11 September 2016

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Ice Fantasy 幻城 - Episode 11 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on September 11, 2016
We are off to meet some new tribes in this episode: The Bear Tribe and the Spirit Tribe. Things don't go exactly as planned though. The good news is, we do get some backstory for Li Luo! Hm, I don't know, but is there a birth secret there? Most importantly, Turnip (some call him the real star of this show, sorry Feng Shao Feng) gets a new name, of which he very much approves.
I so hope there's a birth secret for Li Luo that makes her an eminently suitable Ice Queen. 
There has to be. I'm not even going to worry about it.  
I'm worrying a lot. You obviously haven't seen the rest of the episodes yet......
Cutie. I want to stroke that nose. 
His back end is shaped oddly though.

Episode 11

We don't see how Xing Jiu extracts the ice crystal from his sister's arm and we don't see how the crystal full of sin is turned into a pristine white one again that poses absolutely no threat to the Dream Tribe. Couldn't they have done this before? Remember when I asked why he didn't just invade the Fire King's dream years ago? Yeah, this is like that. We do see that The Lord of the Dream Weavers hands it over to Kasuo and swears to be their ally. He also apologizes for, you know, almost killing Kasuo, but Kasuo has already forgiven him. Quoting Li Luo on friendship, he says that's what friends do: they make up after they quarrel.
If someone were to almost kill me, friends or not, I wouldn't call it a quarrel.
So the cut off between quarrel and fight is murder, for you? *files away info*
And then, The Dream Lord (oh, he went to the hairdresser between scenes! His playful strand of hair is much more colorful today!) invites them to stay for Xing Gui's last birthday. Oh no. Sad. The Dream Lord is deeply convinced she's going to die because he keeps dreaming about it. And he has accepted her faith now, no more prolonging her life by evil or unnatural things.
Seems fair. But doesn't he know dreams are usually the opposite of what is true?
He needs therapy.
At least, the Princess finally gets her wish to be out in town with her brother on the night of her birthday. It's her first time outside the palace ever - and also her last time.
In 100 years she never went out of the palace? That's some serious hikikomoriing. 
It's not true - Kasuo and Li Luo met her in the village.
Oh, but that was just a dream! 
All the citizens come and give her presents. She is happy. Kasuo goes deep on us when he says (with a glance at Li Luo): "If I were her, instead of having a long but lonely life, I'd rather spend a short day with the ones I love". Shi just stands there and observes everything.
Nice bit of foreshadowing.
If that doesn't translate into 'I choose YOU, mortal!' then I don't know what does.
Then, it's the morning after and Xing Jiu sits at his lifeless sister's bedside. The color is gone from his hair and he is crying (ohhhh, you know what I think? He might have hair that changes color depending on the temperature! My daughter has a Barbie like that!). But.... what is that?! Her finger twitches! She isn't dead at all, just sleeping. Oppposites in dreams. You dummy. See? Miracles happen, and Li Luo knew it. We might think that all is well, but! Suddenly, the grey sperm smoke makes an appearance, mocking them all. Only Kasuo hears it, and he gets a very bad feeling over it. 
That smoke is rather creepy. 
I'm just waiting for the tie-in to Lost. Also, perhaps his hair changes by emotion.
Yan Da is practicing her whipping skills in the forest, calling for Yun Fei out of habit... who isn't there. But her brother appears, to mock her. Urgh, I hate this prince so much. There is nothing he does that I like. He now knows of her affection for her slave - who has disappeared while she was sleeping. Do you think Shuo Gang wants to be Jaime to Yan Da's Cersei? Why should he care that she liked Yun Fei?  He will be back, snarks the Fire Prince, seeing how she fed him the Heart Scorcher. Anyway, they're off to the Bear Tribe next and she better not interfere with his plan, or else. I'm growing sooo tired of their conversations. He's always nagging her for being so weak. boooooring.
And she's smarter than him and more skilled and he's just a prat. Is he seriously the best the Fire King's got out of all the brothers Yan Da mentioned before that he's helping the invasion of the three realms?
Prince Jerk Face just likes working away at any weak spot she has.
Kasuo is on the road as well and the Lord of Dreams sends him news through some ... dream post service? that Yan Da and Shuo Gang are off to the Bear Tribe. Our Ice Princelings won't go there but to the "Spirit Cluster". Oh, they cluster now, these tribes? The reason is the Bear Tribe's loyalty to the Ice Tribe - they surely won't betray them, so they need to work on the Spirit Tribe.
The spirits cluster. And apparently the Iced Tribe used to ride on the bears' backs into battle before the bears took on human form.
Is it Spirit or Sprite? Two different things.
The subbers can't make up their minds! And Dramafever and viki don't agree on this point for sure
All of a sudden, Turnip turns up and Kasuo follows him to find Li Luo (the reason for this being the fish she is cooking over the fire ... the fish is turning black and stinky and our two Ice Princes don't know what to do with it. Seriously, woman... why did you put too Ice Men in charge of fire?!)
They're in human form, they can manage.
I feel a poop conversation coming on.
Turnip leads Kasuo to a lovely mountain spring and waterfall, with cherry trees and whatnot ... she is bathing, naked, in the warm spring. She? Doesn't care one bit that she's naked. He? Cares very much.
I'm surprised at her not caring, but am enjoying her making Ka Suo embarrassed, hee.
He's emotionally 12.
