JoAnne: I was on the edge of my seat with this one, I swear. I really can't tell which I love more, at this point: the actors and directors for bringing such life to these characters, the costumers/set designers/cinematographer for giving us such stunning visuals, or the writer, for creating this story! It's all so intense, so fluid, so RIGHT.
Awww, kids, stay together! Be a team! Don't be hurt, or sad, or scared, or anything but kick ass. Just outwit everyone and run away and be happy together!
Why did he do that, do you think? Honor, since it would lead to bed (obviously) and he knows he can't go there, not if he's leaving? Or does he not have/not realize he has romantic feelings toward her?
Yes, why did he do that?!
Okay, I'm going with honor. And oh my God, she's the physical embodiment of a tiny scared kitten - she acts fierce, and her scratch will really hurt you - but what she wants deep down is for you to make her feel loved. I adore her. What else is she in? Can we start watching that, too?
It's a fucking test. You bastard. I thought you were sending him away because you realized you were wrong to bring him here. Well, maybe he did realize it, and that explains the sadness of that scene by Ming Tai's hospital bed. But if his logic is true - it doesn't really matter how Wang feels, any more than it matters how Ming Tai or Yu Man Li feel. This is what it is, and you live or you die, you're here or you're not, but the path has been set and it doesn't change. Even for Wang.
It took Ming Tai a bit to figure out that this scene was a different kind of bizarre from the bizarreness that the rest of his life has become. I was amused (darkly)... but also very worried about what was coming. As soon as Lin started talking about women prisoners, I knew that of course it had to be about Yu Man Li.
Why would there be photos of prisoners, though.
Kinda ... like a museum?
I absolutely love her 'I will eat you for lunch and leave nothing but bones' expression. There was one picture before hers, though, where the woman was seriously horrifyingly scary crazy looking.
You know what, I thought they could be real.
And this is her story (that Lin conveniently knows in detail): When she was 14, her stepfather sold her to a brothel. She was trained and became a prostitute at 15. At 16, she contracted a sexually transmitted disease and was kicked out of the brothel, to die on the streets. Lucky for her, a kind man (Boss Yu), a businessman, took pity and saved her, paying for an armada of doctors. She wanted to show her gratitude by marrying Boss Yu, but he sent her to school instead, posing as her brother. But her happiness soon turned to misery again, when Boss Yu was robbed and killed by three men on a business trip. Shortly after, Yu Man Li reappeared as a prostitute --- and took revenge. She is Black Widow because she enticed the three bandits to marry her and then murdered and dismembered them on their wedding night.
You know what, I still love her. It's not right. It's definitely not right, what she did. But it's the best kind of wrong there could be. That poor child!
After she had killed all three of them, she turned herself in and was sentenced to death. She was in this very cell when the war broke out and Kuomingtang took over the prison. This is where Wang Tian Feng found her - and made her one of his soldiers.
Why? Did he think that her single-minded willingness to exact revenge translated well into being an assassin? How so? Her crimes were motivated by love. Did he take pity on her and think that this was offering her a way to redeem herself, somehow? Did she want redemption? No, she turned herself in. She wanted to die. Why did she agree to this? Also: how does this story connect to the Ming Family? Ah, so many questions.
We always assumed there was a connection, but what if there is none?
That's not the whole story, is it, says a shaken Ming Tai. Of course it isn't. Military law says this: If one person in a life & death partnership deserts, the other person is immediately sent to the front. Unless you're a previous death row inmate. Then, you'll be executed. Fuck! Lin adds that he has until sunset to go back and save her. There is no car, so Ming Tai is given a horse. Wang is such a DICK.
Ming Tai didn't desert! He was kicked out! Not fair! Not fair!
In the pouring rain, the execution squad positions itself. Man Li wants to face death standing up, not kneeling... oh my sweet girl :(( Wang glances at the door... no Ming Tai. He lifts his hand ... and hesitates.
