22 May 2016

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Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 37 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on May 22, 2016
kakashi: As always, this episode takes some and gives some. One dangerous situation is defused easily, almost too easily?, but another almost immediately follows. Thank goodness Mei Changsu is in the full possession of his considerable wits at this point in time, he really needs them in his battle against the True Evil aka Xiajiang.
JoAnne: Is it really true that Xiajiang is being played by someone who is normally behind the scenes? Because I know he has a role in another drama, and also because he's doing such a good job here...
Eleanor: Yes, Xia Jiang is played by Wang Yongquan, an executive director. He is also trained as an actor and does act (he plays the dad of one of the characters in Ode to Joy), but he is mainly a director. He was executive director for All Quiet in Peking, Battle of Changsa, and many many other dramas. 

Episode 37

The kicked Prince Jing looks gorgeous, but is totally stunned. The bastards got him good! And fucking Prince Yu gloats and taunts him about Consort Jing. Be strong, Jingyan! Be strong! Do not blow a fuse!
Jing's thinking 'don't you TALK about my MAMA!'
There are so many great gifs of Jingyan being kicked out there. I feel bad for him, but dang he still looks so good. 
The Emperor has arrived at Consort Jing's place and sees what her crime is ... something he ordered her to do, to get rid of his nightmares, mind you. He says nothing and listens to the charges, as listed by his wife, and then wants to know how she even knew about Consort Jing's (clearly secret) prayers. The Empress says it was an "unhappy" maid who reported this to her. The Emperor has the maid dragged out for execution, since reporting on your master like this is a serious crime.
Ha! I loved that. Little sneaky bitch.
Hahahahahaha. Way to turn that to his advantage. 
But Consort Jing intervenes: She asks the Emperor to let her do the punishment personally, and her wish is granted. Time for the Empress to point out what the real issue is here: Consort Jing and her treacherous acts! She must be punished by the rules! Or else, she wants the Emperor to pass an official edict! Well, that doesn't go down well with him. In fact, he blames her for not keeping the Inner palace in order (he is clearly very annoyed by all this), but in the end, he orders confinement for Consort Jing. That's much too little punishment for the Empress, but I'd shut up if I were you, woman.
They have a process for deposing or divorcing or something, right?
I'm sure there must be though it's possible that the Empress might set the rules as she is in control of the Inner palace dealings, or is supposed to be. 
The Emperor is going back and is thinking... aren't there a bit too many coincidences today? He rejoins his two sons and Xiajiang, says "it was a trivial matter" (hahaaaaa, love their faces) and asks them to continue with their arguments. Standing, in the case of Prince Jing. Okay, I'm liking hit a little at this very moment. Back to the matter of the "Grand Court of Review", where there were no city patrol guards. Very quickly, the dynamic changes, and Prince Yu and Xiajiang find themselves in the defensive.
I love it when the tables turn. I loved this entire episode, actually. It felt like a chess game or something.
That is exactly what it is, though more like a game of weiqi (go/baduk in Korean). It's one of my favourite things about this drama that it in fact an intricate game of weiqi. It's just so beautifully executed. 
Xiajiang is too clever not to realize when he has to step back, and backed by Prince Yu, he asks for the power to investigate instead. That is granted. Okay then, says Xiajiang, he will start right away - with Mei Changsu. I'll be damned!! Xiajiang says only the Chief of Jiangzuo Alliance is able to gather so many skilled martial artists (yeah, after you claimed Jingyan had secretly trained them?). Prince Jing (who still is the prime suspect) immediately tries to dissuade the Emperor for allowing this, but that's not very smart... it looks suspicious.
Jing, focus on poking holes in Xiajiang's maneuvers. Let him hang himself.
Jingyan, keep calm, keep calm - you've got Mei Changsu. Hmmm... I'm thinking that would make a great T-shirt, you know those "keep calm" ones. hahahaha
Mei Changsu is smiling happily at a flower that Fei Liu has arranged in a vase for him (he does it every day), but the truth is he is expecting Xiajiang. He briefs his two officers what to do in his absence (in particular: take good care of the flower!) And then ... he takes a tiny red pill. That''s a berry. From that same plant, that he seems to have gotten from Lin Chen. Hmmmm... Does he take it every day?
Is that that heart pill like Jingrui's adopted dad took the night of the birthday party?
Whatever it is, I hope it works. Fei Liu and his flower arranging is so cute!
And then, they come to arrest him. In numbers. But Mei Changsu is just standing there, quietly ... and then walking slowly towards Xiajiang, who looks like he has seen... an angel. Haha, I'm not kidding, he looks almost fond of this man who shows no fear whatsoever.
I immediately wrote an entire fanfic in my head (gruff older man realizes he's tormenting fragile younger man out of inner turmoil from unacknowledged gayness, ways-mending occurs, he starts a new life as a flower arranging painter of tender scenes of spring gardens, takes up cooking, explores homeopathy and organic gardening, refuses to wear anything but reclaimed linen against his skin... I can't stop laughing.
Noooooooooo, this is like such a badass scene and you totally ruined it for me T____T I thought Xia Jiang looked more like he was going to wet his pants because he realizes that he might have completely underestimated Mei Changsu who knew he was coming. 
At Consort Jing's, it's time to punish the maid. Consort Jing guesses correctly that she's smart enough to have figured out why she wasn't punished more severely for putting up the memorial tablet. She's also smart enough to realize that Consort Jing knew quite well that she was spying on her from the moment she appeared in front of Prince Jing and instigated the rift between him and Mr. Su. Luckily for our maid, Consort Jing doesn't like killing people... especially if the maid confesses everything about the evil plan to Jingyan.
I don't care. I want her to suffer.
But maybe she can use her as a double agent... maybe...? 
Mei Changsu is at the Bureau, looking frail and sickly. That slightly worries Xiajiang, but only because he plans to "give him a taste" of his dungeon before interrogating him. What a scumbag.
He's not ready to admit things to himself yet. No wait, that was the alternate story. He's just an evil old man.
Xia Jiang. You have messed with the wrong man. I can't wait for Mei Chang Su to outwit him. He is going to bring Xia Jiang down, right? He had better. But there's still that element of uncertainty. 
Prince Jing realizes Mei Changsu knew all along that Xiajiang would come for him, which makes him even more concerned than he already is. He wants to storm into the Bureau, but luckily, his General is able to stop him. I like how everyone around Jingyan is constantly looking out for him not to do something foolhardy.
It would be nice if he could recognize foolhardy behavior on his own, though.
Poor little water buffalo. I do love him though. 

