I absolutely loved Li Er in this episode. She isn’t blind to the world around her and sees situations extremely clearly, and she knows how to read people past the masks they wear in public. I love how she’s different from all of the royal consorts who hide behind pretty words while they scheme and plot to destroy other people, and she says exactly what’s on her mind to everyone.
Ying Zheng is furious when he finds out that Tian Ming is missing and he interrogates all of the palace maids and guards, threatening to execute them if they don’t confess. Why is his default reaction whenever he’s upset always so extreme? Li Er and Li Zhong convince him to hold off on the interrogation and make looking for Tian Ming their main priority. Ying Zheng orders a full search of the palace, and he declares that he’ll execute everyone if Tian Ming isn’t found. Why does anyone work in the palace for the matter? You never know if you’re going to threatened with execution or actually executed.
Li Er tells Ying Zheng that she wants to search the palace on her own, and he agrees and tells her to have Zhao Gao accompany her. Are we eventually going to see Ying Zheng find out that Zhao Gao is responsible for Tian Ming’s disappearance? I would love to see his reaction.
Madam Chu hears about everything that’s been happening and revels in Li Er’s misery. Madam Chu’s maid tells her that Ying Zheng was about to interrogate the servants when Li Er stepped in on their behalf. They believe this to be a scheme by Li Er to become close with the palace maids and guards because without Tian Ming, she’ll soon lose her place in Ying Zheng’s heart.
They only think that about Li Er because that’s how their minds work, and that’s what they themselves do all day long – scheme and plot to advance their agendas. Li Er helped the palace maids and guards because she’s a genuinely nice person, not like you two. Ugh. It becomes time for Madam Chu to take the medicine that will help her have a child. She hates the bitter taste of the medicine, but has no choice but to take it. Her expression when she drinks the medicine is hilarious.
Li Er has been searching for Tian Ming all over the palace to no success. Zhao Gao looks like he’s in pain and he asks Li Er if she’s even sure that Tian Ming is still in the palace since they’ve been searching everywhere and he still hasn’t been found. Li Er’s maid Qing Er tells him off for saying such things and that he couldn’t possibly understand how Li Er is feeling because he doesn’t have any children.
Zhao Gao snaps back, and they’re about to continue arguing when Li Er steps in. She tells Zhao Gao that since his foot is injured, he can go back and rest while she looks for Tian Ming by herself. Zhao Gao pretends to protest that he was told to accompany her by the King, but Li Er knows that he has no desire to accompany her and assures him that she won’t report him to Ying Zheng. After Li Er leaves, Zhao Gao tells his companions that no matter how hard she looks, she won’t be able to find Tian Ming.
It looks like Han Shen’s shoulder was severely injured when Ying Zheng stabbed him during his failed assassination attempt. He and other palace guards are resting in their break room when Li Zhong arrives. All of the guards immediately line up, and Li Zhong has them position themselves on the floor as if to do push ups. He inspects the guards closely and notices that all of the guards are shaking from exhaustion except for Han Shen.
Li Zhong asks for his name and how long he’s been in the palace (he’s been there one year, same as Li Er) and presses his sword on Han Shen’s shoulder to test him. Oh no! Han Shen’s wound starts bleeding. Luckily, Li Zhong doesn’t notice because Han Shen goes on to declare that he will do his best to protect the Qin palace. Li Zhong is satisfied, and leaves. Whew. That was too close.
After a long day of searching, Li Er sits in her bedchamber, despondent over Tian Ming’s disappearance. She mentally tells Jing Ke that they had a child together, but she’s gone and lost him. She misses Tian Ming so much that she can’t stop crying, and regrets that she wasn’t able to protect him. Aww. You’ll find him!
Ying Zheng also sits by himself, thinking about Li Er and the times they shared. Qing Er comes in to tell Li Er that dinner has been prepared, but Li Er has no appetite and sends her to rest since she also had a long day of searching for Tian Ming too. What a kind and loyal maid.
