Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace: Ep 69 Check-In

Chinese DramasDrama ReviewsRuyi's Royal Love in the Palace

Long time no review!  I’m very behind on my episodic reviews, but my thoughts are still fresh from the latest episodes I’ve watched of RRL.  So I just wanted to pop in and write a quick update, not so much a full-on review.  Just a heads up, I have a lot of frustrations over the story so I will be rambling about it here..

*Warning: Spoilers ahead!*

Lately I’ve been watching RRL very slowly because it has become very hard to watch.  I knew from the start that Ruyi would be defeated. Even so, it’s painful watching her getting insulted, betrayed, and mistreated in almost every episode.  And the worst part is that she barely puts up a fight.  It feels like she’s going down with her ship without even trying to swim her way to the shore.

It really amazes me how consistent Ruyi has remained.  Maybe Ruyi wants to show that her enemies can’t change her no matter what they do to her.  I get that sense during some of her last scenes.  She wants to do things her way even if that path leads to her death.  But…I would’ve thought that by now, something would’ve pushed her over the edge.  If the murder of her children, 3 years in the Cold Palace, Suo Xin’s torture, and cheating scandals aren’t enough to make her change then I don’t know what will.   It’s not that I want Ruyi to abandon her morals for the sake of revenge.  I just want her to defend herself, show the harem who’s in charge, and change for the better.  It makes me think of the quote:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” -Einstein

Ruyi keeps doing the same things–not giving up on the emperor, looking the other way when people mistreat her–and the same things keep happening.  Why is it that even the characters who used to be timid–like Hailan and Chun Gui Fei–can defend themselves better than Ruyi can?!

GUHH!! That look of utter disappointment that Ruyi gives the Emperor..

I think Ruyi could’ve been a great leader if she actually wanted the position.  She could’ve brought about more positive change in the harem.  However her motivation was never to act as the Empress, but simply to be the Emperor’s companion. There are so many maddening instances when Ruyi overlooks blatant disrespect.  I feel in pain watching it; a few particularly painful scenes stick out in my mind:

  • Jin Yuyan (Jia’s rank changes too much towards the end, so I’m calling her by her name) keeps blaming Ruyi for her son’s broken leg, and even throws the soup (or was it medicine?) that Ruyi made to the ground.  Really painful moment.
  • A new concubine brags that she’s gonna be Empress since Ruyi is now old and not favored
  • Princess He Jing disses Ruyi in front of the entire harem

In Ruyi’s view, she’s taking the high road when she doesn’t engage with people who are looking for a fight.  Why waste your energy on people who are not going to change their views?  The sad part is that Ruyi is allowing everyone to disrespect and mistreat her, and in doing so, is mistreating herself.

I gave up on the Emperor and I don’t think he has a chance to change.  He has already passed by so many opportunities to do the decent thing.  Every time he regrets it and every time he does the exact same thing.  The Emperor creates his own loneliness by casting away all the people who are trustworthy.  At least the former Empress had an aha moment when she realized how her own actions were repaid to her.  At least Jin Yuyan realized her entire life purpose was a lie–although I don’t think she regretted her crimes.   I don’t think the Emperor is going to realize anything though.

The scary part is the Emperor’s delusions.  He creates his own version of the past in his head so that he can look better.  Examples of his ridiculous sayings which make me go what the heck:

  • The former Empress was virtuous.–He conveniently forgets her evil deeds and treats her like a saint..
  • It’s impossible for him to nurture an evil concubine (Yanwan)–Forgot what ALL the fallen concubines before Yanwan did..
  • Jin Yuyan wouldn’t possibly do something bad again–If the Emperor is so paranoid, why does he trust that Yuyan learned her lesson and won’t hurt Ruyi again?!
  • After Ruyi has her miscarriage, he doesn’t want to face the music so he blames HER for it.

There’s no chance of making a rational argument to the Emperor because his views are based on delusions and not on reality.  He refuses to see that he trusts the wrong concubines, which allows crimes to continue.  The scene when he kicks Jin Yuyan for murdering his daughter was hard to watch because he was the one who let her off the hook in the first place!

I can’t believe I’m saying this: I prefer the LZH Yongzheng Emperor over the RRL Qianlong Emperor, even though he did a lot of sucky things too.  Surprisingly I never really considered the LZH Emperor to be a villain.  He was just a human.  He faced the truth, accepting that the Empress committed crimes and never seeing her for the rest of his life.  He allowed the concubines to argue their case, and his punishments were usually swift and satisfactory.   The concubines also felt more respected for their intellect and often advised the Emperor on difficult problems.  In contrast the RRL Emperor has to create an alternate reality in his mind to protect his ego and thinks that the concubines should serve his every whim.

I miss the King from Legend of Miyue, although he also caused his Queen much heartache…

There is no balance between good and evil in RRL.  Evil is winning.  I am impressed by how the drama has managed to make me hate Yanwan more than any other character in a period c-drama.   I can’t believe Yanwan’s amazing abilities to BS her way through any situation.  Not much more to say about her for now cuz I’m too fed up with her character!!

I love Ying Guiren’s character!!

