Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 10 (Recap)

This is a "slow" episode, but one in which many things are set in motion and another wooden badge is moved closer to the fire pit. Those people are like puppets on Mei Changsu's strings ... only he does not command them with his beautiful fingers, but with his mind.
JoAnne: I feel like we're really in it, now. He's setting things in motion - some paths toward retribution are direct, but others? Not so much. He rubs his fingers together here, and you fall down dead over there. You know who might be on to him a little bit, though, is Ning. Dammit.
dewaanifordrama, Prince Jing's Noble Consort: That mind of his is quite something. We can all be glad that none of us has done anything for Mei Changsu to plot against us. Perhaps we can rub our hands together in glee as we watch the bad guys get their comeuppance. 

Episode 10

Because the two stupid royal brothers can't help themselves but fight over who gets to be the fallen Minister's successor, the Emperor chooses the current ad interim, one Shen Zhui. Who, Su made sure of it, will be neither Yu's nor CP's man, but Jingyan's. Shen Zhui is similarly upright and moral. Just what the kingdom needs! Uncorrupted officials ftw!
Heyyyy...what's the deal with that old eunuch, anyway?
Those two. They are like petulant five year olds. It's a miracle that the kingdom has made it thus far with these two going on. And yeah, the eunuch, what is up with him? The secrets he must know. 
Well, that, but also that he suggested exactly what Su wanted to have happen.
Su helps Prince Jing select the people to help him with the case, and of course, they are all super competent ... something Xiadong, who is asked to hand-over the evidence she has collected, also notices and begrudgingly acknowledges. Remember, she hates Jingyan! Su also cautions Prince Jing to take it slowly, he does not want to appear as a threat to his brothers too early. Build up his support gradually, with the right people, give some underdogs a chance they deserve. Jing listens well to his strategist.
Why would she hate him? Did he look at her all judge-y? Reject her offer of strategize and chill?
Ah, no... she thinks he's a traitor cause he still likes the traitors from back then (remember, she hates Su's dad because she thinks he's to blame for her husband's death) 
It's completely understandable from her point of view to hate her husband's supposed killers. Even though we know who MCS is, it is lovely to see Prince Jing starting a budding, though hesitant friendship with his BFF. It's like even though he is suspicious, he can't help but like Mei Changsu. 
Disregard. I read Xiadong but thought Banruo. I'm fully aware of Xiadong's background.
After their meeting has ended, the two men go to the training grounds, in search of Fei Liu. On the way there, Mei Changsu hears about the beast in the East, which people want to catch alive, in order to study it - he says he'd appreciate a look himself. At the training ground, Fei Liu is still beating up Jing's soldiers. "It's rare to see Fei Liu so happy", Su remarks. He.
Maybe Fei Liu can fight the beast.
Haha. Only Fei Liu would be cheered up by having to fight an army. Haha. And Prince Jing, he looks soooooooo good!!!! Ah!!! I just read an article where it mentioned that Wang Kai said they took all sorts of lessons in appropriate etiquette and you can see it in everyone's stances, greetings, and posture. It just looks so good! 
His current opponent (Qimeng) has a saber with hidden projectiles (Fei Liu catches them, of course), but then, the soldier suddenly thinks it's a good idea to shoot one at Mr. Su! Fei Liu screams and chases after it...
That's a goddamn dumbass move, Qimeng.
Yeah, Qimeng. That was super dumb. Look at cute Fei Liu though! So cute! 
 ... too late, of course. But the projectile misses and Mei Changsu has not moved a muscle. Qimeng thinks it's funny (maybe he does not realize that Mr. Su just saved his life by calling back Fei Liu). Oups, but Prince Jing's face ... Mr. Su turns to him and says he is quite disappointed by what he had to see today. What lacking discipline! This is not the type of army a Prince should have. He takes his leave, and Prince Jing, embarrassed, sees to it that Qimeng is punished (a beating and a demotion)
He deserves it, the moron.
Seriously. I do not like that he got Jingyan reprimanded. Though Wang Kai does make a gorgeous pouty/sad/disappointed face. It's that gorgeous jawline. 
An official edict is read to mark the start of Jingyan's investigation. Prince Jing then reads out the names of the people he wants to help him. The Ministers look very puzzled - those are all low ranking, unknown people.
That one guy - the head of the group, I forget his name - he looked pissed. I figured he'd be glad not to have to do anything, but it appears that he's irritated to have been overlooked.
Hahahahahahahaha. Serves the idiot ministers right!!! Look at that beautiful etiquette there in that greeting! And the colours! And Prince Jing!!! So pretty this drama is!!!
