Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 35 (Recap)

Mei Changsu gets a chance to show once again how good a strategist he really is - but the hardest thing for him and Prince Jing is that they cannot get active themselves. As the prison break unfolds, we are taken to hell and back. It does not look good. It does not look good at all, because Xiajiang is just too friggin careful and paranoid. Ah!
JoAnne: *raises fist and curses the sky*  Xiajiaaang!
Eleanor: Xia Jiang. Evil. Pure EVIL that one. 

Episode 35

Mei Changsu is in a meeting with the Old Man from the Valley (that's not his name, I know), who has brought his best martial artists. They're his to command. Mei Changsu tells them to rest - he will brief them in the morning. He tells the Old Man that his plan is not foolproof, unfortunately; it is likely there will be adverse consequences for him and his people. The Old Man doesn't care one bit - he is happy to take the blame if something goes wrong. Mei Changsu is very grateful, probably thinking he needs more allies like this.
I like this old man.
Me too. This episode in some ways seems quiet but at the same time super tense. *bites nails*
Fei Liu has a message for Yujin - a secret one! He wants him to burn it. That makes Yujin smile, because to anyone with slightly more wits, it's clear that he first needs to read the message before he can burn it. The message says: "Take Prince Ji to Gong Yu's place". That is the younger brother of the Emperor we have met before (the jolly one who likes music). Hmmm... what is going on?
Yes, what is going on? I bet Prince Ji is way smarter and more useful than he seems. He probably only acts like a party boy so his brother the emperor doesn't get paranoid and have him killed.
For reals. I would probably act like a complete idiot if the Emperor were my brother. Unbalanced and unpredictable, paranoid. Not a good combination. And Fei Liu hee hee. So cute.
Prince Yu has been rudely sent away by Xiajiang when he wanted to see Wei Zhen, but Banruo knows what's going on: it's because Xiajiang does not want it known that him and Yu are working together. Yeah, cause: the rule not to be involved in faction fights! It's way better if Yu uses Banruo (or rather, her "4th sister") to deliver the messages to the Bureau. Haha, you sly vixen, that gives you ample opportunity to meddle, right? But! Speaking of her sisters... Prince Yu is not particularly happy with 4th sister's services. For Banruo's sake, he agrees to be lenient a bit longer though.
Poor Prince Yu, all your petty maneuvering just isn't going right for you, is it?
At least he has nice robes. 
Just when Prince Yu is fondly holding Banruo's shoulders to emphasize that he is lenient for her and her only, his Consort comes in. Well, if you have nothing to hide, dear Yu, I suggest you don't break apart so hastily the next time? The Consort is clearly very unhappy about his closeness with Banruo, but she is also dutiful - at the order of the Empress, she reports about Consort Jing (favors! presents!) and her son (who hasn't entered the palace for a while). Prince Yu thinks it's because "he is busy digging his own grave". But the most juicy bit of information is that Consort Jing secretly erected a memorial tablet for former Consort Chen in her room. Ah, how happy Prince Yu is to hear this!! He is now certain he has the means to destroy Consort Jing and through her, Prince Jing.
This is too easy, though. So we know it won't work. By the way - Consort Yu? (Yes, I know it's not her name, I don't know her name.) Truly gorgeous robe.
Crap. AS if we didn't have enough to deal with the rescue, now Consort Jing's life is potentially on the line. Hopefully the Emperor is lenient because he's the one who told her to make the memorial tablet.
Mei Changsu is briefing his warriors. The mission starts the next day, at noon. It's when the Bureau changes guards: and they will make sure the three commanding officers won't be in. The Valley People are to meet up with Xiadong outside, and she will lead them in - however, she will not join the fight, just remain on the sidelines as an observer. He cautions them that it will be damn hard to gain access to the inner court - they are planning to use poisonous powder and insects though. Woah! Chemical and biological warfare? Also: the master thief? He'll help them by creating a diversion aka chaos outside. Sad detail? The Old Man is very impressed with Mei Changsu's planning skills and says it's a shame he does not command an army.
*sigh* this plan had better work!
Yujin has arrived at Prince Ji's manison. Awww, I like him! He's bending the law a little by inviting composers to his house (we're still in the mourning period, so all the musical houses remain closed) and is so proud of it. His true love is with Miss Gong Yu, though. Yujin masterfully creates the impression that Zhu Yue (brother-in-law to Prince Yu) is after Gong Yu the lustful way (and that is why she and Mr. Shinsang fell into disrespect before) and that he himself is her current protector. Of course, Prince Ji MUST see her! And listen to her new composition! "Reluctantly", Yujin agrees to take him there tomorrow.
Awww, look at our Sunshine Boy practicing strategery!
I really love Yujin. He really is sunshiney. 
