The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 73-75

Chinese DramasDrama Reviews

I just rewatched these episodes again for a refresher and they just depressed me all over again.  =_=  These episodes are more melodramatic and I also feel like this is where LZH starts to go off the deep end….

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The emperor is so freaking scary now!!!!! You thought the emperor was flighty and quick to change earlier on in the drama?  That was actually NORMAL and not that bad.  Now though, he’s so volatile and unpredictable that even Zhen Huan is having trouble keeping up with his temper.  AND HE’S SUPER SMART!!  Who knew the emperor would be such a formidable opponent?  O_____O

Anyways he goes around playing mind games with 17th and Zhen Huan because he suspects they had an affair.  He doesn’t have hard evidence but there are plenty of shady things about 17th’s relationship with Zhen Huan.   Also I think the Dzungarian general (who knows about 17th and Zhen Huan being together when Zhen Huan was a nun) must’ve said something to the emperor about 17th & Zhen Huan…otherwise why else would the emperor finally act on his suspicions?

So pretty much everything that happens in these few episodes is really confusing so bear with me.  Long story short, the emperor suspects 17th and devises a trap to confirm whether or not 17th has feelings for Zhen Huan.  He tells everyone that a Dzungarian general has requested to marry Zhen Huan…and that he has decided to fulfill the general’s request.  Of course it’s all a ruse–the emperor doesn’t really plan to let Zhen Huan marry the general.  I was totally facepalming at this part because it’s clearly a trap but 17th walks STRAIGHT INTO IT.  URGHHH!!!  He basically shoots himself in the foot when he impulsively tries to talk the emperor out of doing this & attempts to rescue Zhen Huan.  I mean…there’s no way the emperor is gonna buy 17th’s very weak excuse “I’m only concerned for your honor as the emperor!”.

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So, with the confirmation of 17th’s feelings for Zhen Huan, the emperor sends 17th off to the border as a punishment.  He concludes that it’s 17th who’s at fault and not Zhen Huan.  In this scene, I think there are hints that the emperor is actually letting off Zhen Huan really easily while making 17th bear the consequences.  At this point he probably knows that there is something more to 17th’s infatuation with Zhen Huan but he decides to leave it at that.  I don’t think the emperor is a soft-hearted person but in that moment, I get the feeling that he is wavering towards Zhen Huan which is why he doesn’t punish her too harshly.

Well anyways, things get even more melodramatic when the emperor finds more evidence against 17th & Zhen Huan and so decides to punish both of them…by making Zhen Huan poison 17th.  WHAAAAAAAAT?????  Of course Zhen Huan tries to drink the poison in place of 17th…but get this–the emperor had already prepared for that in advance and ordered his secret agent to kill whoever comes out of the room if it’s not Zhen Huan,  So even if she had drank the poison, 17th would’ve been killed by the secret agent.–and..17th purposely drinks the poison instead.  So 17th dies in Zhen Huan’s arms.  I don’t really have much to say about 17th’s dying scene even though it is supposed to be one of the ‘major scenes’ of episode 74.   I’m not very into into the whole star-crossed lovers thing, nor am I very emotionally invested in 17th’s character.  Also I feel like he could’ve prevented his death if only he had been more careful to hide his feelings for Zhen Huan.  Later on we find out that the reason the emperor killed 17th is because he found several letters between 17th & Huan Bi, all of which were about Zhen Huan’s well-being.  Ughh!!!!!!!  17th died because of his letters!!!!  =_____=

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I feel so bad for Huan Bi all throughout this whole ordeal with 17th.  There is a scene when Huan Bi literally begs 17th ON HER KNEES not to go out on his suicide mission to rescue Zhen Huan from marrying the general.  She says that this is the one time she will ask him for something, and that is to not throw his life away like this.  That even though she cares about Zhen Huan too, she would rather that someone else dies and not her beloved husband.  :'(

I really wished for Huan Bi’s happiness when she got married to 17th.  I thought she could be happy as 17th’s wife.  But although she is the one by 17th’s side, it is clear that she is never the one who is in 17th’s heart.  Not much is known about how her family life was with 17th but perhaps it was more painful for her to be so close to him yet also so distant.  In the end, Huan Bi cannot even be with 17th in his last moments and she commits suicide at his funeral.  R.I.P. Huan Bi.

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Of course, we’ve seen Zhen Huan go through the grieving process several times already but I think this is the time when I finally realize what a toll this is taking on her health.  Let’s just say she’s not in very good shape after 17th’s death, even to the point where she is so tired that she doesn’t even try to act happy when she first meets the emperor afterwards.  There is one moment when Zhen Huan gives the emperor a death glare out of her utter hatred.  (upper left pic)  This is when I knew that things would never quite be the same.  Now, more than ever, she wears her mask as the strong and commanding Zhen Huan and skillfully plays the game of being a dutiful loving concubine.  Goodness only knows how much she is really hurting inside.

