The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep19

XiangJun, smiling at her husband JunShan, they have just bought new clothes for their 3 year old son, a visual of bliss…

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…if there was no war and PingOn was still alive.
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I will miss you…

He has said he wanted to touch her face the first time he set eyes on her and ever since. He has teased her to feed him with her cooking like the pig he is.   She is teasing him he is eating like he is a starved wolf, PingOn will laugh at you… if he could see.  He could not, he could not laugh at his Dad.  He will forever be his Dad.

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JunShan, lets have a baby girl.  You have said you would love to have a daughter.

He could have had a daughter… if there was not a war.
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A boy and A girl, I am happy.  I am happy.

As the saying goes, 女(girl)+子(boy)= 好…  Good, right, excellent.

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 Who knows…it could be twins.

He should have, would have, could have… but did not stop sending her away.  Now she is tightly in his arms, not herself.  And he has to leave her, missing her, no longer sure if he could make it back alive.

Grandmama would not have to whine about XX not coming back for the Mid Autumn Festival dinner drowning in her workload if there was no fighting again just north.  XX has grown up, but why is the war not ending.  The war is not ending, but GCM’s letters to XX is pouring in no matter where he is stationed, XiuXiu is smiling telling what she heard from XM.

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XM is bringing a hard at work XX her lunch.  She is recording a list of heroes who have fallen,  Mr. Baldy Li from Hunan…just in case their dear ones will look for their ‘graves’, where she buried them with her own hands at a random slope, drew and marked the location, the girl who used to cry with the sight of a dead body.   Every soldier dead in her arms must made her think of GCM more, invisible thread tugging her heart.

XM: I do not know you that well.

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This must be what BiL said, we have grown up.  Even you…

You have not stolen glances at JF today, not a silly thought of her!

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With XX’s reminder, XM leaves the room, but is back in no time.  It is not fun if his twinnie is not chasing after him nagging.   But she has some nagging, grown calluses in her ears hearing herself.  JF won’t give a bat to anything not connected to the word War.    XM should set his eyes on XiuXiu.

she is nothing less than JF. 

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The conversation must have happened too often they need no time brushing it away.  XM nudges XX to come home for dinner.   They all miss her.
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HXX, why are you still mentioning it?  It was so long ago!

Grandmama and Sis are worried about XX, she retreats to her room, quickly hides her letters, deflecting the conversation of stabbing at XM as the one they should all be worried, who ran away from home twice, when XM is trying to sniff if anything is wrong with her…and GCM, who has not written to her for quite some days.

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He could be at the front line.

-If GCM could be at the front line, HXX could climb up a tree!

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XM keeps teasing XX, she shoves him hard, can not stop bursting into tears.

He is fighting in their top Corps, words directly from the Chairman are their unit either fight the hardest battles, or the most visible ones, all of which GCM can not be involved.  He has told her he wants to quit.  GCM wants to quit being a useless soldier in the front line watching on.   All XX can do is say comforting words…and worries sick about him.

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I told him…The cream always rises to top.

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XM does not know what to do or say, he leaves for bed leaving a crying XX holding the letters from GCM tight.  There will be a lot of japs to kill.  His commander ‘reassured’ GCM.  That is not a comforting thought for XX.

By the end of December 1941,  the Japanese are attacking ChangSha for the third time,  just two months from their last attempt.  This time, the japs almost succeeds.  By the blessing of God, the usually calm MiLuo River suddenly rises, drowning many japs.  A small troop reaches within the city,  our soldiers, trapping them into the alleyways, fight with them for three days and three nights.  With our doors closed, I can still hear their rampant rounds of fire from my home.  After years of war, this is the first time citizens of Changsha seeing the japs face to face.

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We are transitioned to a gritty spellbinding battle scene in tight alleys and bombed buildings in ruins.  It is actually the command center where the ‘golden’ Tenth Corps is stationed.  General Fang is shouting commands, fire blazing feet from him, glowing up his face.  It is not the first time GCM sneaks out for a fight himself in the front line as soon as bombs start raining, insisting he is here to fight, not on a vacation.

