A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 26-30

The world was turned upside down and frozen over this week. What do we think of the explanation for Mom and Fan Xian’s knowledge of that other world? Is drunk Fan Xian brilliant or just plain silly? Is Uncle Wu’s smile the cutest thing ever? Join us to find out the answers to all this and more.

The God of Poetry

The Emperor has planned a celebration now that the talks with Northern Qi have ended. Everyone is invited, and Fan Xian seems to be the man to please. Both 2nd Prince and Crown Prince make passes at him. They make sure the Emperor knows they want him on their side. Except, one person at the party is determined to disclaim his brilliance and make a fool of him.

Zhuang Mo Han is the praised scholar from Northern Qi, and he announces to everyone that the last 4 lines of that poem Fan Xian wrote a while back were actually written by his mentor. He produces a scroll with the lines written on them. Guo Bao Kun (the guy Fan Xian beat to a pulp) uses this opportunity to denounce Fan Xian and call him a fraud. Of course, we all know Fan Xian really did use someone else’s poem, but it’s from the other world (what we think is the future) so he knows Zhuang Mo Han is lying.

Fan Xian is already a bit drunk when he proceeds to tell everyone the truth, that he memorized those lines from a dream he had of another world. He then recites over a hundred more famous Chinese poems as he gets totally smashed on wine. Everyone raves at his genius, and Zhuang Mo Han is completely discredited and losing any respect he once had.

Kmuse: I was conflicted during this scene. On one hand, I enjoyed Fan Xian showing up the people trying to take him down. This is always one of my favorite aspects of this drama. That said, I like the more subtle style that the director usually uses rather than the bash, in your face, drunken shouting we got here. I know there was a specific reason to show Fan Xian so loud and drunk but it was still irritating.

Drama Geek: I rarely watch with timed comments on, but for some reason they were on during this scene. Someone claimed that the actor really did get drunk off his butt and was method acting. That is some commitment. I can say he was flushed bright red and to my eyes it looked real. As for the drama, the part I loved is how excited the guy (I can’t find him in My Drama List for his name and I’m blanking) was to take all the brilliant poems down. He was totally poem geeking.

Sneaking into Grandma’s Room

Fan Xian and Uncle Wu had already come up with a plan to sneak into the palace after the party, so Fan Xian has to take medicine to throw up and sober up. They proceed with their plan, Uncle Wu distracting Eunuch Hong, while Fan Xian sneaks into the Queen Dowager’s room to steal the key they’ve been looking for. He has a locksmith waiting outside, and a fake is made. He manages to get back into the palace to put the fake back but happens upon a meeting between Wan’er’s Mom and Zhuang Mo Han. She not only worked with him against Fan Xian, but she’s the one who sold out their spy (Yan Bing Yun) in Northern Qi.

Fan Xian is spotted and has to run from Archer Hottie. He almost gets away but is shot in the shoulder as he jumps over the last wall.

Kmuse: This whole theft was so much fun to watch. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Eunuch Hong, he has the most fascinating face. His presence just grabs my attention anytime he is on screen.

Drama Geek: I loved the fight between Uncle Wu and Eunuch Hong. They were pretty evenly matched and it was a delight to watch. I also enjoyed seeing Fan Xian in that outfit. What can I say, the boy looks good in black.

Still the Luckiest Guy Around

Archer Hottie recognizes Fan Xian’s silhouette as he plummets over the palace wall, and rushes to his house to catch him. Ruo Ruo has been pretending to take care of him all night and doesn’t want to let Archer in when he gets there. He shoves her out of the way, and Fan Xian weakly calls from within the room. He got there JUST in time to prove to Archer Hottie that he was in bed all night. He even shows him his bare back and abs to prove he wasn’t shot.

Kmuse: Fan Xian’s luck is so amazing. I also want to know what that key was made out of, that it could literally stop an arrow? I’m also a bit sad that my Ruo Ruo and hottie Archer ship is sunk. There wasn’t any kind of chemistry between the two. I guess we will have to continue the search for the perfect warrior for our awesome Ruo Ruo.

Drama Geek: The key is made of out the same futuristic material that the cyrogenic containers were…. oh wait, we don’t know all that exists. LOL. The ship sailed as soon as Archer Hottie proved loyal to Wan’er’s mom. It’s okay you gotta have a few hot bad guys running around or it just isn’t a good Cdrama.

Um… Ice Ages, cryogenic Momma, and Uncle Wu’s Smile. Oh My!

When the dust settles, Fan Xian and Uncle Wu get right to work and open Mom’s box. There’s a weapon inside and 2 letters. One for Little Wu and one that says Uncle Wu is NOT allowed read, but it isn’t labeled for anyone. When Fan Xian reads Uncle Wu’s letter it is full of sisterly affection for him and is super sweet. He gets the most adorable smile on his face by the end.

