17 March 2016

The Imperial Doctress Episode 23 to Episode 32

Politics have taken over and everything else has been sidelined including the romance and Yun Xian’s medical endeavors. This segment focuses on Qi Zhen's growth but the girls aren't entirely neglected. In fact, other female characters start stepping up their game while Yun Xian just keeps getting stronger. 

[Episode 23] Qi Zhen accidentally knocks over the pregnant Empress who already has poor health. I think Qi Zhen needs some temper management; this is the second time he's knocked over someone because of his anger. He's angry at the Empress for persuading him against killing one of EDS’s followers. Qi Zhen had only thought of murdering because he was manipulated by Eunuch Wang. Now Qi Zhen is wallowing in guilt for the danger he put the Empress in and feels utterly useless as the Emperor.

That night, Yun Xian encourages him and its either she knows the exact words to say or it’s just because the words were from Yun Xian because his mood is improved substantially. I thought the mood between them was pretty good until he forcefully hugs her because that puts her on the fence again. He asks her whether she loved him just a tiny bit. She lies. I swear she’s lying when she says no because she has this flashback of her vowing to the Empress she'll never have feelings for Qi Zhen. Her answer is coming from her brain rather than her heart. He relents and says he only treats her like a sister. Yeah, okay. Whatever. He asks her if she kept his present and I’m surprised Yun Xian not only kept the bracelet but she's actually been wearing it this whole time. By the way, that tear from Yun Xian was so forced; she blinked real hard for that tear to drop out of her eyes...

I like how it’s finally Yun Xian’s turn to encourage Qi Zhen. Qi Zhen is losing the favour at court and Yun Xian suggests she'll write a medical guidebook free of charge for peasants and that should put him in court’s favour again. Qi Zhen wanted to name the book “Zhen Xian” which is his and her name combined. It's cute. But the book doesn’t get that name.

The book needs to be peer-reviewed and Doctor Liu suggests for Cun Xia to read it over. He ends up being impressed by her but their amicability ends before it even starts because Doctor Cheng plagiarizes her book before Yun Xian gets to publish it.

[Episode 24] Cun Xia begs Yun Xian to not expose his uncle to the Emperor and she gives him three days to retract all the books. However, Doctor Cheng has no plans of retracting the books he’s sold instead, he plans to sabotage Yun Xian. Essentially, his way of solving a problem is to destroy the person causing the problem. He informs EDS she’s the daughter of Tan family that was responsible for her miscarriage. Together, they set up a trap for Yun Xian; they blame Yun Xian for a concubine’s miscarriage but Yun Xian sees through all of that. Doctor Cheng is now caught red-handed for sabotaging Yun Xian and now he’s on the run. Cun Xia begs Yun Xian to help and in that process Yun Xian discovers it was Doctor Cheng who had manipulated her in the past to cause EDS’s miscarriage. In spur of anger, EDS had mentioned she wanted Doctor Cheng dead but she hadn’t expect the moment right after she finished her sentence, Eunuch Wang’s follower kills him on the spot. Witnessing the death, EDS faints. She also suffers from a stroke (but later recovers). 

However, Doctor Cheng doesn’t die! Omg. Eunuch Wang's followers wanted more information from him about EDS so they faked his death. Subsequently, Doctor Cheng takes advantage of one of the eunuch’s, promising to restore his manly potency if he lets him escape.

[Episode 25] So Qi Yu is a gentleman again. Eh. I'll just blame it on moodswings and not the terrible characterization. I mean they are all supposed to be teenagers...  He’s cute when Yun Xian admits she was jealous of how caring he was towards Princess Wang when she was injured.

Then there’s the Emperor who’s also a teenager with major moodswings. Originally Qi Zhen had the favour of the court but when the Mongolians paid their respect only to EDS and not him, he started losing his temper and his calm judgment. He wanted to declare war with the Mongolians but no one in the court would support him. Qi Zhen knows he was brash and locks himself up in his room refusing to see anyone for days. [Episode 26] Only Yun Xian manages to get him to open his doors. She did the undoable by shaming his worthiness as a father.

The Mongolians are causing a huge havoc and war is initiated. Yun Xian’s dad volunteers himself to serve in the army (and he fights quite bravely for his country) but he gets accused of being a spy by General Wang (princess’s dad) and this puts Yun Xian’s family in jeopardy once again.

[Episode 27] To save her, Qi Yu sacrifices himself and marries Princess Wang (it should be obvious it was General Wang’s scheme to sabotage Yun Xian to get Qi Yu). Yun Xian belatedly realizes her betrothed is betrothed to someone else and so she is subsequently heartbroken. Qi Zhen even punches him in the face for Yun Xian. I feel nothing for these scenes. It's not that I'm heartless but if the drama wanted me to feel bad with her, the drama shouldn't have destroyed Qi Yu character in the earlier episodes. Suddenly making him good in recent episodes cannot undo the wrongs from before. 

