I liked so much of this episode, especially the last part. That being said, the main characters finally, finally see sense. As for the second male lead, I can see how some people like him and some find him tedious, but at least he’s pretty to look at. And Royal Concubine, your time to shine is coming soon…
Shen Jia Min comes to Lu Zhen’s rescue, saying that she witnessed the Emperor’s robes being switched; that it wasn’t Lu Zhen’s fault. Because someone spoke out for her, Lu Zhen is off the hook for the dragon talon design gaffe, but Wang Shang Yi isn’t going to let Lu Zhen walk away free. For spilling blood on the cloth and causing such a ruckus, Lu Zhen must be punished.
Wang Shang Yi knows that she can’t lower Lu Zhen’s official position (because her backer is the Emperor), but she does tell Lu Zhen that she’s going to stop her from working as an official for as long as she can. She tells Lu Zhen that from now on she can stop going to work every day and have Shen Bi take care of everything. Shen Jia Min walks happily away while her maid asks why she helped Lu Zhen. Shen Jia Min reveals that she did it because Gao Zhan asked her, and in exchange will take her out riding. She thinks that what she did will cause Gao Zhan to like her more.
Lu Zhen tells Ling Long that her losing work will not affect Ling Long. They are interrupted by Yuan Fu, the Emperor’s Eunuch. He tells them that it was the Emperor who arranged Shen Jia Min to stand up for Lu Zhen. Also Lu Zhen gets permission to go out of the palace for few days.
Shen Bi and Lou Qing Qiang discuss more plans to screw with Lu Zhen. While Lou Qing Qiang is wary of Shen Bi, because of her allegiance to Gao Zhan, Shen Bi assures her that she will do whatever to cause Lu Zhen harm. (Why are the villians in this drama so quick to work with each other while the good people kinda suck at communication? Sigh.)
Meanwhile Gao Zhan tells Yuan Lu to go and find the true culprits behind Lu Zhen’s sabotage. Because Shen Jia Min hates Lu Zhen so much and spoke up for her this time, Wang Shang Yi would definitely believe Shen Jia Min.
Before Lu Zhen leaves the palace she tries to go see Gao Zhan. However, Shen Jia Min’s maids come out of Gao Zhan’s palace and tell her that Shen Jia Min is with Gao Zhan right now and can’t be bothered. Besides, Gao Zhan will be taking Shen Jia Min outside the palace today to her home, the maid says while smirking. Lu Zhen leaves without seeing him, even though she hears the two of them in the palace.
The Emperor has returned the Empress Seal to the Royal Concubine and wants her to rule the harem again. The maid suggests that the emperor is so sweet to the Royal Concubine, so perhaps the Royal Concubine should. The Royal Concubine looks at it sadly and wonders why–she has lied to him, why should she continue lying to him (about her feelings)?
Dan Niang is enraged and wants to go yell at Yuan Lu about his master. Lu Zhen stops her and tells her that if Gao Zhan wants to make up, he’ll come and find her. In the meantime, Lu Zhen will go outside the palace and find some ceramic makers and kilns, she wants to expand the palace business; this way, she might be able to go back to work through doing good work.
Lu Zhen takes Ling Long with her to research ceramic houses and kilns.
They stop for tea where Lu Zhen sees her sister, who looks miserable and is dressed terribly. Lu Zhen asks a woman who was serving them food what happened to her sister, who happens to be married to Lu Zhen’s old fiancé, a magistrate. The woman tells Lu Zhen that soon after the elder daughter ran off (she’s talking about Lu Zhen), having killed someone , the magistrate’s position was lowered. Lu Zhen remembers the Lu family had a lot of money and asks why the the girl looks so bad now. The woman tells her that through bad management the Lu family lost a lot of money, and they also had to pay off the person Lu Zhen had injured. Now the 2nd Lu daughter hasn’t given her husband any children and her husband wants to divorce her; he’s already taken a few concubines.
Lu Zhen goes to a jewelry store and picks out a load of stuff. She tells Ling Long that she was the elder daughter and she wants to help her sister. Ling Long replies that she’ll know what to do with the jewelry.
Ling Long goes to see the magistrate and his wife (Lu Zhen’s sister). She berates the magistrate, who bows to her respectfully because she is from the palace.
