A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 36-40

We jump to Northern Qi as Fan Xian travels towards the capital for the prisoner exchange. New relationships develop and lots of politicking happens this week. Come join us as we discuss all our favorite moments.

So much happened this week that we can’t go into every little snippet. What we can do is hit all the new characters that were introduced to Fan Xian. So let’s tackle all this new plot we have been given.

Guo Da

We were introduced to Guo Da last episode but he has really grown into a great side character this week. His devotion to protecting Fan Xian and naivety over Fan Xian’s various actions is adorable. He also shows that he is (at least physically) a person to be reckoned with. When Fan Xian angered all of Northern Qi, hundreds of men came to challenge him to a duel. Fan Xian, realizing this was just a ploy to take up all his time with nonsense, ordered Guo Da to deal with it. He does so by declaring that no one can fight against Fan Xian unless they are skilled enough to defeat him. We get to enjoy watching Guo Da in the background throwing around various minions to and fro.

Kmuse: He is so flipping adorable. He is the perfect straight man for Fan Xian’s and Wang Qinian’s flippant humor. I especially like that the writer proved why Fan Xian’s father would send him as a guard for his son. He really is competent, just not all that bright.

Drama Geek: The running joke of how easy it is for him to beat all the men was hilarious. He is having the time of his life and barely breaks a sweat. I also love how he falls for anything the other men tell him. It makes for some pretty entertaining scenes.

Si Li Li

Si Li Li recovers and is no longer a walking poisoned time bomb (she was poisoned so that when she had sexy times with the emperor she would share the poison with him) thanks to Fan Xian giving her the antidote. It is obvious that the two have respect for each other but it is time to separate. Si Li Li is gathered by the Northern Qi guards and returned to the palace.

Kmuse: I have always enjoyed Si Li Li’s character. She has had some moments of greatness and really showed her strength. I am a bit sad that she is destined for the Emperor’s harem and won’t ever truly be free.

Drama Geek: I predict she will show up in season 2. They hinted that she has a brother that needs rescuing and Fan Xian is just the person to help her with that.

Shen Zhong

When our travelers arrive at the border of Northern Qi and Qing we meet our new big bad. Shen Zhong first appears foppish and almost ditzy, however, it isn’t long before we see the cruel nature beneath the facade. He takes control of the prisoner Xiao’en and mid-smile shatters his legs. Shen Zhong casually drags the returned prisoner through the mud (while he bleeds profusely) and puts him in an iron cage for transportation.

We also learn that he is firmly on Team Dowager Empress and has no intention of making the transition of prisoners easy for Fan Xian. He keeps putting Fan Xian off while saying that he has a few last things he needs to find out from Yan Bing Yun. Also, while Fan Xian waits, he needs to stay in the capital.

Kmuse: Am I the only one that thinks he looks like the bad guys from classic 1940s Hollywood? Attractive but super smarmy. I have to admit his facade fooled me until he went all killer on Xiao’en’s legs. That was a level of brutality I was not prepared for.

Drama Geek: Yup, totally 1940s Hollywood baddy. He’s an interesting foe for Fan Xian. He isn’t lured in by Fan Xian’s charm and he’s very cunning and really CRUEL.


Much to Fan Xian’s surprise, Xiao’en is not welcomed back to Northern Qi with open arms. Instead, he is tortured and beaten. Everyone seems to be looking for some secret that Xiao’en seems to know.

Kmuse: I really want to know why Xiao’en is so important. Their constant reference to his old age makes me think he won’t be with us much longer.

Drama Geek: I think someone said he followed Fan Xian’s mom out of being a popsicle. So, he holds secrets that everyone would want to know if he has firsthand experience of what life was like before the big freeze. If that is not the case, then I’m clueless why everyone needs his deep dark secrets. 🙂

Ha Daorin

A 9th level master in Northern Qing, Ha Daorin is the master that mentored the person Fan Xian killed way back at the beginning of the drama. Ha Daorin steps in front of Fan Xian’s cart and challenges him. They fight to a stalemate and before things can get more serious, he is stopped by the Palace troops. Turns out that making Fan Xian uncomfortable is allowed but having him actually die in Northern Qi is where the line is drawn. We later learn that he is actually a spy for Qing and will passively help Fan Xian when able.

Kmuse: Yet another stoic sexy warrior. This show really knows how to hold my interest.

Drama Geek: I’m a total fan of this stoic hottie.

Dowager Empress of Northern Qi

The power behind the throne, The Dowager Empress is in a power struggle with her young son (The Emperor) to control the country. She is unsure about Fan Xian and The Emperor’s interest in his literary talent.