We meet one of Mei Changsu's intel middle-men: Tonglu, who is posing as vegetable seller (and had a grievance with the Ex-Minister of Revenue, who killed his sister). He will be in charge of carrying information back and forth between Mei Changsu and Mr. Thirteen. Oh, interesting... Su Zhe's revenge involves taking revenge for people associated with him in the pugilist world. No wonder he has such a huge following!
I liked that, too. But to clarify - this guy's sister was one of the extra-entertaining girls from Lan Mansion?
Oh, is that the connection? I'm not sure, but I think you might be right. That would make sense and would explain how Su knows about it. 
Mei Changsu is playing with his wooden death-badges - deciding on your next target, are you? Ha, even better! He has Li Gang randomly pick one ... it's the Ministry of Personnel (belongs to Prince Yu). "Ask Mr. Thirteen and Gong Yu to get ready", Mr. Su says.
I like the whimsy, very much. It feels a lot like he's knocking pawns off a chess board. Dream drama: Liar Game, The Beginning. Produced by this team.
I still need to watch Liar Game. Lee Sang Swoon + awesome. Mei Chang Su. You are just so cool. His nonchalance with which he plays out such dramatic events - LOVE it!!!
Cut to the courtesan house, where two sisters are putting on make-up ... just like the vegetable man, they have a grievance too, their brother was beaten to death by the son of the Minister in question! (*note: see comments section for correction on this point) That son, "Young Master He", is led into the brothel as we speak. He hears that his two favorite playmates (the sisters!) are ill, which displeases him... but when he runs into Gong Yu "by chance", he quickly forgets his annoyance. She says she will change her attire and has him wait. OMG HE IS GROSS, he even smells his hand, where he touched her!!!!
I just assumed it was perfume...
Still creepy though. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. 
By "accident", he then overhears another courtesan, who is helping Gong Yu change, mentioning that his favorite playmates are with ANOTHER man: Young Master Qiu Zhe. Knowing full well that He Wenxin is outside, Gong Yu praises Young Master Qiu as "handsome and suave" and suited perfectly for the sisters. Then, they go on to insult He as "knave", paling in comparison. It seems that Qiu and He are long-time and bitter rivals, so these words are like poison.
So what did the other guy do, then?
Take his favorite playthings away! 
I kind of like that Su is allowing other people to get their revenge in his plan. I know he's using them, but they are also using them. It's quite efficient actually. And can I just take a minute to talk about how absolutely GORGEOUS the costumes in this drama are. Wow! Just wow!
No, the OTHER guy. Mei Chang Su wants Minister He out of the way. He does this by allowing Gong Yu/Creepy Twins to set up a situation where THEY get revenge on He's son, which then creates the situation whereby He can be discredited/removed from power.  However, there's the guy that got killed, too. What did he or his father do?
I'm not sure. I couldn't figure out if he was collateral damage or not...
Blood boiling, Young Master He goes in search for Qiu Zhe, screaming up and down the brothel, opening many doors. When he finally does find him, he attacks and they start beating the crap out of each other. When He Wenxin slams a vase over Qiu Zhe's head, he kills the guy ... helped along by Gong Yu, who brings Qiu to his knees in the right moment. Mission accomplished, girls.
The twins were a little creepy, admit it.
I think for me I also felt the reality of Su's revenge come into play. Some people are going to get hurt, or in this case killed in the crossfire. Not that justice wouldn't be served, but it's a very cutthroat sort of thing. Not that revenge is particularly kind. 
A very distraught Minister turns up on Yu's doorstep very early the next morning. His only son! His heir! Yeah, but your heir killed another noble, oups. Prince Yu sees himself unable to do anything. The constables are already at the Minister's door, trying to seize the son. The door remains closed, so the police men just start repeating the son's felony over and over at a loud voice, gathering a fairly huge crowd.
I find little more enraging than the attitude like this - as if the fact that it's his son makes his life more valuable than the life of the person he murdered. 'Spare MY pain/embarrassment; never mind about the hurt we've caused.'
Yeah. Not much sympathy from me either. Prince Yu though, wow, he looks amazing in that robe!!! 
He has the best clothes. His brother the Crown Prince is positively dowdy in comparison.
Yu has called another advisor to discuss what to do. He counsels that the son should admit to the murder. That would be beneficial to everybody, especially since they expect the Magistrate to be glad to give this case over to the Ministry of Justice as well, after passing a sentence (and they are right: the Magistrate is pissed that he has to deal with another tricky case so soon!). The Minister can then request a re-trial and it seems certain that Minister Qi would be favorable to his fellow Minister and his son, cause one hand washes the other. They're all suuuuper pleased with their smart plan. 
How very Su Zhe-like, on the surface. Wanna bet there's a twist coming that these two self-satisfied fools haven't thought of?
