Introducing the first half of the penultimate arc in Imperial Doctress 女医明妃传, detailing Ye Xian's (Yuan Wen Kang) arrival, the war and Qi Zhen (Wallace Huo) and Yun Xian's (Liu Shi Shi) eventual captivity.
The story is fairly predictable and the opening credits, a dead giveaway of what's to come, yet the process to get there was so painstakingly frustrating.
Ye Xian is an envoy from Wa La, testing the limits with his relentless provocations and exacerbating the discord between Qi Zhen and his stepmother. As the emperor, Qi Zhen responds with an iron fist that results in Ye Xian's uprise against the Ming Dynasty.
The powerful Ming could have crushed Wa La but through the help of a mysterious strategist, Ye Xian wins, taking over a number of Ming cities in the process.
Meanwhile, it is business as usual for the baddies. Duke Wang manipulates Empress Dowager to continue her tirades with Qi Zhen, opposing Qi Zhen in everything including Qi Yu and Yun Xian's wedding.
Eunuch Wang covets military power so he hastens the Ming army's defeat in order for Qi Zhen to seize control.
Wang Meilin (Gina Jin) and her father Duke Wang manage to coerce Qi Yu (Huang Xuan) into marrying Meilin much to Yun Xian's dismay; yet Yun Xian can't exactly blame Qi Yu because he did it to save her father from a conspiracy that Duke Wang cooked up.
It's absurd that the good guys are playing right into the hands of the baddies without the slightest cognition that they are being played. Yun Xian is no exception, falling prey to Meilin's threats and about to end her life in exchange for her family and Empress Qian's (Lin Cheng Yuan) safety.
Meilin is obviously conniving enough to make good on her threats, but surely, suicide couldn't have been the answer. Empress Qian knocks some sense into Yun Xian and sneaks her out of the palace to join Qi Zhen's troops as a military doctor.
But oh my goodness Qi Zhen turns out to be a total failure as a general. His army left grossly unprepared and majority started getting sick on the first day, thanks to heavy rain and insufficient cover.
To make matters worse, Qi Zhen takes Eunuch Wang's ill advices at every turn, scrimping on medicine when they shouldn't. Yun Xian saves the day as expected, since the entire series serves as testament to her talent as a doctor.
However, solving the problem certainly doesn't change the fact that Qi Zhen is incredibly rash, impudent and arrogant, which are deadly qualities to have in battle. Surprisingly, they're winning; or should I say unsurprisingly because it is clearly a trap, which is why his Wa La enemies were laughing atop their high horses.
Only Yun Xian and General Fan felt suspicious and while they plead for Qi Zhen to listen, Ye Xian's army strikes, burning their food supply in an instant with a message that says, "The Ming Dynasty emperor has no plan or strategy..," I seriously couldn't agree more.
It's like watching a series of unfortunate events unfold and it's actually painful to see the much-loved hero from previous episodes relegated to an annoying character capable only of stupid decisions, one after the other.
Yun Xian berates Qi Zhen and he kicks and screams like a child claiming that it wasn't just his wounded pride on the line. He had to pursue Ye Xian's army because they burned everything. I wish someone could spell out to him that his notion is ridiculous because tiring his own soldiers to death in a blind chase is not going to bring back the food that was already burned to a crisp.
Qi Zhen shouts, "Do you think I'm incompetent?" to which Yun Xian replies, "incompetence is not measured by words but by action." Yes, so true.
It was really only a matter of time before Qi Zhen ends up at the feet of his enemy. Eunuch Wang dies for his treachery and Cheng Shi San returns as the villain behind the war.
Imperial Doctress Episode 1