Gong Episode 2 Recap
Qing Chuan is taken out of the palace by Yin Si and left to fend for herself. She begs to be taken in by a young tailor. After making his shop a success, he proposes and she rejects. She is then kidnapped and taken back to the palace to work as a maid for royal concubine Xi who agrees to help Qing Chuan if Qing Chuan can get the emperor to notice her once more and thus starts Qing Chuan’s complicated palace life of being bullied by the 8th, 9th, and 10th princes, along with the other palace maids while falling for the 4th prince and becoming friends with Su Yan.
*I accidentally call 4th Prince Yin Zheng, his name is actually Yin Zhen – though he is referred to by his title of 4th Prince in the drama*
We pick up where we left off in episode one – with Qing Chuan slapping Yin Si. You have to love the shocked and angry look on our young prince’s face. Qing Chuan says that she struck quick and fast and didn’t warn him so he had no chance of avoiding it. There are a lot of things like that in life. She then tells him that she does not want to marry Tai Zi and that he has gone ahead anyways with the wedding preparations. She then asks the prince what a weak girl like her can do. The eighth prince then picks her up and throws her over a shoulder and the two taking off galloping out of the palace.
They stop in a forest and the worried Qing Chuan demands to be let down. Yin Si puts her down and hops off the horse and tells her that if she doesn’t wish to marry his brother, then she should run now if she has the guts. Qing Chuan doesn’t need to be told twice and goes to run off to freedom, but then she remembers the gunpowder she found. Her conscience won’t let her run off and put innocent people in danger. Qing Chuan turns around and demands to be taken back to the palace. Yin Si laughs and calls her materialistic. Qing Chuan says that no matter how he sees her, he has to bring her back. Yin Si says that she is without shame and when Qing Chuan goes to hit him this time, he is ready and blocks her hand. He taps her closed fist with his finger and tells her to stop resorting to violence. Plus, he can only take so much and even if he doesn’t like to hit women, he has a limit. Qing Chuan begs him to take her back or else innocent people will die. Yin Si says the typical “fool me once, fool me twice” saying and asks if Qing Chuan takes him for a fool. Yin Si then tells her to get back on her own and gets back on his horse and abandoning her to fend for herself. Qing Chuan runs after him shouting that people will die, but he ignores her.
Back at the palace, the dancers are practicing for the wedding banquet. Su Yan is trying to figure out how to plant the powder in order to kill the crown prince in his nuptial chamber when the man in charge and the 18th prince show up. The 18th prince (who is probably the baby of the family and somewhere around the tween age) is bored and asks the dancers to perform the Havoc of Heaven dance. He is told that it is inauspicious for them to perform such a thing before the wedding. Su Yan then breaks out of the troop and begins performing a martial arts-like dance. This delights and entertains the little prince who is then left in the care of Yu San and the dancers while the attendant goes off to finish banquet preparations. The 18th prince calls Su Yan over to teach him the moves and Su Yan says he cannot learn them and asks him to play hide and seek. While the prince has his eyes covered, she quickly runs to the wedding chamber and plants the gunpowder. She is caught by an attendant and she tells him that she is only playing hide and seek. Then in rushes the 18th prince which allows Su Yan to escape without punishment. The prince then kicks the attendant out and hides under a bench in order to tease the bride and groom later. This definitely doesn’t bode well.
Meanwhile, the crown prince is upset to learn that the fairy has disappeared. Yin Reng demands to know where she went but the maids have no idea. When they went to help her change into the wedding garments, she was gone and they were no longer keeping an eye on her because the prince told them not to. The attendant then learns that the 8th prince was seen carrying a woman who looked like the fairy out. Yin Reng is upset that Yin Si is trying to take the fairy from him and calls out to his men to gather and go with him in order to find the fairy.
Night falls and the banquet is under way. The palace guests wonder why the prince and bride have not arrived and they are told that they are in the wedding chamber and will be out shortly. Hearing this, Su Yan sets off fireworks on stage and the sparks set fire to the nuptial room. The palace guards quickly rush to put out the fire, but our little prince is trapped inside the flaming room.
