Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 9 (Recap)

Watch Prince Yu get thoroughly played in this episode. And watch a beautiful, epic bromance unfold. Mei Changsu's health is starting to take a turn for the worse, brought on by too many painful memories and the biting cold that has descended on the Capital.
JoAnne: I want to snuggle up in that cape. Not necessarily with Mei Changsu, you understand. It can just be me.
dewaanifordrama: Bromance. It is one of my all time favourite things. And yes, that coat does look rather snuggly. 

Episode 9

Snow falls heavily . Su has moved into his new residence and watches his servants clean in the courtyard ... and Fei Liu making a snow man. Everybody is concerned for him: it's much too cold to be standing outside! Oups, here comes his doctor!! Displeasure has a name, and it is Physician Yan!
You know what I keep wondering? Why his robes are always crossed so much lower across his chest than they are for anyone else. And then the white undercloth thing is so much looser and pulled so much higher. 'Protect the throat' I assume. But if he just wore his clothes properly, he probaby wouldn't need so much extra!
Fei Liu is so adorable. Like almost too adorable to handle. Physician Yan is like a grumpy, adorable bear. I do not envy him his job as Su's doctor. 
The Magistrate is very grateful for the advice he got from Banruo about passing the Corruption case on to the Ministry of Justice, who, by the way, is Prince Yu's man ... but there is new trouble! News about a mysterious beast that terrorizes the villagers reaches his ears. He decides not to do anything for the moment, valuing his newfound peace for more. 
Yu thinks he's got this in the bag.
I almost feel sorry for Yu getting played. He's had to play second fiddle his whole life, and now he thinks he's first chair, and he's not. 

Su Zhe is absentmindedly playing with some wooden badges, when Meng comes to visit him in his new home. The badges represent names - and allies of either the Crown Prince and Yu, written in red or in blue. Su's plan? Bring them all down. But that is not all: he will go for their military allies as well. Onto the fire with the two that have already been toppled: Minister Luo for the corpses case and Duke Qing for corruption.
I like his little toys.
Su Zhe. He's so clever! I LOVE watching his carefully laid plans unfold so beautifully. He makes it all seem so effortless.
Su mentions that Prince Yu will probably come to see him to find ways to save Duke Qing ... and indeed, here he is already! Meng quickly leaves, Su hides his wooden pieces and Prince Yu appears (looking splendid, one might add). Su feigns ignorance about the details of what has been happening in this case lately (Prince of Jing is involved? You don't say, REALLY?). And as Mei Changsu has predicted, Prince Yu hopes he can help him "save" his Duke. Important detail: we see how Su rubs his fingers together when he is plotting.
Another important detail: that close up of the two badges in the fire when Yu sits down. They don't circle back around to that, though, so it doesn't seem Yu noticed. We'll see, I guess.
They were already burning at that point. He did not notice. 
I was super worried he'd notice, but I'm glad he didn't. And yes, Yu does look fabulous. 
Prince Jing starts his work on the corruption case today, in fact. And it's in his nature (stubborn and inflexible) to take this task very seriously, of course. First, he goes to request two senior officers from the Ministry of Justice and already makes arrangement for the trial to be held. Wow, the stupid Minister (Yu's man) is trying to stall and go all "ah, didn't receive a proper order, cannot do what you want" on the prince. Jing gives him one day to sort it out.
Bureaucracy in motion!
Prince Jing is so good at this!!! Way to go Jingyan!!!
At his residence, Su counsels Prince Yu to be smart about this; this is not an issue between him and the Crown Prince. This is something his father, the Emperor cares about. Why? Because he wants to make sure that similar land-grabbing cases will be prevented in the future. What this means is this: Yu has to sacrifice his Duke or butt heads with his father. And Yu sees reason, of course, because who can reason better than Mei Changsu? His men raid Duke of Qing's house shortly after and arrest the man himself, his sons and nephews. But he almost cries. He has just lost one of the towers of his support.
The guy would have been damaged goods no matter what. It was silly of Yu not to realize this sooner.
Mei Changsu really is going to weed out all the corruption, isn't he?! 
Mei Changsu stresses why supporting Prince Jing is paramount: with regards to military power, the Duke of Qing is nothing. Prince Jing commands twice as many troops. It's spectacular to behold how Mei Changsu manipulates this Prince... who seems very very impressed with all the wonderful advice he is getting.
Maybe I want to curl up in this cape, instead. (Yes, Yu is thrilled, isn't he? It's so funny!)
Mei Changsu. He is amazing! Poor Prince Yu doesn't even have a clue. 

