Episode 5 of Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures begins with our princess flashing back to her terrible ordeal, as Zhaohua is haunted by her memories while Fuca speaks to his Uncle, who steers him back into the path of vengeance. He remind him of their tragic family history before touching his shoulder and imploring that he remember what he’s told him.
With Zhaohua presumed missing, Lhawang confronts Fuk’anngan, believing that he’s behind her disappearance. Eventually he admits the truth, that he hasn’t seen her. However, the Queen forces him to admit that he’s been conspiring against them so Lhawang doesn’t wed the Princess given how unruly she is. However, Fuk’anngan’s Uncle is punished for his involvement in what happened. Fuk’anngan tries in vain to object but given he took his anger out on her daughter instead, the Queen goes in hard on him. However, he bites back and threatens her, prompting him to divulge the truth about his ancestry. He’s not actually part of the Fuca clan after all. This all leads back to Hitara and her mentioning two extraordinary men. As it happens, his family ties lie with his Uncle.
After dropping this bombshell, the Queen leaves but requests he be taken back to Fuca Manor in one piece. As the explosive reveal subsides for now, the whereabouts of Zhaohua remains unknown, leading Lhawang to go on the hunt for the Princess while Fuca fights his way through to Fourth Uncle to know the truth about his family ties. He asks whether he’s really his son and it’s something he can’t answer, eventually admitting that he hates the Fuca family over what’s happened. Hearing the painful truth, he turns his back on his Father and tells him he never wants to see him again.
Meanwhile, the search for Zhaohua continues, leading them to the long-abandoned ChengQuian Gate. Breaking open the locks, Fuk’anngan heads inside the fabled haunted palace with Siwan to try and find her. Inside, they also run into Lhawang, prompting him and Fuca to fight over their differences. As they do, the doors swing shut and lock them in. Once there, Siwan reveals that Zhaohua went missing once before, at the hands of a Eunuch. Deciding they’ve heard enough, the two men smash open the window and escape, leaving Siwan alone in the locked room.
Separated, Fuk’anngan is ambushed by Zhaohua who stabs him in the chest but is seemingly possessed by a ghost. Clutching his stomach, he grabs the knife with his other hand before she can plunge it into his head and seemingly snaps out of her trance. It turns out since she was 11 she’s always had these weird moments where another person is inside her and kills people which is where we leave things.
Given the tonal shift across to horror for the back end of this episode, I’m not quite sure it really fits with what we’ve seen so far. The opening half of the episode though is fantastic, finally revealing the truth about Fuk’anngan which, as far as I’m aware, is a pretty big moment for this show given it’s an underlying issue from the previous 70-episode series too. I’m just not sure this ghost sub-plot really fits. To be fair, the finale does actually explain this but in-the-moment I found myself rewinding a few times for fear that I’d missed a crucial plot point regarding this.
Despite all that, the show does well to keep things feeling consistent and the orchestral score is fantastic for setting the scene. Quite what the finale has in store for us however, remains to be seen.
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