Recap: Turbulence of the Mu Clan Episode 1-2

Turbulence of the Mu Clan evolves heavily around family politics and revenge. The constant plotting and traps can get tiresome, but the series still provides enough surprises and excitement to make the story engaging, I'm mostly intrigued by the main love story and perhaps the development of the Mu Zeng's character. Though Aleqiu is the #1 central character that connects everything together, I feel her character can get too goody two shoes for my liking. She has both good and annoying moments, so I have mixed feelings about her in general. Anyway, I'm planning to do some recaps focusing mainly on the OTP.

Please reference Character Guide.

Episode 1
The 10-year old Aleqiu, under her maternal uncle's urging, is told to swear a bloody oath to destroy the Mu clan for the killings of her own family. Her uncle then abandons her outside of the Mu Mansion. A decade later, Aleqiu has blossomed into a beautiful young maidservant who serves the Mu family's matriarch, Luo Shi Ning.
Young Aleqiu swears to seek revenge against the Mu family
Ruolan, the concubine of Mu Long, tries to buy Aleqiu's loyalty and asks Aleqiu to report Luo Shi Ning's daily actions to her. When Aleqiu refuses, Ruolan attempts to frame Aleqiu for blackmail and libel, hoping Luo Shi Ning will punish Aleqiu severely. The intelligent and shrewd Luo Shi Ning sees through Ruolan's schemes and instead arrests her for adultery. The penalty for adultery in the Mu household equals death. Ruolan, under Luo Shi Ning's order, shall be executed along with her lover the following day. At the execution site, Aleqiu brings Ruolan some water. The infuriated Ruolan, however, refuses Aleqiu's kind gesture and attacks her.
Aleqiu gives water to Ruolan before her execution
Meanwhile, Luo Shi Ning's two grandsons are sent to oversee the organization of the Torch Festival. Mu Zeng, the eldest grandson and heir to the Mu clan, can only stand behind the crowd and enjoy a scene where his athletic younger cousin, Mu Kun, participates in a wrestling competition.
Mu Zeng, Gao Yulong, and Mu Kun
Unlike his militaristic grandfather, uncle and cousin, Mu Zeng is more scholarly and loves Han Chinese culture. He laments that no girl would want to ask him to dance during the Torch Festival because most Naxi maidens prefer a warrior like Mu Kun. As the festivities grows more lively, Aleqiu suddenly appears to drag Mu Kun away. Mu Zeng sees her hurried manner and worries that something important might happened at home.
Mu Zeng and his chief guard, Gao Yulong
In reality, Aleqiu was secretly asked by Ruolan during the "attack" to fetch Mu Kun and seek his help to save his stepmother's life. As Aleqiu plans to return to the Mu Mansion, Mu Zeng stops and starts to interrogate her. After learning about the commotion at home, Mu Zeng advises Aleqiu not to return immediately. He fears that Aleqiu would spark the fury of his grandmother by informing Mu Kun and strongly urges her to return under his pretense.

