Let me introduce the concept of a ‘liability’.
*** WARNING, PROFANITY HEAVY ***
For fucks sake can the girl stop almost dying in every episode??!!! I’ve caught up to episode 31 by now and Ling Lang literally almost dies every episode. Let me introduce to you a concept I’d call a ‘liability’. There are certain people in my life that I categorize as ‘liabilities’: like a friend that I can’t trust to look over their own passport when we’re travelling, like a partner in a project that doesn’t know shit about our course, or a companion who will always be lost/clueless about everything.
This liability will always make you clean up after their mess. This liability is always someone you have to worry about and account for. This liability is always someone that will inadvertently always fuck things up.
And Ling Lang is the worst liability ever. I don’t understand what her body is made out of, and why she always subjects herself to such circumstances but she is always fainting, dying of some sort, and always getting herself into trouble. Is it too late to request for another female lead? Can we rewrite her at least? How did the producers think that this was a good idea to make the female lead so weak?
I mean the large part of this audience to watch dramas are women. Now most women are self-sufficient, organized, independent, and well-thought out. Most women I know hate liabilities (unless they are the very liability themselves). By now, if you can’t already think of a girl you know that’s a liability, let me present you this:
Have you ever gone to work, and thought ‘Oh fuck I’m working with her again, who doesn’t know shit and always manages to creates messes for me to solve but for fucks sake, WHY no one ever says anything/gets mad at her so I can’t either’.
ANYWAYS, enough hating. Our drama starts with Ling Lang removing the shoes off of the Emperor, and standing up, and stumbling/almost fainting. Yes. Even with very simple and mundane tasks, she manages to make it seem like she is so fragile that she cannot complete a task that a mere 6 year old can do.
At the same time a servant comes in to report that Rong Ruo was having relations with a servant.
They barge in and they’re both barely clad and Rong Ruo is knocked out cold.
They both get in trouble, and are both sentenced to death (sexual relations between servants and soldiers are punishable by death).
I cannot remember the name of the servant but this means she is unimportant lah, its ok, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet according to Shakespeare. I refer to her as the servant from hereon.
Anyways she retells the true story, which is… pretty stupid.
Rong Ruo welcomes her into his room, and apparently mistakes her for Ling Lang.
Here’s the fucked up part: he starts ripping off her clothes.
And the whole time she’s like “No, do not rip off my clothes” like a normal human would when subjected to forceful stripping.
He stops, and he’s like “Oh, I cannot do this to you”.
Now correct me if I’m wrong – when you are ripping someone’s clothes off while mounting them against their will, was he about to rape her? I mean yeah he thought she was Ling Lang, but that’s still absolutely unacceptable. This already constitutes as sexual assault because he pretty much is seeing her in her underwear.
And he says (this is the golden part), “Please knock me out, or I won’t be able to help myself” and she takes this flimsy whatever thing around his bedside to knock him out.
And that’s that.
At the end of it, I love how the producers just brushed past how rapey and inappropriate that encounter was, and keeps portraying Rong Ruo as some sort of gentleman. C’mon. He had the intention to rape, which was bad enough.
Anyways, Consort Hui convinces the servant, if she actually liked Rong Ruo (which she does, it’s been established that she has a crush on him) she’d take all the blame. She does, and says that she had poisoned Rong Ruo, and Rong Ruo is set free.
The servant is sentenced to death, and Ling Lang wants to ‘self-sacrifice’ herself in order to save her servant friend, and she starts stripping for the Emperor, alluding that she will have sex with him in order to save her servant friend.
At every opportunity she can, she puts on this wronged/victimized look. It’s hella annoying.
Even the Emperor has a WTF look.
The Emperor tells her to stop and is absolutely insulted that she would think of him that way and tells her to GTFO. If it was me I would have sentenced her to death by now for being so damn annoying.
Ling Lang pulls the self-sacrificial thing again, and she kneels outside of the Emperor’s palace in order to convince him to not sentence her friend to death. I mean, it’s voluntary and no one forced her to do it. I don’t necessarily feel bad for her at all. She chose to subject herself to harm.
