Bu Bu Jing Xin: Ep 25
This entire episode is full of tension as Kang Xi nears the end of his life. Ruo Xi always has this look on her face like she’s anticipating the impending doom.
So, Ruo Xi resumes serving the Emperor. Continuing from episode 24, the Empress visits the Emperor. Ruo Xi asks Eunuch Li if he thinks 4th or 14th will become Emperor. Eunuch Li scolds Ruo Xi for being so curious, saying that they need to stay out of the palace affairs.
The Emperor asks the Empress which prince she prefers. We all know she’s completely lying when she says it doesn’t matter; they’re both her sons! [By the way, don’t you love the earrings the ladies wear in the palace? They’re so pretty that I would get my ears pierced just to wear them.]
Kang Xi: “Out of these two brothers, which one do you like?
Empress: The two of them are both my sons. There is no difference.
Kang Xi: To me, you’re more strict towards 4th prince.
Empress: …I only wish he can be a good role model for 14th prince.
Kang Xi:…Sometimes I suspect that the silent and reticent character of 4th prince was just because you were two strict towards him.
Here’s where I feel really bad for 4th, because his mom rejects him for no reason at all. He’s like the black sheep in his family. 8th was fortunate to have such a supportive mom. Even though she wasn’t of as high a status as the Empress, she loved 8th with all her heart. Whereas 4th never had a loving mom.
Unfortunately, a ruler of a country cannot be the same as regular normal people. Go out to work after sunrise. Come home for rest after sunset.
The Empress says that the princes are all true to the Emperor. The Emperor says that true or fake, it doesn’t matter.
“I only care about their future. They are all my own blood and flesh. I really hope the brothers won’t destroy each other.
Back to Ruo Xi. Ruo Xi wonders what the outcome will be if 14th or 4th ascends the throne. Ruo Xi’s reasoning makes complete sense. Which should be sacrificed–4th’s dream or the lives of the princes and other opponents?
“Emotionally, I hope it will not happen. I don’t want 4th prince to be upset, disappointed, and in pain. Rationally, I think that is the best solution to everything. 14th prince steps on the throne, everyone could still be alive. If 14th prince steps on the throne, will he really not kill those brothers who were not on his side?
The Emperor’s condition continues to worsen. The Eunuchs order all exits to be sealed off. No one can leave the palace. This is part of their plan to make sure no word spreads about the Emperor’s impending death.
4th intensely practices his calligraphy as he repeats the Emperor’s words in his head:
“I already ordered someone to draft the decree to give 14th prince the throne. Later on you’ll assist him with all your heart.
He writes the character for “peace”. After a eunuch informs him of the quarantine, (is that what it would be called?) 4th writes another character. *insert dramatic music here*
4th thinks to himself,
“The win or loss of so many years of hard work will all be determined by now.
He decides to prepare to enter the palace, leaving behind his calligraphy, which bears the character: Action.
Back in the Emperor’s room, the servants and officials are all waiting by his bedside. The Emperor passes away, and all the servants bow and begin to mourn. And, just like that, one of the officials goes, “oh, the emperor just told me the decree was drafted to pass the throne to 4th prince..and then he fainted!”
As the official says this, Eunuch Li looks at him in suspicion. With perfect timing, 4th enters the room and falls on his knees by the Emperor’s bed. The camera focuses on Ruo Xi to show her tearing up. The official takes this opportunity to reassert that 4th will be the new emperor. He bows in greeting to 4th, already calling him the emperor.
All the servants just sit there, until Ruo Xi bows and greets 4th as emperor. After looking at Ruo Xi bowing, Eunuch Li is the last one to bow to 4th.
4th orders that those who witnessed the Emperor’s death must be put in confinement so that the news doesn’t spread. Ruo Xi stays a week in a solitary room.
At court, 8th, 9th, and 10th come to confront 4th. They don’t address him as “emperor” yet. They’re suspicious of his ascension to the throne. Both 9th and 10th are outspoken and indignant about 4th’s actions. 8th keeps them in line, and reasons with 4th, asking how the emperor could change his will while he was dying. 4th orders Eunuch Li to recite the decree that granted 4th the throne. 9th calls out Eunuch Li for going along with 4th’s ploy.
“Didn’t my royal father treat you well when he was alive? However you dare to fake the Imperial order…
…Obviously, 4th’s kingship isn’t going so well with the other princes.
Suddenly a high ranking army official arrives to greet 4th. This puts 8th, 9th, and 10th back in line, because they know they can’t rival 4th’s military support. 4th grants 8th a position. 8th has no choice but to withdraw and accept 4th’s offer.
Back at 8th’s place, the three brothers fume over 4th getting the upper hand. 8th assures the brothers that although 4th controlled the opportune moment, 4th will have a lot of obstacles ahead. They’ll have a chance to push 4th off the throne eventually. 9th mentions that 4th’s mom won’t accept 4th’s kingship either.
So, here’s where I want 4th to become the best emperor ever just to prove himself to his mom. While gripping the white bangle 4th gave her, the Empress questions 4th…
“Tell me the truth. Are you really faking the posthumous decree?…He would never pass the throne to you!”
