The Advisors Alliance 大军师司马懿之军师联盟 - Episode 11 (Recap)

kakashi: Two people are revealed as saints in this episode, whereas Cao Pi shows how much his father's testing is threatening to make him lose himself and the right path.
panda: I must be evil but I felt some satisfaction with what happened to A Zhao in this episode.
JoAnne: Ooooh, this was a good one, if a little obvious in all respects. As for A Zhao...she's a naive girl, and she received an important lesson.  Let's see if she actually paid attention.

Episode 11

Oh no, after the punishment of his friends by Daddy Cao Cao, Cao Pi is very angry at his wife, who seems honestly surprised, however...if she didn't plan this, who told his father? Cao Pi doesn't exactly beat her, but he is very violent, throwing scrolls around and later making her fall, too. What hurts her the most though is his complete mistrust of her. He leaves screaming "you and me are a misunderstanding!" I feel so sorry for her...even more so when she sobs "I am carrying your child" after he has left the room.
And I get my answer as to if they had actually had "relations". I get his anger and frustration but I am I move more and more to her side. She didn't ask for nor does she deserve this ill treatment :(
Yeah, Cao Pi doesn't come off looking very good here, unless somehow she really did set this all up deliberately. And even then, he crossed a line. I'm not too set on the idea that she told his father, though - this is Cao Cao. This is politics. You don't think he has spies everywhere?
Guess who it was that told Cao Cao? Her maid. And guess who pays her for a job well done? Yang Weasel. Fie, you vile man!
He is literally the worst person in the drama.
Disgusting worm.
Cao Pi and Sima Yi send off one of Cao Pi's disgraced friends / advisors who is forced into exile. Cao Pi feels very bad for failing them, but it doesn't seem like they blame him. Sima Yi says - I'm paraphrasing - it'll all be okay, don't worry too much. He also tells him it wasn't his wife who ratted them out, but likely her servants. 
But will that make Cao Pi go apologize to her? NO! Honestly, MEN...
He's got a better wife and friends than he maybe deserves at the moment. 
Kinda surprisingly, Cao Pi asks for Guo Zhao to be sent to his house. WTF, man! As a concubine?! Yes, he wants "Someone to trust"! Is that what's it called now? She is VERY eager. Less so: Chun Hua. She looks her little sis up until she comes to her senses (probably never). Heartbroken: Sima brother who we know is very fond of Zhao. But the sweetie tells big bro that he is happy as long as she's happy. He even goes to Cao Pi to assure himself that man will be good to his A Zhao.
Poor Sima bro. I love he didn't go all evil scorned lover/second lead route. He is so sweet, I wish him happiness in future. And, indeed I was intrigued by the terminology for concubine. LOL.
Sima sweetheart, you were genuinely happy to help her if that's what was going to make her happy. That is true love. She's going to regret it, I think, but I like that you didn't try to change her mind. I like that you respected her right to make her own choice, even a stupid choice. And who knows? Maybe it won't be....hahhahahaahahah no I can't even say it. I like you Cao Pi, but your life sucks, and so the life of everyone around you is going to suck, too.
He seems satisfied after this test, because Little Bro tricks his sister-in-law into letting him go to the prisoner with food. Not only does he give her a poetic message from Cao Pi (hidden in a fish...I don't know) but he also helps her escape - right into Cao Pi's arms. Hilariously cheesy.
The jump, the flowers, the slo-mo... Hehehehehe
That was so over the top - the symbolism innocent faith in her backwards leap - was this the first recorded instance in history of a trust fall? I guess there's a story or a poem about a man finding something good in a fish, that's why he quoted that first line. He knew she'd know the rest and figure it out, although it seems to me even if she didn't know it she was going to realize there were wooden sticks in her dinner.
They're all cute and such once at Cao Pi's manor (though honestly, she annoys me - I don't like women who act like 12 year old girls) until he asks her to give him intel about Sima Yi in the future. Ouch. She is deeply hurt, but maybe she should have listened carefully. Cao Pi knows that his life and position depends on Sima Yi's loyalty. Without it, he cannot protect her either. So even though he sounds like an opportunistic douchebag, he is not doing this only because he wants power.
I was happy at this scene. Yes, she was hurt and I get that it was a different time and all but she never even considered his wife for a second! Urgh. He does care for her though, he was just being extremely blunt.
Yep, I appreciated his frank admission. He likes her AND she can be helpful to him - he really won the lottery in that regard. But she's what? 16? Still has her baby teeth for crying out loud! and is all betrayed and destroyed that her man - who is in the fight of his life - could possibly have considerations that extend beyond her. Whatever, child. Go home.
He tells her to make up her mind by herself and leaves. Guo Zhao takes it badly. Outside, Zhen Fu arrives...smiling. Surprisingly (at least to me!) she's very kind to the younger woman, saying she is glad she's here... because she is glad someone will be able to comfort her husband. OH MY GOD. Is she a saint?! It's either a sign of a very deep and selfless (yet resigned) love or a sign of no love at all.
Sadly, I think it is a sign of resignation to a life of no love at all.
I want to be all angered and jealous on her behalf - I certainly was last week - but if he's allowed to take concubines, come on - there are many societies throughout history that included polyamory and I guarantee you some of those women found a way to get along. I'm sure a lot of the happy stories can be considered revisionist history on the part of the men who got to have their cake and eat it, too, but there had to be some benefits for some women, right? God, I hope so.
Wenruo (IN DA HOUSE!) is with Cao Cao, asking him to be lenient vis-a-vis one of the men who looked at Cao Pi's wife. If he punishes him too harshly, people at court will say he just doesn't want his eldest son as crown prince. Cao Cao, who seems well aware of that, reveals what the late Feng Xiao (MISS HIM) wrote on the bamboo stick: "Appoint the wise one" (Wenruo wrote "the eldest"). But who is "wise"? Cao Cao hasn't made up his mind about it yet. 
Cao Cao is clearly prejudiced and I need more Wenruo on my screen. Yummy, Yummy Marquis Yan.
I particularly loved the slow zoom in to the little throne on Cao Cao's head, until I realized they were actually zooming in on the armor.
Instead, he comes up with something devilish again! There's a military campaign. He has General Cao Hong wait in front of the city gate for a flag (actually, a stick with bells). The two potential crown princes each get one of the bell-sticks and get told to race to the General from two opposite gates. The rub: Whoever loses will get severely punished. Great! Of course, it's a test (Yang vs. Sima), so there will be an obstacle.
He keeps testing Sima and Yang, choosing a crown prince sometimes feels like an afterthought.
It's an interesting lesson, though: the value of the ruler is not with himself but with whom he surrounds himself. You are only as good as the advice you take, in other words.
Guo Zhao makes up her mind to leave ... though she clearly does not want to. Cao Pi kinda promises her to not lose his humanity (his "heart") over this fight for the crown, which makes her stay. They hug it out. And I'm torn...I think I ship him much more with his lonely, sad, pregnant wife than with this child.
You are a mind reader. My ship sorta became the Titanic since the last episode and it's been treading water ever since.
I much prefer him with the wife over this child who is probably going to be a problem. I'm impressed she sees his worth since it's clearly him and not his potential role that she values, but she is not ready for all that jelly. No way.
Sima Yi, now part of Cao Pi's council, fails to come up with a plan. Him and the hotheaded Tiger General are hilarious. Please don't kill Tiger General, show, he is fast becoming a favorite of mine!
He's so dumb. LOOOL
Ah, but he's so much FUN.
It's the next day, the race for General Cao Hong is about to begin...but here's the obstacle: the gates are closed and soldiers are guarding it with their lives. We saw earlier how Yang Weasel suggests to a shocked Zi Jian to just kill the obstacle (so he guessed correctly that they would have to get past some officers). And FUCK ME, he actually does it! He is so vile. And no, show, even if you keep showing me how much he actually abhors this violence, it does NOT make it okay.
I don't care if he grows horns after he commits violence, he is an evil, disgusting pig. Can never be redeemed.
I almost think it's worse that he hates doing it, because he does it ANYway. He actually has the nerve to say look, let's do crappy things now because it's the only way we can manage this, and then later we'll be good again. You are deluded, weasel, and you give horrible advice. You either stay on the right path or you jump to the dark don't get to tread water in the middle.
Zi Jian and FUCK HiM Weasel race to the General and deliver the flag. They have won. What about Cao Pi? He rages in front of the shut gate. He threatens violence and I guess he is desperate enough to also kill one of the soldiers, but Sima Yi tells him to stand down.
That poor guard was a hair breath away from death. 
I don't hate Cao Pi for having that frustration and rage in the moment, but I do wonder if he'd have stopped himself without Sima Yi there to remind him. If we think he wouldn't, then he's no better than Weasel, surely. If we think he would, then it's great Sima Yi is there but Cao Pi needs to trust his own self, too, or risk ending up thinking it's Sima Yi's 'fault' when something eventually goes wrong. Because something always goes wrong, eventually. We know that, right?


