Now that the series is over and I have time to do some post-drama reflection, I’ll attempt to do some episode recaps.
Before I get started, let me introduce to you the main characters:
To start the line-up, we have Hu Ge as Lin Shu (LS) / Mei Changsu (MCS) / Su Zhe (SZ)…and yes, he is known by ALL those names throughout the drama. He isn’t playing a man in disguise, however, his three identities all make an integral part of his persona.
He is mainly known as Mei Changsu, Leader of the Jiangzuo Alliance. A man of great intelligence and coveted by those vying for the crown. Without any martial arts skills, he is followed around by this friendly boy:
I add Wu lei as Fei Liu just because he’s too adorable to ignore. Although not integral to the movement of plot, he does play an important part in keeping MCS alive. A martial arts prodigy with some temperamental issues. He’s sees the world as basically Su ge ge and everyone else. The only person who is able to tell him what to do is MCS.
Then there’s our leading lady:
Liu Tao as Princess Nihuang of the Mu family, general of the 100 000 troop strong army in charge of protecting the Southern border. Having fought on the battlefield since an early age, she doesn’t feel the need to embrace nor display her womanly virtues. Her younger brother was meant to take over as head of household, however, he doesn’t have the skills as of yet so she has stepped in until he can.
There’s one character that pops up for a bit in this episode…but doesn’t make another appearance till the end. However, he is very important in terms of keeping our hero alive.
We have Jin Dong as Lin Chen, the master of Lang Ya Hall and MCS’s primary physician and one of the reasons he’s still alive after 13 years. As master of Lang Ya Hall, he has the amazing ability to find out any information that you could ever deem necessary…
Fei Liu also doesn’t like him very much, I would like to use this cartoon as a representation:
The one with his hair down is Lin Chen…the one being hugged is Fei Liu…MCS is in the winter coat ^.^
There are a few more characters but they don’t get introduced for a while.
Let’s get started with the recap.
The opening scene is bathed in blood and fire…a tragic moment of separation between father and son:
Viewers are welcomed to the series with a sad goodbye on the battlefield as a father is forced to let his son fall in order to save him. The betrayed General Lin urges his son Lin Shu to live on as his son begs his father not to let go.
It is from this goodbye, that the plot evolves into a story of revenge.
12 years on and LS wakes up from the nightmare of a memory, clutching on to a wristband.
MCS bolts upright on his …futon?…struggling to compose himself as he remembers the deaths of his comrades, friends and father. The determined glint in his eyes during the close-up is just the beginning of his journey.
Borrowing the translation of junjuntianxia blog:
All who had heard of the Lang Ya Hall knew, that it was situated on the peak of the Lang Ya Mountain, that it was a beautiful, graceful manor, that its gardens were filled with pavilions, that beautiful, clever girls served as servants, that a wide stone path led to the door of the Manor, winding down the slope, trailing down to the foot of the mountain.
The scenery CG in this drama is stunning, but you can definitely tell that CG has been added to the natural beauty of China.
We now meet Lin Chen, Lang Ya Hall’s master and the man everyone comes to for information.
His servant let’s him know that the sixth prince Northern Yan has named the Sixth Prince as Crown Prince. With one statement, he let’s the viewers know that our hero is much more than he seems.
We also get to see just how it is that Lang Ya hall seems to know just about everything, whether it be the royal court of jianghuo.
Next up in the introductions are the royal family, minus two.
Prince Yu and the Crown Prince are battling it out for the Crown Prince position and go in search of the divine talent who was able to help the Sixth Prince of Northern Yan achieve the Crown Prince position. The Sixth Prince who originally had no power nor backing.
Prince Yu is then informed that it is thanks to the words of Lang Ya Hall:
A divine talent, to have him is to have the world.
Unfortunately, this person’s mysterious identity was not revealed by the Sixth Prince. Crown Prince is also given the same information, and both decide to set out to Lang Ya Hall in order to obtain his name.
Then, it’s time to meet father and son duo, Zhuo Dingfeng and Zhuo Qingdao. These two are minor characters but are still important part of the overall plans.
They belong to Tianquan Manor and are well known in the pugilist world. Zhuo Dingfeng is number four on the Lang Ya list of martial art masters.
Sadly, episode 1 is the only time that we see Lin Chen use a sword in action:
As both Prince Yu and the Crown Prince arrive at Lang Ya hall, Lin Chen tells his servant to give them both silk pouches with the exact same message inside:
The top of the Lang Ya list, Sir Mei of Jiangzuo.
Both of them then turn to their respective advisors to find out the identity of the person at the top of the Lang Ya list. Tai Banruo for Prince Yu and The Marquis of Ning, Xie Yu, for the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince and Xie Yu then talk about their next step in removing the influences of Prince Yu, and Xie Yu tells him not to worry as the Zhuo family are handling it.
The first time we meet Mei Chang Su officially, is then Zhou Qingdao is attempting to help an elderly couple reach the capital. However, he is chased by a fleet of boats from the Double Sword Sect who are aiding the country of Qin.
