Love and Destiny – eps 6-10

So most of the stuff happening is happening with the tattooed Advisor guy doing stuff to people and the thunder god guy being scheming and Jiu Chen not really caring. So, remembering that there’s the question of 100,000,000 dead Celestial soldiers of whom Jiu Chen is the only survivor, people want answers. The implication is that one of the generals (Yuan?) succummed to demonic influence and was doing something wrong; Jiu Chen may be trying to protect the rest of his once-friend’s family.
And we soon learn what he is protecting them against, since we follow the fate of a tribe that the Advisor guy has it in for. They end up fed to the Abyss Chaining Spirits, except for one guy who gets eaten by some kind of black hole monster. In the meanwhile, Jiu Chen is under house arrest…and may himself have been tainted by the demonic aura as well. But never fear! Ling Xi is there to keep him company!…um, well, ok, I’ll go scrub the, dust, or…um….
So one of the things the Advisor is after is bloody revenge; and it turns out the Phoenix Queen, for whom he nominally works, isn’t fully on board with the plan. Phoenix Queen has an adoptive daughter, but still misses her own lost child…a daughter, also about that age. AHAH! Anyhow, Phoenix Princess has a giant crush on Advisor. Mom is not down with this, because she knows that Advisor is dangerous. Princess loves her mom, but is also both a total princess and slightly psycho. (I am nevertheless liking Princess right now because while she’s somewhat psycho and definitely spoiled, she’s also still quite innocent. So she’s not at an Azula level yet and hopefully we can redeem her into being one of the good guys. Also, the Advisor is quite nice to her. Maybe he’s just being manipulative, but before that’s proven he’s still very sweet.) Meanwhile! Advisor is actually losing his spirit power because he’s too busy being obsessed with revenge, and is basically poisoning himself. He refuses to consider this as a possibility and intends to continue as is. So…okay, it appears that one guy he hates got eaten by the black hole monster–which is the demon king guy that Jiu Chen sealed away 50,000 years ago. Advisor wants to get at this guy REALLY BADLY…to the point that he’ll unlock the demon king just to get a shot at him? I think?
Ling Xi, meanwhile, must go back home to beg, find, or steal some medicine for Jiu Chen, who keeps turning into ice if he doesn’t get it. We meet Junior Fox Brother for the third time (and this time get to talk to him), and yep, he’s the same guy who plays Qin Shang Cheng, and YEP he’s just as hilarious here, too.
Meanwhile, Advisor may know much more than he’s letting on about the Phoenix Queen’s missing actual baby? So: there was some sort of fight, and Queen left baby under enchantment while she went back to try and help. But then a cliff collapsed on the baby and it’s presumed dead.
Meanwhile! Heroine’s elder sister gets attacked by a random giant bird and then one of the guys shows up and chases it away from her. That was random.
Meanwhile, Ling Xi is trying to manufacture the medicine for Jiu Chen. NNNnnnnnot very successfully. LOL. (BOOM)
The heroes discuss the matter of black hole monster (demon king guy). He’s awake and the demon miasma is increasing in that area. Also, Ling Xi is definitely connected with this matter, somehow. But everyone knows she’s adorable, lovely, innocent, kind hearted, clever (BOOM) LOL EVEN JIU CHEN IS FED UP AT THIS POINT. But! the important thing is that she’s succeeded and made some pills.
(What kind of pills, Ling Xi? And exactly how and how are you going to test them?) Ling Xi, is not an unscrupulous heroine. She’s going to test it on herself….by diving into a pool of icy celestial water. Guess what happens next. No, go on. Guess.
And then! Remember the mortal puppy that Ling Xi adopted? Well, it’s dead now. Someone lured it out of the house and killed it right before Ling Xi was going to make it immortal. WHYYY? So Ling Xi tearfully says goodbye to her puppy Lil White and tells him to be a good boy in the next life. NOOOOO WHYYYY. And then everyone else is missing Puppy, too…WHY DID YOU ALL HAVE TO KILL THE PUPPY?!
OK, so we’re getting a little more backstory to Phoenix Queen. She was princess back in the day, and she and one other guy (the father) were being attacked by ninjas of some kind. She put the baby down–and sent someone, who looks hugely suspicious when he’s told to, to go fetch it–but the guy sacrifices himself for her. In the present, though, the Queen has deep suspicions still (oh, she suspects the Advisor, because he somehow has the knot charm. He got it from Ling Xi….bu Ling Xi got it from Jiu Chen. What the heck is going on, here?) So the Queen goes to find some answers from the oracle…while Advisor and Phoenix Princess both bump into each other while eavesdropping. GUYS HOW CAN YOU BE BOTH EVIL AND ADORABLE?
The child (not that we didn’t know, but it’s news to Advisor) is alive. But she’s also not in the Six Realms; she’s nearby…man, that oracle was pretty useless.
OK, So. In ep 10, someone….wait, is this Ling Xi or Phoenix Princess? FOR THE LIFE OF ME I CANNOT TELL, she’s wearing black like Phoenix Princess?! –stumbles into a cave with glowing crystals that starts to show her the future—oh no, it’s Jiu Chen’s thoughts? Which include him kissing the heck out of Ling Xi. I’m pretty sure this is Ling Xi herself, because she is a little disconcerted at this. Oo, OK, so Ling Xi reactivates the crystals to show her the battle from 50,000 years ago. (I didn’t mention: Jiu Chen is currently going to stand trial for losing 999,999 other soldiers of the heaven realm, not to mention burning an official report). I think she’s looking for evidence. OOOOO, she is the kid! She was right there at the oracle cave and they all missed her?! AWWWW.
MY SUBTITLES ARE INCOMPLETE! The Phoenix Queen is publically snubbing the Advisor! That’s not good!
INCOMPLETE SUBTITLES–WHAT IS GOING ONNNNN I CAN’T TELL! NOOOOO. WHAT IS GOING ONNNNNNNN?!?! So, Ling Xi has evidence that can clear Jiu Chen, and she’s gone to go have a talk with the dead general who actually comitted the massacre/crime/whatever. And I think it’s a good talk because I think she asks him to take good care of Puppy on the other side. BUT YOU KNOW I CAN’T TELL BECAUSE THE SUBTITLES ARE MISSING [edit: she agrees keeping the secret is best, and please do take care of Puppy, awwwwwww I really hope that we can see Puppy in the afterlife.]
But his sister is there and she is determined to protect their family. Which is understandable. But she is going to let an innocent man be framed, though. [General Girl is named Yuan Tong. She does point out that Jiu Chen isn’t going to suffer any truly horrible consequences, such as having his entire family stripped of their privileges and massacred. This happens to also be the logic Jiu Chen is following when he allows himself to take the fall for it.] There’s an argument and Ling Xi has to run away. They’re at some kind of pool and Ling Xi is going to fall in I think…WHY DID SOMEONE PUT UP BAD SUBS? THAT’S JUST UNKIND YOU KNOW GUYS. I DON’T APPRECIATE IT.
Ling Xi falls/gets pushed into the pool [it destroys the powers and immortality of immortals, oh no, it took her 22,000 years just to get where she is now–] and passes out…OK, break. I need subs. I’ll finish episode 10 once I get them from someone who’s RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY.
…oh, wait, would you look at that. I also downloaded a zip file of the Viki subs for all sixty episodes. MY GOSH I was obsessed. Am obsessed.
And, meanwhile, everyone is noticing that Ling Xi is missing. So at least she’ll get rescued quickly? Lol, Jiu Chen is one of them and he’s not happy that she’s gone. .
In other news, Mama Yuan is a witch with a capital B. General Girl Yuan Tong is sorry about it all…but resigned to the deception.
Meanwhile, Ling Xi is still missing, it’s the eve of the trial. Also Shi San is causing trouble. Other news: water wet. Hah, I love that she’s able to taunt one of the guards that she fought in the war, where was he back then? Jiu Chen shows up to rescue her, at least, but where is Ling Xi?
But Ling Xi’s elder sister appears to have found out where she is, at least: down in the pool. UUUUUHHHHH OH. She’s turned into a bird again (but still has the record scroll with her!?)
OOO, OOOO ooo, ouch. Mama Yuan point-blank asks if Jiu Chen killed her son. Lady, you only think this is hurting Jiu Chen. It’s going to end up hurting you in the end! Wait, is she rubbing it in? What a bitch! OH MY GOSH YOU BITCH. YOU DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE 999,998 OTHER SOLDIERS, SCREW YOU. SHE ORDERS HER PEOPLE TO KILL HIM!
OOOOOOHHHHHHHH Elder SISTER ARRIVES JUST IN TIME WITH THE SCROLL AND LING XI. They do manage to turn her back into a human….heh, Yuan Tong Fiance guy wants to just call it a day. But Mama Yuan insists that the TRUTH MUST BE KNOWN. Not a good idea, lady–not when you’ve got Elder Sister and she’s got evidence. And Elder Sister is the kind of woman who is utterly unafraid to stand up to others.
AND SHE DOES IT! SHE OPENS THE SCROLL! ROLL CREDITS!

