Maiden Holmes – Five Elements and Five-Man Band

A little analysis of how characters in this show work, to make a better story. Overall story setup: woman disguised as male detective meets prince disguised as lower-ranking noble, Together They Fight Crime.

Pei Zhao/ Pei Yanzhi (Prince Qi). Main color: White. Band Role: The Leader. The element of Metal is intuition, rationality, and the mind. A former general, he withdrew from the position after the war was won so people couldn’t use that politically against his half-brother, the very young Emperor. Currently spending most of his time under the assumed identity of a “servant of Prince Qi” to stay out of court politics, interact with regular people, and now help solve criminal cases. Also the Handicapped Badass; his night vision was destroyed by a poisoned arrow, and he needs regular treatment to keep the rest of his vision. Though if you see the guy putting on a blindfold before he draws his sword (so he’s not distracted by his blurry vision), it’s about to get dangerous….

Su Ci (Bai Yian). Main color: Blue. Band Role: The Smart Guy. The element of Water is erudition, resourcefulness, and wit. Her family wiped out years ago, she disguised herself as a man and joined the Mingjing Office (royal investigators), currently working as one of their best detectives due to acute vision, attention to details, and deductive ability. Note that passing as a man to become an officer of the court is technically lying to the Emperor and could lead to execution. She’s very, very good at her job, understandably touch-averse, and avoids getting drunk, or anything else that could ruin her disguise.

Dong Rushang. Main color: Yellow. Band Role: The Lancer. The element of Earth is agreeableness and honesty. On the surface a strange choice for someone who’s an expert in poisons; but Rushang is incredibly honest about what she knows and what she does with that knowledge. She wants to help investigate, not poison people for her own gain. (Well… not for more than honest gain!)

Xie Beiming. Main color: Red. Band Role: The Big Guy. The element of Fire is passion and intensity. This noble son wants to be a just and upright hero, taking down bad guys, restoring justice, and sometimes stealing from the rich. (He left a promissory note, really!) He has it so bad for Rushang… and knows “Pei” is actually Prince Qi.

Fei Yuan. Main color: Green. Band Role: The Chick. The element of Wood is idealism, spontaneity, and curiosity. Yes, he’s a teenage guy. He still fills the Chick role of taking care of everybody and poking people emotionally so they’ll talk to each other instead of staring longingly all the time.

I’ve seen a few eps, and so far the characters are bouncing off each other’s interactions nicely, and taking down bad guys… which of course gradually leads to an overarching Bad Guy in the background. Mwah-ha-hah….

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24 thoughts on “Maiden Holmes – Five Elements and Five-Man Band

  1. “He still fills the Chick role of taking care of everybody and poking people emotionally so they’ll *talk to each other* instead of staring longingly all the time.”

    *grumbles inarticulately* Why don’t we have more characters like that in the modern West, darn it? Why can’t we have nice things…? Grrr.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Or they need a team older/younger brother, team pal, or the team heart. Just make him a good listener and a person who pokes people into talking because he’s a caring guy and audiences will love him. Crusty and grumpy is good but so is tricky, sly, and yet still sweet. There really are a lot of ways to put a Dr. McCoy-lite character in a story if you play it right…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Female masquerading as male is a trope in sorta-historical Chinese costume dramas.

      How long it takes the Male Lead to figure out that the Female Lead is indeed female is one of those things that keeps audiences interested/amused.

      For Maiden Holmes – the Prince did not know she was a “she” when they first met. When he figures it out … would be a spoiler for those who watch 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Female masquerading as male is a time-honored trope world-wide whenever dress is one of the most obvious way to tell gender roles apart in a culture. See how many Shakespeare plays have women disguising themselves as men in them (goes double if they have twin brothers who look a lot like them). Often because a guy traveling by himself isn’t weird, while it would be really weird for a woman to be doing so.

        Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a discredited trope nowadays due to the trans movement and it’s usually taken/read as “girl prefers being male to being female” even though that is rarely what was actually going on in the source material. Most historical examples are more than fine and happy once they can go back to looking like themselves once they get found out (and don’t get in trouble for it).

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Often because a guy traveling by himself isn’t weird, while it would be really weird for a woman to be doing so.

        Dangerous, too.

        One of the usually-glossed-over things with Sweet Polly Oliver storylines (basically, Mulan) is that it was safer to be a soldier than to be an undefended gal with an army going through.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Oh yeah. A huge thing glossed over in a lot of the “girl dressing up as a guy” tropes is that the logic is usually “i’m doing this so i have lower odds of being assaulted before i can find protection somewhere”.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. And in real life, when Joan of Arc was captured, initially they were all like, “Here, take some girl clothes,” and then three minutes later, “And while we’re at it, we’ll try to assault you.” For which reason she refused to go back into female clothes, or even into male robes. Pants were harder to deal with, and especially pants tied on with points.

        Of course, the rest of the time, she was wearing male clothes because dresses don’t fit into armor, and the logistics of skirthandling while doing other stuff. This was well understood, and in other parts of Europe there were occasionally women leading troops (usually Norman ladies with hereditary positions leading Norman troops) who just went with clothes for the job. (But most of that was in the early/high medieval period, whereas Joan was running around toward the end of medieval times.)

        That said, there was the odd tall female mercenary, sometimes openly and sometimes secretly or discreetly, throughout the period. Mostly because mercenary bands needed warm bodies.

        All of that said… through most of history, it was usual and much safer for people to travel in groups, male or female, because bandits and criminals have been a thing throughout history, and in all times and places. If you were going very far, you didn’t want to become an obvious target for crime, or have people think that _you_ were a bandit. And if you had money or position, you wouldn’t step out your front door without some kind of servant to go with you.

        Liked by 4 people

      5. Of course, part of why it can be a trope was also — “teenagers being considered legally adult, or at least for non-property issues” and “lots of teenagers and adults in the past being scrawny and short.”

        Liked by 3 people

  2. You’ll probably enjoy it, if you can make some time to watch it. It has fewer episodes than a lot of the C-dramas I’ve run across. Which was actually a “sad” for me, because I was enjoying it – but it *does* mean that they shot the episodes they needed, to tell their story, and then they stopped.

    I will also tell you the Maiden Holmes is *not* one of the C-dramas I adressed in my series of “fantasy-mini-rants.” 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. By the way, this was intended to be a response to one of Foxfier’s comments – my second paragraph makes *zero* sense as a general-audience comment. Sorry for being goofy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think in some ways the pseudo-historical setting of the costume dramas serve a similar purpose to “Regency” in Romances: The writer(s) can use (and create!) sources of story conflict that would be unbelievable in a contemporary setting. 😀 Of course it doesn’t hurt that the “costume” aspect makes many of these a treat for the eyes!

    Liked by 3 people

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