Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 45 (Recap)

kakashi: OMG, they capture the beast in this episode! The beast! And the beast's true identity is a major turning point in the story, setting in motion many things nobody could have foreseen. During all this, Prince Jing is bitter over the secrets that he knows people are hiding from him and his sullenness is almost comical. Almost, because I really feel for him. He knows something big is up but nobody lets him in on it!
JoAnne: It is very cute, yes. But I feel sorry for him - it must be very frustrating to feel like everyone is in on something and keeping you out. At least there's no hint of it being mean, and he doesn't take it that way.
Eleanor: The Beast!!! I really feel for Jingyan. I know why they don't tell him, I really do, but it's also very difficult for him. On the plus side, Wang Kai pouts really well... so there's that. 

Episode 45

Prince Yu's crazy-delirious laughter lets the Emperor conclude that his son has gone insane. But he has never been saner: He readily admits to all his crimes and then tells his father this is the last time they will ever speak; so he wants the truth about Linglong. And this is the truth, according to the Emperor: he killed her and her tribe because she was to smart and too dangerous... she knew too much about how he ascended the throne and he could not have a witness like her alive. He feels no remorse whatsoever for what he did and even calls her a simple chess piece that was no longer useful. And then, he lies to Prince Yu's face: He is not her son, he is Concubine Xiang's.
That was confusing, since it seemed to me that he verified Yu's claim of being LingLong's son earlier in the conversation. So for me, he confirmed, then told his version of the story - which of course absolved himself of any wrongdoing - and then suddenly changed gears and began lying again. Almost as if he has to hold on to the lie he's been telling in order to maintain his sense of reality. But also - he had to kill them to keep the secret of how he ascended to the throne? Listen, Emperor, everyone didn't magically forget. They all knew, they still know. So what was that all about? She must have had behind the scenes dirt. And I figure she probably thought if she helped him she'd become Empress. Since this betrayal was deliberate and not the result of being lied to, I think I might feel like this is worse than what he did to the Chiyan Army and his son.
The Emperor is a certifiable scum bag. I think he doesn't know how to have functional and healthy interactions with other human beings. I think he also is so busy lying about everything that he might be losing his grip on reality because he can't keep track of all the lies. And I don't for one minute believe that he was truly lied to about the Chiyan Army. Yes, I know on paper that's what happened, but you don't just give an order to massacre 70,000 people and their families, and his own son, without wanting to do it in the first place. He chose to believe the lie instead of investigate. It makes him just as culpable. 
He turns his back on his completely heartbroken, raging son (damn, Victor Huang is giving his all in this and the screams, though dubbed, are terrifying) and orders him locked away separately from everyone. What a monster this man is.
He has to keep him away from everyone so they won't hear his disgusting secret.
Victor Huang is awesome. He did such an excellent job portraying Prince Yu. Ugh. That Emperor. He sickens me. 

