well. On the day the truth was finally revealed, his good friend would find it too difficult to bear and blame himself. There’s no need to imagine to know this from experience. SourceI believe the translator meant to say “There’s no need to imagine this as he knew this from experience.”

Shout out to Fangurl and Mom, all the translators of both drama and novel and to all the the commentators here. One more week to go.

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Ooo, excellent reminder of how the Emperor shut out our Commander Meng… Hmmm, now I’m scared for Meng if the Emperor is suspicious of his allegiance 😨

Also, I thought (assumed) the note MCS passed Xia Jiang was the list wifey wrote naming his cronies?? Which – as kfangurl reminded us – contains a name that seems important. Now, I actually woke up at like five this morning suddenily worrying the name on the list is Liyang… Her husband was in cahoots with Xia Jiang. And MCS seemed to deal with her quite roughly, I thought. Oh god, this isn’t more heartache for Jingrui, is it?!!

beez
10 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Lots of his stuff there .
How young/old are Jingri and Youjin? I’m guessing between 16-20

Geo
Geo
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: My guess, 20-25, based on story of young Lin Shu tying Yujin to a tree during a royal hunt because Yujin was so mischievous. Think MCS would have been 17 or so, so Yujin would have been about 5-7, prime age for a young boy to be a troublemaker. If he were 16 today, he would have been about 1 year old at that time and not likely to be such a troublemaker.

MCS wanted to go so badly to the Hunt but because of some unspecified bad behaviour, he was forced to stay behind and look after the kids.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

Jingrui is 24 at the start of the drama. Looking up Yujin now….

Good job to Geo on his guess! MCS tying Yujin to the tree was quite the backstory and it made me chuckle.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – another good question and this one required some digging. I had to back into it because the novel never exactly states Yujin’s age, at least that I could find. It mentions his date of birth, but not how old he is. The novel states that Yujin was born on the ‘7th day of 7th month’ or on the ‘Qixi Festival’. Since Elaine explained the Chinese calendar (thank you Elaine!) this date does not mean he was born July 7th. I hope I did that right!

Chapter 33: it mentions that Xia Dong is 37 and she started at the Bureau 17 years prior when she was 20 years old. She was given young boys to train and it mentions that Yujin was all of 5 years old and scared to death of her. So he is now around 22 maybe 23. As for Jingrui the novel is pretty explicit that the very bad, very unhappy birthday was his 25th birthday but he was 24 when the drama started.

Looks like they are year or maybe two apart.

Ele Nash
12 days ago

OK, I’ve read your wonderful summary, kfangurl, taken on board kfanmama’s insights, read everyone’s reactions thus far, and am now trying to decide how or what to add…

Humph. Well, I have to disagree first that it ‘was best’ Jingy didn’t actually know know (because after all he’d guess guessed) that Mei Changsu was the love of his life Lin Shu for this moment of the Emperor’s interrogation for the fact he did know, in his heart, and he always would have been surprised because I don’t suppose anyone had anticipated our wily Xia Jiang would work it out. Jingy reacted in a way I think he’d have reacted anyway, kind of sick-worry startled. But I concede that Jingy probably would have tried rescuing MCS from the prison if he’d known. But that’s my only concession on the matter.

And the proof it was cruel: Jingy’s face as he walked to Mama Jing’s after 😭 Crestfallen? Just a bit. First thing he says to mum – not, oh my god my beloved Lin Shu is alive! Oh no. It was, everyone knew but me?!!!!!!! That’s what cut him to the quick. The LIES!! That’s why the ‘reunion’ was so slow to happen – he was in no hurry to embrace his friend. He’s crazy hurt by it all and doesn’t know how to process it as he is a straight up kind of guy. I just know – I do, I’m quite sure – he’s likely on the autistic spectrum, our Jingy, and I’ll tell you what, being dealt with unjustly is like a criminal offence and so my heart positively burns with the Bitter Flame for Jingy. Get me some snow bugs!!

Anyway, I feel better for expressing my feelings… So, otherwise, the only other things were:

  1. Hooray for Jingrui. I don’t blame Liyang for hesitating.
  2. Like, how shoddily has Banruo been treated by everybody including the writers.
  3. And lastly (I meant to say before when they were in the scene with Xia Dong – who, incidentally, seemed out of prison for longer than a couple of days – poor Gong Yu) but the masks those guards wear are TERRIFYING!!!
phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Oh Ele – what a bloody brilliant comment – brava!

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

As much as I am now convinced that it was probably a good thing Jing didn’t know, after all, I also pretty much felt for him. Keeping him in the dark was cruel, with MCS having so little time, and also a bit insulting, I mean in a paternalistic way. You’re right, maybe this is why we didn’t get a big reunion scene.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago

FWIW Banruo fans – in the novel Banruo (last mentioned in chapter 154) is under the “care” of Lin Chen. He captured her as we saw in the drama. In a conversation with MCS he mentions that she was abandoned by Xia Jiang and left on her own when he found her. And that is all author Han Yai wrote on Banruo. The reader is left to guess her fate. I am sure somewhere out there in the internet someone has written a fan-fic story on her.

