“Go Princess Go” Review – Episode Fourteen: “A Mighty Wind”on September 2, 2016 at 8:46 am
Today’s title is taken from the Christopher Guest mockumentary “A Mighty Wind” (you might know him best from “This is Spinal Tap”) about musicians.
In this case, it is an oblique reference to something that I suppose could be considered a musical instrument of the vocal variety but it’s more commonly associated with … something else. Anyway, on with the show.
An important lesson when you watch a TV programme or film, or just entertainment in general is that sometimes, we’re being shown what people think they’re seeing as opposed to what is actually happening. We can tend to get fooled because the actors are actually acting the scene out, so it looks just as real as something you see can actually see happening as opposed to what someone is imagining is happening.
So maybe we see this episode start with Zhang Peng standing inside a giant heart marked out on the floor with candles (so that’s what they were for). Zhang Peng then turns around at the entrance of Qi Sheng (in repeated slow motion) and smiles. The wind machine on cue kicks in and really, at this point should be considered a supporting character in its own right. Qi Sheng, even in spite of his stony countenance is clearly stunned as evidenced by his eyes being about to bug out of their sockets.
But then we cut to what actually happened where Zhang Peng turns around at his entrance and ruining the illusion for Qi Sheng by actually opening his mouth and speaking.
For starters, he was clearly expecting someone else as he demands from Qi Sheng why he was here? Qi Sheng counters that Zhang Peng sent for him. Zhang Peng denies this emphatically. Why are you dressed like this?/The (former) Empress designed this dress and wanted me to model it/You wanted to discuss something important with me?/No I didn’t./What’s with the candles?/I was told it would light things better for the portrait painter/You should tell better lies and on and on it goes.
They’re not stupid, though (well, not that stupid) and they eventually put two and two together, working out that the former Empress had been trying to maneuver the two of them together. Things soon devolve to the usual round of insults. Qi Sheng says it’s clear his wife is going to make him suffer again, Zhang Peng lets loose with maximum snark, Qi Sheng’s told he’s as stubborn as a donkey, he tries to retort with asking what his wife thinks she is then and Zhang Peng says he’s a wild horse and breaks out in a bad rendition of what is presumably a modern pop song about, well, I guess wild horses? Suffice to say, things didn’t go as other people planned them.
Qi Sheng tries to salvage some shred of his dignity by saying he’ll sleep on the floor then. He doesn’t even get that as Zhang Peng all but says “Oh no you don’t get the high ground by sleeping on the low ground!” and then says as Qi Sheng is Zhang Peng’s guest, he’ll sleep on the floor instead. Qi Sheng seems to give in very easily at this point but he seems to have learned by now from bitter experience to not argue the point and save time by just giving in.
Meanwhile, outside, the former Empress, head eunuch Qiang and Lu Li are trying to spy on proceedings like a bunch of kids. The former Empress seems satisfied that her plans have worked without realizing that what she saw would have taken on a totally different meaning if she had had an audio track. She tells both Qiang and Lu Li that they’re not to be disturbed. Obviously, little did any of them know…
Qi Sheng even sleeps like a plank, he doesn’t even know how to lie down without looking like a block of wood. Trying to salvage something (anything) from this debacle, he turns to admire his wife’s bare back … and then the flatulence starts. A spectacular amount of very loud and presumably very smelly flatulence to the point where he has to hide under the covers despite the size of the room, its ventilation and his distance from his wife. I think you might see where the title of this week’s episode discussion comes from.
Moving on post the gas attack Qi Sheng had inflicted on him, Lu Li’s attempt at guarding the Emperor and Empress from interruptions has failed as she’s fallen asleep against a support pillar outside. Qiang makes his way past and informs Qi Sheng that there’s trouble at You Lan palace, where Zhao’s Wife is currently. Zhang Peng doesn’t seem to care and tells Qi Sheng to go, furthermore that he can now get off the floor and have his bed back. He still looks rather glum about this for some reason, though.
The next person to come past Lu Li, who is definitely not going to be winning the award for Guard of the Year, is Yang Yan, close friend of the Ninth Brother aka the Ninth Prince. He eventually wakes her up with great effort (and wiping off a lot of excess drool from her back on her). She eventually does wake up in a daze yelling “Who dares ruin my lady’s good deed?” (I’ve never heard it called that before) and “I will take their life!”
Yang Yan is there to deliver a triangle ostensibly made of gold (I know the budget is tight but I refuse to believe they couldn’t have sprung for some more convincing gold paint) as part of their ongoing pact against Qi Sheng. To recap: I think it’s something like this: Qi Sheng got offended earlier when he asked Zhang Peng what kind of man he preferred. It seemed like Zhang Peng was talking about himself from before he got sent back into the past but Qi Sheng seemed to have thought Zhang Peng was talking about the Ninth Brother. So Qi Sheng tried to have Zhang Peng killed. At which point, his other brother Prince Zhao tried to have everyone killed.
