The Story of Yanxi Palace – Ep 62


Welcome back to Chasing Dramas. This is the podcast that discusses Chinese culture and history through historical Chinese dramas. We are your hosts, Karen and Cathy. Today, we’re back on track to discuss episode 62 of the Story of Yanxi Palace or 延禧攻略。


This podcast is in english with proper nouns and certain phrases spoken in mandarin Chinese.




Ying Luo is still heartbroken over the death of her close friend and confidante, Ming Yu who ended her life right as she was about to get married. In her grief, Fu Heng found her at Chang Chun Palace where she was letting out some of her emotions but this was unfortunately overseen by the Emperor who stormed away silently, furious at this sight. 


In episode 62, Ying Luo starts to consider what exactly happened to cause Ming Yu to take this action. For one, she starts examining the box that contained the pair of scissors Ming Yu used that unfortunate day. Xiao Quan Zi tells Ying Luo that it was 顺嫔’s maid that came to gift this box to Ming Yu as a wedding gift the day before she was supposed to leave the palace.


Realizing something was amiss, Ying Luo pelts over to the Emperor’s residence in the pouring rain, hoping to have an audience with him. She waits to no avail as the Emperor refuses to see her. Clearly still upset at what he saw previously with Ying Luo and Fu Heng.


Ying Luo’s next stop after seeing she will not be able to speak to the Emperor is to actually confront 顺嫔. She’s over there dancing in what I don’t know. Is it celebration that her malicious plans are making headway? The way she looks at the camera in certain cuts is quite mesmerizing as in I totally understand why men would be head over heels interested in her.



Ying Luo’s presence isn’t too surprising to 顺嫔 but she continues to act her like an innocent lamb. Ying Luo isn’t able to hide her anger in front of 顺嫔 any further and confronts her quite directly as to why 顺嫔 was so purposeful in befriending her and why she would harm Ming Yu. 顺嫔 denies any wrongdoing and insists she just wants to be Ying Luo’s best friend. She twists her motivation in helping Ming Yu end her life by saying that she was doing Ming Yu a favor. This was probably the most WTF monologue to date because most other people just own up to the terrible deeds they’ve done while she insists she did a nice thing even though it was downright horrible.


The argument becomes heated and even physical as 顺嫔 grabs the pair of scissors Ying Luo brought to confront her and even tells Ying Luo to stab her in order to take revenge for Ming Yu.  And what would you know. 顺嫔 just happens to trip and accidentally stab herself in the chest with the scissors. The scene instantly becomes chaotic as 顺嫔 falls to the ground and Ying Luo is left scrambling to see if 顺嫔 is ok. Classic 绿茶 behavior no?



Poor 璎珞. This looks extremely bad for her and even the Empress Dowager is now no longer on her side because Ying Luo hurt her beloved “daughter” aka 顺嫔. 顺嫔 also has let the mask come off in front of the Empress Nala who comes to see her in bed after her injury and doesn’t deny that Ying Luo is their common enemy. It’s pretty impressive to see what shun Pin has been able to accomplish in just a few months. YIng Luo, who had the favor of the Empress Dowager and the Emperor, now pretty much has nothing.


The Emperor decided to punish 璎珞 by having her confined to her palace. Meanwhile, the Empress Nala took this opportunity to utterly demoralize 璎珞 by having her servants interrogated and aim to turn on her. 小全子 her trusted eunuch indeed became a snitch and turned on his master. With a sly smile, the Empress Nala relished in seeing Ying Luo have no one and nothing left in her palace after 顺嫔’s blow. 袁春望 also takes this opportunity to express his fury at 璎珞’s betrayal by abusing her. He restricts what she’s allowed to eat and also has 小全子 serve her again which will be another way to abuse her because he already betrayed her so there’s no way he’ll treat her well either. 



Ying Luo has nothing to eat daily except for some extremely light porridge. It’s basically just water at this point. Xiao Quan Zi openly gloats and dismisses her to her face while Yuan Chun Wang relishes the abuse Ying Luo is now subjected to.


Elsewhere, Shun Pin no longer deigns to have any type of friendly mask on anymore. In front of Shu Fei and Qing Gui Ren, she is condescending towards them which infuriates Shu Fei who storms off. In quite a refreshing surprise, Qing Gui Ren tries to ask Shun Pin for forgiveness for Ying Luo, the only person to do so in the palace. Her request is rebuked by Shun Pin but for once, we see someone who is extremely aware of how the palace functions and her place in it. She never actively seeks a fight and hopes everyone can be peaceful in the palace.



