The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep14

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What a breathtaking episode.  Perfectly written, directed, acted, geniuses at work.   I am in tears for all the obvious reasons on top of this really is so good I am crying ‘Iamnotworthy’ tears.  The theme of the episode should be FATE, in an understated tasteful old plague of red sandalwood, craftily, artfully splattered with tears and blood and heart.

 

Another person wanting a piece of the just too fine GCM, so fine his superior allots him the task of working his charm getting rice from the unbudging patriach stalwart of the powerful Hu clan, biggest rice producer of XiangTan.

Every passing scene, the adorable actor as Mookie has perfect reaction faces no matter how blurry he is in frame.  I grab therefore I can appreciate.  And it is in these tiny flawless touches Mr PD build a character in flesh with little.  Mookie is loyal without saying, but his mind is keen and he obviously has a carefree sense of humor, a very pleasant guy to be with, considerate with everyone’s feelings operating on priority at hand always and would have the gut to speak up whenever his commander is about to get himself into trouble he sniffed, or there is a tease he can poke fun of a GCM. We know for sure this is the best right hand man for GCM, knowing all the little known quirks of the coldface Hades commander like no one else and Gu is lucky to have a bright advisor of people skills he can sometimes lack or see no need to employ. Here his dreamboat commander is at it again, dashing off to rescue some villagers accidentally stepped on landmines.  Instead of mookie’s advice: send for a combat engineer for the time consuming dangerous task, commander Gu insists he is more professional and efficient. It is absolutely his duty rescuing commoner, preventing civilian casualties because of the war.

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Looks like commander, you and the Hu family is fated.

Mookie is at it again saying the darnest truth. Yes, the honorable commander would see to it any civilian stays unharmed within his vicinity, but this urgency, his noticeable worry has the element of HXX at work.

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The twins swear to die together.  Gu shouts at XM to leave, he can not detonate with him in the way.  He is impatient with their useless whining.

His plan is to insert his army knife across her shoe, apply the right pressure as she slowly withdraws her foot and leave.  XX is immediately worried about what will happen to Gu after, she is not worth him dying for, she would rather him go.  The mine is designed to blow up a limb not kill, GCM reassures his safety his deadpan way, but XX is hysterical like the young girp she is, realizing she can lose a limb if this does not work.  For the first time, GCM coos her in a softer voice to stop crying and trust him.

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We are sure GCM would do the same act with anyone in XX’s place just none of the sweet comforting words and not looking up at her with this tender hotness.

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Another fan/reviewer points out XiangShui is dodging way back from the four of them, being the wimpy kid very afraid of pain and always the sweetie stopping any childish physical fights between his paternal cousins….

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lol I think this is the most number of times GCM has heard his name screamed in such concern love, in tears by a girl worried about his well-being without abandon.

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Stunned to a stupor for a few seconds, GCM can’t stop a little happy smile escaping knowing how much XX is worried about him, on top of her tight embrace, she is leaning in checking his neck not even inches from his face.

It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.  I am fine.

– What about here…why is it red!? 

XM:  Decorum.  Decorum!

Effective repeat advertising from shipper BiL and Mookie on an (I can safely assume) eidetic memory, GCM is parroting verbatim.   It must be fate and destiny, I bump into you wherever I go. Coming from his mouth, that must be his true conviction: they are fated to be together.

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lol it’s blurry but GCM is smiling.  XX is not exactly delighted her heart is spelled out.

The honest XiaoQiu is no match to the two devious heads of the Hu twins.  GCM is going to keep them in custody.  I bet he must report the incident and they need to explain why they trespassed the field of landmines.   The lesser of two evils, it is much easier to get her way with GCM than back in bounds with XQ to the Hu compound and forced into arranged marriage.  XX immediately tells GCM XQ is the one she has to marry against her wish (gosh good luck XQ, even though it is not really your wish, you immediately get some cold stink-eye from GCM, and you are definitely on his hatelist from now on).   They accuse mistreatment from XQ, exaggerating they are not given food while locked up (the gravest offense a foodie like XX can come up with on her feet):

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XQ explains as is why he is leading a pack of grown men chasing two kids…because they are running away from marriage.  With their twinnie ESP, they point at him in sync, he is admitting his fault as their story is confirmed by XQ’s exact words.

