Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 7 (Recap)

Mei Changsu's vulnerability when it comes to his old feelings for Nihuang threaten to expose his true identity, while his machinations as a strategist put him right in the eye of the gathering storm. Being too smart for one's own good is a dangerous thing, especially with enemies like the Marquis of Ning.
Oh Mei Changsu. Sometimes I wonder if he should have just stayed hidden and never returned. But he's full of honour and a need to avenge the wrongs of the past. 
He doesn't really do anything to protect his identity other than not say 'Hey, I'm Lin Shu.' It's a little bit funny, at times.
Yeah, I guess that's part of his plan too.

Episode 7

The captured assassin - whose way of killing himself was knocked out of his mouth together with a tooth - admits that Prince Yu sent them. Nope, try again: they don't believe you. Before he can utter another word, a hail of arrows descends on them. Their prisoner is dead. No big problem though, cause Xiadong already has a strong suspicion; she only wanted to confirm it. (Hey, NiF makers: in case you're looking for spin-off ideas, she totally deserves her own series!) The Sunshine Boys accompany her back to the city, where she parts ways with them, acutely aware that her arrival has been noticed (by pretty Zhuo).
Oh those Sunshine brothers. They are super funny but also super cool. And YES PLEASE!!! I would love a Xia Dong spin-off. She'd be so awesome. Man, Jingrui is gorgeous. 
I could see it. The Sunshine Brothers stumble into situations, and then call on her to help them solve it. It would be like a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mashup.
Another much-liked character, Prince Mu, has arrived at Marquis Xie's mansion to see Mr. Su. The Grand Princess is just coming out and the young prince seizes the opportunity to thank her for her help with his sister. When she hears he has come to go house-hunting with Mr. Su, she looks sad.
I just want to squish Mu Qing's cheeks. That man is adorable. 
Why do you think she'd be so sad that a guest would be leaving? He's her son's friend, not her own guest.
Well, she turned to him when she learned that Nihuang was in danger. She is one of the people who "feel" that he is a good guy
Mr. Su is in no real hurry to find a new house at the moment, but Mu Qing has never learned to listen, he simply takes his hand and drags him along. Not with Fei Liu though (who was peacefully arranging some flowers seconds before)! He grabs Mu Qing and holds him up in the air. Mei Changsu is worried about Little Prince's well-being, haha, no throwing around! He sincerely apologizes, but Mu Qing has such a sunny disposition, he is just impressed with Fei Liu's skill and not at all insulted.
Oh Fei Liu. Flower arranging one minute and the next body lifting Mu Qing the next. Haha. I think that Mu Qing secretly wants Su to come live near his house so he can set him up with Nihuang. No worries buddy, I'm Su wouldn't mind that either. 
More Fei Liu please. All the time! His facial expressions are guaranteed smile-makers, his fighting skills are top-notch, and he reminds me of actual puppies. The furry kind.
Mu Qing leads Su Zhe to the house he has in mind for him ... where Nihuang is already waiting. As always when he sees her, Lin Shu seems to freeze for an instance. Can't blame him, she is B E A U T I F U L! She thanks him for saving her, he apologizes for miscalculating and putting her in danger. He also tells her not to trust people (like him) too easily. She answers that she can't help it: she feels like she has known him for a long time. Ouf.
I'm listening to the drama's OST as I'm commenting and as I got to his section, Liu Tao's (Nihuang) beautiful OST "Aging of a Beauty" came on. (If you click on the song name, it will take you to the official MV) My heart aches for these two. Su, give up on the revenge plot and run away with Nihuang and make beautiful babies together! Pretty please!
But make them quickly, because isn't he dying? Apart from that, yes to all of this. Her costumes are probably my favorite from any drama, and she is so very lovely. It looks like it causes the poor man physical pain just to see her, his lost love.
He smiles a little and says it would be much easier if everybody were like her. He does not reveal who expressed unhappiness about his ways, but she knows anyway: Xiao Jingyan. The most inflexible, stubborn person in the world - as he well knows. He doesn't fall for that little trap though and proclaims he has no way of knowing Prince Jing's character. Below, you see Nihuang's "hmmmmmm"-face. By the way, Nihuang has beaten all the contenders after the written test: no more suitors around. The marriage is off the table!
I LOVE how Nihuang "knows" it's him and she's not giving up until she knows for sure. And Su I don't think wants to stop her. I can't really blame either of them. They are lovely together. 
Does she actually suspect he's Lin Shu, though? Or does she just think there's something about him she can't put her finger on?
They continue their tour of the property - it's huge. In fact, too big for him, Mei Changsu admits. Oh, he can look at others, she says: her family owns quite a few and showing them to him is her pleasure. Mei Changsu shows quite a lot of unease around her ... And she keeps testing him in quite obvious ways: Leading him out through a different exit that takes him right to the doorsteps of his previous home, now falling into ruins. He claims not to know where they are - and then, after she tells him, refuses to enter with her into a traitor's home.
Nihuang. Su Zhe. This scene. It hurts my heart. (Now Wang Kai is singing "Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red" - I can't, I just can't - the feels!). I think that Nihuang is also letting Su know a little that she might not think of the Lin family as traitors. She is showing him that he can trust her. 
Okay, then. She does suspect. I've been so busy staring at her outfits and hair jewelry that I don't have time to think about her thoughts.
The Emperor may hope that this place will just silently go away, she tells him, but the truth is, important feelings will stay forever. Be careful, he warns her - don't linger here too long. When she tries to get him inside again, he abruptly takes his leave and walks away ... to hide the tears that are gathering in his eyes.
I cannot fathom the pain that Su carries. To come back to his home and know that to admit who he is is to be unjustly accused and killed must be so incredibly painful. 
I don't think I could get past missing my family to even remember that part... I mean, his father died on the battlefield, yes, but what happened to everyone in that house? We know what happens. Thinking about that would eat me alive.
Trouble is brewing at Mansion Ning: Xie Bie is hurt that his father used him to create the impression he cares for Prince Yu, but actually supports the Crown Prince. That's news to Jingrui ... whose sunshine days are quickly coming to an end, it seems. Poor sweetie.
Poor Xie Bie. Daddy is a nasty piece of work and I really detest him for the way he treats his sons and Zhuo's sons as well. Ugh. (Jingrui really is so pretty!)
You think so? Not for me. But Xie Bie, yes, and Zhuo, yes. That Marquis... he continues to manipulate, down through the centuries! I suppose it's how you manage in those days, in those courts - but still.