Marquis Yan sends a letter to the Bureau ... inviting Xiajiang to meet with him at the Daoist temple outside the city. That's big news, because the two men haven't spoken in years. Also... Marquis Yan writes that he "has news of the one Xiajiang misses most". Oh... what? This is about a missing disciple ("Little Shidi", awww), and it seems that Xiajiang's wife took him away ten years ago! Is this Xiajiang's real child? Be it as it may, Xiajiang HAS to go - and the loyal Xiachun volunteers to accompany him.
If it's Fei Lui I will throw something.
Ooh! The plot thickens. Su knows the exact sort of thing that Xia Jiang cannot resist. This is going to be good! *rubs hands gleefully*
And so, it begins (*biting nails*). Xiajiang and Xiachun leave on horse back and meet up with Yujin and his father at the temple. Xiadong lures Xiaqiu out of the city by asking for his help in bringing in a witness for one of her cases (it's the day she visits her husband's grave, so she cannot go by herself and it's very urgent). Prince Yu is delivered a message through 4th sister to find an excuse and stay with the Emperor all day. Jinyang gets word through his officers that things are moving and gets ready himself - to join Mei Changsu and wait for the result.
*sits on hands so as not to bite nails*
Seriously. It's a miracle if our hands survive this episode.
We linger a while with Marquis Yan and Xiajiang at the temple ... tea is served at great leisure. Xiajiang is in no mind to wait much though: he asks whether Marquis Yan has heard of his son. So this is the story: because of the Hua tribe's issues back then, and his "lady friend" Princess Xuanji, Xiajiang neglected his wife (or rather, cheated on her!) and she finally left him, leaving no trace. And because he just cares about his son and not his wife, Marquis Yan softly scolds him. He acted very improperly back then and hurt his wife greatly.
Wow, I thought they always just looked the other way or plotted revenge on the mistress. I didn't know that wives ever left.
If I were married to Xia Jiang, I would leave too. Also, I adore Marquis Yan. He is so awesome. 
Xiajiang is very suspicious of this whole conversation ... why did Marquis Yan call him out today? Marquis Yan did not know where she went, like everybody else ... but 5 years ago, she contacted him. Why him? Because everybody else she trusted has since been eliminated by Xiajiang. The news Yan received was this: Xiajiang's wife is mortally ill (dead already?) and his son... died. At a very early age. Yan has a letter to prove it. Yikes. Marquis Yan is SO BRAVE, I'd be deadly afraid of this man. His whole demeanor is scary as hell.
This is the ultimate fuck you. Wow.
Marquis Yan is the man. I would be terrified Xia Jiang would slit my throat or something. 
This is a great blow to Xiajiang, but what does he do?! He rips apart the last thing he'll ever see from his wife, to Marquis Yan's great distress. But Xiajiang is angry as hell: why was he not informed earlier?! Because, Marquis Yan says, the letter was for him and him only. When to tell him is entirely his decision! Luckily, Xiachun now speaks up and tells his shifu to calm down. That helps... but Xiajiang has come to the following conclusion: today's the day that Prince Jing is attempting the rescue! Marquis Yan calls him paranoid - and a bit crazy. But Xiajiang is very convinced he's right - Prince Jing moving his troops and all in the last few days.
So smart, this man.
Well now we will see what he's going to do. Man, they are just sitting there drinking tea and I'm so tense. I need a shoulder massage. Stat. 
In the meantime, Xiadong has returned to the capital... and to the Bureau. She orders the guards to keep the door open and demands a meeting with the junior officers. Not long after, the Valley Men attack.
Because neither of those things will seem suspicious later, when they go over the details of the attack.
I'm hoping there is a good excuse. Su Zhe wouldn't do something haphazardly. *crosses fingers*
At the temple, Xiajiang tells Marquis Yan that Xiadong is actually helping him, unknowingly. He knows she's suspicious of him. And thus, he used her to tell Prince Jing everything he needed to know to act. He also knows that Xiadong as an insider will improve Prince Jing's chances to free Wei Zheng a thousandfold. But... they will not find Wei Zheng in the prison. He has been moved. Instead of him... there are BOMBS. That's how little he cares for Xiadong, whom he has raised like a daughter.
Okay but that would mean that he knew before this visit that today was the day, and he didn't. Unless he just always had the guy somewhere else, for whenever. I think that was probably it.
I think so. He's been preparing for a rescue from before they even captured him. Crap.


Just kill me now. Seriously! You, drama! This was a mean, mean, MEAN episode. We are made to believe that all is going well, all the officers are lured away, as planned, but then... Xiajiang shows us how cunning he really is. I hate him so much.
I like watching him though.
I also love how nothing action-y happened and yet it was so intense. 

Nirvana in Fire knows how to create suspense with very, very little. We are at a taoist temple, and Marquis Yan (I LOVE HIM) is playing his card so well, slowing everything waaaay down with his tea and his way of speaking ...  but then it goes down the drain in a wink. Ahhhhhh!  
I really thought he'd die.
This drama. I think my nails are gone.