Invincible Shan Bao Mei 14: Muddy Water

Christina Aguilera – Dreamy Eyes:

Other than making me choke on my yummilicious egg custard, the first 20 minutes of this episode makes me appreciate the existence of a typically annoying money-making strategy called commercial – had there been any advertisement interrupting the viewing process, I would be floating away to the land of distraction (ohh! a bag of chips! *attack*) and never flick back the channel. The good news is that, at the very least, there is one more item to add to your plate of appreciation for this year’s Thanksgiving.

Well, well, well. Sometimes the bystanders are more concerned than the actual participants. Recall that Sun Wu Di and Hu Shan Bao have just gotten together, the rest of the Guang Ji family are already getting ahead of themselves and thinking about the essential five F’s of survival. Especially the one involving n sperms whipping their mitochondria-rich flagellum and swimming toward one ginormous egg. Quite a, er, practical family.

Did you know that aphrodisiac now comes in the form of powder? It’s said that if you snort the thing, you’ll get high turn to the person next to you and dazzle them like Edward Cullen never before.

So Xiao Sa and Chi Xing get to work. They spread the bag of powder on Shan Bao’s bed, hoping that when Wu Di walks her to her room and helps her make her bed, they will both inhale the magic powder and fall head to toes in bed. (What makes them think he’ll make her bed for her? Unless, he is already thinking about going to bed with her.) Unfortunately, or shall I say fortunately? Fortunately, Xiao Sa is as clumsy as oh-so-perfect Bella Swan (sorry, still in the Twilight-sucks-so-bad-that-it’s-good mode.) that he trips on his foot and flops into bed, bringing Chi Xing with him. The powder shoot to their nostrils and one zap between the eye, they are off to make babies pluck eyebrows in bed. (Some kind of foreplay? Me don’t understand!)

Sun Wu Di and Hu Shan Bao return to the hotel room to find it locked. Not wanting to bother the others, they decide to stay in the same room for the night.

Inside the bedroom, it gets a little awkward. As Shan Bao dreads and desires the possibility of intercourse at the same time, the love test that she completed with her family springs to mind. Wu Di gathers his clothes to take a shower and lets out a softly, “Oh man I feel so bloated.” (How many showers does he need to take?! He’s already taken one in the morning! Sun Wu Di, think about the indigenous people in Africa and conserve some water!)

If he is lactating, would you be willing to squeeze the milk for him? “I can help you squeeze!”* Wu Di assesses Shan Bao’s sanity for a second and pretends not to hear.

*In Chinese, the state of being bloated and the sensation before lactating is described with the same verb. In a self-fulfilled fantasy, Shan Bao misinterprets the situation.

Shan Bao follows after Wu Di, ready to squeeze whatever is squeezable for him and runs into Wu Di. “Oh I was just going to take a shower.” Wu Di explains, “If you want, you go can first.” Shower… When he has been outside all day, you would be fine with it and clean him up. Shan Bao blurs out, “You want me to wash you?” “What?” (Yeah, WHAT?!) “Er, you’ve been out all day. I don’t mind you being dirty. I can wash you.” Wu Di raises an eyebrow and says, “Ever since my mother died when I was little, no body has washed me since. If you insist, I guess I can try to get use to it.” (What?! I thought this is rated G. *facepalm*) Shan Bao tilts her head to blush but then, Wu Di sneezes. “I must have caught a cold being out for too long.” Wu Di mutters to himself, “I should go measure my temperature”. When he’s sick, you would be willing to measure his rectal temperature for him. Shan Bao runs towards Wu Di and pleas earnestly, “If you don’t mind, I can… measure your rectal temperature for you.” As the last few words escaped her mouth, even Shan Bao realizes how absurd and improper her offer sounds to the virgin ears.

“Hu Shan Bao, you’ve been acting very oddly today. What’s eating you?” Wu Di finally asks. When the truth is revealed that the love reading she had done was targeted for pets, Shan Bao runs away and hides under the blankets in embarrassment.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully. Shan Bao sleeps in Wu Di’s arms after swearing eternity together. (Someone’s in a hurry. I know we‘ve spent 14 weeks watching them but they couldn’t have known each other for more than two months. And here, we have eternity already.)

The next day, Wu Di is dragged to see Shan Bao’s dead mother, in front of which, he swares to take care of Shan Bao for as long as he lives. The Guang Ji Four coerces Wu Di into an marriage agreement. He puts the rooster ring (Yes you read right. Not a diamond ring but a gold, rooster ring) on Shan Bao’s ring finger and announces themselves fiancé and fiancée. (You think one night stand is rash? Think again. I mean how desperate do they have to be to expedite the dating process SO much?)

