The Advisors Alliance 大军师司马懿之军师联盟 - Episode 3 (Recap)

kakashi: Friends and foes are revealed, but are the lines that clearly drawn? Sima Yi starts using his head, which seems quite capable ... but is there enough time?
JoAnne: Oh good! It's recap time - you'll explain the stuff I was confused about!
Panda: Our boy finally starts showing some of his lauded smarts here.

Episode 3

Sima Yi turns to leave without getting the information he wants … no, he has not given up. He turns back to tell Ji Bu his wife sends greetings and when Ji Bu asks how she is, he tells her about how weak she still is and how worried. Yes, Ji Bu is definitely concerned about her! 
Me likey. Does he remind you a little of Shinichi?
Yes he does! I am so curious about his connection with her.
Sima Yi turns around and walks towards the door again, hoping Ji Bu might talk … but the swordsman still offers no info. Fine. Now, Sima Yi turns back to ask for the sword back. For some unknown reason, THAT gets Ji Bu thinking and he quickly gets up to close the door. As an officer in the Investigative Bureau, he should not say anything, he says - but! They found a letter from Sima Fang to Yuan Shao - in those bridal presents that were returned to them from the Yang household. Ha.
Dammit I was hoping you'd have an explanation for that.
The sword thing was really strange. Maybe the act of giving it back reminded him of his debt to her or something...  
Ji Bu tells Sima Yi that if he ever needs to see him again, he should not come to the Bureau, but leave three marks on the left pillar besides the door in this very tavern. When Ji Bu gives him back the sword, Sima Yi asks how Ji Bu is associated with his wife. Ji Bu is surprised she has not told her husband - but says he should ask his wife if he wants to know.
So how does this 3 marks on the pillar thing work, anyway?  Does Ji Bu come check every day?  Does someone at the inn get word to Ji Bu?  'Hey, one of your crazy friends is damaging our building again, will you talk to him?'
The three pillars thing is so not practical. Will he keep count in his head? Won't he eventually lose track of new marks from old ones? I was so happy when Sima Yi asked of relationship between Ji Bu and his wife as I had been dying to know. Alas, we were both not answered. What I got here though was that I don't think the connection was romantic from his reaction to Sima Yi's question. But again, I could be wrong.
Sima Yi now finally understands that Yang Xiu framed his father to save his own family, since his own father is certainly implicated in the rebellion. He discusses this with his brother, his wife and Guo Zhao. He suspects his father is also on the list of rebels, judging from his reactions earlier! Yeah, shit. If that edict is found by the Caos, they’re all done for, the entire family. How do they find the edict first? Sima Yi says he tried to talk to someone important (Cao Pi), but was turned down. Fine, says Guo Zhao, she will try.
Gonna flash that smile, baby.
I am glad he's he's finally thinking and planning. I also liked the round table council. I like when people try to find a solution together with their loved ones and everyone contributes something.
She indeed is admitted to Cao’s son when she has her sword presented to him and charms him easily, with smart words (that he recognizes as suggested to her by Sima Yi despite her assurances to the contrary). She asks whether Sima Yi will be allowed to see his father. Cao Pi says there is nothing he can do in this case, he may serve his father, but he has no influence. His father is “like a big tree on the mountain”, and he was simply born under that big tree. He only sees small mountains and will never be able to surpass him. Ouch. Guo Zhao calls this attitude wrong - the sky is above him too, if he only tries to reach it. Guo Zhao also warns him against Yang Xiu; we know that is no news to Cao Pi.
So is he a weak guy - or at least a pale shadow of his alpha-male father - a good guy, or a guy harboring resentment who will rise up against his father in an effort to surpass him?  Hmmm.
The vibe I got was he was feeling a tad sorry for himself in the scene. He knows he is not highly regarded by his dad and that's gotta hurt.
Before they part, Cao Pi says he has a way out … and draws two characters on her hand. It’s a name, he says, a secret name. Whether it will work or not will depends on Sima Yi’s luck. Swoooon and ship. He also gives her another sword - his, so that she can more easily and directly get to see him. Cao Pi’s advisor smiles through all of this. Is he his trusted ally who has been with him since he was little? And knows his Master is about to fall in looooove?
Hmmmm. Mostly rather than shipping/swooning in this drama so far I'm laughing because if it were Korea these guys would all be played by pretty 20 year olds, so I'm looking at age appropriate (perhaps) sons and thinking wow, damn these guys are OLD. Relatively speaking. To me they look mid-thirties to mid-forties.
Why is writing on a palm so erotic to watch?? I do ship this two.
