Invincible Shan Bao Mei 16: Coming Back

Her love and knight of a fortnight,
left to claim his throne in a kingdom forgotten.
A day she waited for his return,
he never came back nor call.

While worried sick and growing white,
came knocking the nemesis with news of begotten.
Dreadful lies left heart to burn,
yet, a desperado she stood tall:

Come what may and let hell condemn!
(Thus the end of my amateur rhyme.)

Peici Zeng – Match Heaven

It wasn’t that Shan Bao was born with the apparatus that equipped her the strength to deal with the situation at hand, she drew her strength from the (ridiculous) Da Yan couple…

… Ever since Shan Bao knew about the impending other that she must make room for (read: baby), she hasn’t been exactly accepting. She longed to steal to a land void of unpleasant torment, so she fled. She ran, over the bridge and across the grass. By and by she stopped at a shabby sushi restaurant and sat down to watch a dramatic interpretation of a condescending How Difficult Women Can Be & How to Tame Her, written, directed, and played by the Da Yan couple — at least, that’s how it looked like on screen. To the eyes of an outsider, the events crashing down in rapid succession almost looked like this: in the middle of a heated discussion regarding Zu An’s baby, Shan Bao remembered that she has a show to catch. After all, the Da Yan couple had given her their precious toro at the competition some time back, so she felt obliged to humor their attempt by showing up at the performance. In fact, she was too engrossed in her own feeling that she did not realize the time. With tears still hanging from her face, she was too rushed to stuff her pocket with beef jerky and pop a bag of buttered popcorn in the microwave — darn it! So she ran to the performance site and sat down before the over zealous performers notice her belatedness. (The point was, Shan Bao’s running away and encountering the Da Yan couple was too poorly planned to be convincing.)

How Difficult Women Can Be & How to Tame Her

ACT I

Da Yan couple, at the table

Madame Da Yan: looks at sashimi, looks back at Mr Da Yan’s spiked hair, frowns. Picks up a strand of dried out yellow hair and twirls her finger around it. Winces, flings the hair away dramatically, and slams the desk, making all the dishes jump. OH WOE! YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE! OHHHHH! (crescendo on the “OH”) One hand covers mouth in horror, the other slaps onto forehead. Sways head back and forth in big motion like a pendulum. OH! OHHHH! Fake swoons.

Monsieur Da Yan: looks at wife with gravity and furrows brow. Grunts, eyes still on wife’s lolling head.

Mme. Da Yan: OH! OH! 30 MINUTES AGO, I PERMED THIS ROMANTIC, MOST ATTRACTIVE, ALLURING HAIRSTYLE… Picks up a strand of hair and admires dreamily in self-adoration. (That’s four A’s in a row. God knows how much I want A’s on my transcript.) Tilts head sharply and buries gaze into husband’s eye socket. Ducks head and leans forward, hissing grudgingly. 30 MINUTES LATER, OH! Fake swoons again. YOUR HAIR! LOOK AT IT, IT’S AS STRAIGHT AS AN ARROW! Shields face with one hand as if crying and accuses expressively. BEFORE, AS LONG AS I PERM MY HAIR, YOUR HAIR WILL CURL NATURALLY… AND NOW? OH! Covers face with both hands.

Mr. Da Yan: touches hair subconsciously. Maybe, maybe my endocrine system is disturbed. (With a wife like that, it’s hard not to be disturbed.) Or, maybe the roots of my hair are dormant!

Mme. Da Yan: twists head away and sniffles.

Mr. Da Yan: pounds the desk in frustration. Don’t get mad at me over something so trivial! Pounds desk again. I am so disappointed that your trust in me is as small as the bread crumb! Gets up to leave.

Mme Da Yan reaches out an arm to stop Mr. Da Yan. Looks at him warningly. Mr. Da Yan breaks free from Mme. Da Yan and exits.

Mme. Da Yan: gasps exaggeratedly. JUST LEAVE! Throws up firsts in the air. TODAY WILL BE THE DAY THAT US DA YAN COUPLE SE-PA-RATE! (Staccato on the “separate”) Sinks into chair sobbing.

ACT II

Nothing planned for the first half of act ii, audience participation time.

Shan Bao self inserts into the play. Preaches Mme. Da Yan that love requires trust.

Mme. Da Yan solidifies her reason for being angry: the hair and at Mr. Da Yan for not ordering toro.

Server enters.

Server: Sorry, here is your toro. I misplaced the order earlier.

