Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 26 (Recap)

Did I say I was uneasy in the last episode recap? Well, take that unease and multiply it by 100!
Eleanor: Jingrui. That man needs a hug. Like a super huge one. 

Episode 26

Prince Jing takes The Book, Mei Changsu looks major uneasy - uneasy enough that even Bro Meng notices (btw, I wished he would stop calling Mei Changsu Xiao Shu... what if Prince Jing turned back and heard?!). Mei Changsu knows that there won't be an issue with the handwriting (too different) or the content (too unspecific), but there is one thing he does worry about: it is his habit (based on "name avoidance") to abridge the characters of his mother's name (which is the same as the name of a place in the book) . Oooookay, that's not good *bites nails*, but it seems Prince Jing does not know Lin Shu's mother's maiden name. Plus, the characters are not very common. We're good then, right?!
Of course not. They brought it up, and unlike so many others, this writer actually does things for a reason.
Ah! The tension! Something is going to happen. Eep! This has me so worried...BUT I also want Jingyan to find out. 
Before he says his goodbyes to Meng, Su tells him to please let him know if there are any problems at the Grand Princess' Liyang's mansion. Meng says he should stop sticking his nose into everything - he is tiring himself out this way, and gets really angry when Su says it's because he feels guilty about involving them.
Aww, let Meng mother you! He wants to do it so badly!
Okay, I think everyone needs hugs right now. Or can they just go out and have a picnic or something and forget all their troubles and sorrows? Just for one day. 
Well, there ARE things happening at that mansion: Princess Sulky Face Nian Nian is still skulking about, even though everybody else from her delegation has gone back. She is very determined to take her Gege Jingrui back to Southern Chun. Also, she is very pink around the eyes. Mama Jingrui is very much against him being whisked away: she says that she knows how much anguish her son is feeling over what happened and that he needs time to get over it. And she wants to be with him during that time.
Plus you're just an irritating little twit of a girl, so go AWAY.
Seriously. She is annoying. I get that she wants her gege to go back with her, but um, has she forgotten that she is also trying to take him away from his mother. It's not like his dad has been exactly pining for him or made much effort before (though probably for safety and political reasons).
4th Sister and Banruo are already in the capital, walking past the Su Residence. Banruo mentions that it belongs to a mere scholar with no wealth or status, and yet, he has managed to become known to all within half a year only. Banruo also whispers something in the other woman's ear... hm. Banruo, I don't like you.
Smite her! Smite her! A plague on your house, Banruo! May the children of your enemies flourish! May the fleas of a thousand mangy dogs infest your bedding!
Wang Ou is really good at playing evil characters. Respect. 
They have tea in a tea house with view of the Su Residence. Of course, Banruo is too smart to send 4th Sister onto Mei Changsu in person - she knows he would not be fooled by beauty. No, her target is to be ... Tonglu. The vegetable seller / spy. Uh-oh. Banruo has noticed that many of the spies she lost had some connection to him. Also, it is hard to find out anything about his background. To her it's clear: her current predicament is to be blamed on Mei Changsu. She also finds it quite remarkable that with all the victories that Prince Yu won this year thanks to the shrewd Mei Changsu, he has lost all real power too. Could it be that the Divine Talent may be insincere about helping anyone and is just out to cause havoc in the Capital, just like her? 
Shouldn't that make her LIKE him? Shouldn't that make her APPROACH him?
Unless she needs Prince Yu to have power... so she can use it. If that's the case, then MCS isn't doing her any favours. 
At the same time, Mei Changsu warns Tonglu to be extra careful of the remaining spies that Banruo still has, but will this be enough?! Tonglu tells him that Jingrui is leaving the capital: today. Ha, Nian Nian won! (she seems to have received a letter that their father is in "critical condition") After a tearful farewell from his mother and little bro at the Mansion (even the formal bowing is very sad), Jingrui rides out with his half-sister.
