I’m continuing to enjoy this drama, and I want to see how things unfold. I think that the actors continue to do a great job, and I love the visuals, including the costumes that everyone is wearing.
Ying Zheng and Gong Sun Li are as far apart as two people can be, and it will take a great deal to overcome the obstacles between them. Right now, she thinks of him as a friend, and even these friendly feelings may disappear once she learns Ying Zheng’s true identity. If she does have feelings for anyone right now, they are for her martial arts senior Jing Ke. On the other hand, we see Ying Zheng’s feelings and resolve to have her in his life strengthen and intensify, and it may grow even stronger as one of his closest relationships falls apart.
Ying Zheng visits Gong Sun Li while she is sleeping and notices the necklace she’s wearing. He remembers that she had been wearing the exact same necklace when he first met Gong Sun Li and Jing Ke as young kids. This is the moment that he realizes that she may be the girl he’s been thinking about for so many years – his first love.
When Ying Zheng was a young boy and being pursued by soldiers in Zhao, Gong Sun Li had thrown herself between him and a Zhao soldier to protect him from harm. Just as a soldier was about to strike, he was killed from behind by Jing Ke.
Ying Zheng holds Gong Sun Li’s hand and asks her, “Is it really you, Li Er? I’m here. I’ve always been here. Just rest peacefully and recover.” Awww. I swear, the only times we see Ying Zheng not being ruthless and domineering is when he is with Gong Sun Li. I’m pretty sure that even if Ying Zheng hadn’t met Gong Sun Li in childhood and met her now instead, he would still fall head over heels in love with her.
Chancellor Lu thinks back to years ago when the Queen Dowager asked him to find a man to be her lover, and he had introduced her to the future Duke Chang Xin. The Queen Dowager had him perform a little table dance for her, and it’s the weirdest and least sexy dance I’ve ever seen. Looks like she fell for it though.
The Chancellor regrets not having kept a closer eye on the Queen Dowager and Duke Chang Xin since everything has gotten so out of hand. He is mad as hell that his position and power are now being threatened as a result of Duke Chang Xin’s attempted rebellion, and he contemplates his next move.
Jing Ke has been staying with Lu Guojian to recover from his fight, and he learns that it was the Dan Ding group who had been after Gong Sun Li the previous day because they wanted her family’s Huluo sword technique for themselves. Jing Ke realizes that the location of the sword technique may be written on the silk cloth that Gong Sun Li’s grandfather gave to him before he died. If they can find it, Jing Ke and Gong Sun Li may be able to avenge his death.
Chancellor Lu meets with Grand Dowager Huayang to recommend that thousands of soldiers be provided to the Lord of Chang An to suppress an ongoing rebellion. The Lord of Chang An is Ying Zheng’s younger brother Chengjiao, who has constantly been by his side. When the Grand Dowager hesitates, Chancellor Lu convinces her by claiming that this is an opportunity to test Chengjiao’s loyalty to Ying Zheng.
Flashback to ten years ago when the previous King of Qin was on his deathbed and he wanted to make Chengjiao his successor, not Ying Zheng. However, Chancellor Lu and Grand Dowager Huayang schemed to put Ying Zheng on the throne instead.
Ying Zheng sits at the end of Gong Sun Li’s bed, fast asleep, unwilling to leave her side even for a single moment. Gong Sun Li wakes and covers him with a blanket, which then wakes him up. He asks her if she’s all right and addresses her as “Miss Sun”. She answers him that she’s feeling much better. He says that if she hadn’t blocked the knife for him, he would’ve been severely injured.
She responds that her grandfather has taught her that martial arts should be used to help and defend others. She confirms that her family name is Gong Sun, first name Li. Ying Zheng realizes that she is the young girl he met in his childhood, and he is ecstatic that he has finally found her.
When the King of Wei enters the room, Gong Sun Li jumps up from bed and gives him a formal greeting. She introduces herself as being from the Gong Sun family, and that her grandfather had been the Commander-in-Chief of Puyang City. Wishing to hide his true identity, Ying Zheng greets the King of Wei formally as well.
The King of Wei is thrown off by this, but then realizes that Ying Zheng wants to hide who he is. The King of Wei has both of them rise and asks Gong Sun Li if she knows “Qin…” – Ying Zheng cuts him off and says “Master Zhao!”. Lol.
