Nirvana in Fire (琅琊榜) is about a wrongfully accused man escaping execution. He changed his face and his identity in order to sneak into the capital to seek revenge against the Emperor who ordered his family’s deaths. He sent the crown prince packing, the runner-up to his death, and helped the Emperor’s least favorite son become the only viable heir. His deepest, darkest wish was to see the Emperor publicly humiliated and forever known as the petty, cruel and incompetent ruler that he was.
While the men go about scheming, killing, and doing other exciting stuffs, the women are relegated to the background doing wallflower activities. Jing Fei goes about her day making cakes and reading books. Occasionally, she cleans house (as in digging out the spies in her house). She seems like a summer breeze, but she is actually like a poison fog. She slowly blocks out the Emperor’s senses until he lost all connection to the outside world allowing her son to take over the power base. What a woman!
The Disguiser (伪装者) is about youngest brother of a prominent Shanghai family getting recruited by Kuomintang Secret Services to sabotage Japanese-controlled Chinese government which he thought his elder brothers work for. Unbeknownst to him, his brothers are actually undercover agents for the same Kuomintang Secret Services AND double agents for the Communists who has been trying to recruit him by actively putting him through hell every chance they get. Lest not forget their big sister, a legitimate businesswoman and an underground communist sympathizer, whose handler is the youngest brother’s biological father who serves under her oldest younger brother and takes orders indirectly from her 2nd oldest younger brother.
I kid you not. The show is just that confusing. If y’all need to sit down for this, I’ll understand.
Regular person may experience anxiety and confusion with leading a double life. Trained spy may find exploiting their family and friends somewhat distasteful. Not Ming Lou, who is a chameleon of a man with a mind like Mycroft Holmes, moves like James Bond, demeanor like Zhuge Liang, and connections like Olivia Pope.