Extremely excited, Guo Zhao returns to the Sima household (little bro was sitting around wondering why the deputy commander would meet with “A Zhao”, awww, you poor fool) and proudly declares Cao Pi wrote two characters on her hand! There is nothing there when she shows her hand of course, haha. She attempts to write the same info on Sima Yi’s hand, but he calls an end to the shenanigans by urging her to just tell him what he wrote. It's Xun Yu. Ha! Nice, cause I’m hugely biased towards this guy - Nirvana in Fire be thanked.
The Marquis, yes!
Junior bro is jealous she succeeded in seeing Cao Pi. Give it up bro, I don't think you two were not meant to be. Marquis Yan! (no seriously, I love him) I didn't even know he was Xun Yu till later because to me, he is and will always be Marquis Yan.
Sima Yi has an idea - he rushes to the servant and asks whether there is any medicine in the house. There is, says Hi Juo, for the ladies, it’s called Yi Mu grass. Can men eat it too? Sima Yi asks. apparently, yes. It will do!
Okay, you commenters, what's Yi Mu grass! Spill the beans! Err...herbs.
My mind immediately went to PMS drugs or conception drugs. The latter makes no sense in this context though. 
Next, we see Sima Yi visit Xun Yu/Wenruo, begging to be able to meet his father - only once. Wenruo is not exactly forthcoming though - he is pretty pissed at what Sima Yang has gotten himself in to, making peace between the parties quite unlikely going forward. Sima Yi says he only needs to see his father once - to convince him to not make a confession because of the torture, to avoid implicating more people. Aww.
Why's he pissed at Sima Yang? HIS dad was part of that shit, too.
I got a slightly different read here. In fact, and I may be dead, dead wrong, I feel Xun Yu is not as much a Cao Cao man as I initially thought. He didn't agree till Sima Yi basically said in not so many words that he wanted to go shut his dad up in prison.
Wenruo is convinced and to the prison they go - to bring Sima Fang some medicine for his heart condition, Wenruo explains to a suspicious Man Fu. All of them go in. Oh god, Sima Fang looks bad :( Sima Yi cries when he sees him, asks about his health - and whether it is true that he’s conspired with with the enemy. No! the old man declares. Good, says Sima Yi, then do not confess due to torture. And he asks whether there are any old friends he should visit that he should ask to plead for him? No, says the old Sima again, he does not want to involve anyone else into this.
Poor guy, he's been through a lot.
I almost didn't recognize him. Poor guy is almost dead already.
The most important thing, the father adds: Sima Yi cannot leave behind his brothers. Especially the marriage of third little brother is urgent. Uhm, what?
Code! Code!
Oh, Sima Yi takes this to mean that the Yang family has the edict! Their father would not have spoken about this marriage otherwise, with the two ministers present and him at death’s door. Yeah, this may well be … but just then, when looking at Dong Cheng’s and Wang Zifu’s heads hanging outside the gate, Sima Yi and his little brother learn that their father is about to be executed, in three days. DAMN.
Well shit. (Sorry but I love that dumb little brother, he's too cute.)
The situation is dire but I feel this would spur some much needed action on Sima Yi's part.
BAM, Sima Yi busts into the Yang mansion with his brother's help and goes straight for the main room - where he bumps into Minister Yang and his son. Sima Yi pleads with Minister Yang to do something to help his father, they're old friends! Not much the Minister can or wants to do though - and on top of everything, Yang Xiu insults Sima Yi for being incompetent. Because he failed to convince the Grand Minister of his father’s innocence! Wow, the gall.
Oh, we will have choice words for THIS shithead, yes we will.
I can't believe weasel face berated Sima Yi for being incompetent. No shame.
Sima Yi is very much offended, of course, but brushes it aside, to ask Minister Yang a question from his father: how does he want to deal with the edict that he signed with Dong Cheng? Minister Yang immediately denies any knowledge of this, but Yang Xiu has ears. What edict? he demands to know.
Well looky looky, Mr. High and Mighty. Looks like Daddy isn't any different than Mr. Sima over there. You didn't know? Too bad. No excuse for being a shit weasel, sonny boy.
I love that he outright asked for the edict. That was badass.
Sima Yi claims to have the edict - and if Yang does not do anything to help his father, he’ll do whatever it takes. Oioioi. Yang Senior is shocked!
I know right? How dare one old friend betray anoth...oh, wait.
It's about time Sima Yi went nuclear.
The two Simas make a run for it, with Yang guards trying to stop them. Sima Yi is convinced now that Chief Yang has the edict because of his reaction - and he quite deliberately talked about it in front of Yang Xiu. Minister Yang must think he stole it - and he will now go and check for it, while Yang Xiu will definitely seek to destroy it.
*rubbing hands together gleefully*
*joins Jo*
