Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 19 (Recap)

Things start moving, quicker and quicker ... it's Jingrui's birthday soon and I don't know about you guys, but I feel a mixture of apprehensiveness and excitement for that event. What exactly is it that Mei Changsu is planning?!
Eleanor: Me too!!! I also feel excited, but yes, Mei Chang Su's plans are rarely the super happy kind. I think I'm just going to concentrate on that lovely screencap of Nihuang and Su Zhe for now. 
JoAnne: It is a pretty shot, that's true. He doesn't look so wispy and frail here, either.

Episode 19

Meng has discovered the secret passage! Wow, he's smart :)))) Jing is alarmed, but collects himself very quickly. So how did Meng end up in the inner room, though the bow he wanted to see is in the outer one? Meng does not answer that question, but he remarks instead that strangely enough, Mr. Su has a similar passage, as he discovered when he was at his place recently. And he also knows quite well that the two places only seem far, but are, in fact, quite close...
Oh Meng Zhi. I hope that Su helped coach him on this one. You can tell how badly he wants the BFFs reunited and also to help Prince Jing too. I heart him. Also, seriously, Wang Kai has a face that demands to be painted! Like I want to go out right now and buy some paints and a canvas and do a portrait. 
Of course Meng would have had to be coached through this, sweet straightforward man that he is. This is the guy who would tell you 'Don't worry, I'm not planning a surprise for your birthday' out of the blue, just so you wouldn't guess that he was doing that exact thing, and then be very visibly proud of himself for 'fooling' you.
And what will he do with this knowledge? Prince Jing asks. He is willing to support him, if he is joining the fight for the throne! goes Meng. Why? Because most of his friends, dead or alive, hope that Prince Jing will be the next ruler.
YAAASSSSSS!!!!! Meng Zhi is telling Jingyan that he is "Team Prince Jing"!!! I'm so happy about this development! So happy! I mean, we already knew it, but I am so glad that Jingyan knows it now too. He needs all the awesome people on his side! 
It's been a while, so refresh my memory: what has Jing done that would make a casual observer like Meng believe that he's vying for the throne? In other words, I'm wondering if the next words out of Jing's mouth will indicate that he's wary of this offer. Not because he doesn't believe Meng is good, but because we all know Meng isn't a how would he have picked up on it?
I don't think he knows Meng well enough. Jing is like a stranger to the Capital. I think he trusts him.
Prince Jing, shares his confusion about the bloody events 13 years ago - he was away, and when he returned, nothing was ever the same. Would Meng perchance know what happened? Oh yes, Meng does: Xie Yu should have taken reinforcements to the Chiyan army - but then discovered that Prince Qi and Lin Xie were in fact plotting treason! Xuangjing Bureau verified it. Xie Yu reported this and got the order to execute them all. And so he did, at Meiling. And everybody else was either executed or committed suicide. And not ONE person spoke up for them or has since (apart from Jing) - even speaking their names is considered a crime.
Ugh! Just thinking about Xie Yu and his nasty planning makes my blood boil! Argh! That Meng Zhi is telling him this is letting Jingyan know that he's probably not the only one who's had doubts about the Chiyan Massacre. The truth will out! I'm getting so excited about this! We are getting one small step closer to bringing justice to the fallen and returning honour to those destroyed. 
Everybody else everywhere in every drama gets a trial, foregone conclusion or not. But these men were executed without a word. Is it because there was a war?
Moved by what he has heard, Prince Jing vows to investigate this thoroughly and prove their innocence - is Meng with him? Oh yes, Meng is.
His earnest pledge of loyalty to Prince Jing, it gets me in the heart. Meng Zhi is a good, good man. 
The Emperor has entered Consort Jing's palace. He is pleasantly surprised to see how modest she is. She is pleased by his visit, but notices how tired he looks. She offers him a massage and he readily agrees (no, not that kind of massage). It is late (and dark) once he has enough. He gets some special tea and then regrets not seeing her more often in the last few years. But at least she has her son. He calls him filial and loyal ... but just too damn stubborn. Because of his temper, he did not give him many opportunities, though he still considers him a son.
Methinks Emperor here would rather surround himself with weak-willed people than have headstrong, and yes, well stubborn, people like Jingyan. It's a sign of his weakness that he's threatened by anything that might even remotely challenge him. 
Bad leader, worse parent.
He wants to stop sending him onto the battlefield, but his mother quickly says that would hurt Jingyan. He then asks her what she thinks of Prince Yu. She calls him handsome and dignified. Haha, way to NOT answer a tricky question, well done! The Emperor isn't happy with her answer, though, so she adds she has heard he is virtuous. His face turns dark when he starts ranting about how everybody at court always looks to Yu (uh-oh, is daddy afraid of his son?)
Consort Jing is the bomb dot com, to use a somewhat outdated phrase. I love and adore her! I think the Emperor is afraid of anyone who is remotely threatening. He would probably be afraid of a threatening shadow. I guess that's what happens when you forcefully take a throne - you're constantly looking over your shoulder in case someone does the same to you. 
He sees in the world what he puts in the world. Since he's not confident and always fears looking bad in comparison to others, he constantly watches for people who will be able to do that. With his sons, raising them to be wise leaders who improve on his legacy would the smart, rational, confident thing to do - both as the leader of a country and as a father to his sons. But even if he's not an 'evil' ruler - it's not that he doesn't care about his people - he's ineffective and very limited, and his weakness has allowed all this rot to take hold. It's ironic: his behavior guarantees him the reputation he so fears.
And just like that, Prince Jing's mother gets a promotion to "Fei" (from Pin). Unfortunately, Crown Prince gets to move back into the Eastern Palace, too. And Jingrui's birthday is almost here... as are the envoys from Southern Chu.
She is one smart woman that Consort Jing. And Su Zhe, that's a lot of tea you're drinking there. 
Too much green tea can affect your liver. Or maybe it's your kidneys. I don't remember which, but someone I used to work with got really sick from this homeopathic 'cure' for high cholesterol that involved drinking tons of some particular kind of green tea. I wonder if that's what's wrong with him? Su Zhe, the tea addict.
Prince Yu gets put in charge of being the Emperor's representative in dealing with the foreigners. Yu is confused ... he does not understand what his father is up to. Why was his brother not punished more severely for the firework factory case? But why is he not the one welcoming the guests? (a prince is coming with the princess). Banruo calls it a sign of his father's special appreciation. Haha. As if.
Oh Prince Yu. He's just not that good at all these schemes. I'm still really mad at him for blowing up the fireworks factory and getting so many people killed. Ugh. 
Yes, that sort of put a damper on my mild - not enthusiasm, exactly, but lack of dislike - for Yu.
And here they come, the Prince and the Princess (she seems excited) from Southern Chu! Bearing many presents, it seems. The Emperor, who gets informed, is wary. Is it good or bad that they try to befriend his kingdom? It seems that Nan Chu have an interest in the Southwest, under the care of Nihuang, and everybody is getting a bit nervous ... time for her to go back! (nooooooooooo, Su Ge Ge ....). But not for her little bro ....... he will be his hostage.
Seriously. This Emperor. He is so paranoid that instead of cultivating leadership that would support and help the kingdom to flourish, he would rather send away Nihuang. Doesn't he get that "banishing" or sending someone away, isolating them, might make them more of a threat?!
A week ago, he was saying it was time to keep her off the road and have little brother step into her military leader role.  So wishy-washy!
Time to say goodbye. The heavens' weep, how fitting. She tells Su how angry Mu Qing was and also says how she has learned to be so much more collected (I think she is saying that she may not show any emotions, but that she has many many many). He assures her he will take care of her brother. She tells him she does not know when she will see him again and gives him a yellow jade pendant, to command the power of her family if he needs it.
Oh these two. It's like my heart and tear ducts betray me every time they are onscreen together. 
I like them a lot, but you know how I feel. Most of the time when I see her, after I marvel yet again over her beauty and her gorgeous outfits, I get distracted by the hair piece and spend the REST of the time wondering if that thing bangs against her forehead if she's running or riding a horse and whether it gets cold in the winter.
He tells her not to miss her brother too much. Is he a bit ... thick or does he not want to understand?! She has to say it out loud: does he not know who she will miss the most? Ah, of course he knows ... he just tried to pretend it wasn't the case. She wants to run away with him and live carefree among the mountains and rivers, leaving their current identities behind.
Run away! Run away! Leave all this other stuff behind. I know it can't happen. I know it, but oh my heart wants it so much. 
Okay fine I might have gotten a little teary there.
If only.... if only...... TT_____________TT
TT___________TT (Jo is going to make fun of us here isn't she? ;) )
I'm sorry the gif is just so DRAMATIC. Did it get sped up? It's making me giggle, and I was totally almost crying just a second ago.