A lot of viewers really wanted to know what happened to her so you are not alone.

Last edited 12 days ago by phl1rxd
Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

How very unsatisfactory! She deserved a proper end.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I have to agree with you on this Ele. She was a pretty major character.

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

She deserved a tragic flaw death, imo with a face to face with MCS on the whole Hua reality. Something more than a Lin Shen misogynistic joke at Fei Liu’s expense.

j3ffc
j3ffc
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Definitely in the top four of the Langya Hall List of NIF omissions.

Last edited 12 days ago by j3ffc
BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

I could not remember from first viewing, but putting it like this–I must say: well that sucks.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

Yes BE, it does.

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

This gets back to my point about the fall of Yu insofar as the show is concerned. The only way to step up from that would have been to take more time from there to the finish, and deal with things like a Jing/LinShu heart to heart around the fire, what happens to Banruo and some sort of resolution with the Hua, and taking the time for Gong Lu, not to mention some depth of how Marquis Yan deals with his sister’s fall from grace, and some real room for the inevitable grief at MCS’ passing at the end. It really strikes me that what is mostly yet to come is the exoneration of the Chingyan, which by this point can hardly be a spoiler to state, even if I do not remember exactly how it all went down and folks who have never seen this before can hardly be in doubt about that outcome–I mean if not, why the whole show?

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

BE, I think the show needed 5-6 more episodes…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Now I feel badly that I posted that. I did so as there were several questions on her.

I understand your point. The downfall of Prince Yu was so moving and if we had a finish to some other character issues it would enrich the drama. I agree. This probably would have added a few more episodes but more resolution. This was one of the few negatives heard in the chatter BE, so you are in good company.

I do not know why Han Yai decided to write this as she did. I am stymied on a lot of research as I cannot read or understand Mandarin. My guess is that there is an answer out there, possibly in an interview. There is so much greatness in this show that I can overlook these issues.

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Ah, phl1rxd, this prompted me to scamper off to AO3 (the internet’s largest repository of fanfic…or at least it used to be?) to check, and there are a number of Qin Banruo fics, including one short story where she successfully topples the Liang empire in vengeance for the Hua, and a couple(!) where she and Gong Yu have an enemies–lovers vibe going on…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Boom! Trent!! Good job you! I have perused AO3 in the past and it is almost a necessity if you are a serious NIFer. Yes, I will go over to see what is over there on Banruo! BTW Trent – I did love one fan’s alternate ending story very, very much.

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Okay, this sent me down a couple rabbit holes, at the end of which…I’m still a bit confused.

So, I looked at the English translation, ch. 154, to get my bearings. And then I did a quick double-check search on her name in the chapters after that (which I’m sure you’ve already done, phl1rxd…), and you’re right, “Banruo” isn’t mentioned by name in the later chapters.

My confusion arises from the “Qin Banruo” entry in baidu baike, which concludes her biographical sketch with the following: “…she fled following the failure of Prince Yu’s rebellion, and was captured by Master Lin; due to the great crime of rebellion, she was sentenced by the Emperor of Liang to the “death of a thousand cuts”, which was subsequently commuted to decapitation and display, and on the punishment ground she was beheaded and displayed to the crowd.”

(which is a (rough) translation of this: 在誉王谋反失败后逃跑,被蔺大公子抓住,以谋反大罪,被皇帝判处凌迟处死,后改为斩首示众,在刑场上被砍头示众).

So I’m not sure where the author/compiler of that entry got that information from, and I can’t immediately find a complete online version of the original language novel to poke around…

(The real rabbit hole I ended up going down was the baidu baike entry on 凌迟处死, colloquially rendered as “death of a thousand cuts,” although that isn’t a literal translation–literal translation might be something like “shameful, long drawn out execution”–which is quite lengthy and goes into a lot of often quite gruesome detail on the history and practice of what it terms “the most cruel punishment in Chinese history,” generally reserved for the most heinous or great crimes, like treason, rebellion, murder of parents, etc.)

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Hmm Trent – wondering where they got that info as yes, the last mention of the poor girl is in chapter 154. Needless to say I cannot read a single line of the baidu baike entry – I envy your ability to do so.

Here is where to read about the versions and where to find them online

Death Of a Thousand Cuts
There is mention of Death of a Thousand Cuts coming up but I thought that referred to Xia Jiang only – now I will have to go find it.

I am pretty sure that Banruo is not mentioned in the drama when they talk about this punishment as I already went through the next 3 episodes this AM to double check before I posted this comment and I am pretty sure it was referring to Xia Jiang only.

Aye Carumba Trent! Now I have to know. so that means I am going to re-watch the last three Episodes for the second time today LOL!

I will follow up when I find this reference.

Yes DOTC was a serious business and a slow and painful death. Shudder!

As for the rabbit holes – just consider it payback for the ODG YT rabbit hole I ended up in for 6 hours. LOL! Just kidding as I loved those videos.

