CDrama Recap – The Romance of Hua Rong – Episode 15!

WTH is up with the tango music?

OH LOL. “Engagement painting” is all the rage now….so CS has his BROS standing as the references–in a “King of the World!!” Titanic pose–to see how it turns out. Poor Shaggy. Blue Bro feels the insult, too. Lol, so Hua Rong gets to choose the pose.

Oh, and CS is planning a proposal surprise tonight! Shaggy doesn’t understand…why propose….when, y’know, they’re already married. WAIT, DID HE JUST SAY HUI IS PREGNANT? WHAT? Anyhow, CS wants to get married properly and with all the official trimmings and permissions this time.

He’s got her an engagement gift, too! It’s a VERY UNCONVINCING extensible sword. Seriously, the blade is visibly flopping on camera. He also has a necklace for her. It’s a lock and key he made himself. She can only marry him! Also there are fireworks! Also he named an island after her! It’s just for them aaand their kids.

Hua Rong spots a ship on fire behind CS. Heh, he doesn’t want to be interrupted because she hasn’t said yes. He heads off to investigate–via flight–while they turn the ship to come alongside. The ship is abandoned….UH OH! NINJAS! Ninjas start killing the pirates while HR and the Bros are below. The ship also has no cargo. CS, meanwhile, goes back on deck go find his men slaughtered. (Not all of them, surely.) HR finally realizes that there’s a trap, but….

…this is a rival pirate gang; they rob fishermen. HR, CS, and the Bros help out! HR is not the best fighter, but she does help. They catch one guy alive. He begs–he offers to let his men join theirs….but it’s a trap! He aims a dart at CS! HR leaps in front of him and takes it for him. She’s out cold–what, just from the one dart?

CS breaks down immediately. Wow, blubbering and begging his bros for help. But she was OK really. OH SHEESH GIRL STOP TEASING THE MAN. That was an absurdly dramatic scene for just one little dart. (turns out her necklace saved her.) He (tries) to make her promise not to do anything dangerous anymore. Dude, didn’t we just have an entire arc based on the premise that Hua Rong doesn’t do that sort of promise?

But CS explains that he can’t bear the thought of not seeing her again. HR says she is willing to die if CS wants her to. But they promise to live long and stay together for ever and grow old together.

Later, CS has a bit of a brood and is talking to his adoptive father. OH GOSH, DUDE! He decides to go alone and leave her behind. Dude, you KNOW she’s just going to follow and then get into trouble. CS’s sword scabbard has a hidden compartment with a jade piece in it. It’s his father’s. CS pours one out for Dad and swears to find find his murderer. (I like Dramatic Chang Sheng, y’know.)

So he leaves her with just Blue Bro and a letter to go back home. Hua Rong is naturally incensed. Lol, but she logic bombs him into doing what she says: whose orders does he follow? The Boss’s. Whose orders does the Boss follow? Hers…buuuut sister-in-lawwww! Heh. So off they go.

Turns out, CS kept his plan to himself (probably because if he told the Bros they’d spill it immediately). LOL they spot a stall selling Hero Yun He dolls….HR starts to criticize them for being inaccurate. And they’re expensive.

And then a girl crashes into them. She’s being chased by armed men, so naturally Hua Rong helps her. This Lu Wanwan, and she is the daughter of the local magistrate who was running away from an arranged marriage meetup. Or at least claims to be. Hua Rong approves! Blue Bro meanwhile think’s it’s too much of a weird coincidence….oh, so CS is at the meeting? So HR is definitely going, and she tries to persuade Wanwan to go, too, just to hide out and see if there’s anyone she might possibly like there.

But how to get her in without being instantly recognized….? ONE WONDERS. Oh,not cross-dressing? Blue Bro dresses her up as a tattoo-faced outlander (?) girl with braids. Blue Bro has many skills, heh.

Blue Bro spots CS as soon as he comes in, chatting up some girl–OH! Wanwan’s father’s second wife. (He also has Shaggy with him.) Also, at this point Wanwan figures out that HR and CS are married. It’s that obvious, heh.

HR, please don’t spoil things stupidly. Come on. But she’s at this point merely spying. CS is there in the guise of a rich, handsome, young, connected, rich spice merchant, and Second Wifey is flirting hard. Heh, Blue Bro tries to cover HR’s eyes when Wifey starts caressing CS’s hand. And luring him off to a private room? COME ON STOP BEING STUPID HR! You know perfectly well he’s not cheating on you, stop being STUPID! You’ve avoided cliches so well so far!

But they’re just actually discussing perfumes. Except that CS has actually drugged the perfume and is interrogating Wifey. AT LEAST HR has the native intelligence to wait until Wifey is out cold before she breaks in. Lol, she almost forgets that she’s mad at CS when he helps her out of the window and they end up face to face. Lol, and then it keeps happening….

Well, that was cliche but at least it was also funny and didn’t last long.

So Wanwan’s father Merchant Lu arrives. Also, there’s a guy with an eyepatch. He gives a speech and also announces that he has a marriageable daughter and there will be a contest. White jade will also be one of the wedding presents. Oh! the white jade is where the half-treasure map is. Um.

Blue Bro wants to ask why said daughter isn’t making an appearance?–tattooed-Wanwan hides behind her sleeve–but another girl emerges, wearing a veil. Eyepatch Guy is the first to volunteer for the tournament. Hua Rong, however, reassures Wanwan that she will get her a suitable husband.

