Long time no review! I’m very behind on my episodic reviews, but my thoughts are still fresh from the latest episodes I’ve watched of RRL. So I just wanted to pop in and write a quick update, not so much a full-on review. Just a heads up, I have a lot of frustrations over the story so I will be rambling about it here..
*Warning: Spoilers ahead!*
Lately I’ve been watching RRL very slowly because it has become very hard to watch. I knew from the start that Ruyi would be defeated. Even so, it’s painful watching her getting insulted, betrayed, and mistreated in almost every episode. And the worst part is that she barely puts up a fight. It feels like she’s going down with her ship without even trying to swim her way to the shore.
It really amazes me how consistent Ruyi has remained. Maybe Ruyi wants to show that her enemies can’t change her no matter what they do to her. I get that sense during some of her last scenes. She wants to do things her way even if that path leads to her death. But…I would’ve thought that by now, something would’ve pushed her over the edge. If the murder of her children, 3 years in the Cold Palace, Suo Xin’s torture, and cheating scandals aren’t enough to make her change then I don’t know what will. It’s not that I want Ruyi to abandon her morals for the sake of revenge. I just want her to defend herself, show the harem who’s in charge, and change for the better. It makes me think of the quote:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” -Einstein
Ruyi keeps doing the same things–not giving up on the emperor, looking the other way when people mistreat her–and the same things keep happening. Why is it that even the characters who used to be timid–like Hailan and Chun Gui Fei–can defend themselves better than Ruyi can?!
I think Ruyi could’ve been a great leader if she actually wanted the position. She could’ve brought about more positive change in the harem. However her motivation was never to act as the Empress, but simply to be the Emperor’s companion. There are so many maddening instances when Ruyi overlooks blatant disrespect. I feel in pain watching it; a few particularly painful scenes stick out in my mind:
- Jin Yuyan (Jia’s rank changes too much towards the end, so I’m calling her by her name) keeps blaming Ruyi for her son’s broken leg, and even throws the soup (or was it medicine?) that Ruyi made to the ground. Really painful moment.
- A new concubine brags that she’s gonna be Empress since Ruyi is now old and not favored
- Princess He Jing disses Ruyi in front of the entire harem
In Ruyi’s view, she’s taking the high road when she doesn’t engage with people who are looking for a fight. Why waste your energy on people who are not going to change their views? The sad part is that Ruyi is allowing everyone to disrespect and mistreat her, and in doing so, is mistreating herself.
I gave up on the Emperor and I don’t think he has a chance to change. He has already passed by so many opportunities to do the decent thing. Every time he regrets it and every time he does the exact same thing. The Emperor creates his own loneliness by casting away all the people who are trustworthy. At least the former Empress had an aha moment when she realized how her own actions were repaid to her. At least Jin Yuyan realized her entire life purpose was a lie–although I don’t think she regretted her crimes. I don’t think the Emperor is going to realize anything though.
The scary part is the Emperor’s delusions. He creates his own version of the past in his head so that he can look better. Examples of his ridiculous sayings which make me go what the heck:
- The former Empress was virtuous.–He conveniently forgets her evil deeds and treats her like a saint..
- It’s impossible for him to nurture an evil concubine (Yanwan)–Forgot what ALL the fallen concubines before Yanwan did..
- Jin Yuyan wouldn’t possibly do something bad again–If the Emperor is so paranoid, why does he trust that Yuyan learned her lesson and won’t hurt Ruyi again?!
- After Ruyi has her miscarriage, he doesn’t want to face the music so he blames HER for it.
There’s no chance of making a rational argument to the Emperor because his views are based on delusions and not on reality. He refuses to see that he trusts the wrong concubines, which allows crimes to continue. The scene when he kicks Jin Yuyan for murdering his daughter was hard to watch because he was the one who let her off the hook in the first place!
I can’t believe I’m saying this: I prefer the LZH Yongzheng Emperor over the RRL Qianlong Emperor, even though he did a lot of sucky things too. Surprisingly I never really considered the LZH Emperor to be a villain. He was just a human. He faced the truth, accepting that the Empress committed crimes and never seeing her for the rest of his life. He allowed the concubines to argue their case, and his punishments were usually swift and satisfactory. The concubines also felt more respected for their intellect and often advised the Emperor on difficult problems. In contrast the RRL Emperor has to create an alternate reality in his mind to protect his ego and thinks that the concubines should serve his every whim.
I miss the King from Legend of Miyue, although he also caused his Queen much heartache…
There is no balance between good and evil in RRL. Evil is winning. I am impressed by how the drama has managed to make me hate Yanwan more than any other character in a period c-drama. I can’t believe Yanwan’s amazing abilities to BS her way through any situation. Not much more to say about her for now cuz I’m too fed up with her character!!
One positive of the drama in the later episodes is that Ruyi does gain some loyal allies. I enjoy seeing Ruyi’s camp with Hailan, Chun Gui Fei, and Ying Guiren. (I think she become Ying Pin but I don’t remember the timing of the ranks T_T) Thank goodness she has her allies who’ve got her back!
I know this update is mostly negative. I just feel so much pain watching the drama that I had to get it all out! I don’t mean for it to detract from the drama’s good points. I love seeing the beautiful set and costumes. I can feel the careful attention to detail in every scene. And of course the cast is wonderful–Zhou Xun is absolutely brilliant; her every expression speaks so much louder than words.
- Barin Meiruo
- Chen Chong
- Empress Dowager
- Janine Chang
- Jia Guiren
- Jin Yuyan
- Joan Chen
- Legend of Ruyi
- Legend of Zhen Huan sequel
- Li Chun
- Qianlong Emperor
- Ruyi Zhuan
- Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace
- Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace ep 69 review
- Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace review
- Vivian Wu
- Wallace Huo
- Wei Yanwan
- Xin Zhi Lei
- Ying Guiren
- Zhang Jianing
- Zhen Huan
- Zhou Xun