The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 11-13

Chinese DramasDrama Reviews

Lots of power struggles unfold as the new Mei Zhuang-Zhen Huan alliance begins to gain power.  Every time Hua Fei or Mei Zhuang & Zhen Huan win over each other, I can only say, “Well played!”. 

Mei Zhuang and Zhen Huan, with the help of Ling Rong’s idea, carry out a plan to bring down Hua Fei’s group.  They succeed in driving one of Hua Fei’s close allies (forgot her name, but it’s the one that always wears green.  I seriously think they’re color-coded to help us remember who’s who, ahaha.) crazy.  This means they’ve weakened Hua Fei’s side, but they can’t get reliable evidence about Hua Fei’s involvement in the Concubine Yu incident.  This scheme didn’t seem as believable to me because I don’t see how they explain Zhen Huan’s eunuch’s ability to float in midair.  I suppose it’s because of his kung fu skills?  But other than that, it’s reasonable that they would manipulate the other concubines through superstition. 

Anyways it’s awesome seeing Hua Fei completely cornered into Mei Zhuang & Zhen Huan’s plan! 

So the threesome gains more power & confidence now that it seems like Hua Fei is out of the way.  Of course she’s not, it’s just temporary.  Ling Rong feels a sense of accomplishment and acceptance since she also contributed to the plan.  You can still feel her insecurity when she asks her older sisters if they think her plan was cruel. (this echoes ep10 when she overhears Mei Zhuang calling her handling of Concubine Yu cruel)  Of course the two of them deny it, but I think the seed of doubt toward Mei Zhuang has already been planted in Ling Rong’s head.

Earlier I was wondering why Hua Fei has to try so hard to maintain her status.  I didn’t understand that even though she’s an imperial consort and she has her brother’s backing, her status is still vulnerable.  Since she has no child, Hua Fei’s power might not necessarily last.  Like Mei Zhuang says, favor will always go away eventually, but if you have a kid, you’re set for life. 

Unlike Zhen Huan, who’s not really planning ahead for the future, Mei Zhuang is already trying to do all she can to have a son.  I admit I watched ahead so maybe I wouldn’t have been so suspicious without my foreknowledge, but….Mei Zhuang’s personal doctor is WAY too shady.  There are lots of hints that maybe Mei Zhuang’s doctor might not be the real deal.  So although the doctor confirms Mei Zhuang is pregnant, I’m really scared for her because I doubt the doctor is dependable.  I sniff a scheme in the air…

Because of Mei Zhuang’s pregnancy, she instantly becomes the most favored one, perhaps even over Zhen Huan.  So now Mei Zhuang and Zhen Huan are both very close to the emperor!  The two of them both complement each other’s strengths & weaknesses so well that they are the perfect pair to be by the emperor’s side.  Mei Zhuang can take care of the Inner Palace, while Zhen Huan keeps the emperor company.  I loved seeing the Empress, Mei Zhuang, and Zhen Huan all hanging out with the emperor at once.

^just included it for the pretty caps. 

Right when we thought Hua Fei would lay low for a while, we have another adversary!  Enter: Precious Cao, Hua Fei’s ally!  I seriously wonder why she chose to stay on Hua Fei’s side because Hua Fei treats her like crap.  I suppose this is part of the sacrifice she makes to stay safe in the harem.  Anyway, up until now we haven’t seen her taking a very active role in Hua Fei’s power struggle.  Now that Hua Fei isn’t in the emperor’s favor, it’s up to Precious Cao to use her influence to help her out.  Not only does she have a daughter on her side (remember the whole kids = emperor’s favor issue) but she’s also incredibly smart.  Who knew Precious Cao was this cunning?!!??! 

With just ONE conversation, she’s able to make the emperor doubt Zhen Huan’s affections for her.  Precious Cao is quite impressive; I really did not see this coming. O_O  On a side note..I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the emperor wants to know when Zhen Huan started loving him.  I mean he has so many concubines, most of whom are with him because he’s the EMPEROR, not because of love.  What does he expect?!?! 

So Hua Fei’s confidence continues dwindling, especially when she has to sit through an entire banquet held for Precious Cao’s baby daughter.  I find it interesting that she’s also visibly bothered by the short appearance of another concubine. (er I forgot her name..princess of modesty?)  The Princess of Modesty seems to have a high status (because she sat next to Hua Fei) but because of her illness she doesn’t participate in the Inner Palace affairs.  After she leaves early, the Princess of Modesty comments about how she hates being with all the fake people.  AHAHA I like her already!  But I also wonder whether her illness is genuine or if it’s a ploy to protect herself?  What was her past with Hua Fei?  (please no spoilers, RHETORICAL QUESTION!)