Last edited 12 days ago by phl1rxd
Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Wait, did I send you down an ODG YT rabbit hole?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I cannot find the dang comment (I did look LOL!) but it was someone meeting IU for the first time. IU is really a doll. Anyway, I watched it and could not stop watching all the other videos they have posted. I got sucked down that rabbit hole for a good 5 or 6 hours. I had fun!

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Oh yes, I posted that over on one of the Patreon threads, we were talking about My Mister and I had just seen that clip recently on YT.

Bonus: the cute elementary school kid in that clip with IU is currently playing the rebellious teenager on Hometown Cha Cha Cha, and doing a great job. So good for her…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – Jeez, I forgot it was on Patreon. No wonder I could not find it here. See Trent, this is why I have mountains of notes. My memory is starting to fade with old age. Good – I will look for her. That young lady has a real sense of self worth and maturity far beyond her years.

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Sorry to sidetrack, but since you opened the door. Honestly, don’t you really, really dislike Shin Min Ah’s character, Dr. Hygiene, DDS, in HCCC. I do.

Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

Yeah, you’re not alone, that has been a topic of discussion over on Patreon. I have been playing semi-defender, willing to give her benefit of a doubt and look for justifications for what is, after all, fairly brusque, even rude, behavior. I see her as having lotsa room for a growth journey. If she’s still the same at ep. 15-16, well, big fail! Also, I don’t think she’s entirely terrible or irredeemable even now…

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yeah, but can you think of a single reason why a guy like Chief Hong would not have infinitely better and more suitable options? It is not that she is unredeemable, but for that guy? Seriously? I do not beyond her good looks, and there are seriously more fish in the sea, and certainly given who he is, would find him attractive, understand his initial attraction to her. She seems like a reclamation project not an object of one’s desire.
I do want to say to you, even thought You Are My Spring was flawed the side by side comparison of acting chops between Seo Hyun Jin and Shin Min Ah is really startling.

Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

I mean, sure, seemingly on the ball dudes (and gals, it’s not gender specific) are drawn to hot messes all the time (not that I’d describe our tight-laced dentist as a hot mess, exactly). The heart wants what the heart wants, yeah? And some people see reclamation projects as a feature not a bug (cf. the way-too-common trope of the good girl convinced she can reform a bad boy through the purity and power of her love…).

But I still am not convinced our dentist is that terrible. She’s got some social interaction issues that she needs to resolve and work through, for sure, but I think there’s potentially a rough diamond lurking there. But what do I know, I adored Seo Ye-ji’s Ko Moon-young in IOTNBO from the outset, and she was easily as outre– a good bit more, in fact — as our dentist, so.

I take your point about Seo Hyun-jin and Shin Min-ah; I don’t think SMA is a bad actor, I’d even say she’s pretty decent, but SHJ is a gifted practitioner of the dramatic arts, like say Shin Hye-sun (to grab another recent, contemporary example).

BE
BE
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

It is also more than the relative difference in neuroses quantities, but also interests; I have a hard time seeing her ditching her high heels for a wet suit, or strolling in the pouring rain exchanging bon bons about what Leo Tolstoy thinks “men” live for, or subscribing to Thoreau’s spiritual bromide is walking in the woods for 4 hours a day. I can easily see her extending her community generosity and ultimately fitting in and liking it, but I have a hard time seeing her swap lifestyles.

Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE I’ll tell you the character in HCCC that drives me absolutely crazy, though: Cha Chung-hwa (the redoubtable Court Lady Choi in Mr. Queen)’s village gossip and busybody. I would be hard-pressed not to commit a felony of some sort if I had to put up with her nosy butting in everywhere….

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

🤣😅😂 @Trent – She is a piece of work in this role.

Last edited 9 days ago by phl1rxd
Trent
9 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

She is so very extra. She missed her calling as a yellow journalism muckraker…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

🤣😅😂😁

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

She is spectacular, not good, spectacular as a support actor in what I really think was far and away the best show of summer, the ever vastly underrated, underwatched On the Verge of Insanity.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – your comment has pushed On the Verge of Insanity straight to the top of the list.

BE
BE
8 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

If you remember Kim Nam Hee, the fellow who portrayed the evil Colonel Takahashi Mori in Mr. Sunshine, he too enacts a wonderfully enjoyable and distinct support character in OTVOI, quite different than his Mr. Sunshine role.

BE
BE
8 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

IU 👍🏼

BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

In re Death of a Thousand Cuts, it sounds like the mo of Sun Ah (Kim Min Jung) in Devil Judge.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – I found the reference to DOTC/linchi but it is a spoiler so beware.

Spoiler E54
It is 2:16 into E54 where it is mentioned that “The principal culprits Xia Jiang, Xue Yu and several of their accomplices are to die by DOTC. V subs do not mention Banruo by name (unless they are wrong?).

Maybe the person who posted that baidu baike entry assumed that to include her? I really want to know what happened to her. Maybe next week when this is not longer a spoiler someone will have found a source for this info. It really goes in to detail on her death so I would imagine they have a source. If you find this can you let me know please and thanks.

