(Sorry, I just could not help myself with the title.)
Well, the first run of a brave new experiment completely failed as I ended up writing just as much as before if not more on top of adding extra summaries. It probably didn’t help that I most likely spent more time talking about The Matrix Trilogy plus extras, the importance of voting in the American 2020 mid-term elections (mark that year down, it’s going to be important and for more than you think), the end of Imperial China and another swing at Predestination, maybe it would have been a bit shorter (maybe as in yes, yes it would have). Longest one ever, Scott tells me.
OK, I suppose the super short version is, go read Bree Chan’s one at Drama Kiwi on the link just up above, it’s a really good detailed one with some nice pictures including Zhang Peng doing his best Natalie Portman in Black Swan in the last picture. Right, now on with the show.
Now, I guess could cut out all the links and references to things that aren’t Go Princess Go but let’s not go overboard and all crazy here. I can wind it back a notch, though.
Today’s non Go Princess Go feature being … featured is Another Earth.
Just imagine if one day, another planet suddenly appeared in the skies and it turned out to be an exact carbon copy of Earth, with exactly the same history up to that moment. However as each became aware of the other, their histories diverged and what was effectively one person existing as two copies, began to diverge at that instant.
It is quite obviously demonstrating an example of what if I made a different choice in life at a key moment, how would things turn out? I’m not privy to any extra information but I suspect that’s not the case with Exiern‘s alternate world in Dark Reflections. Maybe it branched off from a common history with what we’d call the main Exiern universe or maybe it was always apart but parallel, kind of like the Red and Blue Universes in Fringe, no matter how far back you go there are differences in history (possibly no President Jackson, part of California disappeared underwater, smallpox never eradicated, no Batman (!) ) but the same people keeping appearing on each side. I like to use the phrase quantum entanglement. Not sure how it applies here exactly but it sounds kind of cool).
Anyway, since they more or less revealed that moment in the trailer, here’s more of that scene. It’s a nice dramatic moment.
…and I really enjoyed the soundtrack, here are the opening minutes of the film which used “The First Time I Saw Jupiter”.
Here’s the full instrumental version from the official Fox Searchlight website:
I really liked this film, it’s a really meditative look on life, loss and learning to live again.
So I guess the message to Typh’s alternate doppelgänger on another Exiern? “Hey! You over there being evil? Stop being evil!”
That’s that sorted then. I bet Dark Tiffany’s really learned her lesson for sure now, though you’d have to read it to be absolutely sure. Which I’m sure you’re all doing already, right?
OK, that seems to be an improvement, we’ve reached the episode already. Furthermore, I think we can start on it straight away instead of big long stories like how you can imagine it’s an episode of Exiern on TV with a few tweaks.
Well, as the title says, it’s good to be the King. Being Queen isn’t really an option to men generally even now, never mind back then (I’m talking about actual official royalty here). Zhang Peng’s always been a special case, though - but not so fast, it’s not quite that easy just yet as we’re about to learn during the course of this episode.
In this episode we cover Zhang Peng …
… protesting the new Emperor’s massage privileges.
… delegating to Lu Li to beat up Prince Zhao for that whole murder plot.
… learning that he’s going to be next Empress.
… however that’s part of Qi Sheng’s plot to sneak Zhao’s Wife into the palace. Suffice to say Zhang Peng is *not* pleased with this development but as always, immediately starts looking for ways to turn this to his advantage.
… The Ninth Brother has been kicked upstairs and seems to have gotten what seems like one of those promotion-demotions.
We start this episode with Zhang Peng getting what passes for a facial in this day and age. I wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised to learn that he knows a thing or two about facial maintenance given he was obviously one of those metrosexuals, as he goes on to confirm as he talks about what was undoubtedly his bathroom cupboard full of hair care products and other sundries in the far distant future past. I suppose it is fair to concede that as he says, a good pummeling like the one he’s had repeatedly over the last few days can age your face dramatically. I suspect he’s not quite got the hang of how they do things here as I don’t think you’re meant to eat the cucumbers they stick to your face.
Zhang Peng decides to go yell at the Emperor, who we’ve known up to this point as the Third Brother and the Crown Prince. He has actually got a name, Qi Sheng, which to keep it clear who we’re talking about, is the one we’ll use going forward. At some point on the way, Zhang Peng ditched the cucumber slices, or ate the rest of them. Qi Sheng is found to be having a massage and Zhang Peng is rather miffed that it’s from what he regards to be two very attractive women. Could he actually be as remarkable as this seems, getting jealous?
After sufficient complaining and noise making, Qi Sheng can hardly deny being aware of Zhang Peng at this point. He says it’s just a massage, Zhang Peng says if it’s just a massage then, share and share alike. He says it’s been prescribed to him by his doctor because of his dislocated shoulder, I forgot to mention that the Ninth Brother reset it for him during that sojourn in the woods last episode, complete with borderline nasty sound effect.