Mr. Su's plan to buy a house has become widely known, and so many people send offers to him ... he discusses one in particular with Fei Liu - who gets distracted by a sound outside! It's Xiadong, who has come to question Mr. Su about his motives concerning her friend Nihuang. Awwww, Womance. There are rumors, apparently, that Nihuang has not chosen a husband because of Mr. Su. She says that the Emperor will not let her return to the South easily after this, which is tying her down ... and he is sure their relationship will stay platonic? He praises her beauty, and how could he not admire her... but seeing how sick he is, founding a family was never an option for him.
Aw, I love that Xia Dong looks out for her buddy Nihuang. She's a good woman. But Su is such a liar. He wants to make babies with Nihuang. Ha. Okay, okay. He knows he can't and he's not trying to lead her on, but he's also not totally shutting her off. He can't help himself when it comes to her. Make the babies Su. I think I might be a little baby hungry right now. 
Focus on Fei Liu. He's practically a baby. Look at those cheeks! Those bright eyes? Ack, he's so adorable, this kid.
Oh, Lin Shu ... platonic feelings? I kinda doubt that somebody with those would put it this way: "The personality of the princess is like a phoenix soaring above the wind - if not for a man of great strength and ambition who could be suitable and worthy of her?" The longing that comes with this sentence ... so sad .... TT__________TT
As I said: Su, make the babies. 
It lets Xiadong know that Su loves Nihuang, but has no intention of doing anything with it. So he gets to be honest AND try to put her fears to rest.
He is so gorgeous. 
Xiadong is as unconvinced as I am: so why did he send help to her when she was in a military bind a few years ago? He pretends to be angry at this question - isn't it the most natural thing to help one's country's army against invaders? Yup, that shuts her up. Smiling, she adds that she just wanted to make sure him and Nihuang would not miss their fate. Awwwwww and damn. Don't make Lin Shu any sadder, please.
Now I am even sadder T___T These two star-crossed lovers make my heart hurt so much. I cry too much while writing these recap comments. 
Their fate is to love each other... they haven't missed it. They didn't miss it, they aren't missing it, they won't miss it. No matter what happens, that's true.
On her way out, she calls out to Xie Yu, who is hiding behind a wall - and then tells him that she did not leak his secret to Prince Yu. Despite the fact that he kept sending men to kill her. Why? Because she feels grateful to him, for bringing back her husband's dead body. But now, they're square. Okay, now I'm suspicious. He brought the body back? After killing him, most likely!!
Damn, she's got spunk! I love how she immediately confronts him. She doesn't play games this one. And yeah, that also seems really suspicious to me Kakashi about the body. 
Depends. Was she the Executive Officer back then? Or someone who looked like she might be useful to Ning some day? Did he perhaps like her husband, and not mean for him to die?
Even without her spilling the beans, Prince Yu has found out that "the two-faced" Xie Yu is behind the downfall of his minister (and ergo, his brother) through Ban Ruo. When the two princes see their father about this case, the Emperor is just so fed up with their petty bickering. He forbids them to do anything with relation to the corrupt Minister in the future. But what now? Protocol demands that someone from the royal family overlooks the investigation, General Meng reminds him. That makes the Emperor (by the way, I want to mention how great a job the actor is doing in portraying him!) remember: there's a third son of his in the capital! Prince Jing!
Good work there Meng Zhi! Do you think that Su told him what to say? I think he might have. The Emperor (Dong Yong Dai) is doing an amazing job! And this means we get to see more Prince Jing! Yay! Yay! Yay! (Someone on Twitter referred to those of us who like Wang Kai as Jing's Consorts. I like this. Haha)
The Emperor reminds me of a particular Korean actor who does sageuk, but I can't think who it is. He just seems very familiar to me, somehow. I also wondered if Meng had been coached; he gave a tiny look as the Emperor walked away that I couldn't quite interpret. As for the Emperor - I am torn about the man. He doesn't seem evil, but like he has allowed bullshit to sway him in the past, and now he's reaping what he's sown.
Mei Changsu has bought a house - only it's in terrible shape, and everything is overgrown. Well, but Fei Liu likes it, Mei Changsu says to his two friends. It just needs a bit of work.
Sometimes I think that Fei Liu is a little like a pet cat or something. He purrs for Su and scratches anyone else who threatens his master. Needs a little work. Ha. Yu Jin thinks it might need more than a little work.
'Just think of it that you bought some land, and start fresh.' I laughed out loud.
They walk the grounds when suddenly, Yujin falls into well that has become overgrown completely by grass! Well, he almost falls, thanks to holding on to the rim, luckily, because it's quite deep. Because the noble loses his jade pendant from his late grandpa during this accident, Jingrui volunteers to climb down there and get it back (he's such a good friend). 
Um, this place creeps me out! 
I love how wells are magically so wide when a person is in them.
We meet two new characters, the beautiful musician (and courtesan) Gong Yu (Zhou Qi Qi) and Mr. Thirteen a composer and the owner of the music pavilion. They're both members of the Jiangzuo Alliance, and loyal followers of Mei Changsu, particularly keeping an eye on Yu's strategist Qin Ban Ruo. The woman is also quite obviously very worried about their chief ... and has requested to see him several times. Which he does not want her to do.
Gong Yu is gorgeous! Is she worried or a little in love with him? Not that I blame her if she is. 
Must be something about the name that only attaches itself to good looking people! But what's up with a name like Mr. Thirteen?
Inside the dry well, Jingrui makes a gruesome discovery ... skeletons! Lots and lots of skeletons! About a dozen or so... and all female. OF COURSE they would be discovered right after Mei Changsu bought this place, right?!
Sheesh!!! CSI Ancient Liang much. He has rotten luck sometimes. Unless he planned to buy it because he already knew. Sometimes I'm not sure what he plans and what Fate allows him to find. Or maybe it's the souls of the Chiyan Army helping from beyond the grave. 
Honestly, I expected them to send Fei Liu down, first of all, and second of all, I thought there'd be a tunnel to his old house or something, and that Mei Changsu absolutely knew about that when he bought the place.
Pretending the Crown Prince came up with the idea himself, Xie Yu asks his bro-in-law, the older Zhuo to "remove" Mei Changsu from this world. "If we cannot have the Divine Talent, we need to destroy it". Zhuo is shocked: his own house is part of Pugilist world, he cannot do this! Fine, says Xie Yu: just test if his only guard really is that kiddo. Once he knows, he will take care of things.
Noooooooooo!!!!! Don't hurt Su!!!! Fei Liu could kick like a bazillion guys' butts, so I'm not too worried. Well, maybe just a teeeeensy bit worried. 
Not worried at all, but very suspicious. Xie Yu has now 'forgotten' that Xiadong would have owed him a debt of gratitude, and that Zhuo is part of the Jiangzuo Alliance. Something smells rotten.


