‘Let’s get everyone to hate Xu Hui’ game!
Seven episodes later we are still playing this game where the producers are making you hate one antagonist. This antagonist will cause all the problems within the drama and unfailingly act like a assh*le in every given scene. This is a typical drama recipe actually, because they try to get you to hate the antagonist but feel empathy for the protagonist so everything is black and white, so they can direct you in the right direction on the emotional rollercoaster. I wish they did it more skillfully because things are happening in a very typical drama fashion and I’m finding myself skimming through so many of the scenes. I don’t mention a lot of the Xu Hui scenes in this summary but they’re scattered quite frequently within the drama. It would be like a scene with her and Mei Niang, and suddenly while Mei Niang wouldn’t be looking, her expression would change to become very evil looking. It’s very basic stuff like that.
Unfortunately, the ‘Let’s get everyone to hate Xu Hui’ game lasts until Episode 51… so bear with me. Or, er, bear with the drama for now. It gets better, I swear.
Cheng Qian fails at dethroning the Emperor and instead, is defeated. The Emperor had known about this half a month in advance and had set up counter measures already.
This small part was so cute. Mei Niang was released from being imprisoned (by Cheng Qian) because Rui An found her and released her. She tries to get past the guards to run towards the Emperor and Cheng Qian, except it was also guarded by Wang De (the wonderful personal eunuch of the Emperor). He says “Wu cai ren ah!!!” (meaning Concubine Wu) in such a scolding but fatherly manner. Anyways, she’s allowed in, and she sees the confrontation between the Emperor and Cheng Qian.
The Emperor reveals that he did not plan to remove Cheng Qian as Crown Prince, but sadly, now he’ll have to because of the coup. Cheng Qian looks at Mei Niang and says “賤人！你騙我！” which roughly translates into “Bitch, you lied to me!” (seriously). Cheng Qian is imprisoned.
The Emperor pulls Mei Niang into his office and throws her the note that she had originally wrote to the Crown Prince. He asked her why she would plan against him, and almost killed her. Mei Niang didn’t deny it, but said that if he suspects her, she has nothing to say that could save herself. She is imprisoned.
Before her imprisonment, Li Zhi stumbles into all this and asks how to save her and Cheng Qian. Mei Niang advises him to beg, beg, and beg the Emperor to let Cheng Qian go, and don’t take no for an answer.
As a result Li Zhi kneeled outside in the rain for hours outside the Emperor’s office. Li Tai kneels with him in order to pretend to be filial and brotherly (but in reality, Li Tai was the catalyst to Cheng Qian’s bad deeds and leg injury). Li Zhi ends up fainting from the rain, and ends up passing out. The doctors determined that after being in the rain for so long, Li Zhi had developed feng chi,a disorder that would cause huge unbearable migraines and an early death.
I guess… Either way that you think about it, the prediction was right. Mei Niang did ruin the Tang dynasty. This is where it all stems from. If she hadn’t asked Li Zhi to go out into the rain, he wouldn’t have developed feng chi, and if he hadn’t developed it, he would be more capable to dealing with political matters. Mei Niang was only untrusted and hated only because she had to take over his political matters because of his feng chi, right? And this caused a domino effect with her sons, some being mistrusting, and some being just plain incapable.
Meanwhile Wei Fei is very happy from Mei Niang’s imprisonment. She plans to send someone to assassinate Mei Niang while she’s imprisoned, and make it look like a suicide.
But as I said in the beginning of this post, this is not just a drama, it is also a very typical drama. Obviously all the key characters come in place at the right time to prevent Mei Niang’s assassination. Li Zhi goes to Shu Fei to get Shu Fei’s special pass to get through the guards. He brings Qing Shun, Shu Fei’s personal servant. Qing Shun brings Li Mu, a prisoner that they rescued. More about Li Mu later.