Zhang Peng takes issue with this but somehow achieves the otherwise impossible (but we know not for him) by making the Qi Sheng look good when it’s revealed that both masseurs are blind, deaf and mute. Zhang Peng then manages to go for the combo hit sequence of bad taste by saying to us past the Fourth Wall that it’s such a shame given how not bad looking they are. Any residual sympathy for his predicament would have been booking tickets for the next plane out at this point.
Meanwhile, outside Prince Zhao is stumbling about looking for his wife. Zhang Peng, having lost that last bout of verbal sparring with Qi Sheng due not realizing the situation of the masseurs before opening his mouth (basically speaking without thinking yet again), he works out some displaced aggression by using his ability to delegate by getting Lu Li to go and beat up Prince Zhao for that whole murder think. Lu Li assures Zhang Peng that she doesn’t need a bamboo stick as she’s equal to ten and goes on to prove it in a flurry of arms and fists.
Prince Zhao, already being quite drunk and disorientated doesn’t know what’s hit him (and still hitting him) so it’s all WHY WHY WHY oh right that whole murder plot thing. Zhang Peng now thinks it’s time to enter the arena and does so having clearly learned from his time in the royal family at the School of Imperious Storming. However, he can’t help but feel sorry for Prince Zhao as he’s able to tell his tale of woe. He’s been drunk daily (so no change there) and that he’s been told his wife is dead. He doesn’t believe it and thinks his brother, the new Emperor has spread this story to get his mitts on Zhao’s wife.
Zhang Peng does sympathize with this, probably at least in part because he’s undoubtedly been on the other side of that fence, in fact, we saw him up to basically that at the start of the first episode with his boss’s girlfriend. Prince Zhao admits that he saw the opportunity to get rid of all of his competition and everyone who had insulted him but primarily to get his wife back (she’s really not worth it dude). Then Lu Li asks if she’s to still keep hitting him and Zhang Peng decides that unfortunately, yes she does for all the inconvenience Zhang Peng has been put through.
Beating Prince Zhao by proxy didn’t seem to be as cathartic as hoped. Zhang Peng is worried because it seems like Qi Sheng didn’t need the influence of the Crown Princess’s family to become Emperor and as a result, he may not end up as Empress, which is something he thinks is important as part of staying alive, at least in the short term. He still hasn’t forgotten that Qi Sheng, as the former Crown Prince tried to have him killed and he hasn’t seen anything to change his mind about that.
So while complaining about this to Lu Li despite her reassurances that the Zhang family still has important influence, of course, the Emperor unexpectedly appears out of nowhere when his name is mentioned. He’s worse than the bloody Candyman but at least he hasn’t started disemboweling people with a hook (well, not yet). On the way to being dragged off with the usually squawked protests (this really is a theme now), Qi Sheng stops to tell off a maid for calling a protesting Zhang Peng the Crown Princess as he was being dragged past her. So I guess that’s official, then even if no-one seems have gotten a memo about it, hence all the confusion.
Zhang Peng tries to do the chivalrous thing by reassuring the maid that it hasn’t been confirmed yet (after all, it was news to him) and to get up from prostrating herself on the ground when Qi Sheng drags him off and says in effect that Zhang Peng’s problem is that he cares far too much about the plebs. Zhang retorts that this is called being a gentleman. When somehow you’re clearly sailing under the low bar that Zhang Peng has set about how he treats other people and is going as far as to admonish you for your behavior, you seriously need to be reassessing your life choices at this point.
Anyway, the one good thing to come out of this is that Zhang Peng is now Empress of a pre-modern Chinese state. Zhang Peng briefly looks pleased with himself at this development before Qi Sheng being Qi Sheng, brings it all crashing down again. Of course, this Easter Island stone head masquerading as a human being has to ruin the moment. He says “she’s here, she’s suffered a lot,” obviously referring to Zhao’s Wife.
Qi Sheng says he does owe Prince Zhao for what he’s put him through but what he did with the whole assassination attempt was too much. He really should listen to himself given that he drove his brother to this in the first place. He says he didn’t punish him this time (big of him) and was even offering him a way out (bigger of him). Qi Sheng tries to justify all this by saying that his brother’s perpetual drunkenness meant he couldn’t look after his wife and that she was getting sick because of it. Your fault much don’t you think? I don’t hold out much hope for his future administration based on his reasoning so far. Zhang Peng not being a complete dummy says whatever excuse you want to bring your mistress to the palace, he’s cool with it.
Zhao’s Wife is a terrible actress. As a perfectly suitable actress for the role of someone badly acting that they’re sick. I don’t like her (so I guess, success yet again in the portrayal) so I’m going to try and gloss over this part as quickly as possible (too successful?). Zhang Peng acts super concerned. It’s an act but not the one you might think, given his behavior lately. He minds us as the audience that he’s still very much a ladies’ man and that he’s going to use the opportunity to feel her up. Equally unsurprisingly, everyone else is like???
Zhang Peng attempts to retrieve the situation by saying he’s just showing concern for his sister but Qi Sheng isn’t buying it and kicks him out. Then follows a bunch of blah blah blah, another conversation where Zhao’s Wife notes her sister’s all different from before – and fair enough, I will have to concede her point that from her point of view, her sister’s acting just a bit creepy these days.