Anyways, the final story arc in LZH is Ning Pin & Zhen Huan’s plan to kill the emperor.  O_____O  Yup, you heard it right!  I probably wouldn’t believe it if I had heard this as a spoiler when first started watching LZH….but now….I feel like anything is possible, heh.  I love how Ning Pin and Zhen Huan have teamed up together because they are both very fierce and determined!   I think it is kinda clear why Ning Pin is doing this–she doesn’t have much to lose anyways since she hates her life in the palace, and she still loves 17th.  But Zhen Huan doesn’t really declare her intentions right from the get-go.  There is no moment when she goes up to Ning Pin and says “LET ME JOIN YOU, I WANT TO AVENGE MY LOVED ONES!”.  Sure, Zhen Huan’s hatred towards the emperor plays a big part in her decision to be Ning Pin’s accomplice . But later it also occurred to me that this is probably one of her last resorts to protect her children and her family.   If the emperor finds out that 17th is actually the father of her twins, I suppose that not only will Zhen Huan’s twins be killed, but Zhen Huan would also be stripped of her title and her whole family, servants, etc. would be implicated.

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^After the 3 year time jump, Zhen Huan is STILL wearing the same headpiece……

As for the emperor, I find it kinda sad that, in his slow death, he has no one to trust–not even Zhen Huan or Ning Pin–and so he is paranoid about everyone ’til the very end.  There is a really sad scene when he reminisces about the past and tells Zhen Huan about his vision of a happier time.  He talks about how they would be all carefree, Zhen Huan’s hair would be tousled from the wind, her head would be resting on his knee…the two of them would happy and relaxed.   Omg I don’t know if it was just me but I can actually imagine the scene that the emperor is describing.  I can totally see the young and innocent Zhen Huan resting her head on the emperor’s knee.  It makes me wistful because it reminds me of how drastically things have changed in their relationship.  Also the sad part about all of this is that Zhen Huan and the emperor both know that things will never go back to the way they once were.  As Zhen Huan mentions, the scene seems so innocent but that is just it–Zhen Huan is no longer that innocent young woman that she used to be.

Overall
I’m still confused about how much time has actually passed in this entire story.  I almost wish we could get a giant timeline of what’s happened and how many years have passed, etc. because so much has already happened.  In one of these episodes Zhen Huan mentions how she’s only 27 (I’m not sure if I’m remembering the age right) so I guess at least 10 years have gone by.

Anywhoo, I’m not really looking forward to finally ending my LZH reviews with ep76.  I can’t let go of it!!!!  😛  On another totally random note, the subbing of LZH on Viki has finally resumed.  Slowly but surely, it shall be done!  There is still hope for high-quality translations!!!  It would be the perfect occasion for a rewatch, no?  😉

Ep75 Scene: The emperor & Zhen Huan (Starts at 3:50)

heisui

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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      • After reading through your blogs from start to end i can’t help but think that you suffer from serious case of stockholm syndrome lol
        You sympathize with every character who has done despicable things.to the point i find it fascinating.

  • I think you got most of the details here…. I don’t seem to have more to add… This part of the story leading up to 17th’s death was hard for me because, as you pointed out, so many plot holes!!! Zhen Huan, girl, being as smart and devious as you have been, did you really think the emperor meant what he said when he said “I will only let one of you two live?” Suddenly hit by stupidity >.<!!!! Then again, I'm sure if Zhen Huan knew what was going on beforehand, she may have still tried to take her own life if she knew 17th was doomed… 17th kinda talked her out of her fatalistic tendencies while he was going…

    Also, this is kinda a cultural phenomenon, but it is kinda assumed that lots of emperors, especially nearing the end of their days, sought out miracle cures that could grant them immortality and eternal youth. This practice dates back to Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, and you see it play out in Zhen Huan Zhuan when the emperor is nearing the end of his days. However, in all actuality, these miracle pills actually contained mercury and drove you nuts and sent you down the road faster…

    Oh yeah… I saw that on viki a while ago. Cheers for better subs!! I'm sure I've missed a few things while watching this since the language is so sophisticated… XP Then again, I think this might be partly driven by the lack of dramas with quality stories coming out of China recently, especially in a historical setting. Lanling Wang is watchable-ish but still riddled with plot holes and driven by fan service as opposed to the personalities of the actual characters on screen…

    • Exactly, so many plot holes. Zhen Huan is so smart and yet she was easily caught in the emperor’s trap. Urgh. And I facepalmed so many times at 17th. T_T

      Yeah I was wondering about the pills because I remember the doctor said they contain mercury but that they aren’t poisonous. O__O I was all, gee are they sure about that? Now that I think about it it is kinda ironic that his pills that were meant to help him ended up hurting him…

      There is tons of fan service in LLW. I feel like LLW is more of an idol drama, actually.