Then Qi Sheng had a change of heart due to the circumstances of all of them having to flee Prince Zhao’s assassination attempt together and ended up falling for his wife again and seemingly even more so, the more Zhang Peng (who’s now in the driver’s seat) tries to repel him. However Zhang Peng and the Ninth Brother don’t know about this and so they’re still trying to get in first before Qi Sheng tries again (the Ninth Brother so he can seize the throne, Zhang Peng to protect himself), though they don’t now know he’s abandoned any further attempts. Got all that so far? This could end badly for all concerned.
Anyway, Zhang Peng is very pleased with how all his plotting is coming together (“I love it when a plan comes together.” – a reference nearly as far back as this time period – ask you know who). Zhang Peng dashes Lu Li’s hopes by saying Qi Sheng had been called to You Lan palace where his mistress is last night and that Zhang Peng thinks his eventual plan is to make Zhao’s Wife his legal wife in Zhang Peng Peng’s place. All completely wrong, of course but he doesn’t know this.
So we cut to Zhao’s Wife and the stony face-off she has with our other block of stone on the cast. She wants Qi Sheng to visit her more often and says as unwell as she feels, she’s much better when he’s there. She reminds him of past obligations. He pulls away and tells her not to talk of the past anymore. She’s running out of cards to play. The miscalculation is that Qi Sheng is increasingly finding this acting weak less attractive while at the same time, now finding his actual wife willing to talk back and … for want of a better word … exhibit a previously unseen level of sass.
Cut to Zhang Peng trying to hang the gold triangle from the Ninth Brother as a reminder of what he’s planning to do when as per usual, Qi Sheng materializes like an unwanted bad smell (metaphorical this time). A slightly odd series of events follows where Zhang Peng claims he was just adjusting a lantern and palms it off on Lu Li to try and hide it. Never mind the fact that Qi Sheng clearly saw it. Whether that’s actually what’s meant to have happened as opposed to that possibly being some acting choreography being a bit out of alignment is a bit hard to tell. That plus had it been put up successfully before Qi Sheng arrived, it would have been hanging in plain view.
Qi Sheng says he’s not staying long. He ends up staying an even shorter period of time when Zhang Peng asks if he didn’t get any sleep last night because he had to go to You Lan (where Zhao’s Wife is) and was now wanted to have a nap. He asks if Zhang Peng cannot be sarcastic. Obviously not is the answer to that question. Qi Sheng says he did come to apologise. Zhang Peng doesn’t care and wants him to go away.
So we cut back to Zhao’s Wife yet again where at some point, she’s now found time to rather ineffectually slit her wrists. In her obvious play for today, she says she’s found out that she’s three months pregnant. Cut to immediate zoom to a shocked Qi Sheng. Interesting to note that in the comments that people made that appear on the screen as you watch the episode through Viki, absolutely no-one seems to believe this.
True or not, she’s clearly trying to emotionally manipulate Qi Sheng who grimly says that he’ll try to do the right thing with the clear tone of a man who wishes he’d be doing anything but. Zhao’s Wife says she’s afraid of how the Empress will react and manages to talk Qi Sheng into breaking it to his wife. He decides to wait because he doesn’t know how to explain it in such a way that will not upset his wife. He doesn’t want to make her worry and he wants her to enjoy being free of this knowledge a while longer. As we know, wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again.
So we cut back to Zhang Peng and Lu Li, who seem to be playing a game of … well, who the hell knows. Maybe it’s some strange version of Rock, Scissors, Paper but it really defies my best efforts. Suffice to say, Zhang Peng really needs the Internet or at least a working TV as he must be bored out of his mind if he’s having to resort to … whatever the hell the two of them were doing. Added things of note, return of the stupid towering inferno of hair and that suitably odd looking dress that first debuted not that many episodes before. That and the habit of throwing food in the air and trying to catch it in his mouth. Don’t do this, there’s always the chance you could choke on something.
Royal Physician Zhang (subbing in for Royal Physician Song from the start of the show) has turned up to do the Empress’s routine physical. Except it turns out to not be as routine as expected when after taking Zhang Peng’s pulse, declares the Empress to be pregnant.
This doesn’t go down as well as expected. Well, it does with Lu Li, who when she’s thrown out of the room by Zhang Peng, she commando rolls with joy on her way out and Dr. Zhang started off pleased but ends up fleeing head first into a support pillar on the way out as Zhang Peng yells at him to get out.