He start stuttering something about "the fish", turning his back to avoid the temptation to look at her, I am certain of it, delicious body. She clearly enjoys his discomfort, even while she regrets the destruction of her dinner. He attempts to remove himself from the scene by scuttling sideways,  babbling nonsense... when Li Luo sloshes water on him and Turnip decides it's time to push Kasuo into the water. Turnip, we love you. Turnip is the other smart one in this show. Our Kasuo lands on top of the naked Li Luo, then throws her clothes in the water in his frantic attempt to leave the pond, and ends up drying her clothes over the fire. 
Turnip, you shipper after my own heart.
At the other fire, Shi suddenly feels the effects of the Heart Scorcher, gets an insane look in his eyes and runs off. Uh-oh.
Heartburn really sucks the life out of you.
I hope this guy is a good singer.
Li Luo is out of the water, fully dressed, looking very sexy, and is singing a children's song: "The snowman smiles, the baby smiles, the baby bounces around with the snowman. The snowman melts, the baby cries. When the next winter snow falls the snowman will smile with the baby again." It sounds much better in Chinese. 
Li Luo is looking lovely.
She wasn't singing, though, so it sounded like crazy talk.
Kasuo is intrigued. It's a nursery rhyme from the mortal realm, she tells him. He wouldn't know about the four seasons though, so it might make no sense to him. He says he cannot understand how her parents let her become a Guardian, it's so dangerous! Well, she doesn't have any parents - she is an orphan, she explains. Li Luo backstory! The only thing she remembers from when she was little was singing this rhyme when the snow fell heavily. She was building a snowman when General Ketuo (riding on what looks like Turnip the unicorn) found her, exhausted and alone in the snow. Her only friend, turnip, was killed by the wolves. Turns out turnip was a sheep. I think. And thus, General Ketuo took her in and made her an Envoy of the Guardian. 
Yay, General Ketuo!
Woohoo!
Kasuo is so in love, he cannot stop smiling and staring at her. But he also thinks she has mis-named her Unicorn. He is much too dignified and dashing-looking to be called Turnip. He thinks he should be called Snowdash (the Dramafever version), and Snowgoose (the viki version). Turnip likes his new name!
Aw, Turnip, is this why you were trying to get your human paired off, so that you could stop being a Turnip? 
I actually prefer Snowdash.
Kasuo and Li Luo look into each others eyes deeply and Kasuo is going all mushy on us and grateful to General Ketuo for taking her in when all of a sudden, the crazed Shi appears and wants to attack Kasuo! They knock him out, and immediately know it's the Heart Scorcher. I wouldn't have immediately thought that. They also know he will go crazy and will die if they don't get him the antidote. The best option is to leave him there in the forest when the Fire Tribe passes by on their way to the Bear Tribe. Poor Shi.  
He likes the idea. Deep down, I mean.
I think he does, yup.
The Mermaid Saint has arrived in Snowblade City. The Fire King is trying to have that marriage between his son and Lan Shang happen, because he wants another mermaid princess's Teardrop Charm. That he has one already is a surprise to the Mermaid Saint. Unless you've watched ahead, you don't know what all the fuss is about at this point and I won't tell you, cause spoiler.
Now I'm counting Teardrop Charms.
I like the Mermaid Saint less and less, the more I see her.
Mermaid Saint goes to Lian Ji in her ice prison and screams at her for giving her Teardrop Charm to the Fire King. We learn that the Mermaid Saint is not Lian Ji's real mother but that she was adopted and we learn that Lian Ji hates the Mermaid Saint for making her life so utterly miserable by forcing her to marry the Ice King. She wasn't the one who started this war by killing the Fire Prince though. It was a dark and scheming force, she knows. 
If she's a prisoner, then she can't help giving over what the captor demands.  Also, I wonder what got the Mermaid Saint adopting Lian Ji? I thought fish had loads of eggs.
Lan Shang takes the first opportunity she gets to flee from the Ice Tribe's lands by jumping into an ice lake and swimming away. I still don't like her one bit.
Aw, I like how dippy she is.
Nope, I basically want her to take her simpering self far away and never come back. I'm not particularly fond of any of the mermaids but I have some sympathy for Lian Ji.
Kasuo and Li Luo have reached the Spirit Cluster's territory. Things are amiss here though! The mortals are enraged against the "monsters" from the Spirit Tribe, who are harming them (the mortal claims). Our heroes free a rabbit spirit, who promptly leads them into a trap. They fall into a hole into the restricted grounds of the Spirit Cluster, where the Tribe's Chief Imperial Guard, the "Eagle Fairy" Pian Feng attacks them. Oh, I know this actor! Zhang Yu Jian, from Nirvana in Fire, Prince Jing's General! I always noticed him there too. IT'S HIM. YES! I try not to laugh at your outfit here, I promise. Or the set. I won't say anything about those fake flowers. When he learns who they are, he stops being belligerent. He is completely loyal to the Ice Tribe! 
Yay, Pian Feng! But aren't any of these tribes disillusioned with the Rule of Ice?
Sorry, boy, but you look like you're about six months past your goth phase with that hair. I do like you though.
There's a problem though. The Queen of the Spirit Tribe has gone missing a long time ago, leaving her heir, the Princess Chao Ya in charge! She isn't here either - also missing. She went to investigate a strange music that brings harm to the mortals, causing them to blame the fairies. Kasuo decides to help and investigate the weird music himself. They go to a village.
Gee, I wonder what will happen.

