The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep5

Tension is so thick, you can cut it with a knife.  The plot too, thickens further.  This episode packs such an awesome Xue JunShan (BiL) punch.  It is his show, at its finest.

Backtrack to the end of last episode, even the shrewdest BiL would not have guessed the austere gaze he is now casting at his lovely wife when just a moment ago he can’t hold in the passion, hugging her waist in front of the family. She pushes him away ever so slightly then, embarrassed of the display of affection in front of her family,  he must’ve assumed.  There is betray, disbelief, shock…all in his piercing stares, the cause of XJ incredible unease she is almost containing.  She can not hide the smidgen of guilt, now flickering on her face of how losing her composure she is inside, worrying about cousin MingHan.  She, and her family is asking her husband to rescue her first love we have seen they are still harboring some feelings in the subtext of a few glances in ep1, a task that will sure put Junshan’s head on the line as well.  Conspiring with the japs is as serious as accusations goes.   It is not a time of fair trials (is there ever?!) but often tactics to instill fear in the chaos of war looming.

We have seen the many slick scheming hustling charismatic bianlian masks of this imposing man, this is the first time we see the face of Xue JunShan stark bare, raw with frankness, scorn, hurt, jealous, disbelief, even vengeful , a darkness all in display even when he is still running his mouth his programmed guile. His eyes at his wife has a stunned new hurt he can’t contain, or does not want to, her dad is asking him to do the impossible for the one man he has savagely wronged, robbed her from, under eerily similar circumstance, the dark elephant in the room.

He must’ve heard of the arrest, we now realize it could have been the reason of his bright mood coming home, did not see the need to help out, an ordeal of a few days. XJS does not see need to get his hands messy over his love rival he is seething in jealousy still.

Mom mumbles on a hearsay it is so brutal in jail like scrubbed off a raw layer of skin, no one gets out unscathed.  Xue twists his head decidedly, poring over XJ, examining her every faltering of emotion.   She evades his gawking, sitting on a ball of unease, raw nerves, trying her mightiest to hold a calm front, in vain.

‘Fine, fine fine.  I will ask around.  I will ask!’  The pacifying charade is on, reality is this is still dinner time, lest all forget.  Lets eat!  Gone is his finesse hustling of there are no bumps he can’t smooth out. Nothing is nothing. It can not be nothing as he piercingly stares at his wife for the third time.  XJ dodges his accusatory peer of Et tu, Brute?, her eyes shying away like Peter’s three-fold denial of Jesus Christ.

^That is all in ~2 minutes, guys!

  • Only 2 days…. And officially Mr. Xue JunShan has arrived, the wily resourceful usurping manipulator extraordinaire to the world outside of his roles at home.  Asking around his friends is what he is doing, as requested by his family, everyone has heard of the sticky situation his cousin in law is in.  Don’t worry, his friend reassures XJS.  His worry does not align with the obvious that his kin is in trouble.  This is a friend in need of XJS’ help in exchange, embezzling antibiotics under the watch of LaoHuang from supplies, now there are new raids, books in the open, LaoHuang will get caught, he would snuff him out.  ‘Even if indicted, it is not a shot to the head!’
  • Where is your acumen, think…is there a convenient scapegoat ?  – Framing?  What framing?!  WHAT framing??!?!? (I did not say, but sneaking a few tiny vials into belongings…)….
  • Isn’t he your relative?!  O__O   He is. Welcome to the complicated fascinating world of XJS.

  • It is a treat to witness thespian XJS, almost perfect and seamless, almost, batting his eyes in guilelessness, in near disbelief as XX is shouting out ‘No way!  Cousin MH is not such person!’  as to why antibiotics are found in MH’s possession.

XX is a witness to Dr. MH fundraising for antibiotics, she is a witness to  Dr. MH the first always to pull up his sleeve whenever blood is needed.  XJS frays a hair, his framing charade is not as foolproof as he desires

  • Normally, XJS downplays the facts, his favorite quote is scoffing everything off, ‘this is no big deal!’ …but he chooses not to, playing up there is nothing he can do (nothing he want to do).  His act is just a thread OTT, if we can catch it, so can his wife XJ.  XJ is not asking the ridiculous like Dad is suggesting to pay MH’s way out, she wants a visit, XJS knows everybody inside out, a request he can’t refuse.
  • Who would’ve thought we would see each other under this circumstances again?  MH quips, warily.

