Ice Fantasy 幻城 - Episode 20 (Recap)

kakashi: Another episode brimful with excitement and plot development! Lian Ji/Lotus gets more serious about placing her son on the throne, Kasuo expresses his deepest wish and Shi knows, the solution to Kasuo's problem is very, very simple. If only there weren't so many powerful people deadset on having Kasuo on that throne!
Just let Kasuo go, people.  He's boring and emo and Shi is just gorgeous and will noona-kill in his Ice King robes.
Seriously. Shi is powerful enough to do it. Kasuo doesn't want to be king and has no power. Why is it so important that it be him, no matter what? We start to get an inkling that there's more to the story in this episode, but until now I just thought it was the Ice King's stubbornness.

Episode 20

We're back in the past, with Ice King Dad, when he followed his father's command and married Lian Ji. Coitus did not yield the Teardrop Charm in the wedding night, though. Does the Ice King know that means he is not the first man to sleep with her? Also, no wonder Lian Ji hates the Ice King so much. Having to marry a man you're not in love with is one thing, but have him ask about the Teardrop Charm and nothing else is just cruel. (why did they think they needed a different actress to play the young version of Lotus?)
They want to show her as a younger woman, a girl, so that her innocence is shown.  And yes, she has every right to hate the Ice King. He's a total jerkass.
Have some pity for the guy - he was pretty much forced to marry her. Neither of them is happy. Think of how he must have felt, to marry a woman he didn't want, hurt the woman he loves, and then find out that it was all for nothing? It's not that I don't feel some sympathy for Lian Ji, but HE didn't force her - her mother did. He is as much a victim here as she is.
In the here and now, the Ice King is sighing heavily in front of Lian Ji's door (feeling remorse,  asshole?) and she invites him in for a drink and a chat. She goes on and on about Shi's virtues again, like a broken record. Ease off, woman. It's as clear as ice that the Ice King has no plans whatsoever to make Shi king. Fine, goes Lian Ji to herself, then SHE will have to be the one who gets Shi on the throne.
I do love her determination. I don't care if she's evil or whatever, she's one of my favorite people on this show.
She's fun to watch, and she has reasons to be bitter. I don't blame her for trying to make the most of her situation.
In the forest, Kasuo has another sword-fairy fit when he happens upon some playing kids. Damn, boy. He is fighting the urges with all his might, being horribly tortured! Granny steps closer and watches his suffering in shock. Luckily, Shi arrives with the Deicide! That scares the sword fairies (they're enjoying their time outside) and they calm down a little.
Why not just get them back into the sword?
I thought they DID go back in the sword. We have to watch him spazz like this again later?
For whatever reasons, they can't go (or don't want to go) back into the sword. It was mentioned in one of the earlier episodes
Kasuo is so down he doesn't even want to talk to his Granny and Shi. But Shi says he knows exactly what his Bro wants. And he will help him. Uh-oh.
I'm for it.
That's Kasuo on a cliff, playing the flute.
All that ice, it's pretty come no one ever falls? Can we push someone? Looks like a long, long, LONG way down.
He realizes that his situation is actually kinda not too bad! He may have lost his immortality, but at least, he'll have his desired freedom! (You think? No.) Cracking a hopeful smiles, he exclaims that he wants to spend his time with Li Luo in the mortal realm. They will age together! And be together, always. Ah, he said it to a messenger owl, not only the snow.
What a wuss.
Really pretty tired of Kasuo and his limp powers.
Is Kasuo bipolar? Seriously, he is down, then deliriously up, and soon down
Li Luo is at target practice when the owl arrives and delivers Kasuo's heartfelt wish. Those owls don't know about privacy or secrecy of the post, do they? they're just owls, sensei. Qin Chu hears it all and is not impressed. He says Kasuo is a selfish bastard for thinking he could abandon his post (when he said before Shi should be king, duh! Make up your mind).
Qin Chu just hates Kasuo.
You're so not gonna get this girl, Qin Chu.
But Li Luo does not actually want to live with Kasuo in the mortal realm - she wants to find a way to get his powers back so that he can become the King she knows he should be. So Noble. She has heard about some special books in the imperial library that might give her a clue. The problem is: that library is off bounds. Uh-oh, Li Luo. Don't do anything too stupid, alright?
And why haven't any of the Ice Tribe looked up methods in those books?
Frozen brains.

