Episode 19: Best In Show.
Gou Jian and Fan Li in the snow!! Gou Jian's catechism of Fan Li! Gou Jian counselled by Fan Li to surrender, which is hotter than 16 because *this* time GJ looks like he might actually use the sword he has at Fan Li's throat.
(Extra points for Gou Jian x White Horse OTP)
Ya Yu and Fu Chai!! Yeah, right. Some calls it righteousness and some calls it 'etiquette' but I calls it in the closet, 'cause damn, Fu Chai walked out of there without a second thought.
Gou Jian at the gates of his fallen city! Gou Jian walking the long path to the Great Hall in the snow! Ahh the colours, the composition, the aesthetic thrill.
Gou Jian and Fu Chai!! Gou Jian lounging on his back at the bottom of the stairs!
(Parenthetically, why did no one tell Wu Xi Zu that stalking about like the Wicked Witch of the West/ a carrion crow cawing 'Kill him! Kill him! And his little dog too!' gains him no credibility points at all? Why didn't WZX figure for himself that telling the King, 'Kill Gou Jian and break the oath you just swore to Zhou that got him here in the first place!' a) would not go down at all well and b) is diplomatic suicide? This says something about either WZX's sanity or Helu's normal MO, and in either case it's nothing good.)
Hell, even the chorus of weeping courtiers and poor Wen Zhong in his Chinese stocks was touching, given that it's the first time and not nearly as tiresome as it's going to get in Wu. And anyway, there's Gou Jian holding out his hand to take Ya Yu's, as he's done so many times before. "I am not the king any more." Truly, Gou Jian x Ya Yu, OTP. And still can't analyze why it works so well with them and so badly anywhere else.
As in ahem ep 20. Observe that Fan Li has had no thoughts of accompanying the king to Wu until the queen lands a wife on him and then suddenly it's "I've been thinking and I've just had this great idea, instead of running your country for you I think I should leave it in the hands of the guy whose ability I've slammed unceasingly, and submit myself to a stint of imprisonment and humiliation, neat huh?" Fate worse than death, or Fan Li feeling ah sorry-pardon fleeing the creeping temptations of heterosexuality?
And poor Ya Yu in 20. Ministers at her to do things since the king's in a funk- and I say again, why isn't Ku Cheng a eunuch? The person who connives with the harem-side to get things done always is, and those two are effectively the official Fixers in Yue. And then Gou Jian being nasty when even an idiot should have realized she's got to be worried sick herself. But kings are allowed to be hysterical on occasions and their ministers just have to rough it. (Would like to have seen Ya Yu allowed the occasional Wen Zhong grump or Fan Li second thought, though.)
Am I missing something through subtitles or what? Gou Jian tells Yan Ying to find his son and don't come back till he does. Yan Ying's notion of finding missing princes is to kneel outside Gou Jian's door for a couple of days, while Gou Jian bellows 'Let him stay there forever!', presumably until he finds Yu Yi by his mystical magical powers. Finally Ya Yu says something that the subtitles render as 'I'll take the responsibility' and off Yan Ying goes to do what he should have been doing before. This makes no sense. And Ya Yu goes off to have a quiet little weep on her own because her son is missing and her husband is unco-operative and her country is defeated and she has to do everything herself for no thanks. Men, said Jessica.
Shi Mai. Really, one wonders about Gou Jian's atavistic instincts. 'I'm not certain of Wen Zhong- foreigner, you know- here, let's entrust the choice of the next king to this man who can't say anything but Da Wang!! and sob.' For once you might take a leaf from Helu's book, ya know.
And finally off to Wu, under the sadistic lash of what looks rather like Brute 2 redivivus; poor Ku Cheng pressing my loyal retainer buttons all the way, and Gou Jian, even in shackles, reaching for Ya Yu's hand.
ETA: Five times through Gou Jian's Confession, randomly flipping back and forth between English and Chinese subtitles (and wishing for once I could have both simultaneously except they'd prob be simplified hanzi) and yes yes yes, *here* is the Spaniard in his shirt. This shall sustain us through Wu.