When asked about how her grandfather is doing, Gong Sun Li answers that he died at the hands of the Four Masters while defending Puyang City from Qin’s attack. Not having heard what happened, the King of Wei is shocked and she questions how he really did not know. Ying Zheng tells her that the King of Wei would not be aware because visitors and news are tightly restricted by Qin.
Gong Sun Li asks Ying Zheng how he was able to take her for treatment if the King of Wei is isolated from the rest of the world. I think that Ying Zheng was just about to tell her his true identity when she goes on to say that Qin is tyrannical and cruel, destroying civilian lives as they ruthlessly attack all of the kingdoms. She says that her home kingdom has been defeated causing her to lose her family and home, and she will use her fighting skills to defend the Kingdom of Wei against Qin, even if it means her death.
The King of Wei is completely flustered by Gong Sun Li’s speech, as he knows Ying Zheng is really the King of Qin and all of Gong Sun Li’s current criticisms are directed at him and his kingdom. Knowing the King of Qin’s personality, he is not likely to let such criticism slide, so he stops Gong Sun Li from continuing.
Ying Zheng receives word that Shangdang is rebelling with the assistance of the Kingdom of Zhao, and the palace wants to send Chengjiao to suppress the rebellion. Ying Zheng knows that Chancellor Lu must be behind this and is trying to cause trouble, but he is unable to figure out exactly what the Chancellor is up to.
Chengjiao thinks that the best way to avoid trouble is to abide by Grand Dowager Huayang’s order. Although his aide recommends that Ying Zheng go as well, Ying Zheng says that he can’t. Gong Sun Li was the person who rescued him from the Zhao soldiers all those years ago, and she has saved him a second time. Now that he has finally found her, he can’t leave her, which is why Chengjiao heads back to Xianyang City alone.
Gong Sun Li thanks Ying Zheng for taking care of her and bringing her to the palace so she can meet the king of her home kingdom. They have now spent a few days together, and Ying Zheng guesses that Gong Sun Li is unmarried. However, he can’t bring himself to confess his feelings to her since he knows of her disgust towards Qin.
Ying Zheng tells her he needs to leave, but gives her a Qin military seal that will help keep her safe if she encounters the Qin military. Although she hesitates because of the value of the seal, she eventually accepts it at Ying Zheng’s insistence. It’s very nice of him to leave Qin’s military seal with her – he obviously cares about her very much.
As he leaves, Ying Zheng tells the King of Wei to take good care of Gong Sun Li. The King of Wei remarks that even after Gong Sun Li had so harshly critized Qin, she wasn’t punished. Having realized Ying Zheng’s special feelings towards her, he gives Ying Zheng an artist portrait of Gong Sun Li.
It’s a little hard to believe that an artist just happened to be struck by Gong Sun Li’s beauty, made a drawing of her, and that said drawing made it’s way to the King of Wei to give to Ying Zheng. But, oh well. Ying Zheng cannot help but look back at the hall where Gong Sun Li is residing and thinks to himself that he will definitely find her again.
Jing Ke wonders whether Gong Sun Li has gone to find the King of Wei and decides to go and check. Sure enough, the King of Wei helps him reunite with Gong Sun Li, which leads to a sweet and joyous reunion between them.
Jing Ke tells Gong Sun Li how happy he is that she is all right, and then amps it up a bit by saying that even if he dies a hundred times, he would come back to life just to see her again. The King of Wei stands outside, listening to the entire conversation and realizing what a tangled web they’re in. He shakes his head and leaves.
Back at Ying Zheng’s palace, Zhao Gao, Ying Zheng’s head eunuch, tells the King that he is worried that Chancellor Lu will use Lord of Chang An against him. Ying Zheng reacts with anger and says that he and Chengjiao are extremely close as brothers, and that he would never betray him. The candle suddenly goes out, as if an ominous sign of what is to follow.
The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Zhao comes to see Chengjiao at his military camp to share some critical information. He gives Chengjiao the will that the late King of Qin had written, which stated that he wanted Chengjiao to be his successor and that in fact, Ying Zheng was not his biological son.
In the first episode, there had been a hint from Ying Zheng’s mother that he was actually Chancellor Lu’s son – this goes ahead and confirms it. To add fuel to the fire, the Crown Prince of Zhao also hints that Chengjiao’s mother’s death was not an accident – she was murdered. As planned, he is infuriated at this revelation.
Chancellor Lu was the person who gave the Crown Prince of Zhao the late King’s will as a way of turning Chengjiao against Ying Zheng. In exchange, he promised three years of safety for Zhao.