Indeed, as foreseen by Sima Yi, Minister Yang hurries to open a hidden box back at the house - which contains the edict. Yang Xiu is close behind - busted, old man! Yang Xiu seriously considers going to the Grand Minister with this (you fucker!!), but his father threatens to kill himself if he does that. In what follows, Yang Xiu manages to set the edict on fire and destroy it. His father is quite devastated about this, the fool - there goes his means for the restoration of Han, he thinks.
This part confused me a bit...he was going to turn in his own father?
I don't think he was thinking clearly in the moment because surely as you said won't his dad have been implicated and killed? Unless he was foolhardy enough to Cao Cao would give him a special concession.
Next in Sima Yi's plan is another visit to Minister Xun, who is little pleased to see him. Sima Yi begs him to save his father’s life this time. Nothing he can do, comes the curt answer. Does he not want to save all the courtiers of Han? Sima Yi asks - hinting at the clothes edict. He is sure Wenruo would not have signed that edict, but! If Yang Xiu had it, it could turn bad for him. Yang Xiu is good at mimicking handwriting, as we know from the forgery of that letter, he would not shy away from forging Minister Yun’s signature!
Ooooh, I like it. I like it.
The Yangs get wind of Sima Yi's visit to Minister Yun - and Yang Xiu is alarmed. Does the Minister know about the Edict too? Yes, of course: His father tells him he invited Minister Yun to sign several times, but he always refused. Yang Xiu panics: he fears that Sima Yi will force Yun to sell Minister Yang out (cause that's what he would do). Straight to Minister Yun he goes himself.
*nudges Sima Yi in the side and gives him a discreet thumbs up*
Yang Xiu is easy to read because he is a craven ass.
Hahaha, this would be funny if it weren’t so damn serious. Minister Yun also finds it funny to see the weaselly Yang, who warns him of the danger he is in because of his knowledge about the edict, which he did not share with Cao Cao. He and the Grand Minister, Wenruo tells Yang’s son, go very deep, his life is definitely not in danger. A desperate Yang Xiu shows his ruthlessness again by hinting at shutting up the Simas entirely.
See Xun's face down there?  That's a man smelling a shit weasel nearby.
As do I. Gosh, I hate Yang Xiu.
Minister Yun is playing the zither next when Cao Pi comes to pay him a visit. They seem to have a strong connection, almost like teacher-student? Minister Yun tells him to practice restraints.
“I really should not plead to my father?” Cao Pi asks. There are only three days left before Sima Fang will be executed. Yun has a riddle for him: There are chains across the river, only allowing one person to cross, how will he help him? He definitely talks like a zen master, our Minister Yun.
I'm leaning toward Cao Pi being a good guy stuck in a difficult position.
I agree. 
Hmmm, what? In the next scene, Yang Xiu (and Ji Bu, who sees Yang Xiu) witness how Minister Yun meets Sima Yi at the river, has a fight with him and has him stabbed. Whaaaaat? Yang Jr. can't believe his eyes! He even bends down to check on Sima Yi. He says "don't blame me, only one of our fathers can live." Ohhhhhh, so Minister Yun agreed to this with him?! Wow. When Minister Yun's guard throws Sima Yi's body into the water, Yang Xiu shows a strong reaction. Is he feeling bad? Yeah, he should. 
Yeah, well, feel bad in Hell, you jerk.
That entire scene came out of nowhere and would have shocked me a lot more if I didn't know there was NO way Sima Yi would be gone so early.
Yang Boy tells Minister Yun that he can feel safe now (the gall!), but Yun says that it's rather Yang who should try to stay safe. It sounds like a threat - and Yang Xiu reacts strongly with a counter-threat, saying he will put Minister Yun's name on that list. He is only safe as long as his family is safe. Wow.
I want to scratch his fat face.
I can't believe Yang Xiu has the gall to threaten Xun Yu. Does he really feel he's holding the cards?
But he DOES feel bad, our Yang boy. He pushes Sima Yi's boat away from the pier and looks like he is about to cry. When he sees the blood he got on his hands, he screams in horror - and collapses, sobbing.
So he's a pansy-ass, too. Own it, buddy. Own it.
That breakdown was so random and why the tears? I mean, he planned it why the strong reaction? Pfft.
Next, we see members of the Sima household searching for their master, but nobody has seen him. Desperate, Guo Zhao goes to Cao Pi again. Sima Yi has disappeared and tomorrow, Sima Fang will be executed. Please, she pleads, make Grand Minister hold the execution! Ohhhh ... will her tears move him to do something he has been told not to do?
What's he supposed to say? 'Hey, you know, not for nothing, but I think if you really want maximum effect BOTH sons should watch their father die, and one of them is missing, so can we just kinda put the brakes on for a bit? Not forever, just till we find the other son.  Then you can go ahead and kill the dad. More bang for the buck!'
At the Sima household, Zhang Chun Hua prepares for the worst. She attempts to send the servants away ... but Hou Ji refuses to leave. She asks him then to find a home outside the city with someone who breastfeeds. She wants to send her children away - and it is his task to keep them alive. She herself will go to her country home. Without them. Ouf.