Maybe she'll fall off a cliff.
This is so sad. And really mean to use the "ailing health" card. Though I guess it will be good for Jingrui to finally understand his whole family. 
Waiting in that pagoda outside the city walls: Mei Changsu. Before he can make himself known, Yujin approaches. That's not very nice of you, Jingrui, to leave without saying goodbye to your best friend! Jingrui assures him that he will return (Yujin was under the impression that Jingrui wanted to leave forever) - even though the happy days of his prior existence are forever gone. His world is shattered, everything's forever changed. But Yujin says (quite accurately) that everything is always changing - going back to the way things were before is not necessary. The only thing he hopes is that the friendship between them will never change. Well said!
We've said it before, that there's more to Yujin than expected. #SunshineBrothersForever
Hug it out now men. Hug it out. 
They hug farewell and Mei Changsu is touched by this display of unique friendship and sad about how that one night (yes, his doing) changed it from something carefree to something full of worries. When Jingrui is about to ride on, he notices Mei Changsu standing on the hill ... and goes up to greet him. He would, wouldn't he.
He would. And for a guy who thinks he has to do what he did, and how it all ties back to events from years before - saying how this happened because of 'one night' feels like a cheap ploy for sympathy. 'Tell me I had to do it.' basically. (I'm still a little mad. I understand but I'm not ready to let it go yet.)
That's okay. I will feel sorry for him. I have so much respect for Jingrui though. He has wisdom and maturity beyond his years. 
Not beating around the bush, Mei Changsu immediately tells him how sorry he is. But here is what Jingrui says: he cannot blame Su for anything that happened. His mother, his true father, the bad deeds of his fake one: nothing was Su's doing. "You were merely the pair of hands that revealed the truth". He is a saint, a saint! Mei Changsu does not accept this sentiment easily, though: he talks about the cruelty of his method and how he did not place their friendship first. But Jingrui is over that, too. He understands that Mei Changsu made a choice; one that did not put him first. But he understands that the world cannot always put him first. Damn, he is so grown-up I feel like smacking him a bit.
Let's take a vote: if you apologize for something that you know you would do all over again if you were faced with the choice again, is your apology worth anything? Or is just you trying to make yourself feel better? I think y'all know how I come down on that choice.
But why can't he feel sorry? What does an apology mean? People can apologize for things they intentionally did. We all say and do hurtful things that we regret - and that's even when we intended to be hurtful. Doesn't apologizing mean regret, acceptance of responsibility and wrong incurred, understanding that what one did was wrong? Even though Mei Chang Su knowingly made the choice to expose things the way he did, that doesn't mean he can't feel sorry or apologize. Jingrui is a saint, I agree, but I won't paint Su Zhe as the devil. He doesn't expect Jingrui to trust him again and he wants to let Jingrui know that what he did was wrong and he knows it. He's not making excuses to Jingrui for what he did. (And then Jo and I had a really awesome conversation on Twitter about this topic)
I'm not sure Mei Changsu will get over his guilt any quicker after this absolution, but he calls after Jingrui that he hopes that he will always keep his pure heart. Don't we all. What a noble creature! About worried about the safety of Jingrui, Mei Changsu orders one of his men to follow and protect him.
Jingrui is a very decent human being.
Jingrui is lovely. I adore him. 
Prince Yu is viewing an exquisite rock sculpture in his garden. This is to be a birthday present for his father! Not only has nature formed it to perfection, from a certain angle, it actually looks like the Chinese character "shòu" for longevity. This one? 壽 or this? 寿
I go with the first one...but it's a stretch either way.
I wonder who had to carve that prop design. 