After Qing Er leaves, there’s a whistle – a signal from Han Shen that he’s there. Han Shen asks Li Er how she’s doing since he heard about Tian Ming’s disappearance. Li Er is extremely worried and concerned that she can’t stop crying. Li Er had hoped that she and Tian Ming could live peacefully, but realizes how much she underestimated the scheming and plotting in the palace.
Han Shen fails to hide how painful his shoulder wound is, and Li Er realizes that Han Shen was the one who had tried to assassinate Ying Zheng. She tells him how dangerous that was, and he tells her that he did it so that Li Er and Tian Ming could be free. Han Shen is so wonderful and it’s obvious that he cares about Li Er more than anything. She’s lucky to have him.
Li Er tells him that the palace isn’t that simple, and starts to tell him about how Ying Zheng treats her. I think she was about to tell Han Shen that Ying Zheng treats her well, but Han Shen cuts her off and asks about missing the old days when she could go where she wants and do what she wants. He has a point – being a royal consort means losing one’s freedom and being restricted to the palace all the time.
Li Er mentions that since Tian Ming is a prince, he would be suspected of going after the Crown Prince position and could’ve become a target a long time ago without her noticing. Han Shen tells her that the people who kidnapped Tian Ming must be trying to remove him so they can take her down as well and that they must be near.
This raises her suspicions about Zhao Gao, since it seems like he knew that Tian Ming was not in the palace. Yes, yes – be suspicious of Zhao Gao! He’s very much against you and Tian Ming. Han Shen tells Li Er that he came to the palace for her and that he’ll do his best to find Tian Ming for her too. Aww.
Grand Dowager and her maid discuss the search for Tian Ming, believing that Ying Zheng will forget about Tian Ming in a few days’ time and go on to have other children. They talk about Madam Chu’s impatient personality, and that at this time, she needs to control herself and keep from getting involved in the situation.
The next morning, Li Er is about to continue searching for Tian Ming when Madam Chu arrives. She says she wants to see how Li Er is doing with Tian Ming’s disappearance, but Li Er knows that Madam Chu is only there to see how upset and lonely she is and calls her out on it. Ha.
Madam Chu sarcastically advises Li Er to be careful what she says within the palace, but she can’t help but to look pleased with herself. She tries to get a dig in by telling Li Er that even though she has never had any children, she’s the foster mother of Fusu, Ying Zheng’s eldest son. She says that Fusu is intelligent and sensible, and she would also feel horrible if anything were to happen to him, so she understands how Li Er must be feeling.
Madam Chu’s maid smiles in the background, as Qing Er rolls her eyes. Lol. I like her. As Madam Chu rambles on, Li Er just smiles to herself, and it looks as though this visit is not having the desired effect at all.
Madam Chu tells Li Er that Ying Zheng has plenty of consorts and children and hasn’t grown emotionally attached to Tian Ming yet. Although Ying Zheng might be worried now, eventually Ying Zheng will become annoyed with Li Er’s problems. Wow, does she have it all wrong.
Li Er wishes for Ying Zheng to leave her alone but he’s the one who keeps coming back. Li Er says that she knows that Madam Chu wishes for nothing more than for Ying Zheng to be annoyed with her, but Madam Chu pretends that the consorts should get along to serve the King. Li Er tells Madam Chu that what she really wants is for everyone to follow her like idiots, but she shouldn’t hold out hope for that when it comes to Li Er. She tells Madam Chu that they are anyways on separate paths.
Grand Dowager hears that Zhao Gao has been following Li Er as she searches for Tian Ming, and she is impressed that Madam Chu has learned to use her dowry to have Zhao Gao come over to her side. They talk about how important it is for consorts to have children, as it gives them power. If those from Chu state are to have peace and power in the palace, it is up to the heavens.
I love this upcoming scene. Li Er tells Madam Chu that she shouldn’t bother having her own child since she’s already the foster mother of Fusu. Love the maids’ reactions here – Madam Chu’s maid facial expression goes completely blank while Qing Er starts smiling. Their reactions are the exact opposite from the previous scene. I love Li Er’s attitude and smile here too since it’s her turn to share some hard truths with Madam Chu.