The second letter addresses Fan Xian by name and explains what’s going on. Apparently, “we” opened a door and created a second ice age. Fan Xian’s mom is one of several people who were awakened from a cryogenic state and that’s why they remember the world before it’s demise. Fan Xian wasn’t frozen, but was part of an experiment where they placed memories within him. There is a secret doorway underneath the lake at his mom’s old house that will give him all the answers, but is very dangerous.

Kmuse: What the fish is this plot point? UGH, How are we supposed to believe that society goes in the exact same line (including all the same cultures) that occurred hundreds of years earlier before society popcicled themselves? To be honest, I would buy time travel before this explanation. But I guess when your government outlaws time travel and aliens, you have to get creative.

Drama Geek: Yeah, when you can’t say he and his mom time traveled, you gotta get around it somehow. I agree that this is crazyballs. They did say the reason the world is going in the same order is because more than just his mom woke up from being a popsicle. I have a feeling that they’ll push this plot point to the side until we get closer to the end.

Wan’er Gets to Join in the Fun

After Fan Xian decides to table all the crazy his mom just unloaded on him, he seeks out Wan’er to help him get into the palace to return the fake key. She teaches him how to properly act as a eunuch and then they go see the Queen Dowager. Wan’er distracts the Queen Dowager while Fan Xian gets the key back in place. But his breathing is detected by Archer Hottie, he isn’t caught, but now Wan’er’s mom thinks the old lady is out to get her.

Chen Ping Ping brings the treasonous things that Wan’er’s mom is doing to the Emperor and she says that she wasn’t the only one who knew about Yan Bing Yun was in Northern Qi. Fan Xian happened to see him leaving and knew of his mission. Now Chen Ping Ping knows there’s a mole in his organization who is working with Wan’er’s mom.

Kmuse: It is so nice to see Wan’er included in Fan Xian’s crazy plans. Her giant smile when Fan Xian explained what was going on was just adorable. These two are such a great OTP and I hope they can do more hijinks together in the future.

Drama Geek: I was super happy that Wan’er not only got to play along with Fan Xian, but she was totally okay with being sneaky and deceptive. She’s only seen a small part of who our hero really is, and she will need to get on board with all his wild ideas if she is going to marry him.

The Long Con

Two of the officials that work for Chen Ping Ping have acted suspicious for several episodes, one being Yan Bing Yun’s dad. We know he isn’t the one who sold his son out to Wan’er’s mom. They lure the other guy out of the city and reveal that they’ve been deceiving him since Fan Xian’s first assassination attempt. He believes he is doing what is best for Southern Qi, and is firm in his assessment that Fan Xian is not fit to take over for Chen Ping Ping. He asks to die by his own sword and they oblige since Eunuch Hong heard everything and can relay Wan’er’s mom’s treason to the Emperor.

Kmuse: I am a huge fan of Chen Ping Ping and Fan Xian working together. Chen Ping Ping is such a wonderful drama queen and Fan Xian’s cheeky sarcasm fits in perfectly to Ping Ping’s grandiose reveals.

Drama Geek: Who doesn’t have great chemistry with Fan Xian? I love seeing him with almost any person in this cast. I admit I was a teeny tiny bit bored during the reveal but I loved when Fan Xian and Chen Ping Ping came out, and when Eunuch Hong dropped out of the sky.

Final Thoughts:

Kmuse: I feel like a broken record but I am still loving this drama. I can’t wait to see what happens next and kind of sad that I am getting towards the end. Waiting for season 2 is going to really suck.

Drama Geek: Somewhere Kdrama Jen sits and waits for us to finally get to the end. She started way after us and zipped right to the final episode. I can’t wait to finish season 1, so we can chat all about it, but I will also be very sad. It’s rare that I find a Cdrama that is this engaging and keeps me invested this many episodes in.

Until the Next Drumstick,

Kmuse & Drama Geek

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

11 thoughts on “A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 26-30

  1. The ice-age (and a lot besides that) happened in the novel too, but the reveal was handled differently as there was only one letter with the gun and it didn’t say anything about mom’s origins. In fact mommy didn’t even know that Fan Xian is a time traveler too. It takes a while before boy gets to hear the whole story, like almost to the end of the novel. And it makes a lot more sense in that framework. I do wonder if and how they are going to explain the whole “societies develop in the same way” thingy in the drama. For the life of me I can’t remember if Drama has the Emissaries. I seem to recall Uncle Wu fighting with someone in a straw hat, but maybe I just dreamed that. :P This calls for a quick skip re-watch of the early epis.

    Loved Joy of Life and I do hope that season 2 actually materializes one day.

    • The slightly puzzling explanation for what Ye Qingmei’s backstory is (and it’s not exactly that Fan Xian is a time-traveler, but I understood it from the letter in the drama that he’s more of type of embryo/clone/whatever that carries the knowledge of that time – to a degree) why I turned to the novel to see what the explanation is in the source material. So far, I’m just about to the remaining main story arc that will be shown in the part one drama and I’m not all that much more enlightened about the sci-fi aspects of Fan Xian and his mother’s history, but I live in hope :) Time travel would have been much easier to explain – darn you censors! ;) There’s no mention of “Emissaries” as such in the drama, so maybe it will be in part two, or they’ve chosen to explain it a different way.

