So I watched – Siege in Fog – eps 1-7

“So there’s this new Chinese drama I was watching…”
“Oh no. Here we go again.”
“….anyway, it’s pretty good! The guy in it was in Chinese Paladin 5.”
“They did a Chinese Paladin 5?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t as good as the Three.”
“None of them are as good as Three!”
“Nah, yeah, I know, but he’s very good looking.”
“How did I guess you were going to say that.”
“There’s this whole fight scene and his shirt gets ripped off. In front of his wife. And she’s really horrified because he’s getting beaten up but not too much because she doesn’t really like him.”
“…Wait, why doesn’t she like him?”
“He kind of forced her to marry him after she had her heart broken by this other guy who was a political reactionary guy and then had to leave the country and left her behind, too. Actually, it was her mother who really really pressured her into marrying a rich guy because they needed money because the father was in prison after being framed but it turns out the hero was behind that too.”
“What?!”
“–so it’s been two years and they’re not really happy together at all. Anyhow, his father is a warlord and his older brother is a general, and he’s actually really cool and talented but he doesn’t really want anyone to, you know, know that he’s smart and can do things.”
“Oh. Like, um, what’s his name. Like Batman?”
“…kind of? But he gets kind of forced into revealing himself, and then there’s no going back. Oh, there’s this cool scene where there’s a saboteur who tries to kill him, but he gets the upper hand, and then he gives the guy a gun and then he basically talks the guy into committing suicide. Now that was cool.”
“…that is not cool!”
“No, no, it is! Because the guy was trying to straight-up murder him and frame his own brother for it. So the hero, they go to a lot of trouble to make him be just a really cool awesome character. There’s another scene where he kind of just walks into the enemy’s camp with a hostage, and then when he gets to the general he just tosses the guy and the gun away and says hi casually. It’s cool. So anyway, the girl, the heroine is kind of supporting him, because she wants him to make something of himself, because then at least her mother won’t have forced her into the marriage for nothing at all. But then the guy she was in love with before comes back–”
“Oh, uh huh!”
“–and then he ends up as her husband’s aide.”
“UH HUH.”
“–and it turns out he’s still working with the student revolutionary people. And he also assassinated their, their strategist guy? Who was the father’s friend and the second brother’s wife’s father. So a lot of the plot so far is the family trying to deal with that: they lost their friend, they lost their strategist, they lost their teacher…and then the other warlords are maneuvering and moving in. And then the second brother’s wife, the girl whose father was murdered, she blames the heroine for it–for reasons–and it’s very intense. Also, she was supposed to have married the hero but he gave her up because the second older brother was in love with her, or something, and he didn’t want to start trouble and he fell for the heroine anyway. And then, the oldest brother is in a wheelchair, and his wife is related to one of the enemy warlords that the hero just defeated in battle, and she hasn’t seen her younger brother in ten years and her father won’t even speak to her….”
“It does sound interesting.”
“Yeah, there’s a whole lot of back and forthing, about who is related to who and who loves who and who hates who and who is sabotaging and the mistresses and then the guys on the side, and then the family stuff…and the brothers are kind of squabbling for position in the family, but not really because they still care about each other and the family–so far–and the guy who wins is probably going to be the youngest son, the hero. Except everyone probably is going to die in the end anyway.”
“The guy who forced his wife to marry him is the hero?”
“….yeah, but he doesn’t sleep with her.”
“….”
“So it’s still a romance, because it’s how he actually wins her over, even with the other guy there. I think married romances are actually better, you know. Because then you don’t have to wonder who’s going to win.”
“What? No, that’s just stupid. The point of a romance is to not know what’s going to happen.”
“No, it’s to know what is going to happen, and then wonder how it gets there. That’s why I don’t read romances.”
“No, you just watch them in Chinese.”
“Shut up.”

The Romance of Hua Rong – Ep 18

We start again with Hua Rong practicing archery and getting distracted by the lack of Shang Cheng.

This is because SC is crawling around in a ghillie suit, hunting ducks….? (Which, hah, get stolen by HR and released back into the wild.) SC leverages this into a morality tale about how geese/ducks (definitely not ducks, if my ornithology friends are to be trusted) being monogamous, ought to cooperate and love each other….and incidentally, please move back to the hotel with him?

Hua Rong decides to go. Mr. Jin is slightly crushed but calm. Heh, lol: Mr. Jin’s Sidekick was the one who suggested inviting the girls, and now he’s getting the blame for it. The next step is going to be….consulting Wanwan for ideas. Oh, poor Wanwan.

Heh, Shang Cheng and the Bros have a welcoming committee together. And flowers!
LOL. Shang Cheng wipes the smirk off his face long enough to solemnly promise to compete fairly and thoroughly against Hua Rong. (Only then does she take the flowers.) Aaaand shuts the door in his face, because she needs to study up for the competition!

BUT! The sneaky guy is searching….HR’s? rooms, I guess because he saw Hero Yun He with her in the last episode. He finds one of the engagement pictures (those will never stop being funny), but has to make a quick retreat when Mr. Jin and Sidekick arrive. Mr Jin, even more crushed, studies the painting. Wanwan arrives! She chats with Mr. Jin about whether he liiiiiikes Hua Rong? She counsels that he admit his feelings openly and not regret….no matter what the results are.

