Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 43 (Recap)

Oh goodness. All of a sudden, things are moving super fast! And our friends on the mountain find themselves in mortal danger. Also, Mei Changsu's true identity is THAT close to being found out by Prince Jing. Maybe General Meng is right and he should just tell him. Seriously, stop torturing the poor water buffalo!
JoAnne: I think at this point he probably SHOULD just go ahead and tell him, but my big question this episode is who actually did poison Mei Changsu with the Bitter Flame? Is it relevant to the story? I want to know anyway, though.
Eleanor: I won't answer your first question Jo, but yes, the poison is very much relevant to the story, so don't worry, we will find out soon enough what the big deal with it is. And my little water buffalo looks so very lovely there - his IQ is loading up a little in this scene ;)

Episode 43

Consort Jing insists she must feel Mei Changsu's pulse, even though that seems very weird to everyone (I think mainly because she would impose herself on this complete stranger). He bares it, she puts her fingers on his artery... and what she feels make her fingers shake and her tears flow. She almost says something, almost... but he pulls his hand away and she walks away, hiding her face. Poor Jingyan, he must be so confused!
Can she tell who he is by his heartbeat? Or is this not her confirming who he is, but confirming what's wrong with him - and if so, how can she know (by heart beat) exactly what's wrong?
Maybe all of the above? Maybe he is exhibiting other signs that would indicate to her what poison he has, and if she knows the poison and what it can do, she can extrapolate that it is Lin Shu. Though there might be more going on related to other things. From what I know about Chinese medicine (and it's not a lot), I think pulse reading is really important and can tell a lot. 
She can't tell him what's wrong, of course - and I'm sure it's not helping that she's sending him away now, to greet his father. Even a water buffalo realizes she wants him to leave for some inexplicable reason, so he obeys. Even though he turns and stands outside the tent for a while, wondering, almost going back in.
Poor lonely buffalo, kicked out of the tent.
I feel really bad for my little water buffalo. But he trusts his mother and well, I guess for now that will have to do. 
Inside, the crying continues. "Madame, please don't cry", Mei Changsu says, "crying won't help". But she cannot stop - so many years, she has held it in. If his father and mother would see him like this ... they would die of heartbreak. He gets up and sits closer, assuring her that he's doing alright. Calling her Aunt Jing. Not fooling her, because she knows he has the Poison of the Bitter Flame. It's a poison "that can be removed only by tearing off your skin and moving your bones".
What does that even mean? I guess if they rip you limb from limb you die from blood loss and pain, and that would 'cure' you of the poison...
Well we know the poison altered his body completely so that almost no one could recognize him - so it's like an extreme form of botox then? JK This scene is ripping my heart to shreds, maybe giving us all a dose of the poison. I think I need some heart medicine. 
She begs him to stop this revenge, to take care of himself - she will do what needs to be done. But he won't have it. He has come this far and he wants to walk to the end. She cannot tell Jingyan who he is - promise?
Pinky swear, guys. You know you wanna.
This scene also reveals just how much she wants revenge as well. I also ADORE the lighting and costume colour choices. It's so beautiful. 
Jingyan is still standing outside when Mei Changsu comes out of the tent - he did not go see his father. He wants answers for why his mother lost emotional control like that - but answers he won't get. Mei Changsu tells him that being nosy is unfilial and that is that.
You see, Jingyan, there was this one crazy night 17 years ago, your mom and I, we shared some rice wine and things got a little out of control...
Poor Jingyan. Come here my prince. I'll comfort you. I totally get why he wants answers though. Why does stubborn Jingyan look so hotte? 
Mommy won't tell him anything either ... but she assures him it has nothing to do with the here and now and nothing with Mr. Su. Seeing him brought back some old, sad memories, however. From before Prince Jing was born. Even before she came to the palace. It's Sir Su's illness, that she has seen before - and because she wanted to discuss it, she sent Jingyan out for doctor-patient confidentiality. Well, I don't think Prince Jing is buying this.
He's not always gullible, yay!
Okay, I think everyone needs a round of hugs! And yay for him not being gullible in this scene! 
Mei Changsu is walking back to his tent when General Meng pops up. He wants to hear all about the meeting! Well, that didn't go too well, Mei Changsu says, now Prince Jing is suspicious and they need to lead him astray. Meng, the little dummy, thinks there's no need, if it were up to him, he'd tell him the truth! Cue MCS death-stare :D
Ha. Don't you give my Meng dirty looks, you cranky pants secrets keeper!
There is method to the madness - though part of me does still want him to tell. That death stare though. Ouch! 
Back at the palace, Prince Yu is begging his mother the Empress to help him with his schemes. But she does not want to, because it's treason! He's very persuasive though. Not only does he have nothing left to lose, he also talks to his mother about the revenge that Consort Jing will most likely take because of what happened to Consort Chen. When she is finally ready to listen to him, this is what he wants: that she decrees that the responsibility of protecting the Capital is passed from the Capitol Patrol to the Imperial Guards (traitors!). He wants to seal the city off - so that Meng's and Jing's men cannot go help the hunting party. Ah, you FOOL.
Oh this is going to be so good. I am sooooooooo ready for this.
Oh Prince Yu. There's no going back now. I know there's been a lot of discussion about how if he had had some more guidance maybe he wouldn't have turned out so bad - but he did. He also grew up with Prince Qi. He's older than Jingyan and would have had the chance to learn from Prince Qi, but he didn't. He also didn't stand up to his father about Prince Qi, and Jingyan did, even though it isolated him from the court. I just think he just doesn't quite have what it takes - he's shot through with the same sorts of weakness as his father, and thus makes him not a good choice for emperor. 
In Sir Su's tent, there is studying going on - Yujin has issues concentrating though. So he chatters about things, for example that Prince Ji noticed Tingsheng the other day and asked after his status. Hmmmm ... what does that mean? That very moment, a commotion starts outside and when Yujin checks, it's General Qi. He reports that the beast has made an appearance again and they want to go capture it! It walked from Mount Gu to Mount Jiu An, it seems, which seems slightly strange.
Prince Ji is the Emperor's brother, right? He's quietly adding 2 and 2 together, I'd say.
He's a smart cookie that one. I just thought about Yujin as a little kid - he was probably that kid who would never keep quiet. From what I remember of moonlil and Joyce telling me stuff about the book, Lin Shu teased him a lot when he was little. 
Before Mei Changsu goes back in, he becomes aware of a special kind of soldier standing guard in front of his tent... it's his stalker, the musician! She quite bluntly refuses his order to go back home. Naturally, he's super annoyed. But I like her a bit better for her fierce loyalty.
Is she a stowaway, or did she actually join the guards? Do they know she's a girl? Do they have female guards regularly?
Doesn't she know though that she's majorly going to tick Mei Changsu off by doing this? It doesn't seem like a wise thing to do. 
In the Capital, Prince Yu is discussing his strategy (mobilize the Qingli army to attack Mount Jiu An) with his scarfaced commander, when they hear a noise outside! There's nobody there, but I bet that nobody isn't nobody.
Where's Fei Lui? Is he at Jiu An?
Prince Yu. You are an idiot. 
And indeed it isn't... it was "Fourth Sister" who is now rushing to free Tonglu (in the process killing quite a few guards). She tells him to run to his people and warn them of Prince Yu's rebellion. As they make their way off the property (is he on Prince Yu's ground?), they're discovered - and Jun Niang bravely shuts Tonglu out to fight all the men for herself. Nope, she won't make it out alive. R.I.P.
I like how they redeemed her character. 