Mu Zeng interrogates Aleqiu for her appearance at the Torch Festival
As Aleqiu and Mu Zeng watches the people of Lijiang dance around the fire, Aleqiu curiously asks Mu Zeng why isn't he dancing. He bitterly replies, "How could I dance when no one asked me?" LOL. Aleqiu then boldly drags Mu Zeng into the dance arena and invites him to dance with her. The shy Mu Zeng can only smile and watches her dance.
Aleqiu invites Mu Zeng to dance before the public
He then gets flashbacks and remember Aleqiu as the little girl who saw 10 years ago who once dance passionately in front of him. Aleqiu reveals that she was the little girl he saved when she was lying unconscious in the snow outside of the Mu Mansion.
Young Mu Kun and Mu Zeng
In contrast to this festive mood, a dangerous secret force of assassins is watching every move that Mu Zeng makes. The leader orders his men to kill Mu Zeng, but forbids his men to hurt the maidservant to him. As they are about to strike at Mu Zeng, Aleqiu lunges herself in front of Mu Zeng to shield him from the blade.
Aleqiu tries to shield Mu Zeng against the assassins
Episode 2
During their run, Aleqiu and Mu Zeng get separated from their guards and found a hiding place from their the assassins. When they finally located a drum to call for emergency help, the assassins are following too closely to allow them to call for help without revealing their location to the enemies. Aleqiu decides to trick Mu Zeng and lure him out of the danger zone so she can hit the drum to alarm the guards and distract the assassins. Aleqiu is then kidnapped by the assassins while Mu Zeng manages to meet up with his guards again.
Refusing to follow his grandmother's order to return home immediately, Mu Zeng leads his guards to track down Aleqiu. Luo Shi Ning, who learned about her grandson's intent and sensing Aleqiu's suspicious actions, secretly tells her most trusted guard, Tuba, that she never wants to see Aleqiu return to the Mu household.
Mu Zeng suspects the nunnery to be an assassin lair
At the nunnery, Aleqiu reunites with her long lost uncle, Xi He, who is actually the leader of the assassins and the mastermind behind the Mu Zeng's assassination plot. Xi He once again reminds Aleqiu of her sacred oath to seek justice for her dead family and destroy the Mu clan. The fact that Aleqiu saved Mu Zeng's life twice at the Torch Festival left a profound impression on Mu Zeng. Xi He wants Aleqiu to use Mu Zeng's gratitude for her to gain his trust and make him an essential tool in their revenge plan. Xi He reasons that killing Mu Zeng alone will not destroy the Mu clan, but having members of the Mu clan destroy each other will be the ultimate destructive force.
Mu Zeng inquiring Aleqiu if she's okay
Mu Zeng and his guards are finally able to track Aleqiu at the nunnery and Aleqiu urges her uncle to flee before they arrive. She lies to Mu Zeng that the assassins just abandoned her and fled without a trace. Tuba doesn't really believe her story and feels she's somehow associated with the assassins.
Gao Yulong fights Tuba to stop him from killing Aleqiu
He then lures Aleqiu in a room and decides to kill her on the spot without the notice of Mu Zeng. Just when he swing his blade at her, he cut the doors of wardrobe open and discovers a young woman hiding inside it. Aleqiu takes this distraction as her chance to escape by hitting Tuba on the head and run with the unknown woman. Before Tuba can succeed in his mission, Mu Zeng and his chief guard, Gao Yulong, intervene in time to save the two women. Mu Zeng questions the reasons behind Tuba's desire to kill Aleqiu, but he adamantly refuses to answer.
Azhao overhears the conversation between Aleqiu and her uncle.
To her shock, Aleqiu then realizes that the unknown woman, Azhao, overheard everything she and her uncle said in the room, including their grand revenge plan. Fortunately, Azhao doesn't disclose anything she heard in the room to Mu Zeng and confesses  that it's her way of thanking Aleqiu for saving her life.
Mu Zeng and Aleqiu returns safely to the Mu Mansion
Mu Kun gets punished for disobeying his father's order
Mu Zeng is shocked to see his cousin hanging in midair
 Once back at the Mu Mansion, Mu Zeng discovers Mu Kun is being punished severely for attempting to save his adulterous stepmother. Mu Zeng immediately goes to see his grandmother with Aleqiu and beg her to spare Mu Kun the torture. To Luo Shi Ning's displeasure, she senses Mu Zeng's growing interest in Aleqiu.
Aleqiu and Mu Zeng kneel before Luo Shi Ling
Mu Zeng shows interest in Aleqiu

Quick Thoughts:
I personally love the dance scene toward the end of Episode 1. It was actually this single scene that got me hooked into this series. I thought the introductory scene between Aleqiu and Mu Zeng where they were walking in the hallway was REALLY corny. I wish the director could reduce the little "romantic emphasis" and made it more natural. It's obvious they are the OTP of the series and I just dislike the "love at first sight" cliche. In general, pace of this series is quite fast and doesn't feel dragged out. The constant cut between scenes can also get annoying sometimes. It's like "I want to finish this scene without any interruptions!" I think the director/editors are having too much fun with their editing tools.

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