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Vacation?!  Give me a break.  This is not the time yet for you to fight in the line of fire, when it is time, you have no choice but fight!
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With no backups, no protection in the wings, and their enemy’s sturdy defense on their back, they have no use guarding the base as their defense has just suffered another breach.  General Fang orders for a retreat.

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They have traveled 3 days and 3 nights arduously from HengYang, just to pull back after staking for a few hours.  General Fang grumbles his annoyance of how horrible the regional commander’s strategic planning was as they hurry off in their convoy.

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Last time we saw GCM at the front line, in the trenches with XJS, he was joking of dreaming nightmares of XX, teased of wanting to touch her face, or as he put it XJS’ face…what a night and day.  XX is not having an easier day at work.  The severely wounded keep rushing in, in graver and graver condition, dying on the operating table.   The front line is inching even closer from their accounts.  XM is more than beaten carrying in the injured soldiers.

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XM fusses he is a bookish man, not skilled in physical labor.  XX scolds him he is nothing compared to Cousin in being educated and yet Cousin is working at surgeries for 2 days straight while XM only perks up when JF walks by.

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Sustaining a lot of casualties, the Tenth Corps only has half the infantry left after reorganizing at XueShi Bridge.  It is not any safer here, as bombs are close shaves to their temporary command center as well.  We can see GCM being loyal to his admirable General, shielding him from danger, but General does not need his service as such.

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An injured soldier rushes in calling for help from JinPanLin, a lot of his comrades are fallen, unable to make the trek.   XX insists on going along with Head Nurse, helping out.

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Miss HeadNurse tries to talk XX out from joining her, XX  has her big family to take care of back home, with her Bigsis ill and BiL in battlefield.  XX reassures her that is why she has left XM behind.  XX has braved through the Fire and the battles in HuBei, she has escaped under the eyelids of the japs many times to recognize true danger when it hits.
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If there is no war,  you should be home being your carefree dainty young lady!

-Even if there is no war, I am no dainty young lady!

Fine!  You are the hero! Lets go!

True.

If there is no war.

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General desperately requests back-ups to no avail.

They are all fending for themselves, how can this war be won!?!

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He has a mission for GCM.  GCM eagerly anticipates… with bodyguards safeguarding him as he is delegated the task of escorting the injured soldiers in the safer JinPanLin with no known (to them) IJA infiltration to medical care.  The soldiers, ie his bodyguards are greeted by a swearing GCM, he literally says, I do not fking need protection!  Bravo for the balls PD and writer and ty CCTV for keeping the color and tone.

Meanwhile at JinPanLing, Miss HeadNurse, XX and the volunteers are scrambling as fast as they can tending the wounded.  A soldier is comforting a crying toddler, they picked him up on the road, his mother was killed by the japs…they must be close by.

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 And, we have our fated meeting of our OTP!!!!

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It’s ok.  It’s ok.

He said the same words.  This time he is saying them more to comfort himself.  Last time he was flabbergasted with her sudden hug, absolutely confident she could be in no harm with him capable of saving her.  This very moment, he is a hair from losing her if he threw a tantrum another swear word longer, if XX was not faster with her reaction, he would have hugged her the same.

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XX asks GCM why he has stopped writing to her for two weeks.  He is too ashamed to write, being such a failure in the war front.  Saying the obvious, XX can read about the discouraging news, but she can only hear from him the reassurance he is safe and sound.

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With an edgy smile, ‘Don’t worry, I will not die.

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Three years of active duty, he is still guarded like the map of the city’s defense, securely protected, locked in the safe.   He is given the task of escorting the wounded soldiers because no one thought he would bump into the japs here.

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As they take the trek back to hospital, XX warns Mookie to not chat about how good HeadNurse is with the toddler, Nurse’s husband and child were killed in the ChongQing bombing.  Not before long, GCM senses trouble.  As he orders them to run for cover in the bushes, he asks Mookie to gather all the grenades and sets up booby traps most efficiently.  Another exhilarating scene!
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With the sound of the explosions, XX screams out his name, dashing towards the direction.   Not the most rational decision XX has made, but 3 years of wars, of nerves frayed bare and when the one you love is probably dying steps from you, who has a choice?!
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Miss HeadNurse, I would not let you down.

