The Disguiser: Which Mr. Ming?

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Complex yet never out of character, Yue Yao’s Liang Zhongchun is one of the best characters of the year.

This is a series of posts of me over-analyzing The Disguiser. This one’s really short since I had originally planned to talk about it with the next post, but that scene deserved its own post so I kicked this one out. I’ve looked at a painting, a conversation, next time it’ll be what I consider the best acted scene of the entire series.  Can you guess which one it is? 

Aristotle once said the key to good dialogue is to “Speak as common people do, but think as wise men do.” See how in this example here, Ming Cheng took exactly one line to hint to Liang Zhongchun of his ambitions upon their first meeting.

Liang Zhongchun, somewhat synchophantly: “I’ve long heard the fame of Mr.Ming.”
Ming Cheng, with a slight raised tone and eyebrow: “Which Mr.Ming?”

Posing as a simple question, the subtext is Ming Cheng’s hint to Liang Zhongchun of his own (faked) ambitions and wish to be distinct from Ming Lou, luring Liang to eventually join Ming Cheng’s camp.   And if you read too much into it, it defines Ming Cheng’s ambiguous status and relationship in the Ming family that became essential to his multiple disguises.

This line would’ve been perfect if it was somehow tied in with the recorder at the ending when the question of which Mr. Ming is on the tape becomes one of life-and-death.