It is time for Jing Ke and Gong Sun Li to depart from the King of Wei’s palace. They are concerned that “Master Zhao” will encounter trouble with Qin for helping them, but the King of Wei tells them not to worry. Of course they don’t have to worry – “Master Zhao” is actually the King of Qin.
The arm wave that the King of Wei does to get Jing Ke and Gong Sun Li to leave is hilarious and as they leave, the King of Wei thinks to himself: “As the woman whom the King of Qin has fallen for, her fate has already been determined”.
Uh oh. Ying Zheng is holding court when an urgent report written by Chengjiao drops like a bomb. The report claims that Ying Zheng is the biological son of Lu Bu Wei and that he does not share the bloodline of the deceased King. The deceased King had been betrayed by Lu Bu Wei, who pushed his own son onto the throne of Qin.
Everyone is shocked in disbelief, including Ying Zheng. Chancellor Lu claims that it’s a lie and implores the King to investigate. Ying Zheng orders his sword and armor to be prepared so he can personally go and discuss the matter with Chengjiao. He doesn’t pay any attention to Chancellor Lu’s advice to send his generals instead of going himself.
At Chengjiao’s military camp, the Crown Prince of Zhao continues to instigate Chengjiao by telling him that the fate of Qin is in his hands. A messenger delivers a letter from Ying Zheng to Chengjiao, which says that he would like them to meet. You can tell from the letter that Ying Zheng is not looking for a fight, that he really hopes to talk things through and repair their relationship.
Ying Zheng and Chengjiao meet, each accompanied by hundreds of soldiers. Ying Zheng says that he is willing to compensate Chengjiao if he feels that he has been done wrong. The Crown Prince of Zhao has taken a place in the woods off to the side with his own group of soldiers, his presence practically ensuring that this situation is not going to end well. Chengjiao throws the late King’s will to Ying Zheng to read for himself, and even though Ying Zheng recognizes the late King’s handwriting, he says that it’s all a lie.
Ying Zheng is shocked when Chengjiao brings up that his mother’s death was a murder and not an accident. In a flashback, Ying Zheng was there to comfort Chengjiao when his mother died and claimed that he would always be there for him.
Chengjiao demands that Ying Zheng turn over the position of King of Qin to him. To this, Ying Zheng says that his dream is to rule the entire world, including even the heavens and the underworld. He says that he will never turn over the throne. Chengjiao says that it’s either him or Ying Zheng then, and it looks like a battle is unavoidable.
Comments: What happened in this episode between Ying Zheng and Chengjiao was so depressing. Chengjiao was one of the few people that Ying Zheng had a close relationship with and could fully trust, and now that relationship has been destroyed. Even though schemes and plots are a normal part of life at royal court, I still hated watching it happen, and I really hope Chancellor Lu is kicked out from court soon.
I found the last scene really fascinating as we got to see that as much as Ying Zheng wants to repair his relationship with his brother, he firmly draws the line when it comes to his position as King of Qin. History shows that Ying Zheng did go on to unite and rule over the Kingdoms, so ruling looks like a deeply rooted goal and a part of his sense of self.
It’s so hard not to root for Jing Ke and Gong Sun Li‘s relationship. They’re so sweet together and they obviously care very much for one another, having grown up together since they were young kids. But as the King of Wei said, Gong Sun Li’s destiny has been set.
The director did such great job on the fight scenes.
Thank you for the recap. I'm finding these so helpful especially for figuring out who is who and what is happening in the Palace.
LOL at that "sexy" table dance scene. I was feeling such secondhand embarassment for the poor actors!
I was very sad for Ying Zheng and his brother this episode. He doesn't seem to have many loving or healthy relationships in his life and he and his brother were clearly close so it's sad to see a wedge driven between them. It's also clear he is not going to give up the throne or his ambition for anything which will be very important in his future as we know he succeeds but at what cost to his relationships?
Although Jing Ke and Li Ji are cute I don't find them very interesting together and like you and the King of Wei said her fate has been set so I'm more interested in how her relationship with Ying Zheng will unfold especially when we've seen over and over how much she hates the QIn and and the King.
I've just started watching the program and I am absolutely floored by the wonderful actors, intricate costumes, and the well-choreographed fight scences. Every time I complete an episode, I come here for a quick re-cap, and of course a few of your insights.