  • I’ll ask JunShan, he knows everyone in the police.  – Don’t. Think about it, someone is framing me.  Who would frame you?!!?!  A knowing stupor exchanged, ‘Xue….’ XJ swallows the rest, she can not, she would not believe it, even though her heart is sinking.  How shrewd is XJS, as witness, she saw him bending an arm begging his buddy at work for a visitation, putting down a stack of precious coins.
  • MH is handcuffed, shuffled off to an unknown location.  XJ is frantic, hollering what is going on, JunShan!?!?!? 
  • MH, Dr Liu, the best doctor in town, is escorted to perform emergency leg surgery on a regional commander hurt in a bombing.  Surgery is a success.  the leader of the battalion saved Doc in turn from the jail cell.

  • This small potato Liu MingHan is very lucky.  – BigBro this is good news! …XiaoDi (so cute!) is so happy for his boss.  What the fart do you know?!  We can never keep up with the high gear XJS’ head is running on turbo.  He is taking a half day off, playing with his glove like a boss, he waits for a bigger fish.  As soon as the head of police is in sight, he is the ‘lil’ bro’ hand in salute like a wagging dog he can be.  He is here for ‘injustice’, injustice against his cousin in law.  He is asking for a release of the innocent Liu MingHan.  What a face of honourable fighter for justice.


  • Higher order is, we have to get to the bottom of things.  The bottom, huh.  Even if it involves someone in the force, tripping.  Back to playing with his gloves like a thug.  His friend who used a convenient scapegoat in his cousin in law is now XJS’ convenient scapegoat. BigBrother, your analysis is so spot on. He throws a hint, the police head connects the dots.  Clean, crisp, bloodless, lethal is the biting conniving mindgames XJS is a master at.  You are dead before you know it, poor friend of XJS.
  •  It is all XJS’ idea! He asks you to kill yourself, will you go hit your head on the brickwall?!  Why would XJS frames his own cousin LMH?!  -How would I know what is the bad blood between them?!  …crumbling down for our humpty dumpty to have a great fall.

  • XJ brings dinner for MH.  He is not coming home, buried in work.  One sniff, he knows it is her cooking.  XJ puts in a nice word for JS, he has done a lot for your case.  He has, indeed.  This is more for smoothing out tension than a persuasion.  As long as he is good to you.  -He is very good to me.  He is very good to my family… I do not know how my family can survive without him these years.  That, is the creed.

  •  PingOn is giggling, XJ is glowing in smiles, a picture of family bliss as XJS hugs her from behind, asking, Someone cooked up a storm today, what is the occasion?  –To thank you as grandma insists….Mom and Dad is also very grateful for what you’ve done for Cousin.
  •  Cousin.  The word that cools the smile off his face.   He pretends to shrug it off playing with his son as XJ looks on perturbed.
  •   XJS takes in money on the side, the ruffian at the door is begging Mrs. Xue to put in a kind word for him not able to scramble the full payment dued.  No one is surprised, not even Dad.   But he has a lecture on how dirty and amoral JS’ side businesses are. Opium den?  Kills.

  • JS is playing with PingOn as Sis and Grandmama join in the re-education of XJS.

  • ... Even if I did not open an opium den, someone else would Might as well be me, XJS, making the money.
  • Karma?!…have you seen a jap being striken on the head by lightning from heavens?  This is no time for karma, what ass is left to bite back?!
  • Sis fusses over the guy crying and begging her for her husband’s leniency.  He tells her this is all an act, he is not to be trusted.  Grandma ceases the right moment to put in a wise word,
    ‘ never pull your bow’s string too taut, do not say your words too full, give others a breather… a desperate rabbit can bite.  Be lenient and perhaps kindness will be rewarded by serenity in our own lives.’
  • Dad, OTOH, not the sage. ‘Money Money Money!  The root of all evil.’  XJS can replay this banter in his sleep, to run this household, eats, sleeps, wears, plays….everything needs that root of all evil… Have you ever thought I am getting $5000 off that dude exactly for the family?!  How much money do I spend on myself, huh?  peanuts. His tirade is stopped by XJ cutting him off, ‘why is there so much disgruntling?!’
  • He senses her foul mood right away.  Chasing after her, he slips he learned from his minions she has visited her cousin, putting him to shame…because people knows what went down between them.
  • XJ is furious with his mistrust and patronizing. What shame is there to visit one’s cousin?!  You think you know it all, huh?  If you do not trust me, divorce me, I can live quite well with PingOn. 
    Nononono, XJ I am not petty! (huhhuh)  Or else I would be more than delighted LMH was put in jail, why would I go above and beyond saving him?! Geez, who can keep up with his A game?!  Not XJ.  After laying down hard ‘facts,’ he coos his sweet nothings.  Squatting by her side, looking up to her like an adoring doting K9 with this smile.  He will let the guy off, just taking in $3000 interest included, with a cutest smile he can muster.  XJ softens her stance, at least she is talking, ‘How do you have all the energy…?’ 

