The Battle of Changsha Watch Along ep9

Fate/trope we love of lucky damsel in distress is:  when she falls in a stampede, the handsome honorable Gu ChingMing is there hands not leaving her shoulders leading her to safety and where she wants to be.   If it was my drama and of course I would insert myself in HXX’s shoes we will have the eyerolling obvious gasping of damsel/moi, ‘oh *shock* my prince, why are you here?  Come with me and screw this!’  That is so not Hu XiangXiang, hallelujah.  She is almost not batting eyelashes he is the one she bumps into whenever she is in any distress.  Yes, it is a trope, and we know this will happen some more.   However, GCM would do the same for any other CSnite who trips within his reach, she would have the sensitivity chip to ask any soldier heading to the hospital to tell Cousin, his sister XiuXiu is safe and fleeing to XiangTan with them as her first priority and nudging the soldier heading into the fire to rescue the city to be safe himself.

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Please tell my cousin Dr. Liu MingHan, XiuXiu is coming with us to XiangTan.

Take care!  Run if necessary!

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However, this worried hesitation, lump in throat watching him takes off into the blaze, quite conscious this could be the last time she sets eye on this guy, is for Gu ChingMing only, I am sure.

The merchant asking XJS for a drink over lunch is screaming at him, his servants are holding him from jumping back into his shop where his wife, son and daughter are trapped inside:
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XJS is going in, he operates by his own rule and his MO is since he has been taking payment all along to protect the merchant and his family in times of need.  The guy’s wife and family are burning alive inside, hitting home his worst fear, the direst time in need for any man.

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Another guy rushes to XJS, his wife and kids are also still trapped inside.  If XJS was hestitant on his first run, after he did not die, he must have realized instantaneously ‘My wife and children!’ is not even a risk worth taking.  It is what must be done.  We will see him rushing into a blaze again, and again.

Gu arrives at the hospital just in time as the arsonists are about to burn it down.   He bumps into  Dr. LiuMingHan and repeats to him what XX asked him to.
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They should be out of the city by now.

MH asks about how XiangJun is doing right away.  (I am not too hot for cousin to be so blatantly letting out how much more he cares about a married XJ than his cousin)

Thanks to XiaoDi and lots of cash, they get on one of the last ferries:
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I love this little touch of a very grateful XiaoMan waving super loyal XiaoDi a fare thee well.  And XiaoDi looks on till their ferry is a safe distance from the burning city he is at the bank of, putting in action the promise he made to his Bigbro he would risk everything to guard his family.

The Hu clan in XiangTan looks on the fiery hell visible even to them across the pond:
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Much closer, Gu stares back at the fresh hell, disbelief still in his eyes the city he has dedicated to fight for is ruined by their own hands for naught.
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Zooming the lens further in, we see a XJS in the middle of the inferno in the same disbelief and shock as he sees a sight hitting even closer to heart:
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Mr. Sheng, his almost family hours ago, is holding his dead son in his arm in the middle of their swanky shop now the same fiery inferno of every other building.

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The first dim light of dawn in XiangTan, they look back at a city in even more darkness, what was blazing is engulfed in the blackest soot and greys:
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Dawn.  XJS’ eyes has to readjust to the brightness from all the glare, smoke and soot through the night…and the disorientation this is a foreign land to his exhausted delusions.

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What a lucky fellowI am!

Somehow, he still has a drop of energy in him to pluck himself and XiaoHe against the nearest crumbling wall of scorched bricks, their water cart and beams just missing his head…before the bricks keep falling on him.

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A thousand years in creation, destroyed in a dawn,

and destroyed by our own hands…

How can they face our descendants?

A fan carved a seal for the line: 千年缔造,毁于一旦/ A thousand years in creation, destroyed in a dawn. ❤

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They come back to a ChangSha raining rice soot, adding a new grey on their hair.  Their house is safe, but BiL is not back, nor heard of.

