The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 18-21

Chinese DramasDrama Reviews

Things slowed down a bit in ep21, but eps 18-20 were AWESOME. 

How awesome was this particular scheme of Zhen Huan’s???  This is probably my favorite one yet because it caught Hua Fei in the wrong without ruining her completely.  Zhen Huan does not KO her opponents the way Hua Fei does (i.e. Hua Fei pretty much obliterated Mei Zhuang) because 1) she doesn’t have enough power 2) she needs to preserve her own power and not overstep her boundaries.  I find it interesting that the emperor doesn’t favor Hua Fei as much, (because of Zhen Huan) but she still has enough influence in the Inner Palace to keep everyone else in check.  Even though Hua Fei isn’t at the very top right now, all of the other concubines know better than to side with the newbie Zhen Huan.

It was also awesome to see the Pin of Respects joining in on Zhen Huan’s plans.  She isn’t necessarily in Zhen Huan’s inner circle, but you could call her a cautious ally just like the Princess of Modesty.  It’s been revealed that the Pin of Respects is actually highly regarded by the emperor because she rarely engages in any power struggles.  I really want to find out the Pin of Respects’ past because I have no idea how she survived without getting caught up in anyone’s schemes.

Huan Bi’s character arc is also quite compelling.  There have been hints along the way that she already knows she is an illegitimate child and therefore the half-sister of Zhen Huan.  SHE KNOWS that all of this is unfair–she’s also her father’s daughter, and yet because she’s illegitimate, Huan Bi will forever be bound to her servant status.  Goodness knows how in the world she managed to keep any feelings of jealousy or envy at bay for so long.  It’s pretty easy to follow her train of thought…Why can Zhen Huan enter the palace, earn the Emperor’s favor, blah blah blah, but she can’t?  Concubine Yu raised from her servant status, so why can’t she? 

I sympathized with Huan Bi because I felt bad that she can never attain the same “glory” Zhen Huan has.  She wants so much to bring honor to her family name and yet she’s stuck in her circumstances.  But at the same time, like Zhen Huan points out, Huan Bi is also lucky in a way because she doesn’t have to face the heat in the Inner Palace.  Instead she could have the option to marry a good man and live happily.  Emphasis on the COULD…

“Holding me in his palm, but abandoning and mistrusting me.  The emperor, he is so heartless and fickle.”

I feel horrible for Mei Zhuang’s plight but after this conversation I can’t help but feel that maybe it was all for the better.  Mei Zhuang found out the hard way that the emperor isn’t sincere or loyal at all–he plain doesn’t care about the concubines and will readily dispose of them if something goes wrong.  I guess it’s better for her to find out early than to be strung along for years and then have everything come crashing down.  (yes I say this in reference to Zhen Huan’s fate..)

Anyways I love Mei Zhuang’s lines in this scene because they pretty much say it all about the emperor’s heartlessness.  You can just feel her hurt & distrust towards the emperor now that she knows he’s not what she thought he was.  Of course Zhen Huan thinks otherwise because she’s having a wonderful romance with the emperor, but Mei Zhuang’s words clearly have an influence on her.

“What if it’s favor, but not love?”

Zhen Huan begins to question whether her relationship with the emperor is really a romance or not.  Is she being loved or favored?  To me the answer is favored, but of course she takes the emperor’s word that it’s love.  I really wonder just what the emperor is really thinking.  If he claims to “love” Zhen Huan, then does he also love the rest of his concubines?  What about Hua Fei, whom he FAVORED for so long but now he won’t even visit her often?  I am really confused by the emperor because his heart changes in an instant and there’s really no predicting it. 

Ok was I the only one wondering what in the world the emperor was thinking when he decided to consummate his marriage with the super young concubine??? (the one that always hangs out with Zhen Huan)  He talked to her like she was still a kid (uh, BECAUSE SHE IS) and they seemed like they could have a sort of uncle-niece relationship…but then he decides, gee this is the right time to make things official!  I get that there’s supposed to be an age difference in that time period but…..I just don’t get what the emperor was thinking. 


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!
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  • Yes, Lingering Chun is young, but that’s the usual age for girls to get married during that period. The emperor’s probably had his first girl when he was 13 or something. In his mind, she’s ripe enough. LOL. He probably also a pedophile at heart and loves Chun Er’s innocence and youth.

    I think the affection the Emperor shows Zhen Huan is love, but in reality, this love is channeled THROUGH her to another woman.

    • Wow I never realized even 13 years old could be a normal age. I was freaking out about the 16 years old thing ahahaha. But I guess it was just that time period…BUT THEN AGAIN I was having pedo alerts when the emperor did that..