A black clad assassin (woman) attacks Xie Yu! Only, he is too good and wounds the woman, who is able to flee. She collapses at the entrance to Banruo's establishment. It's Miss Gong Yu! Oioioi. Banruo takes her inside (and later tells Prince Yu all about it - who gets very excited, and declares he'll go and talk to Su about it, to help him plan). Mei Changsu gets word that everything is going according to plan... and he means Gong Yu and her injury. Damn, is there anything you don't plan?!
This is like watching a game of chess where you have a mastermind playing who is about a bazillion moves ahead of what you can see. And he's a rather beautiful mastermind to look at too. And so intelligent. Intelligence is so attractive. So attractive.
Wait. Who is going to help who plan? Yu? Oh, need to just go lie down and take a nap or something. 
No, Yu wants Mei Changsu's help to devise a great plan for ... something.
Farewell between Mu Qing and his sis. Jingrui, Yujin and Xiadong are also there to see her off. But what is this? Duke Ling (Wen Xian) from Nan Chu is galloping in their direction, also to see her off. That's quite audacious, considering the history between the two. Of course, Mu Qing is showing his temper and Duke Ling is taking the opportunity to taunt him and his little experience in battle.
Um, does he not get how quickly Nihuang could kick his butt? And um, there's also the Sunshine bros. Like why would you tease this crowd? #stupid
He's really annoying. Look how upset the seal is!
The Prince from Southern Chu is a smug ass and he gets everybody's blood boiling in no time. They want a duel! Oh, the prince has no interest at all. But has somebody with him who very much admires Jingrui - and wants to fight him. Hmmm... so this is what this was all about?
Ah. Still. All that taunting. #stupid. 
Since I totally did not expect the eventual resolution of this particular little plot line, his behavior really threw me. I thought I must be misinterpreting something, because he was just SO rude that I thought I had to be mistaken in some way, or had missed something important. Usually, the person that is that obnoxious gets killed pretty quickly. Although there are the rare occasions when they turn out to be a Han Suk Yool, but come on - how often does one of those come into your life?

