We are now in the thick of things. Fan Xian is stirring up trouble everywhere he goes, and he’s one lucky guy when he manages to sidestep any real consequences. Okay, I’m pretty sure it has more to do with who used to love his mommy.
While Si Zhe makes Fan Xian look bad to Wan’er, (which will really bite him in the butt later) Fan Xian saunters into the Inspection Bureau to find documents that will tell him what happened to Zi Jing’s family. He has a pass that his teacher gave him that pretty much makes everyone let him do whatever he wants in the bureau. After being told the documents he wants will be available to him the next day, Fan Xian finds a stone monument at the entrance that his mom carved. He reads her very forward-thinking words, where she lays out her goals for the empire, wanting equality for all and an end to many of the systems that were in place. Fan Xian says the words are nice and all, but he won’t be able to follow in his mom’s footsteps.
Drama Geek: I have a feeling this will be a very important scene that we will keep coming back to. Fan Xian just wants to find his chicken leg girl and live happily without marrying into a political family. We already know his destiny will not be that simple. I’m looking forward to him slowly realizing his mother’s dream.
Kmuse: I loved how Fan Xian said he wouldn’t be able to follow in her footsteps but actually does in his day to day life. Time and time again we see him kicking away the caste system and declaring that everyone should be equal. He really is a great example of treating everyone equally. I also think that his mom’s words are constantly on his mind. There were many references back to the tablet in these five episodes.
Family Game Night
When Fan Xian returns, he finds his brother being punished by his dad for the fight they had earlier. He goes to his dad and sets him straight about his son. He may be money hungry but it isn’t because he’s lazy, it’s because he looks up to his dad and wants to impress him. Fan Xian wants Dad to apologize to Si Zhe but instead of an apology, he grants him a wish. Si Zhe chooses to play a game with his family and ends up cleaning house with all of them.
Drama Geek: I absolutely love that they’re subverting the normal horrible adopted family trope and making them so caring. Fan Xian is a welcome addition to their ranks and really helps his dad see the truth that’s right in front of him. They were hilarious at family game night, and I was happy that his dad saw how smart his son really is.
Kmuse: After Fan Xian, Si Zhe is my favorite character. He is so refreshing and likable. Nothing was better than seeing him win all his father’s money and be so proud of his accomplishment. I am totally in love with this family and demand they all get a happy ever after.
Fan Xian was invited to the poetry reading with all the local pretty boys, and they believe he is going to lose because he’s just a country boy. What they don’t know is he has hundreds of years of literature to pull from that has yet to written. He totally cheats and uses a famous poem that he did not write, and wins.
Drama Geek: It’s hilarious to me how much they care about winning while Fan Xian is just there to find his chicken leg girl. He spews his stolen poem and then wanders around until he does finally find her.
Kmuse: I couldn’t stop laughing. I was also impressed that he could remember that famous poem. I couldn’t recite a modern or classic poem to save my life.
Someone Get Second Prince a Fan
While Fan Xian looks for his lady love, he runs into Second Prince. Who is lounging around in a way that totally resembles his dad. Fan Xian waxes on about his meeting with the girl and Second Prince seems genially intrigued by this strange boy.
Drama Geek: This is an alliance in the making. Second Prince knows that Fan Xian is an asset against his older brother, and he wants to get warm and cozy with him.
Kmuse: I love how he just rolls with how odd Fan Xian is. And, despite not knowing if he will be an ally, 2nd Prince goes the extra mile to try and protect Fan Xian in the future. I also agree that 2nd Prince definitely needs a fan to accentuate his fun smirk.
A Night at the Brothel
At the Inspection Bureau, Fan Xian found the swindler who sold him a fake map when he arrived in the capital and also sold his books. He had promised to deliver the papers on Zi Jing’s family and sneaks into the house to do so. The papers state that his entire family was killed by one of the pretty boy poets Guo Bao Kun. After finding this out, they set up an elaborate plan to get invited to a brothel.
Si Li Li is a very special courtesan. She’s a virgin who has never blessed any of the patrons with her presence. Fan Xian’s poem was sent ahead, and she’s impressed enough to bring her boat into port and invite him on. He proceeds to drug her and slip out so he can find Guo Bao Kun.