So she's expecting them all to be killed?  Then why weren't the sons imprisoned immediately?
Hou Ji moved me here. Also remember when I said I liked that there was a council in the Sima household with everyone in loop? Well, scratch that because Chun Hua is obviously in the dark in whatever Sima Yi planned.


Oi, that ending was heartbreaking. We all know that Sima Yi is by no means dead - not only because this drama has tons of episodes and is about him, but also because Minister Yun clearly isn't a bad guy. Yes, I'm hugely biased. I love Wang Jinsong, the actor portraying him! I even have a crush on him. But apart from that, Sima Yi got to him first and by his reactions to him and later to Yang Xiu, it seems clear he and Sima Yi are plotting something against the Yangs. I am also pretty sure it will be something to save both their families.
I know but still, it was cruel to not even tell his wife.  he could have kept the secret.
Yes!!! He should have told his wife. I can't even imagine what she's going through making plans to get a wet nurse for her baby. So sad. As for Marquis Yan, I am uber duper biased towards him and I have chosen to believe from now on that he's a good guy playing a long con.

Yang Xiu is an intriguing character. Desperate to save his family, ruthless - yet not heartless. He was truly devastated that Sima Yi was "murdered". Too little, too late, of course. Let's see whether this drama will try to make us like him or whether he will stay this shady throughout.
I think my opinion has been made abundantly clear, but I have been known to change my mind.
I felt absolutely nothing for his "devastation". He's abhorrent.

Last, but not least: Cao Pi! Oh man, what a dear. So filial, yet so sad not to be loved more. “They either flatter me or fear me - no one talks sincerely with me”, he tells Miss Guo, moved by her frankness towards him. I can't wait to get to know him better.
I wonder if they're end game.
I think they've been end game since the slo-mo horse scene in episode 1.