Right when Shan Bao mistakenly believes that happiness is on its way to her house, what comes knocking is Ji Zu An’s return…

Zu An’s return isn’t as simple as it seems. She has been coaxed into going to LA. During her absence, her father was able to steal Wu Di’s name stamp from his daughter without her noticing. Where Zu An arrived at her aunt’s house, she realized what has happened. By then it was too late. She was put under constant surveillance with no chance of escaping. One day two weeks ago, she found a chance to run away. Surely enough, she faked a sickness and escaped without money and passport to sneak on a boat that’s to take her back to Taiwan. She hid herself aboard until the day the ship entered the harbor and ran all the way to Tian Xiang Lou where she met Wu Di’s old sidekick and received his help. (Dang two weeks of drifting on the ocean, how did she find food and water to survive?)

Zu An’s return puts strain on Wu Di and Shan Bao’s relationship, but it also adds to Uncle’s trouble. Now that Zu An’s back, she is bound to be on Sun Wu Di’s side and shake up the truth behind the foul play. But Wei Qing welcomes the change with open arms and a wicked grin. He is going to seize the opportunity to execute his vendetta.

Zu An doesn’t just pop out of nowhere in front of Sun Wu Di with an awkward smile and a feeble, “‘Sup (ex-)boyfriend? Remember me?” Through Ah Qiang, Zu An convinces Wu Di to come to her for a way of overturning his “bad luck”. She offers him an audio recording of her conversation with her father where the truth behind Sun Wu Di’s initial resignation is confirmed and made into evidence. (Some shady evidence and even shadier offer.) Facing the onslaught of changes, Wu Di is overwhelmed. His life is fine now, he wants no change.

Zu An may be quick with action, Wei Qing is quicker. He has convinced Uncle to transfer the ownership of Tian Xiang Lou to him (Wei Qing). Reasoning that even if Zu An is willing to help Wu Di taking back Tian Xiang Lou from Uncle, without him being in the position of power, their efforts will be futile. The uncle is blind enough to sign the agreement and giving Tian Xiang Lou to Zhao Wei Qing. Just like that.

Despite Wu Di’s annoyance at Zu An’s reappearance, Shan Bao uses her warm kindness to convince Wu Di that Zu An is the victim of a power struggle and should be treated with compassion. She decides to take Zu An into Guang Ji’s protective wings. The Guang Ji Three protest fiercely against Shan Bao’s decision, stating that allowing an ex-girlfriend live in the current girlfriend’s house is not the best idea. Da Dao begs to differ. He pities Zu An for being homeless and respects her for her courage to testify against her own father in the name of justice. Thus, Zu An is officially an honorable house gust at Guang Ji.

My brain fell into the toilet half way through the recap and all I could think of was how tired I was and how much I wanted to pass out on bed. That’s why there’s no more pictures after the midpoint. As I was crunching my way through this, a thought occurred to me: if any of my readers are English teachers/linguists (obviously an English teacher and/or linguist wouldn’t watching a drama like this), then that reader must be pulling hair out each time I make a grammatical error.

About this drama, there are so many themes attempted and could be explored at considerable depth, yet each time, before the drama commits itself, it diverges again and wanders away like an ADHD kid.

What I did like about this episode in extension to the last was the idea that reality and superstition can be set apart even in the hightened reality of a drama. Just because Shan Bao accidentally kissed Wei Qing in the church, it doesn’t mean that she is destined to be separated from Wei Qing — unless she convinces herself so. Similiarily, just because a soothsayer speaks ill of Wu Di and Shan Bao’s relationship, it doesn’t have to come true.

4 thoughts on “Invincible Shan Bao Mei 14: Muddy Water”

  1. Jia ho, almost at the end! Your recap was entertaining as always. Don’t worry grammatically your fine because your style of writing follows a conversation form. Though I can’t believe you found this episode boarding, it meets both ridiculous and romantic expectations, and the ADD aspect is what makes ISBM unique. Oh one question, at the end Shan Bao hides a calendar from Zu An what was on it, perchance a Wedding date? Gleeeeee!

  2. Once again I love your recap–fun ending to my Thanksgiving weekend. Perhaps it’s me and my total lack of Chinese language, but the writing and plot devices are getting a bit ham-handed and brutal. It’s still fun but I agree with you there are lots of roads that explored individually might be more interesting instead of being thrown 90 miles an hour at the viewer…but it could just be me and the turkey dinner hangover.

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