XiangXiang and XiaoMan take in the city as they knew it.  She is looking for Sheng, her fiance.  But all that is left of the richest silk merchant family of ChangSha is burned beams, not a sign of life.  The sweet, kind boy who loves her, whom she ran away from last night, is gone with the smoke.

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Sheng ChengZhi~ 

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Sis is waiting for any news at the townhall.  The notice board is updating who is caught and executed, indicted for the arson.

Ping On can not go back home,

if JunShan is brought here, at least he can see his son for a last eyeful.

XJS is found in the ruins, alive, but his leg gravely hurt in need of surgery.  At the hospital, the police is here to take him into custody:

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Did he set the blaze, or fighting out the fire?

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The surgery is successful, but XJS is still unconscious from the anesthesia.  XiaoDi opens fire at the police, he will always stand between harm and his Bigbro. The police resorts to surrounding the hospital, they will take him in custody as soon as he wakes up.

Is my leg still attached?

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Lets leave for XiangTan, you did not set the fire, it is not absconding.

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That would admit guilt…I did not set the fire, I was fighting it. 

Their people are surrounding all exits, I can not run.

We can always trust while XJS did many heroic deeds and is innocent, he is not naively assuming that would grant him innocence in the horror.  Practicality is in his blood even after he has lost tonnes of it, he must’ve did his calculation and there is no way out.  If there is, he is not one to bat a lash feeding his honor to the dogs.

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The sky is no longer blue.

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This cap is here because I covet everything in the room, the furniture and the antiquities are exquisite for props.  The phonograph is on, Dad takes in all his worldly possessions he can not live without…but he can.  They can all be disgraceful bribes in exchange for a human life.

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Tell me, what kind of hell is this?

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They deserve it!  Die!

Crowd scorns on as another name XJ must’ve known as a friend of her husband is checked off in red on the notice for execution, haunting her as she walks away with PingOn.  It is not escaping her in nightmares:

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Expensive gift in hand as bribe,  Dad and XM try reaching out to any connection they can to get BiL out.  His Boss has fled the night and is now a most wanted fugitive in the country, we can assume after his call to XJS.

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This is the face of a blissful man without a worry.  HE really is a savvy man, only using his time to enjoy life to the max.  Worry has no worth now.  He can die happy as long as his wife is smiling and loving him.   He will do anything shady to fight for his survival because of his family, but when there is nothing he can do, he has the backbone to take it in strides.

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Dad had his inner turmoil of letting go of honor and pride, which are the cause of constant batterings with his SiL for every petty lapse.   With his two precious chinese ink stones, he naively assumes they would worth enough to bring BiL out and alive.  He is not the only one in line, and it looks as hopeless a feat than everyone else sharing the corridor.

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Grandmama states it frankly: Under JunShan’s protection, we had a few years of living prosperously.  We are indebted to him. 

Dad adds on with his moral compass:  He is the husband of his daughter, father of his grandson, even without the IOU.

Grandmama sets out the plan:  They will sell the house and every possession, she can kneel for forgiveness from the Hu family in XiangTan to take them in.  They will exhaust every connection, spend every dime, and if it is futile…they can only accept fate:

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XX tries to ease the worry of Sis by lying a few has agreed to put in a word for BiL as she grooms her hair.  Even without looking at XX, Sis can tell XX is a horrible liar.

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If only I knew….I should not be so detached with him.

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XJS is still living life large, colorfully retelling his tale of surviving 5 days in the rumbles by the serendipity of a handul wedding candies he grabbed in pocket, from XX’s engagement that did not happen.  Nerves is not going to save his life then, and now, so why not have nothing of it?!  Drinks his tea, boasts his jazzy stories and occupies time.

