I’m fifteen episodes in and let me tell you what happened so far…
Zhang Ping, a destitute scholar, regrettably found his aspirations constrained by poverty. Consequently, he resorted to selling noodles to sustain himself. On the other hand, Lan Jue, also known as Peizhi, held the Vice Minister of Rites was driven by an unyielding determination to redeem his late father’s tarnished reputation who was brandished as traitor. As fate would have it, Zhang Ping and Peizhi’s paths intertwined when Peizhi orchestrated an elaborate scheme to retrieve the secret message stolen from him by Hong Luo. With Zhang Ping’s detective skills, he figured out Peizhi took advantage of his dispute with Hong Luo. Hence, he obsessively tried to find a proof that Peizhi was the culprit for the next three days. However, his nosy self only got involved in yet another case to solve. This time, it involved more government officials and the Empress Dowager herself. These series of events led Zhang Ping to solve one case after another together with Mowen and Lan Jue. A specific case wasn’t solved within the Empress Dowager’s deadline. Hence, Zhang Ping and Lan Jue was sentenced to death. However, Lan Jue was able to anonymously appeal to the Emperor and reverse the sentence.
Power struggle between Empress Dowager and Emperor
I find this particular story line intriguing. While the power struggle between an empress dowager and an emperor is not unheard of, I don’t always see it on dramas. It’s always about the emperor and someone next in line and/or a court official uncle, father, grandfather who wanted to control the next emperor. I find this intriguing because it somehow the empress dowager reminded me of Wu Zetian, of how she ruled through her sons and eliminated everyone she perceived as enemies including her own son and other relatives. I’m not even going in depth because that’s way off tangent.
I’m particularly interested in the empress dowager’s reaction to the emperor’s indirect retaliation towards his own mother.
Lan Jue’s Letter to the Emperor
Lan Jue being the catalyst to the emperor’s change in managing the imperial court was at its infancy stage. It’s only a matter of time before the empress dowager discovers this. Another thing would be Lan Jue’s mission. It could be that she knew what Lan Jue was up to and was trying to nip it in the bud. Hence, the death sentence. It’s a reasonable assumption.
Ah! The intertwined childhood. What in the K-drama shenanigan is this? The man who raised Zhang Ping definitely knew something. It could be he’s from the Moluo Village himself. Peizhi and Zhang Ping are already not on talking terms since their breakup. I like that Lan Jue was at his wits end on toeing the line between good, right and downright evil. His weakness and strength humanizes him. Say what you want but I couldn’t help but root for his character. I also look forward to learning more about Zhang Ping’s real identity.
Character Dynamics Review
Court Official Husbands
Mowen and Peizhi have the most chemistry in this show so far. Mowen was always on the brink of losing his mind or crying or both everytime Peizhi’s in trouble. Whether Peizhi was the damsel-in-distress or the mastermind, Mowen was almost always ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to help Peizhi. Despite displaying his affection towards Peizhi, he remained a strong voice of reason. On top of that, he never failed to communicate his concerns and solve Peizhi’s problems—even at the expense of the taxpayers’ money lol. How many times has he exhausted his men’s efforts to help and/or cleanup Peizhi’s mess? And who could blame him? Hm? Peizhi with his hair down in his pale green and white night robes with soft candlelight and the moonlight illuminating his face? In that shade of lipstick? I’m not saying it’s a good reason to waste the taxpayer’s money on one person but I get it.
Noodle Stall Husbands
Chen Chou and Zhang Ping were best friends in my eyes until Chen Chou dramatically cried in the rain while holding Zhang Ping in his arms. Why did he look like his husband just died in the middle of the empty street on a rainy night? He was wailing like Zhang Ping died in a damn battlefield when our detective just passed out from fatigue and probably blood loss because he just got axed on the back.
Prince and Pauper boyfriends
The Emperor and Zhang Ping’s chemistry was delightfully unexpected. Their meet-cute was funny and the turn of events went even better. The emperor was able to prove his sincerity as a person. Zhang Ping gained yet another powerful boyfriend unintentionally.
I’d say Lan Jue and Zhang Ping’s relationship gradually fluctuated quite frequently. Gaining and maintaining mutual trust was such a delicate line to tread, especially for a court official such as Lan Jue. After the whole Moluo revelation, their relationship took a hit. I wonder what will cause them to interact again. Probably, another case or most likely, the existing case of Lan Jue’s father.
Anyway, I look forward to these character dynamics and story lines.