First of all, I apologize for the delay in uploading. This week has been topsy-turvy for me and I haven’t been able to catch my breath. This episode is where we see the relationship tiptoe quite a bit from cute shy couple to public declarations of affection.
Lu Zhen, having been at the temple, learns about her half-sister’s wedding to Lu Zhen’s former fiance. Lu Zhen goes to see the festivities, not knowing that a suspicious guard who thinks she’s the wanted girl from the posters.
Lu Zhen cries a little as she looks on and sways, a bit stunned at the turn of events. A man catches her and she looks up into Gao Zhan’s eyes. He takes hold of her and leads her away from the scene.
They sit by a little stream and he asks if she’s sorry that her fiance is marrying her sister. Lu Zhen says no, that she cried because she felt sorry for her sister. She turns to Gao Zhan and asks how he knew that the girl was her sister? Has he been looking into her past?
Gao Zhan changes the subject and tells her that he’s been worried about her ever since the Dowager Concubine’s death. Lu Zhen’s temper flare (she doesn’t know that he had saved her from the fire) and yells that he should have come and seen her, didn’t he know how scared she’s been, that she would never see him again? She hits him as she cries and he grabs her in his arms.
He tells her that it’s his fault. He’ll never let anything harm her again. She’s touched by his words. He calls over his two most trusted advisors, Yuan Lu and Uncle Zhou.
Lu Zhen is quite shy as she introduces herself to Uncle Zhou. Gao Zhan teases her and tells her it’s not like she’s meeting the in laws. He calls her A Zhen (Which is his nickname, it’s the equivalent of calling someone Lizzie when their name is Elizabeth and done only by the closest people) She tells him to not call her that in front of people, or else she’ll tell them about anything embarrassing he’s done in front of her.
Gao Zhan smiles and says that Uncle Zhou has seen him grow up, she can say anything about him, and Uncle Zhou will probably know already, including the time she had washed holes into his clothes. She retorts that it didn’t happen, he had sat too close to the fire and burned in! She gets slightly embarrassed and runs off.
Yuan Lu and Uncle Zhou observes that ever since Gao Zhan has met Lu Zhen, he’s smiled more and more. Gao Zhan gets bashful and grins, saying “really?” He runs and catches up to her.
Then he does the unthinkable in all of Chinese Dramadom – He HOLDs her hand. Not a wrist grab or a sleeve pull. An actual hand hold. I have evidence. I did a double take at this point and had to watch the scene a couple of times.
And then some more evidence of handholding and cuteness. Gao Zhan buys Lu Zhen a Hairpin. The guard is still following but Uncle Zhou is able to lose him. Gao Zhan and Lu Zhen goes to a ceramic shop. Gao Zhan picks up a Guan Yin Statue. The merchant tries to sell the statue for twenty pieces of gold. Lu Zhen schools him and tells the merchant that the statue isn’t from the dynasty he claims because during that time the statues in Guan Yin image were male not female like this one. The color is off for the ceramic. The merchant quickly backtracks and tells Lu Zhen that he’ll throw in the Guan Yin statue for free for her husband, if Lu Zhen would agree not reveal this to anyone else.
Lu Zhen is flustered to be mistaken for Gao Zhan’s wife but Gao Zhan has the biggest smile on his face as he looks away.
Gao Zhan tells Lu Zhen that he’s impressed by her knowledge of ceramics and Lu Zhen tells him that she comes from one of the most prestigious families in ceramics, she can tell the make of a pot by the shape, color, and everything. But the time comes and they must part ways.
Lu Zhen gives Gao Zhen the ring the Dowager Concubine has asked her to give to the Crown Prince of Chang Guan (Gao Zhan’s actual title) since Lu Zhen assumed that Gao Zhan is a guard for the crown prince, she trusts the ring to him.
Lu Zhen enters the palace and the guard whose been following her since he recognized her from the wanted posters realized that she is a palace maid. Lu Zhen, meanwhile gets a visit from her old teacher, who asks if she has any plans for the future. Lu Zhen tells her that she will be trying for the Lady Officials’ test. The test will be happening the 8th of the 11th month. Lu Zhen’s teacher also sees Lu Zhen’s new hairpin given by Gao Zhan. She warns that Lu Zhen can’t get too close to anyone, it’ll mean her life if she does.
Gao Zhan recognizes the ring as the one that holds the allegiance of the Dowager Concubine’s former country. He knows that this ring will give him power and pull with allies that he did not have access to before.
Lu Zhen is studying her butt off and she chooses to go into the Jewelry and Treasures Department. She asks Lou Qing Qiang to sponsor and her the latter happily agrees to do so.
Meanwhile the suspicious guard has taken a wanted poster to the Ministry of Internal government affairs – which is very different from the Internal Harem Affairs.
He asks if he should pursue Lu Zhen’s case and his superior turns out to be Shen Bi’s father. Shen Bi’s father tells him that it would be a major coup if they caught Lu Zhen in the palace and that he would get Shen Bi to help.
Once Shen Bi realizes that this could be the chance for her to get rid of Lu Zhen once and for all, she goes at it with gusto. She becomes nice to Lu Zhen to confirm that Lu Zhen was at the temple that the suspicious guard was also at.
Dan Niang, however, sees thru Shen Bi’s niceness and tells Lu Zhen that Shen Bi has said that she know’s Lu Zhen’s true nature. Lu Zhen realises what Shen Bi means and panics. Lu Zhen realizes that Shen Bi might know about Lu Zhen’s past as an attempted murderer.