Prince Yu is still a bit unsure about the whole Prince Jing thing though - his stubborn brother would most certainly not provide him with troops when he needs them! Ah, but staging a revolt would be extremely unwise, Mei Changsu advises. Rather, he should work on his father and gain his favor if he wants to become the next Emperor. If Crown Prince ever did anything really wrong, he can be sure that Prince Jing would move his army at his own will anyway. Being the nice strategist he is, Mei Changsu even offers to go talk to Prince Jing, to make sure he has a supporter in his brother. Oh dear. The Prince even bows deeply out of gratitude.
And Yu never even thinks to himself, 'What could MCS possibly want out of this?'
What I also find completely interesting is how everyone has completely overlooked hardworking, and obviously rather competent Prince Jing as someone they should get on their side. I know he's the seventh prince who up until this point had no aspirations for the thrown, but everyone else is so blind and selfish that they have completely overlooked someone who could have been an ally. 
The talk with Prince Yu has worn Mei Changsu out ... he is very cold, the poor man. He tells his trusted man he will go see Prince Jing the next day, and will bring a present for Tingsheng, who now lives with the prince. A golden armor! That's much too expensive a gift, Li Gang exclaims.
Right? Why would you give a servant boy armor? Yes, I know who he is, but he's not living that way openly.
I think it's also partly to show honour to Prince Jing. 
Well, that's easy! He'll just have to get Fei Liu (who has been guzzling himself with too many melons lately) to give the present.
Sure, that makes it completely different. (No, no it does not.)
No one can refuse things from Fei Liu. If Fei Liu wants to give you something, you can't say no. He's slightly on the unhinged side for most people. 
After this little chat between Prince Yu and Mei Changsu, things go much more smoothly for Prince Jing - all the ministers are forthcoming and polite (at Yu's direct command). At the Crown Prince's place, Duke of Ning accurately predicts that their Minister of Trade is a goner ... so that they should focus on positioning successors now! The Crown Prince is still very upset at that scheming Mei Changsu and stresses that he wants him removed. Watcha gonna do, Yie Yu?
Wouldn't you think MCS would make it so that both princes think they're each getting advice secretly? I wonder why he didn't do that.
I think it's because he can create even more strife this way
And it makes for better cover that he's secretly advising Prince Jing. If it looks like he's already made a choice about who he's advising, no one will suspect him of actually advising someone else. 
Excellent point!
Well, send more men against Mei Changsu, of course. That's just stupid and I'm sure you know it!
Fei Liu cannot be beaten by mere mortals!
Dear bad guys, you do NOT want to mess with Mei Changsu! Do they keep forgetting that even though he's ill, he is actually the head of the most powerful pugilist alliance?! 
Fei Liu is pouting (when is he ever not?) - he does not like that golden thing he is to give to Tingsheng! That's only because he himself is too skilled! Mei Changsu says - but little Tingsheng will treasure this, because he will not get hurt. Now he gets it, our little grumpy pants.
His faces are so precious.
If only there were an award for pouting, Fei Liu would win it every time.
It's at that moment that the new attack begins! Fei Liu rushes outside and Mei Changsu ... takes a book and reads. Hahaha. Nice. Some time later, Li Gang reports that all the intruders are dead. They should get it now, one would think.
We saw Zhuo there, right? Does that mean Pretty Zhuo is dead?
No, he stayed behind the scenes this time :) 
My life is in danger, oh I shall read a book, now where was I. Hahahaha. He cracks me up. 
Time to visit Prince Jing! The long way (through the streets, who must be convoluted like hell or this place is huge, cause Li Gang says it took them an hour). When he looks at the entrance, a memory hits Su Zhe: Him, as a boy, with his cousin, Prince Jing, who just moved into this place at the age of 17. Don't be sad, Su :(
Too late. He has a sad. I has a sad. We all has a sad.
Hand me some tissues please. Su-gege, I am so sorry. 
When he sees the golden armor, Prince Jing is almost outraged. This is much too precious! But Mr. Su goes: why are you telling me? This is from Fei Liu!! Prince Jing may be stubborn, but he also knows when something else is even more stubborn ... he lets it go.
Fei Lui you little snookums, I just want to squish you! (Yes, also Wang Kai, I want to squish you too.)
Haha. MCS is letting his Lin Shu out to outplay his stubborn cousin. I love it! Haha. 
Inside, he introduces Mr. Su Zhe to his personal guard / his generals and tells them to take care of Su in the future. Haha, they all gathered there to see him in person a fact that Su notices immediately. The memories weigh heavy on him and he feels cold - but Prince Jing quickly orders a brazier to be brought and the two men begin their discussion about Prince Yu's goodwill and the case to be investigated.
So those big open rooms are unheated unless you bring that in? Or was that for extra warmth?
I know that the Koreans used the ondol (underfloor heating) system, but I don't know about the Chinese. I'm not sure if it's here or not, but Prince Jing said that he normally keeps things cold at his house. A good excuse to wear cozy fur capes. 
I think he mentions it here.
Mei Changsu is very pleased with Prince Jing. He is building a solid case with sufficient evidence to sentence the Duke to death. He counsels him on how to deal with the different houses, so that they remain suspicious of each other and will not form an alliance. Then, he asks him to be lenient with Prince Yu: for alliance sake. Prince Jing is smart enough to realize that Su has been pulling some strings in the background and he thanks him for it. But he does not want to be associated with any of his brothers!! 
Look, if you're going to put up pictures like this, don't expect me to make intelligent comments.
They are presents for me! Please keep on leaving them! *Hugs Kakashi* I love how proud Su is of Jingyan. His protégé is of course doing so well! Imagine if the kingdom had utilized Prince Jing's excellence before this! 
Su asks Prince Jing to lower his standards just a little, but the Prince won't budge. "The noble souls of the departed are watching", he says and his gaze moves to a bow that is displayed to the side. "Being noble souls, they'll know your heart", Su replies ... but both men look like they're about to cry.
Does he ever get to tell Jing who he really is?
Would you really like me to answer this question?