Kmuse: I’m loving this actress. Her micro expressions are so on point and I can totally see why she retains so much power.

Drama Geek: I don’t remember her… I was too distracted by the Emperor. I will save that for the next section. LOL

Emperor of Northern Qi

Fan Xian is ordered to travel to the capital to speak with the Emperor who happens to be a big admirer of Poet Fan. Right from the beginning, he speaks informal to Fan Xian and connects with him in a way that irritates his mother. We also discover that The Emperor is using Fan Xian in the political fight against his mother.

Kmuse: It is obvious that there is more going on than a young boy meeting his writer idol. The emperor is obviously very smart and on top of all the intrigue occurring in his court. That doesn’t mean the fanboying wasn’t hilarious.

Drama Geek: Okay, so, the actress playing the Emperor is doing a fantastic job at being the “Little Emperor” as they like to call him. I find the character’s interactions with Fan Xian so much fun. And any way you look at it, the Emperor is very nice to look at. 🙂

Saintess Duo Duo

Saintess Duo Duo is such a wonderful character. Not only is she a mentee of one of the strongest fighters in Northern Qi, but she also is playing double agent for the Emperor and Dowager Empress. On top of all that, she has great quipping skills and is able to match Fan Xian in ever way.

Kmuse: Don’t get me wrong, I love our OTP. But man, would Duo Duo and Fan Xian make an epic couple. They have so much chemistry and their cheeky relationship is adorable.

Drama Geek: Wan’er, who? Sorry, I’m with Kmuse. I think this couple would be pretty epic. They match each other in so many ways. But, what I really want, is her to get her own drama. I need her story!!!!

Yan Bing Yun

Yan Bing Yun is the head of Qing’s spy ring but was captured when his identity was blown. He had developed a relationship with Shen Zhong’s sister and it is through this that Fan Xian discovers his location. He follows Lady Shen, who was nursing Bing Yun’s wounds and convinces her to help him save the prisoner. Through a series of fake-outs and help from Saintess Dou Dou, Fan Xian is able to save him.

Kmuse: First, let me say that this actor should always have a mane of glory. He is glorious. Second, he is such an uptight stick in the mud. It takes a super stubborn person not to warm up to Fan Xian, and Bing Yung is having none of the bromance.

Drama Geek: So…. this is a positive recap, right? Okay, he has a wonderful mane of glory. No, seriously. This actor is still fairly new, and even though his stint in The Untamed is pretty unparalleled in popularity, he’s still green. He is maybe the only actor in this drama who doesn’t have chemistry with Fan Xian. I do think a lot of it is due to his character, so no hate for me. Please!

Xiao En’s demise

Using Xiao En’s godson, Fan Xian (with the approval of The Emperor) sets it up that Xiao En will be saved and Shen Zhong will either be killed or take the blame for the screwup. Wise to the plan, Shen Zhong manages to outsmart everyone and kill all of the would-be protectors of Xiao En. He loses Xiao En, but not before his fighter pierces Xiao En’s heart. Fan Xian dons a disguise and jumps over a cliff into the water below saving Xiao En for the moment, but it doesn’t look like Xiao En will last long. Back in Qing, Chen Ping Ping and the Emperor say that this was all done to make Fan Xian stronger.

Kmuse: Ugh! I have to click play on the next episode because I have to know this big secret that everyone keeps alluding to. Also, for someone who was stabbed in the heart and went over a waterfall, Xiao En is really doing well. I have to roll my eyes since we all know how Chinese dramas like their dragged out dying from heart wound scenes.

Drama Geek: Tell us the big secret!!!! I loved it when Shadow was knocked out by Fan Xian’s mentor. So funny. I also would love to see who’s behind that mask. I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

Final Thoughts

Kmuse: I need more. With only six episodes left, I am going to journey on for answers. What the heck is going on and how does this help Fan Xian at all? UGH! The mystery is killing me.

Drama Geek: I had a crazy-balls week last week which did to allow me to watch dramas. I’ve had to rush through the last 5 episodes to get this out. I hope to enjoy the last 6 and finally be where everyone else is. Which is on the edge of a cliff without any resolution. Hehe.

Until the Next Drumbstick (Maybe? I don’t know if we’ll see Wan’er again),

Kmuse & Drama Geek

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

One thought on “A Positive Recap: Joy of Life Ep 36-40

  1. I need a serious explanation for the female emperor… And why she has a harem! Is she pretending to be a boy? Does fanxian ever realize she’s a girl? I’m so confused by it

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