XX is also not sitting on it, she attacks it the HXX way.  She knows her worth:  a young pretty girl with a very feisty persuasion.  A desperate move she is trying her luck with her tiny body and pigtails in a nice coordinated outfit, hoping her charms, smarts and eloquence can fall on ears of a certain someone in power, all to get her BiL out of trouble as he did twist elbows for her through the years.
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She sees his car driving by, quick on her feet she pleads with the guards, ‘ I KNOW HIM!  We know each other very well.  (He is) Gu ChingMing! GU CHING MING! ‘

If we are very nitpicky, this episode adds on the chance meeting of our OTP.  What are the odds a girl would bump into a gorgeous commander Gu on very urgent business twice in a night of absolute chaos?!    We are no Hu XiangXiang.  However, the scenes were dealt with much finesse, no meaningless milking.  Even when he scoops her up to her feet in a rescue of damsel, it is not overboard.  At the end of the episode, that is not a chance meeting, that tiny scene of HXX looking onto other snazzy cars of powerful men passing by as desperate, must still be figuring out what to do frantically in her head…until she sees a Gu ChingMing.  She was a young girl guarding her pride vehemently, bickering, refusing to let him conveniently help her with a little budge from her vain horse when locked up trespassing to her fault.  Here she is a young lady who has no care of her own mortification in front of the man she cares about, but still in denial, deceiving out loud she is very close with him, a single man, in public,  when he has shown her no obvious interest.  All her pride on the line for her BiL.  If that is not love for the big brother and father figure she has in him, I do not know what is.

In a single night, a man did deeds he felt he has no choice otherwise, dragging anyone dead or alive he can out of burning infernos, risking his life numerous times he is not counting.   It was not out of heroism he did what he did, it was in his fiber it was what has to be done.  We all are flailing for a XJS, whom we sneered at however little just a few days prior, even when we understand where he is coming from.   Here, we understand where he is coming from even better, this is a ballsy man, living life as bold as he sees only worthwhile.  He would never know how to sulk and mope, any bricks falling on him, he would yank it off gritting his teeth with a dashing smirk.  Life is too short to not smile like a child in candy store when his lovely beautiful wife is smiling at him, feeding him love.

5 thoughts on “The Battle of Changsha Watch Along ep9

  1. I absolutely LOVED how the family all came together, working hard, wracking their brains for ways to save BiL. Also, can I just take a moment to give a hand to all that Xiaodi (and Gu Qingming’s right hand man as well) does? Even though he wasn’t a major character, I still fell in love with his indefatigable loyalty, not to mention he is quite pleasing on the eyes XD.

    Some of these stills though…I had to take a good couple seconds to ogle at them. So pretty and so rich. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say.

    Lastly, 千年缔造,毁于一旦. My Chinese isn’t good enough so I didn’t understand it the first time I heard it but now with the image and translation, I have comprehended the gravity of those words. Alas, a tragedy indeed! But this is only the beginning of more tragedies to come, so I’m bracing myself!

    1. So true! Ahh Lily, it was the most time consuming lovely thing screengrabbing. Even the frame of scenery is a painting of museum quality in construct.

      This episode is where the Hu family gels as a unit, they have tensions, they have grumbles, but when one of them is in trouble, they will do whatever it takes and nothing grand really, just everyone pulling in and it is not miraculously working deux ex machina.
      I love the supporting characters so dearly as well, they actually give such a realistic glimpse into what makes the country hang on for 8 long years of poor leadership and blow after blow of missteps/ravaging. They are the most average soldiers, makijg up the majority of the army, fighting the war not because of a lofty ideal, of proving a worth, but for a survival, they do not have a father umbrella-ing their heads, they are not the smartest, nor shrewdest, but they did not sacrifice any less, give their service for the war with utmost loyalty and bravery. XiaoDi is actually based on a real soldier. My heart~~~! And the actors are sooo terrific all around, all the little spot on faces Xiaomu did even when he is out focus beside Gu, there is not a slip. Even our baby PingOn, any freeze frame, he is exactly what the scene requires be it looking on his father he misses like he is superman. How can i love this more?! But i can! 😀

      1. Yay! I am the same; many times in the course of watching and now revisiting this drama I have asked if I could love any drama more than I do Battle of Changsha!

    1. Come to think of it, it was always when ordinary ppl is pushed to the edge and forced to make the decision of life reaching deepest, sorting out what you exactly are made of that is the truest. XX was in e10, XM and Dad was much much later.

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