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Hmmm. Very interesting…now you are stimulating my curiosity and I feel like I have to see if I can run down the locus classicus, so to speak… Stay tuned!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – I will definitely file ‘locus classicus’ for future reference. Ahem…I did have to look it up. With all your research you will be an honorary NIFer…otherwise known as a NIF nerd. I am sure all of us would appreciate knowing what happened to her and I will also need to update my notes.

You know Trent, I have to laugh as I told Fangurl that I thought this group watch would cure my addiction to this drama. It is turning out to be the opposite. LOL!

P.S. DOTC was not abolished until 1906

Last edited 12 days ago by phl1rxd
CP
CP
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Ooh I like this rabbit hole as I’m a big Banruo fan! I have looked this up before on various forums out of curisoity, and it seems general consensus is that she was like captured/hidden away by Lin Chen (let’s be honest, we all know this is right up his alley…. ahem), but probably not dead (because again, Lin Chen). Selfishly I hope this is the case, although I don’t know if Banruo would agree with me…. but DOTC sounds too cruel 🙁

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  CP

Hmm. I went back and watched the snippet phl1xrd pinpointed in the beginning of ep.54 (I’ve watched through to the end at this point anyway), and now I’m wondering if the author of that “Banruo” online entry didn’t just conflate Banruo with “…their associates” (said of the named ringleaders like Xia Jiang and Xie Yu) as receiving the “linchi” punishment? And they didn’t have concrete reference beyond that? …although that leaves the “…commuted to beheading” bit still unexplained…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  Trent

My thoughts exactly Trent. If anyone finds anything on Banruo they can tack on this comment. Thanks!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  CP

Ah CP – I wish I could read mandarin. Sigh! It is really bugging me that I cannot read the baidu baike entry Trent talks about. I am surprized I was able to google it (although to be honest how do I know what I was really looking at?) as most times I am sent to the ‘white page of PC confusion’ where nothing comes up. 🙄

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago

Dear Lord, only three more episodes!

My thoughts on this lot:

Ep. 49:
Excellent episode. Gao Zhan was indeed the MVP. K, you must be right that he alerted the others about the poisoned cup. To be honest, my thought while watching this scene was that he actually planned to give the poison to the Emperor, but of course that was pretty silly of me. Anyway, it was obvious that he meant something the way he fussed about that wine.
By the way, I do see the merit now of Jingyan not knowing about MCS. He looked very shocked and thus very innocent. Nevertheless, the continuation seemed a bit off. I mean, he does realize that this is his dear friend, but his scenes with MCS that follow are pretty underwhelming, I thought. I expected much more sentiment. Anyway.

Ep. 50:
I liked this one a lot less. Probably because I was expecting this big reunion moment that never came.
Lin Shen is a great character, I really like him. The only thing that worries me is that we have no idea what he has done with Banruo.

Ep. 51:
I decided to ignore the whole Grass-antidote thing, as I am ignoring, as much as I can, the mysterious Poison of the Bitter Flame and Nie Feng in general (and I am ashamed to say I really wish he would get a shave and a haircut).
Jingrui is back! If only to see his mom being scolded and yes, I don’t know about you, but I can really understand Grand Princess Liyang and I was pretty mad about the two being so harsh on her. Do your own heroics, May Changsu!

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

I know see, after reading your comments, that we are all in agreement: Lin Shu/Jingyan’s reunion deserved something bigger!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Natalie and company – I have to agree with all of you on this issue.

The book contains all the deep emotions they were both feeling and this really helped me. In fact, there were many times I cried when reading these. The book has a different reveal, but there was a little more of a reunion so to speak (but not enough on either drama or novel). The drama really was intense where the novel was not.

What can I say? Same person wrote both novel and drama script so we have to at least acknowledge the consistency.

CP
CP
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

On a slightly tangential note, I find that what rings very true for almost all book-to-movie conversions. The example that comes to mind anytime I think of this topic is Lord of the Rings, one of the most iconic (and my personal favourite) movie franchise of all time. Despite the stunning acting, the ending scene on Mount Doom between Frodo and Sam after the Ring was destroyed never even came close to the book. It was a beautiful maybe 30 second scene in the movie, but it is a whole very emotional chapter in the book, and the way Tolkein describes the depth of their friendship, the loyalty and love they have for one another, and their sheer gratitude of being together “at the end of all things” brings tears to my eyes every single time. That’s the beauty of books & the written word I guess – it has the ability to convey a richness and depth that sometimes even the visual medium cannot.

Trent
12 days ago
Reply to  CP

@CP Although I do love that shot, after the screen goes dark for several seconds, of the eagles slowly appearing through the smoke and ash, and I purely adore the Sir James Galway tin whistle theme music that accompanies the scene, I understand where you’re coming from, I myself being a veteran “the book was better” commentator! (As often as not, it’s just that, as you say, different media can do different things; the written word excels at explication and nuance that video can’t achieve in the same way).