Back at the base, XM is eating up a horse while XX wants nothing more than fixing her shoe so she can run away asap.  WH, for the nth time, it is not legal to sashay in a room so come-hither and eyes fixed on XX as if you are going to eat her up while you are telling her to eat before the food gets cold, nothing is cold in this room the moment you enters.

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It is little touches like these I love about the writing, it is established XX is a popular, attractive young girl, smart and sassy and slightly spoiled, she must’ve gotten her ways all her life, and knows it.  A fire, a war advancing to the doorsteps is not going to change her smarts.  Just when she told GCM she is fixated on her shoe because she must get back to CS and he teases her if she is going to walk back, she does not hesitate to test her luck if he is going to arrange for a ride home for them.  And on OTP goodness alone, here is a very busy no nonsense commander Gu checking on them if they are eating dinner properly, the same one who has no time to even eat a dinner with his Uncle when we first met him.

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These are the moments WH is his most ridiculously attractive to me, when he is absolutely not trying and unaware, just speaking the lines as earnestly as his GCM would, informing XM he can not just send them back to CS, they are still looking into the matter, people from their family are at the gate demanding their return.  haha I find WH hilariously sleazy whenever the scene is asking him to be brooding/hot and he is too aware.  Not this very moment.
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Run.  Of course I would run.

XX throws the ball back to GCM, if his family is forcing him to marry a girl he has only met for a few days, would he run away?!  GCM must’ve remembered that very fleeting second he would not even admit then he has paid attention, looking up at the balcony of the scene of a young girl, threatening she would jump to her death if she is forced an arrangement.  He would never thought of marrying that girl he just met, impressed and find interesting back then, from his knowing smile, I am not too sure now.

But you almost lost your life.

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You should know from the moment you met me, this is who I am.  I would rather be blown up by the landmine I stepped on than not running from a marriage I do not want.

Another very tender attagirl smile from GCM.  HXX, you are much better at this game than your BiL will ever be, luring a GCM not by playing as a weakling, the timid pretty girl,  but tugging his heartstrings, evoking him the very first of all your chance encounters he must’ve imprinted in mind with him mentioning of how fated you guys are, reminding him how brave and operating on your own principles instead of BiL’s MO.  It is even much more effective after you have established yourself as a feisty strong mindful young lady at the first meeting that your subsequent vulnerable moments are daggers straight to his heart.   I see you are a goner, GCM, urging her to eat, offering to fix her shoe for her.  Do not humor me, I doubt you have ever touched the shoe of a girl, fixing it is not something you are professional at.

XM is asking GCM the burning question if he is going to send them back to the hands of XQ.   Like a boy experiencing love for the first time, GCM casts a playful grin at XX first and his mood must be so good he is teasing.  To be obvious he yelled at Mookie in early episodes his only source of happiness can only be when they won the war, there is no other happy occasion in his life.  How far our GCM has traveled.

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It is a rare feat fighting for freedom with all your might.

As to whether I am sending you back to the Hu compound…

it depends on my mood.

Eat up.

For the third time, he urges XX to eat and not worry when he is showing he cares about her with the visit and his soothing teasing words.  I have lost count how many little happy smiles he has showered her in the short conversation.  XX must have picked up the clues he will help them, of course.

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GCM has moments he is not as annoying.

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Being bickering foe is good!  Sis always said she and BiL are 冤家

XM’s time to show his shipper color.  He thinks GCM is being jealous, he must be off to fight bro XQ after hearing Grandpapa is going to marry her off to him.  XX can not believe XM, firmly on the adage she and GCM were archenemies in their last lifetime, and in this lifetime, they continue to be foe because of fateHow could he be jealous because of me?!  (It is too good to be true to XX) 冤家 is the most common CN term for bickering lovers, one of the language’s cutest romantic invention, playing on the element of lovers trapped in fate.   冤 is literally a rabbit entangled, unable to be on its cunning flight when in fright.  Trapping rabbits under one roof, one family/家, they are bound to make a lot of rabbit babies.  Originally it was used for fated haters.  Rabbit/兔 does not have a positive connotation in Chinese, there are quite a few 4 characters saying and slang using it slightly derogatively for cunning, slick, promiscuous, the slang they throw around often in the drama, is a northerner slang  小兔崽子/son of a rabbit, seems cute but it is actually worst in connotation than SoB in English in the straightest sense of the word, but of course it is lovingly uttered by BiL to these two menaces in his life he cares so much it must be karma from his past life they are back haunting him for unpaid ‘debt’.