Now we have confirmation. Much more than testing his two sons directly, Cao Cao is testing their two main advisors. Is that because he thinks each character gets the advisor he deserves OR because he wants the best for himself? I was really shocked by Yang's ability to just kill, but I shouldn't have been - he already "killed" Sima Yi. I'm not sure what the show wants me to feel about Yang. As we are repeatedly reminded, he is NOT doing this for himself but for the greater good (which he thinks is linked to Zi Jian). But as long as we do not see how he gets punished for his despicable acts, I will be left hanging morally by this show.
Weasel is simply disgusting and this is why I can never be fully on board with Cao Cao. He surely knows the two advisors true characters by now. What more does he want to test? I remain baffled as to his Cao Pi prejudice.
Weasel is a monster who lies to himself that when he's in power he can be a good man. It won't happen.

Cao Pi's character is fascinating. We know he is a "good" guy, but that good has its limits and the more he is put under pressure, the more likely it seems he will leave decency behind. The show has placed Sima Yi AND Guo Zhao in his vicinity to prevent this from happening, but what when he stops listening to Sima Yi? It could happen. Especially if Sima Yi fails to "deliver" good solutions.
I fear the same
The results of our decisions are cumulative, Cao Pi, so weigh yours carefully. As for us, we should remember that all good men have their limit - it's just that for a few, death comes before they reach it.  

So - let's hope the punishment isn't going to be too big!
Well we know they can't kill him.  Not yet anyway.