Mei Changsu and Nihuang's meetings come with so much sweet pain, I can't get enough of them - and yet, my heart aches for him so much. He seems to lose all his cleverness when he stands in front of her, struggling hard to keep his secrets, as his feelings threaten to overwhelm him. He can't help himself with her and at the same time, he has said goodbye to a life with her a long time ago. She makes him extremely vulnerable and yet so human, showing us a completely different side of this "Divine Talent", who even buys houses just to expose someone's wrong-doing.
The love I have for Mei Changsu/Lin Shu and Nihuang's ill-fated love story is a lot. I find it really interesting that in the original novel they weren't lovers, but when the novel's author, Hai Yan [see the comments for some more info on the author] wrote the script, she changed it. I am glad she did because I think it shows us a more human Mei Changsu. I know he likes to come off as cold and calculating to protect his image (because it's so opposite to that of Lin Shu's), but when he's with Nihuang, the noble parts of his soul can't help but be there - vulnerably shown in his face. It's just so painful, but oddly satisfying as well. 
Oh, that's interesting about the re-work. I wonder if they told him to do it because TV looks for romance, or if he reconsidered and thought this was had more impact - it's a visual medium, and thus an opportunity for us to see the things a book would have told us about his inner self.

The Marquis of Ning is also quite a talent, it seems - a manipulative one. The Crown Prince is not much more than a puppet, first of his mother, but even more so of this calculating man, it seems. I do not worry much for Mei Changsu's life at this point, because we know how good Fei Liu is. But Xie Yu has the wits and the means to make Mei Changsu's life very, very difficult in the future, and I don't want that. It's difficult enough as it is! 
Thank goodness for Fei Liu!!! I heart that kid. Also, Su-gege, if you need a hug, I will give you one.
Poor guy - he really does seem very fragile.