You'd think that the Magistrate would realize that with the job comes responsibility? Even if he gets to pass things along, I did think it was funny that he was like: man, I actually have to work in this job! 
Time Jump! The father of the killed son, Count Wen Yuan, appears in front of the Minister of Justice after nothing has happened in this case for two weeks - and it's not the first time he pays a visit! It is more than obvious that they are deliberately dragging their feet in this. The old man comes by again and again and the Minister tries to avoid him every single time.
Prince Jing has concluded the case that was entrusted to him. The Duke and 17 of his relatives are guilty of all charges - they should sentenced to death. All properties will be confiscated - if Emperor so allows! He reads the report and is impressed. Prince Yu quickly voices his support for his younger brother too. And lo and behold, he gets immediately praised from his daddy for being such a magnanimous son ... and rewarded riches again. Fuck you, daddy.
What about JING, daddy?
Seriously. Jing is AWESOME!!! It's about damn time he gets some recognition. And no, I am not biased! Well, okay, maybe a leeeetle. 
One of Jingyan's helpers (Officer Chai, the writer of the good report) wants to speak up for him, but a glance from Prince Jing lets him step back. Once outside, Chai won't shut up about the injustice, but Prince Jing cares little about such things. Prince Yu also seems to see a need to cheer him up, he runs after him and offers to gives his reward to Jing and his wives. Jing: don't bother. I'm not interested (I'm paraphrasing). And I only have one consort and they don't deserve such riches. Hehehe.
Prince Yu follows instruction from Mei Changsu very well.
Hahahahahaha. I love Jingyan so much!!! He is so forthright. He's like a breath of fresh air in the very stale and corrupt air of the palace. Here's a man who can't be bought. Love it! Ooh! look at that shot! The cinematographer and director have diagonally cut the frame and placed the characters in colours matching the backgrounds. Prince Jing is grounded in solid, more earthy tones, firm, unyielding and as steady as the stone he is standing on. Prince Yu is bedecked in the rich reds and gold of the court, weighed down with seeking for riches and greater power in the court. Ah! So brilliant! 
You know, though: it's a matter of degrees. Jing is doing/allowing to happen the very thing that he despises, in order to gain the crown. The difference (that his maneuvering exposes corruption and brings justice to wrong-doers) does not really erase the fact that it IS maneuvering, it IS plotting, it IS manipulating people for a particular goal. Yu also thinks he does what he does because he must, and that he is a better man for the job than his brother. I'm not saying Yu and Jing are the same, exactly. I'm saying it's not really either/or. 'Right' in this case is on a sliding scale, and it would not be that hard for Jing to end up like Yu.
Yes, I agree. He's going to have to make sure that he doesn't. And seriously, look at that shot!
Prince Yu laughs at his brother's temper and invites him to an upcoming yearly banquet at his palace. He never came before. Uhm, cause I was never invited? says Jing. What, didn't you receive the invites? says the lying Yu. Hahaha, smooooth. Not. Anyway, Jing agrees to go, probably thinking of Su Zhe's words to play it nice with Yu.
Steal some of his clothes when you go, Jing. Your brother dresses more royally than even the Emperor!
I will admit that I thought of the story "The Emperor's New Clothes" and giggled a bit. Not because I was thinking that it really doesn't matter what Prince Jing wears, well, because you know, he looks good in anything, probably even nothing. Jo, I have been hanging out too much with you. 
If this means we all pretend he's not naked, I'm all for it.
The Sunshine Boys have come to visit Su! Well, one of them is not very sunshiny anymore ... Jingrui, of course, he won't even come inside. He is sad and depressed. To have some fun, Yujin suggests they visit the hot springs together - they belong to the Emperor's youngest brother (Grand Prince Ji). Su declines. 
Ah, but it was so clear he was angling to get them there.This should be good.
Su looks so gorgeous here! And I don't like the Sunshine boys without sunshine. Sad. 
(worried seals)
But Yujin drags Jingrui along... there is music, women and alcohol and they talk about the beautiful girls in the courtesan houses, including the two sisters who wanted to take revenge. They also talk about the unresolved murder case - a bit intoxicated, the Grand Prince says that he is an eye witness. He saw it all.
See? I wonder what's coming next.
Nice! Well played. 


Once again, we are left to wonder what Mei Changsu plans and what is just pure luck in his plan. sometimes, luck just appears like luck - but in fact, it's based on knowing people really, really well, nudging them into directions, planting thoughts into their heads they then think are their own. It is clear that the Minister of Personnel is a goner. As long as Su can work from the shadows, nothing will be able to stop him. 
He's a geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenius plotter.
Hehehehehe. Well he has had thirteen years to plan this. His plans had better be excellent!