Fan Xian puts a bag over his head and “interrogates” him by beating the crap out of him. Bao Kun swears that he didn’t kill the family. Zi Jing finds Fan Xian after the questioning is over. He’s distraught but then they discover the guy from the Inspection Bureau following them. He admits that the letter claiming the family was dead was a fake since he thought Fan Xian had killed Zi Jing. In reality, his family is safely hidden outside of town.
Drama Geek: This whole sequence left me intrigued by Si Li Li. She has a story to tell, and I want to know all about it. When I watched both Rebel and Crowned Clown, I had the idea that a romance based on a kisaeng would be really interesting. Then I was reminded of it watching My Country. I feel the same here.
Kmuse: I love that we see how smart Fan Xian is in this sequence. Not only does he provide himself with an alibi but he also sets up traps to let him know if anyone discovers the passed out Si Li Li. Fan Xian and Si Li Li making a pact to not discuss what happened (or didn’t happen) that night, has me intrigued about her back story.
Thank Goodness Mom Was a Flirt
Fan Xian wasn’t exactly discreet when he beat Bao Kun up, in fact, he wanted word to get out so he could break his engagement to the princess. He gets pulled into court and has Si Li Li back up his story about being with her the entire night. But then Crown Prince gets involved, along with Second Prince and the trial becomes a royal circus. Unfortunately for Fan Xian, the Crown Prince did his homework and he arrested Zi Jing (who is supposed to be dead.) So now Fan Xian is in trouble for lying to the Emperor about killing a very alive Zi Jing.
Of course, no one realizes how much the Emperor has invested in Fan Xian. Eunuch Hong scurries into the court and absolves Fan Xian saying the Emperor knew that Zi Jing was alive and therefore all charges are to be dropped.
Drama Geek: First, I LOVED when Eunuch Hong delivered the Emperor’s message to the princes that they needed to stop being so nosy and go home. Second, Fan Xian is REALLY lucky so many people like him (want to use him?) because he isn’t being smart about getting out of this marriage.
Kmuse: This might have been my favorite scene of these five episodes. Watching the poor judge try and figure out which prince he was going to upset was hilarious. Made all the better by the Emperor swooping in at the last second to figuratively slap his son’s hands in admonishment.
The Great Chicken Leg Search
Back at the poetry slam, Fan Xian and Wan’er did run into each other. She totally has another chicken leg in her hand when he finds her too. They both lie about who they are as they flirt with one another. She says she’s a maid in the household and he claims to work for Guo Bao Kun.
Later on, Wan’er finds out about the night at the brothel and she is pretty determined to not marry Fan Xian, still not knowing who he really is.
After Fan Xian narrowly escapes death with the court, he is upset because his wedding is still on so he decides he’s going to find his girl no matter what. He goes back to the house of poetry with his siblings and views every single maid but doesn’t find his love. How is Fan Xian supposed to kidnap his true love if he can’t find her?
Drama Geek: I think their romance so far has been cute, but it hasn’t been the main reason I’m watching. I did read in MDL comments that in the book the women have even less purpose and the screenwriter has done a good job at weaving them into the story a lot more. So I’m happy about that. I can admit that I thought he had really good chemistry with Si Li Li and I almost wish she was the love interest. LOL But I still think the OTP will make a cute couple.
Kmuse: I second Drama Geek’s opinion. The romance is sweet but I would not really invest 40+ episodes if they were the main focus. At this point, they make a very pretty side story arc.
Drama Geek: A lot more happened than we listed here, but it was all a fun ride. I like the idea that even though Fan Xian scoffs at his mother’s big ideas, his character points in the direction of following through on them. Yes, he was a bit stupid when he beat up Bao Kun, but he really did it for his new friend who was wrongly accused and forced to be an assassin. I’m so happy that the witty banter continues, and that each new character that’s introduced is just as interesting as the rest.
Kmuse: I am so invested in so many of the secondary character stories. I’m already hoping that Fan Xian’s siblings find their epic romantic partners as well. Also, I really want to find out who Zi Jing’s young son has been becoming friends with. Befriending a scary person in a coffin is always interesting in my opinion.
Until the Next Chicken Leg,
Kmuse & Drama Geek
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi