Ep 36

Two battles are now occurring. One with the crown prince and the right chancellor in the Flower Sepal Tower or 花萼楼 in front of the Emperor. The other is with Zhang XIao Jing who finally sees who he is up against. 


Let’s first stick with the crown prince and the right chancellor. The court reconvenes after taking a brief break last episode. 严羽幻 worked her magic with the Emperor who agreed to give Zhang Xiao Jing a half day’s more freedom to help solve the case of 阙勒霍多 today. When the Emperor asks why the crown prince has to take 6 months to investigate the case, it shortly devolves into a sparring match between the Crown Prince and the Right Chancellor as they try to lay blame on each other. It’s pretty evident that the Crown Prince is not a match for the Right Chancellor who is steadfast in his verbal barbs and renders the crown prince, at least in my eyes, quite juvenile. 


What is clear to me though is that the Emperor is quite sharp. He is watching this sparring play out and raises the matter of 何孚, Director He’s son. The Right Chancellor gloats that the Emperor has seen 何孚‘s confession and wants Director He to basically falsify a testimony against the Crown Prince in order to protect himself and avoid being sent to prison. It’s a tense moment where we see both the Crown Prince and Director He falter under pressure from the Right Chancellor. Beads of sweat are now dropping from the Crown Prince’s forehead and he suffers an even bigger blow when he asks the quintessential question to his father. Who does the Emperor think has more value to the Tang empire. Him (the crown prince)? Or the right chancellor.  The Emperor screams the Right Chancellor angrily who kneels promptly, but the answer is quite clear. The Emperor values the Right Chancellor more. 


Before the Right Chancellor can escalate further, Director He “falls asleep” right there on the floor. The Crown Prince repeatedly begs for the Emperor to forgive Director He which de-escalates the situation. The Emperor returns back to his dragon chair and announces that he wants to take a rest. The room is dimmed while he takes this break and everyone remains in place, waiting for the Emperor. In this scene, we see how little the Emperor thinks of his son. He’s sharp, but does not care too much for familial bond. What do you think? Is this the right way to think of things as an Emperor?


Meanwhile, let’s get to the giant lantern where all the action is now happening. Well not all. Li Bi is tied up by Long Bo and is being watched over by Wen Ran. The set design inside the tower is absolutely stunning. It’s quite intricate with the bamboo designs inside and impressive engineering. For some reason, Zhang XIao Jing is saved from drowning by one of the men in Long Bo’s crew who was helping install the bomb inside the lantern tower. He’s oddly quite friendly with Zhang Xiao Jing and even advises him that “he” is waiting for him upstairs. Another man in the group we find out used to be a soldier. An ex member of 安禄山’s militia. Zhang Xiao Jing is confused as to why people are so friendly, a big question mark for us too. 


Zhang Xiao Jing gets dressed and somehow quickly dries off. He slowly meanders through the tower to see the impressively designed and engineered structure full of water wheels, bamboo arms and fire balls. He encounters an old man in an enclosure bedecked with designs of the lantern. He is ensconced behind a number of strings with 108 candles on the floor. The old man says that if anyone of the strings burns, then the whole place will explode. 


It is revealed that the old man is 毛顺, the man who designed and created the lamp. Surprisingly, this man is in cahoots with Long Bo. He explains to Zhang XIao Jing just how impressive his own work his. He gloats that because of the contraptions of this lantern, or the QiLin arms, he is able to sneak Logn Bo in to switch the parts to fill it with petrol. In history, no one can build such a structure. Zhang XIao JIng is furious at hearing Mao SHun’s words. The explosion could kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the square. He must stop it.  We’ll hear more about this plan in the future.


The last story line that is emerging now is back at Jing An Si. 吉温 has taken over and he and Captain Zhao are over there wondering what’s the best way to cover the butts. They decide to come up with a scape goat. Who better to be that scapegoat than 岑参 the poor scholar who’s been stuck in jail all day. He’s had numerous jail mates by now and finally got some food but is still there. Note – a bug! He calls himself 程 vs 岑. Even the subtitles have it wrong! 