I honestly think I love her more than Ming Tai, at this point. He's amusing. She has my heart. And Wang... I go back and forth on him. He's a bastard, sure. But does he have any more freedom than they do, really? It really DOES seem like he cares about both of them, even when he's putting them directly at death's door.
LUCKILY cause here comes Ming Tai, shouting "don't shoot, don't shoot!" His horse collapses and flips (how did they do that!) and he scrambles up, arms outstretched, between her and the firing squad. She screams "why did you come back" and he shouts back at her "you do not control me!"
Now is not the time for an argument, kids. And yeah, that horse stunt... that was some crazy. I am so glad you giffed it! Someone, tell us if it's real. Can you train horses to do stuff like that?
And I sat here and thought to myself, 'Damn. The bastard has a point. And not just that, but he also cares sincerely about the cause. He's not just out to screw with people.'
You are right! Yes, Ming Tai is a spoilt brat - and he has not taken anything seriously so far. But then, he was kidnapped and forced into this... so it's still a bit unfair to demand deadly dedication from him.
"Firing squad - carry on!" OH SHIT! Ming Tai grabs his Teacher's legs, desperate, swearing he came back because he can persevere, he will do anything to save her, anything! Fine, Wang Tian Feng says, then her life is in your hands. He pulls out a gun and tells Ming Tai to show off this superb marksmanship of his - there are four targets that he needs to hit. If he misses one, Man Li will die.
My first thought was 'Oh, come ON. Really?' But then my second was more along of the lines of admiring just how deeply Wang understands the human psyche. The man is a bastard, but he's a genius bastard.
He gets up ... his hand is shaking. Behind him, the firing squad is readying the guns again. He smiles wryly at her - and shoots, eight or nine times. Three of the dummies are down. One is not. He aims .... and aims and aims. Man Li closes her eyes. He shoots. And MISSES - the bullet brushes her left ear, but the dummy still stands. "Get ready!" Guo shouts. "Thank you", Man Li whispers. "Noooooooo!" Ming Tai screams.
Well this cannot just be IT, can it? Side note: Hu Ge was beyond fantastic in this scene.
But then, another shot rings and the dummy goes down ... Wang has saved her. "Being able to remain calm is something a special agent should be able to do. Tomorrow, you start your training from scratch". Hmmm, thanks for the additional HuGe-military-training scenes. Delicious.
Ahhhh, I love this drama. Wang never wanted her to die, but he was willing to kill her if he had to. The question is - how certain was he that it would go this way? I guess it doesn't matter... I just want to get inside his head a little more.
***We leave the military training camp and rejoin Ming Lou and Ah Cheng in the government building. Their interactions are always great. I'm also always super afraid for them. It's the day of the special ball, and Ah Cheng gets the task to go ahead and "take care of Wang Man Chun's mood" and then further entice Nantiang, so that she will start trusting him. They're pretty sure that the enemies will try to create a rift between them and agree to play along. I don't like this to be honest TT____TT. I'm just so afraid that Ah Chang's loyalty has limits... they agree that their main aim for tonight is to make Nantiang terminate Wang Man Chun's "fishing operation".
Yes - another who I fear has depths akin to Wang's, but perhaps more motivated by emotion than idealism.
Didn't we already know that Ming Lou and Killer Wang had some sort of thing back in the day? I could have just been making a huge assumption. It might just have been that she had a crush on him, but for some reason I thought they were an item at one point.
That's the rumor. But there seems history with Big Sister Ming, too.
So the anger was real but the being angry was planned, or they had a loose outline and Ming Lou took advantage of the emotional slip to further cement the possibility of their 'estrangement' to come? What I fear is this: fake becomes real. Or worse, real was always fake, or has been fake for some time, and Ming Luo has no idea.