Ling Long tells the magistrate that her mistress Du Si Yi, who is a Lady Official in the palace, loves and cares for his wife very much. Ling Long shows the very confused wife a string of red corral necklace like the one she and Lu Zhen fought over all those years ago (in episode 2), and the wife realizes that Lu Zhen is alive and well. Ling Long advises her to be like who she was and fight back against her husband. Lu Zhen will support her.
The next scene is utterly and completely ridiculous, and I don’t really know how anyone can watch it and not bust out laughing. Lu Zhen is reminescing about her time with Gao Zhan outside the palace when Shen Jia Yan, riding a horse, nearly runs into her. To save her he flies off his horse and grabs her to prevent her from falling. And in the scene, which was funny as hell, you can see Lu Zhen walking backwards as Shen Jia Yan flies off a fake horse. She literally walks backwards with her arms up as he “flies” to catch her. Rewind, watch, laugh.
Lu Zhen goes to drink some tea with him. They talk about Shen Jia Min who is going to marry Gao Zhan. Lu Zhen gets up and trips on his carpet (I swear to god she can’t keep her balance when he’s around.) He catches her.
They talk about Lu Zhen, who Shen Jia Yan badmouths and worries that Lu Zhen will harm his sister. Lu Zhen (who he doesn’t know is Lu Zhen, and instead thinks is named Ling Long) says that he’s wrong. He asks her to go riding with him today, and she agrees on account that he has some really good horses.
On their ride, Lu Zhen sees Gao Zhan taking Shen Jia Min out. She quickly rides back, telling Shen Jia Yan she has other things to do. Gao Zhan sees Lu Zhen (who is covered) and also knows Shen Jia Yan’s interest in Lu Zhen
When Gao Zhan returns to the palace, Shen Bi tries to declare her love for him. But before she can say a thing Gao Zhan tells her to stop; he knows what she is going stay but she should refrain. Gao Zhan can only repay Shen Bi and her father with monetary and position rewards; he can’t promise anything else. Shen Bi tells him that Lu Zhen doesn’t care for him anymore. She loves him, and she will love him forever. Gao Zhan tells her to stop. If she doesn’t leave, he will start disliking her.
Uncle Zhou asks Yuan Lu what’s going on with Gao Zhan’s love life; one moment he is with Shen Jia Min and then he is with Shen Bi. Yuan Lu explains that he had asked Shen Jia Min a favor and Shen Bi isn’t really important. (I knew I loved Yuan Lu). Uncle Zhou reveals that Lu Zhen had gone to find Gao Zhan a couple days ago; the emperor even asked if the two are back together. Yuan Lu is stunned and runs in to tell Gao Zhan the news.
Lu Zhen is reporting to the Emperor when Gao Zhan runs to the palace. He tells her that what she saw today with Shen Jia Min was a misunderstanding.
Lu Zhen yells back “Really? I saw you guys were really happy riding horses!” Gao Zhan yells back that yes, he went out with her, but it was only riding.
Lu Zhen points out that Shen Jia Min is getting her wedding ready. Gao Zhan yells back, “Didn’t I tell you that in this life I will only marry you?”
The Emperor coughs and comments that just this morning, Lu Zhen had said that she was ready to forgive Gao Zhan. Yuan Lu runs in to explain to her that Gao Zhan was the one that saved Lu Zhen over the robes incident.
Yuan Lu adds that Gao Zhan wouldn’t even look at Shen Jia Min if he hadn’t asked SJM for help. Lu Zhen looks uncertain and asks if it’s really true.
E: D’awww hug it out!!!
Gao Zhan tells her, yes, everything is true. Including that day where she saw him hugging the Royal Concubine–that was a misunderstanding as well. Also, he has decided to give away all the Guan Yin statues he used to collect because of the Royal Concubine. He asks Lu Zhen to forgive him.
The Emperor tells them to let it all go. The Royal Concubine became the way she is because of the Dowager. As the Royal Concubine’s husband, he apologizes. Lu Zhen and Gao Zhan rush to stop him. Then the Emperor tells Lu Zhen that the only person Gao Zhan likes is her, and he can prove it. He tells Gao Zhan to take off his robe. (It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes…sorry that came to mind.)
E: Whoah, woooah!!!
Lu Zhen turns around in embarrassment, but the Emperor tells her to look. There is a huge scar on Gao Zhan’s back from when he went to rescue her from the fire. Lu Zhen sees it and rushes to hug him. Everyone leaves the lovebirds on their own, smiling.