Shi plays around with the Deicide when Mommy approaches and is mucho impressed with his skills. They talk about his amaaaazing powers and he expresses some puzzlement over the fact that he can do "Appearance Replacement", a skill no other Ice Tribe person has ever had. Yeah, Shi ... how to break it to you...
Granny can do it.
Mr. Dreamer in da house!!! I don't like him. He is such a goody-two-shoes. He is very surprised to see his Origin of Dreams (that's his golden cube) flying around in the ice palace. And the little bastard isn't even doing his bidding! It's leading him outside, to a place that looks like this. Pretty cool. Yes, I really like snowy mountains, I'll readily admit that!
It's definitely pretty, and I can see why the Fire Tribe wants to invade.
Is he dreaming now? I wasn't sure.
Dreamer is like: wtf is this place? When "swoosh" 5 white dudes materialize all around him. One of them is Xuan Ta, the Ice King's High Priest. They say it's the "Seven Holy Altar" (uhm, maybe the Holy Altar of the Seven, more like?). The Lord of Dreams realizes that these guys must be the legendary "Seven Saints", a group of powerful immortals mentored by She Mi (Kasuo's famous ancestor).
They like their saints around here. I like Mr. Dreamy.
This is the Saint Master, named Zhan Xing. Don't bother learning his name.
Fashion Hint of the Day: If you have, like NO forehead? Don't wear a band that accentuates that.

So, it seems that Xing Jiu's dream cube is one of the ancient sacred magical cube that have the power to "select" a Saint successor. And yes, Xing Jiu was selected! And is now one of the Saints. I can't help it, I find him rather hot. I'm glad he's successful. The sole purpose of the Seven Saints is to select the next ice king (that's a bit of a let-down). Without any further explanation, they tell him that Kasuo is the only acceptable King on that throne.
Ooh, a plothole. The Ice King says he's choosing, but it's actually these dweebs.
I'm not sure it's a plot hole. Maybe he just doesn't like people knowing how things work.
Xing Jui isn't happy about their rather cryptic and dodgy answers to why that's the case (seeing how Kasuo has lost all his powers) and storms off, after pointing out that one plus five is six and not seven. Yes ... where is the seventh of the Seven Saints? It seems, dear reader, that this has something to do with Ying Kong Shi...  and not in a good way.