So in sum, Qing Shun, Li Mu, and Li Zhi are all there. They won’t let them in because they’re doing coincidentally something sketchy right now – assassinating Mei Niang. At the same time the Emperor decides to come to the prison to personally interrogate Mei Niang. So… the assassins decide to kill Mei Niang right as Li Zhi, Li Mu, Qing Shun, and the Emperor all show up because, drama.
In the end, Mei Niang’s assassination is prevented, and she is taken care of at Shu Fei’s.
There was this incredibly cute scene where Li Zhi brushes the hair off Mei Niang’s face. Mei Niang’s his first love/first crush so he awkwardly does so, and looks around, feeling satisfied that he could take care of her in that sense, but at the same time, embarrassed. Ah, if they had more cute moments like this! They are such an attractive couple together too.
Li Mu visits her after her rescue. Turns out Mei Niang and Li Mu are 青梅竹馬, meaning that they grew up together, and they were going to get married. Li Mu is still enamoured with Mei Niang, and asks her to elope with him because she’s suffered so much in the palace. Mei Niang flat out refuses because she says she’s changed – Mei Niang is different from the original ‘Ru Yi’ now, and she loves the Emperor. Just FYI, Li Mu is also part of the rebels against Li Shi Min too.
Li Mu leaves once they hear Li Zhi looking for Mei Niang. This is the scene where Mei Niang sees an opportunity for Li Zhi to be Crown Prince, and asks him to consider it. It can’t be Li Ke for sure, because he’s the grandson of Emperor Yang from the Sui Dynasty, and it won’t be Li Tai because Li Tai is too sneaky to be Emperor. Mei Niang tells Li Zhi to try, and to do it for her. Li Zhi initially refuses, thinking that he doesn’t have the ability, but reconsiders when Mei Niang asks him to protect her.
After recovering from her attempted assassination Mei Niang was not sent back to the prison. Her punishment for aiding treason of Cheng Qian was to be the library every day, and to copy books. I guess that’s how they made copies of books back then, since there were no copy-machines nor type writers. Mei Niang cutely replaces this old lady in there.
Li Zhi finally agrees to try for the Crown Prince and Mei Niang forces him to read all of these official documents that his father had once approved of to teach him how to govern a country. Sigh. Back in these episodes Li Zhi was still lovable and so cute. From Mei Niang’s help, Li Zhi was able to express himself eloquently with important ideas in front of everyone during in the courts during a meeting with the chancellors. He impressed the Emperor with his wit and possible leadership skills, thanks to Mei Niang.
Ah… This is where it starts.This Xiao Chang saga. It’s quite sad. Her tummy looked very far along to induce that abortion. It’s always so sad to lose a child. Xiao Chang takes the herbs otherwise known as wu xing cao from the package delivered by Mei Niang (but from Xu Hui) and mixes it into her medicine. She also mixes the remnants of the herbs into the trash in the kitchen.
Wei Fei, realizing the package of herbs was delivered by Mei Niang, heavily punishes Mei Niang, and tries to torture a confession out of her.
I feel like olden day dramas do the ‘blood-dripping-out-of-mouth’ thing way too often. Like if blood is coming out of your mouth, there is some serious damage to your stomach, lungs, esophagus, or trachea. And since there isn’t proper medical care back then, I doubt they’d heal as fast as they do in this drama (or even survive from that physical trauma).
The Emperor, finding out what happened, goes to Wei Fei’s personal chambers immediately to investigate. During the investigation, Xiao Chang popped out and started screaming “Please, please don’t make me drink the medicine”, to frame Wei Fei. Wei Fei’s shocked and taken aback of course. But all the evidence was there. The wu xing cao remnants were in the trash as well as the medicine prepared for Xiao Chang.
The Emperor has wanted to get rid of the Wei power in the courts because of corruption in their family – this meant getting rid of Wei Fei as well. This was an opportunity for him to start, so he prosecuted Wei Fei right away.
