I know I’m recap-ing this quite late but you know the saying “better late than never” 🙂
There are spoilers so read at your own risk!
Gongsun Li (GSL)/Li Ji – Main character who bore a son with Jing Ke but is now the Emperor’s concubine.
Emperor/Ying Zheng: Emperor of Qin Kingdom and loves Li Ji
Han Shen: Li Ji’s eldest disciple brother who also has feelings for Li Ji but remains in Qin to protect her with the Emperor’s permission.
Jing Ke: Li Ji’s second oldest
Qing’er: GSL’s servant who is very loyal to her.
The scene begins where it left of in ep 28. As Li Zhong checks each of the coffin, Jing Ke swiftly kills the surrounding guards and makes a move on Li Zhong. He helps the Crown Prince of Yan to escape while holding Li Zhong hostage.
Back in the Qin Palace, Li Zhong and Han Shen went to report to the Emperor. Li Zhong tells the Emperor that the Crown Prince escaped and that they have a formidable assassin on their side (Jing Ke). When Han Shen gets questioned on whether he knows the assassin, GSL abruptly interrupts to save him from having to answer. She tells the Emperor that Han Shen has been in the palace for so many years so he will most likely won’t recognise anyone. Li Zhong seems unconvinced but changes the subject matter to when she was at the Crown Prince’s residence; he’s suspicious on whether she helped the Crown Prince escaped. The Emperor has not interrupted Li Zhong once so I guess he also has suspicions..
Then we see Jing Ke with the Crown Prince and his followers resting for the night after their grand escape. Jing Ke is in deep thought and we all know who he is thinking about!
The scene immediately cuts to GSL who is also thinking about Jing Ke, hoping that he will bring the Crown Prince back to his kingdom safely. The Emperor walks into her room quietly to surprise her. I love the smile on her face when she sees him! And I love the look in his eyes when he faces her! He tells her that he has a present for her – he decided to bring her son, Tian Ming, back to the palace. This surprises GSL and her excitement goes unnoticed by the Emperor. The Emperor apologises for separating them for too long and that he will think of Tian Ming as his own son.
The next day we get a shot of a happy family reunion: the Emperor, Li Ji and Tian Ming. The father and son have a cute chat about freedom while GSL and her servant watches over them fondly. The Emperor then turns solemn as his mind goes to Crown Prince of Yan. He tells GSL that the Crown Prince probably had the same ambition he did due to what they went through when they were young.
Next, we get a close up shot of Chu Furen (or Lady Chu) eating mandarins. Honestly, at first I thought she turned crazy just by the way she is eating those mandarins lol. She immediately throws a tantrum at her servants complaining of stomach ache and tooth ache because of eating too many mandarins. Her trusted servant then comes into the room and the other servant leaves them in peace. Her servant tells her that there is great news: Han Zhangshi is pregnant. Lady Chu dismisses the idea “The Emperor hasn’t favoured her recently”. Her servant reminds her that Han Zhangshi was previously sent to be Han Fei’s concubine by the Emperor and suspects that was when she became pregnant. Her servant then proposes an idea for Lady Chu to use this to her advantage to ‘become pregnant’ and swap her nonexistent baby with Han Zhangshi’s baby at an opportune time. We can see Lady Chu liking the idea and praise her servant for such a great idea, “When did you become smart?”.
Lady Chu works fast as we then get a close up shot of her serving food to Han Zhangshi. Han Zhangshi is suspicious and afraid that Lady Chu might harbours hatred for her because of the previous incident when she ‘framed’ her. Lady Chu plays it off and says that they are all wives of the Emperor, “Hence, we should all help each other no matter the situation”.
However Han Zhangshi’s guard is still up especially when she hears that Lady Chu specially prepared these foods for her. Knowing her discomfort, Lady Chu tries to comfort her saying that they will be very good for her before leaving.
Han Zhangshi tells her servant that Lady Chu might know that she is pregnant but doesn’t know her intentions as it is obvious she is not pregnant with the Emperor’s baby. She doesn’t believe that Lady Chu has changed her ways as she has made other women abort their baby by force. She is adamant that Lady Chu has something up her sleeve and instructs her servant to throw the food out.
Back to Lady Chu’s residence, she gets her health checked by a physician. The physician tells her that she’s healthy but then she stealthily persuades the physician to say that she’s pregnant. The physician tries to act nonchalant and dismissive of her wishes. But Lady Chu would have none of that as she bribes him and threatens him with his family.
Next, GSL visits Han Zhangshi who tells her that she’s pregnant with Han Fei’s child. She pleads GSL to help her persuade the Emperor to allow her to give birth to this child, “Only you can help me”.
Of course GSL will help a fellow mother. Later in the evening, she tells the Emperor the news. She tries to reason with him in order to persuade him to allow Han Zhangshi to give birth to Han Fei’s child as they owe him at least this much. The Emperor gives his permission; tells GSL to take care of the matters and to be careful.
The next day, Zhao Gao informs the Emperor of Lady Chu’s “pregnancy”. He tells her that she’s been pregnant for 3 months already which means that it happened before he punished her. He informs Zhao Gao that he does not wish to see her and instructs him to prepare the things she will need. But he’s still suspicious, “How did she get pregnant?”
Back at Lady Chu’s residence, Zhao Gao arrives with medicine to help her with her pregnancy. Her disappointed face at not seeing the Emperor is apparent and Zhao Gao tells her that the Emperor is busy. Zhao Gao is also suspicious with her pregnancy and states that her stomach does not look like she’s pregnant at all. Lady Chu gets nervous and covers her belly while making up an excuse. She pretends to be nauseous to get rid of his suspicious. Zhao Gao then leaves.