Back in the Capital, the Empress and Yu's Consort get news of what has befallen their "son" and husband. His wife begs the Empress to save Prince Yu, but the Empress knows it's game over. Him going there as the head of the army was his death sentence - she can do nothing, maybe not even save herself.
I soooo want to see her deposed. Would Consort Jing have a chance of becoming Empress? (wasn't this shot gorgeous? I keep thinking of a peacock.)
So many beautiful shots in this drama. So beautiful. I think Consort Jing can become Empress, but I'm not 100% sure. If Prince Jing becomes Emperor, she will become the Empress Dowager I believe. 
On Mount Jiu An, the Emperor gets intel on all the captured officers and soldiers from Prince Jing. He wants all of them executed on the spot, even those that surrendered. Jingyan is shocked and asks for mercy - but the Emperor thinks he's actually generous, he could in fact have their whole families executed for this treason! But Jingyan won't give up: he falls on his knees and tells his father that killing those thousands of men would be a grave mistake and would damage their reputation as a royal family. Okay, that convinces the old bag of horrors.
I definitely see this guy in a less forgiving light these days.
Oh Jingyan my honourable prince. No wonder we love you so. The Emperor is evil. 
He is also totally pissed that he has heard nothing from the Capital - which indicates the Empress is in cahoots with Prince Yu. Meng Zhi suggests he should go back and reclaim the city - he's pretty sure that most of the 7000 guards left there are loyal to him and the Emperor if he personally appears. He gets permission to leave and is told the Empress is to be confined to her palace. The Emperor will "deal with her" once he is back.
I'm very curious as to how, exactly... maybe they just make her retire or something.
I'm not sure. It will certainly be a tricky situation - though this Emperor likes to kill people all the time, so maybe that's what will happen to her. 
OH! NIHUANG AND MEI CHANGSU TIME! Oups, sorry for the shouting. She tells him she was frightened when she heard of the troubles at Mount Jiu An - because of him. But when she thought about it, she realized it was good he was the one planning the defense and that she needn't worry too much. The thing she is really interested in though is that "lady" who was injured so badly. His subordinate? He affirms this ... and then gets all kinds of defensive about not knowing anything about her joining the Imperial Army in secret and following him. She also does not "take care of him" as a woman like Nihuang insinuates, she just stood outside his tent, guarding him. "Fine", says Nihaung, "from now on, I will be responsible for guarding your tent". Awwwwww, Nihuang is totally jealous in the cutest of ways and leaves him standing there all flustered.
It was the most adorable thing in the world. I was squeeing like mad.  
*giggling like crazy* this was the best! And oh so very adorable! I love how Nihuang can fluster the normally unflappable Mei Changsu. 
The nobility and Mr. Su move into the Hunting Palace (who cleaned up all the mess outside?!) - which means Prince Jing and him are quasi neighbors. Which means Prince Jing will soon act on his strong suspicion. Apart from that, they're still not done worrying - Zhanying (Prince Jing's young General) does not even dare sleep, so recent and brittle is their victory. Most importantly, they need to catch a guy called Hui Yao (who is he? one of Meng's commanders?) who is on the run.
I think so? I was trying to figure that out myself. (I really like that young general, too.)
*stares at Jingyan* wait, what were you saying? Oh yes, secrets. *still staring*
Not much later, Hui Yao is captured - Prince Jing orders him to be brought to the Capital. Ah, by the way, Mr. Su: he has read one of Xiajiang's confessions... much of what is in there about him is true. But this is what he's puzzled about: Why did the villain claim that Mei Changsu was a member of Prince Qi's household, a claim so outrageous, nobody would ever believe it? (Ack, the digging begins!) Because he admitted to it, says Mei Changsu - to agitate him so that he could win the upper hand. It's a very plausible explanation and poor Jingyan is very disappointed. In fact, it's so reasonable he gets angry. Haha.
It was really reasonable. So reasonable I had to laugh!
Jingyan, baobei, come here. Let me comfort you. 
But what's this commotion outside? Men are shouting to be careful, to put the cage down... and then, General Qi comes running in, grinning like a fool. They caught the beast! The beast! Prince Jing, in a bad mood: "Well, congratulations. After a whole year, you've finally caught it". Hahaha. But here's the interesting part: the beast looks like a person! Naturally, they all rush out to see this for themselves. Minus Jing, who is still miffed about life.
Pissy buffalo!
Hehe. Oh my little water buffalo. So adorable when he's angry. 
There's a cage in the courtyard and a dirty, very hairy very ferocious man in it. But Mei Changsu steps closer, right up to the cage ... a puzzled look on his face. He is entirely unafraid, even when the beast growls at him threateningly. He stares into the beast's eyes... and it reacts. It crawls away from the bars, afraid?
I guarantee I was right about who this is.
I'm super curious as to who you think this is. 
Now, Mei Changsu's interest is piqued and he steps real close ... shouting at everyone to let him be when they move in in panic. That draws Prince Jing out. "Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you", says Mei Changsu in a soothing voice. And he asks to see the beast's face again. The beast grants him his wish and grabs the bars with one hand ... a hand that Mei Changsu now grabs at the wrist. There is a silver bracelet there. "I know. I know", says Mei Changsu, who is very emotional all of a sudden, "trust me, everything will be fine".  Hmmmm ... Mei Changsu knows the beast?!
Sir Su, The Beast Whisperer. Watch for the new series this fall on Jing TV.
I swear, there's something in my eye again. 
But because the beast gets really agitated after that and has red eyes! Danger! they drag Mei Changsu away from the cage, warning him that the beast drinks blood! To which our scholar replies, now also quite agitated, that it actually should drink his, because he will be in less pain after that. He gets very protective of the beast and even screams at people - until he finally gets permission from (a very suspicious) Prince Jing to take the beast away.
Okay FINE you can have a puppy but you are in charge of it and if it makes a mess it's your fault!
Mei Changsu is acting very strangely. What is going on here? And look at that screenshot. Is it any wonder that I fell for Wang Kai while watching this drama?!
The very suspicious Prince Jing has Zhanying follow the scholar, and this is what he reports later:
Sir Su hasn't spoken much to the beast apart from reassurances, but gives it medicine and bathed it. It's white! It only looked brown because of all the dirt. Also: Sir Su gave it some of his blood to drink. What now? That's creepy. And Prince Jing is getting more and more frustrated. He can sense that something is going on, but he can't put his finger on it.