At the Su Mansion, Zhen Ping and Li Gang have sealed the secret tunnel. It seems they're fully aware that Prince Yu is planning something! They're to leave immediately as soon as he makes his move. All they will leave behind is an empty house, giving the bad guys nothing. That very moment, Tonglu makes an appearance. He tells them the whole sad story about his Jun Niang who betrayed him - and what Prince Yu is up to. Oi, guys, GET MOVING!
Palli, palli! But in Chinese, please.
Hurry!!! Things are about to get stressful methinks. 
That may prove to be difficult though!! With Prince Yu in charge in the capital, Xiajiang is out of prison (FIE) and he immediately doubled all the guards at the gates when he heard of Tonglu's escape. Plus, he set up blockades on all the major roads. I HATE HIM. He is currently in Mr. Su's residence, snooping around - but it's completely empty. Him and his sidekick Banruo discuss how well prepared Mr. Su obviously was when coming to the Capital, which brings them to the Wujin poison, which reminds Banruo: could his miraculous recovery have anything to do with the Poison of the Bitter Flame?
I was so flabbergasted to see him looking normal that I thought it was a flashback at first, then I realized - of course Yu let him go. Does everybody know about the Bitter Flame now? No, I guess not.
Nope, not everyone knows about the poison yet. Xia Jiang needs to die a thousand, horrible, tortured deaths. Ugh. Prince Yu, if you side with Xia Jiang, you are no good. Evil. Evil. Evil. 
Zhen Ping might not have an exit order, but with a little help of sword and Tonglu (R.I.P.) he manages to escape the city and warn the hunting party of the rebellion and the impeding attack of the Qingli Army under General Xu Anmo. Oups, Prince Jing had that one ordered executed for desertion - no wonder he's quite keen to get rid of Prince Jing. They're lying to their men that Prince Jing has taken the Emperor hostage. Haha, his men do not believe this bullshit and demand to see the Military Seal (which signals authorization).
Tonglu: redeemed. Yu: Despite being reaaaaaally sexy in his war gear, DEAD TO ME.
Okay, the body count is rapidly rising. This is not so good. I guess when you have a corrupt emperor, there are bound to be corrupt military officials out there who are willing to believe whatever someone vying for power tells them, as long as they benefit. 
They probably faked a military seal, says Mei Changsu in the other camp, plus they would likely have bribed some of the five military commanders. Yup, and the ones who cannot be bribed are simply killed, as we get to see ... In any case, telling the Emperor about the rebellion right now is not advisable, says Mei Changsu further, because it would mean he would have them rush back to the Capital, which in turn would mean Prince Yu would not attack, which in turn would mean he'd get away with it. Even worse, the Emperor would probably think Prince Jing and General Meng had conspired against Prince Yu together.
So they have to be like a spider, sit tight and wait for the flies to come.
But these spiders are about to be attacked by rather huge numbers of heavily armed flies. Not so awesome. 
Everybody is "but what are we to do now?!" - but Mei Changsu, a brilliant military commander in his previous life, knows exactly what to do: Stand and fight, is what. And he pulls out Prince Jing' sword and points it to the map to explain the details ... just like he used to do when he was still Lin Shu. Uh-oh. I don't think that pretending nothing has happened will help you now, dear Lin Shu. His "oups, I messed up"-face would be funny if it weren't such a tense moment.
Boys. Always so DRAMATIC.
Mei Changsu: If I don't say anything, maybe Prince Jing won't notice. LOL I don't think so MCS. Little water buffalo is catching on. And Jingyan's face. People, his face is so kissable. I just had to say something. 
But things are urgent, they have strategy to discuss - and they need the nerves to wait for Prince Yu to do something stupid. (That won't take long, I'm sure.) (For real) Trying to fix his mistake, Mei Changsu apologizes for breaking etiquette (aka ripping his Prince's sword out of his sheath), but looks worried, even when Prince Jing says it's no big deal. Cause it's quite obviously a big deal.
To just reach in and grab it like that? A man doesn't let just any man handle his sword with such familiarity. It's just polite to wait until you're invited to touch things.
LOL. Well certainly not common advisors to royalty. 