Two days later, Mei Changsu is led to Xiajiang ... who asks him whether he has slept well. He has, Mei Changsu replies with a little yawn. He has been brought to a special place, it seems... one for "demons and monsters"(the Place of the Rakshasa), as Mei Changsu puts it with a little smile. Also, he finds Xiajiang's tea quite terrible.
I want the battle of wits but I am worried about Mei Changsu's stamina.
So I was actually really curious about the mentioning of "rakshasa" because I know that from Hindi and from my interest in India etc. so I googled it and it turns out (not surprisingly) that it made it's way into Buddhism, so I really shouldn't be that surprised that a very Sanskrit word made it's way into Chinese. Sorry, that was a tangent. I'm also super worried about MCS. 
Xiajiang knows how intelligent Mei Changsu is, as he tells him several times, but he also tells him about that one military general he cracked within two days. Didn't he go mad? Mei Changsu asked. Ah, well, he went mad after he confessed, is Xiajiang's answer. He did not let him go mad before that. Yikes, I feel threatened already, leave our Mei Changsu alone!!! 
Big fibber. You can't prevent someone from going mad.
I dunno. Xia Jiang is nutty enough and sane enough to try. 

"I'll just confess, then", says Mei Changsu. What is it that Xiajiang wants to hear? That he was scheming with Prince Jing? Yes, he did. The Prince was the main instigator while he did all the planning.  They withdrew when they realized it must be a trap (because the guards were too relaxed). During all of this, they of course collaborated with the capitol guards. They followed Xiajiang because they realized his behavior was odd and thus, they discovered Wei Zheng's whereabouts and rescued the criminal. Any need for further explanations? No? Okay, write it all up and give it to the Emperor. Then everyone can have peace of mind.
Well that was easy enough. He could have just mailed it from the comfort of his own home.
Hehehehehehehehehehehehehe. Ooh. Mei Changsu, I'm not sure what you're doing, but dang, I'm enjoying you messing with Xia Jiang. 
Xiajiang won't fall for this! He knows exactly that since he has no further evidence, the Emperor will ask to question Mei Changsu directly, at which point he will retract his statement and say he was forced to confess. That will make the Emperor suspicious! Ah! goes Mei Changsu, what a great idea! Hahahaaaaaa, he makes Xiajiang so angry, he even threatens him with "his methods". But what else can he do but confess! Mei Changsu cries. Xiajiang demands to know where Wei Zheng is. He has already left the city, the answer is.
I loved this. Just keep on playing with him, Mei Changsu. We'll see who breaks who. 
It is so satisfying to watch Mei Changsu mess with Xia Jiang. He's going to outsmart the devil, right? He has to. He has to.   

Comments

@____@ what are you doing, Mei Changsu?! Confessing because it seems too easy? Indeed, Xiajiang immediately became suspicious. Which seems a logical reaction, seeing that "the truth" is so damaging to Mei Changsu and Prince Jing. Telling him this (which is fully aligned with his suspicions by the way) is a foolproof way of making him believe that something ELSE is going on. So clever. 
But what else could be going on?
I don't know, but I sure hope it's good. 

Xiajiang continues to really scare me. He is very, very smart and careful and while I trust Mei Changsu to be even smarter and more careful, this is still the most dangerous opponent he has faced yet. In particular, it's his intimate knowledge of the Emperor that makes him tricky to handle and his great ability to manipulate people. He is almost like Mei Changsu, just super evil. I cannot wait to see him fall - because fall he will, that much is certain.
Yeah, he's definitely going down. But when, and at what cost?
Yeah. Watching the two of them intellectually spar is exhausting. Watching Nirvana in Fire, you realize that a lot of it is just dialogue, but it's dynamic, and interesting, and intense dialogue that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

I am very glad that Prince Jing has learned some impulse control, with a little help from his friends, and that so far, he has not done anything to endanger Mei Changsu's grand plan. I hope it stays this way. Also, I am very glad Consort Jing is on our team. I am not certain Mei Changsu has fully realized this, even though he knows she knows who he is? Her help is needed and effective and she does it all even though her own situation is so difficult. What a woman!
Yay Consort Jing! She doesn't need to go to the dark side because she has her OWN cookies.
Hahahahaha. And that comment wins the internet. 

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