The Mermaid Saint is suspicious of Shi and his frequent dance meetings with Lan Shang and tells him as much. When she and her very bad mood get back to the palace, her "daughter" Lian Ji is waiting for her. What for? To force the Mermaid Saint to have Lan Shang marry Shi. The Mermaid Saint laughs her in the face, but she also has to realize that Lian Ji really means to see Shi on the throne.
These, I really dislike the Saint.
Next, Lian Ji works on her son. She claims she knows a way to restore Kasuo's immortal powers. She will only tell him if he becomes Ice King. Hahaaaaaaaaaaa, oh dear. As we all have guessed by now, that's Shi's plan anyway. He wants to see his brother happy and his brother will only be happy if he doesn't have to become king. It's quite simple. 
I like this plan. Everyone will be happy.
I like it too! And I thought Shi had the hots for Lan Shang way back when he was knee high to a grasshopper, so this is perfect.
Oh, looksie who is wearing an "ice coat" that can expire and is about to sneak into the ice realm! Her brother is there too, but I'm not showing a picture of his ugly face.
On behalf of the internet, thank you.
And huh, seems Li Luo went to the library! Phallic objects everywhere.... *sigh*. They can light up and project script. That's pretty cool. The next generation kindle? Li Luo realizes that the crystal-book in the middle is missing. Wait, this library has only about 6 books? That's lame.
That's not even a library, that's just a shelf.  
It's not even a shelf. It's barely a stack of books on a bedside table.
The time of the banquet is coming closer and of course, Kasuo is moping. Shi invites him for a walk, where they play some ice soccer. The winner gets a wish from the loser. Okay, this is rather cute. Shi wins. Brothers, friends, or lovers ... I'll take their bromance anyday. Shi does not have a wish right now - but he begs his brother to always believe in him. No matter what.
Right then and there, Shi realizes that Yan Da has entered the ice territory and he excuses himself, to go track her down. Is it the whip that gave it away? He likes that whip. The Guardians are after her too and almost have her when Shi appears (as ice wind) and takes her away. She is carrying tinder, but assures Shi she isn't really here to attack the ice city. She let him find her deliberately, simply to ... kiss him. But apparently, he is only into whipping and stuff, not kissing. Bummer.
He so didn't want to kiss.  Is he still mentally 8?
Oh, I think he'd kiss Lan Shang. He's just not that into you, Yan Da.
Poor girl, though. She's puzzled about his behavior (saving her again and again) and wants to know what she is to him. "An enemy", he says. Cruel. And obviously a lie. He freezes her and looks rather puzzled.
Wow, feelings for someone not Kasuo. I'm not surprised Shi is confused. Shi, your true love is out emo-ing somewhere, settling for a girl, so you might as well settle for Yan Da.  
I did at one time think he liked her...but I honestly think his maneuvering around Lan Shang isn't just to get the Mermaid Tribe connection, so now I'm not so sure if it was romantic or just a connection as outcasts.
Kasuo is back in the city and is thinking about his dream, when he dances with Li Luo. He says to himself that he wished this were true ... and starts doing a few turns all by himself. And look who's here, freshly returned from the library (without any answers, we should add) ... Li Luo! Their eyes lock. Awwwww, they're so sweet.
She's very patient.
He invites her to dance with him and ... can they please marry and make babies right now?
They're beautiful together and radiate so much happiness that a huge crowd gathers to watch them. Oh no, Lan Shang happens to pass by there too, wearing a new dress that the Ice King has given her for the banquet. Angry tears well up in her eyes when she sees the happy pair. Oh no. What are you capable of, Lan Shang? 
Lan Shang needs to get a grip. 
He TOLD you. Over and over, it's a no.


It hurts to see Li Luo and Kasuo so happy together, knowing full well that the Ice King will never ever allow them to get married. It really is the only time Kasuo is truly happy... well, apart from a few carefree moments with Shi. This tension between duty and happiness, it's extremely hard for Kasuo. Especially now that he feels utterly incompetent/impotent and even thinks of himself as a monster. This cannot end well, people. It will rip my heart out, that much I know. I like these two. I really, really wish them happiness.
I like them too, and it puzzles me that the king is still so insistent when he knows that Kasuo is no longer qualified. Can't wait to find out why!

I guess the real focus of the episode was on Lian Ji though. I thought a bit about whether I'd also be so dead-set to get my son (if I had one) onto the throne. And I'm pretty certain that I would not be. Being king is a horrible, horrible job. All sorts of people are out to murder you, and whatever you do, you'll make enemies. You probably get a burnout, too. No, I'd make sure my son would be able to live a quiet, nice life away from the spotlight. Given the way she was treated by everyone, and given her terrible  thirst for revenge, she gives her all to have Shi on the throne though. What we are seeing is clearly only the beginning: All that was kind and decent has long been killed inside of her and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Lian Ji was used twice, and she wants revenge. The best revenge is to become the Queen Mother and outrank everyone. And she's not forcing Shi: he wants this position as well.  Also, I love a good villain, especially a villainess, so I like Lian Ji.
I understand why she feels this way, but like Kakashi, it would not be my choice to act as she is. Still, I do think that Kasuo doesn't want to be king and Shi does - and would probably be a good one - I'm fine with her plan.

That Shi is not the Ice King's son should be clear to everyone by now. That is reason enough to not allow him on the throne, of course, but it seems that there is something else going on. Something to do with a prophecy when he was born, something to do with our Seven Deadly Saints. We do not know what Shi is capable off - and he has shown several times that he is ready to do dodgy things to get what he wants. But something I am absolutely certain of: he only wants the very best for Kasuo.
The only thing Shi wants is to make Kasuo happy. Shi ought to think of his own happiness, and making little Ice-Fire brats with Yan Da.
I think he wants the throne for itself, not just for Kasuo's happiness.