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Commander, I was about to look for you! 

lol GCM is playing with HXX’s shoe like it is a new toy.  It was a close shave, if he really does not believe a lick in fate and destiny before today, how he happens to be at the ‘right’ place, the ‘right’ time means life and death for HXX and HXM, and it is at moments like these, when he can not take his eyes off her shoe, a reminder he almost lost her, that he must be realizing how much she means to him…  Also, Mr commander checked on the twins without even saying a word to his bff Mookie.

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GCM immediately asks where XiaoQiu his love rival is at.  He smirks at the schadenfreude when Mookie tells him the superior has detained them for questioning as they stand guard at the gate, trespassing.  Also, their superior wants to see GCM, he gives poor Mookie the shoe he is fidgeting with, demanding him to fix it no matter what.

Head commander summons GCM for negotiating rice from the Hu clan, especially now luck is on their side with the merit of GCM saving the twins, doubling with GCM knows them well.  Come to think of it the Hu family in CS are the only people he knows not work related, mentioning the first thing their BiL is XJS even without knowing the connection of their Hu family in XiangTan.  Lets give a little kekeke on  BiL has wormed into GCM’s id.
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GCM must have a slightest hope he would be delegated a real task, instead it is literally begging for rice, at the expense of betraying HXX and HXM.

For the war, his superior is asking him to lie this once, to obey the order.   Again, fact is WH is hotter when hurting.
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What is wrong with you, you scared me to death!

Gu tells them there is a change of plan, they have to leave right away.   The twins are all smiles as they sneaked out of the gate leaving XQ and gang…but not for long.  This is not the road to CS.

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XX is not going to give up without a fight, she still tries to run away.  *The cap is here because if I did not tell you, he can close in for a kiss, no?!*

Instead the proper soldier GCM tells HXX the cold fact it is unrealistic of her able to make it back to CS on foot.

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Visibly in guilt and torture, he has to take in the usual HXX’s slur of insults being a scum, a liar and worst yet he is 10000x more deplorable than Gao Yanei (the lowest douchebag in Water Margins, an attempted rapist is just one of his yuck, deplorable menace to toen, running havoc under the protection of his godfather. Very apt diss.)

Mookie tries to smooth out the tension:  Miss XX, our hands are tied.
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He gets an earful directed at his commander:  perdifidous and shameless…
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Gu ChingMing,

Why do you have to crush our freedom?

…this is the first time I trusted you…

WHY do you have to betray me?!

GCM has no intention to explain himself, Mookie is doing it in his place.  An order has to be obeyed as a soldier.  XX is absolutely heartbroken (YangZi is just so ridiculously perfect) and like the cutest puppy crying she breaks any heart witnessing,  GCM is stoic as he tries to keep his composure, he is not hurting any less.  Not the first time she hurls insult at him, but this is the time he truly feels she is speaking absolute truths.

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We are worth less than a mouthful of food!

GCM tells XM much more rationally this is because he has to bargain for food supply.  I suspect if he really attempts conversing with, comforting a heartbreaking yet so arresting XX, he would cry himself, and hug her like she did.  There are two things I am sure GCM hates most, to be a deplorable man, and to make a girl cry, let alone a HXX, and he just did both.

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Grandpapa Hu says his sincere eloquent apology for troubling the commander and as gratitude invites commander Gu for a feast.  He puts it tersely he knows the commander is trying to lead the conversation into negotiating for rice, and he wants nothing to do with it, walking off, owning the scene, before GCM can even try.
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How DARE he still has the face (the balls) to stay at my home?!?!?

Oh XX, he has, and he is leisurely lazing around, enjoying tea and fruits having a chitchat with his DearAbbyMookie.  Ok, not leisurely, not lazing and not a chitchat, more like he is bursting with feels in need of his bff to hear him out, hug him, let him vent and say the obvious that is on his mind…because how else do we explain the straight-laced soldier commander GCM here on an important army mission immediately connecting his sticky situation with an unyielding Grandpapa and all he can extrapolate is no wonder XX and XM has to run away because the wedding arrangements Grandpapa made must be major fail instead of focusing entirely on how to be on the good side of Grandpapa to persuade him for rice?!?!  He said he has no time for personal matters, here he is having the time ranting a personal matter concerning HXX and HXM, not even his personal matter…hmmm.

