"Story of Kunning Palace" has reached its final act, and the death of You Fangyin in the rain is one of the four major highlights of the ending. In the end, Jiang Xuening changed the destinies of everyone, but could not change the fate of You Fangyin. When Jiang Xuening rescued her from distress and freed her from the sea of suffering, it was considered a rebirth; You Fangyin, in order to repay her kindness, held back Zhou Yinzhi and was killed, considered a death. The cycle of cause and effect, one retribution for another, Jiang Xuening lived two lives, but ultimately could not save her life. Her rebirth saved everyone, but unfortunately, it ended up changing You Fangyin's fate, which inevitably leaves a sense of regret.
01 You Fangyin's obsession and the end
In the original work, the first You Fangyin was actually a woman who traveled from modern times, and she accumulated a great deal of wealth through her advanced knowledge. However, she later ended up on the wrong side and was confined in the palace by Xie Wei. There, she became close friends with Jiang Xuening. In the second life, You Fangyin was still saved by Jiang Xuening, but this You Fangyin was the concubine daughter of the Qingyuan Earl's mansion. Before You Fangyin was saved by Jiang Xuening, she saw the modern time-traveling woman at the bottom of the lake, but before she could fully comprehend the situation, she was already saved by Jiang Xuening.
When she woke up and saw Jiang Xuening, she noticed a hint of disappointment in the other's sadness, which puzzled her. It wasn't until later that Jiang Xuening told her that she had saved her but gave up her greatest reliance in life. At that moment, You Fangyin seemed to understand that Jiang Xuening had originally intended to save the woman who looked exactly like her. At this moment, You Fangyin's fighting spirit was ignited. She knew that she had to become useful in order to gain Jiang Xuening's recognition. So, she studied the ways of business with all her might, establishing the prosperous city of "Youbancheng" for Jiang Xuening.
Unfortunately, she ultimately died by the hand of Zhou Yinzhi. Whether in the original work or the drama, this incarnation of You Fangyin met the same fate. Ever since she was saved by Jiang Xuening, her life no longer belonged to her alone. She regarded Jiang Xuening as more important than anyone else. Therefore, when faced with Jiang Xuening's claim that You Yue had hit her, You Fangyin dared to pick up a stool and fight back. When faced with the offer to save her from her predicament through business transactions, she would rather remain trapped than agree.
Gaining Jiang Xuening's recognition had become You Fangyin's greatest persistence in life. Even in death, she wanted to earn the other's approval because she didn't want to be a substitute. She always felt that Jiang Xuening was kind to her out of consideration for that person's face. She believed that she had taken someone else's place to obtain all of this, so she wanted to hear Jiang Xuening's approval directly from her own mouth. And with Jiang Xuening's involvement with Xie Wei, there were bound to be dangers lurking around her. When You Fangyin became Jiang Xuening's trusted assistant, it was inevitable that she would be used as a scapegoat.
02 Four details about You Fangyin
In the drama, since You Fangyin married Lv Xian, she rarely appeared. However, through the dialogues and details of other characters, we can still perceive the unfortunate fate of You Fangyin. So, what are these details exactly? There are four in total:
Firstly, the conversation between Xie Wei and Lv Xian regarding the tea ceremony.
After Xie Wei returned from Tongzhou and learned that Lv Xian had married You Fangyin, fearing that Jiang Xuening would blame him due to Xue Dingfei, he had to send Jian Shu to summon Lv Xian to his mansion for questioning. After a conversation, Xie Wei not only learned about Lv Xian's feelings for You Fangyin, but also gave him his blessings. He even said, "I wish you and your wife a long and happy life." As he finished speaking, he extended his cup to toast Lv Xian, but Lv Xian's cup did not immediately meet his.
The reason was that Lv Xian wanted Xie Wei to offer the ceremonial gift first, but Xie Wei asked, "Did I have a taste of your wedding banquet?" Lv Xian replied, "You weren't there at that time." From Lv Xian's actions, it is revealed that his blessings for his marriage with You Fangyin were not sincere. These details imply that their union is not harmonious and that it will not have a good ending.