The two men make up though because Qi Zhen realizes Qi Yu had no choice but to marry Princess Wang and the two work together to uncover more of General Wang’s dirty deeds. But that's on halt when Qi Zhen has to personally head to war (which was another brash decision of his).

I like how Yun Xian chooses medicine over Qi Yu any day. Even though she's heartbroken, Yun Xian settles on not marrying Qi Yu because she knows once she's under Princess Wang’s control (because she’s Qi Yu’s first wife), she'll never get to practice medicine again. However, that doesn’t mean Qi Yu has given up on Yun Xian and Princess Wang knows this; she's gotten the man but not his heart. She takes out her anger at Yun Xian and threatens her family and friends’ safety, forcing Yun Xian to commit suicide and Yun Xian submits.

[Episode 28] Luckily, the Empress clued in and saves her just in time. It's the servant who comes to save Yun Xian and I love how violent she was towards Yun Xian, that just means how much she's come to care for her master. To ensure her safety, she sends her to the Emperor, who had just left for war. The Empress and Doctor Liu cooperated in faking Yun Xian’s death to satisfy Princess Wang’s request and to bypass Qi Yu. They had used a Fake-Death-Pill on Yun Xian and pretends to send her dead corpse out of the palace. I thought this was a medical drama based on mostly non-fiction. Now that Yun Xian’s away from the court, she disguises herself as a man and works as a doctor for the soldiers. Meanwhile Qi Yu, thinking Yun Xian has died again, faints again. Sigh... but he does forget her soon enough after the war takes importance.

[Episode 29] Initially, Yun Xian managed to scrape all sorts of ingredients to treat the soldiers, but the grim reality is they’re at war and there’s bound to be death. One soldier has died in her care, and it’s the first death she couldn’t prevent.

As for the war, it’s going downhill. Qi Zhen’s war tactics are way below par compared to the Mongolians and following a eunuch’s advice on how to fight a war isn’t the best way to go about it. In addition, the Mongolians have a very knowledgeable mole, Doctor Cheng. He has escaped from Eunuch Wang and now has a very comfy wheelchair.

Qi Zhen’s army is low on spirit, low on medicine, and low on food. Qi Zhen offers his portion for the soldiers to eat and this makes some of the soldiers regain their faith in their Emperor. Yun Xian now worries about Qi Zhen’s health and offers her portion to him. He had refused but after she yelled at him, he obeys like a startled little puppy. She literally said this to him: “Qi Zhen, you better eat it or else!” Yup. Yun Xian’s the only one that can call out his full name, yell at him and get away with it.

What is to come has come and the Emperor loses the one-to-one battle with Ye Xian (Mongolian’s General). The loss is bitter as the Emperor crumbles at his enemy’s feet. Qi Zhen’s trusty soldier does such a great job crying in this scene. And I’m glad Eunuch Wang has disappeared from my screen after he's kept the money that was meant to buy medicine.

When EDS hears of Qi Zhen and his entire army (or what’s left of it) are captured by the Mongolians, she’s so devastated she faints over. I had thought she faked the concern, but it’s all genuine.

[Episode 30] Ye Xian wants money from the palace in exchange for Qi Zhen’s safety. At the palace, Qi Yu is temporarily in charge and he’s trying to gather the large sum of money the Mongolians demanded but he’s having difficulties and the Generals aren’t being helpful. In fact, they’re actually persuading him against spending that lump sum of money. This time, the Empress walks in and takes off all her jewelry since the country’s men won’t bring back the Emperor. What a beautiful Empress. Can’t we just let Empress and EDS take the reign? They’re so amazing.

The country cannot go without an Emperor and so Qi Yu is sworn into the holy position. And here we go again with the spontaneous characterization;  greed is in his eyes as he enjoys being the most powerful man. As for his mother, her loyalty towards EDS also changes faster than a snap of the finger.

On Qi Zhen’s side, he refuses to eat, threatening his life and therefore threatening the Mongolian's wager to bargain for more money. Although Qi Yu has handed over the money, the Mongolians go back on their words and demand for more money so they need the Qi Zhen to be alive. They also keep it hidden to Qi Zhen that he no longer is the Emperor in order to keep him in the healthiest state possible.

Doctor Cheng appears in front of Qi Zhen now and enrages him to survive. Although he’s fallen into Doctor Cheng’s trap, at least he has the will to live on? I don’t really understand why it was such an evil thing for Doctor Cheng to force milk down his throat other than the fact that it was extremely crude.

Now that Qi Zhen has found his motive to live, he turns on his charismatic mode in front of Ye Xian and demands to be returned to his palace. Ye Xian plays along to his orders and gives him the Emperor treatment. Ye Xian has ulterior motives: he wants more than money now, he wants power (i.e. Qi Zhen's country) and that requires Qi Zhen to be alive.

