The first time I've watched this drama is on TVB pearl screen on TV3. It was the last TVB dynasty that aired everyday at 6pm since like I was on primary school. Too bad it has to came to an end.
But at least TV3 ended this slot gloriously by airing such a great drama as their final touch. I've love this story so much that I don't mind spending rm37 when I saw this VCD on the store. It's worth it.
This story is gradually based on the imperial time of the Qing dynasty, the last dynasty that ruled China before its falls under the burden of revolution and war. It was based on a story of the struggle of the concubines within the palace for the emperor's love and attention, which in the end secures their influence and power within the imperial court.
What I've seen from this drama episodes by episodes is how the intricate lives of all the imperial subjects within the forbidden city. I was fascinated with how everyone must be clever and virtous, at least verbally in order for them to survive. One wrong step eventually will costs their head.
The twists and plots becomes exciting in the beginning, in which every "lady-in-waiting" (concubine candidates) uses their trickery to try to eliminate each other, while at the same time trying to get the blessing of the main concubine, Madam Yue in which are the most notorious concubine among them.
Madam Yue, which are always the emperor's favourite, never let anyone else outshine her, and make sure that any concubine dares to threaten her position in the palace will suffer fatal consequences, and was more than determine to sack the power of authority from the empress.
But as the plot continues, the empress proves to be more than supreme above others in term of devious in the palace. She's not only managed to outshine Madam Yue in front of the Emperor, but had also stolen her new born princess from the care of the poor mother.
As the bully is eliminated and the empress rules supreme inside the 6 palaces of the inner courtyard of the forbidden city, then emerges from the ashes is three new concubines, Madam Shun, Madam Wah and Madam On, in which each has their own story.
But the most profound story is from Madam On, in which is just initially a Chief maid, but once found out that the person whom responsible for the so-called accidental death of her grandma is the empress herself, she abandoned her love and conscience and uses her wits to seduce the king and enters the realm of ladyship in order to nail the empress down.
The story is so complicated in context, but the director had planned well every detail to make sure that the viewers doesn't loose on track of the plots.
If On-shin does not pursue her revenge.. If eunuch Luk does not telling On-shin the truth about the death of her grandmother.. If Madam Wah does not trying to frame Dr. Suen for infidelity and furthermore having sexual course with him to get a child for His Majesty.. If Dr. Suen just trying to runaway with Madam Shun instead of pursuing his beloved Madam Wah until the very end...
But in the end, everybody loses. Such a sad story that shows how love, bureaucracy and fate turns out magnificently inside the four walls of The Forbidden City.