The Lost Tomb 盗墓笔记 - Season 1 Episode 1 (Recap)

SakiVI: I started watching this show randomly, as one does, during a bad flu and then couldn't stop. Luckily, it's only meant to be 10 action-packed episodes! Woohoo!
kakashi: A new recapping project! Woohoooo! This one is entirely on Saki/Jaehyus, who seems to have fallen under this drama's weird spell all of a sudden. It's on viki, it has ten episodes, and this is the first of planned 8 seasons. The Grave Robbers' Chronicles / Daomu Biji is an internet novel and extremely popular in China.
If I could get an decent translation, I would read this.
Let's get cracking! Episode 1 is the "get-together" of (part of) the gang; much more exciting things are in store for you in episode 2.  

Episode 1

It starts with Grandpa's notebook, all leather with yellowed pages, and pretty Mandarin writing. Some shameless person, though, has ripped out some of the pages.
Hmmmm, yeah ..... that must be significant, right? I'm already getting excited! Just like Indiana Jones! Only with much prettier people!!! And less Nazis, I hope. 
Pretty people good, Nazis bad.
Our Hero, who looks a bit like incredibly handsome Korean actor, Lee Jong-Suk, but not quite, wonders how it is Grandpa's stories of grave robbery are coming to life in his own life as it were.
Meet Wu Xie (Li Yifeng). I'm not much into Lee Jong-suk (seriously, his nose!) and find this guy much more handsome. From Wikipedia, I learn this about the character: "Wu Xie is from the Hangzhou Wu family, one of the Changsha Old Nine, a group of families who have been grave-robbing for centuries. ... His name is a homophone with "innocent" (無邪, also pronounced "Wu Xie"), indicating his gullible nature". Awwww, sweet and innocent.
Thank you for this research! And yes, he looks sweet and innocent.
Scene switch: Wu Xie and his handsome friend are in a red jeep chased by motorcyclists. Not Quite complains those baddies have been following them all the way from Germany to Mongolia. The two squabble and then one baddie blows their tire so that the car is stranded on the side of some dune. They have some carved ox head which they think the baddies want, and in fact, as they try to run away, main leader baddie tells them to run away while they can.
You know what, there are many strange scene switches in this first episode! I think they need help with the editing. I do not know what the friend is called and who plays him? Also, the baddies have orders not to kill "the guy with the family name Wu". Hmmm .... I think Big Bad has a connection to his family.
Interesting. And to be honest, I have suspicions about some of the Wu family...
But wait! A steampunk Fatty Wong (he said to call him Fatty Wong, so I'm not being rude) jumps into the dune with his steampunk goggles and desert jeep! He rescues the boys and the oxhead. Very cool.
First of many laughs. Fatty Wong is hilarious! This scene was also funny because the timing was off and out guys were just able to basically walk over to their backpack, take it, get on the weird car and drive off, without the bad guys doing anything for minutes. Hahaha, show, I like you!
These baddies are seriously incompetent.
Off they go, followed by the baddies who just never can keep up. It's an amazing race through a village involving the steampunk desert jeep, the motorcyclists and the main baddie in another jeep.
It was pretty cool how they went up and down some stairs. Also, more laughs, because several of those motorcyclists end up in weird positions and situations. Our heroes get away, cocking a snook at the bad guys.
Then they go to a restaurant in a yurt even though they should obviously move on and not stop for lunch..
But Fatty was hungry!!! Hahahaaaa, so random. But the yurt was great! So huge!
Fatty needs to maintain his roly-poly good looks
But who shows up now? It's that actress who played the lead opposite Hu Ge in some really bad romance drama that's only notable for having Hu Ge! (Tang Yang)
I dig her hair. Also, the car. This show is full of scenes that look like car commercials.
They show the logo often enough that it's definitely product placement.
Why is she suddenly the head of those mercenaries? Why the braids on the side of her head? She rightly scolds her minions for not catching the two students, because come on, that was weak, and notes they had a rescuer. 
You know, she remained in the background while her minions got themselves dirty. She is cool.

