Hua Xu Yin: Eps 9-15
There’s only one way to describe Song Ning & Shen An’s story: Suffering, suffering, and more suffering. In my previous review, I said that I was ready to endure the angst….but apparently I had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t think that Hua Xu Yin be THIS painful. T_T”
This is stating the obvious, but Song Ning is my favorite character in HXY…Partly because I have a huge bias towards Jiang Xin, and partly because I like how Song Ning always stays true to her beliefs. Sometimes she makes me feel like a mere mortal, especially with her steel nerves, uncompromising sense of morality, and GUTS. e.g. When she’s about to be executed by hanging, Song Ning says, ‘I will put the rope around my neck MYSELF!’. But underneath it all, Song Ning is still human. She still feels despair and hurt. Every time she has to defend her innocence and undergo some kind of suffering for Shen An, it hurts her deeply.
At first, Song Ning is able to overcome the hurt in her marriage with Shen An. Even when Qi Qi’s (the 2nd female lead) schemes and Shen An’s cold behavior drive Song Ning to desire a divorce, she decides to fight back. When Song Ning declares that she will win back Shen An, I went, YOU GO GIRL!!!
“After fighting in wars for my entire life, I did everything for the battlefield. This time, I must fight for myself…I don’t believe that I cannot win Shen An’s heart.” -Song Ning
I felt that the tide had changed once Song Ning decided to get proactive and defeat Qi Qi. One of my favorite scenes during this time is when Qi Qi tries to cause a scene over riding in the First Wife’s (aka Song Ning) carriage and Song Ning simply goes “you can have the carriage, I’ll ride on my own horse alongside Shen An!”. Take that Qi Qi! I also enjoyed all the little moments between Shen An and Song Ning, as they tried to get to know each other once again. It’s undeniable that these two have great chemistry at this time.
The problem is that the OTP takes two steps backwards for every one step forward. Their situation is the kind that can only go wrongly. There is not one chance for a breakthrough when Qi Qi is scheming and manipulative (and likely will never give up), her maid is fanning the flames, Shen An is being wishy washy and a jerk, and Song Ning is beating around the bush when Shen An questions her. No matter how much the OTP tries to ‘start anew,’ there’s always something that goes wrong.
There are two major moments that made me stop rooting for Shen An and Song Ning to be together. Firstly, Shen An lets Song Ning get tortured for a crime that she didn’t commit, even though he knows that she’s innocent. He claims that he thought Song Ning was ‘strong enough’ and that the ‘punishment wouldn’t be so bad’. Like Song Ning says, what a flimsy excuse. Shen An’s decision resulted in crippling her hands for life, thus making her unable to fight with her spear. This incident made me think that Song Ning should leave the marriage because it was hurting her both physically and psychologically. The second incident that sealed the deal & made me jump ship is when Shen An rapes Song Ning to get revenge. I was watching this almost in disbelief; the thought went through my mind: “WHAT THE HECK AM I WATCHING?!?!” Some may point out that hey, Song Ning got her payback! She stabbed Shen An in the heart after the rape! Ugh. Personally I don’t buy Shen An’s argument ‘now that you stabbed me, we’re even’. Just because they drastically hurt each other doesn’t erase everything that happened or give them time to heal!
“Shen An. Do you know that…you are the one person I picked among the millions? You are the one I once loved. But that is the past…” – Song Ning
I guess the theme of Song Ning & Shen An’s story arc is ‘love turned into hate’. Song Ning and Shen An may have started out with a sizzling chemistry but eventually they ended up torturing each other over and over again. Their love is toxic and destructive, and IMO both of them would’ve been better off if they ended their relationship. One could make a number of excuses for Shen An but all in all, Song Ning is the one who bears the brunt of the suffering. She loses her hands, her ability to fight with a spear, her virginity through a rape, and her dignity & love. I watched a proud, strong and self-sufficient warrior be broken down into just a shell of her former self. Is the point of this story arc to make the characters suffer so much that they’ll willingly enter into the Hua Xu Illusion?! If so, the drama is doing a darn good job of it. I want Song Ning to either 1) End the relationship and leave or 2) Enter into the Hua Xu Illusion. Anything to end this! T_T
Now before anyone throws my own advice “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it” back at me, there ARE parts of HXY that I like. I’m still watching for Jiang Xin. Her portrayal of Song Ning has made me empathize so much with her character and I feel like I’m with her every step of the way in her torturous romance. Jiang Xin makes me feel Song Ning’s pain and desperation. The other reason why I’m still watching is that I want to know what will happen to Song Ning in the end. After the torture & rape scene, I don’t think anything worse could happen. *knock on wood*
Aside from Song Ning/Shen An’s story, a lot happens with Mu Yan and Ye Zhen in the background. Ye Zhen is resurrected as the dream weaver, Jun Fu, with the help of Emperor Jun Wei and his aunt. She has no memories of her past life and thus doesn’t recognize Mu Yan or Song Ning when she meets them again. Jun Fu still has a special connection with Mu Yan though, because he’s able to enter her Hua Xu Illusions on his own. In terms of Jun Fu’s personality, she’s more mellowed out and craftier compared to Ye Zhen. She also magically developed martial arts skills. O_O” I’m curious to see if she’ll revert back to Ye Zhen-mode when she recovers her memories.
After I finished watching ep15 and took some sneak peeks at the future episodes, I took a break from watching HXY. The angst & all my frustration were just too much for me. I needed a breather. I’m excited to end Song Ning & Shen An’s story so that I can move on to the other stories. Hopefully they will be happier, but I won’t be expecting any happy endings. >_>”
Thirteenth Moon (Ending Theme Song) by Hu Shasha
Quote translation credit: Viki