Anyways, referring to the concept of ‘liability’ as per before. It’s like a child that keeps doing things that harms their well-being. As an adult, to protect that child, you obviously have to do things to help them, etc. Rong Ruo’s a champ so he steps up.
He decides to save her from her voluntary-self-harm actions through marrying that servant… to save her.
Now I don’t understand this either. Marrying her does not remove her of her crimes, but apparently this helps her to get out of being sentenced to death so… drama.
She’s like hella happy.
But she is also hella annoying too.
Rong Ruo obviously feels the same way as me, because during the first night of their marriage, he spends his time looking at the old necklace of Ling Lang instead of consummating the marriage.
If it were me, I would have just let both girls die. LOL.
Yun Chu and Chang Xing are falling in love. Just gonna throw that in there.
Chang Xing makes his best efforts to get close to Empress Dowager.
The servant (damn ok I should really find out her name) after many nights of being alone, starts getting jealous. She sees this painting (which obviously looks like Ling Lang) and starts getting jealous.
Instead of consummating the marriage, Rong Ruo does a bunch of other stuff that I’d love to do be doing in my spare time. Like write poems. And play the piano.
So she goes to beg Ling Lang to forget Rong Ruo, and to let him be her man.
I would like to say… this is a completely useless character because she doesn’t show up at all for the next 10 episodes and you start to wonder the purpose of her existence.
The Emperor, in his spare time, likes to follow Ling Lang. He sees that Ling Lang has to walk home to her quarters in the dark. He sets up lights for her.
You know, because he loves her so much, blah blah stuff like that.
They finally have a ‘moment’… and look, she looks so pretty when she smiles!!! She needs to smile more.
Blah blah blah, they have more moments, OTP, blah they’re so in love, etc..
And he sets up these little games for her and wraps his arms around her to teach her how to play.
And you know, catches her in his arms when they’re playing tug of war.
Again, imagine if it was this guy^.
ANYWAYS turns out Ling Lang looks like Empress Duan Jing.
Now let me give you some back story: the Emperor’s dad (Kangxi’s predecessor) is Shun Zhi. Now, he loved Consort Donggo. He loved her so much he never cared about anyone else, and when Consort Donggo died, he made her Empress Duan Jing posthumously. He was so sad over her death that he tried to commit suicide, and he actually became a monk and passed over his position to Kang Xi.
That being said, this is why the Empress Dowager hates Empress Duan Jing.
NOW there is absolutely no explanation why Ling Lang looks like Empress Duan Jing. IT’s absolutely random and another opportunity to make people to hate her. They are not related whatsoever, and there’s no back story on why they look so similar, but yeah, drama.
Upon finding this out, Chang Xing makes it a point to make them see each other.
The Empress Dowager gets pissed and tries to slash her face.
But the Emperor, knowing that this girl is a liability, catches on quick, and saves her in time to make sure that, well, her face isn’t slashed and she’s not dying.
They change her punishment to holding to holding two bells and marching around the palace.
I know this is probably the last thing on her mind but this is a great work out for her deltoids.
Anyways Ling Lang, from hereon will be referred to as liability, because she faints again, because she is pretty weak/useless/廢.
And the Emperor carries her back in his arms.
And like, applies medicine on her.
Now the Empress Dowager hates her even more because the liability didn’t even finish her punishment.
Royal grandma’s niece shows up to visit, and royal grandma has the intention to get her married to the Emperor.
(They really loved getting married within the family back then eh)
This princess (whose name I can’t remember too) sees that the Emperor pays extra attention to Ling Lang, and sets to make her jealous.
I don’t know what it was about then back in the feudal days where the guy would play on a instrument, and a girl would dance to it, but this is what happened.
IT was cringe worthy and excruciatingly painful to sit through, and so this is why I took a lot of screencaps to force you to see it too:
“This is what many years of acting school has led to”
“I get paid for this I swear”
Her and the Emperor get very close and lovey and…
Ling Lang sees this and she goes to cry. The Emperor confronts her and pretty much says “SURPRISE! That was a trick! You care about me! I love you too blah that was all a trick”.