      • Back in antiquity, mercury was considered beneficial… kinda going along with the “It’s so pretty… can’t possibly hurt me” flawed logic of why ancient peoples from all over the world ground up precious stones to consume them as medicine. Then again, back in the day, medical practice wasn’t as orthodox and standardized as it is today. There was the orthodox method but there were also families who had been practicing medicine for generations and built up some experience, skills, and secrets to the trade that they safe guarded. Even to this day, there are some families that still practice Chinese medicine in Asia and go through orthodox education but still preserve some family secrets on how to make acupuncture treatment more powerful, certain herbs, etc. However, this also opened the door to downright fraudsters and fanatics to game into the system kinda like the two priests in this case.

        This practice with mercury, again, dates back go Qin Shi Huang. His pills had mercury too. In fact, he was all kinds of obsessed with mercury, probably REALLY believing it was some kind of cure for human mortality. Based on historical records, it is said that he had entire LAKES of mercury built in his tomb. This description was written a while after his actual burial but seem to hold some truth since scientists have detected abnormal levels of mercury in the soil surrounding his tomb.

        I think it’s mentioned that in this case, for the pill, the mercury comes from cinnabar being an ingredient. Again, not a good idea… >.<

        • Very interesting. O____O I never knew that mercury was so highly prized back in the day..hey wouldn’t it be cool to see a period doctor c-drama? Like…JIN except..in ancient China.

          • That would be cool… but somebody needs to write a good script first!! And usually, following recent trends, that means a good internet novel XD

      • About LLW…. soooo glad there is the internet and the ability to click through overdone fan service scenes… I probably wouldn’t be able to stomach this drama if it weren’t for this ability… XD

  • Oh yeah, I’m not sure if you caught on but it is said that the miracle pill that the Emperor is taking causes his health to severely deteriorate when he gets uber-emotional about something… so that’s why you notice that sometimes Zhen Huan purposefully does things to set him off during the last two episodes

    • I thought that Zhen Huan tries to make him angry so that his anger combined with the effects of the medicine/poison will kill him more quickly? I guess I didn’t get the part about the pill making him more emotional though. It is really weird seeing him being all out of it in ep75. o_o Like when he mutters random things, recalls the past, etc.

        • Hello it’s me again, as usual being very late in commenting but was thinking I’ll do it since no one mentioned/updated this portion.

          Let’s start with the affair between ZH and 17th. Emperor was trying to test her loyalty to him and used the Dzungarian general as the excuse. Said the general wanted to marry her and didn’t mind that she was a concubine (basically no longer a virgin bride). He was sarcastic to a point stating that she was able to capture the attention of every man (hint of the cut-out of her 17th carried in his pouch). 17th overheard the conversation and burst into the room, giving the lame excuse that if the Emperor did this, then it would be insult to the Emperor and the kingdom that when an enemy wants their imperial concubines, the head of state gives willing to safeguard his land.

          When 17th saw the sedan going off, he thought that ZH was sent to be married to the general. In actual fact, all that was inside the sedan was the antidote for smallpox, which was rampant in the general’s country at the moment.

          Skipping to post 17th’s poisoning, after she came out of the room, there was an imperial edit the secret agent gave to the eunuch to read out. But she was devastated by his death that on her way back, she fell and smashed her knee, hence the long rest. In the mean time, Ning Pin, in her own way, decide to poison the Emperor slowly by feeding him poison in the food. Slow poisoning, hardly detectable by the imperial doctors (ZH’s personal doctor who was Dr. Wen’s apprentice did inform her that Ning Pin was asking for large amounts of *I think* cinnabar powder. She also had 2 priests presenting the Emperor with 2 black pills which were supposed to help him regain his health (he ate one when presented and another was the bed scene which she fed him personally) but I think the pills contained poison (mercury?) as well.

          There was also a scene that Ning Pin came face to face with ZH and she did mention that she was willing to join forces to kill the Emperor. However, as you have mentioned that she didn’t care for herself since she could never be with the one she loved (17th) and her sole intent was to rid the one she hated (Emperor), she was more than willing to take the blame should anyone find out about the Emperor’s poisoning (which was why ZH gave the imperial doctor the go-ahead to give the cinnabar powder to her each time she requested).

          Hopefully this clears the air surrounding the death of 17th (seriously this guy is an idiot when it comes to affairs of the heart).

