1.Our episode opens with Jing Ke and Li'er. Jing is preparing to go see the Legendary Warrior Giao (everyone is a legendary). She trains along him for old times sake and this is important because they are perfectly in sync as they train, each move mirroring the other. In short, this is balance. This is harmony. These two have known each other forever and they know each other like the back their read morehands.
2.Elsewhere, the emperor is planning his next political move. His newly appointed officer, Li Su suggests that the emperor send spies to monitor Lu Buwei who could prove to be an Achilles Heel Later. (this is his former master, which I think is indicative of a ladder climber but that's me). He appoints Zhao Gao to take care of this.
3.Meanwhile, Li'er and Jing are in a cave, waiting for their clothes to dry off. The two reminisce about their childhood growing up. Just as Jing is about to get dressed, she throws her arms around him, and she is the one who asks him if he love her. We already know the answer to this. Jing passionately tells her that he has only ever loved her, and she makes him promise to always remember that no matter what, her heart will only ever belong to him, and then two make sweet love (well, Chinese law prohibits us any skinship so we can make do with our imaginations)
4.Jing leaves, and then immediately after Li'er is forced to walk a bit to the escort sent by Zheng that has been waiting for her. She takes off the scarf he gave her, puts it away and tells herself that she is now dead, and must let everything go. The journey to the palace is filmed much like her arrival, only as she enters the palace, Jing fights his duel. She is forced to part with the dagger her grandfather gave her as weapons are not allowed in the harem. She tells the chamberlain to take good care of it because she wants to be buried with it.
5.In a very poignant scene, she sits in a bath tub of flowers and roses, being bathed and usually in dramas this is always filmed as a great time as you are being pampered but the actress channels in her misery very well, she just sits there, tears streaming down her face, both horrified and upset that this is her future now
6.Meanwhile, The Grand Queen Dowager, who is in charge of the harem, learns from a concubine that a commoner from Wey has entered. This is a pretty big deal because the Emperor did not even notify her, which tells us how much he considers her opinion. In addition, not only has he not had anyone new to the harem, but a commoner--to be in a harem of someone as powerful as Qin, you are almost always a daughter of an official or diplomat, it's like a promise to be loyal by giving a family member. She is a nobody. Still the Dowager acknowledges that this could be good if the Emperor is interested in having kids
7.In a dramatic scene change, we find Li'Er holding a sharp pin to her neck, looking like she is going to kill herself. It ends with her in bed, and a doctor recognizing that she is pregnant. At first he won't tell her, stating he must speak to the king first, but she is clearly confused and doesn't know what is wrong with her until she makes him tell her the truth: she is pregnant, and has been for about a month
8.Meanwhile Jing returns, and learns the awful truth from Tuan because Li'er couldn't do it herself. He rides off, presumably to rescue her.
9.In a very telling scene, the Emperor visits Li'er's rooms for the first time. She sits rigidly on the bed, her hair is up, the clothing she wears is rigid--everything about it is the exact opposite of the warm, soft girl from before. The emperor tells her that she must never think of any other man again. She wants to know why her, why not another? He tells her that he would be bored with a woman just bowing to his every wish. He goes a step farther and tells her that the more she resists, the more excited he will be as he relishes the idea of conquering her.
10.Then, the doctor reveals she is pregnant. The emperor is furious, and insists that it be aborted. She says that if he wants to kill her child he will have to kill her. He pulls a sword and tells her to never think he won't kill her as well....
So basically, we learned a lot. Li'er's decision to consummate her love with Jing Ke is very telling because she initiated it. Not him. This is almost like a personal victory because she is choosing for once who she will lay with because she won't have that freedom much longer. Sadly, her desire to protect Jing by not telling him the truth is kind of sad because it is really a decision to protect herself from the storm that will come. She doesn't want to deal with that. It's selfish, but I would probably do the same thing. Besides, if she told him, it would only endanger him and the people around her.
The emperor...my goodness if there was someone lacking in the emotion/relationship department. He is in love with her but I doubt he will he ever tell her. he isn't an idiot. He knows you don't normally force someone to be your lover, whether it's to protect them by keeping close or simply out of lust, you shouldn't do that. For the emperor, his everything is unifying the states. he has risked a lot for that. she is a weakness. so this is really his one selfish action.
Maybe he will treat her cruelly to minimize her value thus protecting her. or maybe he just is clumsy emotionally and thinks that she is probably angry with him, and there is a thin line between love and hate, so if she hates him then at least she is thinking of him. after all the opposite of hate or love is indifference. i am super curious to see how she holds onto herself because even if she submitted he would like it---he is thoroughly in love with her, and unlike Jing, whose love for her is so great that he feels unworthy for her, his is much more human--and certainly carnal.