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They coo the orphan MaoMao to eat, telling him he needs to be strong to look for his Mommy.  Like JF,  Miss HeadNurse had no surviving family.

Outside GCM’s bed, Mookie is keeping guard over his unconscious commander.  XX offers to dress his wound but he insists on saving the gauze for more needy soldiers.  He urges XX to be by GCM’s side with a cute smile.

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Silly girl, do not cry.

Look at me, I am fine and well now.

She was in his ‘nightmares’.  XX tells him he is always in hers, her worst fear was dreaming him in this state…and it comes true.

Listen to me.  Stay put at the hospital.

Do not go anywhere else, do you understand?

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GCM, do you still want to leave me behind?

General demands their return to duty immediately.  XX urges Mookie to report GCM is not well enough. GCM tells XX to not make decisions for him, but  XX wants nothing of it.
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If you want a speedy recovery you must listen to me!

Attagirl!

They have a shortage of beds at the ICU.  XX has an idea:
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XM carries GCM to be nursed at their home.  GCM insists it is not appropriate for him to stay at their house.  XM teases GCM to eat his pride up from losing a fight.  Their family is not afraid of shame, they are only worried about not coming back home.

XM reminds GCM the japs will make advances into the city sooner or later, better to recover as soon as possible.  GCM urges XM to take care of XX for him, do not let her overwork herself.  XM quips it is better for her to stay busy than thinking too much.

While we must’ve giggled a few times pondering what kind of ‘nightmares’  GCM dreamt of XX, we get a haunting fresh visual:  XX tries to take a bullet for him, risking her life…for him and he was helpless in stopping her.

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XX is back home from the hospital and it is her turn to be the nurse for her patient at home.  GCM is hit with the guilt and shame from his dream…and I bet what is about to happen with XX washing his body and helping him with his bowel movements.

XX,  you do not have to do so much for me.
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XX’s eyes freeze over and asks him frankly,

What do you mean?

Let me ask you, what is our relationship right now.

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I do not want to burden your entire family to take care of me.  I would feel very indebted.

XX immediately senses he is distancing himself from her.  She has a marvelous speech ready for him.  And what beautiful lines you are speaking XX!  This is as effective and honest a love declaration than GCM’s klutzy fidgety words last episode, just way more poised, eloquent, assured, and everything we expect from our sassy XX, well trained by BiL, now all grown up to one strong independent lady that speaks her mind.
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GCM, you are already owing me. 

You will keep owing me from now on.

I want you to repay me right away. 

You have to agree whether you are willing or not.

From now on, your entire body is mine.

You can only listen to me.

Do not think too much into it.

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And he listens like the intelligent guy he is, tasting what sweet unconditional love and living a life is about.  There is a war that needs fighting, but like all soldiers, his reason to win is much more compulsive atvm…to come home to this.
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Spring comes, winter is gone.  GCM can walk with his walkers, like music to his new routine, he is greeted by the warm bantering of Grandmama, Mom and Dad, doting on him.  Grandmama has been making him her nourishing soups and tonics while Mom nags her XiaoGu(lil’Gu) to take a seat right away and she will tailor the clothes from BiL to fit him better.  Dad is excited his medicinal elixirs he has been concocting would be of use, just an excuse to have a drink with XiaoGu!   GCM smiles from the bottom of his heart, at simplest joys and comforts, being taken care of by family.   His country is not won back, but he has a place he can call home and it still can bring him joy he is never aware he desires the most.

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2 thoughts on “The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep19

  1. That battle scene is intense. I have a faint heart so I cant watch people die, but oy it was done so well. I feel bad for that poor head nurse. A XiangXiang nursing her GCM is so sweet and romatic. Luv them.

    1. Me too! War dramas, no matter how gd, used to be the last thing I’m interested in watching. I am a wimp and i do not get much thrill from action scenes perood, but this is packed with intensity and control, never indulgent and serves a role in the storytelling seamlessly.

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