Shun Pin having established her power in the palace moves onto her next part of the plan. Fu Heng is now not enjoying the full favor of the Emperor given the scene in the last episode where he was seen with Ying Luo. In a debate in front of the Emperor against Prince He, the EMperor sided with Prince He rather than listen to Fu Heng and there’s most likely a personal vendetta added into the verdicts here. 


After Fu Heng leaves, Shun Pin uses an excuse to lure Fu Heng to speak with her. I do appreciate Fu Heng calling her out on the fact that it’s inappropriate for her to see him. But, she comes in right for the jugular by asking if Fu Heng wants to save Ying Luo’s life. She goes on about how furious and regretful he must feel for having left Ying Luo despite having proposed marriage and now seeing her be discarded and mistreated in the palace by the Emperor must make him feel extremely upset. There are a few plot holes here in my opinion. How did she find this information that there was any kind of marriage proposal. How did she know of this history? Regardless, Shun Pin goads Fu Heng about his prior relationship with Ying Luo that leaves him fuming before storming out. Even if he doesn’t say much in return, he’s clearly impacted by Shun Pin’s words about Ying Luo’s current treatment.




The episode closes with us seeing how poorly Ying Luo is being treated by Yuan Chun Wang and Xiao Quan Zi. Ying Luo basically doesn’t have any food or water because it’s being controlled by these two eunuchs. What’s awful is that Yuan Chun Wang has been hiding in the corner just waiting for Xiao Quan Zi to show any hint of kindness to Ying Luo in order to jump out and prevent her from having any sustenance. Dude. This guy is extra cray cray and needs to have a life. He’s so obsessed with Ying Luo.


Before we close out this plot recap, I do want to highlight that it’s odd Xiao Jia Pin has just mysteriously disappeared from the cast. Shu Fei and Qing Gui Ren are the only ones left of the old guard while Xiao Jia Pin is no where to be found. I wonder if Shun Pin did something to her but those scenes were cut. 




There’s not much on history today – there’s going to be a lot for next week’s episode.


The two topics I do want to cover all come from the discussion that the Emperor has with Fu Heng and the Prince of He.


A man from Shangdong Province, 刘德照, is accused of treason because authorities found treasonous writings in his home. Some of these include writings such as 兴明兴汉 which means to restore the ming dynasty and restore han rule. This was seen as extremely traitorous because the Qing are Manchu.


It seems as though 刘德照 was a mentally unstable man, which is what 傅恒 says in the drama. However, the Emperor believed that this was just a cover so that 刘德照 could continue to spread the writings. In 1756, The Emperor ordered the execution of 刘德照 and his wife. 刘德照’s younger brother, who probably had no knowledge of any of this, was sentenced to exile to Heilongjiang and made a slave.


This case is just one example of many 文字狱 or literary inquisitions or speech crimes that occurred during 乾隆’s reign. In the later years of 乾隆’s reign, he clamped down on any speech he thought were anti-qing, resulting in thousands of books being burned and many killed for their supposed sedition



Lastly let’s finally close out on 高斌. It’s so funny because his daughter died ages ago and we’re still talking about this bloke. Anyways – he’s the father of 高贵妃 and I discuss him in episode 32.


We’re now in the mid 1750s so let’s see his fate.


In 1753, several areas under his watch became flooded. In the same year, it came to light that his subordinates created a budget deficit. 高斌 was dismissed from his post for trying to protect these officials. This is discussed in the drama. Gao Bin was sent to a river construction site to atone for his actions. 


In the same year, the Yellow River destroyed several dams in Jiangsu. As previous governor overseeing the construction of these dams, Gao Bin was fined to go to block the embankments. The officials in charge were executed for embezzling money and building subpar dams. Gao bin was there as witness, but because he wasn’t aware that he was about to witness an execution, he fell unconscious due to fright. 


In 1755, Gao Bin died on a river construction site at the old of 72. Despite his failings in his old age, Gao Bin received several honors after his death. The Emperor bestowed him the posthumous title of a grand Minister of the Interior, ordered one thousand taels of silver from the Department of Internal Affairs.


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