At the Su Residence, Su is cheating Fei Liu out of melon, when Meng comes to see him. Li Gang comes and brings Mei Changsu some special pills in a very rare bottle. It's Jingrui's birthday present! And it seems this plan is directed at Xie Yu.
Hee hee. Poor Fei Liu. Their dynamic is pretty much one of my most favourite things in the universe. Also, how does this show go from: adorable teasing of Fei Liu to ominous pills in bottle so quickly o.O So. Many. Emotions. 
Happy Birthday! Have some drugs!
Su hesitates though ... because it means hurting "someone" innocent. He can think about it as much as he wants, but there is no better plan he can come up with. At least he has these two to make him laugh, right?
Oh Su Zhe. I kind of want to close my eyes for the hurty parts up ahead. And yet again, the show is like: cute - serious - cute. It knows just how to hurt our hearts enough and then relieve them for a minute with laughter. 
The people who say that the kid playing Fei Lui is a terrible, wooden actor puzzle me. (WHO SAYS THAT?!) To me, a bad actor is one who can't make his emotions or motivations understood, or someone who is clearly 'acting' - because that does come off as wooden and awkward. Fei Lui is a different beast, just this side of a cartoon. I don't think it would be easy to walk that line, at all.
Outside the city gates, Jingrui gets ready to fight Nan Chu's duchess, Yuwen Nian. She is veiled. They starts and ... what a fight! She is his match! Trained in a special sword technique (that Xiadong recognizes) by one of the Commanders of Nan Chu, who is 6th on the list right now. It seems he also is in the city! But incognito. Xiadong guesses he wants to challenge the Zhuos, to climb the list even further.
Seriously, what is going on with this woman. At first I thought she had a crush on Jingrui, but there's got to be more to this story. 
Actually, that's exactly what I thought, as well.
Jingrui wins, but the Princess tells him that her master is here to challenge his pugilist father. She also wants to say something more, but can't ... and then her brother leads her away. Not before she can send a few longing glances his way though.
I'm soooooooo curious right now! Ack! 
I was also very focused on why she was hiding her face.
Alright, now it's definitely time for Nihuang to leave! She regrets not being able to see the fight between the two sword masters and demands to be informed about it. When she is gone, Xiadong asks for an invitation to Jingrui's birthday - she has heard Commander Meng is also going! How dare you, Yujin, to laugh at her request!
Haha, Yujin, do NOT mess with Xia Dong. Hahaha. I just love her. She's so awesome! 
She's their friend! Why wasn't she invited?
Gong Yu seems to have fully recovered by the time it's Jingrui's birthday. Yujin goes to pick her up. Oh...... so exciting!
Aaaaaah!!! The episode can't leave us there!!!
I just want to get to the damn birthday party already!


We have a Princess who has a special connection to Jingrui, her master who wants to challenge his pugilist father, a special bottle with pills, Gong Yu who is a trained assassin (whose identity is known to Banruo and Prince Yu, who went to Mei Changsu for help) and a plan directed at Xie Yu. Behind it all is Mei Changsu, pulling the strings. But to what end? What will happen? (No spoilers, thank you!!!)
Every time I think about drawing a relationship chart for the characters in this show, all I can think of is a giant tangled web of connections. I'm glad Mei Chang Su knows what's going on. The tension is certainly building and I'm half afraid and half excited to see how things will turn out. 
I don't think the chart would be too confusing, actually...
There is one! Here:

This was an excellent episode, moving swiftly, with many light, funny moments and one very sad one. If those Lin Shu - Nihuang scenes weren't so beautiful, I would probably skip them. They break my heart.
Seriously. This show is like: I know how to break your heart, and I'm like: GIVE ME MOAR!!! 
I think that Team Jing needs to go on a field trip and all the guys should get in a hot spring and bond.