Wu Xie and friends try to leave in disguise (FUNNY!!).
This turns into a fight within the yurt (what, you mean to say the bad guys were not fooled??). The friends escape but, naturally, are still being chased by these mercenaries who can never seem to catch them despite even getting into the same yurt. (No, really, this happened.) Next, they end up at some sort of temple . The car has run out of gas. No one is around to help them, but there are plenty of burning candles within the empty temple (my immediate thought: how dangerous to leave them unattended!). They try to escape from the back door of the temple, but this proves futile because the back door leads to a steep cliff. And the baddies show up in force. With them is their Great Leader, who trumps Hu Ge's ex in the hierarchy, as well as the main baddie from earlier. He is a mysterious European man in the shadows who directs everything via his bluetooth device.
If she says steep, she means STEEEEEP. The Grand Canyon looks like a fissure in comparison to this. We don't see Main Bad's face, but he does speak English. I am not sure he is European though. Not that it matters, really.
He's not English and he didn't sound American or Australian to me, but true, there are still countries he could be from that are not in Europe.  
Wu Xie gets totally fed up and threatens to to throw the ox head down the cliff. Great Leader instructs his minions via the mercenary head, "Don't care about him." The mercenaries advance, and Wu Xie throws the ox head down the cliff. Great Leader swears.
Hahahahahaaaaaa, this was also very funny. Wu Xie looking at the advancing soldiers and the ox in his hand, clearly thinking "shit, what do I do? They didn't get scared!" was also hilarious. 
Naturally, the mercenaries are ready to beat them all up when a sandstorm starts up. And through that sandstorm, we get a Mysterious Gege right on the edge of the cliff holding that ox head.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, who is this. YUM. He looks a bit like Song Jae-rim in Age of Feeling. Or like No Min Woo in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.
It's the hair cut.  
See, steep.
Everyone is flabbergasted. The Great Leader wonders how he could appear. The Mysterious Gege gives the oxhead to WuXie and the mercenaries retreat. 
I am very flabbergasted, too. Is he a ghost? And elf?
I hope he's an elf. I like elves.
I'm guessing this was a very frustrating day at work for them. Wu Xie then asks Mysterious GeGe who he is, and Mysterious GeGe just walks away because he's cool like that.
He looks like he feels like stepping on him. Or biting his head off. Yes, he is cool.
Some days later, WuXie and friend (but no Fatty Wong) just as mysteriously leave the ox head, which is from the Qing Dynasty, on the desk of someone important in the Administration of Cultural Relic Preservation.
Ohhhh, they're good guys! They want to preserve Chinese culture by making sure the artifacts are not sold to foreign collectors. I approve!
N.B. I've no idea what city this is in, or how those boys got into a government building on their own.
Anyway, for the first time, in their car, they note the cloth the ox head was wrapped in has a silk manuscript that looks like it has directions. Also, I think some of it looks like a map.
Mystery! Mystery! Map! Map! It's staaarting! *imagine me hopping up and down in excitement*
More days later, the boys are surprised no one cares about the ox head. It was clearly nothing special, so why would those mercenaries follow them? Now they decide to look at the silk manuscript again, and they try to translate it. They also think it's not complete. But as a result of the friend having posted information about the manuscript online, they next get a call where Wu Xie is asked to pay the dinner bill for some girl posing as his girlfriend.
A) they live in a cool container house
B) this bit, when Wu Xie realized this was never about the ox head but about the manuscript, was pretty smart! 
C) the woman is called Chen ChengCheng (played by Sun Yao Qi). It's a joke I'm not getting, even though it must be hell to pronounce.
I tried it and then wondered if it was fake.
I'm going to say up front, she's annoying. She over-ordered food, and then spoke with her mouth full. That's enough for me to dislike her.
Oh, I'm with you. She is super annoying. Let's hope she's not important.

