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When it comes to war epics, it’s probably a good idea never to get too attached to anyone…

I knew this moment was coming – it’s been obvious for a couple of months, in fact – so it was really just a question of when the axe would fall, and how it would be handled.  Whenever Lun Hu died was going to be too soon for me, but as far the manner of his death I have no complaints as far as the moment itself.  I would say that the manner in which he received his critical wound (the one he sustained last week) from Xin leaves a bad taste in my mouth, especially since the guy who made it possible had the bad taste to survive.

Would Xin have won this duel if his second-in-command hadn’t intervened?  We’ll never know – I suspect not – but it was clear that although Lun Hu dragged himself upright with sheer force of will, he was a shell of the fighter he’d been before taking that terrible blow.  It was a bit of dramatic license to have him take the time to tell Xin his life story, but it suited the moment.  The most important thing here was Xin’s behavior after he finished off Lun Hu – he refused to inflict the indignity of taking the great general’s head, which was a classy decision on his part.  Xin may be young, but he knows when he’s in the presence of greatness, and he knows to show those who possess it the proper respect.  That was a surprisingly emotional moment, at least for me.

This episode was a bit of a change from Kingdom’s recent practice in that it didn’t switch back-and-forth between the major areas of focus – of Meng Ao there was no sign, though the battle of the old men will surely take precedence next week.  With Lun Hu dispatched there was another crisis to consider – the fate of Qian Lei and the 200 wounded men Xin left behind with her.  Lun Hu had left a reserve force of 500 of Jie Zifang’s stoutest soldiers to attack them as soon as Xin departs, and when it becomes clear that something is very wrong Xin rushes back to the scene, leaving Lun Hu’s body to be attended to by his own forces.

I must say I find it pretty hard to believe that any of Xin’s men still thought Qian Lei was a man, but so it seems they did.  That this should be as big a deal as it is even given the gravity of the moment is a testament to just how unheard of such a thing was at the time (though let’s not forget that Wang Qi’s beloved was a woman, too).  There was perhaps just a moment or two when I believed Qian might actually die – but not really.  Too much plot armor there, even in this series – she still has her vendetta and all.  Her secret is now out, though, and that means sooner or later it will become common knowledge, and that complicates matters considerably both for Qian Lei and the men who serve under her.  Their loyalty to her – and Xin – is unquestioned, especially after she’s saved so many of their lives.  But she will indeed be a target now.

The state of the battle is an interesting one.  Even with Lun Hu dead the Wei soldiers morale is strong, because they’re fighting to defend their homes.  But half of Lian Po’s inner circle is dead, and a third sidelined in a siege of Wang Jian (which I still feel is a good trade-off for Lian Po).  It really all boils down to that battle on the hilltop, where Xin intends to go next – Lian Po is staking pretty much everything on taking down Meng Ao with this attack and if he fails, I think for the first time the state of battle could truly be said to favor the Qin forces.  Bi is still out there somewhere close by, and Huan Ji will be heard from before this is all said and done as well – just how much of that has Lian Po factored into his calculations?  He’s the best general in this war, but he’s still a human being – and a somewhat overconfident one at that.

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  1. t

    great episode of kingdom.
    proving us again why kingdom is such a gem with everything related to epic war and stuff.

    true, Lun Hu (Rinko) death wasn't a big surprise. ever since that assault, it was pretty clear that it'll come to this moment. yet, by this time we got to know a great character. not only in terms of fighting and skill. but also, he is the type of characters that became easy to love despite being in the opposite side of our heroines.
    and not only Xin is honorable enough not to take his head like that, Xin definitely respect Rinko. even after his death, Rinko made Xin stronger..somethings you earn only by experience and dealing with the great experts. and Rinko was like that. besides, it's not only about fighting skill, but all the talking about heavens..Xin must have earned something from his encounters with Rinko all along.
    as for the "bad taste". well I said so last week, but the fact Rinko still stood up and exchange blows with Xin, kinda balanced that feeling. yet of course, examine the whole issue…yeah I am kinda mixed as last week. but let it be. Xin earned this. besides, this is the iron law in the field.

    as for the second thing this episode is Qiang Lei (Kyokai). I always said that she is irreplaceable. even wounded and all she is amazing. but above all, the whole case brought a great aspect of Xin's unit – unity (HaHa this wasn't intentional). even knowing she is a woman and all, all Xin unit's veteran are united about her. moreover, they want to protect her the way she did it for them all along.
    I wouldn't worry much about being target right now. for units in this scale, mostly the captain is the target. as Rinko did that before. not to mention she is about to leave the unit after this war.

    with this, the center is easier nut to crack. although Wei soldiers are giving it hard time. it seems like Ben and Tian are dealing with that. it's hard but they'll manage.
    but above all, now the field has changed dramatically with one general down.
    and although we didn't get a broad view on the entire field (only at the center) it's become very interesting to see the effect of one general down.

  2. e

    I loved the Lun Hu backstory as a monologue to your opponent right in the middle of battle . It's like the Iliad 8D. Epic modus operandi. Check.
    And Xin's honourable and honouring behaviour towards Lun here sort of makes up for last week's imho. For a warrior like Lun Hu I suppose this is not a bad way to go.
    Given also the whole Qiang Lei part that follows it's a good episode for Xin's character in action and speech today. Still I'm wondering if some extra balm is gonna pop up before he ascends the mountain or he's gonna grit his teeth carrying his wound in barely medicated glory + engage in combat against the enemy boss Rambo-style…
    In any case hang in there Meng grandpa!

    Next episode please?

  3. Well the next ep title is "Meng Ao Holding Strong", so…

    Don't forget Our Man Bi. They didn't show him for no reason.

  4. e

    I skipped the preview but that's good to know XD.
    You wound me. Of course I've not forgotten Bi Bro :p. It seems a given he's gonna help. I do wonder – and hope – he's also gonna survive the ordeal.

  5. A

    I've been looking for a good medium to compare Kingdom to, and the Iliad really fits the bill, what with all the speeches that go down between impossible badasses as they go at it on the battlefield. Xin continues to be one of the most likeable shounen protagonists I've ever encountered and Kingdom continues to be one of my personal favorites.

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