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Kingdom 5 – 02

The fact that Kingdom weekly looses a barrage of Chinese names at me like arrows at an army climbing a hill is rough enough.  The fact that it does so on Japanese Sunday when I’ve got like 27 other shows on the docket compounds the problem.  I’m going to have to give myself a break this season and not even try to keep up with all of them – it’s just impossible.  So I ask in advance for your forbearance if I get a name wrong (or don’t use someone’s proper name at all).  I’m going to trust you know who I’m talking about.

This ep amounted to Xin – and Diao, actually – getting their asses kicked, pretty much.  Both tactically and on the battlefield.  Xin is young and inexperienced for an 8.000-man general to be sure, and Diao even younger.  But between them they usually manage to ride their instincts and mutual trust to success in action.  But Qing She’s second in-command was several steps ahead of them at every turn.  That ambush in the forest (accomplished through the use of rivers the invaders didn’t know about) was bad enough, but just the beginning.

Getting suckered into taking an unoccupied hill was a major mistake, and that one all rides on Diao if we’re honest.  Those two hills were not the main objective of the mission Huan Yi gave the Fei Xin Force – that was to do their part in establishing a front line on the far side of the central hill (the largest and most important in Heiyong).  They were being led by the nose all along, and that detour allowed Qing She and his vanguard to reach the main hill first.

Another problem is Qian Li, whose scout unit has encountered a settlement (and signs of others) in what looked like only forest.  The locals have seemingly no idea that the hell of war is about to be unleashed on them, but as her lieutenant says, that really isn’t their problem at the moment.  Her decision to ride ahead and warn the villagers (as an invader, no less) has the potential to be a costly mistake.  Qian Li is young too – the whole brain trust of the Fei Xin is under current Japanese legal drinking age – and that seems to be biting them in the ass here.

As the Fei Xin ride into another ambush (it’s just not Xin’s day) both big dogs take to the field themselves.  Huan Yi because he seemingly has no choice thanks to Xin’s missteps, and Qing She because he wants to face Huan Yi head-on and take him down (this seems very personal).  But as badly as things appear to be going, Huan Yi seems very unruffled, especially since he’s already played what seems like his best hole card in unleashing the giant Ze Nuo and his gang of bandits on the enemy vanguard.  Huan Yi is many things but a fool is not among them, and the impression he’s giving off is that he’s seen all or most of this coming…

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