(For me, drawing from the same work, it’s the chapter “The Battle of the Pelennor Fields,” which for a long time was a go-to read for me when I needed a pick-me-up, and to which the movie version, for all its excitement and acknowledged high points, still pales in comparison…)

(This fall has two new anxiously awaited entrants into the “successful adaption or nah?” sweepstakes: Dune and Wheel of Time. Looking forward to evaluating each…)

beez
10 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent @Everyone – I have nothing so high brow to recommend but…
Is anyone else watching Netflix’ Squid Game?

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

Heh. Funny you should ask. I just started episode 5, so I’m not quite half way through (9 eps total).

Bloody, violent, but very compelling…if you’re into that sort of thing, and I totally understand if you’re not.

(“that sort of thing” being brutal Hunger Games – type survivalist competitions. This one is a little bit like the recent J-drama Alice in Borderland, but without the fantasy/unexplained other world elements).

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Following up to add, now that I’ve finished it…that was brutal, intense, and absolutely not for the faint of heart. Whew.

CP
CP
6 days ago
Reply to  Trent

“Successful Adaption or Nah?” should be the name of a new blog… I would be so down to read that!

I will say though, to give LOTR the major props that it is due (as imho the best book-to-movie adaptation ever), for me the Battle at Helm’s Deep was significantly improved through the visual storytelling. There were way too many groups, and side characters wtih similar-but-different names, doing different things simultaneously – I had the hardest time keeping track of what was happening in that scene when reading. But as it turns out, the Helm’s Deep battle was one of the best shot/choreographed battle sequences and is one of my all-time favourite scenes in the trilogy.

Trent
6 days ago
Reply to  CP

@CP As a book snob, I always have to turn up my nose a bit when those pretty-boy elves from Lorien march up, but yeah, that’s got some great visual storytelling. No matter how many times I read through the battle of Helm’s Deep (and it was quite a few), I could never quite get the physical layout fixed in my head (even though Tolkien does a pretty good job describing it), so to see it all built out like that was a revelation.

And of course there are some great scenes embedded in the whole thing: Theoden reciting “Where is the horse and the rider…” (chills!); Gandalf on the ridge, limned by the rising sun–“look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day”… “Theoden King stands alone…”. “…not alone” [charge!](more chills).

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

I think I could accept Nie Feng’s hirsute appearance a bit more, if say he merely groomed his cheeks and did the topknot hairstyle of his day and station. What I had a hard time with is given his martial career, a great commander of men, and unbelievable survival in the wild while being so thoroughly diseased how timorous his behavior is and how come he settles for grunting when it is within his powers to use brush and ink to spell himself out more articulately.

In re Mei Chang Su doing his own heroics, really Natalia, ahem! Liyang is carrying around crimes against humanity in that dead man’s confession. Sorry, she got stuck with the wrong guy, but really… the one thing I do not expect of Mei Chang Su is easy forgiveness when everything is on the line for him.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

You know BE, I tend to agree with you on Nie Feng’s behavior. The only way I could rationalize it was to assume that the poison was the problem. I dug around for any kind of info on this and the novel does not address this change in his personality in any detail.

beez
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@BE – I felt Nie Feng’s behavior made sense. I would imagine his sense of shame for what he has become compared to what he once was would make him not even want to look anyone in the eyes. So while he may have been able to fiercely survive in the wild, to suddenly be back in civilized society but unable to blend in as a normal person would be very intimidating – not because of the other people but because of what he must be feeling.

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

Can’t agree BE. Liyang has already come forward with the letter and offered it to Jingyan. What they ask of her, that is to go in front of the whole court and expose everything could mean the end of her family, if the Emperor goes ballistic over that. We have talked again about how the Emperor is not a benign old gentleman. Liyang has already lost her husband, the jerk that he was,and her daughter, and for that she has a right to blame MCS. She has to look after her sons the best way she can, and although this may seem selfish, sticking her neck out like that is not the way to do it. We, the viewers, pretty much know that whatever MCS tries to do is a success, but Liyang doesn’t know that and she has every right to be scared. Also, she does not know MCS is her wronged nephew, she cannot emotionally relate to him as almost each other character in this drama (and the viewers) can by now!

beez
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I am rolling! So before I even finish the rest of your comment, I paused to look up the definition of “hirsute” and this is the result (see image).

I’d be very well pleased with any man (despite being hairy) looking like Mr. Burt Reynolds (said in my best Blanche Devereaux imitation). 😆

Capture+_2021-09-15-18-19-33.png
phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez @BE – OMG! I am dying laughing over here! I have picked up such good vocabulary words in these posts! I love it.

be
be
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

Burt Reynolds? You mean the guy who played Ben Frazer on Riverboat when I was but a lad of 13, ahem, 62 years ago? Just asking?

beez
10 days ago
Reply to  be

@BE – not only does @BE have me looking up vocabulary words, but now he’s got me looking up movies that were released the year that I was born. 😁
@BE – Too bad imdb.com doesn’t have a pic of Mr. Burt Reynolds as he would’ve looked then. But I’m surprised because for some rain I thought that he had been a pro football player before he became an actor. I also didn’t think he was that much older than me Was he a child actor in the movie Riverboat?

