Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 41 (Recap)

Mei Changsu is no longer bedridden and that's always a pleasure because he has among the best lines in the whole drama. There is no immediate crisis for our guys, which is a good time for some strategizing. If only those evil creatures all around them wouldn't strategize as well! Shoo! Go away!
JoAnne: Look at him being all pretty and strategic. 
Eleanor: He mostly just looks annoyed that someone woke him up from his nap. But yes, oh so handsome. 

Episode 41

Mr. Su is up! He is very weak, still, and Zhen Ping informs him everyone was extremely worried. Just as much as when the Poison of the Bitter Flame recurred. That again! Tell us more!!! But that was only a shock, not dangerous, says Mr. Su - and then asks about Tonglu. Still no news? No! Damn, I forgot about him... Mei Changsu orders more men on his case.
Shoot, I forgot about him too. If they're reminding us, it can only mean one thing: major plot point coming up!
Poison of the Bitter Flame...dun, dun, dun. This drama really is like a game of weiqi. All those little pieces on the board that seem small but mean so much. 
Consort Jing enjoys the fresh air after the snow, smiling ... but that pleasure is of a short duration. It's time for some audience with the Empress and that is never particularly fun. Today, the Empress, who seems in a fouler mood than usual, "warns" Consort Yue to pull herself together and make sure her place as second ranked isn't usurped by anyone (= Consort Jing). She also lets Consort Jing know she is much too lowly (a mere physician!) to help Consort Hui with some Buddhist scrolls. Consort Hui, who is struggling, must write two sets. BITCH!
Petty, disappointed-in-life woman lording it over everyone in the only petty ways she has available to her. Shoo! Be gone! Could Consort Jing be made Empress if this one were no longer around?
I don't know if she could be make Empress, but if Prince Jing becomes Emperor, then she will be the Grand Empress Dowager I think - and will hold a lot of power and prestige. I think part of the pettiness is that the Inner Court of women and their rankings directly reflect the ranking of their sons and therefore also power and favour with the Emperor. The Inner and Outer courts definitely mirror each other. 
The Emperor, who is going to his daily massage (with benefits?) at Jing's, gets wind of that and isn't very pleased. It also reminds him that Consort Yue is still the head of the concubines, even though her son has been abolished and had to leave the city - and a mother's status depends on the status of her son. He cannot demote her too much, but demote her he will! Hehe. It also means Concort Jing will be promoted. Slyly, she has some hand cream to be brought to Consort Hui so that the Emperor hears the story of the scrolls he has to copy.
So sly I actually thought it wasn't deliberate. Damn, she's good.
Well, it isn't likely that Prince Jing was the result of an immaculate conception, so probably with benefits. She is AMAZING! 
Backstory! It seems the Empress has always hated Consort Hui, because they had two sons at almost the same time. Both got ill, but Consort Hui's - Prince Ning / Jingting - lived (though he's disabled now) and the Empress' son died. The Emperor sees himself unable to chastise the Empress over this (duh), but he has an idea: What about Jingting being the one in charge of the Xuanjing Bureau case? Oh, I think we like that!
And was this her plan all along?
Even if it weren't her plan, it's a really excellent one. Man, she's cool!