Long story short, the princess saw that the Emperor really liked Ling Lang but Ling Lang wasn’t reciprocating the love, so it was her way of forcing Ling Lang’s love out by making her jealous.
FINALLY they stare at each other’s eyes and admit their love for each other. As you can tell, I am really feeling the love.
The princess leaves the next day, and that’s the end of that.
Being in deep, deep love, the Emperor gets Ling Lang to wait for him in the garden so they can look at flowers together, and that he’d join her after his work. She bumps into the Empress Dowager and Consort Duan Ping.
Being the liability that she is, she almost dies again.
From all my years studying the human anatomy, there has never been an explanation on how being beaten (externally) can lead to internal wounds that she would split up blood. I mean only the lungs and stomach are connected to your pharynx pathway so one can safely deduce that if you are spitting up blood, either one of them are severely injured.
It can’t be the stomach because there are sphincters in place to keep stomach contents from coming back up (unless Ling Lang has a major acid reflux problem we don’t know about). It can’t be her lungs because if it was truly blood originating from the lungs, she would have been subjected to dry drowning (which is lungs filling up in the lungs) which they couldn’t have possibly have healed back in the day.
Conclusion: The liability spits up blood for no reason.
Anyways, the Emperor shows up on time and tries to
Screen caps of royal grandma just because she’s a bae ^
Royal grandma confront the Emperor for being nice to Ling Lang at the expense of the empress dowager and very wisely says that even though the sun will give you life, it will scorch you if it’s too close.
Damn royal grandma is so elegant, graceful and wise. Hopefully I can be half like that when I’m 60.
Meanwhile, Chang Xing catches Hua Zhu selling off stolen goods and threatens her. he blackmails her to help him plan against Ling Lang.
The Empress Dowager really wants the Emperor with Consort Duan Ping, so Empress Dowager gets the Emperor really drunk… so Consort Duan Jing to sleep with him???
WHERE IS THE CONSENT?!!!
Damn does this not seem pretty rapey? Like how is this ok? Luckily the Emperor wakes up in time and shuts her down.
He goes to Ling Lang’s to just hold her instead (they are both so in love… I don’t know why they don’t take it a little… further).
The Emperor decides to leave the palace to pray for the Gods for water to end this drought.
He goes to Consort Hui’s place to give her many gifts before she goes… except the purpose of the gifts were for her to protect Ling Lang.
Consort Hui is obviously pissed because the gifts weren’t really for her, and that her, a master, has to take care of a servant. So, she goes over to Ling Lang and throws the gifts at her.
At the same time, Consort Duan Ping is pissed that the Emperor left her to go hug Ling Lang that night, so she hides his jade ring in her cupboards.
And stupid Hua Zhu listens to Chang Xing and hides a voodoo doll of the Empress Dowager in Ling LAng’s living quarters as well.
At this point, this drama is pretty painful. I mean, EVERYONE is out to get Ling Lang. Like… maybe if you think the whole room is full of assholes all the time, maybe you’re the asshole. I mean, I don’t blame them, she’s pretty unlikable with her stupid ‘I’m-a-victim’ face.
Anyways, the Emperor rushes back in time to take care of this liability. Ling Lang is sentenced to death unless the Emperor can prove her innocence.
The Emperor discovers his gifts back at Ling Lang’s place, and some of them have blood on it (because Consort Hui had thrown them at her). The Emperor confronts Consort Hui as he suspects her of framing Ling Lang.
Consort Hui breaks down, and cries because both the Emperor and Rong Ruo don’t trust her character.
Thoughts: I mean. I don’t have a lot to say about the drama to say at this point. All of the mean things I had to say, I’ve already said before. I’m not fond of Ling Lang/Zheng Shuang. I think she’s portrayed pretty badly but she was written pretty badly too.
Plus I really don’t think that Hawick can pull off Kangxi. He’s way too skinny/and has no presence to play an Emperor. He just doesn’t look like an alpha male. BUT that’s just me. One more week of this drama til its over!