Precious Cao carries out yet another one of her plans–operation: Make Zhen Huan publicly embarrass herself.  Wow how many more things does Precious Cao have up her sleeve??  Long story short, Ling Rong, Mei Zhuang, and 17th team up to save Zhen Huan by giving her musical accompaniment.  Thanks to 17th’s surprise arrival, Zhen Huan wows the emperor.  AHAHA Precious Cao ended up helping Zhen Huan instead of hurting her!

Wow I had so many screencaps that I couldn’t even use them all in this post.  Obviously this drama is still gorgeous, especially with the scenes at the emperor’s vacation palace (or whatever it is).  I also like that some of the other concubines are getting more character development–Precious Cao, Pin (forgot her full name too..), the Princess of Modesty, etc. 

Because of how long Zhen Huan is, I thought it would be more slow-paced.  But since things can change so quickly in the Inner Palace, Zhen Huan is still fast-paced and full of interesting conflicts.  After Zhen Huan’s success at the banquet, it seems like she owned Precious Cao…but I think Precious Cao still has another wild card.  There’s a hint that she might have won over one of Zhen Huan’s maids!!


I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
Tiger Cubs: Eps 4-5
The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 14-17
  • Thanks for the recap! I hadn’t had this drama on my radar until I stumbled across your posts. I glanced ahead at the episodes too, though I didn’t understand anything, and it looks like it’s going to get intense. These historical Chinese dramas (especially harem ones) seriously love the angst!

  • About Hua Fei, do you know her brother Nian Gengyao’s fate in history? That might help explain why the Emperor put her above everyone else (even the Empress) and also give you some hints about her fate.
    Anyways, great recap and the pictures are gorgeous!

    • Yeah I understand that there are also political issues behind his relationship with Hua Fei. Oh goodness I always take way too many screencaps of this drama. >.< It's too beautiful!

  • Just checked out your recap since I finally made it to Ep 13 so my comment will be very out of data, haha. I will be really upset if something happens to Mei Zhuang’s baby, like you I feel the doctor is way too shady and I didn’t like how Cao (or one of Hua Fei’s other allies, I forget) smirked when she found out Mei Zhuang chose that doctor to take care of her. Since causing the other concubines to have miscarriages has already been established as a tactic, I hope they don’t succeed with any schemes 😡

  • I started watching a week ago. I love it! I wonder if Huan Bi told Precious Cao (Is her name “precious,” really?) about how the emperor pretended to be Prince Guo. I think Huan bi is already siding wtih the others out of jealousy for Zhen Huan. How come I dont really see her after the 11th episode, anyway?

    • Precious Cao’s name is not really “Precious”. “Precious” is the translation of her ranking/title which is also “Gui Ren”. I don’t really remember what happened after ep11, sorry I can’t help you there! T_T

  • I think Cao Gui Ren was in Hua Fei’s camp because Hua Fei was the one who helped to promote her to win the Emperor’s favour (SPOILER ALERT: similar to how Hua Fei allowed her maid to win the Emperor’s favour later on in the series) when Cao Gui Ren was either just a rejected “xiu nu” candidate or was a very minor wife in the Emperor’s manor when he was a prince (can’t remember which). I can’t remember exactly when this dialogue took place either but I remember Hua Fei was very angry with Cao Gui Ren when that happened.

    • I can’t remember when that scene was either but I think Hua Fei said something along the lines of ‘if it weren’t for me, you’d never have gotten to where you are now’. I think Cao Gui Ren was mainly with Hua Fei for protection and survival, since it seems like she’s not the type who is really ambitious to be a very favored concubine.

      • Yep! Cao gui ren is on Hua Fei’s side mainly for two reasons. Firstly, she owes Hua Fei cause it was Hua Fei who helped her to gain favor and hence, her daughter. Secondly, Cao Gui Ren comes from a broken family and not powerful at all. She would never be able to fight Hua Fei in terms of family power and she is also not very favored by the emperor. The emperor has her around mainly for her daughter’s sake. Therefore Cao Gui Ren has no choice but to ally herself with Hua Fei to protect her daughter!

  • I realize this is years later, but Consort Duan (the sickly one) is pretty important. Especially where Hua Fei is concerned. Not remembering her name would be something that should be updated. Especially for the American audience that has only just discovered this drama via Amazon. I’ve watched it several times and there is clearly missing scenes. Given many of the American population love to “binge watch” series, it’s a shame the entire drama wasn’t sub titled.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. Yes, I wrote this a long time ago when I still did not have a good grasp of the characters’ names and ranks. If I have time to update them, maybe I will.

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