Shi is in the clutches of the ugly Fire Prince! Who doesn't trust him one bit. Shi claims he doesn't know anything about that "man in white" who took him away, but the Fire Prince still doesn't believe him. He decides to torture his sister's boytoy a little. Why? What is his problem? I hate people like this. Actually, he wants to kill him, but Yan Da reminds him what that means: he'll lose his powers for a while. Not a good idea if one wants to attack the powerful Bears. Torture is averted for the moment and Yan Da gives her slave another pill ... yet again an antidote for the Heart Scorcher, valid for ten days.
Yan Da is so much smarter than her brother.  He should be sent off to guard that thing that the other brothers guard and just leave her as heir to Fire.
And then, the Fire Tribe moves an army to the city of the Bear Tribe, only to find the doors opened for them and a guy called Hei Feng welcoming them in. Damn, what happened to "the Bear Tribe is loyal to the Ice Tribe"??
Not anymore, I guess.
Could be a trick.

Comments

So many things happening again in this episode! This drama really covers an insane amount of storyline in just one eps and never stands still. I hope the characters don't get any burnout. 
I know, and this storyline is what makes it awesome, along with all the gorgeous sets.
To me, most of the sets look like a young children's-themed amusement park we had here, growing up. It was called Storyland and had different lands for different parts of the park. This looks like that place, in the off season. Tired, a bit run down, not nearly as magical as you remembered with the lights and music.
Hm, I like that. To me, it often seems very theatrical. Like a musical. Not the Ice World though, those mountain backdrops are wonderful

Several things are worth mentioning:
A) Kasuo is clearly a virgin, which makes me wonder about the Ice Tribe a little, whereas Li Luo does not seem to be; at least she does not care one bit about propriety. I told you this drama is very feminist and I continue to believe so. 
I think she is, or she wouldn't be riding that unicorn. Yet Turnip seems to want her paired off.
I don't think the unicorn rules that we know apply in China - Ketuo was riding one, too.

B) And yet, Kasuo continues to be extremely cute and endearing in his dorkiness. He's just very clearly not king-material. Everyone keeps saying so, including himself, but will his father listen? 
No, no one cares what Kasuo thinks or wants.  So ironic considering they want him to rule.

C) Will Li Luo's true parentage play a role later or am I overemphasizing that "orphan" bit? 
I hope so.  I want something that can get triggered to give her a long life to match Kasuo's.

D) The Mermaid Saint now knows that the Ice King's Concubine had an affair with the Fire King (and also know that she had SEX with the Fire King. That much spoiling should be allowed. That Teardrop Charm is produced at first sexual intercourse, which also makes the Mermaids' permanent legs appear.)
Can they still swim in the ocean after they get permanent legs?  And, I could be totally wrong about this, but I've heard characters in sageuks refer to themselves as married when all they did was have intercourse. So, I've often wondered if there is some Buddhist or Confucian tradition that makes you married when you have intercourse without a ceremony.
Lan Sheng or whatever her name is has legs. Therefore, she should already have a tear drop charm. It shouldn't require marriage to Prince Jerk Face to create it.
They can grow legs whenever, but they get PERMANENT legs once they marry. I think that means they lose their fish tails forever

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