Three words: Cage of Love
Coincidentally it still has the same three letters: CoL for both the dramas. Very unfortunately I get the same vibe for these two dramas. Hawick is so much cuter and less serious in this drama but maaaan Zheng Shuang just ruins everything that she touches. Somehow they changed her make-up look or something in this drama and she’s very unattractive in my books. She looked great in Love Weaves Through a Millennium, but I guess she really doesn’t look great in feudal-era dramas. I’ve got a lot of beef with her eyebrows in this drama so bear with me.
The drama starts with the pathetic make-up job that they did on Hawick, who plays Kang Xi, the Emperor of that time. He has no wrinkles or any contouring to make his face look more sallow. It literally looks like they just put a moustache on and whitened his eyebrows.
Like seriously. This is the best you can do?
Anyways, him and his grandson are reminiscing about his accomplishments, and his grandson’s like “GRANDPA you are so well-accomplished, I bet there is nothing you can’t have and you can’t do”
OH, WHAT A GREAT SEGWAY. Because he cornily looks into the distance and this little petal floats in (and it obviously alludes to a woman, duh) and this unfortunately is not the corniest scene you’ll see in this drama because it is full of corn.
Kang Xi proceeds to leave his grandchild while he follows this petal curiously,
… but outside are two fields of sakura trees, so unless him and his grandson took a detour to this palace and haven’t visited it for the past 3 weeks, it’s very questionable on how a petal that floated in had piqued his interest. How did that distract you? There are probably couple of dozen petals that float in everyday. Anyways, if you think this is our last encounter with someone follow/getting distracted by white petals, unfortunately you’re very wrong.
Anyways we are brought back to when Kang Xi was only 14, and he took over full power as reigning Emperor. Mi Xue, the actress, plays his grandmother. Can you believe she’s 60? Damn.
Anyways, Kang Xi had actually planned to capture Oboi, a regent that has been in power since his grandfather’s time. Since Oboi had amassed too much power over his years and was accused of corruption, Kang Xi decided enough was enough, and needed to capture him.
Oboi is mentioned a lot in drama world because there’s a lot of Wu Xia novels about him, I always thought of this guy:
ANYWAYS. I’d like to note that, apparently, Oboi was never seen as a bad guy until Jin Yong came along and made him a bad guy in his novels. Now he’s made into a power hungry guy that deserved to be killed, but I mean… maybe he was just a really nice guy that got on the wrong side of the Emperor. Anyways… this is him.
ANYWAYS the following scenes are pretty fcking ridiculous so bear with me while I attempt to explain it.
So Kang Xi and his friend/trusted side kick invite Oboi to a fight, to you know, learn how to fight or something. ANYWAYS, Oboi obviously beat the two little kids up, and proceeds to sit on the Emperor’s throne, which is like, obviously a pretty big deal because nobody is allowed to sit in the Emperor’s throne, except the Emperor. It’s like how no one is allowed to live in the White House except the president. AnYWAYS, I digress.
I guess the kids were expecting him to sit on the throne or something (I mean, does this happen on the daily? How did they foresee that?) and the throne is booby-trapped and Oboi is chained.
Anyways apparently Oboi has super strength (or they need to invest in some better quality chains) and he breaks all the chains and pretty much goes Doctor Octopus on these kids and uses his chains to attack them.
And what is this? Why did the Emperor plan this out so badly that he hired like 20 twelve year olds to fight his guy? Why not some full grown men? Mysteries of the world.
Anyways, Oboi tries to kill Kang Xi with this chain, but by accident, Oboi breaks a pillar and the broken part of the pillar manages to fall into the same trajectory to hit his head.
Hence, Oboi is defeated, very pathetically, albeit in a very sexy ‘robe-off-the-shoulder-manner’.
All related counsel members of Oboi are eliminated and the family of Ah Bu Dan is slaughtered, leaving his daughter, Liang Er, to fend for herself.
Kang Xi and Liang Er meet each other by coincidence when Liang Er is about to get kidnapped and sold off into slavery/prostitution and Kang Xi is just out and about checking out his country and he gets chased by assassins.
Who lets a 14 year old Emperor out to roam alone??
Anyways they end up hiding in this cave (this is very strangely reminiscent of Yun Zhong Ge Song in Cloud plot) but anyways, these 11/14 year olds apparently fall in love from spending one fcking night together. I feel so old when I say this, but, WHAT DO 11 YEAR OLDS KNOW ABOUT LOVE?
They proceed to have all these lovey/touchy scenes that I am not quite comfortable with because they’re CHILDREN.
Anyways, Kang Xi manages to pick up something off the ground to write into Liang Er’s hand and he draws a tiger, to tell her that the tiger will protect her if she’s afraid.
Like… can someone tell me what he picked up off the ground to draw on her hands? It’s darker and smoother than my eyeliners, AND you can just pick it up off the ground somewhere. Why did they even bother inventing pens/pencils/or brushes with ink in this case?
Liang Er finds her cousin, Rong Ruo, that has always taken care of her, to take her in.
I would like to mention that Liang Er is RELATED TO EVERYONE BY BLOOD TECHNICALLY.
HOW DID WE SKIM OVER THIS IN THE DRAMA? I DON’T KNOW.
Her dad is a royal uncle, and therefore she’s the direct cousin of Rong Ruo and Kang Xi. Isn’t the love triangle a little weird? Are cousin relationships not as weird back then??
Anyways, since Liang Er is techincally a fugitive because she’s supposed to be eliminated along with her family, the Ruo Rong’s family tries to kill her off.
She manages to run away from getting stabbed, but she trips over the ledge and manages to fall into the pond with a questionable and physically impossible trajectory that caused her to hit her head on a rock.
And why did this kid cover up his face? He’s working for the family anyways. Not like it matters if anyone sees him kill her.
Liang Er wakes up from the accident with amnesia and a set of ugly bangs. Rong Ruo gives her a new name: Ling Lang, so she is not troubled by her past.
*MANY YEARS LATER*
We see that Liang Er is now a young woman and she’s now a servant inside the royal palace. With her, we see a bunch of other servants (names that I’m trying to remember) but damn Hua Zhu is one of the servants and we saw her in Cage of Love. She’s actually so much prettier than Zheng Shuang and her features/bone structure but somehow she didn’t even make it to second female lead. She has a pretty annoying role in this drama though.
We finally get to see Hawick as Kang Xi, and somehow the producers thought it would be a great idea to have them shirtless, even though they appear to have no indication of muscle.
We also meet old Rong Ruo, who is also pretty handsome as well. I guess they decide to take a bath together afterwards… which is pretty… uh… close. I mean, their pants are off too right? So they’re in such close vicinity with their parts exposed to each other?
Once Kang Xi mentions about finding Rong Ruo a pretty girl to marry, he decides to get distracted to catch a floating petal. We get it. It alludes to a girl.
Ok thats cool, more petal catching. That’s it. That’s enough. No more.
We meet Zheng Shuang as Ling Lang and if there’s such thing as eyebrows being the opposite of being on fleek, this is it. What the hell did they do to her eyebrows? Half the scenes they look nonexistent or too light. Maybe they washed her out with the editing but but it makes her look very old.
Oh I see. More petal catching. Stop that.
Petal-catching flashbacks I see. It wasn’t like we didn’t understand that you guys were alluding to missing each other. Great.
Kang Xi, who probably has the crappiest guards/servants in the world, decides to wander around his campsite, and finds Ling Lang dancing in the moonlight.
Yes, she literally just broke into dance out of no where. It’s probably like how us modern people can’t help but break into a rhythmic head-nod to a catchy song. She runs away from him, embarrassed that he caught her dancing (I would be too).
…. and he decides to catch a petal with the back of his hand. Ok, enough is enough guys. This has to be a joke.
Ling Lang still retains the habit of drawing a tiger into her palm as a habit to help her feel brave.
Meanwhile, Kang Xi decides to slip out and find Ling Lang again.
Man his guards must be so crappy. This must be the world’s easiest to assassinate Emperor. I mean, what if he falls off a cliff? Or, on his walk there, gets ambushed by like 10 guys? No one knows where and when he had left right?
^Dem eyebrows doe
KAng Xi manage to undo all of Ling Lang’s work of washing the cloths, so he decides to help her.
Obviously we need to follow the first golden rule of drama, which is that if there is an opportunity/accident where the OTP become uncomfortably close, it will happen. Like how Kang Xi accidentally pulls on the cloth too hard while wringing it, and pulls Ling Lang into his arms. So damn corny.
Meanwhile, we meet Ling Lang’s brother, who is also working inside the royal palace now. Ling Lang’s brother called Hai (ok I only caught the last part of his name) starts trying to kill the Emperor because he believes that the Emperor is the cause of his family’s death.
Hai starts with poisoning all the people at the camp with something like cocaine but it makes them addicted/more aggressive.
^ These eyebrows though. And it looks like they skimped out on concealer too.
Ok enough judgement on my part. Kang Xi meets up Ling Lang again, convinced that she’s Liang Er (seriously dude, you’ve met her once, when you were 14, let it go) and decides to take her bunny to offer to nurse it back to health. At this point, Ling Lang is still convinced that he is just a normal servant in the royal palace too. Kang Xi manages to slip again once every day.
The medic determines that the bunny has consumed a very specific cocaine-like drug that will make him aggressive (I love how medics can derive so much back then from smelling someone’s breath).
Ling Lang is somehow convinced that Kang Xi will eat her bunny so she goes to confront him.
At the same time, Kang Xi is in the cooking area, trying to figure out the origin of the poisoning. Again, he’s slipped out (honestly, so easy to assassinate), and he bumps into Ling Lang at the same time.
At the same time, Rong Ruo and his men enter, and Kang Xi and Ling Lang hide.
Look at how dark her hands are compared to her face^
But anyways, she becomes afraid to see anyone else because it’ll ruin her reputation because she’s alone in this area with another man at this time of the night.
Rong Ruo see them, and Kang Xi signals for them to leave.
Following the Golden Rule: if there is any chance for the main male lead to get uncomfortably close to the first male lead, it will happen, without a doubt. I don’t get it though you know, I mean, Kang Xi has probably has had a few dozen consorts, so I’m sure that closeness with females doesn’t phase him, right?
Anyways, to save her embarrassment, he manages to get her out of the tent without anyone else noticing.
Hawick looks like a kid. He could pass for 17 years old.
Our second male lead that plays Rong Ruo isn’t bad as well. Pretty handsome as well 🙂
Anyways,Kang Xi and Rong Ruo engage in a horse-racing competition. Since Ling Lang’s brother (Hai) is out to get Kang Xi, he sets out traps for the horse to step into. OBVIOUSLY WE ARE GOING TO FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE AGAIN. The golden rule is unwaivering. It does not change.
She, is coincidentallly in the same area as him. And COINCIDENTALLY he falls right where she is. AND COINCIDENTALLY HE FALLS IN A WAY WHERE HIS LIPS, WHICH TAKE UP A VERY SMALL AREA OF HIS FACE, FALLS ON HER LIPS, WHICH ALSO TAKE UP A VERY SMALL SPACE AS WELL.
Like seriously, drama? LOL. This is so corny and predictable that it’s very cringe worthy.
Anyways Kang Xi sprains his wrist, and he’s reminded of Liang Er again when Ling LAng wraps his wrist in the same manner.
BTW even though Hawick does not have a single wrinkle on his face, his neck is a dead giveaway – look at his neck marks. Ladies, never neglect your neck during your night time routine ahem.
Hai proceeds to kill the two generals that he believes to have wronged him and starts drawing attention to himself.