But, when the bros gather that night to discuss, they have found out that: Merchant Lu isn’t connected to the Black Dragon Gang. He’s been threatened into this whole business, Wanwan, the contest, the white jade, and all. It’s to lure out Hero Yun He. And this may be the work of the Black Dragon Leader. Chang Sheng, who hasn’t learned his lesson yet, still wants to send Hua Rong home and keep her strictly uninvolved in any of the business. Also, he wants to enter the contest and win the jade, so….

…meanwhile, where is Hua Rong at the moment? UH OH, BEING KIDNAPPED IT LOOKS LIKE…wait, being drugged and kidnapped BY HER HUSBAND. This time, Blue Bro swears he will keep her safe for real! No mistakes. Chang Sheng apologizes to her in her sleep and leans in for a kiss……

…SHE WAS PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP LOL. She was expecting it and had the antidote. She wants to prove to him that she is smart and dangerous, too. She can help him! Even though finding the real Black Dragon Leader is going to be way more dangerous than anything they’ve ever done, Big Brother Enemy fight included.

CS makes a deal: he’ll give her anything if she goes back home.

HR makes a counter-offer. They both enter the husband-finding contest, and if she wins, she gets to stay with him always. He agrees. But if he wins, she’ll go home. She warns him that she’ll win on her own strength and send him the white jade as a dowry!

Chang Sheng realizes that she has just said yes to his proposal! He likes women who are stubborn and opinionated! Boop! But no kiss to seal the deal. Just a high-five and another boop.

The next morning, however, Chang Sheng and Bros are confident: after all, everyone needs a ticket to get inside the contest….of which Wanwan has two. (VIP tickets, lol.) Uh oh, they’re forged tickets.

Lol, HR and CS have a little facial conversation, and then Wanwan tells HR to stop making faces at each other in public. And, meanwhile, one of the guards has spotted that the tickets were forged! He throws them out! Uh Oh! They’re going to be thrown in jail and being chased! But Chang Sheng is rushing to the rescue–

–AND MR. JIN ARRIVES! WOOO!

Rated: I love this series. Each time I think it’s going to turn around and disappoint me, IT DOESN’T!

Legend of the Phoenix – Eps one to….um…

Legend of the Phoenix – Eps 1-3…or four…or five…
This is one of those palace intrigue series, it looks like. It’s far weaker than the other ones, mostly due to the fact that the heroine has little agency and also not very much personality.

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Episode 1 has our hero being appropriately heroic by rushing to save lives when he learns that there is a court intrigue in play that will destroy the innocent theatre troupe led by our equally innocent heroine. Our heroine falls head over heels for him, and who wouldn’t? Nevertheless, his patron the Empress is pissed that he acted without her permission, revokes his promotion, and assigns him to be lackey to one of her ministers.
Episode 2 has our hero attempting to, uh, let’s go with “ravish” the heroine. He’s only actually trying to scare her off, firstly because she’s been stalking him for the entire time, and secondly because he’s trying to protect her against his predatory master. But our heroine figures it out….or at least imagines she has. She finally confesses her love for him and asks him to marry her. He lets her down quickly, if not exactly gently: he already has a fiancee, or at least claims to. But, being a good girl, she wishes him well and walks away to cry her eyes out…face first into a tree.
Basically nothing happens in this episode, which is mostly our heroine mooning ridiculously over our hero.
Episode 3 has our hero (Lord Wei) losing his boss (Lord Lang)”s favor because he snitched on a corrupt underling. Our heroine comes up with a plan to destroy the evildoer!….that is, the guy who was beating up on the hero, not the boss himself. She succeeds in getting him beaten to pulp, but she’s also exposed herself and now pissed off the actual minister. The hero leverages this, however, into getting Minister Lang to not take reprisal while he tries to smuggle the troupe to safety. We get to see the hero showing what he’s made of as he plays both sides, directing the refugees and distracting the searchers–not to mention encouraging the heroine. So it’s the army against the theatre. Guess who wins….
His kung-fu counterpart–Lord Yang, Minister Lang’s military expert ((and by the way, there is also a Captain Wang, yeahhhh)–however, has had his suspicions roused. But Lord Wei is ahead of the game here, too. He takes Ningzhi off to decoy the pursuit away from the troupe. But it goes horribly wrong, and they both get shot and fall off a cliff into a river….well, that’s a hell of a cliff hanger.
Anyhow, in Episode 4 the heroine decides that the best place to wait for the man who already told her he wasn’t going to be able to be with her is in the palace. She joins the maid corps. The training regimen is strict…trouble ensues. The hero, meanwhile, is still trying to get her theatre troupe and mother to safety. There’s a pretty good fight scene. (Did I mention he’s very handsome?) The heroine wins the favor of the Empress, but such attention from such a ruthless woman is a dangerous thing to have…

Pros: well-made series with a handsome cast (seriously, this guy’s really handsome, while the heroine is also very cute) and, well, it does have some sort of a plot. It’s filmed competently and has lots of pretty colors. I’m invested in the romance.

Cons: I’m invested in the romance because that’s basically all there is to this show (so far). The plot is kind of boring so far and the characters are kind of insipid. The heroine’s personality is “in love with the hero.” Her motivation for any action she takes–be it practicing her acrobatics or framing a corrupt official for rape–is predicated on liking the hero and trying to get his attention. She also trips and falls while running away from the bad guys, come on. The hero’s personality is “romantic smart hero person.”
So, while I am going to check out the next couple of episodes, this one is probably going to be a pass.