Nirvana in Fire: Eps 24-33 (Review)
Unfortunately the bromance between Jingrui, Mei Changsu, and Yujin that I loved so much has dissolved. Although Yujin and Jingrui (who continue to be besties) have no hard feelings towards Mei Changsu, they part ways with him because things simply cannot go back to the way they used to be. This, I suppose, the inevitable outcome.
“I understand that all humans have to make a choice. You [Mei Changsu] chose to reveal what you think is most important to you, and chose to abandon me. That is merely your choice. If I chose to hate you because I was not chosen by you, then aren’t there too many unforgivable things in this world?”
“How I treated you was because I was willing to. If I was able to get such loyalty in return, I would of course be happy. But if I don’t, I have no regrets as well.”
What really amazes me though, is Jingrui’s response: mature, understanding, gracious and forgiving. He has no regrets, no blame, or feelings of victimization. Yes, he still takes this ordeal hard, but he knows that his birth secret, family’s wrongdoings, and Mei Changsu’s actions don’t reflect on him. It would’ve been so easy for him to feel like crap, thinking that Mei Changsu didn’t choose him and Xie Yu ordered his assassination because he wasn’t worth anything to them. That’s not the case though–Mei Changsu and Xie Yu’s actions only reflected what their priorities and values were. Jingrui is clearly one of the most worthy guys with the biggest heart in the story. I think we can all learn something from Jingrui’s example.
I feel I am in the minority here, but…I really like the Emperor (Ding Yong Dai). It’s not that I like what he’s done or how he rules with an iron fist, it’s just…I enjoy all of his scenes and how well his character has been developed. The Emperor walks the fine line between his various roles as a gracious yet authoritative father, a doting ‘husband’ who is pampered in the harem, and the ruler of the nation. Whenever he facepalms at the princes’ bickering, erupts in anger at the inept Crown Prince, or becomes suspicious of someone, the audience knows and understands why he’s acting in that way. The Emperor isn’t just some irrational guy who has temper tantrums.
I also like how we can see that the Emperor is not invincible, nor is he heartless without a conscience. Although he asserts that his handling of the Chiyan army case was correct, we can see that he’s still uncertain about it even to this day. Also in regards to the Crown Prince–it seems like the Emperor truly believed he was doing his best to build up the Crown Prince to become the emperor. I loveee the scene when he catches the Crown Prince red-handed–we see the Emperor’s utter disappointment and how he feels like everything he did for the Crown Prince was for naught. BUT the Emperor is still not to be trifled with. When he commented ‘I’ve gotten soft’ I was all, crap this is soft?! What exactly was he like in his younger days?!?
My only gripe relating to the emperor is that literally everyone constantly repeats “the emperor is paranoid” all throughout the drama. We get it–he’s paranoid! There’s no need to repeat so much! Lastly, on a side note, how come everyone except for the emperor knows that Mei Changsu is manipulating things behind the scenes?
Anyways, let’s get back to the main story arc in these episodes. Eps 24-30 are pretty much the build-up to the climax in eps 31-33. Prince Jing rises to prominence throughout episodes 24-30, thus becoming the clear rival to Prince Yu. Prince Yu, Xia Jiang, and Banruo mobilize to strike back once they realize that Mei Changsu is on Prince Jing’s side. (Note: Banruo already knew this long before Prince Yu realized it.) Episodes 31-33 are the culmination of their first offensive attack.
“…the more he [Mei Changsu] becomes my enemy, the more clearly I can see his heart.”
It was great seeing how things went into chaos with Mei Changsu falling ill, his subordinates scrambling to hold the fort, and the enemy’s plan going into action. In short, I loved it. Again, it’s not that I want Mei Changsu & Co. to fail, it’s just that I want them to be challenged. The story wouldn’t be so interesting if it were all smooth-sailing to success, right? I enjoyed seeing MCS grasping at straws, trying to salvage what was left of all that he had planned and worked towards. It goes to show that his plan is not unbeatable, that things can go wrong in an instant, and that the enemy is a strong opponent.
Mei Changsu’s illness is getting so bad that he has me worried for his health! I could feel his subordinates’ worry for him and I wanted to echo them whenever they told him to go to sleep. On top of that, the winter weather looks painfully cold and all MCS is wearing to keep himself warm is..fur around his neck. Does anyone know if they filmed this all during the wintertime? Because we can actually see the actors’ breath when they breath. O_O Su, please hold on ’til the end of the drama!
My favorite Mei Changsu scene in these episodes is when he blows up at Prince Jing. It’s unclear whether he actually lost his temper or whether it was a calculated shock-tactic move. Either way, it was surprising and cathartic to see Mei Changsu raise his voice and vent his frustration for once. I suppose a lot of people probably liked this scene too because he said what was on everyone’s minds:
“You have loyalty, but why don’t you have brains?!”
Jingyan is an interesting character because he poses the greater question of to what extent one should stick to one’s morals. Prince Jing’s strong moral code is separates him from his opponents and motivates him to do good. He represents the extreme ideal of someone who is unshaken, steadfast in his values of justice and loyalty. How many people, when faced with a moral dilemma, have wished to be able to confidently do what they believe to be right? To not ever consider compromising their morals? Prince Jing is able to do just that, something that most people could or would not do.
Yet his extreme sense of justice is also his flaw, in that he can’t see the bigger picture and the consequences of his actions. Maybe one action is ‘right’ (saving the Chiyan survivor Weizheng’s life) but the overall outcome would be far more ‘wrong’ and hurtful (Prince Jing & Co.’s downfall). Jingyan has a limited foresight, is impulsive, has a big temper (he’s so scary when he’s angry o_o) AND is passive aggressive. After watching these episodes, I see why people call him a “blockhead”. T_T
Jing Fei (Consort Jing) is becoming a more important character now that Jingyan is rising to power. She has already gained the emperor’s favor, which is a plus for Jingyan. AND she’s the 3rd person to discover Mei Changsu’s true identity! Omg! On top of that, Yujin’s dad and Prince Jing are suspicious about Mei Changsu. But now that more people have caught on to Mei Changsu’s identity, I understand why he decided to conceal it. Even though Jing Fei tries not to let on that she knows, even she accidentally slipped up in front of the emperor. And let’s not even discuss Meng Shi, who is WAAAY too obvious and suspicious. LOL.
These episodes felt slower to me in comparison to the previous story arc because it took a long time for Prince Yu & Co.’s plans to go into action. However, I’d say the confusion and backlash from Prince Yu & Co.’s schemes/the climax of this story arc matches up to Jingrui’s in terms of intensity. It was difficult seeing Prince Jing & Mei Changsu’s partnership almost go down the drain for good. I hope that Prince Yu & Co. have some more schemes up their sleeves, just for the sake of keeping things fresh and interesting. I enjoy seeing Mei Changsu react quickly to unforeseeable situations.
Note: I’m currently on hiatus, so I’m slowly watching & writing about Nirvana in Fire when I can. No spoilers in the comments please.
Nirvana in Fire OST – Main Theme Song
This is my favorite song off of the OST so far. Epic and beautiful–it evokes a lot of emotion whenever I listen to it.
Quote translation source & English subs: Viki