– Strong female characters! There are a lot of women in this story, and they have real personalities–from horribly annoying, self-centered, and antagonistic (Mama Yuan), to innocent and sweet, to innocent and sweet but psycho and spoiled, to, um, Shi San’s ladylike but yet still manly attitude (love her)–and they have actual character arcs, actual plot relevance, and importance to the overall story. Not to mention, some of them actually can kick ass. Not that there’s been much of it, y’know, but it’s always welcome when it does happen.
– Strong, interesting, and nuanced male characters! No, they aren’t in touch with their feelings, but they also have personalities which make them fun to watch. They’re stoic (and hiding pain and amusement…and annoyance), they’re cocky and sly, they’re loyal and calm; they’re attempting to be dignified but struggling with it; they’re calm and gentle (but also potentially manipulative and evil.) Also, everyboy (TYPO but I’m leaving it, heh) has really great hair.
– I really love Doctor Le Bo (heroine’s father). Just a reminder.
– I like the Advisor, too. He’s got such a dramatic characterization he’s bound to be interesting to watch. But he’s so calm and in control (thus far) that he feels incredibly competent. And thus far he’s done very little evil deeds–he has in fact been very sweet to both Ling Xi when he met her, and Phoenix Princess. Not to mention he has (or had) a deep loyalty to the Phoenix Queen. So I guess What I’m saying is that he’s another of those loveable, heroic antagonists, whom we love to watch and hate to see die.
– Shi San and her relationship woes are consistently entertaining.
– Heh, the Junior Fox Brother and Ling Xi squabble-fighting. And then Ling Xi verbally smacking him around–while helping him wipe off the mud she splashed in his face when he came over to check on her because she was playing hurt after he attacked her for getting him beaten up for not guarding her properly when she ran away. OK, I love these two.
– Jiu Chen (invisibly) taking revenge on a guard who bullied Ling Xi.
– Princess bringing Advisor some healing ginseng soup. “Ginsing soup again?….it’s…uh…good!”
– Jiu Chen just trolls Ling Xi, you know. Lol.
– Jiu Chen’s reaction when Ling Xi blows up her medicine room. Repeatedly. By the second episode of this business he’s reduced to clutching his head and outright complaining of it, hehhhhhh.
– LING XI’s reaction after blowing up her medicine room. OK, I love this heroine. She’s not feisty or plucky or full of cunning schemes, but she is extremely well-acted by a charismatic and good-looking actress who makes the most out of the little moments.
– Heroine’s sister, meanwhile, has also sent some pills…but, aww, lol, Jiu Chen prefers to take Ling Xi’s….until he actually sees that it’s five times the size of the professional’s pill. AND THEN LING XI RUNS OFF WITH THE SMALL PILL. LOL.
– Lol, “It’s Merit Hall, not Spirit of the Martyr Hall!”
– Everyone has really nice hair.

Wu Xin The Monster Killer – ep 6

So when we left off, the creepy ghost girl (Yue QiLuo) Wu Xin let out of her prison had trapped Yueya in a dream in the past. Yueya has (mentally) taken YQL’s place in the tragic events of 100 years ago. (YQL was involved in a forbidden romance, her lover killed himself but she was too chicken to go through with it herself, and his outraged family buried her alive in the well prison.) Anyhow, Wu Xin’s monster-killing blood isn’t helping, so Yueya has been thrashing around helplessly for an episode and a half while he and Lord Gu watch. YQL’s plan appears to be to make Yueya-as-her comit suicide…so she won’t be buried alive? Anyhow, Wu Xin tries to join Yueya in the dream (the spell is afraid of him and keeps floating away, lol), but he throws it on Lord Gu instead. Oh boy.
Lord Gu does his best but his time is limited, and the family quickly grabs Yueya. And then it gets weird, because the old master guy with the flywisk starts addressing her as Elder Sister and telling her that she’s a master of black magic….so…where and how did YQL get her powers? But things progress as they probably did in the past, with Yueya being nailed into the coffin under the well. (girl, stop squealing already. You know they’re not going to let you out. So just struggle in silence. Your screaming is annoying.)
I have to say, Wu Xin has been spectacularly useless this episode. Boy, think of something already! His only weapon is his blood, and he’s willing to try it again…but awww, Lord Gu points out that Yueya is his sister, too, be careful. Unsurprisingly, given that this has dragged on for almost three episodes, it works, even when YQL shows up in person to demand, even at this juncture, sympathy. And yes, I would be sympathetic if she wasn’t, you know, a murderous sex-crazed psycho witch girl intent on stealing Wu Xin from Yueya. (seriously? You’re a cool character, girl, you don’t need a man.) Anyhow, Yueya wakes up and gets a hug from Wu Xin and lol, Lord Gu comments that he’s happy and envious of them.
But the episode isn’t even over yet!…Wu Xin does not go after YQL, except to warn her of coming after them again. Instead he’s teasing Yueya and about to reach some sort of mutual agreement re: crushes when, awwwwwwww, Lord Gu arrives with a box of medicine and treats for his sis. He also wants to take them on a nice trip up to the hot springs for a, what’s that newfangled word? A “vacation.” Wu Xin, LOL, is NOT IMPRESSED. Oh, the hot springs is reportedly haunted.
Cut to: YQL gearing up to prove that the hot springs are definitely haunted….

So: this is a fairly weak episode but it’s more or less an intermission before we get to our next conflict at the hot springs. I’m liking the mysteries in this show–what is Wu Xin, what is Yue QiLuo and where did she get her powers–and also the fact that Wu Xin’s personality is “I want to live quietly and enjoy myself, not investigate mysteries.” So while I’m expecting to learn more about everything and avoiding spoilers for the meantime, there’s no huge hurry.

Highlights:
– Wu Xin trying to make the sleep spell work on him. It won’t stick–and when he swallows it it escapes out of his ears, looool.
– [Chestthump] “Little sister! Brother has come!”
– I just really love Lord Gu. He’s hilarious and he’s a good, loyal sidekick.

