The Legend of Zhen Huan: Eps 73-75
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….
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!”.
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!!!! =_____=
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.
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.
^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.
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)