He is brought forth in front of 吉温 and he actually intelligently manages to explain that using him as a scapegoat is not the right path. How could he, 岑参, basically a nobody, create such chaos in the capital? That would make the security of Chang An look extremely weak and actually lose face for the Emperor. If Ji Wen did indeed just use 岑参, then he might be silenced by all the various powers who are hoping that the truth does not get out. Basically, not ideal for 吉温 if he wants to survive past tonight’s events.


The simple solution? Solve the case! Solve the case and win the day! But who to solve the case? Why 岑参 will do it! How? 大案牍术!




Let’s finally talk about the grand master 毛顺! We’ve seen him already in a few episodes, surprisingly doing 龙波’s bidding, but we now see and hear why 毛顺 agreed to 龙波’s plan.


In the drama, it states that 毛顺 is 毛婆罗’s son. 毛婆罗 – we talked about in episode 34 as a foreigner who was greatly favored by Emperor Wu Ze Tian in the late 7th and early 8th centuries. However, in history, we have very little documentation about 毛顺. It doesn’t look like the two are related.毛顺 is known as the first lighting designer in China.


We know that he lived during the reign of Emperor Tang Xuan Zong. In stories written around the 9th century, we read glimpses of 毛顺 only insofar that for one Lantern Festival in the palace in Luo Yang, he built a grand lantern tower that comprised of 30 rooms, was 150 feet tall, adorned with jade, silver, and jewels. The grand tower looked as though the dragons, phoenixes, tigers, and leopards were jumping the sky and not man made.


Please note that this lantern tower was built in the city of Luo Yang, also known as 东都, rather than 长安 as we see in the drama. 


In history, 毛顺 he probably didn’t enjoy as much fame and popularity as we see in this drama. His name is dropped by everyone. 王韫秀 has a jade hair accessory by him. He apparently created the Waterfall pagodas for the rich and famous, and now of course this grand lantern tower.


The tower as shown in the drama is huge! The set designers created over 150 concept paintings to storyboard the episodes shown in the drama. This includes just how the bamboo pipes would theoretically work in this tower.


The tower itself though is steeped in the daoist religion. I mean, when 张小敬 first meets 毛顺, he has 108 candles lit. 毛顺 says that this represents – 三十六员天罡”、“七十二座地煞. In Daoism, there’s the belief that constellation Ursa major has 36 Heavenly Stars and 72 earthly stars. They’re more commonly known as the 36 heavenly spirits or 72 earthly fiends. These 2 numbers add to 108, which in taoism, represent infinity. We do see 108 in traditional chinese novels such as Water Margin 水浒传 and Journey to the West. 


Then, as stated by MaoShun, there’s the 12 deities from Daosim that are depicted on the outside of the towers. I’m gonna state these all in chinese because otherwise the names are WAYY to long in English. We’ve definitely seen many of them come up in Chinese fantasy shows, so now you know where they’re from!














This is unfortunately the last time we see 毛顺, but as a character who has been mentioned throughout the drama, he chose an interesting fate, one that might just jolt the Emperor.


Lastly, let’s talk about poor 岑参. Captain Zhao essentially has it out for him and is about to frame him for the days events.


岑参 says two lines that really recap his current mental state


未及得采之,秋风忽吹杀 – before they’re picked, it’s killed by the autumn wind.


These come from a full poem by 岑参 and goes as such. It’s called


感悟 – Enlightened








In the northern mountains there are these beautiful Rhododendron

They are blooming brilliantly

But before they’re picked, it’s killed by the autumn wind.


You don’t see the green pines standing hundreds of feet tall

Even the autumn winds cannot destroy it.

The pine always keeps its green color, but the Rhododendron doesn’t recognize it.


Essentially what 岑参 writes or says is that don’t be as beautiful as a flower, you are easy to break. Be as strong as a pine, so that you don’t. What’s interesting is that in the drama he says 未及得采之,秋风忽吹杀 just as he’s about to be captured again. I think he’s trying to NOT be the flower and find a path out, which of course, he does by the end of the episode.

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