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Mookie’s reaction faces give me endless joy as I am making the same faces.  His commander does not really mind him poking fun at him, he just has to pretend nonchalant.  I mean what else can he do when you state the obvious both eyeballs of HXX are unwaveringly stuck on him, that is the reason why she has to run away,  and like the typical Hunan young lady, they may be feisty little peppers with a temper, but once she has set eyes on you, she will love you with all her heart.  That’s enough!  GCM hollers at Mookie haha and like a blushing teenager, he goes play with a plant evading the teasing stares of Mookie.


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Wristgrab, meaningful (to save her life!), lovely (PDA) one we all can giggle like XM at the OTP goodness.

Le-t go of m-e.. GCM do you hate me this much to humiliate me in front of so many? 

HXX, you are one very smart girl, does this look like a face that hates you very very much instead of he is hitting on you trying at smoldering?! ->

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Yup, I can always trust you knowing the answer.

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…let me marry XiaoQiu Ge…

OH REALLY, he would let you marry XQ huh?!?!?!??!

I would think of a solution for your dilemma if you help me with Master Hu supplying the rice. (he would even without the condition…)

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lol XX keeps calling him the scumbag Gao Yanei.

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Again it is these little touches in the writing that makes a drama perfect.  GCM is smart, he is observant even when he is not the warmest people person, yet how he hits XX with the mention of her BiL and her Cousin fighting in the front line on an empty stomach IF he does not secure the food supply is as effective as can be because that is based on the haunting incident of how much this young girl loves her BiL, she is willing to sacrifice her all she also trepassed army base just to see her cousin.  In one little touch, it is convincing GCM is smart, observant and XX has made an indelible impression on him with that BiL incident alone.

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As a commander, I am very busy, do you think I have the leisure to escort you here?!

It only makes sense to a HXX who has rage and bruised pride being betrayed by her beloved taking over her sensibility.  Commander Gu, we were shown detonating a landmine is very time-consuming as well, Mookie warns you against it and you still take the time, lest you forget.

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I would hate him for life…

XX said, when XM doubts GCM is of any help, instead he might just be buying time with XX for Grandpapa’s sake to be on his good side.  In hindsight, knowing what he has in mind…so much swoon!  Back to this very moment, GCM is fortunate to not have his head glared open by XX with XiangPing and XiaoQiu to his rescue, they announce they are going to marry their lovers, spoiling Grandpapa’s plans.

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Damn, those are very pretty porcelain white hands and he is so inhumanly manga pretty

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I think Grandpapa Hu has always been leaning towards giving the army the rice supply, he just needs to take in a better read at this commander in charge.  He must’ve heard of the rouse with XX and the scissors with all the spectators present, and this commander saved XX again from harming herself and played a part of her sitting quietly there at the table, while he can’t even control what XiangPing and his most loyal XiaoQiu is up to.   He is obliged to give the rice on decorum alone out of gratitude.  Gu ensures Grandpapa his battalion is not just going to fight the japs, they are going to win gallantly, his rice is not going to be wasted.

With a shoo! from HXX, GCM obeys her command like an adorable henpecked husband, GCM stops Grandpapa Hu at his feet, trying to discuss about XX.  Grandpapa has enough compromises for the day, politely, tersely he asks commander Gu to stay out of his family’s business.

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I think it is too much of PD and cinematographer to film WH smoking every time so indulgently as he exhales the smoke accessorizing his beautiful face we forget to breathe.   He has a lot of important army business to tend to in all seriousness just reporting to XiangTan, and he said he will not have the leisure to be at Hu’s compound, for escorting HXX. He is now heading back inside with something urgent he has to get off his chest one angsty smoke is not taking care of and last time he smokes exactly so with so much feels is when he can not take his eyes away from admiring a HXX being so incredibly strong. I love Mookie immediately sensing this could be the rare(not!) troublesome moment yet again of commander Gu being irrational and losing his cool, and this could risk the task at hand securing the rice.  He follows him closely back inside the house, concern on his face.