Small technical detail, on the pulse alone, technically it’s true that through pregnancy, your pulse does increase to meet increased demand as volume also increases but on its own, your pulse could be fast and a sign of something bad (or not), slow and a sign of something bad (or not) or normal and not something bad (or is). We usually have to correlate it with something else. If you’re about to black out, we find that can be a hint sometimes.
The whole subject is a fascinating discussion but just a bit out of the purview of even the latitude taken with these reviews with the amount of details needed to do the subject justice. However as narrative shorthand and with an absence of ultrasound machines as well as in the interest of moving things along, we’ll allow it.
So, that leaves Zhang Peng doing about the only thing he can, which is hide under the bed sheets. He had speculated that maybe he didn’t notice because periods had been irregular up to that point, though is that he’d not really been keeping track. Also, that maybe he hadn’t noticed the signs because, oh yes, he’s a man.
Fortunately, this conundrum is quickly solved when he catches Lu Li with some suspiciously quickly delivered clothes from the Zhang family for an infant (if looks could have killed, Lu Li would have been very dead after this). Remarkably fast since Zhang Peng himself has only just gotten the ‘happy’ news himself. Lu Li is easy to break (don’t try to play a player) and it turns out that after it was learned that Zhao’s Wife had sent for a doctor, the Zhang family had moved quickly to bribe another doctor to declare the Empress pregnant as she’s part of their family if you recall.
This was partly based on shoring up the power base of the family, defending it from external threats but also because they thought that Zhang Peng Peng will react badly to learn Zhao’s Wife is pregnant and she is not. Of course, no-one knows who the Empress really is and hence why they’re so wrong with this.
Zhang Peng of course, is delighted. That plus Zhao’s Wife being pregnant is even better. So basically, it’s the exact opposite reaction to the scenario that was expected by everyone. Understandable, really since they think the Empress is … well, the Empress and not a Man from the Future instead.
So a few things happen in succession. Zhang Peng learns there’s plans afoot to deal with (read get rid of) Zhao’s Wife’s pregnancy. Zhang Peng tells Lu Li to get word back to stop whatever they are planning. Then to make the point that Qi Sheng isn’t stupid (well, not that stupid) and that if his wife the Empress isn’t actually pregnant, he’s going to work it out sooner or later, so they need to come up with a plausible explanation as to how the pregnancy gets “lost” all of a sudden. Zhang Peng is acutely aware that Lu Li’s previous recent career as a broadcast tower means everyone who is anyone already knows about the pregnancy that isn’t.
So, the final part of the episode has Zhang Peng flouncing up to Qi Sheng in the most exaggerated fashion and snarky as ever and throws everyone off their stride as much as possible but revealing in short order that he knows everyone knows about the pregnancy but not only that, he also knows about Zhao’s Wife’s pregnancy and most off putting to everyone else, that there’s genuinely no evidence of any jealously or anger whatsoever. If anything, from everyone else’s point of view, the Empress is remarkably and unnaturally pleased with the whole situation which seems to make no sense to anyone who doesn’t know what we know (which would be everyone) at all whatsoever.
This clearly isn’t computing with Qi Sheng and since he does come off at times as a computer trying to pass as a human being, that does seem to be in fact rather apt. Zhang Peng probably should quit while he’s still ahead at this point but knowing him, he just can’t stop. He tells Qi Sheng that not only is it great news that his mistress is pregnant, it would be even better if between the two women he thinks he’s gotten pregnant, if it’s a boy and a girl, he could both have one of each and they could play together. The question from the Emperor to his wife as he gets increasingly enraged is why is she not jealous and the Fourth Wall breaking aside to us, the audience is quite simply because the body occupied by Zhang Peng is not pregnant.
Zhang Peng ends up pushing all the buttons with Qi Sheng (as he’s frequently wont to do) and it ends up with him knocking a whole pile of things on a table they’re seated at into the nearby pond. Zhang Peng had been looking pleased with himself up to this point but back to looking petulant again after pushing things just that bit too far again.
Final scene, Zhang Peng is back in the palace of the Empress. Lu Li is amusing herself with the clothes the Zhang family sent for a theoretical infant and saying they look cute. She asks Zhang Peng about wanting children and obviously he’s not keen on the idea (he says he’d rather die, understandably). The last point of business, this is exactly the sort of thing that throws plots to dispose of the Emperor out of whack, so Zhang Peng tells Lu Li to find the Ninth Prince as Zhang Peng needs to see him immediately to presumably tell him the plot is still on but even before all that, sort out this whole misunderstanding with him before it turns into an even bigger mess.
Looks like the next episode is going to be leading to even more chaos ahead…