Send help am still watching CDramas – Cuo Dian Yuan Yang eps 1-10

So. I am so terribly addicted to CDramas right now that I even went back to watching some of the ones that I abandoned before. Years ago. (But it’s okay. “As long as you don’t start watching Bleach again, it’s fine.” So it’s fine. HELP ME SOMEONE.)
ANYHOW. This is about a girl who is sweet and chirpy and gets married to a guy who is cold and harsh. Terribly original, I know. And luckily, this time I’m not expecting anything to happen and the plot to be a minimum. It doesn’t start out with warlords on a mountain, there’s been no (or, okay, very little) kung fu, the production values are old-fashioned (this was done in the ancient days of 2010…) and there doesn’t seem to be any CGI. So what I’m expecting is something fluffy, cute, romantic, and nice. With a little bit of revenge here and there just to keep things interesting and some but not too much heartache.
So whats-her-face (Cutie Pie) is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy merchant family. She is on good terms with her subdued and gentle sister, but the rest of the family treats her as a servant. Cutie desperately wants to be recognized by her father, and finally gets her chance when the revengeful heroes show up. Their entire family (except for them, and their sister, and their uncle, and their nanny, and their very wealthy fortress…so…not sure what the point is, really) was killed/betrayed/somethinged by Cutie’s father. As part of their inevitable cunning but ineptly protracted revenge plan they plan to ally themselves with the family. The legitimate sister girl runs the hell away and falls off a cliff to her presumed death. So Cutie is substituted in instead. Her loyalty, somehow, remains to the family that’s always treated her like dirt, and she is intended to be a spy in the camp. Which is also mostly understandable, because:
The guy Cutie marries (tall, dark, and handsome, dressed in black, and perpetually stony-faced, naturally) is the eldest brother and master of the clan/fort/whatever. He knows she’s the wrong sister. He also doesn’t really care because he hates the family so much, and he treats her pretty coldly at first. Except that Cutie is, well, totally cute. She’s also bright and cheery and intelligent and wins hearts and minds and helps out at the fort even though Brother #3 bullies her and….yeah.
So that’s basically it up to episode 4, which is I think where I kind of tapered off last time.
Eps 5-7 cover the fact that: Cutie’s father is actually not the ultimate culprit to the murders (but is still an opportunistic freeloader who definitely knows more than he lets on, not to mention that he’s planning to bilk them for whatever he can get, however he can get it.) Cutie, although disturbed by the idea that her beloved bullying father is potentially criminal, remains staunchly loyal to him. Cutie is also slowly falling for Stony. Stony is also falling for Cutie. Both of them deny it. Of such things is romance made…
(Stony also kind of wants to give up this revenge thing, already. Which, considering that we haven’t even had one kung-fu revenge massacre or highly dramatic duel and only one random ninja battle, and no shirtless scenes at all, is HIGHLY DISAPPOINTING.)
Ep 8 covers the fact that the second brother has a crush on the heroine, the heroine feels guilty about taking the place of her missing sister and is having pre-wedding runaway syndrome. The hero tracks her down and confesses his luuuv and so, finally, they are officially to be married. YAY. Needless to say, there have been no developments on the revenge front.
Ep 9: the wedding occurs. Cutie’s shiftless Dad immediately starts trying to grift money off of the hero/armtwist him into overextending into a dangerous area. You’d think the hero would be able to stand up to a gutless worm like Cutie Dad, but you’d also probably be wrong. Ha, hero puts the pressure on their erstwhile trading partner…which leads to the Dad and Trader commiserating on how they’re both allies of hero who are terrified of him…and need to band together to teach him a lesson. On the one hand, heh. On the other: uh oh.
Ep 10: the heroine dispatches of one source of jealousy (the hero’s stewardess and honorary little sister), but promptly finds another: his cultured courtesan ex. Who is getting a little old and wants to get married already. Hero is uninterested (married!) but jealousy is jealousy. And, like that, we have achieved cross-dressing! (What gives her away: her ears are pierced.) So, since the courtesan girl had “helped” the hero significantly before, he promised to marry her as his second wife. She intends to hold him to this. Heroine is alternately terrified and furious.

So overall: pretty boring, except for the romance bits. The main couple have excellent chemistry, and Cutie Pie is a funny, well-meaning, perky heroine, but there really isn’t enough plot in between their scenes to, you know, be interesting. There’s also no over the top comedy or drama, so nothing to really keep my attention or make me just be happy.
Rated: About 5/10.

Highlights:
– Cutie showing what she’s made of when her new husband stumbles into the room drunk and passes out…by throwing water on him until he wakes up. She might not be a kung fu heroine, but she’s got a backbone.
– Random ninjas are one of my favorite things.
– Cutie practicing archery, and successfully passing the “shoot the apple off the guy’s head” challenge….by not trying it, she’s not good enough–winning the total adoration of the troops in the process.
– And then the guys try to hunt her some wild game when she’s sick, d’aww.
– Stony showing up with an umbrella exactly when needed….holding a stiff poker face and pretending it was a coincidence.
– A random strip-tease, ending with a tantalizing and scandalous glimpse of….pyjama-clad ankles.
– Cutie climbing over the wall to the family shrine…and landing squarely on the stone-faced and bemused. Stony…
– Cutie’s Criminal Dad tearfully explaining how he managed to stumble out of a house fire + massacre with just a random jewelry box and his life is kind of hilarious, given how no one except Cutie actually is fooled.
(Man, this show would be wayyy more dramatic if they just were torturing this guy in a dungeon somewhere and Cutie didn’t know and it was the *terrible secret* that the brothers must keep with great drama and regret and etc. And then the blood of the (abusive) father is on the husband’s hands and therefore much angst. Or maybe I just have a twisted mind. Also I dislike him and would like him to get painfully dead.)
– It kind of needs to be emphasized how tall this guy is. Cutie-girl barely comes up to his shoulder.

Wu Xin The Monster Killer – ep !

wuxinthemonsterkiller

This one starts well enough, with a (handsome) young wandering beggar-looking guy (Wu Xin) who befriends another  wanderer / runaway (Yueya). Neither of them has any money, so Wu Xin heads off to find a monster to kill for money. (“Don’t worry, I don’t lie, steal, or swindle!”) Also, Yueya has a ball of purple light following her but it hides whenever Wu Xin tries to get a good look at it.

The house with ghosts in it turns out to belong to a fairly twerpy army officer (Lord Gu). This is moderately okay, because Wu Xin is pretty much a twerp himself, albeit one who does seem to know what he is doing re: monsters. Which is why the army officer ends up agreeing to play monster bait (“Don’t worry, I also have my morals.”)–while Wu Xin walks off, because the monster might see him and be afraid, right? Yueya, meanwhile, feels responsible for setting both of these twerps in motion, and so insists on coming along.

Nevertheless, Yueya and her scissors come in useful in the fight against Hair Ghost. But the ghost escapes! (Turns out Wu Xin let it go so they could wring more money out of the officer guy.)

Episode 1 runs directly into Episode 2. So not only does Wu Xin’s blood repel monsters, he heals supernaturally fast, and might not be able to touch cold iron? Oh, also: he has no heartbeat and doesn’t breathe. Yeep. He’s also not really a monk, just pretending to be one, because it helps his business–killing monsters.