      AvenueX has said that part two is in pre-production and it seems like they’ve kept the same team in place. I think she even speculated that they might have filmed some of the content while they were doing part one — maybe to have access to a certain very popular actor…? — and the ending of part one was one way of keeping the drama within the episode number constraints being imposed by the broadcasting governing bodies. All I will say about part two is IT BETTER HAPPEN SOON (Coronavirus, darn you) because after the ending of part one I am MOST anxious for it!

      • Time travel isn’t quite right either as that would mean physically going to places. In the novel it’s the conciousness, soul, whatever you like to call it, that travels. I believe it’s called “transmigration”. ☺ This is how it’s in most of these stories. Yup, you’ll get the skinny on how mommy got to this world, nothing on Fan Xian though. Well, nothing SciFi. On that part Drama is pretty faithful to the novel. The big change will be how S1 of drama ended as that’s not at all how it goes in the novel.

        I doubt the filming schedule had anything to do with “that” actor as he was still pretty much a total noob in the acting department at that point. 😉 More than likely S1 was intended to be longer and then the rules changed.

        • Well, he was filming The Untamed at the same time at Hengdian, and judging by his thinness here in Joy of Life it was later in the production of The Untamed — did they know that they had a hit and star in the making on their hands with the casting of Yan Bingyun? I’ll bet that they did, and he wasn’t exactly a novice, even if his prior roles were not the main figure. The camera loves him. Giving him the ending credits song too was a canny move.

          But sci-fi or not, does the glossing over of the technical aspects is something that matters, IMO. When you’re dealing in a fantasy environment it is important to have rules that provide structure to that world. They can seem illogical, but they have to be consistent.

          As some viewers haven’t reached the end of S1 yet it would be unfair to comment on that cliffhanger, and I’ve yet to reach that part of the novel, but I wondered if there was a departure from the novel. I look forward to it!

          • Joy of Life started filming in 2017, so it was actually before The Untamed had their start in April 2018. You seem to have more trust than I in production companies’ ability to predict how their dramas will do in the future. 😉 Based on what I’ve read, no-one expected the The Untamed and it’s leads to blow up like they did. In fact there was quite a bit of grumbling (at least by the novel fans) when they released the info on who the leads will be.

            I do wonder how the drama will go about making the technical aspects work without transmigration/time travel being part of the package. I at least had no trouble with how the novel did it. But then, I’m not usually too fussy about things like that, especially if the rest of the story works for me. :)

            The ending took me by surprise as I was not expecting that, based on the novel. I am quite curious about how S2 will go forward from that. Hopefully we’ll see it sooner than later, but you never know with Cdramas.

          • Really? That’s interesting – and different information from what I’d seen from XZ’s fandom on SM – but it does seem that his career was/is very much on an upward trajectory. Could anyone have predicted how The Untamed would do? Maybe from being on-set, but it is hard to know what will capture the audiences’ attention. Plenty of people have gone broke trying to figure that out!

            I’m willing to live with the notion that trying to explain/rationalize the existence of Ye Qingmei and Fan Xian’s embryonic knowledge as explained by either the source or script materials as being one of the ‘mysteries’ you have to flesh out with your own imagination (or let go because the story/stories as a whole matter more), but the drama team has done a great job of adaptation so far in how it’s deviated from the book, so fingers crossed 🤞 that they have solid plans for that ending deviation and they get to go back to work with the next installment soon.

    • I might read the book between season 1 & 2 because it sounds like it might help make sense of things. There aren’t Emissaries in the drama because I don’t know what that is. LOL

  2. I really hope they keep all the actors for at least the main & important supporting roles. The acting in this drama is superb. I might have to go back to the novel. I really did not like it. It’s very dry and kind of boring. The drama is hugely better, but given that I would really to know what happened next I might have to slug through it ;)

  3. I was recently listening to a short sci fi story written by the Chinese writer Mo Xiong called Operation Spring Dawn. It also dealt with Ice Age that killed off humanity and the last human left in suspended animation to be awaken at the end of this Ice Age. There even androids/homunculi created to support the last humans. I had to go check if this was not the same writer who wrote Joy of Life. It was not. Then as I was looking through more sci fi podcasts, I started noticing that there are more stories written by Chinese writers about on coming Ice Age. I found this weird. Is this their way of denying global warming?

  4. I just want to state that I love all the convos going on! Kmuse and I are not ignoring you, but we will probably wait until we finish to come back and give our full opinion on all these thoughts. We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage because we’re going slower. LOL.

  5. I am not recapping, but I have finished the drama, so I can chat about it! This is the advantage of being an addicted drama-binger. So, carry on with the conversation, and I can hang out here until Kmuse and Drama Geek are ready to join. -Kdrama Jen

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