The emperor is furious with Yin Reng and kicks his son demanding to know just what happened. Yin Zeng is there as well, trying to help Yin Reng. Kang Xi asks why 18th prince was in the crown prince’s room and all Yin Reng can say was that all he wished to do was marry a concubine. This upsets the emperor because his permission wasn’t asked and Yin Reng had even planned on divorcing his current wife. Kang Xi then asks if Yin Reng wants the punishment of lying to an emperor. Kang Xi laughs and then scolds his son for ignoring the royal rules. Kang Xi then takes down his sword and tells his heir to prepare to die. Yin Zeng (I am not sure if it is all a purely calculative motive or if he genuinely wanted to save his brother and rival) intervenes and begs his father not to kill Yin Reng in haste. The emperor warns Yin Zeng that the same fate may befall him if he insists on protecting Yin Reng. Yin Zeng says that since they are brothers, he must protect him and the emperor then brings up brotherly love and if Yin Reng had any towards the brother who lies dying from the fire. Yin Zeng says that the 18th prince might still live, but then comes news that the 18th prince did not make it. After hearing this, Kang Xi tells Eunuch Li to issue a decree to depose Tai Zi and throw him in prison. Yin Reng cries and begs for mercy, but his father will not listen.
Qing Chuan finally arrives back at the palace gates cursing about the cruelty of the 8th prince. She overhears about the fire and the 18th prince’s death. She is sad that she is too late. When she sees the crown prince and his wife being escorted by armed guards, she quickly goes and hides to keep from being implicated.
A sorry Su Yan is at the river crying and throwing paper money into the water in honor of the 18th prince’s death. Yin Zeng comes and holds an umbrella over her. She tells him how she wished she had never done that as the 18th prince was still adorable, cute and innocent and did not deserve such a fate. Yin Zeng tries to comfort her by telling her that it must have been heaven’s will for the little prince to be there and to suffer such a fate. Whatever you need to tell yourself I suppose. While I understand what he means, it still seems really heartless. Yu San then gets up and tells Yin Zeng to blame her. Yin Zeng hugs her and says that he is the one to blame for instigating her. Su Yan says they should both go to hell for what they’ve done.
Yin Zeng says no, to repent for what they’ve done, they must continue going forward, live well, and provide a good life for the commoners. Su Yan asks what is the real him and he says that in her heart is the real him. He also tells Su Yan that in order to see the real him, her road will be a difficult one. Su Yan says she fears that she cannot continue, but Yin Zeng tells her that she must as there is no turning back now. Ying Zeng then tells her that if she cannot continue, then his fate will be the same as his 18th brother’s. Nothing like laying an even heavier guilt trip on the woman who loves you. Yin Zeng then says that it’s better for 18th prince to have died as being born as a prince from a commoner mother and not royalty is a sad fate. There is no one to love them or care for them and they are always in danger. It is better to seek reincarnation and be born into a different family and live a better, happier life. Yin Zeng says that he is just like his little brother, but he wishes to change his fate. He then drops the umbrella and throws out the rest of the paper money calling out his brother’s name.
Our heroine wanders alone and hungry in the capital. She smells buns and gravitates towards them. The shop owner asks if she wants a bun, but when she says she has no money he quickly tells her to leave. She asks to work for food, but he refuses saying that selling those he would not even have enough money for himself. Then a kind young man stops and gives her food. Qing Chuan quickly begins eating and the man asks if she isn’t afraid he’s a bad man. Qing Chuan shakes her head no and continues shoving food in her face. The man gives her the rest of his food saying he was on a business trip and had rations to spare upon his return and leaves. Qing Chuan chases after him and asks for a job. She makes up a story about being all alone and how she came to find her relatives who are not there. The kindhearted young man then agrees to take her on.
The two arrive at his shop and he introduces her to his mother. He tells her the story that Qing Chuan told him and says he wishes to take her on. His mother then asks him if he sold the clothes in Cheng De. At his silence, she then remarks how their store isn’t doing well and he still wants to help others? With the way business is going, they won’t be able to afford food for themselves, let alone an extra mouth. Qing Chuan says the clothes are very beautiful so how can Xiao Chun (Wang Jia Lin) not be able to sell them. His mother says that instead of doing the ready-made clothes, Xiao Chun wanted to produce his own designs which weren’t met with good results. Xiao Chun tells his mother that they simply cannot sell the same old fashioned clothes as wearing the same thing every day would be boring. His mother then tells Qing Chuan to find work elsewhere so she doesn’t end up in a poor state like they already are. Qing Chuan tells them not to worry and that she will work there and help them make big money.