So….not creepy at all, Mr Jin is showing HR a collection of paintings….of her? (Blue Bro thinks this is cause for alarm, but Shang Cheng, after initially agreeing, calms down and dismisses the notion. He trusts HR completely. Or wants to. And won’t do anything.)

(“Boss, you said you weren’t going to go.” “I’m not going, I’m just hanging around and just happened to drop by.” “Boss, how fast are you hanging around?”)

Oh poor Mr. Jin. He’s about to confess, and not only is HR not receptive, SC and the Bros are hiding behind the door eavesdropping. Hua Rong confesses that she only really liiiiikes SC. (LOL, “This is the power of trust, boys!”) Mr. Jin agrees that he knew this already, but he feels better now. And they are still friends and comrades, with no bitterness.

Meanwhile, Shang Cheng is painting a portrait of HR himself. Blue Bro flatters, but Shaggy is a lot more honest…..hah, it’s basically a cartoon. He’s able to spin it, though: no painting will ever do her justice! (and he likes the painting, anyway.)

SO! The sneaky guy is reporting to the moustached guy, who tells him about Mr. Jin trying to visit HR. He also addresses Moustache Mask as “Grand master”, so I guess he’s the ultimate head of the Black Dragon Gang? They have an evil plan!
And now back to the contest! Three rounds of archery! Heh, Shaggy is wondering if the two of them are staring daggers at each other, but Blue Bro says they’re actually just flirting. (SC also has a thumb ring–they’re couples’ rings, heh.)

SC scores three bull’s-eyes. HR is smiling and applauding him sincerely!

Likewise, SC encourages her to shoot well and calmly when it’s her turn. She also scores three! Round two is shooting while standing on a swing, and one guy already knocked himself out. Eyepatch Guy, meanwhile, HAH, sits down on the swing. But also falls off. SC……LOL, hooks his legs through the swing lines….not because he needed to with his level of skill, but because he knows HR will need to do this as well. (Sheesh, guys. I’m not that much of an archer but I’m pretty sure you could just, you know, BALANCE.) HR doesn’t get three bull’s-eyes, but it’s close enough with the diminished field.

The third round is shooting a moving target–a willow branch. Wanwan protests that this is totally unfair and who came up with the rules? (Her father, heh.)

And once again, SC encourages HR as she goes out to fight: remember what he taught her. (Hero Yun He covered shooting willow branches, it turns out.) And she does it! BUT THE SNEAKY GUY FIRES AN ARROW AT HER! Fortunately, Shang Cheng grabs it out of the air without being actually hit himself, wow. I’m admiring the high level of competence by the heroes and the lack of tearjerking in this series.

SC is pretty disturbed, though, because the level of competence on the enemy’s part is also disturbingly high. But! he isn’t going to want to send HR home–he trusts her now. But they figure out that the enemy is probably trying–and probably has–sussed out that he is Hero Yun He. Hua Rong apologizes for revealing his secret identity. But SC is calm. He has formulated a special perfume for her that he can use to find her instantly (HEH), and also has commissioned some body armor for her.

And now it’s time for bed. Shang Cheng puts HR to bed and holds her hand until she falls asleep. OK, serious and sincere Shang Cheng is just about the best romantic hero ever.

But Mr. Jin shows up for a drink. He wants Shang Cheng to send HR home. SC says no: he trusts his wife, and is responsible for her safety. Mr. Jin is calm and level-headed, and offers his help.

MEANWHILE! Sneaky Guy reports to Moustache. They have figured out that Shang Cheng’s secret identity is, well, Shang Cheng the pirate king. But at least they don’t think that he’s Hero Yun He any more….BUT, they do know what his objective is either way, so….Sneaky has his orders for the morrow.
On the morrow: Wanwan is worrying about the lack of Mr. Jin (and getting teased by Blue Bro.)

Right now, Hua Rong and Shang Cheng are tied for points, having won the martial arts competition and the literary competition respectively. Shang Cheng decides to withdraw….so HR is ready to collect (on behalf of Mr. Jin, who after all is sponsoring her.) But! The white jade is concealed in the bank vault–HR must leave to go get it. Danger music starts playing! Also, someone comes to lure Wanwan out!

The Sneaky Guy walks up (with a bunch of ninjas) to Hua Rong. But SC and the Bros also enter! THE TRAP WAS A TRAP! HR easily escapes from the ninja holding a sword to her throat and takes cover! Mr. Jin is there! SC and Shaggy already got the information from Wanwan’s father about the trap and promised to help him! WOOO!

But now the bad guys actually do have Wanwan. They want to exchange her for the white jade. Ha, SC tells Sneaky that even if his group does have a hostage, he, Sneaky, doesn’t get to leave this house alive. Sneaky counters that if he doesn’t get back in an hour, the Grandmaster will kill Wanwan. HR advises that they let the men go. Sneaky says they’ll return that night.

HR has an idea….ha, she put the special perfume on Wanwan. (lol, the Bros start to congratulate HR, and SC tells them that NOW IS NOT THE TIME, “well done HR!” Mr. Jin facepalms.) They’re going to trace down Wanwan and attack immediately.

They trace her to a building and spread out to find a hidden tunnel–but the tunnel is booby-trapped and ANOTHER AMBUSH SPRINGS! NOOOOO!

RATED: I’d watch this entire series in one sitting if I could.