One thing I just read at Cfensi that soothed me, a bit. These two weren't always together in this...so it's not the situation I imagined, where the fostered boy grows up and gets dragged along by the elder son into his work. No...apparently, they each became a spy unknown to the other, and only ended up together LATER, after some dastardly event involving Airplane Wang. So Ah Cheng isn't Ming Luo's assistant by family standing, but by organizational standing. Still doesn't mean he won't just think, 'Oh of COURSE, again!'
I mostly get the impression that he did have feelings for her at some point, but now feels sorry for her. In other words, for whatever reason, he's given her up as a love interest, sincerely, but as a man, sure, he can respond to her beauty, and has affection for her despite knowing that she's a nutcase.
I wondered if the boy was put up to it, but it seems not? It's just too convenient, though, for both Ming Lou and for Ah Cheng.
Mrs. Su (who is a doctor!) and Uncle Li talk about their new supervisor, a certain Cobra. Nobody knows his true identity, it seems - but it's pretty clear it's Ming Lou, right?! That's why he asked Ah Cheng whether he put the ad in the paper!!
It must be him. He doesn't strike me as very Cobra-like, though. Some other animal, not a Cobra. There's a code name coming up that's hilarious. I love them in general, though.
This guy. Honestly, I'd take my chances with Airplane Wang over this guy.
So hilariously unsubtle.
What's a girl to do without her daily killing spree?
He's too clever by half, and reeks of evil. True evil. Airplane Wang is manipulative but in pursuit of greater good - not personal goals. Killer Wang is unhinged, probably by events in her past. Maybe. Maybe she just likes blood? It's possible. Liang, though, no question. He will do bad things because he likes to do bad things, or because it will bring him wealth and power. Different animal.
The next day, at the office, Commissioner Liang points out to Man Chun that the last high-ranking Japanese official was killed in Hong Kong right when Ming Lou arrived there too. He has no proof, but he finds it very strange that a scholar has "this highly skilled, agile and elusive Ah Cheng" around him. He wants Man Chun to check Ming Lou out very carefully ... to find out where he sends his intel to. Chongqin, he suspects: where Ming Lou originally comes from.
Their history and backstory should cover the Ming Lou-Ah Cheng connection, but the problem is that Ah Cheng is just too good to be someone's assistant. He should be less effective in order to generate less suspicion.
Interesting. I thought that no matter what, she'd defend Ming Lou. Or perhaps she figures what's the harm? He won't bite...
CommentsYikes, this drama really makes me worry ...
... but first things first. Ming Tai and Man Li! What are they feeling? She tried to kiss him, and he turned his head away - and I kept trying to figure out why. I think he does not love her. At least not like a man loves a women he wants to sleep with. I think that she is exactly what she should be: a partner to go to the end of the world with, which also means that it does not matter to him what sex she has. That's probably a much stronger bond than most lovers will ever experience! But I also think that she IS in love with him - which would make sense, seeing how she was treated by most men in her life. He is so kind and considerate to her... it would be hard not to fall in love.
You don't kiss your male partner on the forehead. I read something once about that type of kiss - it happens often in Asian Drama, and it means something different than it generally does in Euro/American dramas - or at least American dramas. When we see it here at home, that kiss is generally dismissive. There's affection, possibly patronization, but most definitely, no romantic interest - and so it puzzled me when I was seeing it in Korean dramas since it didn't really fit the other clues. In an Asian drama (at least, per the article I read) it more often signifies the man's protective and respectful instinct toward a woman that he loves. I know I've seen situations where it's more of the former, but very often, it's this. So I guess I lean towards he loves her, though he may not know it - but it could go either way right now.
Those two are safe for the moment, at least, but our other two boys! Oh no! Commissioner Liang is far too smart for my liking. I thought he was a pushover at first (because of the disrespect with which Wang Man Chun treats him, even though he's her boss), but he is highly dangerous. Luckily, Man Chun seems to have quite a lot of feelings (left) for Ming Lou and is not ready to believe he is a rebel. I hope it stays this way ... my nerves, my poor nerves...
Man, she really does not like Liang. I wonder why?