Qing Chuan then hires models and puts on a fashion show drawing in a large crowd. Mrs. Gu is shocked by this and wonders if they can actually do what Qing Chuan is doing. Xiao Chun says that they can and immediately people start buying. A wealthy woman sees the crowd and stops and looks over the shop. Qing Chuan sees her and goes over trying to make a big sale. The woman then comments that if no one is looking, then what is the point of buying. Qing Chuan thinks to herself that is not the purpose of clothes, but then remembers in that ear, women’s husbands were the most important thing. Qing Chuan then says that the clothes will definitely help capture the woman’s husband’s gaze. The woman then replies again that if her husband doesn’t even bother to look at her, how would he notice the clothes? Knowing that she must be an unloved wife, Qing Chuan tells her that she must think of a plan and not lament in her own misfortune. This intrigues the woman and Qing Chuan then tells her that the Gu store was unpopular and broke until she came and now makes a lot of money. The woman smiles and says if there was someone as smart as Qing chuan by her side, then that would be great. She then leaves without making a purchase.
At the palace, the emperor wakes and is surprised to see no one around. When he leaves his chamber he sees a eunuch recording all of his movements. The emperor then asks him who told him to do this. The eunuch says that it was himself. Eunuch Li, seeing this quickly goes and bows before the emperor. Kang Xi asks if it was Li who was behind this and Li says that Xiao Shun’zi (his god son) has a bad memory and cannot remember the emperor’s preferences. Li then told his god son to use his head to think of a way to better serve him and this apparently was the stupid method he came up with. The emperor then lets the two go, but you can tell he is still suspicious of why his movements were recorded. Li takes his god son to be beaten as punishment and when the beating is over and the guards have left, Li then scolds his god son for getting caught doing something like that. Shun’zi asks if he should keep recording and Li tells him to be careful as no one knows who is listening in the palace. Li then tells him to use his head and be more careful about his duties. So why is Li having the emperor spied on? Oy. Palace politics are so confusing.
Yin Zeng heads into the palace and runs into Eunuch Li who asks him why he is there so early. Yin Zeng says he heard his father was coughing a lot recently so he came with herbs. Li then says that the palace physicians have the cough almost cured. This surprises Yin Zeng and Li tells him everything that happened that morning and how it caused the emperor to be in bad health so that the physicians had to come and have helped the emperor so that his cough is almost cured. The eunuch then warns Yin Zeng that they cannot be seen together too much as it could reflect badly after the events of the morning. Li then says he has to go to internal affairs to talk about the hiring of new maids. Yin Zeng is pleased to hear that the palace is hiring. We can guess why.
That night Su Yan goes to meet Yin Zeng and the woods are lighted with Chinese lanterns and there comes Yin Zeng playing a flute. He then asks if she knows what day it is. Su Yan asks and Yin Zeng replies that it is her birthday. It pleases Yin Zeng that he has remembered. They have known each other for three years now and have only met a handful of times. Yin Zeng asks if she wishes to see him more often (dumb question). Su Yan asks if it is possible. Yin Zeng tells her that the palace is recruiting maids and that he will create a Manchurian status for her and get her tutors so that she is properly schooled. His hopes is that she will get chosen to serve the emperor personally in order to help him along. Yin Zeng asks if Su Yan really wishes to do that. Su Yan says she doesn’t have a choice and Yin Zeng tells her that she can always refuse him. Su Yan then says that he can lie to her and say that she can stay by the emperor’s side to help Yin Zeng become the crown prince and the two can bet together. Yin Zeng says that he cannot lie to anyone and he hopes that in the future she will have happiness. Yin Zeng goes to leave and Su Yan calls out that she will go, not for his sake, but for her own. She then looks at the lanterns and cries. Why does she love him when it seems he is colder than kind.
