I’m thinking this review is cursed. I’ve probably watched this episode at least half a dozen times (way more than usual) in attempts to write this review and I just keep having mishaps with completing it.
Latest one, I’ve traveled all the way to California and I thought I’d brought all my notes. Turns out I only have the part I’ve already written and the rest is back in Australia.
I did briefly think about watching this episode yet again and rewriting it but I don’t think I can go through that again. So, I’m skipping to episode Twenty Two (as soon as possible) and I’ll just do this episode in full when I, my notes, and Australia are reunited. I’ll do my best to get everything caught up.
Here’s some more reliable sources:
Here are the key things you need to know.
Unlike his usual more sensible self, the Ninth Brother bizarrely decides to wear the distinct designer pouch that Zhang Peng made for him in plain view of Qi Sheng. After some extremely thinly disguised threats disguised as superficially friendly banter, Qi Sheng heads off to demand from Zhang Peng an explanation.
In the interim, Zhang Peng learns from Lu Li that she was startled by a drunk Prince Zhao (who was only innocently peering at her in a drunken haze and no more) and ended up beating him up.
Zhang Peng’s explanation as to how the Ninth Brother could have one of those bizarrely made pouches that seemingly only he could have made is so torturous that instead of just leading with his final explanation (people liked the design so much – bear with us here, they copied it and what the Ninth Brother has is a copy), it ends up with Lu Li confessing to have beaten Prince Zhao, which is odd because it was an answer to a question that no-one was asking.
Qi Sheng finds he hasn’t been able to break his wife on this yet, so he tries a new tack by sentencing Lu Li to death (yes, this is quite an off-the-wall approach here). Zhang Peng gets a tip-off from the Chief Eunuch who’s inexplicably smitten with Lu Li (because she’s always so terrible to him) and basically twists Prince Zhao’s arm into marrying her to save her from the axe (or whatever other edged weapon they have in mind). The former Empress (and Prince Zhao’s grandmother) seems to be pleased with the whole idea but it’s a mark of how far he’s fallen that even she really has to stretch to come up with reasons that it’s a good match.
On the one hand, we really have to feel bad for the Chief Eunuch but on the other hand, the scene of his heartbreak sends up how this kind of thing is generally done in these dramas to such an extent that it had the people who left comments at this point in stitches.
Turns out that Qi Sheng set in this in motion to force his wife into admitting what she’d done and instead, Zhang Peng had done everything but that in order to do an end-run around his plans (by getting his grandmother’s approval for the marriage to his brother, executing the bride could be just a bit awkward at that point). The problem with this plan (beyond how an earth was it supposed to work?) is that the men he sent to kill Lu Li didn’t do all this and they would have gone through with it. There’s also the whole death is kind of final thing, too [NB: this cavalier handling of your citizen's lives and less than well-planned scheme to boot is how revolutions get started].
To compound how badly he’s handling his insatiable jealousy, he then goes to have a talk with Zhao’s now ex-wife (and about time she became the ex) for advice in her new role in the palace hierarchy that she’s inveigled herself into. As if we could like him any less.
Well, I’ll do my best to get Episode 22 up as soon as possible as well as every successive episode after that. I won’t be as bold as to propose a schedule just yet as I’ve been doing such a bang-up job lately so far. I’m not even going to touch a possible date for the full Episode 21.
Until (a much hopefully sooner) next episode then!