The Advisors Alliance 大军师司马懿之军师联盟 - Episode 10 (Recap)

kakashi: Cao Cao shows his benevolence and a merry celebration party turns sour, revealing the limits of said benevolence.
Panda: Getting rid of all these problems is like playing "whack-a-mole".
JoAnne:  Other than Weasel and anyone who curries favor with him, who are the bad guys in this?  I'm starting to be confused.

Episode 10

People in the Sima household are "slightly" worried that Sima Yi might have miscalculated and Cao Cao might still kill Ji Bu ... and worse, since Sima Yi meddled in the Cao family affairs. But Sima Yi is full of confidence. He even says "nice" things about Cao Cao and his character! 
I was a bit tired of Chun Hua not having full confidence in him, and yet a tiny part of me worried fully also. It's Ji Bu's life at stake!
I don't care how much you love your husband, you're going to worry in this situation. If you don't worry, then I'm worried...about YOU. Sima Yi is a man. A smart man, yes, but he can still make mistakes.
And we get a flashback to when Sima Yi enlightened Cao Pi about his father's character and that after his foray as a bloodthirsty general, the main thing on his mind now are the people's hearts - all over the nation. It seems Cao Pi listened, because "justice"義 and "humanity" (仁, which seems to better translated as benevolence, actually!), the things he wrote on that banner, were the two characters Sima Yi wrote out for him with water on wood.
Cao Cao doesn't want to simply be known as a bloodthirsty ruler but a just one. That reassures me a little bit more that the plan might work.
Me too.  It also reassures me somewhat about Cao Cao. But isn't he a real person?  Wasn't he a bad guy? Or is that subject to debate? Because so far, in this story, I'm open to the debate.
Guo Zhao pays Cao Pi a visit at the marketplace...and since it's curfew time (which she doesn't care about), they're all alone. They're also extremely comfortable with each other, awww. Less awwww: Mrs. Cao Pi comes by too - she's even smiling, bringing him warm clothes, probably anticipating being nice to him. But before she gets close, she sees her husband and Guo Zhao sharing a foxfur muff, looking all loveydovey chummy. Without making her presence known, she goes back to the house.
Although A Zhao and Cao Pi are my ship, I felt anger at them in this scene. Truly, my heart broke for his wife. 
Yes. I'm a firm believer that if something isn't going to happen, then you let it go. He's married, and nott to her, so they need to be done. I know it wasn't what he wanted, but it's what he got, and his wife is an actual person with feelings who seems pretty okay. He should respect that, and little girl here needs to understand that she is 100% asking for every married woman in the city to slap her out of solidarity.
Cao Cao consults Zi Jian / Cao Zhi on the matter of killing or not killing Ji Bu. Young bro is actually not a bad guy, he even says that killing Ji Bu would make Cao Pi look bad (since he promised to spare his life). Cao Cao scolds him (though with a smile) that just a good heart does not make a great leader. The next day, Yang Xiu and Mr. One Eye Ding are outside, the latter urging Cao Cao to execute Ji Bu - to send the right signal, law blabla. Weasel tries to signal him to keep quiet. Both are taken to the marketplace (by a visibly displeased Cao Cao) to witness what will happen.
I wonder why Mr One Eye is so important to Weasel because he is definitely not as smart. Weasel knows exactly how much to push/say Ca Cao but the other guy just went blabbing on. Anyway, I am not displeased because it helps our guys. Cao Zhi is definitely not a bad guy but he doesn't have markings of a good leader also.
I was just pleased that the brothers have a bond, I'm so used to that jockeying for position in dramas. It's refreshing.
At the marketplace, Cao Cao grabs a sword ... and cuts down the banner. Which he then drapes over the bound and kneeling Ji Bu. Uh-oh. But he starts telling a story about how he himself broke his own law once during a military campaign. He wanted to kill himself to honor the law but was begged by everybody around him not to do it. So, to do some penance, he cut his own hair instead. What to do about Ji Bu who broke the law? The same - signifying justice. If he himself could be spared from death by the pleas of his people, so can Ji Bu.
I was so tense throughout this scene especially when that wisp of hair got cut.