BE
BE
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

No. He was a young man. It was a tv western sort of , and he was a handsome, young, not so hirsute riverboat captain knight in rascal armor.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – here you go. He attended Florida State University on a football scholarship and played halfback, starting in 1954. He was in Riverboat from 1959–1960.

Screenshot 2021-09-17 at 22-34-24 Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft Anne Marie Lawrence Park Smule Duet.png
BE
BE
9 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Ah, phlrxd, you football media guide specialist, going the longest yard–ho ho ho–with this one.
Show was for me a B level show of its type–not in the category of young Eastwood”s Rawhide, in which he was one of the greatest 2nd ML’s ever or Steve McQueen’s Bounty Hunter, but then perhaps because I was never really enamored of Reynolds’ hirsute magnetism for women, the difference in actual talent was one of the reasons Eastwood and McQueen’s early starmaking vehicles were better than Reynolds’.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  BE

@ BE – Clint Eastwood was my childhood crush. I never missed an episode of Rawhide.

BTW – Burt only played his freshman year at FSU. Total FSU Stats: 134 rushing yards and 2 tds on 16 carries and four catches for 76 yards (1954 Season). These are not impressive stats as he got hurt that 1st year mid-season (knee). Looks like he stayed on the injured reserve list until he quit FSU and went to acting school.

@Beez – he did play in a few FB movies which is why you think he was a pro. He also did a lot for the FSU FB team and he may have done color commentary for them at one point. He is in the FSU HOF.

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

@Natalia, oh I was all over Jingrui and Princess Liyang glowering at Mei Changsu 😆 I am yet to forgive him for that disastrous birthday ‘party’. Poor Jingrui.

beez
13 days ago

@Trent – I so agree! I thought we’d her something to rival the reunion of MCS & hairy dude.

beez
13 days ago

I must confess my silly thought upon hearing about the Bingxu grass treatment. I thought, “okay, so instead of 10 men giving their blood until they die, why not 20 men at half the bloodletting? Or 30 at a third? 😆

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  beez

🤣😅😂😆

Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  beez

I like this kind of outside the box thinking, @beez!

(my guess is the actual life sacrifice has something to do with it; it’s probably a required element, beyond just quantity of blood)

j3ffc
j3ffc
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

Beez, that’s solid thinking right there!

(Side point: I’m not even sure if transfusions were known in the 6th century.)

Last edited 12 days ago by j3ffc
j3ffc
j3ffc
12 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Update.

Spoiler
They weren’t.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– you crack me right up!

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@phl1rxd–comment

Spoiler
j3ffc!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE @j2ffc – You both crack me up!

Natalia
Natalia
12 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I wasn’t even aware that this is the 6th century! I have to look this up, again!

be
be
12 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Me too. I was under the impression that is is the 21 st century. My how time flies.

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: your comment, imo, wins this group post. Why not all of Meng’s men? Ah, the Humpty Dumpty conundrum.

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

You are literally smarter than all of them, beez 😍😂

Geo
Geo
12 days ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: Your creative thinking reminds me of an excuse I heard a lot in my corporate life from the IT Department, that it takes one woman nine months to make a baby, however, 9 women can’t make a baby in one month!

J3ffc
J3ffc
13 days ago

So here we are. I’ll be interested, next week, in hearing the final grades our vibrant viewing community has on this show.

But now I have a question to ask those of you who have seen this before. I may be able to arrange some time to watch on the big screen this week. Would it be best to watch a three eps as a set? Or some combo of 2+1? Or does it matter not?

BE
BE
13 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

I’d say follow your own predictions.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

– I predict that you will watch the first two and will not be able to stop and so will watch all three together so plan for three hours. 😉

j3ffc
j3ffc
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thanks, BE, and phl1rxd, for your guidance. I went ahead and watched the first 20 min or so of ep 52, which led conveniently to an obvious break and leaves about 2 hours of continuous viewing on the Big Screen this weekend, so that’s what I’m going with. And will commemorate the experience by watching BOTH of the credit sequences/musical numbers this time out.

Would someone remind me of the history of this? I know the novel came first…was it popular before the show? And was the show an event thing in China (or elsewhere) when it came out? And does anyone know how it was aired (once a week x 54 or something else? I’m afraid to check it out on the web for fear of ending spoilers…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– the novel was very popular. Readers picked Hu Ge to play MCS and used SM to hammer that point to Daylight Entertainment.

From Wikipedia – It originally aired two episodes daily on Beijing TV and Dragon TV, Monday through Sunday from 19:30 to 21:00, from September 19 to October 15, 2015. The drama was a commercial and critical success, surpassing 100 million streaming views by its second day, and receiving a total number of views on iQiyi of over 3.3 billion by the end of the series. Nirvana in Fire was considered a social media phenomenon, generating 3.55 billion posts on Sina Weibo that praised its characters and story-line. As of December 2016, it has a total view of 13 billion views as reported by VLinkage.

