31 March 2016

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Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 32 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on March 31, 2016
Okay, this episode almost gave me a heartattack. It's subtle tension, but it mounts and mounts, until it becomes quite unbearable. And at the end of it, we're deep in "Oh SHIT"-land.
I still feel shivery. I mean, I just now watched it, but it's been at least 10 minutes and I have lingering tension.
For reals. I really think that there were moments while watching that I forgot to breathe. 

Episode 32

(Ex-)General Wei is in a prison wagon, with deliciously open hair. Xiaqiu seems a bit nervous. Seeing how nobody tried to free the prisoner yet, he is guessing they'll try at the city gates. I hate smart adversaries. Well, no, I don't, but I do.
We love to hate smart ones. Keep giving us the opportunity, Dramas!
Yes! Smart bad guys are always good for watching, but not always good for my heart rate. 
The Emperor has returned to the Capital and, as expected, rages at the Empress. Well, it seems Consort Jing said not a word to the Emperor (contrary to Prince Yu's plan), but he noticed that she was hurting and inquired. He is also not quite ready to believe it was all the Imperial physicians doing.
Hahahahahahahahahaha I had to laugh at the Empress' face when she learned that Consort Jing never said a word.
Muahahahahahahahahahaha! That will teach her to mess with Consort Jing. She is so boss. 
Enter - unexpectedly! - Consort Jing. She has come to answer his questions and to "protect" the Empress from being unjustly shouted at or even from being punished. It's a matter of the Emperor's reputation. Well, he is very impressed by that move and Consort Jing's nobleness and let's the Empress go, but not without telling her that she just lost a few brownie points.
Her face. Man, she was furious - I loved it. The other face I was very interested in was the Eunuch's, above. Several times we see him listening, processing. He inserts himself when necessary and it's never in ways that hurt our guys - in fact, only ever helps them, but by helping the Emperor to be his better self - but is he on our side? Or is he simply watching out for the Emperor?
Whomever the Eunuch is cheering for, he seems to be a rather shrewd and wily man, and if he's helping our guys, then I like him. But Consort Jing. She is awesome. She is just so clever and all things awesome. I just have no words really for how much I like her. 
The prisoner transport has reached the city gates! Armed men are hanging around. Ours? They're inside now and one of the Bureau guards rides up to tell Xiaqiu that there might be an ambush ahead. Like he cares. He orders to ride on. Many people on the street seem to eye them, so he speaks up that they should act now, because they won't have a chance once they're at the Xuanjing Bureau! I guess nobody can argue against that so the attack begins!
I liked how they blocked them off with the carts.
I'm so worried. Do they have enough people? Is this going to work? Is someone going to die? Eep!
It doesn't look good for the "good" guys, but Fei Liu is there too! Unfortunately, masked soldiers with bows appear and kill a dozen "Alliance"-guys. More soldiers appear. Fei Liu may think that this is "no fun", but all they can do is retreat. One of the leaders (it's Zhen Ping!!) is wounded by Xiaqiu on his left shoulder, but is able to escape.
My immediate reaction is 'How could they send a boy off to this!' and then I remember who the boy is.
I swear, if someone hurts Fei Liu, there will be hell to pay. 
Mei Changsu is awake! And drinking some medicine, when a totally annoyed Fei Liu stomps in and declares that he was lied to. It was not fun. Mr. Su wants to know more but the gruff physician tells him to shut up and go back to sleep. Dammit, he STILL does not know what is going on outside!
Part of me still really thinks he does but he's pretending for some reason. I just expect everything to be subterfuge.
Nah, I think they really did keep him in the dark on this one I think. Though I'm not so sure it was really ever a good idea. Oh Mr. Grumpy Pants Fei Liu is so adorable XD
The Xuanjing Bureau guys are chasing rebels and look who's there, shouting after one: Juyin! He enthusiastically greats Xiaqiu and then launches into an angry rant about the crazy person who stepped on the roof of his carriage while fleeing. He sends the Bureau guys after him and then grins contently. Quite obviously, no masked person went into that direction---but it seems Masked Person left quite a bit of blood, too. Ouch.
Hmmm.
Loss of blood is not good. 
Also on their way to the Capital are a group of riders with a white-haired chief. That'll be Mr. Yaowang Valley, I presume?
One of the alliance chiefs, I'm guessing.  I don't remember where he fits in but I'm sure I'll find out.
He is the captured Wei Zheng's father-in-law!
Yup, and I bet he's none to happy that his son-in-law was captured.   