And it turns out that Wu Xin has also managed to get himself into more trouble than he knew, since there is not one, but two restless spirits in the well of Lord Gu’s house–and they both have tragic romantic backstories–and with one of them dead, the other has now been released…as a cute little totally evil teenage girl whom Yueya wants to adopt…at least until she starts making eyes at Wu Xin.

Also, there’s this fat rich guy who keeps eating wild game, and gets cursed by the wild animal spirits of the forest. Wu Xin advises vegetarianism. (And, sheesh, is not eating newborn baby pangolins that hard?) And then it all starts getting weird….

So:

– Wu Xin is acted with compelling charisma and humor. He’s also–so far–a sympathetic, heroic (….even if it is for money, works for Geralt, don’t it?) character, and the central mystery of what exactly he is, is pretty interesting to me.
– Yueya is also a pretty good character: she ran away from the arranged marriage her evil stepmother tried to shove her into, ran into a starving stranger on the road, and shared her food with him. And now, since he needs it, she’s helping take care of him. Wu Xin is definitely into her, but I’m actually liking the fact that they have to pretend to be brother and sister right now.
– Lord Gu is a hilarious twerp.
– Hah, Wu Xin’s monster-destroying powers being related to his blood means that he has to injure himself in order to defeat them….and when his cuts stop bleeding this can be a problem…
– abs.

Bingeworthy? Very possibly.

(Looks at watchlist. Cringes.)

Chinese Paladin 5 Reaction – Ep 3

-42:00, someone be sneaking.

-41:48, heroine Tang is having an asthma attack…..turns out so much kung fu isn’t good for her.

-41:00, why are you letting your martial sister smoke out your love interest?

-40:10: ….who? (does serve you right for messing with her, lil’ sister).

-39:32: So her illness is that she turns massively fat?

-39:00: hahaha, the bandits see Caiwei passed out and assume the worst…

-38:24: is that Tang??

-38:04, at this point I wouldn’t put it past caiwei to be faking it so hero can carry her.

-37:42: bandit dad is being reasonable.

-37:21: caiwei’s father is pissed to learn she fainted.

-37:05: ….um, so where is Miss Tang?

-36:36: oh, so the poor kids the eunuchs captured are still kidnapped?

-36:16: you know this girl is evil: she has a horned headdress and smiles when she sees the kids. Also her name is  Poison Shadow.

-35:35: ahhh, this is Miss Tang’s father…..and the kids are for her to absorb their energy. No wonder she ran off. Good girl!

-35:10: yes, tell Tang dad what a hypocrite he is.

-34:50: Tang Dad wants to cure her because he “owes” her.

-34:25:”What a hypocrite you are!”  “Must you gloat?”

-34:00: “….and what WAS your motive for telling me to sacrifice them all?”

-33:38: The clean sky sect? OOOOHH, THIS IS THE WARRIOR BODYGUARD GIRL FROM THE FIRST EPISODE (who didn’t have a name or any lines)?!!!  THE PLOT THICKENS.

-32:33, Caiwei hasn’t woken up yet and the doctor can’t proscribe anything because he can’t tell why she’s sick….

-32:05: even bandit dad is pissed.

-31:40: tada, MISS TANG.

-31:24, “yeah, that monster was so bloody ugly,” “MOVING ON. WHAT WAS SHE PRESCRIBED?”

-30:41. Ha, all the men blanch when they see the needles.

-30:22: Miss Tang sends the men away. Hero: “they’re all gone.” “I meant you, too.”

-30:07: that’s a pretty scary look for your doctor to have.

-29:43: ok, so even the other guys are asking why Miss Tang shows up randomly.

-29:16: and why would a nice girl want to hang out with bandits like us guys anyway?

-29:09: kid, we generally don’t give you any grief for your kungfu being crappy, but are you still trying to take credit for killing that demon ape?

-28:48: Caiwei’s in trouble! Break the door down….

-28:32: Caiwei opens the door…..

-28:19: Am I wrong to suspect mind control?

-27:48: you know, when you’re running your mouth about someone and the people you’re talking to start to grin at something behind your back?

-27:38 I love this actor. That little jump/scare was perfect.

-27:12: HAHAHAHA THE LET EIGHT HOSTAGES ESCAPE JUST CAME BACK TO BITE HIM HAHA

-26:33, at least the girls made friends.

-25:18, Caiwei has been hero’s protector since he was young. He’s lousy at kung fu.

-24:58: ….and he was listening.

-24:40: “yeah, but you fainted when you saw that FAT and UGLY monster!” “WELL IT WAS UGLY.” “Yeah, it was so UGLY—” “You guys SHUT UP!”

-24:06 “DON’t JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.”

-23:26….uh oh, Tang Dad’s men just showed up.

-22:30: Tang dad: “release my daughter!” Bandits: SWORDBRISTLE HELL NO SHE’s OURS NOW!

-22”20: “We didn’t kidnap her!”

-21:58: And the hero arrives…..

-21:23, bandit dad: “kid just shut up now.”

-21:06: Tang dad: “You all are going down!”

-21:00: Thank you, Miss Tang.

-20:50: “Ok, sweetie. Go home. Dad’s just about to slaughter these people and doesn’t want you to see that.”

-20:05: “Dad, they’re very nice.”

-19:47: uh oh. She wasn’t supposed to use kung fu. Tang dad flips out.

-19:19: “AND YOU GUYS STAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER.”

-19:17: Dangit caiwei, you don’t have to look so dang smug.  I thought you guys liked each other now.

-17:53: Caiwei is playing five-finger filet to hero to cheer him up.

-17:30: then he does it to her, haha.

-17:10: I’m pretty sure i the wrong answer to “what are you guys doing?” is: “playing.”

-16:20, “you are bandit dad’s darling son.” caiwei: “nodnod.”

-15:53: “and its about time you grew up.”

-14:56: caiwe: “you want me to do your guard duties, right?”

-14:33: …..yeah, dad’s liquor situation looks dire.

-13:49: “we’re switching to tea now.” haha

-13:29: Bells-n-Bracelets is your name…..and apparently she’s hunting Poison Shadow.

-12:55: she has a rainbow chameleon familiar…..which she may have accidentally just killed.

-12:30: no, it was just pranking her.

-12:11: her familiar is helping her search, because a footlong neon lizard is less conspicuous than a girl with bells on her fingers.

-11:28, I have a feeling she’s going to escape you because you’re a dummy.

-11:11: Tang Dad: “they’re peasants.” “they’re good people.” “they’re PEASANTS.”

-08:39, where’s Long Yo? I’m missing him already.

-09:19: good girl. Don’t let him order you to murder those kids.

-08:57: hm. Poison Shadow is going to force her. Come on, girl, don’t let them.

-07:59, even though those are the wimpiest rope bindings I’ve ever seen.

-07:36: “Yourou, your father is begging you! Look at how much pain he’s in! Can’t you just please agree to be accessory to murder to a few kids? For daddy?”

-06:55: Poison Shadow; “Sheesh, it’s just murder. YOU GUYS.”

-06:12: “Dad, it’s going to hurt ME if you kill eight kids!”

-05:40: uh oh, Poison Shadow is going through with it anyway.

-05:07: good girl. She’s begging Dad to make Poison Shadow stop.

-04:32: Hurry up, Bells.

04:10: THANK YOU. DAD YOU ARE STILL AN IDIOT THOUGH.

-03:50: You “OVERLOOKED” the fact that murdering eight people = murdering eight people?

-03:25: Huh, spiky shoulder pads.

-02:58::….glare…..HMF!

-02:14: Yeah, a lot of help that chameleon was.

-01:59: “I’m SIXTEEN!”

-01:30: Poison Shadow is literally fighting with one hand.

-:00:56 Snake vs lizard…..um. Not going to end well for lizard.

-00:09: “It’s a cat’s nature to hunt a mouse!” “That’s cats. Not kittens.” Hah, take that Miss I Am Sixteen.

CLIFFHANGER!

EPISODE 24….guys I’m really scared

xxoxzmThis show was my happy place for quite a while. If it doesn’t end happily, I AM GOING TO….i don’t know. Write an angry blog post, I guess.

So, Hua Rong is aimlessly wandering the streets of the city, in an unhappy daze. She walks past the Yun He doll seller and gets one for free for having bought the entire lot last time, heh. She stares at it blankly for a while before letting it just drop and shatter…uh oh….back in the empty theatre, she’s remembering how the play paired up Miss Tang and Hero Yun He, and sobbing some more…

WHAT IS WITH THIS DRAMA STOP IT IT’S THE LAST EPISODE NOOOOO now she’s at the bridge where they swore eternal love and she’s crying and getting rained on (I do have to say that the actress has a really good cry face) AND SHANG CHENG IS FOLLOWING HER AND WATCHING. SHEESH. TWIST THE KNIFE A LITTLE WILL YOU DRAMA? Oh, lol, he’s also carrying an umbrella. And tearing up.

And brings it, finally, over to her….stone-faced….wait, it was a bait and switch. The person who brings Hua Rong the umbrella is Wanwan! Mr. Jin and Tang Dad are there in the background, too, presumably in case HR tries to comit justifiable homicide. But now we switch back over to Chang Sheng, having a quiet moment by himself in the rain.

Wanwan and Mr. Jin are trying to coax HR into eating something. They’re also trying to convince her that Shang Cheng probably has a plan of some kind and is a reasonable person….she acquiesces to drink the medicine and lies down, just to make them go away. Annnnnd, that night…..someone creeps into her room…

….guess who….no, okay, look, this is ridiculous. You either have married Miss Tang or you haven’t, or you’re dying in two days or you’re not. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.

Anyhow, CS makes his presumably final farewell, and tucks her in and closes the curtains to the bed….and later, he’s standing outside brooding when Miss Tang arrives. She observes he’s feeling so lousy he might as well tell HR the truth. He doesn’t want her to try and find the treasure because she’s DEFINITELY going to move heaven and earth to save him if she can.

Miss Tang points out that there is also no way in hell Hua Rong will ever settle down and forget about him and be happy. She also points out that if it were her, she would stand by her man and cherish even just his memory and love him forever, as long as he didn’t, YOU KNOW, LIE TO HER ABOUT THINGS. But Shang Cheng has made up his mind.

GAH I DON”T LIKE THIS PLOTLINE!

So anyway, in the morning Wanwan and Mr. Jin come by…but Hua Rong has already sussed out that CS came by the night before, and dashes off to try and find him…..fast enough that she almost smacks into Miss Tang.

Miss Tang has had enough of this, and flat-out tells HR that the marriage was fake. THANK YOU MISS TANG. And also tells her the rest of the story. But, as SC predicted, HR immediately wants to find the treasure. Mr. Jin and Miss Tang are willing to help. Mr. Jin can get the one piece that his evil brother has, while Miss Tang has the piece formerly owned by SC.

OK! There is still half an episode left! I am happy now even though the sound is not working for some reason! Mr. Jin and HR are in the evil prince’s palace and spy out the hiding place! This can’t be a trap! There isn’t enough time for it to be a trap! Come on, show! COME ON!! OH NO!!!

THEY GOT CAUGHT! IT WAS BAIT! The evil prince is going to use our heroes to go ahead and find the treasure for him. First problem: how does this alleged map actually work? But HR figures out that it refers to the weird cave/tunnel they found in the previous episode. So, leaving Miss Tang and Wanwan behind, Mr. Jin (and Sidekick) and Hua Rong set out….wait, why don’t they just go straight back down to the tunnel, then?

So instead, they end up in a dilapidated temple and have to solve a riddle on the tablets before the local guardian god. At this point, the Bros show up. They have bad news…Shang Cheng is dead. Hua Rong doesn’t believe them.

I don’t believe them, either, really. But she’s still in the tearful denial stage when the evil prince kicks the door in and enters with a bunch of armed men. It was all a trick! That was why it was so suspiciously easy!

Mr. Jin confronts his brother: “Bro, stop doing evil things.” ….you know…that never works. Evil Prince Brother also has the nerve to say that it’s him who has been giving Mr. Jin many chances and that it’s Mr. Jin who never repented. EXCUSE ME?

Hua Rong and the Bros want to fight, but are taken with, um…contemptuous ease. Evil Prince swears that he will kill them with his own hands when he gets the treasure. So. Hm. Cut to th at night, with the soldiers doing soldierly things like drinking, laughing, and dancing around a bonfire, while our heroes are tied to a bunch of stakes and the bad guy is feasting and about to give an evil speech. I think I’ve seen this one before….

So Evil Prince comes by to gloat about his six chests of recovered treasure. Hua Rong spits in his face. GOOD GIRL! She glares at him! Did I ever mention that I really love this heroine? She has no desire to live now that her man is dead, but she assures the bad guy that he will suffer the penalty of sin! Evil Prince sneers and is going to cut her throat! The Bros try to call him off! He’s ready to do it!

WAIT WHAT WHY Yes I know this is awesome, clearly, but more importantly HOW THE HECK DID SHANG CHENG ACTUALLY GET INTO THE TREASURE CHEST TO BEGIN WITH?????

WAIT WHAT???? Where did all the other ninjas come from??? How did they….fit….in those chests…??

HR slaps SC! He lied to her AGAIN! He promises never, ever, to do it again. Yeah right, as if. (ANTIDOTE FIRST GUYS)

HAH, even the evil prince wants to know how he got into those freaking chests. So does Hua Rong.

(Boop!)

So, basically, he did go back to the tunnel–in force along with the rest of the pirate bros–and didn’t bother with all the riddles and passwords and counterweights thing. He’s a pirate. They blow s*it up. I love it. Also, he found the antidote. (Good).

Also, Smug Shang Cheng makes a surprise appearance. Hua Rong adds her complements! (“Thanks, wifey.”)…it’s not often that the heroes get to gloat, you know. I guess SC is enough of an antihero that he gets honorary points, though…lol.

Anyhow, SC is going to kill the Evil Prince to avenge his adopted father. FIGHT SCENE! Lol, Hua Rong and the Bros chime in to say that they support Shang Cheng! Fighting! LOOOOOL, the evil steward pipes up (with a knife at his neck), that he supports his prince! The prince ROLLS HIS EYES LOL.

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
Oh. Well that was anticlimactically quick.
(Poor Mr. Jin).

Shang Cheng gives his next order: don’t kill those who surrender, but do kill those who don’t. (everyone surrenders).

Anyhow, Shang Cheng has it pretty easy this time. Hua Rong is too happy he’s alive to give him proper hell for what he’s done. HUG!!

So! The companions are back aboard ship–Mr. Jin, Wanwan, the Bros, and our happy couple! They’re all invited to the wedding on, lol, Hua Rong Island. Blue Bro gets roasted for not having a girlfriend, heh. Meanwhile! A toast–to helping the needy with the money we found! YAYYYYYY!

Wait, is that it??

Oh, wait. He’s giving her the necklace back. (and kind of ruining it by telling her that she can’t take it off without his permission. PATRIARCHAL OPPRESSOR.)
hqdefault But he also is proposing! Will she marry Qin Shang Cheng?

OH! SHE GIVES HIM THE WHITE JADES–IT’S THE DOWRY SHE PROMISED HIM! AWWWWW!!! And kisses him, completely voluntarily! THE END!

OK…..so.

That ending definitely could have been stronger. I think they really did go with the weakest possible plot line, there. But some things can’t be helped, like the way the hero has stick arms and no muscle tone, or that there’s virtually no fight scenes. For the most part, this was an intelligently-written, impeccably acted, fun, funny, romantic adventure fantasy. With really great chemistry between the leads, lovable characters and very little cliche.

Overall? I really, really like this show–and it made me happy.

the-romance-of-hua-rong
Boop

The Romance of Hua Rong – Ep 23

I was afraid to start this up again–because once it’s done, it’s going to be done. 😦

Anyhow. HR, SC, and the guy they rescued in the previous episode get away by hiding in an oddly convenient underground cave. Within seconds, they also uncover a secret door, a tunnel, a gate, and a grave with a mysterious sigil on it. Shang Cheng recognizes the sign, it seems, but leads the others out to safety first.
And with very little more ado, they meet up with the rest of the party…..only for Hua Rong to swoon temporarily into Shang Cheng’s arms. She’s just tired and hungry! (She’s pregnant, isn’t she.)

OK, meanwhile: the bad guys are being baddies. They can’t attack Mengdie Villa face-on, but…..there is the matter of a spy. Wait, is this another spy? The camera ostentatiously stays away from his face, even as the prince promises him the villa, and Miss Tang. Wait…who is that guy again anyway?? Is that Mr. Ye?? I’ve, uh, forgotten.

Back to our leads, Shang Cheng is keeping watch over a resting Hua Rong. She has slept for twenty-four hours! (She’s pregnant, isn’t she.) Shang Cheng has stayed awake to watch her for twenty-four hours! He’ll only go away and get some sleep if he gets a kiss! Juuuust one kiss. OK THEN LET THE SKINSHIP COMMENCE–AAaaaaand like clockwork, that is when someone comes to the door. It’s Miss Tang (LOL, HR’s irritated hairflick and CS’s alarmed side-eye)–but she has brought them gifts…a matched couples’ gifts. She also sweetly thanks them for helping rescue her father, apologizes for trying to break them up, and wishes them well. HR, embarassed, assures her that they will be sisters and friends. Also, those prop cups look pretty sweet…..wait, don’t tell me there’s something wrong with those cups….oh no…

SO. Back in the little shrine for CS’s father, Tang Dad and Shang Cheng offer their respects and then start getting down to business. Tang Dad and Adoptive Dad were both pirate bros, until Tang Dad made a mistake! They found the two white jades that were the treasure maps, but Adoptive Dad thought that getting the treasure would be too risky and public. The end result was both of them taking one jade and separating–until the Black Dragon Gang killed Adoptive Dad. Moral of the story: the evil prince must not get the jade.

Shang Cheng swears that he will kill the evil prince for his father and for the sake of the world. Hua Rong, meanwhile, has a surge of nausea. (SHE”S PREGNANT ISN”T SHE). Also, Mr. Ye is looking REALLY SUSPICIOUS.

YEAH SHE”S PREGNANT….or wait, she only seems so. She’s poisoned. The poison is slow-acting and will kill her in three days unless she gets the antidote. So where did the poison come from….? Twenty seconds’ detective work by Blue Bro shows that, duh duh dun [that was originally a typo but I leave it], it comes from Miss Tang’s gift cups. One problem, though: Hua Rong seized on to the dragon-cup which Shang Cheng originally wanted. So was someone trying to poison him….?

Oh, dear. It was Mr. Ye. He chose the cups….and has now run off and is trying to cut the ropes of the rope bridge. BUT SHANG CHENG ARRIVES WITH A FLYING KICK! YEAH! He proceeds to beat the stuffing out of Mr. Ye. They demand an explaination!

Mr. Jin susses out that, indeed, Ye was suborned by the evil prince, and that the poison was aimed at Shang Cheng, not Hua Rong. But there is no antidote, he gloats. SC offers him one last chance: antidote or death. Ye doesn’t think he’s going to live anyway and dares him.

Miss Tang steps in! Why! Why did her martial brother do this horrible thing?…for her, it turns out. He was jealous of CS and knows he has no chance at her now in this life….but hopes that they will meet again in the next. And then throws himself backwards off a cliff, damn. Well, that’s stylish way to go.

Back at the house, Hua Rong is still passed out. Miss Tang tries to express her sympathies, but what the man wants right now is the chance to be alone with his wife. He flashes back to all the romantic examples of him getting hurt, her collapsing into his arms, etc. He recalls his promise to protect her….oh dear. He’s going to give up the jade, isn’t he?

So that morning, the Bros are desperately trying to dissuade SC from going to the prince. Mr. Jin steps in….he’s also going to go along. But then, Tang Dad stops them both! He has found a way to save her! There is a doctor famous for poisons (and healing), blah blah blah…long story short: the antidote will be with the treasure if it exists. The problem with this plan is: a) they don’t have the treasure, b) they don’t have the other half of the treasure map, c) they don’t even know if the antidote does exist.

Plan B is push the poison out of Hua Rong using inner force power….at the cost of one’s own life when the poison transfers its host. Shang Cheng is more than ready to do this. There is too much risk to the world if the treasure is found, and his life’s work is to protect Hua Rong….so he is ready.

…(I’m pretty sure Miss Tang going to die somehow during this process)…

So, SC does a mystical punching thing, and HR is pronounced sleeping by Tang Dad, she’ll wake up in two days…OK, so what about the….oh no, SC collapses. The poison entered him instead. YOU GUYS!!! I REFUSE TO HAVE AN UNHAPPY ENDING. NO. WILL NOT HAPPEN. SCREW THIS.

….Shang Cheng has one last request of Miss Tang. Anything.

WHAT THE HELL? HE WANTS TO MARRY HER WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?! SCREW THIS WHERE IS MY FLUFFY HAPPY FEEL GOOD DRAMA THIS IS NOT FINE. NO!!!!!

Shang Cheng is all dressed up in red, and then Mr. Jin comes storming in, demanding an explaination. I”M RIGHT WITH YOU BUDDY. WHAT THE HELL. SHUT UP MISS TANG. Mr Jin shuts her down NICELY. “I never thought you were like this. You are not my friend.” YES. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?!?

So SC tells Mr. Jin that he’s left Hua Rong, and now’s his chance….he, SC, is doing the right thing…while Mr. Jin retorts that he’s not treating Hua Rong right. And, per their “if you ever do anything to hurt her” agreement, SC is now in for suffering. Well, that’s totally true, even I can see that.

And, meanwhile! Hua Rong finally wakes up! She’s all alone, and the household is all preparing for the wedding….and the servants don’t answer her questions…until finally they do.

This is all a very sophisticated Operation Jealousy, isn’t it??

Hua Rong, quite reasonably given the circumstances, wants to hear this from Shang Cheng’s mouth himself.

