Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 8 (Recap)

"If you have desires and feelings, you cannot be carefree", Mei Changsu tells Jingrui in this episode. It brings the end of illusions and first snow - and a sense of nostalgia, because after this? Nothing will ever be the same. The game has begun and we have yet to see who is a pawn and who is a king.
dewaanifordrama: This drama handles pain and suffering so well. Beloved characters face hard things but still persevere. How can a drama hurt so good?
JoAnne: I am suspicious of almost everyone. It prevents me from feeling this quiet as emotionally as you do, I think.

Episode 8

Night has fallen, and our three friends are on their way home. Yujin is suuuuuper jumpy, awwww, pumpkin. Afraid of ghosts? Mei Changsu suggests that Jingrui should walk Yujin back to his house, he'll be fine, Fei Liu is somewhere close by. Mei Changsu walks on all by himself ... and two masked assassins (we know them: it's father and son Zhou!) attack, flying through the air, swords outstretched. He senses them but just keeps walking, seemingly unaware ... because he knows he can trust in Fei Liu! Who blocks the swords and fights the attackers off.
Yujin just jumped down a well full of skeletons, so I don't really blame him for being a bit jumpy. I think that one reason Fei Liu can be as awesome as he is, is that he knows that Su trusts him completely. I would love a little more backstory on these two. 
I thought Jingrui went down the well? Dammit, do I still mix them up? And I join you in wishing for information on Fei Liu. How did they come together? How much does Fei Liu know?
No, you're right. My bad. Jingrui climbed down the well.
They're one body, one soul. Jingrui going down the well is almost worse for Yujin than him going down himself
Alas, when Fei Liu jumps into the air out of harm's way, one of the assailants takes the opportunity and goes straight for Mei Changsu! He has to dodge a few of his stabs before Fei Liu can catch up and take over again. Luckily, Meng appears and the assassins decide to get going, cause Meng = very strong. Well, but it's not a coincidence he is here: Su knew his friend would come at this hour. Seriously, dude. You deliberately left an opening so they would attack you?!
Yeah, Su, cutting it a bit close that time wasn't he?! He just really trusts his buddies I guess. And they're awesome, so definitely worth trusting. Okay, so maybe not cutting it too close. 
I think he's beyond a point of trusting/not trusting. Yes, he trusts Fei Lui - but if he dies tonight, you know, then so be it. And because he feels that way, he doesn't have to be afraid.
*busts up at Fei Liu glaring at Meng Zhi*
At the Marquis' place, the elder Zhou confirms: Mei Changsu only has the kid as a bodyguard. They would have had him had General Meng not appeared, he believes! The new plan that Xie Yu comes up with is this: lure Fei Liu away.
I bet Fei Liu could be on the other side of the world and still make it back in time to save Su-gege every time.
I bet thinking like that gets you killed.
There's a Minister Luo to see the Crown Prince the next day: To beg for protection. Oh god, the scumbag is behind the dead bodies in the well... the house that Mei Changsu now owns used to be a secret brothel for government officers, who cannot visit entertainment places by law. In that particular place, prostitutes were a bit "more entertaining" than elsewhere... or rather, the men were a bit too entertained, and killed some by accident. I think I'll throw up a bit.
Can we just take a minute to be angry at the depravity of people who think it's okay to kill and maim others for their pleasure and enjoyment?! Argh! Castrate the bastard. Then throw him in a lake full of piranhas. Him and all the others. *sorry violent dewaanifordrama making an appearance here*
I guess that's that 51st shade of grey.
Over 7 years may have passed since the crimes, but there is a witness: a housekeeper. And he is currently with Prince Yu, seeking protection! He tells them that the brothel owner recorded all events in a record book - that he has. In it is proof that the Minister of Trade, Luo, The Crown Prince's "money bag" is guilty. Prince Yu is beaming, thinking about the benefits of this situation for him. You're a scumbag too, Yu. Later, he is puzzling over Mei Changsu's loyalty with Banruo, who seems to think the strategist is for and foremost doing things without concern for any side. So this is all a test, Yu concludes, to identify and then choose the more impressive master. Of course, he wants to be that person.
Well at least they kept a record? I guess to be able to blackmail each other if needed. And Banruo, I don't think his wife would be so keen on the skinship there. 
SO close, Yu. No cigar for you.
The Crown Prince is very angry about all this, but Xie Yu thinks they still have a chance to come out of this crisis more or less intact. If Yu is too eager to bring down the Minister and runs to the Emperor, the Emperor will become suspicious and think this is related to their crown-fights, thus not focusing on the actual crime. And if he does the smarter thing, which is going through law enforcement, they will just put their pressure on the Magistrate. Yu gets 1 point back for doing the right thing - sending the housekeeper to the police to turn himself in.
*sigh* sometimes all the intrigue gives me a headache. How does Su keep all this straight in his head? His planning for all this must have been so intense!
I think a lot of it is second nature, though - less planning things out step by step, more an understanding of how they'll behave in a given situation. It makes it easier to keep track, I think.
While all this is going on, Mei Changsu is house-hunting again ... this time with the help of General Meng. A sullen Fei Liu refuses to talk to Meng - he does not like him, because he cannot beat him. But Meng knows how to handle an ego like Fei Liu's: he mentions that the mighty Xiadong has spread the word that Fei Liu beat her, which cheers him right up. Awww, it's good to hear them laugh... but he will never fully forgive Meng, that much is clear.