Well if you have a werewolf could a vampire be far behind?
I really love how our suspense about the beast is amplified by Jingyan not knowing either. 
In Mr. Su's wing, the beast is being tended to by Mr. Su himself. Nihuang comes in because she too is uneasy - assuring Mei Changsu that nobody saw her. He does not say anything to her ... but asks the beast to have a look at his bracelet. The beast does not want to show his hands. "I know that is a bracelet from the Chiyan Army", says the scholar. I'll be damned!! This is the equivalent of a dog tag! It has the man who turned into a beast's name on it.
*drum roll*
Dun, dun, dun! 
"I want to know whether you're the person that I constantly think about", says Mei Changsu. Nihuang just stares. And then, the beast (who cannot speak, by the way) raises his arm, slowly, slowly... Mei Changsu locates the silver bracelet and turns it around... and gasps. It's Nie Feng. Xiadong's husband. Mei Changsu starts crying, telling the altered man that he is xiao-Shu, again and again - and then they embrace each other, fiercely, sobbing loudly. Me too.
Me? My first thought was 'well there goes my Meng-Xia Dong ship' but I always had a feeling it was either Nie Feng or Lin Shu's dad. I mean, who else could it be? ...well, after the last ep, I could have thought it was Princess LingLong, I guess...
Where's my box of tissues? I think I need to go and get some more. 
Prince Jing is reading something when Mei Changsu comes in ... and falls on his knees in front of him. Slightly disturbed by this polite gesture, Prince Jing gets up, trying to heave the scholar back on his feet. But Mei Changsu has a "presumptuous request", as he calls it: he wants Prince Jing to ask his mother to help treat the beast. Only she can treat his illness. Prince Jing promises to ask her tomorrow
Why couldn't Su just ask her himself? It's not like she's going to say no.
I think that because he isn't royalty, he can't just go up to a royal consort and chat with her. He has to go through official channels. 
Of course, she does not hesitate for a second! She gets her medicine kit and her son makes that face again ... the "WTF is going on that nobody is telling me about"-face. He does not lose it again in what is coming, which is this: Consort Jing feels Nie Feng's pulse etc. and Mei Changsu, who looks very concerned as he watches her, asks after "the poison" and whether it is "deep". It's not very deep, we learn, but she can only suppress it, not cure it. It's the Poison of the Bitter Flame! And he has had it for a long time.
So, is this what would have become of Su if Jin Dong hadn't found him? And if this isn't deep, what the hell does deep even do to you?
Yes, and well, it's more complicated in Lin Shu's case. Technically Wei Zheng found him and took him to Lin Chen, but yeah. Also, look at that gorgeously framed shot. The colours. The pose. This is like a painting. So beautiful. It's art. 
Mei Changsu knows someone who CAN cure that poison though... the Master of Langya Hall! Lin Chen. He sends a carrier pigeon to him... well, that doesn't go too smoothly at first. Cause of a certain someone called Fei Liu, who just HATES Lin Chen and how he teases him! He catches the bird and seems to want to kill it, when Zhen Ping realizes it and threatens to tell the boss. The kid deserves some extra bullying for this!
It was funny, though, when Ping turned back and said 'yeah, I'm just gonna watch you for a while.'
Fei Liu. Just looking at that adorable, scowly face is making me laugh out loud. 
After Consort Jing is finished treating the beast, she walks out with Mei Changsu ... and right into her son who eyes them almost accusingly. Bitterly, he remarks that they don't seem to have just met. And because he won't budge, his mother grudgingly admits that Mr. Su is the son of someone from her past. When she was young, his father saved her life. Yes, and they only "just" found out about it. Oh man ... I'm not sure that will help with his suspicion at all! Jingyan also wants to know what Mr. Su's relationship with the beast inside is and Mei Changsu answers that he is "an old friend".
I can't decide if he's more jealous of his mother or of Mei Changsu after this.
Jingyan, come to me, I will comfort you. Don't worry. It's going to be okay. I don't know why, but he totally reminds me of a cat lying in wait to pounce in this scene. 
All those secrets, Prince Jing tells his mother on their way back, they make him feel alone. She tells him that loneliness is what waits for him - the higher he gets, the more lonely he will be. But all that has passed just made him think of the time when he had brothers and friends. It was when he was always happy and at peace. She tells him she cannot help him carry his burden. But one day, he will look back on this day and realize he has a friend who supports him. Mommy, what do you mean?
Basically: suck it up, buttercup. Followed by: stop the pity party!
I heart her. But I do understand. Jingyan pretty much has been lonely after suffering intense trauma so many years ago. Also, these shots are just so gorgeous. So gorgeous. The colours. The lighting. The framing. 
And then, Mei Changsu runs out of medicine. No wonder, he has been sharing it with beasty Nie Feng! When he mentions Xiadong to Mr. Furry, he reacts panicky. Oh no, the poor man ... he is ashamed to meet her like this. But does he not know that knowing he is alive will be the greatest comfort to her? A comfort to him is the fact that Nie Feng can help him carry out his revenge. It must be such a huge relief not to be alone anymore! 
I'm not sure what all that poor man can do for you, Su.
I'm sure there is something that he can do. 
But as said, Mei Changsu is out of medicine and he is taken severely ill that night. Zhen Ping, panicked, sends Fei Liu to get help and the little one runs out and calls ... the water buffalo. Uh-oh. Remember what Mr. Su said about the rambling and why he didn't want Prince Jing anywhere near him the last time he was ill like this? Yeah...
Isn't this the first time we've heard Fei Liu speak?
Not really. He has said the occasional word
But it's so cute that Fei Liu trusts Jingyan now. That means a lot if Fei Liu trusts you. 
For the moment, Mei Changsu is still conscious enough to tell Zhen Ping not to tell Nihuang... and then Prince Jing rushes in, super concerned. Despite Mei Changsu's assurance that he is fine (yeah, you wish), Prince Jing runs out to get his mother.
Awww, he loves him.
I think that at some subconscious level that Jingyan knows who Mei Changsu is. 
She treats Mr. Su with accupuncture... and he starts to ramble. He calls for his father first and then, when he lays eyes on the prince in his delirium, speaking to him like a friend: "Jingyan, don't be afraid". Prince Jing moves closer: what has Mr. Su said? Did his mother understand? She claims it's just "some murmuring", and she couldn't understand.
I am expecting a full-blown temper tantrum soon.
I'm expecting Jingyan to do some crying. 