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GCM is smiling too eagerly, and his nerves is not entirely wrapped under his shifty jittering stance.

I have another business Master Hu, I want to keenly consult you in person. 

The verb for the courteous consulting is 相商/xiang shang, which sounds like XiangXiang… he is literally saying I want to be with Xiang Xiang to my loopy OTP shipper ears.

XX and I have known each other for a while, we have been match-made…

I have affections for XX all along, and I believe she has reciprocal feelings for me as well.

If  Master Hu must pick a husband for XX, I hope Master Hu will be kind enough to give me a serious consideration.  Please.

…I am not joking. 

No way GCM will joke about such a matter ever, especially not involving HXX and never disrespecting the venerable Grandpapa Gu.  And we would have an impromptu match made in heaven, fate and destiny convened harmoniously, wedding right there that afternoon, most definitely.

Alas.  T___T  In something as dense with dramatic heft, just when I am giggling like a loon, I should be prepared I would cry bucketfuls the next, but still, lump on my chest rewatching is fresh like a crying elephant stomping on me.   Just when Grandpapa Hu is about to be convinced of a good news, the worst news ever is written on a fragile piece of xuan/rice paper.  His grandson XiangLing perished in combat, not even his body can be retrieved.

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Grandpapa made the trek to the ancestor hall stately, shakingly, leaning all his weight on his dependent cane, rice paper in hand, all that is left of his Grandson’s existence…and evidence of his death, he begs for forgiveness, like he must have done too many times.

To my beloved ancestors above:

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I, Hu BingQuan is here to confess my crime…

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My Grandson,

he has died before me…  It is my fault, my karma, my wrongdoing.

Please punish me!

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You all ran away from home for all the reasons,

giving back to your country, defending it against the jap…

how few of you ever come home whole?!

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You ignorant children, Open your eyes wide in heavens above….

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Time and time again, a white hair man has to bid farewell to his offspring with a head of black hair,
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How can one bear it?!

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Your wives and children drowning in their urns of tears,

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How can one bear it!!!

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All the Hu orphans and widows, surviving, in unbearable heart-wrenching pain!!!!!!!

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I cried a new hole in my socket.   T______________T

Gu expresses his condolences, XX asks him why he and her bigbro XiangLing Ge unrelentingly insists on fighting in the battlefield with death looming on their heads.  It is so subtle but so flawlessly handled, when a family is in mourning, no wedding is allowed in the month.   GCM is leaving, but he did not mention a word what the insanely swoonworthy even if awkward proposal he professed to Grandpapa, not a word.   XX was still calling him names such as the most disgusting ahole just a few hours ago, and swore she is a mental silly twat ever listening and believing a word from him, back to (outwardly) hating his guts.  All that animosity, tension is gone with the sudden sad news, and immediately her priority is straight, before seeing him go, she needs to put in a word understanding why he has to fight and perhaps sacrifice his life, and indirectly expressing her yearning, longing for him and how much he will be dearly missed and in her thoughts.

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GCM quotes from Book of Later Han:  (青山处处埋忠骨),何须革马裹尸还.  And the 7 words can be waxed in poetry: O Beautiful My Country, For thee we toiled, Our willing lives we laid…every pasture, every mount, so beautiful to rest the honorable patriots’ bones, there is no more proper burial than wrapped in my motherland we laid.

With XiangLing’s death, GCM is reminded yet again how hollowing it is for family to bury their young.  GCM says to XX (and to himself) any soldier can die in combat, it is an unacceptable reality for the family.   For a moment, after a long day of risking his life, because HXX almost lost hers, of the turmoil inside him at wits end obeying an order while betraying the girl he loves, and almost have to witness her giving her hand to another guy yet again, he follows his heart and throws his MO of never wasting time and energy on personal matters/happiness when country is yet not in peace. He properly asked for HXX’s hand in marriage from Grandpapa, with Mookie as witness.  He was not going to leave until he had Grandpapa Hu’s nod.  He is slapped back into reality he is a soldier first, and any hope or dream of building a happy family with HXX risks her devastation.  She cried and hugged him with all her might, dashing back to the mine field she just escaped just in fear of him hurt and he was standing, walking, fine piece of flesh in front of her.  How can he put her through the trauma of possibly getting a death certificate, burying him without even a body and making this very young, very smart, very lovely girl a widow?!  All for his selfish greed of fleeting happiness?!  Not a GCM.