On the road, some of the Emperor's men (a change of guard for one of the patrol stations) are attacked by Qingli guys, but one of the survivors is able to bring word to the camp. Daddy ain't pleased, to say the least! This means the enemy troops are quite near. The only option they have is stay on Mount Jiu An, in the Hunting Palace, which has steep cliffs to three sides and where they can hold out for three days max with the men they have - while Prince Jing rides to one of the nearby cities (Ji City) to get the army there as reinforcement.
Water Buffalo to the rescue!
Prince Jing, so hotte right now! 
Jingyan's and Mei Changsu's planning happens so quickly that poor Meng is completely lost. Some explaining is in order, like how Prince Jing will get past the approaching army. There is a way, says the Prince: down the mountain on a super dangerous path, that is. One that Prince Jing discovered together with Lin Shu. Not many people know about it. But ha, look at this, says Prince Jing - Sir Su seems to know, seeing how he is planning. Because Nihuang told him, like all the other stuff, is the excuse. Ha. The plot thickens.
Jing looks mighty unconvinced about that story. And hot. Jing looks hot.
Jingyan, very hotte. All sorts of indecent thoughts hotte. No wonder this role helped him become so famous ;)
Before any further questions can be asked, Prince Jing is summoned to an urgent meeting with his father. He gives strict orders to Meng that his father and his mother have to be protected at all cost when he's gone ... and, with a glance at Mei Changsu, so is Sir Su.
Well, I mean, Su touched his sword. They're bonded now.
Jo, I think you've been looking at the CP fanart for these two...
Bestowed with the real Military Seal from his father (what a sign of confidence!!), Prince Jing sets out on his dangerous journey. He is very worried though. Will the people he leaves behind really be able to hold out for three days? They are outnumbered ten to one. So much is at stake! If Prince Yu manages to breach their defenses and kill the Emperor, all is lost. Prince Jing mainly worries for the people on the mountain, the people he cares for ... but Mei Changsu tells him to stop worrying. This is about the Empire. People will die, but Prince Yu cannot win. And will not. Godspeed, Jingyan!
Look how parental the Emperor and Consort Jing look. Awww, he was in a room with his mom and his dad. It was like he was arguing for a later curfew, or the keys to the good car.
Dun dun dun. I love how Prince Jing's regalness just blossomed to a new level in this episode. He is becoming more kingly and Emperor-like by the second. Of course I'm not surprised, but it's still beautiful to watch. 


