A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 21-25

Fan Xian finds himself in full fiancé mode. He has to meet ALL the royal moms and grandmas while dodging his lady love and her father’s assassination attempts. Fan Xian soon finds out that the most deadly in-law is the one he has yet to meet.

Our OTP and Their Tangled Relations

This week has our OTP is on a roller coaster of emotions. First Wan’er confronts Fan Xian, knife in hand, and asks if he was the one who killed her brother. He answers with precise language so that he is telling the truth, but does hide his knowledge of the real killer from her. She is very relieved and falls into his arms, but you can tell he struggles with the weight of being partially responsible for the death. You see the same conflicted emotion any time Dabao or the prime minister speaks of his absence and their grief.

Drama Geek: At this point, they are one for one. Uncle Wu killed her brother, and her brother’s actions are what resulted in Teng Zi Jing’s death. I hate that there is something between them that will eventually be used for her to push him away, but I think we’ve already seen that she will be able to forgive him.

Kmuse: This is a very tangled relationship if we see it from an extended family/friend viewpoint. But I am going to ignore all the complications because the OTP is cute and deserves to be happy.

A Picnic, Hottie Archer, and the Mixed-Up kidnapping

Fan Xian and Uncle Wu concoct a plan to go on a picnic so they can find his mother’s old house (yeah, it’s totally not just a house, but a palace) where they think the key to that chest is. It turns out, Fan Xian isn’t the only one hiding things. The prime minister secretly visits Wan’er the night before and tells her to get Fan Xian away from everyone else so that they can test him. Daddy still doesn’t believe Fan Xian had nothing to do with his son’s death, and he thinks Fan Xian might have an expert swordsman secretly protecting him.

Luck always seems to be on Fan Xian’s side, because while he is off looking for his mom’s house, the Crown Prince arrives and takes Wan’er on a walk. That is when the fake assassins hit and kidnap the wrong guy.

Fan Xian and Ruo Ruo find the house but can’t go inside because it’s being protected by a hidden archer. Uncle Wu shows up, knocking Ruo Ruo out cold. Poor girl, she is the best sidekick ever, always doing all the leg work, and still hasn’t met smoldering Uncle Wu. Sigh.

Uncle Wu tosses the arrow back at the house (without a bow!) and it lands straight through the wall. So the archer decides to have lunch out by the lake and taunt them.

Drama Geek: I may have fanned myself a bit when we got a full view of our new Hottie Archer. He reminds me of Lucas from WayV (and SumperM) in all the right ways. I don’t always think every character needs a love interest, but I hope if they do match Ruo Ruo up with someone, they are her equal. She is smart, and resourceful, and has a wonderful sense of humor. I’m not sure who would be a good match, but I do hope she ends up with someone or gets a really amazing job by Fan Xian’s side.

Kmuse: Hottie Archer is so steamy. I 100% approve of his addition to the drama. I also, couldn’t stop laughing when Crown Prince got taken away. The Crown Prince is slowly becoming more and more interesting as the story goes on.

A Kept Man?

While Uncle Wu distracts Hottie Archer, Fan Xian sneaks into the house to find the key but instead finds the Emperor. Fan Xian lies his butt off about wandering in there accidentally for a drink. They converse for a moment but are interrupted by Hottie Archer who seems to be speaking in the type of code a bodyguard would to his charge. The Emperor has to show himself, and Fan Xian to the archer to prove he’s safe. Apparently, those ears on Hottie Archer can hear if there are two sets of breathing and he was about to kill our usually lucky hero.

The Emperor makes it very clear the house will now be off-limits, but he does invite Fan Xian to the palace, which is where Uncle Wu later tells him the key must be now.

Drama Geek: In one of these episodes Fan Xian finally muses about his mother’s relationship with all of these men. Her house is pretty much kept as she left it, and is nice enough to be an extension of the actual palace. She also has Chen Ping Ping pining away for her. And though we haven’t seen it in a while, when Fan Xian’s adopted father spoke of his mom, it was very wistful and affectionate. I’m pretty sure none of these men know who Fan Xian’s dad is, and they are all hoping it’s them. Or I’m wrong, and she only slept with one of them, but the Emperor and Chen Ping Ping do not seem the type to trust Fan Xian with everything they have unless he could be theirs.

Kmuse: I’m so impatient to find out the relationship between all these men and Fan Xian’s mother. The fact that she has so much influence on their lives even 20 years later must mean that she was a pretty interesting woman. I also enjoyed how awkward it was when Fan Xian accidentally finds The Emperor in his mom’s old room. I am betting that was not what he expected to find when he started this.

In-Laws Suck Sometimes

When Fan Xian returns to Wan’er she informs him of her father’s plot, and the fact that the Crown Prince is now being held captive in his place. He returns with Dabao to the prime minister’s estate and ends up being pulled into cleaning up the kidnapping mess with his soon to be father-in-law. Of course, Crown Prince uses this misstep to his advantage and forces the prime minister into an alliance. He’s about to do the same thing to Fan Xian when he is heroically rescued by 2nd Prince.

Drama Geek: Hands down, this was one of my favorite sequences with Crown Prince. His kidnapping was played for laughs to break up some of the more serious stuff and I loved it. The best part was when 2nd Prince shows up. I wish he was in more scenes because I totally love him.

Kmuse: 2nd Prince was just so cheeky and I love that he passive-aggressively made a very dramatic statement to the Prime Minister and Crown Prince.

Confessions and Stargazing

Wan’er has Ruo Ruo sneak her into their house that night and finds Fan Xian tinkering with a new humidifier he created. She tells him she’s sorry for going along with her father and lets him know how confusing all of it has been. She also talks about how lonely it was, knowing she might die at any time. She finally has him, and can’t bear to lose him now. She promises to never lie to him again, and he says starting TODAY, he will never lie to her again.