Lu Zhen bribes a eunuch who tells her that Shen Bi meets with and learns that Shen Bi meets with her father once every few months in secret and the last time was yesterday. Lu Zhen realises that Shen Bi might have learned about her secret.
She gets advice from her former teacher and goes to talk to Shen Bi and find out just how much she knows.
At this point, Shen Bi is back to the bitch she is and tells Lu Zhen that she’s going to die for sure. Lu Zhen laughs and tells Shen Bi that since Shen Bi is very smart, she must know that Lu Zhen must not be a simple murderer.
Why did the Princess allow Lu Zhen special access to the palace, why did the Emperor write a character for her personally, why does Lou Qing Qiang favor her so much, why would the Dowager Concubine make her a 1st Level Maid. Doesn’t Shen Bi remember what happened to the last person who tried to accuse her of this?
Shen Bi is unsure for a moment. She goes to write a letter to tell her father about her suspicions and tries to sneak it out of the palace.
She sees Lu Zhen is trying to do the same thing and the Eunuch carrying her letter was stopped. Shen Bi smirks and realizes that Lu Zhen was bluffing, if she was trying to get outside help.
Lu Zhen talks to her teacher who tells her that it was no use fretting about it now, Shen Bi can’t do anything with Lou Qing Qiang and Wang Shang Yi out of the palace. Besides, lu Zhen’s brother in law ( who is a minor civil servant) probably can’t do anything to protect her. Tomorrow, teacher will talk to her cousin who is a magistrate. But as she says that, Dan Niang runs over to tell her that Shen Bi has gone to the Internal Affairs of the Harem to report Lu Zhen.
Lu Zhen tries to find Gao Zhan at the Guards quarters for help, only to be told that Gao Zhan doesn’t exist. Lu Zhen is stunned as Internal Harem affair maids come and take her away.
Lu Zhen and Shen Bi both make their cases. Shen Bi brings the wanted poster and the judge asks Lu Zhen why she looked so much like the girl on the poster.
Lu Zhen tells the judge that there are plenty of people who look-alike. If she needs to check then go and see Lu Zhen’s identification scroll.
When the maids come back and says that they can’t find Lu Zhen’s ID scroll, the situation looks worse and worse for Lu Zhen, and Shen Bi looks as if Christmas came early.
Dan Niang rushes in and hands the judge Lu Zhen’s ID scroll saying that the Dowager Concubine, having favored Lu Zhen so much in the past, knew that someone would try to harm Lu Zhen. In order to protect Lu Zhen, she placed the scroll within her own palace for safe keeping.
Shen Bi screeches that the scroll must be a fake, Wang Shang Yi had accused Lu Zhen of it last time. Dan Niang points out that Shen Bi had told Lu Zhen that Lu Zhen will pay heavily someday and that everyone had heard Shen Bi make the threat.
Shen Bi can’t deny it and opens her mouth to argue that the scroll. The judge tells Shen Bi to shut up – the scroll is aged and has the genuine stamp of the palace, how dare she make such accusations? The judge orders Shen Bi to be dragged out, beaten and thrown out of the palace.
Shen Bi retorts that she is the daughter of a Level 5 civil servant. The judge tells her that she will fall from a Level 2 civil servant back to Level 3. She will still be beaten.
Lu Zhen thanks Dan Niang once they get out and grabs her face playfully, asking who had helped her this time. Dan Niang can’t tell the truth without going off on tangents and in the presence of the judge Dan Niang was smooth and rehearsed.
Dan Niang grins and says that she’ll take Lu Zhen to the man who saved her and it turns out, of course to be Gao Zhan.
Lu Zhen runs into the pavilion and yells for Gao Zhan to come out and Gao Zhan peeks out behind a partition and comes. He smiles at her and tells her that her identity and past are taken care of. She asks when did he do all this and he replies that he’s been preparing since she came into the palace.
Her new background is solid and he tells her that it’ll pass through every examination. Lu Zhen is relieved and says that she doesn’t know how she can thank him. Gao Zhan smiles and replies that he can think of one way. He walks towards her
She back away
He gets closer. And Closer.
She leans away and closes her eyes, stuttering, no, we can’t, don’t don’t
And he leans in even closer.
I think that this is a cute place to end on. The next episode marks a major development in their relationship and I think that in its special way, it holds a place near and dear my heart.
The Good – I have rarely seen dramas where the characters are so open about their relationship. While stupidity and noble idiocy is a given in dramas, there is a mutual interest and action that the leads take. They’re body language is clear and unambiguous. They know they’re heading into a relationship and while they aren’t at the point of saying it, their hands have done some talking. The handholding was a glorious thing to behold. After all the wrist grabbing, it’s good to see some finger locking.
The Bad – For heaven’s sake, Shen Bi gets on my nerves like nails on a chalk board. Her pettiness can be chalked up to jealousy and yes there is pressure from her family. But it makes her seem so petty in ways and just plain one dimensional in others. Shen Bi needs more depth and development. Her hatred of Lu Zhen sure makes me bored of her.
My favorite – In this drama, the leads’ relationship is given time to develop and mature. We forget that Lu Zhen is only 17 at this point and while she is wise beyond her years, it’s really good that Gao Zhan and she get to flirt and be adorable together. Also, every time that boy smiles I fell a little more in love with him.