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GCM keeps his distance while consoling XX, but gone is the playful lightheartedness, the uninhibited few words of caring for her…eat up, it’s ok…I will fix your shoe, you almost died…I’m fine. 

XiangShui has sneaked out of the compound as night dawns, the twins follow him as his bed is still warm, freshly made.  At the front door, XiangPing is begging GCM to take him along, he wants to enlist, avenging the death of his kin brother.   JingYan breaks the news the three children aremissing, they have run off in a horse cart.

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Gu agrees to take XP along, not wasting precious time finding the children. The twins nag XiangShui for not leaving them a word on where he is heading, they do not even know this moment where they are going.

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 To FuLinPu, where my brother is laid to rest.

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A shoe, paper, a cane, a candle, a plague, the same setting sun, inanimate objects standing witness to love tugging heartstrings, never unhinging again.

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9 thoughts on “The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep14

  1. I am so glad I found your blog! I love this series so much. Everything from the plot to the acting and directing is excellent. The scenery is breathtaking and the characters are all memorable and lovable. I was only able to watch the first several episodes with English subs but had to watch the rest without subs, so your recaps are very much appreciated. Thank you for giving me a place to spazz about this awesome series and WH, aka Mr.Hottie. You had me at “tender hotness” lol.

    1. Yay! I watched it first time in such horrible blurs I almost give up if not for the writing and directing and acting being too good to be true a lot of emotions get conveyed extremely well making words, visuals sometimes unnecessary, but in this episode, what Grandpapa said kneeling before his ancestors is so haunting and every word is put to full use by the incredible veteran (and he eyes……) shatters my heart.

    2. I’m so happy more and more people are finding out about and watching Battle of Changsha! When I first watched it (in very grainy quality), there wasn’t much English language discussion/spazzing for this drama, which was disappointing. But now, people are finally seeing, believing, and loving this series! Yayyyy!

      1. Me too! I’m so glad I found your blog, doesn’t feel like I’m watching all by myself anymore. Just because I can’t read enough about BoC, where are some other sources that people are discussing/reviewing this drama in English? I just want to read about BoC all day everyday :p I wouldn’t mind Mookiehyun if you churned out 10 posts a day about BoC haha

        1. I do not think this drama is massively popular, the rating was ok at CCTV, but nothing smashing so I did not come across much discussions in eng blogs. But from all the CN reviews from peeps that have seen it, I have not heard of a bad word, we all just cry our eyes out raving to no end. And last I check the entire drama is not fansubbed yet. This is very heart-wrenching a genre to be attractive to the fangirls I assume.

  2. Oh, man. I’m giggling so hard at the picture with GQM grabbing XX at the waist because it seriously does look like he is about to kiss her, like many a drama scene in which the actor steals a kiss from the initially reluctant actress. That would have been a very sworn-worthy moment if added to the drama, but very out of GQM’s character. But, one can imagine! XD

    And yes, yes, yes, I LOOOOOVE (how many times can I say “love” when talking about this drama that saying “love” will have lost its meaning?!?!) the part in which XX says: “Gu Qingming, why did you have to destroy our freedom? This is the first time I believed you…” then tears proceed to descend her fragile, delicate demeanor. Awwww XX, don’t worry, GQM is hurting just as much as you are!

    What a solemn note to end on, though, with the first death hitting the Hu family. Of course, everyone did a superb job acting their parts, but a special shoutout to the Hu Grandpapa. I think he had many emotionally charged segments and handled them all very well.

    1. There really are scenes I think WH is brilliant even though on a whole he is lacking and not spot on and this is one of them, even when I am capping, it seems like his face was absolutely the same but in motion there were very minute nuances he inserted that convey his GCM is on the brink of crying himself if XX cries a second more.
      That veteran actor as Grandpa puts me to awe, every frame of him he just has that aura of being the master of his domain…yet heartbreakingly vulnerable a human being.

  3. This is a nice balance between happy scene and sad scene. I feel it was nicely transitioned.

    You captures are just awesome alone with your thoughts/review.

    Super Thanks! This was such a good episode.

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