General Meng (in his splendid blue-ish robe) (so very splendid) (yes very) is paying Xiajiang a visit. It seems His Majesty wasn't happy with the two confessions Xiajiang provided. The next better be truthful! Xiajiang is trying to threaten Meng that he'll tell the Emperor that the General is in cahoots with Prince Jing, but Meng just laughs at him. The Emperor won't believe it, just like he did not believe that Mei Changsu was a former member of Prince Qi's household, like Xiajiang claimed.
I really like this side of Meng. Rawr.
Oh Xia Jiang, you're in trouble. I bet they probably had to coach Meng Zhi make sure he didn't reveal too much. 
Meng also tells the old man that two of his junior officers have confessed everything and that it's clear it's all his fault. The Emperor got so angry he had them beaten severely and they died. That shocks Xiajiang deeply! (is it true though? no clue) Meng tells him his days are numbered, the Emperor is less and less interested in him. He will rot in prison for a while and then be killed. He should better confess before that. That Mei Changsu survived his poison pill gives the old man the rest. 
I really shouldn't laugh at this guy's faces but I can't help it, he's hilarious with his messy hair and his worried looks. It's because he was so different before, I think. Plus, I hate him.
Xia Jiang, Mei Chang Su has you on the ropes and he's beating the crap out of you. 
Prince Jing's two minister buddies tell him about the firework factory case's hasty conclusion before they go in to see the Emperor. Zhu Yue (Prince Yu's brother-in-law) will lose title and position. And then, the Emperor starts ranting against Xiajiang and his bullshit, and he mentions that he even suggested Mei Changsu is a member of Prince Qi's household! Impossible, says Prince Jing after a short reflection, he grew up in that household and he would have recognized him. That said, Daddy thinks Prince Jing should visit the strategist far more often - to ask for advice! Okay, fine, he'll go, says Prince Jing when he really cannot refuse anymore - but he'll take Minister Shen and Cai with him.
What's the Jing embarrassed because of how he treated Mei Changsu? He seems so reluctant to go.
I think it's part of his cover so that Daddy and the court doesn't realise he's already in cahoots with Mei Chang Su. I don't think he's really reluctant at all. 
Prince Yu is demoted to a two-pearl Noble Prince - making Prince Jing the highest ranked Prince in the Palace - and is confined to his manor for three months. Noble Consort Yue is demoted to Second-Rank Consort. Consort Jing is made Noble Consort of the first rank. I approve! But of course, this is not without danger: The higher you climb, the deeper the fall.
I do still have some feeling for Yu in this. I think if he were a truly evil person, he'd be raging about this and plotting even more. Instead, his attitude is 'I tried, which is what should be expected. I failed, so this is my fate.' Which is a bit more in line with regular people, I think.
Well, I'm not so sure he's going to take this lying down. He's probably going to do all sorts of plotting while he's in his manor. 
Out riding, Prince Jing runs into "Little Prince" Mu... who just comes back from Mr. Su. Haha, Prince Jing is quite miffed when he hears that; he himself has not gained any access since Mei Changsu fell ill (we learn later that it's because Mei Changsu "rambles" when he is in a senseless state and that's dangerous around Prince Jing). When Prince Jing starts to ask him something, Little Mu suggests he can have a look at the letter that Mr. Su wrote to Nihuang (huh! because he is afraid to open it himself, is dying to know, and would love to have an excuse). Mu Qing rides on before Prince Jing can ask him whether Wei Zheng is at Su's residence... he thinks the youngling deliberately changed the subject, because he made a promise not to say anything.Wait ... in fact, isn't Wei Zheng with the Mus?
He is, indeed.
But Jingyan isn't allowed to know in case he goes running there. Mu Qing is adorable. 
At the Su manor, Fei Liu and Meng are engaged in a friendly battle. Meng is good! And enjoying himself tremendously. Mei Changsu is also enjoying himself watching, despite his sourpuss physician.
Meng needs a family. I would happily have volunteered. He's a solid, decent, successful guy. I wonder if he'd have been boring at home.
LOL well he certainly wouldn't be bored if you were his wife Jo. Even though Fei Liu is a deadly assassin, he is so squishably adorable. 
But then, Prince Jing and his two ministers are announced. When Meng wonders about the add-ons, Mei Changsu sighs and says Prince Jing needn't have bothered. He wants to "lay out a path for me in the future" (meaning: he wants to prepare for MCS to enter the court). That's futile though because, in Mei Changsu's words: "When we are done, it will disappear without trace. And I will also disappear from the view of others." TT____________________TT
He looks a little teary-eyed...
Noooooooooooooooo T_______T
But for now, only Meng has to disappear (he has to climb the wall, haha). The two minsters, Prince Jing and Mr. Su talk amiably well into the night - about the new ministers that will be selected soon by the Ministry of Rites. Mei Changsu is of the opinion that Prince Jing will definitely be asked for his opinion by the Emperor. The most important position is the one of the Secretary of Discipline and Inspection. And of course, Mei Changsu has someone suitable in mind for it: A retired 75 year old named Cheng Zhiji. The others think that's preeetty funny.
I like these ministers. I get a good feeling when I see them. Like, 'oh, here's some justice sunshine breaking through the clouds of corruption.'
I think we need Mei Chang Su to help the world's politics right now. We need some sunshine. 
Banruo tries very hard to cheer the very depressed Prince Yu up - in vain. He keeps repeating that he's tired and does not want to fight anymore. Leave him alone, woman! She goes straight to Xiajiang though. That one is still puzzling over Mei Changsu's miraculous recovery from his Wujin pill, but there are no answers for him. They also discuss Prince Yu and his current state ... which is a problem for them. A big one. Suddenly, Xiajiang has a revelation: Princess Xanji left Banruo a silk pouch, did she not? Only to be opened in times of desperation. Banruo always has it on her! Open it! Xiajiang urges her. These are desperate times.
God, she's beautiful. Even in rags, she's just stunning.
She really is. 


Ohhhhh, a pouch from the Chaos Queen? Scary. See, whenever things are going well for our guys, those baddies come up with something new! Shooooo! 
Is it a magical pouch that contains whatever you need it to contain?
I guess we'll have to see...

Also: Damn, this is the first time that Mei Changsu spoke about what comes after the plan ...  that made me very sad. Who apart from him and Lin Chen actually knows that he is dying? I don't want him to die... TT_________TT
Doesn't everyone in his household know?
I think they suspect but aren't sure and they love him and hope that he won't die. I don't think everyone knows all the details of his illness. 

It seemed like a quiet episode, but actually, quite a lot of things happened in preparation for what is to come. A few balls are in the air still: Tonglu is a liability, the selection of the Ministers an opportunity, the spring hunt is being positioned as a major showdown event, and then, there's the pouch! And Wei Zheng.
Oh, I think Xiajiang isn't done with his evildoing, not quite yet.
No, I don't think that sneaksy evil dude is quite done either.