The Emperor sighs outside as he thinks about his Royal Concubine (she cares for you too, boo, but give her some time).
Back in the palace, Gao Zhan and Lu Zhen are hugging it out. Gao Zhan asks her not to run away without letting him explain. If they fight again, she’ll listen to what he has to say. She agrees. Gao Zhan asks why was she was being so good to him today. She says that she didn’t know he suffered so much for her.
Gao Zhan smiles and says that if he knew that his injuries were going to get her to forgive him, he should have taken his clothes off sooner. (Yes, we think so too.)
Gao Zhan reassures Lu Zhen that he will never marry Shen Jia Min. He’ll tell them tomorrow and he’ll never let Lu Zhen suffer over this issue again. She asks after his arm and he pulls out the white tiger she had sent him while he was working on the flood. He said that the white tiger had gotten him through everything. When he got kidnapped and when they didn’t have enough food, he would hold it and it kept him sane.
Gao Zhan asks if Lu Zhen remembers the six words he had sent to her. She says yes, and they say it together. And they do what everyone has been waiting for them to do since episode 3–they kiss.
Gao Zhan walks back to his palace happily whilst Shen Bi looks on with jealousy and anger, wondering how Gao Zhan and Lu Zhen made up so soon.
The next day Gao Zhan apologizes to Shen Jia Yan, and tells him that he wants to make Shen Jia Min into a princess by adopting her. Shen Jia Yan refuses and tells him that they won’t take his charity, besides Shen Jia Min won’t accept it either. He tells Gao Zhan that he will take care of his sister and accepts the situation.
Shen Jia Yan goes to see his sister and runs into Lu Zhen. They talk and Lu Zhen apologizes to Shen Jia Yan about Gao Zhan’s unwillingness to marry Shen Jia Min. Lu Zhen goes on to say that “Lu Zhen doesn’t want to give up on her love either.” Shen Jia Min tells Lu Zhen that it wouldn’t matter, sooner or later Gao Zhan will realize that Lu Zhen is not his right companion for life. Lu Zhen looks startled.
Thoughts – I love the kiss; there was fire and lights and everything. However, since it happened halfway through the series, I was slightly annoyed. As for the fighting, it’s all they’re doing most of the series so I’m just happy that we got to see them doing some making up. As for the side characters, I think Shen Bi is as annoying as always, her hatred and jealousy is idiotic and is as effective as … not really. Shen Jia Yan is hot but not interesting; he’s the perfect man… if Gao Zhan wasn’t in the picture.
Elizaphantrex and I were discussing the show yesterday and she and I both found the portrayal of men in this show to be too idealized. If we look at the relationships, Gao Zhan and the Emperor or Shen Jia Yan and Gao Zhan, there is no drama. They are all good boys with golden hearts. Meanwhile, all the villains are female and ruthless. Of course, i can go on and on but I’ll let Elizaphantrex take over on that aspect.
Elizaphantrex: Yeah that’s not gonna happen. I came home waaay too tipsy to discuss gender roles in this show. When I first began reading the recaps, around twenty I think, I asked Rin if the whole thing didn’t smack of propaganda. Here you have women, performing women’s jobs and infighting over the “perfect” man. I thought the use of the term “lady official,” rather than simply “official,” was particularly telling. I felt the director responsible for the drama was saying this is how women act and this is their place. As a historian (in training) we’re encouraged to analyze the cultural implications of popular literature, television and film. However, I am at a distinct disadvantage, because I’ve honed my understanding of the occident, and largely ignored the orient. Rin very quickly pointed out that many of my assumptions were erroneous. (For example, historically I associate pottery and crafts with women, but that is not necessarily the case in China).
At any rate, what I’m getting at is I’m curious to hear your perceptions of the portrayal of gender roles in this show. What do you think about the behavior of the female characters? Even Lu Zhen, the heroine of the series, often resorts to trickery and deceit to achieve her goals (for example, that time she dressed up as a ghost to scare the truth out of another woman). Perhaps the auteur would suggest that deceit was the only avenue available to these women operating under the critical eye of a stringent patriarchy; or, perhaps, more maliciously, he would suggest that deceit was the avenue they were most naturally inclined to take.
But what do I know? I’m totes drunk!