Madam Chu is floored and asks Li Er for clarification. Li Er says that in most states, the King will appoint a Crown Prince even when the children are still young to stabilize the royal family and prevent there from being problems in state affairs when the King dies. She says that since Fusu is intelligent and sensible and Ying Zheng favors him, it is possible that he will be appointed Crown Prince in a few years.
Madam Chu still doesn’t understand what this has to do with her not having her own child with the King. Don’t worry, Li Er will explain it to you. Li Er says that if Fusu becomes Crown Prince, Madam Chu will stick to him and not let anyone get close, but eventually Fusu will grow tired of it. After all, Madam Chu is not his real mother. He may stop treating Madam Chu with respect and stop listening to her. Li Er knows Madam Chu’s personality, and if she had her own son, she would do anything in her power to make him the Crown Prince. Even if she was successful to make her son into the Crown Prince, eventually Ying Zheng might choose to kill her. Madam Chu thinks that Li Er is trying to curse her and starts to leave. The tables have turned!
Meanwhile, Li Zhong reports to Ying Zheng that they weren’t able to find any clues about Tian Ming’s disappearance. Ying Zheng thinks that Tian Ming might have gone missing earlier than they thought and sends Li Zhong to investigate throughout Xianyang City.
Li Er tells Madam Chu that she isn’t trying to curse her. As a princess of Chu, Madam Chu has the Chu royal family’s power behind her and Ying Zheng would have no choice but to counteract that. If a prince with Chu blood becomes Crown Prince, it will be a threat to the Ying Family. If Madam Chu dies, this danger disappears.
She tells Madam Chu to take good care of Fusu, because if they have a good relationship and Fusu becomes King, he may appoint her to Dowager Queen. If they don’t have a good relationship, then who knows if Madam Chu will be able to enjoy a life of power and status. Li Er’s awesome, she can read into these situations in a way that Madam Chu has never even dreamed.
She says that no matter how much the King favors his consorts, all they will receive is material possessions – gold, silver, jewelry and great clothes. She tells Madam Chu that she doesn’t have any interest in fighting for the power and position of Queen, and she doesn’t want Tian Ming to become involved in such fights either. She only wants Tian Ming to be safe and healthy growing up in the palace. She tells Madam Chu that she doesn’t care if the King likes her or not, and Madam Chu should stop wasting her time scheming against Li Er. Madam Chu leaves in a huff.
After Madam Chu leaves, Li Er tells Qing Er that she knows what Madam Chu’s true intentions are, she is like the arsonist who wants to see the result of her plotting and scheming. She says that Madam Chu has a strong and arrogant personality, and isn’t able to hide how pleased she is with herself. Li Er says she just wants to know if Tian Ming is being well taken care of or if he’s already been harmed. Qing Er tries to comfort her and tells her not to worry.
Jing Ke decides to leave Tian Guang and wander the world. He decides not to search for his Master’s sword technique, since it was meant to be used to protect Li Er, and she’s gone. Tian Guang supports him, saying that it’s better than what he’s doing now. Lan Er wants to accompany him in his travels, but Jing Ke pushes back and says that it’s not necessary. She looks a little crushed.
Li Er goes to see Ying Zheng, and he seems thrilled by her visit. After everyone has been dismissed, she tells him that she’s been thinking about who doesn’t want Tian Ming in the palace the most, and accuses Ying Zheng of being the one to take him away. I don’t blame her for thinking Ying Zheng might be responsible – Tian Ming isn’t his after all.
When Ying Zheng asks her if she thinks he would be that cruel, Li Er says that he was cruel enough to kill his two younger siblings in front of his mother. Ying Zheng says that even though Tian Ming isn’t his son, that doesn’t mean that he wants him to die, and he wouldn’t do such things secretly like a low person, all to grab hold of a woman who won’t even look at him. Ying Zheng says that she knows of his background, and isn’t the entire world talking about it.