Secondly, the conversation between Jiang Xuening and Lv Xian.
After Jiang Xuening returned from Tongzhou, You Fangyin sent her a letter and invited her to meet at Lv's mansion. When Jiang Xuening arrived at the mansion and learned that You Fangyin had married Lv Xian, she became angry, thinking that Lv Xian married her for business reasons. Jiang Xuening even suspected that Xie Wei had something to do with it, so she asked Lv Xian, "Does Mr. Xie know?" Lv Xian, afraid that she would misunderstand Xie Wei, quickly denied it, saying, "No, things happened suddenly, I didn't even send him the wedding candies." This statement also suggests the imperfection of this marriage. Without wedding candies, there is no joyous atmosphere. This detail implies that the outcome of this marriage is not smooth.
Thirdly, Lv Xian's instructions to Xie Wei before his departure.
Due to Shen Zhiyi's marriage alliance, Da Yue detained officials from Da Qian. Xie Wei, wanting to expedite matters, requested permission from the emperor to go to the border to suppress the rebellion. Therefore, Xie Wei had to change his original plan and have Lv Xian go to Huangzhou to find Yan Lin and his son, and have them meet him at the border. Before leaving, Xie Wei bid farewell to Lv Xian at the city gate, and after a whispered conversation, Lv Xian remained silent for a moment before saying to Xie Wei, "Take care of You Fangyin for me."
This statement seemed like a posthumous instruction and served as a warning. Considering the current situation, Xie Wei and Jiang Xuening were bound to leave the capital, so it is certain that this promise to take care of You Fangyin would not be fulfilled, and therefore something would ultimately happen.
Lastly, the conversation between Jiang Xuening and Xie Wei in the carriage.
Originally, Jiang Xuening intended to leave the capital and return to her hometown. However, when Xie Wei informed her about Shen Zhiyi, she decided to change her mind and follow Xie Wei to the border to rescue someone. After Lv Xian left, the next day, Jiang Xuening and Xie Wei set off for the border in a carriage. On the way, Xie Wei asked Jiang Xuening in the carriage, "Have you arranged everything in the capital?"
In her response, Jiang Xuening not only indicated that things were settled but also mentioned You Fangyin, saying, "I have already instructed Fangyin, and now she is skilled in business... no longer the humble girl she used to be." This emphasizes the value of You Fangyin and highlights her importance to Jiang Xuening, and it foreshadows the unfortunate event that will befall her. These four details indirectly reflect that something inevitable will happen to You Fangyin.
However, from the perspective of the drama, You Fangyin's death seems somewhat unjust. Perhaps due to issues with the script adaptation, some details were not clearly explained, leading to a forced and contrived death for You Fangyin. Many viewers believe that You Fangyin's death was forced, as Zhou Yinzhi originally had no intention of killing her. It was her own actions, clinging to his legs to prevent him from escaping, that led to her demise.
Of course, some viewers find this reasonable, as she had a stubborn character and would do such things even if she knew she would die. The reason is simple: to protect Jiang Xuening and prevent Zhou Yinzhi from harming her. Upon further reflection, this reasoning is also plausible.
The reason why You Fangyin had to die may also be attributed to the character development of Zhou Yinzhi. In this lifetime, due to Jiang Xuening and Xie Wei's influence, he did not commit many wrongdoings and was later forced to do bad things by Xue Yuan. However, he had previously helped Jiang Xuening in many ways and still had a chance to save himself.
Therefore, You Fangyin's death may be a means to find an excuse to kill Zhou Yinzhi, and the drama even presents a scene where "Jiang Xuening personally corrects his mistakes." This scene may be a subtle way to make Jiang Xuening realize her mistake of employing Zhou Yinzhi. In this new life, she has ensured a good ending for many people, but unfortunately, You Fangyin meets a tragic end, leaving the audience somewhat dissatisfied.