Lady Chu’s servant asks her whether he believed her or not. Lady Chu does not know then realises that her body does not look pregnant and instructs her servant to get a fake pregnant stomach for her. – They didn’t think of this before they executed their plan?!
The ep begins with the Emperor at court with his ministers over the Crown Prince of Yan and the aftermath of his escape.
We then move over to the Crown Prince of Yan who is on horseback with his other servants and Jing Ke. They have just arrived at Chao Kingdom and made plans for what they should do to protect the Crown Prince’s safety. We see a suspicious person following them and Jing Ke gets suspicious. Unfortunately, Jing Ke could not find anything and so the party continued moving.
We then see Lady Min visiting Han Zhangshi. They talk about the matters of the child and Lady Min asks whether the Emperor knows about the child. Han Zhangshi reveals that she asked GSL for help and after seeing the look on Lady Min’s face, she quickly says that she didn’t reveal anything else. Lady Min looks at her suspiciously and asks her “Do you still want to leave the palace?” Han Zhangshi brightens up and says yes. Lady Min sends away the servants and tells her that she can leave the palace today. Han Zhangshi is excited and Lady Min warns her, “The less people that know of this matter the better”. Han Zhangshi thanks Lady Min. I sense something bad will happen..
The Emperor visits Lady Chu at her residence which surprises her. She immediately stops eating and rushes to her bed to pretend to be on bedrest. She doesn’t forget her fake belly as her servant helps her with her charade. He comes in and asks about her child. Lady Chu says that the child is good and kicked a few times. The Emperor goes to feel her stomach but is stopped by her saying “He is not kicking now”. This makes Zhao Gao suspicious and her servant anxious. Luckily the Emperor didn’t think too much of it and leaves.
Later we see Zhao Gao telling Lady Min that the plan to send Han Zhangshi out of the palace has been arranged well. Lady Min instructs Zhao Gao to ensure that her mouth will be forever shut – damn she’s ruthless. Zhao Gao also thinks that’s too far since she’s pregnant but Lady Min doesn’t care. Oh she’s petty because Han Zhangshi seek GSL for help.
Next, we see the Empress Dowager sleeping alone in her bare palace. GSL arrives with dates. The Empress Dowager immediately proceeds to eat them. But then she says that these dates tastes similar to what she had before. GSL explains that she got them from Lady Min. This brings back the Empress Dowager’s memory and tells GSL that Lady Min never liked the Emperor and doesn’t know why she was willing to marry so far from her homeland. GSL begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together and becomes suspicious of Lady Min as she gets flashbacks to her past conversations with her.
Suddenly we get a close shot of a farmer discovering Han Zhangshi’s dead body. The scene then quickly moves to GSL and Lady Min. They talked about Crown Prince of Yan and then realised that Qing’er was in her own world. GSL tries to get her attention and asks her what made her so inattentive. Qing’er explains that she is in shock because other servants told her of Han Zhangshi’s death. Lady Min’s servant tries to act calm but her hands continues to fidget. The mood becomes sorrowful and Lady Min tries to shift the blame towards Lady Chu and Li Si. Li Ji becomes suspicious of Lady Min and remembers the Empress Dowager’s words. She explains that Lady Chu could not be behind Han Zhangshi’s death but Lady Min is still trying to push the blame to her. However, GSL knows her intentions but does not know why she is pushing the blame onto Lady Chu.
Then we see the Crown Prince of Yan with Jing Ke walking freely along the crowded street. They talk for a while before Jing Ke asks them to continue on without him. After they separated, we see the suspicious person lurking behind the Crown Prince and Jing Ke following behind. He quickly apprehends the suspicious person and the Crown Prince goes to have a look. He recognises the person as General Fang.
Back to Lady Chu’s residence, she receive news of Han Zhangshi’s death. Lady Chu becomes pissed that her plan is ruined and the servant says that they need to do something since her pregnancy is now public. Her servant says that Lady Min has been visiting Han Zhangshi often lately which Lady Chu put pieces together and realised that Lady Min has been framing her all along.
Later, Lady Chu confidently walks into Lady Min’s residence. Lady Min ignores Lady Chu but Chu would have none of that. She grabs one of the scrolls and throws it harshly at the table. Lady Chu doesn’t beat around the bush and says that Lady Min was behind Lady Jing’s and Han Fei’s death. Lady Min does not admit to anything and threatens her to tell the Emperor. Lady Chu attempts to slap Lady Min who grabs her wrist. GSL arrives during their struggle and stops them. She dismisses Lady Chu telling her that she should rest since she’s pregnant. GSL then leaves and chases after Lady Chu.
GSL tells her that she believes Lady Chu was not behind the death of Han Fei. GSL is still confused but after Lady Chu’s explanation, she realised that Lady Min was not as innocent as she seems. GSL then advises (warns) Lady Chu to not visit Lady Min anymore if she does not want to end up like Han Fei.
Afterwards, GSL is alone with the Emperor as she talks about the unfortunate incidents with Han Fei and Han Zhangshi. She tells the Emperor how she doesn’t know why Han Zhangshi left the palace since her family has died. The Emperor raises a thought: “Is Han Fei’s death related to Han Zhangshi?”. There are many questions left unanswered as they try to uncover the truth.
They then have a sweet moment. GSL asks the Emperor to see his mother as her condition is not too good. The Emperor responds saying that if someone else told him that he would be angry but because its her, he will go and visit his mother tomorrow with her.
The episode ends with Chu Furen threatening the physician to do as she orders.