One positive of the drama in the later episodes is that Ruyi does gain some loyal allies.  I enjoy seeing Ruyi’s camp with Hailan, Chun Gui Fei, and Ying Guiren.  (I think she become Ying Pin but I don’t remember the timing of the ranks T_T) Thank goodness she has her allies who’ve got her back!

Overall

I know this update is mostly negative.  I just feel so much pain watching the drama that I had to get it all out!  I don’t mean for it to detract from the drama’s good points.  I love seeing the beautiful set and costumes.  I can feel the careful attention to detail in every scene.  And of course the cast is wonderful–Zhou Xun is absolutely brilliant; her every expression speaks so much louder than words.

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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Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace: Eps 10-14 Review
  • I was waiting for you to update again! I first came across your blog when I was watching LZH for the first time, and it was nice reading alongside your recaps, it made me feel like I was watching it with someone else and they were freaking out just like I was. I so wanted to hear your take on the
    Emperor again now that you’re in the later episodes because holy crap, he just might be simultaneously the smartest and yet the most dense character I’ve ever come across. Wth did they do to Hongli from LZH, he used to be so sweet (but then he got kind of paranoid at the end a little), now he’s turned into weird psychopath Wallace Huo Hong Li, which is both way more entertaining than LZH emperor, yet also way more terrifying! I’m on episode 83, rn, but I won’t spoil I swear.

    BTW why the hell doesn’t the emperor tell his daughter that it wasn’t Ruyi’s fault her mother died! If anything, it was her own damn paranoina and stupidity. One trait that must have passed from father to son has got to be the ability to ignore the truth even when its staring you right in the face. Omg this drama really made me start to hate period pieces. If anything, the girls in this drama are more bitchy than in LZH, I just want to scream at them, “get over yourselves!”

    Hailan, Ying Fei and Chun Gui Fei are such great characters, Hai Lan in particular. If I ever get into a fight I want Hailan at my back because at least I know that if I go down, she’s going to stab the person that hit me just because. And she’s not wrong. I feel like she starts wearing darker colors to symbolize her ability to take action where Ruyi can’t. I also feel like Ruyi can’t take action purley ebcause of her position as a step empress. She’s almost, illegitimate in a way, in that no one respects her (not even her husband) but she can’t escape now. Like, if she were still Xian Fei, she probably could have lived her life alone, but happily. Now I’m thinking of what would have happened if Chun Gui Fei became empress instead. I think she’d be too much of a pushover to deal with YW and Jia Fei’s bull shit.

    I also give major props to Jia Fei’s actress. There were certain scenes that made me feel so bad for her, but then I remembered how everyone’s problems are basically her fault, so I get over it quickly. She started all that nonsense. I feel like if she DIDN’T keep reminding Hui Gui Fei and the former empress that Ruyi was chosen and not them, none of the crap would have happened. Although the empress still would have made Ruyi and Hui Gui Fei infertile anyway…argh I don’t know.

    I have so much more to say! But it’s like 1am.

    Thank you for your recaps and reviews! I look forward to them a lot.

    • Thanks! My views on the characters have changed a lot throughout the drama. I don’t really see the Emperor’s smarts but I agree he is dense and terrifying. His temper tantrums are scarier than the LZH Emperor’s. I’m not sure how much the Emperor knows about the Princess’ grudge against Ruyi. If he did know the full extent of it he probably wouldn’t clarify it to the Princess anyways. Because then he’s partially to blame for making Ruyi persuade the Princess to get married.

      At first I thought Chun Gui Fei wouldn’t be a good Empress because she was too easily influenced. But now I think she would have taken more action if she had become Empress. She probably would’ve been ok as long as she still reconciled with Ruyi & Hailan and realized Yuyan’s true colors.

      I agree about Yuyan. It was a roller coaster ride watching her character, and Xin Zhi Lei did justice to the role. I was so surprised that the drama even showed her chewing and SPITTING OUT her fingernails. O_O Sometimes I totally hated Yuyan and other times I felt bad for her. I liked seeing her with her sons because it humanized her and showed her doting side. I was disappointed when she started losing it towards the end (especially with the dogs fiasco..) but was impressed by how Xin Zhi Lei showed her crazy desperation.

  • I’m in the exact same boat with watching Ruyi…it’s so extremely difficult to continue on at time since Ruyi keeps getting mistreated and there is no happy end for her. I wish she wasn’t as passive and did respond in a way to keep those under her in place. There were actually a few opportunities to do so…The Emperor is the worst though -.- I think the main issue is that he doesn’t want to feel guilty or take any responsibility/blame for any of the issues and is always thinking about his ‘reputation’. Though I’m guessing near the end of the drama he is going to be extremely regretful (too late though :/) and realize that no one ever truly loved him like Ruyi. Also Yanwan has such a warped way of thinking that I don’t understand especially in regards to wanting Ling Yunche to love her even though she abandoned him and blaming Ruyi for the fertility medicine??? Honestly the Emperor right now and Yanwan suit each other since they never take any responsibility for their own issues and blame others :/

    • The Emperor will probably regret it and feel sorry for himself, just like he’s done for all the other people who have gone before Ruyi. I think the drama could explore the Emperor’s character more, like what contributes to his avoidance issues & why he cares so much about his reputation. Maybe he grew up always concerned about the truth of his birth (low-ranked mom) which makes him so worried about his reputation now?

      Agreed about Yanwan. She does suit the Emperor because both of them have their delusions and can’t face the consequences of their own actions. Yun Che should be running as far away as he can from Yanwan! Every time she approaches him I hope that he’ll quickly excuse himself and run away. BTW I wish that Yun Che had a good marriage so that he could move on from Yanwan and Ruyi. It was disappointing that he ended up with a wife he doesn’t like at all.

  • Zhenhuan uses her brain, Ruyi uses her heart.

    Hailan might be the equivalent of Zhenhuan in RRL, that’s why she survived till the end, but yah. . . she lost everything at the end.

  • Glad you see you are still ‘reviewing’ hahaha. I am only at ep 60 but I’m so frustrated at this point I don’t mind a few spoilers. They’re about what I expect anyways. I think the reasons I’m still watching are diminishing at a rapid pace, but since I’ve gotten this far it seems a waste not to finish. I’m mainly in now for the pretty costumes, the hope that a few of the nicer character might make it out of this drama alive (unlike Ruyi inevitably), and that at least a few of the evil ones will die a painful death. Oh, and I’d like to see the Emperor suffer for once in his life. The business with Consort Shu and her death, and his repeated seductions at the hand of Yanwan have effectively ended my love affair with this man.

    I keep remembering this article I read where the director(?) claimed that RRL would focus more on their love story than on general harem scheming, and now I’m just thinking.. Wtf? Really? It’s what gave me hope that I wouldn’t compare it too much with LZH (an impossible task really, but I DID try, at first). Unfortunately not even the scheming is great in this drama. As you’ve said, Ruyi is so passive. She won’t put up a blatant fight, and the things she does seemingly accomplish are still removed from her. For where I am in the drama I was most impressed by the downfall of 4th Prince, but even that was less Ruyi doing things than just letting the emperor figure stuff out on his own piece by piece. Fun overall, but hardly affective as a plot in a drama which is supposedly focused on Ruyi. Overall, I’m afraid ‘Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace’ has become ‘Ruyi’s Quiet Mediations on a Sofa’

    And the dialogue is nowhere near as sharp. LZH made you not want to miss even the most mundane conversation because of the hidden words embedded in every pleasantry. Two people talking about gardening might have an affect that made my heart drop right out of my chest at its implications. RRY is either totally blunt, or so obviously metaphoric it makes me yawn. The number of times a couple characters will rehash in private what was just implied in another scene makes it feel like they can’t trust us viewers to actually get what’s going on.

    The perks of a drama like this is, for me, still in the longterm scope of these characters’ lives. I love the progression of side characters, Hailan, Chun Guafei, for example. Even Consort Mei had an interesting arc which pulled at every emotion on the scope, from curiosity, sympathy, hatred, all the way to her death which pulled a few tears out of me. I like seeing the princes being born, and then growing up, rising and falling from glory, even dying (poor 1st Prince). I’m always here for seeing a a character’s lifetime go by in the span of one emperor’s reign. But for all that motion, there Ruyi just kind of… remains. I love Zhou Xun’s portrayal of her, but I can’t help feel sometimes that she is sadly the least interesting character in her own titled drama.

    • I agree with you so much Rosie. I like how we’ve seen several years pass, and the concubines actually age! I also like seeing what the princes’ upbringing was like. The princes played a bigger role and we got to know their personalities better too. On the other hand the drama is lacking in the plot, schemes, and dialogue. LZH had a very clear sense of direction and distinct arcs, whereas RRL is meandering in various directions. LZH characters had more discretion and clever dialogue. RRL characters are talking about their schemes right out in the open and repeat the same things over and over.

      I also wish for a good ending, at least for Ruyi’s allies. I didn’t find the ending to be satisfactory though.

  • All in all, I can somewhat compare Ruyi with Tess of the D’Urbervilles (although Ruyi had more control with her own fate but doesn’t do anything about it). She lets every maltreatment pass and still has the drive to move on in life. Throughout the episodes, Ruyi gets ultimately tired of everything around her and realizes that the only way to escape her misery is to die. Even if she had some supporters (Hailan, Meirou, etc.) they just weren’t enough to boost her fighting spirit.She just gave up on herself.

    Anyways, she finally dies in the end and is already free from the chains of her misery.

  • Thank you for your quick thoughts. I am at Ep47 and slowing down my pace recently, getting more frustrated with each episode. I know the real ending from history, but the case of Ruyi ‘not fighting back and letting it be’ most of the time is really getting unbearable. And the scheming Emperor! Aarghhhh…
    Having said that I gotta say both ZhouXun and WallaceHuo played their characters well. Their eyes for one can really convey unspoken messages. And ultimately their acting brought me through that roller coaster emotion.
    I am determined to finish this drama eventually 🙂 and it’ll be great to read more of your rantings too in time to come. Great job
    *** I was actually reading your BBJX recaps when I came across this latest posting of yours. Yup watching both Ruyi and BBJX at the same time.

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