Think about it like this j3ffc – that was 13 billion views in 2016. It is now 2021 and who knows how many views there have been. Trust me I searched everywhere for that answer to no avail. If anyone gets an update on number of views I would appreciate it.

j3ffc
j3ffc
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thanks for this background, phl1rxd! One of the things I enjoy about asian dramas is peeking into international culture, pop and otherwise, and this definitely qualifies as a phenomenon, no matter how one slices it. Those numbers are mind-boggling, even if they are counted per episode (about 241 million people watching all 54 shows). And that’s five years ago. Whew.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
13 days ago

Xia Jiang does not give up easily! I kind of expected his wife and son to be alive, so I am glad that the show tied this loose end. Also, all the prison scenes in this drama are so memorable.

Still no word on Banruo. Inquiring minds really want to know…

The Emperor’s Birthday is going to be the last Big Event in this drama. I hope everything ends on the right emotional note.

be
be
12 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yeah, Xia Jiang reminds me of one of those gangster villains from late 30s/early 40s movies who takes ten/ fifteen minutes after being riddled with bullets from a machine gun to stop flopping around and finally die.

BE
BE
13 days ago

Perfect summation and response again K. Usually I see each episode twice preparing for our convos, but this has been a trying week for me, and I just did not have time or energy for more than one look. Your summary and, I have to say, reactions, which I really like–how you manage to both summarize from without, but appear at the same time to be watching from the inside and reacting as you watch, maybe at times with your mother by your side, the two of you stopping and chatting, as well as her your sounding board chatting with you after, all of that allowed me to collect my thoughts without having to really go back one more time and see it all again.

I do think, sticking to my guns on this, that everyone should remember that when Yu and the Empress were putting the screws to Consort JIng, the Emperor forced to go and take her to task, and Yu trash talking Jing every step of the way, because Jing was in the know, he did not flinch, at all, not an iota, and however much he bromances Lin Shu, Lin Shu is not his mother. I think there were simply too many occasions in the run up to all this where not knowing was far more dangerous to all concerned than knowing. And we know that in the moment of Xia Jiang’s accusation, Jing finally put the proverbial 2+2 together. And of course, there is MCS’ masterstroke with the Emperor, the same as he pulled on Xia Jiang, “yeah, I’m him, so what? If he is right how’re you gonna really know, and if not how are you not going to suspect me” Chalk on the board meet eraser. What is more, Jing takes the poison right out of Emperor’s hand after Jing has pretty much figured things out himself. His rationale to the Emp is that he is not going to allow anyone to suffer on his behalf, and he does that with aplomb by spilling the poison to the floor, rather than swallowing it as perhaps Emperor might suspect of JIng if MCS were Lin Shu.
I think the way story is played there will be folks on both sides of this argument.

For me the climactic moment in show is the fall of Yu. I cannot remember how show actually pulled off the final resolution we are about to see, but Victor Huang’s devastating performance of Yu at his end stayed with me–I knew it was gonna arrive from the beginning of this second watch.

I am kind of amazed at Wei Zheng so out in the open; I mean this: given everyone has their spies, does it not seem strange that our suspicious, paranoid Emperor has none of his own? And wither Banruo, wither now Gong Lu, hard to see how either will be given their just due as well. Not to mention the heart break awaiting all our favorite support characters vis a vis MCS/Lin Shu.

Still I suppose now that we are in the end game, we have to tip our hat to story writer whose plotting sure makes it seem from here on out s’gonna be fait accompli, few surprises available, unless there is another something as unlikely as the Emperor just now giving Xia Jiang another go at it.

Leslie
Leslie
13 days ago
Reply to  BE

@ BE, I so agree with you about Fangurl’s prowess. It boggles the mind, how clear, concise, robust, and personal she can be, all at the same time. 🤯 ♥️ It’s true with everything she writes, but even more noticeable with a story as complex as this one. It’s one of the greatest pleasures of following thefangirlverdict.com

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

Our kfangurl knows how to write a heartfelt summary, for sure 😍 And I do most definitely agree with you BE regarding Jingy’s ability to not always react obviously but think on his feet. He deserved to know way way sooner! Also, great point about Wei Zheng! I forgot he’s meant to be out of the city.

BE
BE
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Jing is one of my favorite characters in story, and persistently underrated imo as the weight of Da Liang is destined for his capable shoulders.

I do think both writer and character of MCS as written have left our feelings for him more cerebral, a kind of wow, the guy is smart, and gee whiz, everybody really loves him, really loves him… the way no other single character in show is loved, but he himself because of his health, his mission, what he has suffered through is for the most part played very close to the vest. Audience holds him to a higher standard than the entire rest of the characters, each of whom we try to understand in context rather than from an ideal perspective. We sympathize with Lady Liang, not holding her up to scrutiny, while we are offended that MCS is impatient after all these years waiting for a tide turning bit of testimony as is located in her husband’s confession.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

BE – In reference to “does it not seem strange that our suspicious, paranoid Emperor has none of his own?”. I myself had wondered about this, but after reading the novel it was a little clearer as it does say that the Su Manor was impenetrable. Banruo’s use of 4th Sister was the closest she could get to MCS and his activities.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I must steal this phrase – “Chalk on the board meet eraser” – no rigamarole with that phrase BE! Great comment!

