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The King's Woman Episode 19 Reviews
1.Jing cuts his hair and returns, both symbolically and literally ready to return to his initial goal. He promises both his mentor--gramps--and Li'er that he will not disappoint them (he basically realizes that everyone, including Li'er, believes he is capable of doing great things)
2.Meanwhile, Lan'er and her father are talking about Jing. He advises his daughter to let Jing go, that he is walking down a path of no return (he knows that Jing is going to do great things but it is not going to be a sunshine and rainbows path) however Lan'er is stubborn and refuses
3.JIng decides to continue to figure out what the secret technique is that gramps left for him, and Lan'er gains permission to go. Her father is reluctant to agree, but he knows she will probably go either way.
4.Elsewhere, the grand dowager hosts yet another 'party' of the concubines, which is more like a meeting fraught with tension as they carefully use language to passively make plans--and the makers of these plans are the Grand Dowager and Ru'er, her favorite. Ru'er believes that Li'er is toxic, having broken the rules multiple times, and is bad for the harem. The Grand Dowager basically says that Li'er has broken the rules and that will be addressed appropriately, and everyone else should shun her (this basically means rest assured, I will kill her). The other ladies present are clearly uncomfortable because they know that this is a meeting to discuss killing another concubine.
5.In a scene fraught with sexual tension, the emperor sits on her bed, and I think this is important because it is almost like he is baiting her or taunting her because he knows how uncomfortable she is when he is alone with her. He tells her very directly: I have waited a year, I want you, and I have waited out of respect. He then forces kisses on her but backs off, but his message is clear: I am waiting out of respect, I am impatient, hurry up and come willingly because I can do whatever I want and maybe one day I will force you so instead of making this an awful experience try to think differently.
Scary, right? But realistic in what women faced--and unrealistic in that he was being so 'patient'. That is one of the most inconsistent things about his character, the fact that he cares so much about one person. And I know care here is complicated but he is showing her a great deal of courtesy by making so many allowances for her.
I really like this scene:
6.The emperor visits Madame Min to play chess (a version that makes no sense to me) and they have a really interesting conversation about the harem and politics, and it clearly shows the roles they both bear, and is a clever dance with words. He basically tells her, and she confirms this to him, that she is neither his favorite nor someone who gives him any problems. She says this is a compliment because she has grown up in the harem and has seen women hope for the king's attention and seen how destructive it can be.
His response: But not fighting is a fighting tactic, and this catches her off guard. He points out how he has used other people to fight his battles and says she is really no different from him. And that's true.
Her response: It isn't my place to discuss politics with you
He says: you are very smart, you know I always thought that Jia would be the next leader on Zhao because Zhao Qian isn't the brightest, but his mother was favored by the king. (the message is that even if you are more qualified, sometimes you just aren't fated to be the one) and then he goes on to say that he was surprised she came to Qin because Zhao loved her so much (implying she could have had great power through him)
Her reply: I thought he was weak, but what I think really doesn't matter because whether it's you or Zhao I am still in the same position (they aren't talking about her anymore, they are talking about women, and for him, he is just reaffirming Li'er's position: that she is his, and what she wants at the end of the doesn't matter because she only has what he allows her to have. because Lady min could have stayed behind and been with Zhao, but even if he loved her, so what, she was still just a concubine. in this way, the emperor sort of gets to justify his behavior because she is his possession and it gives him that feeling of control he loves so much)
MAYBE I OVERANYLZED I:M SORRY
And then comes another charged scene:
-Li'er is with Qing'er, brushing her hair, and Qing'er tells her to just accept the emperor because she is fighting a battle that she cannot win. he owns her. (I interpreted it as this is like a game to him and when he gets tired of it he will do what he wants so just stop it already and accept that you are his possession)
-Li'er agrees (suspicious, righgt?) and then she places a hair pin in her sleeve (I thought OMG not another stupid scene but this is a great scene)
-the emperor sits on her bed, looking smug like always, and she walks towards him, hands behind her back, smiling almost coyly.
-he asks her if tonight is the night she will sleep with him or not? and before she can answer he says: I think you are going to kill me and then yourself, but what about Tian ming?
-and her face just crumbles--he won this round--he stands and gently takes the pin from her and then he says he prepared for this just in case and tells her Tian Ming was sent out of the palace
-she accuses him of using her son again, because she could never leave if she can't find him, and he says yes I am using him, but it's (basically) to protect you from doing something stupid, like killing me, and it also protects him in case you kill me or someone wants to hurt him. she says that I am just like a country you are at war with, and you want to conquer me, and he says he wants her as much as he desires the six states (they are one and the same to him) he then hands her the hair pin and reminds her that it is used for hair only and leaves, promising to return.
AND IT GETS BETTER
-In a private meeting with the Grand Dowager, the Queen essentially says she has a plan to deal with Li'er. I do think the queen is a bit conflicted because she has to know how her grandson feels about Li'er so she can't mess this up.
-The Queen meets with li'er, who begs for punishment. Now begins another dance with words. The Queen says that the emperor's birthday is coming up and as a rule, concubines give him a gift. she requests that Li'er perform a dance. Li'er says she can't dance and it might make others uncomfortable if she is there, and the queen suggests that she sword dance. Li'er, showing some smarts for the first time in a long time, tells her that she will do this, but if she should die in the future, please take care of my son, and the queen promises
-Li'er practices with Han, who tells her that this is a trap, and she says even so, I have the Queen's word that Tian Ming will be safe. Han says, yea, but what about you.
-Now we go to the ceremony, and Li'er performs a visually pretty dance. Now the Queen Dowager summoned extra guards--she plans to have them kill li'er once it looks like she will harm the emperor. Now how could that happen? Well, at the every end of her dance, Li'er splits open a piñata like thing and all these flower petals fall around her.....
and so does a sword. Her reflex is to catch it. Now to everyone else, it looks like she planned this. The guards attack, and at the same time, Prince Yan gives a signal to a woman behind the emperor's throne (this would never happen) and she moves to kill him!
Li'er fights through a dozen guards, it looks like she is about to kill him, Han is injured trying to help keep her safe, and li Zong stabs her, and she throws her sword and kills the assassin.
everyone is surprised.
the emperor freaks out, runs with her body and screams for a doctor. while she is being tended to he yells at li zhong (poor guy) 1)why do my guards suck 2)who was that assassin 3) where did all those guards come from and 4)you only stabbed her because you thought she was going to hurt me,right?
this episode made up for so many episodes where I just kept facepalming. the pacing was good, dialogue was good, they balanced out the controversial scenes where he is really not nice to her and yea, I liked it. a lot. keep these ones coming
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