A very emotional scene follows: why, what’s going on, I don’t believe you, you bore me, etc. Well, I say emotional because they’re both very emotional. Meanwhile, I JUST WANT THIS STUPID PLOTLINE TO FINISH THIS IS STUPID GO BACK TO BEING CUTE AND IN LOVE ALREADY GRRRRRRRRRR

SC is concealing the fact that he took the poison from HR. He’s just trying to hurt her and make her let go….he tells her that she needs to meet someone else who will take care of her and make her happy…. and then says good-bye and walks away while she cries! and tears off the necklace he made her! and flings it down on the ground! And runs away in slow-mo!…only for DUMBASS CHANG SHENG to come back and pick it up. BOY YOU ARE THE DUMBEST. SERIOUSLY.

So they/he? has some flashbacks of her beating up on him, and him saving her, and them reassuring each other and crying over each other….COME ON WITH THE STUPID PLOTLINE….
….and then he spits up some blood.

RATED: SHEESH YOU COULD JUST HAVE, YOU KNOW, GONE SOMEWHERE ELSE IF YOU WANTED TO DIE OUT OF HER SIGHT. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THIS ENTIRE CHARADE SETUP. DO NOT LIKE. DO NOT WANT.

Chinese Paladin 5 Reaction – Ep 1 (experimental)

[Note – My temporary internet access is about to go away at the end of the week and since I don’t have a good stockpile of sf book reviews to post right now, I might be scheduling a series of CPal5 reactions. But that is a big maybe. These were actually done several years ago, I was in a weird place at the time, and they probably are too incoherent to actually be amusing. I’m going to toss this one out and see how it goes.]

chinese2bpaladin2b52b21

so i thought i’d send you the liveblog of Chinese Paladin 5

00-3:00, toggling the subtitles to sync up and my stupid VLC to actually play them. protip: .ass files will not workin VLC
then after five minutes of fiddling i killed the player by accident and howled

SO:

3:00 ish, a flying monk on a skysurf sword just went by. All is well.

It just took ~the bad guy~ I think, THAT LONG to say goodbye to his wife.

+ ,the henchgirl is probably in love with him. [edit: nope. WELL SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH SOMEBODY. HAH]

4:51: Yay action….it’s generally kind of painful to watch non-physical actors

whee more swordsurfing–

….non-physical actors do actiony kind of stuff; I can swallow it this time…

5:50 music is weird for a fight scene.

6:12 bloodspit!

7:41 ~badguy~ would be extremely handsome if it weren’t for that weasely little moustache.

8:49, ok the faces are kind of over the top by now.

9:00 henchkmonks doing what they do best: running around with their swords behind their backs at a 45-deg angle.

9:56, the hero just got the greatest musical cue in the history of heroes being goofballs.

11:55 log roll!

12:20 kung fu banditgirl!

12:43, i am not sure why the hero just hit himself in the face with a rock.

13:20, the kungfu girl is of course mistaken for a boy. this is ancient china.

14: they may be bandits, but by gum they know what’s important in life! BEING HAPPY, RIGHT!!!

16:02, why are there bananas in ancient china?

16:-18, ok, i’ll bite, why were the eunuchs kidnapping kids?

22:18 ooooh

22:27 wooooooo

22:53 hellooooo there handsome

23: 09 ok, that’s enough posing.

23:22 no, really, that’s plenty.

23:41 ah, the ancient flickering-lamp alarm system.

24:02, you’d actually look tougher if you didn’t have that “i am evil and also concentrating hard” look on your face.

26:29 poof, pose…..smirk.

27:21, the warrior monkess lady looks really pretty from that angle/lighting.[edit: hellooooo Miss Ling.]

27:43, OK, OK, we get it you are handsome and evil, do you have to pose WHILE WALKING DOWN THE ROAD? Sheesh.

28:03, that’s a really long wig.

30:11, and so, after much bickering and then some jealousy, and then a lot of punching each other in the face, a friendship was born. (I am anticipating this. it hasn’t happened yet.)

32:00 how many shows would make fun of a hero talking with his mouth full?

32:50 bwahahaha

33:00 bwahahahahahahahahaha, this is hilarious.

33:32 that kettle looks really modern.

33:44 ok, one handed pushups

34:17, bwhahahahaha I knew dad was going to blow up when he hit the line about ‘losing eight hostages”..

34:66, bandit dad is more impressed by the fact that son can actually read and write that he’s not paying attention to the fact about the eight hostages…. hahahaha

35:35, snerk, he’s planning on sneaking back in 2, er, hey maybe 3 days.

36:09, I spy a heroine!

36:17, those monkeys are cgi

37:19, chestthump

37:33 he does a hairflip, snerk

38:20, bandit dad goes “whee!”

38:30, “so miss Tang was attacked by a small gang of monster monkeys”

39:04, jealous already….

40:44, oh that was just mean to your nice martial sister.

42:53, kiddo if you’re this worked up that the hero offered the heroine his room to stay in, everyone’s going to notice….oh what am I saying, this is jiang hu you know he thinks you’re his sister.

43:20, bwahahahahaha and then the hero walks into her room with a bedroll…

44:44, and it took her this long to realize he what he was up to…. “what intimate contact, you’re my bro!?”

45: 38, it is probably unkind to yell so loudly that she snores ANYWAY

46:24 hairflip! hahahah

47:50, ok this is kind of painful: jealous kungfu girl is sneaking around trying to spy on heroine girl, and botht hero and heroine are on to her…..poor thing. I hope she’s not the victim for the whole series.

49:50, like hell you’re just like a guy with that girly run.

50:32~ look, just don’t pine after the guy who uses your head as an elbow rest.  Go fall in love with the wimpy scholar guy, there’s always a wimpy scholar guy.

50:44 and stop pouting.

51:00 haha, they’re supposed to queue up….but they’ve never queued before…..haaaaaahhh

52:37, heroine miss tang is a doctor. This, I think, might be important later on. Then again, it might not. cdramas tend to criminally under use their heroines.  [edit: yep.]

55:03, heh, smooth, boy.

3m to go….

56:38, that had BETTER NOT BE A PROPHECY THIS IS GOING TO HAVE A HAPPY ENDING DAMN YOU CHINESE PALADIN I WILL NOT HAVE MY HEART BROKEN A THIRD TIME

57:30 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO  DAMN IT HAPPY DAMN YOU AND YOUR BITTERSWEET ENDINGS  THIS IS EPISODE ONE YOU CANNOT START ON THE BITTERSWEET NOW

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!

CDrama Recap – The Romance of Hua Rong – Episode 14

I have a dilemma. I only have 12 gigs of internet on my phone, and the office wifi connection is trash. There are at least two more days until I can go home and get proper internet, AND THERE ARE TEN MORE EPISODES TO GO.

So. Onwards.

Bearded Dad refuses to help cover up the crime. Even with Snooty’s urging. (Heh, he’s always thought she was more reasonable than Hua Rong). But he won’t disappoint Hua Rong by breaking the law!

Wrong tack. On the subject of Hua Rong: Big Enemy announces that he’s going to marry her in five days. So now Bearded Dad, if he wants to protect his now-expanded family, will send back a clear report; if he doesn’t, Hua Rong will have the same fate as her husband….Snooty Cousin isn’t happy with this plan…And Big Enemy fails to soothe her. Her attempts, meanwhile, to assert herself meet with no success. OH AND HE PULLS THE JADE BRACELET OFF HER!) What a dick.

So the red bunting and stuff is going up and Hua Rong is being forced into a wedding dress. And Big Enemy is forcing the bracelet onto her hand. So. HR points out that he needs parental authority to marry, being a Prince. –but he has it. He also tells her that after they get married they will live in complete harmony and peace. Because he likes her. And that’s all that matters. And that Chang Sheng fellow is as good as dead.