It is morning and Qing Chuan is hard at work. She is putting out mannequins in front of the store to help attract customers. When Xiao Chun asks what she is doing, she says that if they don’t display their merchandise outside, then how will anyone know that it is a clothing store? Good point, it’s not like there were windows in which to display things in like today. Xiao Chun says he understand that, but doesn’t think that Qing Chuan should be doing all these “hard” chores. Qing Chuan says that she is the employee and that he is the boss, so as his employee she must do the work to earn her keep. Xiao Chun then mutters that he has never treated her as an employee. Their conversation is then interrupted by the parade of women going into palace for the maid recruitment. Qing Chuan thinks that means they will be the emperor’s women, but Xiao Chun explains that they will be servants and not ladies-in-waiting. Qing Chuan is impressed that the clothes for maids are so pretty and then comments on how she wishes she could meet her idol Yong Zhen. Of course, Xiao Chun doesn’t understand the terminology, nor does he know who Yong Zhen is.
During the maid tests, Su Yan does admirably well, much to the other girls’ disgust. Two maids then decide to make things difficult by distracting Su Yan and putting something untasty in her dish. As Eunuch Li goes to the palace maids to prepare the last test and assignments, Shin’zi runs up and hands him a slip of paper with Su Yan’s name on it. He then enters the testing room where he asks after Su Yan. The attendant says that Su Yan excels in everything and the two troublemaking maids declare it isn’t fair and that the cooking should be tasted before they say she is the best. Li tastes the cooking and says that it needs work and hands out the palace assignments. Su Yan wonders how things could have turned out like that and tastes the dish, wondering what happened while the culprits giggle. Sheesh.
Back in the city, Xiao Chun is working on a pretty new design. His mother comes and asks to display it, but Xiao Chun says that it is special and that he won’t sell it. Mrs. Gu realizes that her son must have a wife in mind and asks which family the girl is from. Xiao Chun then looks out the window and there is Qing Chuan. His mother, realizing that he likes Qing Chuan declares that she will talk to Qing Chuan and work out the marriage details. Wow, her second proposal! Mrs. Gu pulls her asisde and Qing Chuan cannot believe that she is being asked to marry Xiao Chun. Qing Chuan says that she will have to return home sooner or later and that she really can’t marry him. Xiao Chun overhears this, drops the gown he made for her and runs off. Qing Chuan runs after him.
When she catches up to Xiao Chun he says that he knows it’s a one-sided love and that he is not worthy of her. Qing Chuan says that is not the case at all. In fact, she probably isn’t worthy of him. Qing Chuan then explains that feelings are needed for marriage and the feelings she has towards him are that of familial love – not romantic. Xiao Chun then says that it is the parents who decide the marriage and they should be heeded and Qing Chuan says it may be like that here, but not where she is from. Xiao Chun says he can follow her rules, to which she quickly replies that he cannot. Qing Chuan doesn’t know how to explain why they can’t and then changes tactics saying that she can never love him as more than a brother. Xiao Chun says nothing and turns away. Qing Chuan asks if he is okay and he says he is and leaves. He turns around and says he won’t give up and will make her love him someday. Qing Chuan wonders why he doesn’t understand. She turns to follow him back to the store when she is attacked from behind.
When Qing Chuan wakes up she is in a luxurious room and wearing a maid’s outfit. She notices the rich woman from earlier and asks where she is and who she is. In walks a maid who scolds Qing Chuan for being so rude to the imperial concubine Xi and then she forces Qing Chuan to kneel. Qing Chuan is shocked to discover that Xi is a concubine. Xi then tells Qing Chuan that she returned home for the day to meet her brother who was victorious in battle the day she met Qing Chuan. It then took Xi an awful lot of work to find a way to get Qing Chuan into the palace. Qing Chuan asks why she went to the trouble to bring her there. Xi replies that she recalled what Qing Chuan said about tricks to getting the emperor to notice her. Qing Chuan is then told she must come up with a plan for Xi to gain the emperor’s attention at his brithday parthy coming up. Qing Chuan asks what happens if she can’t think of anything and Xi just says MoMo’s name and MoMo immediately threatens Qing Chuan with death if she can’t. Qing Chuan quickly says that she will help so please let her live. Xi then says that if they are successful, Qing Chuan will live a good life, if not, Qing Chuan will be miserable. Xi then leaves and tells MoMo that she knows what to do. Looks like Qing Chuan’s got her work cut out for her!