A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Episode 16-20

This week some of our burning inquiries are answered, only to create a bunch of new questions. Come find out all our positive reactions as the assassination plot begins to come to light and several new characters are introduced.

The Black Guards to the rescue

We left off last week with Si Li Li unsuccessfully attempting to poison Fan Xian and escaping from the hotel. She leads them on a chase and eventually stops, only to lead the men into a trap. Just as Fan Xian is about to be overwhelmed with bad guys we hear a horn and the sound of horse hooves. The super special Black Guards have arrived and quickly kill off the bandits and apprehend Si Li Li. They accompany Fan Xian home with his prisoner.

Our intense warriors return again, later in the story when Crowned Prince is trying to force his way into the prison to “save” Si Li Li. His thinking is that if he saves Si Li Li, then she will help him get rid of Fan Xian. Just as The Crown Prince is about to force himself past all the regular guards, The Black Guard comes riding up, accompanied by their leader Chen Ping Ping. We recognize him as the man in a wheelchair that sent Uncle Wu and Fan Xian to the country when he was a baby.

Kmuse: I am all in for a dramatic warrior entrance and I perked up both times the Black Guard appeared. It was such a dramatic and fun addition to this complicated political layering of the capital.

Drama Geek: I’m torn between thinking it’s cool, and wishing Fan Xian didn’t need them to show up so often. LOL. There is no denying our hero is smart, but he doesn’t always think ahead and tends to just follow his instincts, which gets him into trouble. Chen Ping Ping’s arrival was awesome though, and I loved the mad eyeliner he was sporting.

Love or justice?

After interrogating Si Li Li and having it confirmed by Wan’er’s bestie, Fan Xian discovers that the person behind his assassination is Wan’er’s second brother. Devastated that the woman he love’s brother is the bad guy, Fan Xian tries to decide if love or justice for his bestie’s death is more important. If he kills 2nd brother then he will lose Wan’er but even knowing this will probably be the outcome, Fan Xian plans to kill his nemesis. He just can’t let his friend’s murderer go free.

Before he can follow through with his murderous plans, Fan Xian is stopped by none other than his Uncle Wu. Uncle Wu apologizes for not being there to protect him in his time of need. He tries to talk Fan Xian out of his killing intentions but is unsuccessful. Uncle Wu goes to plan B and knocks Fan Xian out which allows 2nd brother time to leave the city.

Kmuse: I’m conflicted. I am so happy that Fan Xian didn’t actually murder the Lin’s 2nd Son. The OTP angst would have really dragged my emotions about our cute couple down. At the same time, I’m a bit sad that Fan Xian didn’t get to personally confront the brother over the murder of his bestie. At least we got a really strong scene between him and Ye Linger where he was able to berate the concept that a guard is somehow less than a noble son. It really brings forward Fan Xian’s feelings over everyone being equal and not above each other. Every person matters.

Drama Geek: I guess I’m not as bloodthirsty as Kmuse. I was conflicted because I wanted him to see that killing Wan’er’s brother was not the right option. I’m left to wonder if using his mysterious pull with the Investigation Bureau and the Emperor would have ended with the brother paying for his crimes, and allowing Wan’er to see he valued their relationship.

Uncle Wu returns

Uncle Wu Zhu is back with a vengeance! After giving Fan Xian info that the key to his mother’s locked box is hidden in the capital, he goes off to finish some business. Namely, killing Wan’er’s 2nd brother. If we thought that 2nd Brother would escape justice, then Uncle Wu proved us wrong. He comes in like the messenger of death and kills everyone within minutes.

Kmuse: Uncle Wu Zhu is back and looking super hot. I’m always a sucker over someone that can kill a bunch of people with a sword. Add in the amnesia and the super sexy cloth around his eyes and I’m all about Team Uncle Wu.

Drama Geek: My earlier statement aside, I am totally Team Uncle Wu!!! I think his memory was tampered with so that he couldn’t remember how Fan Xian ties in with all these powerful men in the capitol. Or maybe he’s so sad he lost Fan Xian’s mother, he blocked out parts of their time together. I can’t wait to see.

Is Fan Xian a damsel in distress?