Xiaqiu is just about to turn in for the day when Prince Jing's general Lie approaches, in the armor of the City Guards, asking for some intel on what just happened. Xiaqiu tells him everything: including the identity of the prisoner. Uh-oh.
So Ji Sub's cameo. He's advertising his new fashion label's Spring line.
LOL he really does looks like So Ji Sub. Quite handsome. 
Zhen Ping has made it home, but he is quite badly hurt and his morale is low: Wei is now in the Bureau's dungeons, from which it will be damn difficult to extract him. It seems that everybody is troubled that night: the Emperor is once again talking about his troubled dreams about Consort Chen. Maybe you shouldn't have driven her to her death, you asshole! Anyway, Consort Jing mentions in passing that Consort Chen has no shrine and nobody that pays respect to her (to make a point that she most certainly would have gone to the Heavens), which prompts the Emperor to assume that this is in fact the problem and the reason for why she "haunts" him. 
Yes, I'm sure it has nothing to do with your guilty conscience.
I think this is also a really clever move by Consort Jing to bring the case a little more into the open. She obviously wants honour restored to the Lin family and the Chiyan soldiers so that wrongs can be at least somewhat righted. I also think that if the peeps had just consulted Su, that maybe things would have worked out a little better. They needed his input. 
At the Bureau, Xiajiang tells his subordinates to go lightly on the guards - not to worry that the ones that want to come free Wei Zheng are top martial art experts, in fact... his purpose is for others to come save him.
He did make an interesting point - it's not like there'll be a trial. This man was convicted 13 years ago. In effect they captured a prisoner, not a criminal.
Argh! Xiajiang and his nasty plans to hurt Prince Jing and capture anyone trying to solve the Chiyan case. 

At Banruo's, 4th Sister asks her to please let Tonglu go, who, so she thinks, is no longer useful. Guess again, beauty: Banruo wants to hold onto Tonglu so that 4th Sister won't leave her so easily. Wait... does that mean 4th Sister has feelings for our dear vegetable seller? For realz?
Well of course, he's a decent man. It had to go this way.
Oh crap! Well, we did see that one coming. 
The old man from the Valley (another Mr. Su!) has arrived and is welcomed by Li Gang. The old man is here to go up against the Bureau, whom he considers too weak to really do him harm. Also returned to the Capital: General Qi. General Lie was very concerned about him (and angry), but Qi has an explanation: it was all Mr. Su's subordinate fault, because he stopped him from going to see the Emperor! General Lie is like "what's that bullshit", but I'm sure it's not the last we hear of it. Lie has bigger things on his mind though: the capture of Wei Zheng!
Right around here I got confused if maybe they meant old guy Mr. Su or if they meant Mei Changsu. I need a nap, I think.
Please tell me that someone is finally going to clue Su Zhe in to what's going on. Everything is unravelling! 

Fei Liu is playing next to Mei Changsu's bedside and feels guilty when Su opens his eyes. Sleep! He must sleep! (It's like the kid who asks in the morning: "Are you still sleeping?"). Mei Changsu asks where the others are and hears that they are "discussing things". With an "old grandfather". Well, it takes Mei Changsu 2 seconds to find out who that old grandfather is ... and that he came alone. Alarmed, he orders Fei Liu to fetch Li Gang and Zhen Ping.
Back to work!
Finally! 
Arriving outside the gates just then: General Lie. He is sent away though by a servant, because Mei Changsu has not yet recovered and these are the strict orders from Li Gang. And now, we see that Prince Jing is also returning to the Capital- but they're more than a day's ride away from the city. He and his men decide to stop for the night. Okay, the way this episode is cut makes me really nervous.
I liked it - it gave you a real sense of all these things happening at once.
Ah! So nerve-wracking! I'm so tense with wondering how this will unfold. 

At the Su Residence, Mei Changsu thanks his trusted men for "taking care of things". Man, what a mess!! Oh, that's a gracious thing to say and he was indeed very ill, but he is also very angry. And worried, I guess, because he orders everyone to lay low. He starts ordering them to leave and do that too, but they beg him on their knees to let them stay. Nobody will recognize them, they assure him, they were only lowly sergeants back then and much altered in appearance (et tu?). Sighing, he gives them permission to stay - he has no choice, really, because there is nobody who could take their place.
If some soldier miraculously appears who happens to recognize them, I'll start to suspect K-financing.
Isn't it kind of a relief that we don't have some of those K-tropes running around? I really think that they should have consulted him though I know why they didn't. I am worried about his health, but now I'm worried about a million other things that might go wrong. I need some heart medicine.
 
Prince Yu looks splendid in his most valuable robes ... he is waiting for Prince Jing to return. Banruo asks him whether he is certain that Mei Changsu will not destroy his beautiful plan to show the world that Prince Jing's heart beats for traitors, but Yu is certain that Prince Jing's temper will flare and that Mei Changsu can do nothing about it. Banruo looks unconvinced. Yay! Does that mean there is hope?!
It's not looking good, though.
Jingyan definitely has anger issues. Damn it Yu! Why do you have to use them against him!?
Mei Changsu is meeting with Old Master Su, when word comes in of Prince Jing's arrival. MCS is pleased to hear that Lie Zhanying is waiting for him, to deliver the news. Until he hears that Prince Yu was also there ... and managed to interrupt Lie before he could say anything! Fuck. Prince Jing is going in, not knowing anything.
Okay THAT was smart. Dammit.
Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. This is NOT going to be good. 
He delivers his report about the disaster funds to his dad ... clearly wondering why Xiajiang is there too. General Meng gives him a slight shake of his head, but what does that mean?! Xiajiang and Yu step forward as soon as they get the chance and start talking about the capture of a traitor. Jing looks alarmed... more and more so as Xiajiang talks about how they could not find the bodies of some of the traitors 13 years ago, because of a snow storm that came upon them, and how his Bureau never quit the search for them.
Big eyes acting, but effective enough. You could feel him shaking with the effort to hold back, even if you couldn't see him actually shaking.
Wang Kai has said in a few interviews that he did a lot of acting with just his eyes for this drama. He's doing a really good job though of holding back. Go Jingyan! Go! Please don't take this out on Su! Please! 
They keep talking, now about the gruesome punishment waiting for this Wei Zheng and I pray for Jinyan to remain quiet. Well, it's Meng who steps up and says that it's almost the New Year and they're still in mourning, an inappropriate time for such cruel punishment. Xiajiang contradicts him vehemently and then turns to Prince Jing, asking him for his opinion.
Meng! How clever of you!
Keep it together Jingyan. Keep it together. 
Meng talks again, bless your soul, buying Prince Jing time to realize what's being played here, but ... no. Here comes the temper! Prince Jing steps forward and says he objects to this, with passion. He manages to turn it so it's about the tragedy that this case was and how they should not treat it so carelessly, but Xiajiang won't stop, won't he: Him and Yu corner him into saying that he thinks things were really dodgy back then ... until it sounds as if he were objecting to how his father dealt with the case.
Oh, my. Another hoisting by one's own petard kind of situation.
Jingyan looks like he is about to cry. I am too. T____T
The Emperor explodes in anger, but luckily, Meng and the Head Eunuch are able to quiet him down a bit. He tells Jinyan to go see his mother, which prompts Prince Yu to (almost) object, but Xiajiang clears his throat and Yu heeds him. Prince Jing is so angry he completely ignores Prince Yu aftewards. Well, but this could have been much worse. Yes?
Usually that just means the real fall out comes in a little bit, though...but I do think it won't end up the nuclear wasteland it could have been, thanks in large part to my Meng!
Meng did well. I am so worried though. This seems like it's all going according to horrid Yu's plan. 

Prince Jing goes straight to his mother and is served duck broth, but clearly, his heart is heavy and he admits that something really urgent has come up, which forces him to leave again quickly. He does not want to tell her details since he does not want to burden her ... which prompts our little maid to say he really should stay longer with his mother who went through such hardship in his absence! And out comes the secret that Consort Jing wanted to keep from her son. Great. Just great!
Oh come on. If she wanted to keep it a secret surely she'd have instructed all her retainers to remain mum. This was weak.
Oh, I bet she did. I don't trust this maid one little bit. She is very sneaksy. 

Comments

Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong for our good guys in this episode, damn! If only Mei Changsu had woken up earlier! First, they messed up the rescue (well, of COURSE, Xiaqiu was waiting for that ambush, because he's intelligent). Second, Lie Zhanying wasn't able to speak to Su in time and then wasn't able to speak to Jing in time and now, the cards are on the table and the Emperor knows that his new favorite son thinks that the Chiyan army case stinks to the high heavens.

Oh man, I wanted to smack Prince Yu and Xiajiang so badly. SO BADLY. I hope they have it coming.
They definitely have it coming. We should bring it, though. That would feel so good.
They make me so angry those two! Especially Xiajiang. Argh! I really hope that Su can fix this soon!
Xiajiang is the worst. He is a murderer for his own personal profit, pretending he is "neutral" and all that. I find him much, much worse than Prince Yu, whom I do feel pangs of sympathy for. He is warped, yes, and has no proper moral compass, but there are moments where it seems he could have been a good guy, if only somebody had guided him like Prince Qi guided Prince Jing.

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