To all the Zhen Huan fans, sorry for such a long wait! For some reason I just wasn’t in the mood to review LZH for a while…probably because I am depressed over Hua Fei’s fate and really bitter over the low quality of the English sub videos. Although I already watched through eps 36-40 subbed a long time ago, I decided to rewatch them RAW……..in HIGH DEFINITION. So of course I went screen-cap crazy..Anyways, throughout these episodes, Hua Fei gets closer and closer towards her inevitable demise. Zhen Huan uses her influence over the emperor to strike back at Hua Fei, but this also creates moral dilemmas and relationship issues along the way.
“Since Wan Pin is there, His Majesty doesn’t need me [Empress] anymore.”
Zhen Huan finally gets into dangerous waters when she begins exerting her influence over the emperor to advise him in political matters. I think it’s really awesome that she is smart and wise enough to be the emperor’s emergency advisor. There is this one scene when she tries to comfort the emperor, but he throws his tea cup on the floor in a fit of rage. Zhen Huan just calmly picks up the pieces of the tea cup while continuing to advise the emperor. It was just another one of those instances when you see that you gotta have NERVES OF STEEL to survive in the harem, especially when the emperor is all moody and volatile.
“Yes, I don’t know when I have become so calculative and selfish.”
I think it’s also interesting that both Zhen Huan herself and the people around her can sense the change in her way of doing things. Before she used to be more sympathetic and kindhearted; now she only acts in her (and maybe Mei Zhuang’s) best interest. Long story short, Zhen Huan restores Hua Fei’s position so that later on she can bring her to her ruin. She can cover up her true intentions in front of the emperor by saying that it will solve his problems, but we all know that she is actually manipulating him so that she can get her revenge.
“I never did anything better than you…although his majesty neglected me, I never hated you. But I don’t know why whenever I see you, I feel I am far away from you….You have the whole world with you…but I don’t have anything.”
One of my favorite scene is in ep37, when Mei Zhuang and Zhen Huan argue over Zhen Huan’s restoring Hua Fei’s position. It is really sad when Mei Zhaung reveals that even she feels alienated from Zhen Huan and cannot understand her actions. What really made the scene was Zhen Huan’s reaction–it is like she is hearing these words and realizing for the first time that there is actually a big divide between her and her best friend. (middle left pic) In the end, the two of them resolve the conflict, but it shows how much Zhen Huan is risking by choosing power & revenge.
As I mentioned before, it is really awesome having Precious Cao (now a Fei) and Zhen Huan on the same team. It is always scary whenever they talk together because you can just see the wheels turning in their heads as they are trying to remain civil yet subtly dominant. It is like watching two lionesses circling each other or something. O_O Anyways, even though I feel bad that Hua Fei doesn’t even have Precious Cao on her side anymore, I still think it was absolutely genius how Precious Cao saved herself. She reveals all of Hua Fei’s doings to the Empress and avoids any blame by claiming she kept quiet for the sake of her daughter. *claps* Well done, Precious Cao!
Also for some reason, Ling Rong suddenly got even prettier in these last few episodes! I don’t know why but she sorta grew on me, especially when she accompanies Zhen Huan during her exile. I mean, I gotta give her some credit because she is like a spy stealthily waiting to pounce. And all the while she looks all innocent and harmless. There are also a lot of scenes when I feel bad for her because she is always seeing how much more the emperor favors Zhen Huan. Like the time when she overhears the Emperor’s eunuch saying that the emperor ‘exiled’ Zhen Huan just to keep her safe from the political turmoil in the palace. I can only imagine Ling Rong’s outrage when she realizes she is putting up with all this crap just to appear like Zhen Huan’s good friend, when in actuality, the whole exile is a scheme made up by Zhen Huan herself!
“I’m happy. I thought that your majesty would never come.”
Ah, Hua Fei. She loves the emperor so much and yet he is only stabbing her in the back. It is so heartbreaking when the emperor finally visits her again for the first time; Hua Fei is literally in tears because she is so happy and relieved, and she loves him that much. Unfortunately for Hua Fei, even she knows that she is still on a sinking ship after getting her status restored. Throughout these episodes, there is always this sort of sad, distant and resigned expression on Hua Fei’s face..you can just see that she has sorta given up on ever going back to the old days.
It just makes it even more painful to see how genuine Hua Fei is in her feelings for the emperor, when he only views her as a political tool. There are so many times when the emperor talks about his past relationship with Hua Fei and how sentimental he is, blah blah blah. BUT IN REALITY? He personally plays a part in Hua Fei and her brother’s own ruin! And he uses her personal maid, Song Zhi, as a part of his schemes as well! What kind of “sentiment” is that?!?!?!
“If Zhou Ning Hai betrays me to save himself, I don’t blame him. I will assume all by myself.”
Even if Hua Fei has nothing left, at least she still has her pride. At times she looks defeated and hopeless, but there are always moments when we see sparks of her old ferocity and confidence. At times it seems like she is taking on the whole world without batting an eyelash. Hua Fei is most definitely not a role model, but at least she doesn’t run away, even when she is at her lowest. She bravely faces her mistakes and everyone’s condemnation, all by herself. I think this is really the point where Hua Fei begins to feel like less of a villain, and more as a person to admire.
Eps 36-37 were a bit slow, but everything starts to fall into place once Hua Fei’s family goes down. I am sad to see Hua Fei finally meeting her end, but it is also good that the other concubines will now have the chance to take a more active role in the harem. Without Hua Fei, other concubines like Duan (usually the one wearing red flowers), will get to show what they’ve got. I am also wondering how Precious Cao & Zhen Huan will duke it out, because they are now the top dogs.
As I mentioned in the intro, it is an amazing experience getting to watch LZH in crystal clear HD. If I’m not mistaken, there are some Viet-subbed episodes out in HD, so if you are one of those lucky Vietnamese fans…..go for it. *jealous* Oh, and thanks to one of my readers, I found out that Sun Li won the Best Actress Award, and Jiang Xin (Hua Fei) got the Best Supporting Actress award! It’s only fitting!