Hihi. Those two. Another adorable bromance for the win. So much lovely bromance in this show.
Maybe Fei Liu will go to Meng after... you know.
Don't say it TT___________TT.
The house that Meng picked comes with a little extra: the back wall is very close to Prince Jing's palace, but that is not easily discernible from the outside. They will build a secret tunnel! Oh my, Meng is so cute and eager. And there's so much wit in their dialogue! *love*
YAAASSSS!!! Secret tunnels!!! It's almost like they're little kids planning on building a tree house. But cooler. 
I thought the tunnel would be in the well - but nope, it's under the wall. (Yes, I know, different house.)
Meng voices some discomfort about Prince Jing's new role in the investigation of the corruption case: it is certain that he will managed to piss off loads of people. But Mei Changsu sees this as a good thing: He will handle it well, despite the odds, and will be able to show his authority and capability. 
Because Prince Jing is capable and special and awesome. No, no, I'm not biased. Not at all. No. Hahahahahahaha Fei Liu. I love you. And that Meng Zhi falls for it. Hahaha.
I thought they made up - but no, Fei Liu is a brat! Man, do I love him.
Jingrui is walking in the courtyard after spending the day with his mother, when he suddenly becomes aware of black-clad intruders! It's the Zhuos again, but they don't get far: Fei Liu has heard them too and is already fighting them. There are four of them this time and they draw him away ... so that four other assassins can attack Mr. Su! Jingrui won't let that happen, of course and takes this group on.
Crap! Can't they just let Su Zhe get a decent night's sleep?! Stupid assassins. Jingrui, if I didn't already love Prince Jing so much, I would love you more. But I still do love you. 
It sure took him long enough to step in.
Unfortunately, one assassin manages to escape inside - Jingrui is super alarmed!! But inside, Li Gang (that's Su Zhe's right hand man) was waiting and the man is already unconscious. A calm and unharmed Su Zhe approaches - and tells Jingrui better not to look at the masked assassin's face.
Listen to Su Jingrui. Listen. 
Oh dear. Sadness ahead.
Well, he TOLD you so, Jingrui. Why did you have to do it? It's one of his father's guards. Mei Changsu remarks that it's snowing and Li Gang adds that a snowy night is perfect for murder. Very poetic *slow clap*
And Jingrui's world starts to collapse. Right then. Right there. I'm sorry for you Jingrui. I do not like to see you hurt. 
Even if he hadn't seen the face, it would have come to him. Like Li Gang said - all that noise, and yet no one came? 
Afterwards, Jingrui sits across form Mr. Su for some tea, but he does not seem to hear a word the older man is saying to him. Su advises Jingrui to pretend nothing has happened. Ha!! Jingrui is super upset, also about the fact that his big pugilist idol, who he thinks should be carefree and happy, is involved in political intrigue. What will become of the Xie family? The most important thing is that he stays true to himself, Su Zhe advises. He shows concern for the young man... will he be able to get through this unharmed?
Jingrui. Buddy, you can do this. And no, dear Jingrui, your Mei Changsu isn't so carefree and happy. Quite the opposite. I really do feel bad that Jingrui is getting sucked into all the drama and intrigue.
Welcome to being a grown up, Jingrui.
After young master Jingrui has left, Mr. Thirteen, the musician, is announced as a visitor. He has come to report about Qin Banruo and her true identity: She is quite rich and equally smart, having learnt from some clever-clever princess. Banruo also has a web of spies at court, now infiltrated by Su Zhe's people. Mei Changsu calls her a very useful pawn, especially to pass messages to Prince Yu. But he also warns Mr. Thirteen to be extra careful around her. Before he leaves, Uncle Thirteen delivers a gift from the love-sick female musician to Su Zhe: it's incense, for him to sleep better and have nice dreams. He accepts it, but not gladly ...
Ooh! Secret plots and identities with Banruo as well! As much as I know she's a baddie, she's an excellent foe. I like it when the baddies are clever and smart. It makes it all the more interesting. Yeah, this man, his heart belongs to Nihuang, sorry Gong Yu. You don't even stand a chance. 
I thought there was something more to it than that. He wouldn't even touch the thing. As for Banruo, is she bad? Or just on a different team?
Said smart woman has taken it upon herself to visit the Magistrate (who really has a hard time with the tricky murder-case and the involvement of high nobility in it) and advises him very convincingly to pass the case on to Ministry of Justice, saying it is beyond his ability.
She might be up to no good, but at least she looks good doing it. 
Any woman who is not Consort Yue or the Empress looks really good in this drama. The Empress would be okay except birds keep dying on her head.


I feel really sorry for Jingrui. And yet, I'm thinking that his little bubble had to pop sooner or later anyway. The question is whether Mei Changsu deliberately exposed Xie Yu as evil to his own "son" or whether it really was a coincidence he came by. I somehow do not believe in coincidence when it comes to Su, but it also is not easily apparent what he might gain from having Jingrui hurt. Should we give him the benefit of the doubt?
Yeah, I'm not so sure it was coincidence either. For what it's worth, I don't think that Su Zhe really enjoys involving Jingrui in all of this. Poor, poor Jingrui, I fear he's in for a rough ride. 
1.  Su had to know that bringing his revenge into Ning's house would risk Jingrui learning about his father's duplicity.
2.  Ning tried to kill a guest in his own home. I'm thinking Jingrui's hurt rests on Daddy's shoulders, not Su's. Su didn't force him to make this choice.
So pretty in the snow!
Worried Seal