There’s a mention of the lifetime promise she and Qi Sheng have. Has it been mentioned what it is? Maybe, I can’t remember and to be honest, don’t really care. Qi Sheng says Zhao’s Wife has been brought to the palace just for her health and nothing else and it really sounds like he’s telling the truth here. Qi Sheng is starting to show doubt about this whole cheating on his wives thing as he does seem to be starting to fall for his wife number one again. He basically even says as much when he goes on to say that how he sees his number one wife and his mistress is changing in relation to each other. Zhao’s Wife is starting to lose her grip here and she knows it.
Zhao’s Wife tries some more manipulation here with an even more unconvincing coughing fit but it backfires as Qi Sheng says he should leave as she’s clearly not well. It figures that the future Empress who had been eavesdropping on all this eventually must have gotten bored with all this and is fast asleep in a squat near the fishpond. So, Qi Sheng, being the gallant individual he is, kicks Zhang Peng until he wakes up. Qi Sheng says the Crown Princess will soon officially be crowned Empress and should be dignified and elegant at all times and to stop acting like a rough mountain peasant. He does have a point there. Zhang Peng, in his defense, says there really wasn’t anywhere else to hide. Well, he’s honest at least. Zhang Peng ends up having to be dragged off by Qi Sheng in a half-cramped position as he can’t stand up.
Zhang Peng wakes up the next morning to find a large number of the female staff of the palace just standing there looking at him. Now, normally this would appeal to him but it’s all a bit Invasion of the Body Snatcher pod people and hence a bit too disconcerting even to him despite the number of women making him the center of attention. Lu Li luckily explains it all, apparently, it’s show time.
Lu Li is perplexed as to why all the jewelry choices she’s made are being rejected when the Crown Princess used to accept them all in the past. Zhang Peng really is a metrosexual as he ends up schooling Lu Li on which jewelry is the sort of thing men will like and what’s the good stuff. He also puts the boot in by saying that Lu Li obviously doesn’t know what men want and her choice sucks. He ends up making what he says is a much better choice which has is: “simple but of good taste, elegant but poised and most important thing is sex appeal.” I’ll take his word for it.
Cut to Enter the Ninth Prince. Mass wind machine effects and swooning as he heads in their direction. He smiles to himself, he knows he’s got it. Like I mentioned at some point earlier, they’ve got Zhang Peng looking like something out of Black Swan on his face and a beehive hairstyle made out of his hair on his head (???). Yes, it looks ridiculous. Zhang Peng hears the commotion and correctly diagnoses the Ninth Brothers approach through the “thick scent of young girls in love.” and that he “doesn’t even need to look.” plus he can hear the commotion from miles off.
Presumably, he’s immune for obvious reasons (if for some reason it’s not obvious, in the same way that Typh in Exiern is a man despite appearances, the same rule applies to Zhang Peng. Thus ends our obligatory forced insertion of a mention of Exiern for today. I don’t really have as much as last week to draw analogies with). The Ninth Brother says he’s been “promoted” but he’s definitely air quoting when he says it. He picks the same piece of jewelry that Zhang Peng picked for the same reasons. I don’t think anyone doubted he was a metrosexual before such things were invented – a proto-metrosexual if you like.
There is a following scene which seems to contradict what just happened with Zhang Peng saying the stuff that the Ninth Brother had sent over was no good but I had that confusing, so I’m choosing to ignore it. The reason the Ninth Brother is sending stuff over at all is because that “promotion” was to head of Internal Affairs of the palace and one of the tasks is the Empress Crowning ceremony. He feels it’s kind of menial and clearly to get him out of the way but Zhang Peng says it’s actually an opportunity.
They both sneak off to plot at Zhang Peng’s insistence. Zhang Peng says as long as Zhao’s Wife is here, he’s not safe. In a most unladylike squat yet again for this episode, he points out using golden triangles (better living through geometry) that an alliance with the Ninth Brother, the Zhang clan and flyboy and best buddy of the Ninth Prince, Yang Yan can protect them from Qi Sheng.
As stated above, we’re going to refer to the former Crown Prince as Qi Sheng going forward. Easiest way to not mix him up with mentions of the previous Emperor.
Just a reminder, the current situation seems to have stemmed from Zhang Peng foolishly engaging in some idle banter with the then Crown Prince about what kind of man he liked. Zhang Peng was probably talking about himself, the Crown Prince thought he was talking about the Ninth Brother and seemed to get mad enough to plot an assassination of his own wife that got caught up with Prince Zhao’s assassination attempt over the Crown Prince having an affair with his wife. Qi Sheng seems to have changed his mind but no-one else seems to know this at present.
Seriously, that bun they’ve made Zhang Peng’s hair into looks utterly ridiculous. You could mistake it for the head of an alien from the Alien series, that’s how ridiculous it looks.
There are no small jobs, just small people. Remember to take what seems like a problem and look at it from the other side and make it an opportunity (unavoidable restrictions may apply in some circumstances – like falling out of a plane with no parachute and it’s not on the ground for example).
Pheromones – yes, they really are a thing.
Once again, I guess we’ll see you next week.
Until next time, everyone.