      So I guess the emperor is SORT OF loving Zhen Huan? Like, he does love her, not necessarily because of who she is, but because of who she resembles? (I’m getting ahead of myself to those later episodes..)

      • Yeah, Chun Er was 17 when they consummated and I think that’s how old Zhen Huan was too in the beginning.

        And yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I think if the Emperor ever loved anyone, it would be that woman (just to keep it from spoiling others). So Zhen Huan feels the “love”, because the Emperor is in fact really channeling “love”…
        In the book, he supposedly really started to fall in love with Zhen Huan in the end.Though I never got that while watching the drama..

        • I guess I was freaking out more because Chun Er acts really young..but when it came to Zhen Huan I didn’t freak out as much because she acts older.

          So maybe the emperor’s love for Zhen Huan isn’t exactly true love but he does feel affection for her? I’m really confused. T_T

          • I think in the beginning the emperor’s love for ZH was due to her resembling the One (those who watched ahead will know who I am refering to). But toward the end I do believe that he truly loves ZH for who she is . But the emperor is ultimately selfish and selfcentered so his love for ZH will never be the completely wholesome(unlike another man in ZH’s life). Even if the emperor’s The One lived, i don’t think he will love her more than ZH bc as an emperor his love is devided

            • I hope he really does begin to love Zhen Huan for herself. However I feel that he “loves” or likes Zhen Huan much more sincerely than he does towards the other concubines..

  • My least favorite character is the emperor due to his cruelty and well, occasionally stupidity. Being the ruler of a nation like China, the emperor shouldn’t be tricked by his consorts so easily. Furthermore, I think the emperor experiences lust rather than love. After all, he can move from one woman to the next without anyone restraining him. Anyhow, I believe it would be better to attain his respect, similar to the Pin of Respects, rather than his “love”. The respect lasts while the favor and “love” both dissipate along with beauty. On a different subject, I’m still enamored with the gorgeous costumes! This drama is addictive for me, even though I thought it would be a boring one. I am so glad they uploaded the rest of the episodes subbed from the DVD on Viki! The quality of the subs aren’t as great but it’s nice if you want to marathon rather than wait for the subs.

    • Yeah at times I wonder how he can NOT get a clue about all the schemes going on. But even though he does get the gist of it, I don’t think he’s proactive in preventing it. I agree, but at the same time one’s reputation can be ruined in an instant. I think the Pin of Respects is much smarter than they give her credit for, to have survived this long.

  • After watching a bit more I see more clearly your comments from our previous discussion about Hua Fei.

    Mei Zhuang’s lines were very poignant, I hope she comes back more later on and I was happy ZH beat Hua Fei at her own game for the time being. And while I understand Huan Bi’s feelings she was still a scrub for going behind ZH’s back like that. She seems to have redeemed herself and I’m glad ZH is going to help “legitimize” her later.

    I also agree about Chun Er being weird since even at 17 she still seems younger than she is, reminds me of when I recently watched the French film <> and it was just awkward to watch the 13ish year old character with her old husband. A lot of modern historical shows tend to age up the characters to avoid the ick factor but I guess that’s how it was..入乡随俗.

    • Yes Mei Zhuang’s lines in the scene where she and Zhen Huan secretly meet will resonate throughout the rest of the drama. I also hoped that Mei Zhuang would recover and make a comeback.

      I know!!! Doesn’t Chun Er seem more like…….14 years old? O_O Or maybe 15 but for sure not 17. I guess her becoming the emperor’s official concubine at that age is not abnormal in that time period, but Chun Er just seems so youthful!

      • Yeah especially since earlier she was dashing through the snow and giggling wildly, just like a little kid. O_O I’ll just have to look away if there are any further scenes between them, haha.

  • I love your reviews. Thanks to you, I started watching LZH. Although I don’t always agree with your opinion on the characters( i.e. Huan Bi, I find her very annoying and childish) but that’s the fun of the review, to see someone else’s opion on them apart from your own. Thank you very much for writing these!

    • Thanks, I’m so happy you started LZH! At first, there were also times when Huan Bi annoyed me. For example, when she gets all pissed at Ling Rong after LR finally gains the emperor’s favor. I can understand why she feels ‘cheated’ in a way though, because if only she was not an illegitimate child then maybe she could’ve had the same standing as LR/ZH.

  • I just started LZH and I’ve been going back and forth each episode to your reviews to read your opinions, see your great collages and read the recap encase I missed something or need a refresher. Love Love this 🙂

  • Thank you for these! I’ve just been watching the heavily-cut-down american version so I’m going back trying to find some of the plots that were removed entirely….

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