  • I have such a beautiful wife, of course I have all the verve in the world.  *smile* Loading on the charm, he is irresistible.
  • Off to some more inventive money making, he is using army trucks for his moving service, they pay them a fee of gratitude, he never asks. The government is ordering the exodus, me, XJS, is doing my duty helping the townsfolk evacuate.
  • I get the feeling a few days ago,  a big stack of paper money would be payment enough, but war is any hour now, XJS is more ruthless than ever, he needs coins, real silver coins.
  •  See the color of that truck, it is army green.  If I am caught moving it around unannounced, my head is off my neck. 
  • His ever spinning head has a new venture : two train wagons…and Gu ChingMing! He pitches the terrific idea to Boss:  pulling a Gu ChingMing connection, two little train wagons for their logistics business will be smooth sailing.
  • Even if we can’t peel off a leaf of gold from the golden buddha (Gu), we can still bask in its golden glory!  -Don’t let that flare scorches your eyes blind.
  • He must know there are a lot of Gu fangirls out there about to hit him. He is a cuddly teddy bear with orphans hugging him off the street.  He gives money for XiaoDi to buy them steamed buns.  AWWWWW.  It is hard to be a moral fangirl with standards.
  • The train station master is a friend, as with everyone in all stations in ChangSha.  The station is swarmed by injured soldiers, but there is shelter for them.  XJS gives him a red pocket of sweets, announcing there is a wedding in family.  His infamous feisty little pepper SiL, who can choke you with her vitriol!  jokes the station manager.  Pretty, and who is the lucky guy?  -Gu Ching Ming.  He has a documentation from his boss for the station master to sign, borrowing two wagons for a ‘delivery’.  Orders from powerful backers, a XJS would never dare.  Never ever. Telling the ‘secret’, it is actually his brother in law Gu, who is asking him this favor.  So believable is our XJS’ machinations, the station master asks if he should put in 2 extra wagon for goodwill on Gu. Nonono, 2 is enough, one can not be greedy, attracting attention.
  • This money is definitely clean.  Trust me. XJS promises his wife. He is asking her to hide it good.
  • Line is long for his popular business.  His inlaw is next, here to ask if he can arrange for a wagon, as he heard the rumors.  Sure, anything!  The soft spoken merchant almost flips a desk.  You really promises commander Gu, XX’s hand in marriage!
  • XX belongs to your family, not going anywhere.  Commander Gu is a guise, or else how can I arrange for two wagons at my disposal?.. You pick and choose, do you want your reputation…or transportation.  If you think this tarnish your name, I can go to the train station and tell the station master I have no relationship with Gu, no more business with the wagons, your thousands of yards of fine silk in your storage, rot in CS, sticking with the city through thick or thin.  Honorable!
  • Who cares about losing face?!  If your family lost your shop, that is the big blow to your reputation…Even if they find out, they will just blame me!  Your son, he said in his own words, XX is his Life.  HIS life!  -My son is here as my debtor!   Don’t you think XX is not the same?! busting in my life out of karma?!
  • 45:25 Commander Gu alert!  He and mookie are very concerned about the overflowing influx of injured soldiers stalled at the station.  Before long, they would be frozen to death. Station Master greets Gu like an familiar friend, stepping aside, he stuffed a bag of money into Gu’s gloved hand.  If Gu is not taken aback by the over-enthusiastic welcome, he is very suspicious now,  what is this about?



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