In any case, Prince Yu is mainly interested in having the better present than his brother. In fact, not only his brother - but his brotherS. His advisor has found out the the Crown Prince is giving a beautiful dragon screen - but it's man made, whereas the rock sculpture is not. Ergo, it wins. Prince Yu gets angry when advisor admits he has no idea what Prince Jing is giving. How can he not realize that Prince Jing is a new potential danger to Prince Yu!
Here, let me give you this clump of dead leaves that looks like my great Aunt Hazel's hair.
Haha. Poor Jingyan. I hope he has gotten his father a present. On second thoughts - I bet Su has already thought about that. 
And this is what Mei Changsu is preparing as a gift from Jing to his father: a bow. No, the Emperor is not at all interested in archery. Mei Changsu actually banks on him not even liking the gift. However, giving just anything of no value cannot be done this year, seeing how Prince Jing has received so much favor from the monarch. And gifting him with something that the Prince himself would love will express the appropriate respect. Li Gang comments exasperated on how troublesome the mere picking of a present is and gets the evil eye from his boss for it.
It flies in the face of all gift giving reason, but I remember it working so I'll be patient and wait for the reveal.
Haha. I love the Su stink eye. 
Of course, Mei Changsu read the currents right! The Emperor can barely draw the bow (the elder princes snicker), but he actually smiles at the present. He says he will rebuild the strength in his arms and they can go hunting together. He then expresses happiness with all sons and their presents, but the rock from Prince Yu was his favorite.
Ah, yes, the 'let's do something together' angle. Also the flattering 'you're still young enough to be macho' angle. Ergo, ego.
Appealing to his warrior side. Good move. Good move. 
Later, when he is with his women, Snake Yue manages to look pitiful enough to draw the Emperor's special attention. Ack, I HATE her. So does everybody else. The next day, the Emperor does not get up when he usually does ... the Eunuch first has saucy thoughts, but then discovers that the Monarch is ill! Yes, too much Yue must be poison! It's nothing serious though, just the after effects of too much alcohol (the physician thinks). Hm, but DID Consort Yue have something to do with it?
Her actual lady bits are ROTTEN because she is EVIL.
Crap. I don't think an ill emperor is very good for Su's plan.
Back in her palace, Consort Jing is mixing something for the Emperor when Jing appears. They talk about the Princes, and Jing conveys to his mother that Su is of the opinion that the Crown Prince is on the down and outs for sure. They just need to sit and wait. Consort Jing remarks how interesting Mei Changsu's way of thinking is - and Prince Jing smiles!
I want to pinch his cheeks. He looks 15.
That smile is sunshine and magic. 
He then asks what his mother is doing - and displays surprising knowledge of kudzu flowers and where they get them from. He explains to his mother that he knows this from a travelogue he borrowed from Mr. Su. Naturally, she is quite interested and asks him to bring it to her so that she can read it too before returning. AHHHHHHHH! 
Hmmmm. I bet SHE knows Mei ChangSu's mother's maiden name.
Probably. She was really close with the Lin family. And she's whip smart. 
And then, the "attack" on Tonglu starts... 4th Sister poses as poor refugee and faints on the street, right when Tonglu walks by. She says she is looking for her aunt ... who lives right next door to Tonglu.
She's so pretty, though. I hope she really falls for him and turns on Banruo.
That would be awesome.


The only thing that is to like in this episode is Jingrui's display of a saintly disposition. He means what he says - and it just lets him rise in Mei Changsu's opinion even more.
He is a very noble seal, indeed. 
Well, I also liked Prince Jing's smile. 
Well, of course I liked the whole episode, but it makes me so worried, too...

The rest .... oh dear, I am truly afraid of those "Sisters"! Tonglu has been warned and he IS careful, even turning away at first, but he will never ever be able to withstand this woman's sweetness, right?
No way. She's adorable.
Banruo is one clever person. 

And then, the book ... once out of Su's hands, it is now beginning to travel through the palace. And wanna bet that the abridged name of his mother WILL catch someone's eye? Brace yourselves!
Destiny's Child keeps running through my head, this whole recap. *wanders off singing* Say my name, say my name...
All I hear is Jaws music.