  • For the age problem, my explanation is as below.
    In history, the Yongzheng Emperor ruled the Qing Empire for thirteen years (1722~1735).
    In this drama, Zhenhuan, 16 years old, entered the palace in the second year (1723).
    11 years later (1734), Zhenhuan said she was 27 years old.
    The next year (1735), Yongzheng died.

  • Hey heisui, it’s me again…managed to get this off youtube…

    Decent subs…went through the 1st 2 eps…not too sure if he did it on his own or via Singapore’s local tv (can’t see the logo anywhere) but you can compare it with viki…
    Hope it helps you enjoy the show more…I’m learning quite a fair bit myself…

  • I read that the author of Zhen Huan is writing the sequel which is called ‘The Legend of Ru Yi’ but I don’t know what it is about.

    Maybe it is about the concubine in Qian Long’s era? Since there are so many tv series about Yong Zheng emperor now, I think the next that will made must be Qian Long emperor.

    At the scene when the Empress introduced her niece to the Third Prince, i reminded of the evil empress in Princess Huan Zhu ^ ^;;;;

    • I also heard that there might be a sequel novel about the next harem with the Qian Long emperor. I also heard a rumor that Ada Choi might be the lead if there is a drama sequel. O__O Definitely think that would be a miscast if Ada really did come back to play a different character in the sequel.

      • the niece of the empress in LZH is the main character of the legend of ru yi. Remember, she married to 4-th Prince, now emperor qian long.

  • Qianlong’s era is more interesting in my opinion because he ruled Qing dynasty for many years.
    He also had many wives which is good for story materials. ^_^
    His first Empress died during visit to rural area. Some said she drowned. Some said she had gotten ill and died.
    His second empress from Ulanara clan (the evil empress in Princess Huan Zhu) was called Step Empress and died in disgrace. No one knew the truth since Qianlong gave death penalty to those who dared to speak about her

      • Yes. Qianlong’s two empresses all dead and he didn’t appoint a new one so the back palace was run by Imperial Consort Ling, the birth mother of the next emperor, Jiaqing. However she died at 47 before her son ascended the throne.

        The funny thing is, the first empress is a good person and the second empress was usually made into antagonist character. Remind us of ZH, right?

        That does raise the question about the identity of the heroine of Legend of Ruyi since the author made ZH into Lady Niuhuru.

        • VERRRY interesting! Ok I’m not sure if I heard this right, but I remember hearing that the original LZH novel actually wasn’t set in the Qing Dynasty. It’s just that the adaptation of the novel was set in the Qing Dynasty. If that’s true, do you know if the sequel novel is now in the Qing Dynasty?

          • Oh. I forgot about that. Yeah, the novel was set in Tang dynasty but they changed it into Qing for the tv series because Qing costumes were readily available. Well, we have to admit that the women in ZH changed their costumes/hairstyles many times.

            Also at Tang Dynasty, women’s clothes had the trend to be more open. They could bare the part of body above their chests. Although nothing as drastic as the costume in ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’

          • Decided to come back and check around… because there’s a lack of dramas in my life and there’s a couple potentially good dramas that are yet to be released and I’m all like “….. come oooooon…… RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!”

            Again… my Chinese is not perfect but from an interview I have seen it seems like Ruyi Zhuan is being re-set in the Qing dynasty now since the author took the hint after the drama exploded in popularity. By the looks of it, the author seems to have taken some time to research the era and the rule of the next emperor so… meh… but I’m not so sure about if a drama version will come since I’ve heard that the director who did ZHZ said he wouldn’t be doing the sequel… and he’s doing a drama with Zhou Xun now… but maybe they’ll find a different director since they may be driven by profit… but then it might fall flat… and that would be really sad… -_-;;

            • Oh yeah, I also feel like I’m kinda in limbo because I’m waiting for some dramas that I have high expectations for. (or waiting for them to be subbed) I ended up just watching some random old dramas that already aired.

              You’re right…..”MEH”. If it’s a different director for a sequel I’m not so sure it will have the same magic as LZH. Oh, and I’m also looking forward to Zhou Xun’s drama..

  • My dear Heisui.. I finally finish watching the whole series…
    What can I say.. It’s a magnificent piece of work! The costumes, the casts, the accessories, the plots.. even my evil Hua Fei who died too soon in the series…
    Nevertheless, after rewatching BBJX again for the 7th time, I need to give BBJX a plus point compare Zhen Huan…
    It just makes you want to talk about it FOREVER!
    Thank you btw… But, so far my fav soon is when the last meeting of ZH with the Empress…
    Her look was…. SHARP!
    If I was the Empress, I would hide under the table just to avoid having eye contacts with ZH…
    Btw, bravo for the episode recaps! Once again, amazing work!!!

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