I'm not sure what it is, but I thought this episode was even more beautiful than those before it. Maybe because we have so many night scenes? Or is it the Hunting Palace set? Or the emotions these actors convey? Everyone is GORGEOUS. As they sadly stare.
It's very saturated and intense, I get what you mean.
It is so very beautiful. I feel like all the colours and scenes are so saturated to reflect the growing intensity of emotion all the characters are feeling. For me as well, I love these people so much, that the intensity feels so vivid to me. They seem like real people who lived. 
There are a few VERY powerful scenes in this episode, not least the one during which Lin Shu makes himself known to Nie Feng, the man believed dead, the man Lin Shu spent his days thinking about. What has happened to this general? What is the Poison of the Bitter Flame that reduces proud soldiers to quasi animals? How did Lin Shu survive it? We know at this stage that Lin Chen is the one who can treat it (though not cure it) and we know from the very beginning of this drama (episode 1) that it took Lin Shu a very long time to recover. I am of course very happy that Lin Chen is coming, simply because I adore Jin Dong. But I'm also happy that we will probably learn more about the Poison soon - we want to know!!
Yes, it's now my top priority here - I want to know about this stuff.
No worries, you'll get an explanation soon - though some of it is rather painful to hear. 

I haven't properly realized because the last few episodes were so full of tension, but we have left Mei Changsu's deadly planning behind and have moved into territory where the past starts to catch up with him. Prince Yu's rebellion turned out beneficial to everyone (and in some ways, Mei Changsu expected it), but it also made MCS lose control. Prince Jing is THAT close to putting his suspicion into words because the evidence keeps piling up and up.
But was Mei Changsu's plan really that detailed for years and years and then at a certain point his notes just say 'from here, we'll wing it!' - or are we now completely deviating from his plan?
I think that he has planned for many eventualities, but I'm sure he figured he would get to this sort of point at some point. Mei Changsu also seems like someone who can very easily roll with the punches and add to his plan whenever new situations arise. He is still at heart the brilliant young marshall. 

He may have back Nie Feng (so well done! Nobody could have ever expected this!!!)(ahem, didn't we discuss this back on an earlier mountain? I'm too lazy to go look, but I think we did speculate)(I think that there was some spoilerish stuff out there when it came up in our chat before, but I know that while I was watching last year, I was genuinely surprised), but this makes it also so much more likely that people will realize what is going on, that Mei Changsu is not a former member of Prince Qi's household, but rather a former member of the Chiyan army. And if anybody sees that bracelet, our friends are most probably doooooomed. So... why not remove the bracelet? No? Too easy?!
I'm assuming the plot will include someone important noticing the bracelet at a key point. Who will it be? Who would know? Jing, the Emperor, Xia Jiang, some of the older ministers...Xia Dong, of course, but she'll know anyway. Marquis Yan! Marquis Yue! Where'd he go, anyway? Isn't he due back into the story by now? Or did he really just march off into the sunset in rags, never to be seen again. Oooh, maybe Prince Ji will see it and figure out who Su is and start working with him in earnest.
I honestly don't remember what happens with the bracelet. haha. I need to hurry and catch up with my rewatch. Things are coming to an end soon. We only have nine more episodes to go. Wow. Only nine.