BE
BE
11 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Sounds like a good line for a ball hawking corner in one of your media guides.IfI do say so, myself.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
10 days ago
Reply to  BE

🤣😅😂

manukajoe
manukajoe
13 days ago

Almost there! Near the end of the show it’s tricky to introduce new tension since you don’t have long to resolve it. So I expect things to be relatively settled from here on in.
Ep 49 Very tense!
Ep 50 What happened to Banruo? I thought they captured her, can’t she help with the Hua problem? Or was Fei Liu just teasing her.
Ep 51 Xie Yu has such beautiful writing! I wish I can write like that!

Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Yeah, I love a good clear calligraphic hand. I took a class back in college, and I could never get anywhere close.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Joe – I thought the same thing about Xie Yu’s calligraphy. It was beautiful.

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Right? He wrote that after being in prison chained to a wall with sore wrists out in the open under time pressure with his wife watching tearfully… That’s some skill.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

You know Ele, every time I have seen that scene that is exactly what I always think. I have put it down to his years as a palace professional (a bad one, but a professional none the less).

Trent
13 days ago

Well, we’re rounding well into the homestretch here, aren’t we? I think your mom’s logic is solid as far as Jingyan’s continued ignorance about MCS’s identity shielding him until the crucial test, when he’s able to give an unfeigned reaction and thereby make a real difference.

I still have a niggling concern though, which is that I feel like we’ve seen Jingyan tiptoeing up to the truth from enough angles over time, and his doubts have accelerated and piled up especially in the last few episodes, that I feel like even if his conscious mind has had those doubts assuaged, lulled to sleep, as it were, nevertheless in his subconscious mind, where those doubts are sleeping, it seems like there must be a lot of ferment and dissatisfaction still…he knows something is fishy, and a part of him that won’t admit it out loud or ponder it in the light of day, so to speak, must be chewing on the possibility of a MCS-Lin Shu disguise, crazy as it seems. And so, if all that is going on, would he really be able to have such a clean, unfettered, “innocent” reaction, so clearly convincing to suspicious observers that he doesn’t believe the outrageous accusation for a minute? Even if he doesn’t “know”, doesn’t believe it in his rational mind…wouldn’t something lurking in his sleeping mind be waiting to rouse and trip up the purity of his reaction in the moment? These are questions that I’m pondering…

One other thing, now that we’ve finally finally arrived at the great reveal…sorry, my friends, it was just an anti-climax. I was disappointed. Not necessarily with the scene where it was made clear to Jingyan that MCS=Lin Shu, because there was really no space for a debrief or a reunion there. But the aftermath, the next scene, when we darn well should have had a reaction/reunion scene, and…nothing. I mean, I don’t expect extended discussion of thoughts and feelings, or hyper-emotional falling on each others’ bosoms and weeping (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But at the very least, some explicit acknowledgment? Something more than this extremely sub-rosa “well, here we are, moving on, not acknowledging this great big wodge of history and feelings between us…”. I’m not down with it, y’all. My gruntle is dissed.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
13 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, on an unrelated topic, thank you for recommending I Am Not A Robot! I am enjoying every second of it. Chae Soo Bin is a great comedienne.

Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yeeessss! It’s so slurpably fun, isn’t it? And the OTP had me all up in my feels…

Due credit to everyone here who recommended it to me, of course. I never in a million years would have thought to try it without the solid recs from people here.

Leslie
Leslie
13 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@ Trent, I am 💯 with you on the insufficiency of MCS/Lin Shu and Jingyan just moving on, after the big reveal. After paragraphs of speculation – on this blog alone! – about what the disclosure would be like and how it would be handled…pffft. Crickets. Maybe there is a heart-to-heart yet to come? It’s not ruining my watch, just deflating it a bit. So, onward!

Ele Nash
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I am going to use your phrase ‘my gruntle is dissed’ at the earliest opportunity, Trent 😆 Oh, like now! My gruntle was totally dissed. And I totally agree the argument that Jingy wouldn’t have acted surprised is nonsensical as he already guessed pretty much so actually he’d always have been surprised that Xia Jiang had guessed even if Jingy had known. And though Jingy is straight-laced and direct and all that, he proved he has a steadier hand than most when he grabbed the poisoned wine and poured it on the floor. Now that’s some steel.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
12 days ago
Reply to  Trent

From Wikipedia:

Gruntle – to put in a good humor
e.g. …were gruntled with a good meal and good conversation— W. P. Webb

….In the 1920s, a writer humorously used gruntle to mean “to make happy”—in other words, as an antonym of disgruntle. The use caught on. At first gruntle was used only in humorous ways, but people eventually began to use it seriously as well.

Sorry Trent – My gruntle is dissed is such a good term that I had to look it up!