Wu Xie is annoyed too and tries to leave. But his friend, who now introduces himself as High Jr (that is not a name, haha) is all over her. Her name is Chastity Chen. And like a complete ditz, she gives them her half of the manuscript. What she has is a silk manuscript rubbing. So, with some fancy computer screen matching, the silk rubbing and the silk manuscript halves are joined up and look very pretty.
Her half is from her aunt, an archaeologist who "went missing". By the way, when Wu Xie's friend posted about the manuscript online, I thought: great, now the bad guys will appear. But I guess they don't do SNS?
They met their better halves.
Wu Xie notes that the maps are in the earliest script of the Jurchen people. But instead of trying to understand it any further, he goes to meet his Third Uncle. Someone tries to rob him, but Mysterious GeGe is there to rescue him! And GeGe is wearing a hood, pleather everything, and carries a sword. So dreamy...
About here, I decide that I really like this drama. 
Uncle Three shows up and calls GeGe Little Master.  I will too.
This uncle is, hmmmmm, not bad. His name is Wu Sanxing (Ken Chang Tzu-yao). I read that he is "an experienced grave-robber with a few well-kept secrets". You can have Little Master, I'll have Third Uncle, okay? I think that Little Master is called Zhang Qiling in the novel (here, he is played by Yang Yang). He is described as "quiet".
I am suspicious of Uncle Three and infatuated with Little Master: I agree to this division!
Then he and Wu Xie go off to look at the manuscript. 
Well, Uncle actually does NOT want to look at the manuscript and keeps turning his head away, hehehe.  
Uncle Three notes that it's a map and that it's of the tomb of a noble of Lu during the Warring States period. He says it's worth a look. Wu Xie shuts him down to say this is for the state Cultural Relics people. He goes home only to find Chastity and High tied up and the maps stolen.
Chastity and High got high together and one of the two was no longer
Good thing Wu Xie had his laptop with the maps' pdf! Anyway, Wu Xie stares into the night and decides that he won't allow grave robbers and smugglers to steal China's heritage! So, he decides he'd better go to the tomb ahead of the grave robbers and protect the cultural items. 
See, it wasn't a good idea to post about it online after all!! 
This time, he enlists Uncle Three's help properly.
I'm Team Uncle. 
Then Wu Xie goes home to find Chastity has apparently been kidnapped because his place was ransacked and she's not there. 
Wu Xie is wearing completely different clothes and this is a completely different house, but it does not matter. Chastity is gone and we are not sad about it
I thought it looked different! Okay, I wasn't just seeing things. 
This is not a problem in my view. 
Alternative theories like she ransacked it and ran away are not considered. Also weird is how they won't go to the police because they think people who kidnapped Chastity so easily must be seriously efficient baddies. Um, no. Unless she trained in the Shaolin Temple, she's easily kidnapped.
Sigh, next.

Anyway, Wu Xie, High and Uncle Three set off on their "T-action"
Alright! T-Action it is! 
into China's rather gorgeous countryside
several lovely landscape shots throughout the first ep! 
where they meet an experienced tomb robber called Pan Zi (Wei Wei) who is there to help them.
More hotties?! Wow. He is Uncle's right-hand man, who had served in the Vietnam War prior to becoming a grave-robber.
Even the boys note how manly he is.
And who else turns out to be there but Little Master! 
We cheer! Yay! The tomb will burn, so many hot men!
Dun dun da dun!


I kept wanting to say, you're not my type, stop being interesting! But I want explanations for everything, why Little Master is so quiet, what's with the pleather, what's in the tomb, will the uncle betray Wu Xie etc. Okay, Show, I'm in. 
Haha, this was charmingly bad in many places, the dubbing is weird, the editing off, there are weird jumps in the story, but! It is great fun! And Saki is right, after this somewhat slow set-up, we are more than ready to rob that tomb. Bring it on! In terms of characterization, we know absolutely nothing about anyone, haha, not even Wu Xie's friend's name. I'm so in too.
We can keep calling him High. on wiki-addicts, he is indeed called Mr. High ... and he is played by Leon Lee/ Li Chenhao.