With 2nd Brother’s death discovered, Fan Xian becomes the main suspect. The big question that all his enemies have is whether he knew that 2nd brother was behind his assassination attempt. Luckily, for Fan Xian, he was able to fake surprise every time someone tried to trip him up. That doesn’t mean that Fan Xian isn’t marched around to many different locations by those trying to take him down. But time and again Fan Xian is able to talk his way out… or more often he has unexpected saviors in the form of his father, the emperor, and now the head of the Investigation Bureau, Cheng Ping Ping.

Kmuse: I know that they have been really doing the whole, in trouble and then being saved by someone Fan Xian doesn’t expect, scenario a lot. But I can’t help but be amused every single time. At this point I’m laughing with every dramatic reveal. Especially now that people are starting to wonder why Fan Xian is so important.

Drama Geek: Seriously, there is no way he would have so many people saving his ass if he didn’t have a powerful daddy.

Impressing the future in-laws

Wan’er’s father is also very suspicious of Fan Xian’s connection to his 2nd son’s death. Prime Minister Lin sends an underling skilled in torture to Si Li Li to find out if she divulged the identity of the assassination leader. She had but manages to lie to the torturer and deny the accusations. This and Fan Xian’s interaction with his developmentally disabled 1st son convinces Prime Minister Lin to put all his support behind his future Son-In-Law. Fan Xian has yet another benefactor on his team.

Kmuse: I felt really bad for Prime Minister Lin who is in a hard position. He has to push his personal mourning to the background and look towards the future. Due to his son’s bad decision (probably not one that he came up with alone) and the mental capacity of his first son, he must be pragmatic and put the family’s future on his future Son-in-law. I also loved how sincere Fan Xian was with 1st Brother Lin Da Bao. The relationship was just so sweet and made me love Fan Xian all the more.

Drama Geek: I’m not a fan of using disabled characters to prove that the hero is a good person. That aside, I do think the show has already established he treats everyone equally, and their relationship is very nice. Hopefully, the brother will continue to be a character in the show and he wasn’t just brought into the story for this reason.

Fan Xian’s A+ bromancing

After 20 episodes it is obvious that Fan Xian is the ultimate at creating a believable, chemistry filled, heartfelt bromance. This week we got the renewed Uncle Wu Zhu bromance as well as bromantic interactions with Cheng Ping Ping, His future brother in law, and the Emperor himself.

Kmuse: The one that really stood out this week was Fan Xian finally connecting with The Emperor. I have to admit that I’m running around trying to figure out how all of the different men connect with his mother. Not to mention, I feel that a birth secret is hidden in all these connections. The way The Emperor reacted to Fan Xian, spying on him before making his presence known was fascinating. The Emperor looked hesitant as well as excited. Something that I don’t think happens very often. I can’t wait to get more answers.

Drama Geek: His meeting with the Emperor was possibly my favorite scene of the series so far. It highlights all the reasons that I’m on episode 20 and not bored. The Emperor was nervous and delighted to meet Fan Xian. He is either his son, or the Emperor loved his mother and is all a flutter to see her offspring in front of him. Fan Xian NEVER bowed to the Emperor. I can bet that his mother probably didn’t either. (A fact that probably led to her death, eventually.) The eunuch and Fan Xian’s interaction was also delightful. I loved the dynamic when both princes and Fan Xian’s father-in-law were all together. Crown Prince cowers in his father’s presence; 2nd Prince is respectful, but still a lot more laid back than his older brother. And then you have Fan Xian who never once acts as if his life is on the line.

Highlights & Final Thoughts

Kmuse: I am so happy and excited about all these new connections that came about this week. Fan Xian’s chemistry with everyone is spectacular. A fact that makes all aspects of this show interesting. I also loved that Uncle Wu Zhu is back and I hope we get some more great action sequences involving our sexy blind protector in the upcoming weeks.

Drama Geek: I was okay with the romance taking a backseat because the story really is that strong. I do think we need to get off the merry-go-round of Fan Xian getting in trouble and being saved. For him to become a fully-realized hero, he needs to discover some of the secrets from his mom’s past, and I hope Uncle Wu will be there to find it with him. An a positive note, we have had very little we couldn’t talk about to keep it upbeat, because we’re loving it so much. YAY!

Until the Next Drumstick,

Kmuse & Drama Geek

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

2 thoughts on “A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Episode 16-20

  1. Thank you for recapping this drama! It’s one of my favorites from 2019 and I am so glad you’ve decided to do positive recaps for it. The storyline, characters, pacing, and acting for this drama hit all the right spots for me. I love Fan Xian! I look forward to your recaps of the future episodes ^_^

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