We found out an accomplice of Hai is Yu Gu Gu, which is pretty much the headmaster of the servants.
She was the fiance of one of the killed brothers in Ling Lang’s family, and so that’s why she harbours so much hate for the Emperor, and is trying to kill Kang Xi.
Anyways Kang Xi manages to leave his royal courts again, undetected and dressed as a servant again to meet up Ling Lang. He shows her the bunny, but says he can’t release it.
At the same time, hes’ even more convinced that she’s Liang Er because of the same tiger that’s drawn on her palm to help her calm herself.
Ling Lang leaves angrily because Kang Xi pretty much told her that he would release the bunny, but he’s pretty much using the bunny as a bargaining tool to see her again.
As they’re trying to catch the person behind the poisoning, Yu Gu Gu takes this opportunity to try to frame Ling Lang for the crimes. The guards set out to find the culprit and at the same time, Ling Lang was by the beach, so she gets caught and gets tortured for the confession.
I mean… it would be great if she died and the drama ended there at episode 6 but nope, we have to deal with this drama for another 30 episodes (yes I’m getting kinda annoyed with it already). She gets rescued (of course) just in time by Kang Xi.
She finds out that he’s the Emperor and she faints because she’s been so rude to him all along.
Anyways for ‘punishing’ her, he decides to draw on her face to try to get her to remember the little tiger that he drew on her once.
She’s not allowed to wash this off because he’s the Emperor so she walks around like this the whole day.
Because Kang Xi is an annoying and persistent mf, he summons her again to clean off her face and also to ask if she remember it, which is a solid and astounding no but he doesn’t take it for an answer.
NO MEANS NO OK LETS JUST MOVE ON.
Right at this moment while Ling Lang is there, Rong Ruo comes in, and we receive the most overdramatic and ridiculous scene of all time.
Ling Lang knocks over these chess pieces, to which if you’ve ever played Chinese Chess before, you know that these pieces are heavy and made mostly out of glass or porcelain.
Now watch this:
THIS WOMAN KNOCKS OVER THESE PIECES FROM THE WAIST DOWN, AND SOMEHOW THEY ARE ABLE TO BOUNCE BACK UP. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE PHYSICS? THESE PORCELAIN PIECES WILL EITHER BREAK OR BOUNCE MINIMALLY, BUT NOT 5 FEET HIGH.
LIKE WHY ARE THEY BOUNCING BACK UP? ARE HIS CHESS PIECES MADE OUT OF RUBBER BOUNCY-BALL MATERIAL?
Then we see flashbacks of what happened between them when Ling Lang had a set of ugly bangs.
They fell in love while growing up, and he wanted to marry her.
But his dad was like, NOPE Ling Lang is just a servant (with a secret identity) and my son is so great that he needs to marry better. So Ling Lang was sent off to the royal palace and away from Rong Ruo. Rong Ruo has been looking for her since.
He finds her afterwards to embrace and tells her that he loves her and misses her.
He insists that he can marry her, and now that he’s so close to the Emperor, he can ask the Emperor to arrange a marriage for them. Ling Lang seems like she’s down for it too except she always has this constant 委屈 hesitant look on her face. I think it’s mostly because Zheng Shuang can’t act and it’s her default look for this drama.
Lastly, the brother of Ling Lang gets to know this other servant (sorry I really cannot catch the name… No one ever calls her by her name ok). I have a feeling they’re going to fall in love, but so far he’s just getting close to her because he thinks he can use her, and that this girl reminds him of his little sister.
FIRST WEEK OF RECAPS DONE! I still have Legend of Mi Yue to catch up on, but Legend of Mi Yue isn’t as fun to recap as this one. This one is so ridiculous that it’s kinda fun just pointing out all the ridiculous parts and the bad acting parts. Legend of Mi Yue is pretty well done but it makes it not as fun to recap, I guess.
xx til next week for another set of recaps 🙂