Poor Jingyan. He may be stubborn, but he is not stupid - he simply can no longer ignore all the evidence that keeps piling up. He probably knows already, but cannot accept it yet. I don't blame him. In the current situation, he cannot think about these things too deeply, he has to go and save everyone and everything he ever cared for. And as shown through Consort Jing's behavior, accepting that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu is very difficult for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, he looks nothing like his old self. How could we accept that someone would be completely altered in appearance?
We can't. We can't accept it. I can't accept it still. I think if they had made him UGLY I could accept that - altered beyond recognition by scars or disfigurement, sure. But just...yeah, I look like a whole different person now? No.
In the book he's certainly not as hotte as Hu Ge ;) haha. I don't have a problem with the premise that he looks totally different. And people can change drastically after 12 or 13 years such to make them unrecognizable. I love that my little water buffalo is slowly figuring things out. Yay! But yeah, I think he's suppressing the knowledge because it will hurt. It will hurt knowing that for all these years Lin Shu never said anything. It will hurt when he will think about the hurt he caused Mei Changsu. It will hurt knowing that for two years he's had Lin Shu by his side and didn't know. So much pain. 

But let's assume we have, somehow, been able to accept that it is possible. Fine. How hard would it be to not break down over his cruel fate? Too hard. He's already barely holding himself together as it is. He may still have the young general's brilliant intellect, but he is also bereft of his strength, of his energy. He is like a shell of what he once was. Because she knows the details of that poison and how it can be overcome, Consort Jing has realized what extreme suffering he went through in the process. That his days are probably numbered follows as a conclusion pretty quickly. It will be so DAMN hard for Jingyan. Having your beloved cousin back, but not really. And not for long. So sad.
*hides the tissues from Eleanor because NEED THEM*
Don't worry, I have my own box today. It is an incredibly sad and tragic situation - and all because of the evil and power-scheming ways of Xie Yu and Xia Jiang - he will lose so much, and everyone else around him as well. 

And I really hope Jingyan won't mess it up. Mei Changsu has a good reason for keeping the truth from him.  As we saw in that last scene, Prince Jing cares about people more than status or the Kingdom. That is a weakness the evil forces can exploit. I fucking hate it when you're right. Which is exactly why he never told Jingyan. In earlier episodes, Jingyan and Mr. Su clashed mainly over the notion that some sacrifices are necessary for the greater good, and this still applies. Only, this time it's about Lin Shu's sacrifice and I really don't know how Jingyan will be able to accept this.
*looks at Eleanor sobbing, gives her tissues*
I hate Xia Jiang so much for all this pain he is causing. 

It's such a crucial time for him. Prince Jing's mission is the ultimate kingmaker test. Getting the military seal from his father - which represents the absolute power over the military - is a huge deal. And even though I expect things to be very, very tough for the people on the mountain for a while, I'm already looking forward to seeing him return and reap the benefits of his bravery.
Meng is not allowed to die. Neither is Fei Lui or Consort Jing or that weird music girl or the eunuch who looks like Kung Fu Panda's teacher. We already know Mei Changsu doesn't die here, there's too many episodes left. Of course Jing doesn't. Ever.
Yeah, can no one please die. *builds safety bubble for our favourites* Well except Xia Jiang. He can die. Though he's back at the palace avoiding all the conflict here. Argh. 

Finally: The Tonglu arc has come to an end - poor soul. I hope he finds peace with his Jun Niang, in a better place. He meant so well, but he still brought harm to the people he felt so loyal to. But, attentive watchers have surely realized, a new/old arc is starting up again... the beast! We can expect more on that front soon. But first, please, everyone, survive the mountain!
There'll be tee shirts.
LOL that shirt. hahahahaha