I dunno...he smiled at the son who counselled mercy and he was upset with the guys who wanted death...I felt pretty sure Ji Bu would be okay. I didn't get too startled but I think I was distracted by my thoughts about how sharp that blade must be, and then that I need to get my knives sharpened, and then that I need new scissors since my kitchen shears are sprung.
... plus 50 stick beats for Ji Bu (I doubt Cao Cao got those). When they all leave the marketplace and Cao Pi thanks his father for his kindness, Cao Cao asks whether Cao Pi actually wants to get his thanks for giving him such an opportunity to show his benevolence today? It's true, Cao Cao looks like a hero - and so does Cao Pi. But I don't think Cao Pi had any second thoughts beyond saving Ji Bu's life.
YES! I am happy the plan worked 50 strokes of the cane or not. Phew.
So is Cao Cao PLEASED with Cao Pi, or not?  He didn't seem pleased.
A bit later, Cao Cao orders Ji Bu to tell him who gave him the idea for acting the way he did - if he tells the truth, he will be promoted to a good position. If he lies, Cao Cao will simply hunt down the responsible person himself. We cut to Cao Pi giving back his investigation bureau token, but Cao Cao won't have it - he promised Cao Pi that he would remain head of that bureau if he captured Ji Bu and "capture" him he did (sort of.) In addition, Cao Cao gifts Cao Pi with an excellent, yet difficult (and bad omen) horse. Though it seems they're not talking about that horse at all, but about Sima Yi.
Definitely Sima Yi. 
Heigh ho, Silver, and away!
Oh yes, finally! Bromance ensues between Cao Pi and Sima Yi who go out riding together - fast, up a very steep route. Scenic view and philosophical talk follows. Sima Yi becomes "Secretary of Literature" (huh?), but his wife is very worried about him getting involved in politics after all - and actually on the side of someone potentially seen as a threat by Cao Cao. 
I am sure the horse ride had a nuance that flew over my head, but it was pretty cool all the same. I feel for Chun Hua but it is too late. Sima Yi is already involved with the Cao politics. He had no choice than to choose a side.
Daddy did that, Chun Hua. Fight with him.
The very first thing that happens is buddy-drinking with the Tiger General, who is still feeling very humiliated for what Sima Yi did to him at his house. He forces Sima Yi to jug down a whole jar of wine containing a few drops of both their blood. Sima Yi passes out quickly afterwards (conveniently, as we later find out), just when Mrs. Cao Pi - who is happy to see her husband laughing - comes with soup for the drunk.
Awwww, I like her more and more, really.
Drinking someone's blood though... Men! The measures they take to placate their egos.
Oh no... one of Cao Pi's "friends" stares completely dumbfound at the pretty Missus. Oh no...that has bad consequences, because nobody is supposed to raise their head and look at her. I guess it's also rather bad that she has come at all? Cao Pi gets massively scolded by his mother. AND his father, who demands to know who was there. He orders punishment (mainly in the form of demotion) for several people.
What the hell. We see wives at husband events all the time.


Oh DAMN. There they were, happy and drunk and then BAM, the pretty lady makes them all fall from grace. I don't think she thought much about it...or did she? I cannot read her. It could be vengeance for her husband making mooney eyes at another woman.
I can't read her also but somehow I do not think she did it intentionally. The men were clearly NOT meant to see her face. It's not her fault their inebriated selves thought with their other heads instead of their brains.
I agree - it would do her no good and a world of bad to have her husband on the outs with his father.

The more I watch, the more I like Cao Cao. That's interesting, at the beginning, he was positioned like a perfect villain. But his intentions are good, or rather, as we were told in this episode, he strives for a greater benefit for all - I guess with whatever means necessary.
I am not sure I like him... I do not dislike him though. Not at all. he leaves me very conflicted. He is so personable and likable and then Bham! I remember his past atrocities. I am glad Sima Yi formally declared he had picked Cao Pi. Gosh, that wooing took so long. He had his work cut out for him especially as Cao Cao now sees Cao Pi as a threat more than ever. 
Someone has to make the tough decisions. I guess in this case it has been Cao Cao. He's not popular with the nobility and he dares to go against the emperor, but we've seen that they suck, so...I guess he felt he had to do it? Not that he appears to disavow the material goods that come from his behavior, of course.