Once again, Wen Zhong does not kneel to kings of whom he disapproves, either because they interfere in the proper execution of himself- no, sorry-pardon, of his *duty*- or because they're lawless tyrants. And this time it really is a touch and go thing that he definitely doesn't expect to walk out of, which makes him immensely sniffily cameelious to Fu Chai and the WangGongsun's in consequence. *So* much love. Even if you cut off Wen Zhong's head he'd go on rolling his eyes dismissively at you after death, so you might as well not bother.
OK- so now we get Gou Jian out of that pillory:
1. Of course if you'd been standing for three weeks with your arms stretched out and pinioned behind you, they'd a) be useless for levering yourself upright to glare at your tormentor a minute after you were loosed and b) cause you screaming agony as the blood came back into them. There. My NAmerican conscience is satisfied; now I can go back to being a manga reader watching a Chinese drama.
2. Wen Zhong is oh so right about Fu Chai being a tyrant without integrity, virtue or justice. (AFAICS Wen Zhong doesn't lie. This is the terrible thing about Wen Zhong.) Stabbing servants who follow orders
3. Don't know what Fan Li's outburst to Fu Chai was all about. Wen Zhong's said it all already, which you'd think Fan Li might have figured for himself. Or maybe he just has to express his resentment because, pampered king's advisor that he is, the facts of war and captivity are a stunning shock to him. Fan Li becomes increasingly opaque to me as these eps progress, but innate naivete would explain much.
4. Ya Yu 呀, Ya Yu- you said you'd stay with him no matter what happens. Liar liar pants on fire. (Goes away to cry again.)
But Fu Chai does at least say what I've been thinking all along: 'Bo Pi, don't you ever get tired of this???' And Boo to Bo Pi who won't snitch to the king about Gou Jian's parlous state unless someone pays him to do it. This is where he earns his ultimate fate, by me.
'You *really* shouldn't have fired your first scriptwriter' part the whatever: the night time exchange between Fan Li and Gou Jian is the kind of thing that makes my head hurt. This is entirely because Hei Yi is standing there listening to everything that's said, which automatically must cast doubts on the sincerity of the speakers. Possibly if I had the slightest *clue* what Fan Li's thinking it might be clearer, but no. Fan Li is haled off to give advice to Gongsun and Bo Pi, Fan Li comes back and deliberately acts in a way to excite the generals' suspicion that he's sold out, Fan Li angsts about the quarry and then demands to see the king, Fan Li counsels the king to submit to Fu Chai, all bombast and exaggerated gestures, king says I'm sorry I ever listened to you, you Chuite you, Fan Li wells with tears and says it all over again in a different tone, and Gou Jian says 'You're a disgrace, now really'- SLAP- 'get lost.'
I suppose one must assume that Fan Li means everything he says here, Hei Yi or no Hei Yi- 'submit and save your life because staying alive is what matters and ohhh my 知己 doesn't understand me any more boo-hoo'- though why submission is suddenly so important because Fu Chai is turning his sights north is beyond me. Foreknowledge of events that says Gou Jian will eventually have to / decide to do everything that Fan Li counsels him to, and the moral touchstone that says 'If Ya Yu thinks it's a good idea then it is', both suggest that Fan Li's advice is indeed sincere and on the level. The fact that Gou Jian gives orders that Fan Li's not to be touched *may* suggest that his own 'fuck off' responses aren't. Or may just be that Gou Jian doesn't kill people without a really good reason. Gou Jian's mindset isn't entirely clear to me either. First it was regrets about what he's doing to his people, here it's regrets about having surrendered at all: are we leading up to that step off the cliff?
Fan Li says 'You are a slave but inside you're still a king. When your inside matches your outside-' and doesn't finish the sentence. Is he really suggesting that Gou Jian become all slave to stay alive and stop suffering? Because there's no way Gou Jian can be all king at this moment. Fan Li- survival at all costs.
Still, the interview does cast some light on Fan Li's later refusal to serve Fu Chai even though it will kill him, and may possibly explain the excesses of the Feather Recitation as well. 'OK, you two told me to do this so I'm doing it: and how do you like it now?' A bit of Ricardian/Goushou petulance that seems, well, not beyond Gou Jian's character, let's say. (Though it's just as likely the news of his son's death that allows him that abandonment.)
Ah, dear Shimai: for once is able to address Wen Zhong in a way Wen Zhong will understand. Just that hanging white lanterns on your front gate is much less work than hauling a Chinese coffin around.
And then we get that step off the cliff. Which, practically speaking, makes no sense: you can't drag a cart and four horses and a man with you just by walking into midair. Maybe it's not intended to make sense; maybe it's a metaphor for Gou Jian's position- dangling between life and death and not able to choose either completely. But somehow Fu Chai's very Chinese-unmanly cock-strutting ('I don't need *you* to prove me a great king, I'll go conquer the north and rule the world!') makes up his mind for him. How, is the mystery.
(And what's the meaning of the smile he gives Fu Chai before he jumps? Ahh, Uncle Ming, how you love to bedevil your fans, and how your fans love to be bedevilled by you.)
No, I shouldn't write yin!Fu Chai. I should write a properly yang!Fu Chai, someone who really *is* large-souled and generous and above the chronic pettiness that Fu Chai chronically displays. Though yanno, the series OT doomed P is clearly WZX/ Fu Chai. Who keep wanting to be on good terms with each other, who do their bloody best to make it work, and who end up destroying the other. Alas that my response to that is And not a moment too soon.