Don't know what crazy!Fu Chai is up to in the funeral scene. WZX seems to think it a clever act to reveal the other princes' attitudes. Like the other princes' attitudes were a deep dark secret? So maybe it's 裝瘋賣傻 foreshadowing Gou Jian's 裝瘋賣傻. OTOH if Gou Jian isn't 裝瘋賣傻ing, neither is Fu Chai. Ahh a mystery.
Note that Wu Zi Xu is also prepared to take the long view. 'In two or three decades Wu will have hegemony.' Fu Chai wants it at once. Is it possible to see Gou Jian's progression as one from Fu Chai impatience to WZX patience, wiliness and of course determination to be revenged? "When a cruel man is out of control, it brings disaster to the nation," says our not immensely humane chancellor. Irony, irony...
I don't really like Bo Pi. He has his moments, sure, and he can cook, which is always virtue in a man, and he does get Wen Zhong out of that stable, but only after a thoughtful B-R-I-B-E from Ye Yong. More importantly perhaps, if not him then who is there to obstruct WZX's plans, that tend to the bloodthirsty more often than not? But in my world, once a minister is known to be on the take, that's the end of him. I'm a bit kerblonxed by the prevailing attitude of 'Oh, Bo Pi? Honest statesman-- he stays bought.' I think Prince Lei, who I wish I didn't chronically think of as Vongole, is pissed because Bo Pi didn't stay bought, or not by him. And possibly something's missing in the subtitles, but when he hisses 'You'll die a violent death' at Bo Pi, I see no reason for Bo Pi to cringe and look so perturbed. Doesn't dying a violent death kind of go with being a) a soldier and b) a statesman in Spring-Autumn?
So much love for Ling Gu Fu, whose instinctive way of dealing with unwanted spirit statues is to tuck them under his arm and take them back where they belong. And why does his father-in-law have a cross on the table behind him in ep 13? I thought it was a stand of some kind, but it seems to be merely two crossed pieces of wood.
Ironic that if Yuan Luo is right, Gou Jian and Tang Li are actually abetting each other's efforts to undermine Shi Mai. But I can't really follow the political implications of putting Ji Kuai's statue in Ling Gu Fu's house. As ever, Ya Yu (in concert with Ku Cheng- you're *sure* this guy isn't a eunuch?) to the rescue.
And I suppose executing mutineers is par for the course, but getting rid of a hundred or so officers at a stroke (uhh-- literally) strikes thrifty-minded me as wasteful. And why was Fan Li looking so uncomfortable as Gou Jian was instructing Shi Mai in The Whole Duty of Courtiers? (which is so flat-footedly obvious in subtitles- share the king's concerns at court and behave yourself elsewhere- that something surely must have been lost?)
(Speaking of which, the subs constantly use the word 'benumb' for confuse or mislead or whatever. Eg Ling Gu Fu sends presents and women off to Brute 2 to benumb the situation. Annoying.)
Ye Yong is more loyal to Gou Jian than Gou Jian deserves. Yes, possibly Gou Jian is right in his implied 'I couldn't be nice to you on your return, you never know whose spies are watching'- but that's kind of undercut by sending first Wen Zhong and then Shi Mai to visit him.
There's a certain nail-pulling-out quality to the early eps on this disk, but as we know that's because I hate politics, especially politics mediated through subtitles. Once Fu Chai has his throne things get better. Eps 13, 14 and 15 are all about the Wen Zhong love, the Ya Yu love, and even a bit of Fan Li love: err, when they aren't about mucked-up spying and mucked-up raids.
As for Wen Zhong, we're certainly seeing the truth of WZX's remark wondering if it's a good thing for Gou Jian to have an honest man at his court. I like his servant too, who's picked up a lot of his master's manner. And I like him flouncing out of Fan Li's house with a curt 'good-bye' when Fan Li puts him off smoothly quite as much as I like him barging in in the earlier scene, outraged at what he thinks is Fan Li's betrayal, and not at all hurt by personally having lost face. Yeah- Wen Zhong is all about facing facts and saying exactly what he thinks, and Fan Li is all about avoiding unpleasantness. 'I'm afraid of being in trouble and I'm afraid of death.' While Fan Li still has more smarts, and Wen Zhong's honesty sometimes seems to impede his intelligence. "The king appointed me censor. That means he must want peace." How *does* the man survive?
But Fan Li-- Were those tears in his eyes when he realized Gou Jian had planned something major without telling him? Ohh, Gou Jian, you betrayed him first. No need for the pissiness when your scabbard-thingy fails. And of course wise!counsellor Ya Yu comes up with the practical plan to get him back, after the symbols and tokens haven't worked at all. Men, said Jessica. Not that cut sleeves and empty scabbards aren't poetic and romantic, but if you actually want your advisor in *Yue* and not *Chu*, you find out who it is he'll actually listen to; and don't sulk or sniff, as per inclination, that he doesn't listen to you his king or you his friend.