1. Can't see why Gou Jian blames Ye Yong as well as Shi Mai for his deposition?
2. Shi Mai. *And* his king Yun Chang. But mostly, Shi Mai. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. There's a level of incompetence and closing eyes to facts beyond which, as the Japanese say, the strings of my patience bag are cut, and I think Shi Mai reached that level in ep.1.
3. While I have no use for classic notions that women should stay out of politics, I do think government generally should be carried on by the people appointed to carry on the government. Wives and concubines aren't. Granted, when women are barred from government the talents of someone like Ya Yu can only be employed indirectly and doubtless that's why the old king employs them that way. Equally, people properly appointed to govern can be howling incompetents (see 2.) But still- there's a hell of a lot of petticoat influence happening at Yun Chang's court.
4. I remember with satisfaction what happens to Brute 1. I've somehow excised from memory what happens to Brute 2, but it can't happen soon enough.