The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 11-13
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!!