Drama Geek: I was telling Kmuse that I really do think these two are pretty even in the things they’ve hidden from one another and that they seem like a couple who can work past the secrets that will come out. They are adorable with each other, and they really do truly care about each other. They both need each other in the scary political world they find themselves in.

Kmuse: They are very sweet. I’m still really glad that the OTP is not the main focus of the story, but their relationship adds a softer layer to Fan Xian’s character.

All the Palace Women and Sexy Scary Temple Massages

Fan Xian is escorted to the palace by his step-mother and his ever-faithful sidekick, Ruo Ruo. They are paraded in front of all the different women in the palace starting with his step-mother’s cousin. He instinctively knows how to treat each of the women and passes most of the day with flying colors. Until he gets to Queen Dowager who sends Eunuch Hong out to tell him to bow and never actually meets him.

Even that doesn’t end too badly, but then Wan’er’s mother sends her maid to retrieve Fan Xian. She insists he come alone. She banters with him for a bit, and then claims she has headaches and asks if he has a remedy. He lets her know it involves massaging her, and she insists he proceed. As he’s rubbing her temples, she craftily admits that she was the one who ordered his assassination. It takes every bit of his willpower but he continues to massage her neck, and doesn’t strangle her the way he wants to. Thankfully for him, since Hottie Archer was waiting to kill him the moment he tried.

Drama Geek: Okay, Fan Xian meeting 2nd Prince’s mom was HILARIOUS. I loved all of his facial expressions and how different she is. I really hope that 2nd Prince can be an ally through all that is to come, because I love that family dynamic. Now for Wan’er’s mom. That scene was intense! They did a really great job at having great banter back and forth while he massaged her temples, and then when she revealed the truth you could feel him restraining himself. I also thought him pretending to shoot an arrow at Hottie Archer was SEXY as hell.

Kmuse: The moment that Fan Xian has his hands around Wan’er’s mother’s throat is crazy intense. The twitching of his fingers as Fan Xian is tempted to end her life. I approve that he is looking to make her suffer long and hard rather than just killing her right away. That woman is crazy and deserves to suffer.

More Testing of Fan Xian’s Character

Many people within the Investigation Bureau are unhappy with Chen Ping Ping and stage a cue. His main guard Shadow runs to get Fan Xian to help save Chen Ping Ping and they end up in the dungeons hiding. Fan Xian first saves Si LiLi from her cell and brings her into the caverns with them for safety, then when Shadow says they could just kill Chen Ping Ping and be saved, Fan Xian says they’ll just go down fighting. This is all a test by Shadow to see if Fan Xian would take the easy way out and kill Ping Ping. After Shadow kills the attackers, they call all the heads of the different divisions so Chen Ping Ping can declare Fan Xian his successor. Fan Xian doesn’t think he’s worthy, but Ping Ping says Fan Xian’s mom created the bureau and he was just protecting it until Fan Xian could take it over.

Drama Geek: Fan Xian has really big shoes to fill. His mom obviously was a great leader and touched many lives. I almost wish it was her story we were following. If anyone has read the book and knows if they delve into the past more, let me know.

Kmuse: I know that this was a really great sequence of events and of course I loved it. But the big question I have is when we are going to see the mega baddie prisoner released and is he hot under all that hair and grime? Focusing on the important questions here. (Drama Geek: HA! I’m pretty sure he isn’t hot under there, but I wouldn’t put it past this drama.)

Fan Xian is Drama Geek’s Spirit Animal

Fan Xian doesn’t have time to stew about his future in-laws all out to get him, because he’s been tasked to run the negotiations with Northern Qi. He doesn’t really do much, that’s left to the other guy he’s with, so he mostly just sits to the side and rolls his eyes at the craziness of it all. But before the proceedings are over, it’s revealed Northern Qi has captured Yan Bing Yun and they want to exchange him for this super scary dude that’s being held in the dungeons. Yan Bing Yun must be pretty important to the Emperor because he agrees, and then plans a party with everyone to celebrate.

Drama Geek: I know many people who are dying for The Untamed actor to show up. From what I’ve heard it’ll still be another 10 episodes before his character Yan Bing Yun is released. And yes, Fan Xian during the negotiations is totally me during politicking.

Kmuse: I laughed through the whole politicking sequence and thought of Drama Geek’s angst the whole time. The lack of dignity was hilarious.

Final Thoughts:

Drama Geek: Every time I think they will bore me with politics they manage to only sprinkle them in among the fake kidnappings and parade of palace women. I really don’t give a hoot about Chen Ping Ping being ousted or the war with Northern Qi, but the writing is smart enough that I care about most of the characters involved so I’m rarely not entertained. Keep it up drama, don’t fail me in the last half of the drama.

Kmuse: We are almost halfway through and I am still 100% invested. I love all the characters and even the bad guys keep me very entertained.

Until the Next Drumstick (it was the Archer this time!),

The Fangirls,

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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2 thoughts on “A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 21-25

  1. I’m a few episodes ahead of you and I’m enjoying this immensely – so much so that I started reading the source novel to compare (and I’ll write about that later) because I wanted more detail – MORE! This is a rare long drama where I have yet to skip ahead (which I will do during predictable plotty/backstabby villain scenes in lesser dramas) and the cast is bringing it home for me. And… if you love hottie archer, he’s also in “The Legend” with Xu Kai and Bai Lu (also of “Arsenal Military Academy”), but I don’t know that I want him with Ruoruo as he does seem to be too indebted to 2nd Princess.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen through 30 and I agree with you on Hottie Archer. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on the book. I read a comment somewhere that the women aren’t as developed in the book and it’s more serious.

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