Henh. Ku Cheng calls himself a dog when he begs to go off in exile with Gou Jian. And I'm sure Gou Jian's motives for slashing through Shi Mai's sleeve (that Ku Cheng's holding) and barking "Don't *beg* him!" has other motives than personal attachment (dislike of anyone begging Shi Mai for anything, dislike of a member of his household abasing himself) but, hell, bullet-proof kinks are bullet-proof kinks. But who the hell, and what the hell, is Ku Cheng anyway? (Random thought: Gou Jian's bastard son from an early liaison? He'd still work better as a eunuch. Not sure what the moustache and armour in the last eps was all about, unless we're supposed to believe early Ku Cheng is an adolescent page who finally grows up.)
(Note mirroring: our first cut sleeve, indicating the opposite of Wen Zhong's.)
Hah, Dancing Gou Jian in the conga line. Ya know, I thought that dancing figure in the credits, the one kicking up its heels so gaily, was him too. Ah well.
Yes, yes, you're right. Gou Jian's hubris here, just before the king's death, is looking pretty damned hubristic.
So is Fu Chai's earlier on. 'Lemme handle this lemme do it lemme lemme.' I always wondered if he was meant to be as overweening and ineffectual as he looked. Then in the final ep he accuses himself of mediocrity and not realizing his limitations.
Forget post-Return To Yue kewl Gou Jian. His kewlness is not a patch on Gou Jian's ep 7 kewlness. See, this is where he starts looking like Richard II to me, Richard from the first part of the play. The 'let's make all haste and pray we come too late' guy. 'Oh. The king's dead. Just to mention.'
Ahhh, Ya Yu. Gou Jian's first and best counsellor. She finishes his sentences. ETA: no, of course, he finishes *hers*. How like a man.
And this time round I see Gou Jian was refusing to become king and not seeing the courtiers who came to beg him to do so. Possibly a tactic to rein them in, but what would he have done if they'd decided to go for a cousin or his own son instead? (See note at bottom about Yuean consensus.) Did Gou Jian actually have doubts about the whole thing? And I suppose it says something good about the old king that he only has two sons. Helu has a flipping army of them. But Helu can't keep it in his fundoshi or the Spring-Autumn equivalent of same.
A little WTFery with the time line, whereby as we see it Hao Jing meets Fan Li /after/ the old king dies, and then says Fan Li advised him he'd lose his position in the succession scuffle that happened /before/ the old king dies. Please not to flashback without black borders to indicate it *is* a flashback.
Fan Li looks better second time around, with the advice from youse guys that it's not all airy-fairy 'looka me throw my diviner's stones no of course I don't believe them' flummery, but an almost superhuman prescient insight into the situation. (Though anyone with a brain would have known Hao Jing's position was shaky after he refused to go see the old king
Still don't know why Gou Jian comes and taps Fan Li on the shoulder instead of addressing him from atop the dais as he does Wen Zhong, unless this is supposed to be /Gou Jian's/ almost superhuman prescience.
Am seeing Fan Li as a nice guy who always wanted to go into the wine trade but Mama made him be a
Wen Zhong. Ahh, Wen Zhong. And when *he* finishes Gou Jian's sentences, Gou Jian tells him not to. ^_^
There's something vaguely camel-like about WZ's normal sniffy expression, but a sensible camel, if you understand me. Camelian superiority never seems justified by anything one can see (the Arabic story is that Allah whispered his last most secretest name in the camel's ear and *that's* why they look as they do) but WZ's sniffiness (and refusal to kneel to the man who's saved his life) makes him look immensely likable, when by rights it ought to make him look the exact opposite.
Though I don't get what Gou Jian's last line is all about in that first interview. Subtitles have the exchange going more or less as:
GJ: And if you betray me how should I punish you?
WZ: If I betray you (strikes 'as Heaven is my witness' pose) Heaven itself will punish me
GJ: I can't hear you.
Turn on Chinese subtitles, yup, I can't hear you is what he's saying. But what does it *mean*?
Maybe just me but I see a nice balancing of scenes between the one where Hao Jin comes to plead for Wen Zhong's rescue and Gou Jian coolly weighs the man's life in his hand, and the one where Wen Zhong (essentially) pleads for Shi Mai's, whom Gou JIan has determined to spare anyway. One common factor possibly being a feeling that there's something Gou Jian wants to hear and is waiting for someone else to say aloud. Obvious in the latter scene (he not only says as much, he says it several times to his thick-headed counsellors: Give me a reason to keep him alive) but possible in the former?
The argument there, to ang moh me certainly, should have been 'Yue physically prevented Wen Zhong from fulfilling his mission. Yue, not Wen Zhong, is responsible for the destruction of Chu's troops. Therefore Yue has a moral obligation to save Wen Zhong's life, now forfeit because he didn't fulfill his mission.' Gou Jian puts it in terms of the practical consequence of not meeting the moral obligation: no one will trust us. Which I suppose is sense- weak nations like Yue depend on the friendship of other nations, better look reliable even if, or maybe especially because, you've looked stunningly unreliable the last time someone tried to be friendly to you. It still felt somehow off to me, as if Gou Jian was considering some other matter entirely and Wen Zhong's life or death was merely the pretext.
Still makes a nice change, both times, from 'Well at least you've finally killed *someone*' fire-eating!Gou Jian.
Something oddly de facto democratic about Yue. Thought this was the period of absolute monarchies and kings doing as they please. Which is fine if you're Helu, I suppose. Doesn't worry what his courtiers are thinking. But consensus at court, or at least the appearance of consensus, is looking rather a big thing in Yue.