Mme. Da Yan looks at Shan Bao and gasps until no air’s left in her diaphragm.

ACT III

Enters Mr. Da Yan.

Mr. Da Yan: Oh darling! (Sostenuto with vibrato on “darling”.) Spreads out arm and flashes teeth.

Mme. Da Yan: Turns to look, covers hand to mouth, speechless.

Mr. Da Yan: ’tis my hair that irked you, I have shaved them all off for you!

Doesnt my head sparkle, darling?
Doesn't my head sparkle, darling?

Mme. Da Yan: Still speechless. You shouldn’t have.

Mr. Da Yan: Oh I would, I would! For you I would! A thousand times over! For you, oh darling, I would pluck the moon and shoot down the sun! Gestures grandly and looks on into the distance as if in a trance. Would you forgive my folly, my dearest darling? Reaches out a hand.

Mme. Da Yan: moans with pleasure. Ohhh yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!! Swings self at husband and clasps hand. Now take me a wayyyyy! We shall strode the sun set together! (And ignore the sashimi all together.)

La Fin.

With the end of the play, the proscenium was left for Wu Di and Shan Bao. (Wu Di had caught up and found Shan Bao while she enjoyed the show.)

Why the long face after such an "excellent" performance?
Why the long face after such an "excellent" performance?

That’s right, this was a (brainless) comedy, not a tear duck expiring tragedy! (Maybe not so much for Zu An.) An easy solution was reached after exploring the issues of trust and tolerance: Shan Bao could marry Wu Di and become Zu An’s (nonexistent) baby’s stepmother. Later, when Zu An found out the truth about her feigned pregnancy and mustered the courage to confess to everybody, even the slightest glitch was eradicated from the love story. Shan Bao and Wu Di were once again the happiest couple (that looked awkward together) on the face of the planet. (And Zu An, demoted from girlfriend status to a simple devout employee.)

“Happiest couple” became passé once the characters found out about the little fishy negotiation between Wei Qing and Eight Nation Alliance.

Wei Qing wanted to sell Tian Xiang Lou? That should be no surprise.
Wei Qing wanted to sell Tian Xiang Lou? That should be no surprise.

Whatever Wei Qing planed to do was of no immediate impact — because all attention were on Wu Di’s comeback conference.

The conference was a reunion of fans, reporters, and nosy gossipers alike. After three months of transformation, the cheering of Sun Wu Di’s name no longer conveyed the same meaning. While Wu Di used to indicate invincibility, it meant foe-less now. (But was Wu Di so delusional to think he has turned all fiends to friends?) No matter, Wu Di’s comeback was a huge success. He took a step further and dedicated a thank-you speech to Shan Bao, introducing her, boldly, to the world — literally, a public display of affection. Dear Hu Shan Bao, welcome to Sun Wu Di’s world of celebrity pressure, eminence, backlash, and most of all, zero privacy. Zilch.

Poor Zu An, who had to endure that and pretend to be okay.
Poor Zu An was pushed aside and forced to witness the couple mingle in public. It was... character building...

Wu Di’s subsequent visit to the TV station not only salvaged his notoriously damaged reputation among the dedicated jobholders behind the screen, he shocked them out of their cynical state and slapped them across the face with evident change. No one could have thought a self-serving egomaniac could Ever turn into a considerate gentleman. And yet, there he stood, smiling ever so kindly at them — the metamorphosis was certainly disconcerting.

But with good came evil — Zhao Wei Qing and the new buyers of Tian Xiang Lou arrived to put a final touch of drama to Sun Wu Di’s ultimate happiness…

Shortest recap ever for this drama. But-uh, writing the little silly rhyme and the sillier play were a lot of fun. :] Besides, not much happened.

There was a brief discussion of the various kinds of love presented earlier in the episode: uncle’s selfish love for his daughter, Shan Bao’s tolerant love for Wu Di, Wu Di’s unwavering love for Shan Bao, Zu An’s almost, unrequited love for Wu Di, and Da Dao’s blooming love for Zu An (aww!). Of course the theme didn’t expand nor develop, but I’m glad at seeing some depth.

4 thoughts on “Invincible Shan Bao Mei 16: Coming Back”

  1. As i wrote for the previous ep, i ve just discovered this helpful website. Just out of uriosity, why do you do it then ? Just to help me ?
    Yeah i noticed your positive feelings more in this recap than in the previous one, but i like the irony, i had a great time reading it, nice humour !

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