Mei Changsu gets up, his legs are cramping ... and almost like he is drawn by an invisible force, he steps over to that bow and raises his hand to... "Don't touch it!" Prince Jing barks. He apologizes for his rudeness immediately, but this bow, it belonged to his dearest friend. And he never liked others touching his things. Yeah, thanks drama, why don't you break my heart :((( 
Does Wang Kai get to be happy in any of his dramas?
Oh Jingyan! You break my heart! I just want want Su to turn around, say: I am that dearest friend, and then they can hug it out. 
In the meantime, Tingsheng has taken Fei Liu (hand-in-hand, AWWwwwww) to the practice grounds (yes, okay - this palace is huge). Within ten seconds, Fei Liu has insulted Prince Jing as weak and has called himself "the best". Prince Jing's generals hear that and take insult! They have of course heard of him. A fight is unavoidable! Them having their asses kicked too. We could have told you, soldiers.
Live and learn, guys. Live and learn.
Hehe. Fei Liu is so cool!!! Also, that gif is awesome!!! 
Kakashi is the Queen of Gifs, isn't she?


I have a problem... I feel sorry for Prince Yu!! Yes, he's an immoral scumbag, but he tries so earnestly to ... I don't know, be a kingly prince? There is an air of true nobleness about him, very unlike his vermin of a brother, the Crown Prince. The way he is trusting Mei Changsu, wow, it makes me cringe. I consider it one of the strong points of this drama to have characters you can care about even though they are bad!
I'm with you - the Crown Prince is snivelling brat, but Prince Yu is a stronger man, and probably not any more or less evil than any ruler ever is. Plotting comes with the territory. He's not going out of his way to ruin people or do depraved things, at least. Jing, while definitely a more 'upright' person - may not actually be a better ruler.
I do feel sorry for him and I don't. You can tell that he's a better prince than his wimpy brother the Crown Prince, but he's also a bit too content to have corruption as his bedfellow. I find him very pitiable though. His talents and worth have been completely wasted, as have Prince Jing's. It shows was a sad state the kingdom is under a father who hasn't been able to rule that well. 

I hate it that Su is obviously having such a hard time. All the fire in the world cannot keep him warm and with all his intellect, he cannot make those terribly painful memories stop. Being with Prince Jing, just like being with Nihuang, just makes it worse, of course, because they embody that past, his youth, his strength. Prince Jing is as dear as a brother to him, we realize, but he cannot step closer and hug him and he cannot lean on him for strength. His revenge is so very lonely.
I wish we actually got to hear more of that internal dialogue. I would have liked some time spent on his journey over the past twelve years, to get to this point.
One thing that I really love about the drama is that even though we haven't had that internal dialogue (which I would also love to hear more of), I still care deeply for Su Zhe - for his pain and hurt and all that he has lost out on. In the few flashbacks we have seen of young Lin Shu, we see how much he has lost, and all for the corruption and greed of a few people. What a terrible burden to bear.