Wei Fei looks so young and pretty with her hair down. I can’t believe her age is 44 years old… She definitely looks 10 years younger than that. Wei Fei commits suicide in her prison cell before interrogation. Li Tai visited her to help her with the suicide. He cut a broken bowl along her wrist. As she was dying, he said, “When you first entered the palace, I looked at you and I wished that I was my father. That thought has always haunted me. I’d rather not have met you.”, meaning that he was attracted to her, or liked her all along since she entered the palace. This got me thinking – the concubines usually enter when they’re so young – 14 or 15 years old right? Their age range would definitely better suit a prince rather than the Emperor.
Unfortunately for the Wei family, the bad stuff kept rolling in. General Wei’s corruption within the courts were exposed and so his status and wealth were taken away. His family was either killed or ‘released’, meaning that they had to move elsewhere with little money to live like peasants. Since Xiao Chang is Wei Fei’s niece, her family was affected too, and was forced to live like peasants.
It was also revealed that the wu xing cao usage was too high, and it caused her to become infertile – she can never bear a baby again (and so young too). It was quite sad for her. The Emperor would not see her anymore, her family is not living well, she cannot bear children anymore, and she has no more status in the palace.
She confronts Xu Hui – this worked out perfectly for her. Not only is there one less child (because the more royal children, the more problems for the concubines), and Wei Fei is gone. Xiao Chang herself was no longer a threat as well. Xu Hui somehow pulls Mei Niang into this, and convinces Xiao Chang that Mei Niang is also her enemy, and to focus her energy on defeating Mei Niang. Xiao Chang – with no ability to critical think, starts blaming Mei Niang (obviously you take advice from your enemy right?).
So Xiao Chang invites Mei Niang and Xu Hui over to 同歸於盡 – to die together. I can’t blame Xiao Chang – she really has nothing to live for anymore – she is stuck in the palace with no friends, and not much of a husband. Her family is suffering and she can never have a child (and that’s a very big thing back then). So while they were over, she knocks over tiers and tiers of candles – that I don’t understand why were lit, because it’s daylight. And regardless of this scheme or not, it is still a huge fire hazard – the candles were organized like a tree, with a small base but a large and heavy top. That is just asking for trouble.
Mei Niang nearly dies from a large house decoration falling onto her. Xu Hui actually takes the hit for Mei Niang. Her reasoning was that if Mei Niang had died, the Emperor would never have forgotten her, and Xu Hui couldn’t have let her win like that.
That is very faulty reasoning if you are going to put your life on the line to save your ‘frenemy’.
BUT. She survives. She gets promoted into a fei. From the history stuff I’ve been looking up, Xu Hui never really fought with Mei Niang for the Emperor’s love – Xu Hui was actually very favoured by the Emperor. What a twist of the truth eh?
Anyways, Mei Niang doesn’t suspect Xu Hui anymore because Xu Hui risked her life for her. Mei Niang goes ahead and tells her the story between her and Li Mu, and who Li Mu really is – pretty much that he was her ‘love’ (kinda) and that he is part of the rebels against Li Shi Min (the current Emperor). So obviously Xu Hui capitalizes on this juicy piece of information and tells the Emperor all about it (‘let’s get everyone to hate Xu Hui game’ is still going strong). So the Emperor sees through all of Mei Niang’s lies and attempts to hide Li Mu’s real identity, because he would be sentenced to death because of his ties with the rebels.
The Emperor summons her one night and asks her if she’s ever lied to him. He told her to think carefully. She gave him an ambiguous answer and he legit b*tchslapped her across the face. Not cool to hit a woman even if you’re an Emperor.
Li Mu conveniently witnesses all of this indignance and he pleads for Mei Niang to elope with him. She initially refuses but then agrees because she finds out that the Emperor was directly the cause of the death of Li Mu’s parents. She agrees to elope in order to protect the Emperor.
These episodes, to me, are filler episodes… It’s more summarizing them for me, I don’t really have much to say about certain parts because I feel like they were just added in to make things more interesting and for character development, but since the drama is following such a typical generic drama plotline, these additions are kind of boring and uninteresting. But hey, maybe if it fills some readers in, they don’t have to watch it, they can just skim through it!