[Episode 31] The new empress is now Princess Wang. For the sake of clarity, I’ll refer to their names now: Princess Wang is Mei Lin and Empress is Xiao Zhuang Qian. Mei Lin wants the Empress’s property and her servant takes it upon herself to shame Xiao Zhuang Qian into rendering it. Doctor Liu comes in time to slap the servant in the face. Well done. It’s a good thing he’s there not only to tame the ignorant servant but to care for Xiao Zhuang Qian, who is currently in labour. Thankfully, she and the baby are safe. Since she gave birth to a boy and Qi Yu is still temporarily a good guy, he appoints the baby boy (Jian Shen) as the Crown Prince and shuns Mei Lin for her rude actions towards Xiao Zhuang Qian.

There’s another pregnant lady in labour on Yun Xian’s end but her condition is much grimmer than Xiao Zhuang Qian (it has a lot to do with standing up and being in labour, oh the pain…). Of course, Yun Xian saves both the mother and the baby boy. The Mongolian General is grateful for her aid and provides nourishment for her and the remaining soldiers. He even knows Yun Xian’s a female but keeps her identity a secret.

Bo Yan, the younger brother of Ye Xian, is angry at his brother for submitting to their King/Leader. He really respects his brother and the fact that Ye Xian accepts the lower position it disappoints him. He takes his anger out on Qi Zhen but when Qi Zhen saves him from falling into the fire pit despite him ambushing Qi Zhen, he suddenly respects Qi Zhen, calling him a hero. Even when his brother demands him to convince Qi Zhen to lead an army against the heart of his own city, Bo Yan refuses to because he sincerely treats Qi Zhen as a friend. 

Here's Ye Xian's real motive: he wants to take over the Mongolian King (who's his brother-in-law) but since he doesn't have royal blood, he needs power to usurp him. This source of power would then come from attacking the heart of Qi Zhen's country, Beijing and that's where they're all headed to now. There will always be someone usurping the king in any country...

Qi Zhen’s gotten one man’s trust but he’s about to lose the faith of his remaining soldiers. They blame his incompetence that lead them to defeat, which is true. If he had more faith in the army general dude over Eunuch Wang, the outcome could be different. Yun Xian manages to convince them otherwise and based solely on her words, the soldiers decide to remain loyal to Qi Zhen.

[Episode 32] Ye Xian’s sister (Tuo Bu Hua) has been infected with rabies and has gone crazy. No need to fear though when Yun Xian is there. She has no choice anyways, it’s either she saves the princess or her soldier friends all die. Not surprisingly, Yun Xian saves the princess but with some really nasty medicine (e.g. chicken poop and bug porridge). Ye Xian doesn’t trust the medicine and so Yun Xian had to taste it herself. Ew. But I think Ye Xian’s a little impressed by her in this scene (although he doesn't know yet that Yun Xian is a girl). 

Soon after, Ye Xian not only discovers Yun Xian’s identity as a girl but she’s also the doctor that had saved him earlier during the plague. He’s grateful to her and offers her one favour and she requests to see Qi Zhen. Qi Zhen had been locked up in an underground dungeon because he had refused Ye Xian’s demands. Yun Xian’s glad to see Qi Zhen motivated to live on but if death calls on them, they promise to die for the country together.

As Ye Xian’s army closes in on the palace, Mei Ling is worried for her safety and urges EDS to take refuge to another far away land. EDS is furious at her and stomps into the imperial court demanding Qi Yu to ensure this city’s safety because this city, Beijing, is the heart of their country. I got goosebumps from EDS’s acting. The love she has for the country cannot be compared. I can see why she was so dissatisfied with Qi Zhen and his reckless ways. EDS loves the country more than anything and Qi Zhen had put the most important thing for her in jeopardy. She would be proud of Qi Zhen now, he's matured now and loves the country almost as much as her. 

Back onto Qi Zhen’s side, there’s a crazy horse on the loose and a kid is in danger because of it. The hero, Qi Zhen, saves the kid and controls the horse like it’s a piece of cake. Qi Zhen’s heroic act swoons the princess (who had the rabies). Bo Yan is impressed once again and agrees to one of Qi Zhen’s request, which is to see his soldiers. I don't get why they captured Qi Zhen but let him wander around everywhere freely...

When the Emperor greets his remaining soldiers, they all bow to him and give him the Emperor treatment but Qi Zhen doesn’t think he deserves it. Impressively, he, the Emperor, kneels back to his army, apologizing for his incompetency and promising them to bring them home. No one dares to stand above the Emperor so they all kneel down again with their foreheads against the ground.  But no one is accepting his apology and it’s all because they’ve discovered Yun Xian’s a female. They're angry at her for lying but most importantly, they blame her for losing the war.

[Sneak Peek at Episode 33] Apparently, bringing a girl to war is bad luck. They don't mind following Qi Zhen’s orders but not with Yun Xian around. What in the what?? So they’re willing to accept Qi Zhen again when he’s the guy that brought them to their devastating state but they’re not willing to forgive Yun Xian for being a girl when she’s saved their lives multiple times?  Woooooooooooow. Ooookay there. And there's absolutely nothing to forgive about being a girl.