4th says that it doesn’t matter whether he or 14th ascends the throne, because she’ll still be Empress Dowager either way.
“..Why do you favor 14th brother? You really believe that I won’t be a good emperor?
The Empress throws his bracelet to the ground, shattering it to pieces. Poor 4th looks stunned.
“I need to follow the former Emperor’s posthumous wishes. Whether your Imperial Father gave the throne to my own son or not, I still speak for him.”
4th: “The Imperial Throne belongs to me. It is right and proper.”
“Right and proper? Is it really right and proper? Your heart knows better than anyone else…Even though everyone sees you as king, I don’t consider you to deserve it.”
…Obviously, things aren’t going so well with his mom either. I feel so bad for 4th. His eyes are so full of hurt. He’s never been accepted by his mom, even when he becomes Emperor. SHOW HER 4TH, SHOW HER!
Back to Ruo Xi. Ruo Xi is finally released from the quarantine. She reenters the palace, and sees 13th prince for the first time in 10 years. AHHHHHH. 13th looks haggard and has lost his former energy. Both Ruo Xi and 13th seem to be equally tired and weak. How ironic, when they used to be the “fearless” troublemakers.
Ruo Xi delays seeing 4th prince. But, 4th prince beats her to it, and visits her while she’s falling asleep. He simply wants to sleep beside her because he’s tired.
“This moment, I have hoped for it for a very long time. Just the two of us, belonging to each other. What is past is past.
4th has the shortest dream ever, and suddenly wakes up while calling Ruo Xi’s name. I expect them to start kissing, but THEY DON’T. 4th must be trying to restrain himself, because he leaves to go “take care of other business”. Yeahhhhh.
The next day, Yu Tan begs Ruo Xi to let her stay in the palace. Ruo Xi gets a beautiful new white outfit. (White is the color of mourning.)
4th brings 13th and 8th to show them something….the official that betrayed 4th is torn apart by horses. OMGGGGGGGGG. I was shocked by 4th’s decision to use HORSES, rather than giving him poison. DEFINITELY A FEAR TACTIC here. There’s a reason why he’s showing the official’s execution IN FRONT OF 8TH. Even 13th looks shocked.
Episode 25 is a huge turning point in BBJX.
There’s a huge controversy among BBJX fans over the issue of 4th’s legitimacy. Was he the rightful heir or not? Please, don’t start a huge debate right here in the comments. This is my own take on it, and you’re free to think whatever you want. Either way, 4th ends up being Emperor. Whether or not he’s legitimate, I believe 4th is competent enough to take the throne. As 14th says later on, it doesn’t matter, as long as 4th will be a good emperor.
Here, have a poll to tide you over: (*update: Since there’s a difference between the drama/novel interpretations, I decided to make 2 new polls instead for each one)
I actually thought it was pretty clear cut that 14th was supposed to be the heir to the throne. NO this is not because of my love for 14th. This whole time, I’ve always thought, “Yeah, 4th will be promoted to Crown Prince! He’ll just become Emperor, because Kang Xi clearly gives him the throne!” And I thought that obviously, 4th was the best Emperor-material. Sure I love 14th, but I always thought 4th is the best choice for the Emperor.
However, this episode shows that 4th’s ascension may not be as innocent as I thought it would be. There are hints all throughout the episode that 4th had some kind of plan in motion. For one thing, 4th remembering the Emperor telling him that 14th would become emperor. Uh, is this not completely obvious? Some people have said that perhaps the emperor was testing him. I beg to differ. Why would the Emperor still be playing mind games ON HIS DEATH BED?
Other hints–4th’s scenes depict him as though he’s carefully enforcing his plan and waiting for the time to ripen. 4th deciding where to place his game piece on the checkers board. 4th’s intense brooding over his calligraphy. There’s a REASON why they play dramatic music and show 4th writing the word “action” before he leaves to visit the Emperor. There’s a reason why Eunuch Li–the emperor’s right hand man–hesitates to bow before 4th. And 4th’s good timing (showing up right when the emperor dies) doesn’t seem to be coincidental. 4th has been gathering support amongst the officials and army officers to consolidate his power. He’s got this all figured out, especially when he put 9th, 10th, and 8th in check. There are also other hints later on, especially in episode 29.
So, why would the Emperor choose 14th (if he did) over 4th, when 4th is clearly intelligent, calculating, and emperor-material? For one thing, 14th has already won the hearts of the people. He has a good reputation and is viewed as a hero by all of China. Also, 14th has good relations with most of the princes. The emperor was very concerned about all the princes destroying each other while fighting for the throne. In order to avoid this conflict, 14th could be a better choice. The transition would be much smoother because the rest of the princes would readily accept 14th as the legitimate heir.
There are pros and cons to both 4th and 14th. On one hand, there wouldn’t be so many deaths if 14th became emperor. On the other hand, 4th has the ability to handle political affairs. Like Ruo Xi thought, there is no right answer to the question “who’s the better choice?”
As for 4th’s mom, I think she’s using “I must carry out the emperor’s wishes” as an excuse. Even if the emperor wanted 4th to be the emperor, I don’t think the Empress would accept it. She doesn’t want 4th to be emperor, period. This will probably only strengthen 4th’s resolve to consolidate his power.