Li Er seems to accept what Ying Zheng has said, that he’s not responsible for Tian Ming’s disappearance. She wonders then who took Tian Ming, and why they didn’t directly go after her instead. Ying Zheng says that since Tian Ming was born in the palace, his fate is such – to be mired in palace struggles and to be the subject of peoples’ schemes speaking from personal experience. He says that he doesn’t hope for Li Er’s trust, but he’s the only one who can protect her and Tian Ming in the palace. Li Er seems to be a little touched by Ying Zheng’s words, unless I’m reading too much into it.
In the guards’ resting room, Han Shen overhears a conversation about there being the sounds of a crying child from the Southern Palace, which the other guards have chalked up to be ghosts since as far as they know, the place is unoccupied. At that, Han Shen goes to go see Ying Zheng, when he is told off by Zhao Gao for daring to approach the king when he is just a lowly palace guard. Ugh. Go away, you.
Han Shen says he has an urgent matter to report regarding Tian Ming’s disappearance, and he tells Ying Zheng about the conversation he overheard. He requests that Ying Zheng search the Southern Palace, which is an outrageous request. Ying Zheng asks Han Shen if he’s not afraid of being punished if they don’t find anything, but Han Shen says that it is his responsibility to guard the palace and that he doesn’t care for his life and death. Aww, he’s so dedicated to Li Er. Zhao Gao looks furious.
Everyone goes to the Southern Palace and they find Tian Ming with the Queen Dowager. Li Er is thrilled to see Tian Ming, and when the Queen Dowager hesitates to give him to her, Ying Zheng orders her to return the prince. The Queen Dowager tries to reason that she didn’t know Tian Ming was a prince, but Ying Zheng doesn’t believe her because she should know better – only the King’s children live in the palace. Li Er tells Ying Zheng that the Queen Dowager has never met Tian Ming because she’s always lived in the Southern Palace, and she didn’t do it on purpose.
Ying Zheng decides to let it go, but promises to investigate the matter and punish those responsible. Han Shen looks so happy that Li Er has found her son (aww) while Zhao Gao just looks mad (ha). They all take their exit, leaving the Queen Dowager alone in her palace.
Comments: I’m so happy that Li Er found Tian Ming, she was so sad and worried about him. I want to see what transpired to end with Tian Ming in the arms of the Queen Dowager. How come Zhao Gao didn’t just have Tian Ming killed immediately? Is it because he cannot stand to kill a child? Wouldn’t Ying Zheng realize that Tian Ming was with the Queen Dowager the next time he went to visit her?
Thanks everyone for reading!
Previous <- Episode Recap -> Next
I absolutely love that white, red, and black outfit Li is wearing. BTW, why doesn't the king tell her that he was the little boy she helped.from her childhood?
Thank you for the recap!
The scene where Li Er accused Ying Zheng of taking away Tian Ming shows that she doesn't understand him at all yet. You could see it genuinely hurt him that she would have such a low opinion of him.
It's such a relief they found Tian Ming. It's a mother's worst nightmare to lose her child and Li Ji was in so much pain about it. It's kind of sad for the Queen Dowager that another child was taken away from her even if she was only with him for a few days. She is a such a tragic, pathetic woman. I pity her.
I've been meaning to say I like Li Zhong a lot. He's intelligent and about the only person in Ying Zheng's life who is 100% faithful to him. I hope YZ appreciates him.
I loved the scene between Madam Chu and Li Er. All the verbal sparring and veiled poisonous comments. It was so gratifying seeing Li Er use words to put Madam Chu in her place. You just know Grand Dowager and Madam Chu had her written off as some dumb,country bumpkin that YZ had taken a fancy too. At the same time it will make her even more of a target now they know she isn't just some idiot they can easily manipulate, has given YZ a son and obviously has the smarts to make a great Queen.
The shot of YZ sitting alone thinking about the Li Ji. The composition and cinematography was stunning but once again I found it kind of sad seeing how alone he is even with all those people around him. The lonely life of a King.