His reputation as Chief of the Jiangzuo Alliance garners him immediate respect from the Chief of the Double Sword Sect. Having entered Jiangzuo territory, he has absolute say in who is protected and his decision is revered by those in the pugilist world. The Qin official dares to speak out and is thrown into the river by Fei Liu.
In the end, both Zhuo Qingdao and the Double Sword Sect leave without any bloodshed, and the elderly couple are brought to the capital to put forth a plaint.
The Emperor is seen taking a walk with his eunuch while discussing the discontent shown by Royal Consort Yue and the Crown Prince when he elevated Prince Yu to Prince of Second Rank. He also mentions how both of them had sent people to Langzhou looking for a divine talent and mocks that anyone could take his empire from him.
One of the few side characters that will become part and parcel of the scenery when MCS is around is Li Gang. A member of the Jiangzuo Alliance who acts as his bodyguard, servant and carer.
Fei Liu’s fear(?) of Lin Chen is first introduced when he runs away from the man and he comes to visit MCS.
In the story, there are two young men that play a pivotal role in the start of MCS’s journey. Xiao Jingrui, who is the son of the Xie family and the Zhuo family, and Yan Yujin, son of Yan Que (who is yet to be introduced).
MCS’s plan is to travel with these two into the capital under the guise of wanting a warmer climate for rest and relaxation. Xiao Jingrui happened to cross paths with MCS while he was travelling in the pugilist world and became acquaintances.
Back at the Jiangzuo Alliance, after Lin Chen takes MCS’s pulse, he turns away without saying a word. MCS asks him how long he has left and Lin Chen scoffs, saying how long does he need. MCS asks for two years, to which Lin Chen replies, only if you have ten physicians with you.
MCS asks him for help in fulfilling his wish for revenge…and Lin Chen can’t help but to agree. He knew 12 years ago that the day would come for Lin Shu to return to the capital, but questions the wisdom of the route he has chosen to do so. Staying with Xie Yu, who is a supporter of the Crown Prince may not be the safest option.
After much debate, Lin Chen pulls out a bottle of medication, stating that once he runs out, MCS must remember to invite him to the capital. Remember this bottle! It’s important ^.^
The one thing you will learn to get used to very quickly, is Fei Liu’s ability to turn up in the most random places. Lin Chen calls out to Fei Liu that his Su ge ge was leaving him to go to Jingling, and tries to entice Fei Liu to go to Southern Chu instead.
Yes…he is hanging off the roof…
MCS finally catches his first glimpse of Jinling after twelve years.
This may look like an unemotional face…but as unemotional goes, this is really very full of longing, sorrow and regret.
As they nearly reach the gates, the guards announce the arrival of Princess Nihuang in all her battle armour glory.
Who both Jingrui and Yujin consider as a dear sister. She greets them both by initiating a fight ^.^ and defeating them both.
While MCS watches on and struggles with his emotions.
After bidding their farewells, the boys arrive at the Manor of the Marquis of Ning, Xie Yu, and Xiao Jingrui’s home. Before entering, MCS tells Jingrui to call him Su Zhe to avoid the interest that his real name may bring from both the pugilist world and royal courts.
Xie Manor’s second son, Xie Bi greets them at the door and welcomes them both inside.
Inside, unknown to the three, Zhuo Qingdao is reporting the success of his mission to escort the elderly couple to the Marquis, Xie Yu. The two discuss how Prince Yu now has no options in saving Duke Qing from the outcome of the investigation.
When the three are announced, Qingdao leave through the back entrance secretly.
As they enter to pay their respects, Xie Yu realises that there is a guest.
While inside the palace, Princess Nihuang is being informed by the Emperor that a competition to find her a husband will be held at Yingfeng Tower.
The top ten fighters will take part in a written examination where the top three will be chosen by the Emperor for her to choose from. Nihuang negotiates these terms so that those at the top of the written examination will have to spar with her.
Then enters Xia Dong of Xuanjing Bureau.
Who is given the title of Special Investigator and ordered to look into the case brought forward by the elderly couple against the Duke of Qing.
The friendship between the two women is seen when after her orders are received, Nihuang and Xia Dong talk about her possible marriage and old betrothal. When the Chiyan Army was still alive, Nihuang was betrothed to Lin Shu. Xia Dong’s husband, Nie Feng was under the command of the Lin family, and she believes that he was betrayed. Therefore she feels as if Nihuang is wasting her opportunities by believing in the innocence of the Lin family and the Chiyan Army.
Overall, not many interesting things happen in this episode, but there is an onslaught of character introductions.
There aren’t many female characters that play a vital part in the plot, Xia Dong happens to be one of them…for a very small period of time.
Based on this episode, we can tell that there is something niggling the heartstrings of MCS in terms of his emotions towards Nihuang. Whether he acts on it or not is still to be seen.
The two youngsters are very naive in terms of the court battles. Jingrui more so than Yujin. After all, Jingrui’s father has supported the Crown Prince for so long, but he still has no idea about it.
Whew! What a doozey of a recap.
It’s definitely a good start and the scenery and music is amazing. Everything has such a soothing feel to it, and as a lot of internet comments are saying, everything has the feel of a watercolour painting.
I hope you go check it our for yourselves and let me know what you think.
To watch with english subs, please visit Viki.