You see, this is what I was worried about all the way back in episode three or four, that the heroine would end up emotional and physically neutered. But at this point I trust the writers to a degree.

So. Big Enemy is fully expecting an attack, and the ambush is laid. Hua Rong has to be dragged into the room by guards and is tied up.

And, on cue, Chang Sheng enters. Very fetching though that’s an unconvincing suit of armor, I might add. He’s alone, which they didn’t expect. He’s also ready to talk some trash. This annoys Big Enemy but turnabout is fair play.

And so is learning from your enemy’s tactics. Turns out CS isn’t alone, and his brothers have brought what looks rather like a bomb. Oh. It’s a coffin. And it’s filled with the evidence from the magistrate’s office against Big Enemy. Also! the outside guards aren’t obeying anymore. The pirates killed them all!

OH! LITTLE BRO WAS JUST FAKING BEING A TRAITOR! HE WAS GUARDING BEARDED DAD! YES!!

(This situation is going to go horribly wrong in a minute, I just know it.) Hua Rong told him to! She asked him to find out the best way into the easily-defensible manor house. He got the info to CS! Even though he legitimately hates CS still, he’s more loyal to Hua Rong!

And with the Bearded Dad General free, not to mention Shaggy Bro standing guard, he’s safe. CS heads out to fetch Hua Rong. (No, don’t try to bargain with him. Just kill him. You’ve done it before!) CS challenges Big Enemy to single combat. But naturally the Black Dragon Gangsters cheat and attack.

HR has not managed to free herself, she’s still tied up, but at least she’s trying. She’s going to burn her bonds free with a candle. But! Big Enemy is stalking the halls–dragging his swordblade ominously! Tell me he’s at least been badly injured. He enters! Her bonds are not yet broken! No!

She agrees to go with him if he unties her….the ropes are actively on fire…SHE SHOVES THE CANDLE INTO HIS FACE AND RUNS AWAY!

Pei Yong just bit it. Good! I think YF did it. CS saves YF from an attack and tells him to lead them to HR.

HR–oh it is good to see her sneaky grin come out again, even at this juncture and just for a moment–when she spots an unaware guard. Whoops, that blow didn’t actually knock him out, though. She stabs him with a hairpin while he’s trying to chop her head off. But then she spots Snooty Cousin in the cell next door. Snooty is sitting in an unhappy daze, wondering whyyyyy she got lied to?

Snooty wishes that she had been more like Hua Rong, and had traveled and seen more of the world, and could understand why people treated her badly. Hua Rong leaves her there, since Big Enemy is actively chasing her and it’ll be more dangerous if she comes along–but leaves her a sword and tells her to ask for Chang Sheng if the pirates come. She’s gonna kill herself, isn’t she?

But the delay was too long, and Big Enemy has caught up. He’s got a burn on his face and he is at the tranquil fury stage of pissed. He tells her that he’s truly in love with her! And that’s why he hasn’t escaped yet. She has to come. And her refusals and these accusations that he’s going to stand trial for slavery, bribery, murder, etc, really hurt him! He slaps her. Hua Rong attempts to attack him. He slaps her again. She keeps coming and he knocks her to the ground. He always gets what he wants.

LOL, the bridal chamber is rigged. There are a bunch of assassins, and YUE FENG GETS STABBED BY THE CHAMBER MAID. YF shrugs it off and sends CS to go get HR!

Fortunately, Big Enemy is still posing and trying to intimidate HR. Being slapped bloody seems to have actually knocked the wind out of her….and then Snooty Cousin shows up. She’s come to visit the man she loves. With a sword. Heh, I like it when the crazy guy starts acting wary of the crazy girl. But the sword isn’t to kill him, it’s to kill Hua Rong! Oh GOSH. Furthermore, Snooty is the one who knows the secret way out of the house. The price is: killing Hua Rong.

Big Enemy points out they need HR as a shield, and that once they get out, Snooty can do what she wants. Snooty points out that Enemy has lied before. He tells her that he knows better now. Otherwise, how could he have beaten her up like that? Snooty asks for a hug to make sure. AND DROPS THE SWORD, OH NO. AND THEN STABS HIM WITH HER HAIRPIN, YOU GO GIRL. I knew she was good stuff.

Oh, and then she does kill herself with the sword. I knew that was going to happen.

Heh. Enemy has an eyeroll.

Snooty apologizes to Hua Rong and asks her to live well, and then keels over.

Oh no. Is Hua Rong really cowed by just being slapped like that? NO. She starts throwing a bottle of kerosene around–and ON ENEMY–and then throws a candle into it. And then, when Enemy declares that he needs to take her with him! She dares him to cross the flames and grab her.–she is also covered in oil. Chang Sheng, this would be an excellent time to arrive….

Hua Rong calls him out as a greedy coward who wasn’t worth Snooty Cousin’s death. She pulls off the jade bracelet, and tells him he is a disgrace to his mother. He fishes it gingerly out of the flames….and she says that “coward” is being generous. But he won’t cross the flames.

The pirates are still fighting the ninjas, when! Officials arrive! They order the criminals to surrender. Heh, for a moment there I thought the pirates were going to be the ones to put down their swords.

Pei Yong is only faking being dead!

Chang Sheng finally spots the flames….but inside, the fire is burning down.

BUT HE ARRIVES JUST IN TIME AND KICKS ENEMY DOWN. KILL HIM! Don’t stun him, kill him! It’s not an entirely happy reunion, but they do hug and Big Enemy is captured and hopefulllllllly going to face justice.

CS is kind of annoyed they had to let the officials get the credit.

Oh wow. Okay, I am genuinely impressed by this script now. Like, for real. Hua Rong just spotted that Pei Yong has disguised himself as a soldier and is sneaking out. CS also spots it, and they both keep quiet. We still have a use for him?

So. Back on board the pirates’ ship. They are being presented with a tray full of gold pieces and armor from I assume the King. He wants to make CS a general, but CS wants to continue being a ramblin’ man who is also his own free person. What he wants is to have the ability to trade with foreigners and explore new ports. He’s willing to be loyal and fight for the King, thouh, definitely. The King gives him it, but assigns an ambassador to keep an eye on him.

Guess who?

Bearded Dad asks CS to take care of her. CS promises that he will protect her with his life. Yue Feng is OK! But he stays behind.

Hua Rong tells Chang Sheng that since she’s the ambassador, he has to treat her politely.
But of course he has no choice! Boop!

UH OH, Big Enemy is just under house arrest. But they hope that this will keep him out of their way and anyway, they took him down once and can do it again. So! They’re off…to Wen Jiang. ? Is that where Mr. Jin is?

Aw, Shaggy Bro showing Hui how to steer the ship. It takes hands-on instruction.

Everybody’s happy! I’m happy! AWWW THEY GET TO KISS FINALLY AS THEY’RE SAILING INTO THE SUNSET. OK, but there’s still like ten more episodes left, what about the plo–

Oh. So we cut back to Pei Yong, running away–Oh. Hero Yun He dealt with him. He says that the other half of the treasure map is with Big Enemy in Wen Jiang. And this time, Chang Sheng/Yun He kills him.

Rated: I freaking love that the heroes make sure their enemies aren’t going to KEEP COMING BACK OVER AND OVER AGAIN for the next fifty episodes. It’s really refreshing to see a bit of pragmatism.