The Lost Tomb 盗墓笔记 - Season 1 Episode 4 (Recap)

SakiVI: A (bad) explanation for the tomb is given us along with some seriously creepy hijinks.
kakashi: Cheap creepy but very effective hijinks. At least the tomb is big, so there is no claustrophobia. In fact, claustrophobia is about the only thing that is missing here. Also, at one stage, Uncle Three simply disappears ... and does not appear again. I don't approve. It's clearly the worst episode yet, but why am I so entertained? 
We see Uncle Three briefly in flashes, but, yes, he's gone after the first part. They wasted a lot of time on what the seven coffins were or were not. And yet, this episode, if you're not trying to write what happened, was very entertaining!

Episode 4

We begin where we left off, with the gang minus High Jr and Chastity in a tomb with seven graves arranged in the shape of the Big Dipper, and a big stone tablet with hieroglyphics.
Did you know that this constellation is called the Big Bear in German? It's connected to the saga of Kallisto and her son Arkas (who was turned into the Little Bear in the skies).
Yes, it's called the Big Bear in the UK. When I first grew up there, that's how I knew it. :-)
Uncle Three tells Wu Xie to read what is written, and so we get a fuller story than the one from episode 3.
I'm listening.
The tomb belongs to a vassal lord of the the Duke of Lu, who had an afterlife seal that allowed him to borrow zombie troops from hell whenever he was on the battlefield. The undead troops always won the battles, so the vassal lord was rewarded with the title, Lord of Shang. But one day, he decided he had to go to hell to handle some rebelling zombie troops. Sure, why not? The Duke of Lu gave permission, let Lord Shang die, and had the Lord of Shang's body preserved so that he could come back to life post-troop management.
Things to remember: Afterlife seal. Zombies. Hell. Apart from that, what a mess! What happened to the Lord of Shang?! Did he get lost on his way back from hell?
I have a feeling we'll find out along the way.

Pan Zi says, good thing this Lord of Shang died or else Lu would have united the Six States. Wu Xie tells him, not necessarily, because all these ancients boast, and have you read this particular obscure classic, Manly Man?
Come on, Wu Xie, don't go all Smartass on your senior. He was just cracking a joke! Imagine having a zombie-lord as your ruler ... all of a sudden, you have to compete with zombies at school. Nobody would want that! 
Hahahaha, I don't think Wu Xie meant to be a smartypants, he just got into the nerd moment. 
Er, Pan Zi hasn't. He deflects.
See, now you've embarrassed him. That wasn't nice. Not everybody can have muscles AND a brain. 
Wu Xie doesn't seem to have the muscles, so perhaps this evens out? :-)
They split up to see which of the seven coffins in the room might be the Lord of Shang's while Little Master gazes at the big stone tablet.
They are after the Afterlife Seal, mainly, right? Because it's the most valuable artifact in this tomb? Right? OR IS THERE ONE AMONG THEM THAT WANTS TO COMMAND ZOMBIES???? (btw, Little Master is a bit slow. He always gazes at things much longer than the others)
I bet Little Master wants to control zombies. He also reminds me of a horse I used to ride, really pretty horse who just stood and stared...
Panzi finds a gun on the floor from the previous tomb robbers. And uh oh, one of the coffins is open. With a recently dead body on top of the interred corpse! Ew, gross!!!
I screamed when Pan Zi opened that lid (with total ease, by the way, he is clearly taking performance enhancement drugs)
He probably focuses his chi and moves at the right points to get maximum lift.
Oh noes, Pan Zi notices an extra shadow. He signals to Wu Xie who doesn't get it, thus forcing me to gif this moment. (Wu Xie, wake up and stop making jie jie work so hard!)
I notice that the only reactions that seem natural are those they show when somebody flashes their lights into their eyes.
Someone who is pretty obviously Fatty Wong is in the room with a broken pot helmet. Pan Zi shoots at him, and he runs to the other chamber, and Little Master runs after him.
Pan Zi is a bit trigger happy, it seems! He seriously shot at HIS HEAD. And of course it's Fatty Wong. Everybody can see that immediately. He is a fun character, I like that he is back.  
Pan Zi probably thought it was a zombie.
As they discuss who the person could be, Wu Xie and Uncle Three synchronize their swinging torches.
Are there classes for Tomb Raiders? "How to hold a torch?" (1 credit point) - "How to open stone coffins?" (4 credit points) - "How to kill zombies?" (8 credit points) - that kind of thing.
Maybe? There that League of Court Gentleman For The Correct Robbing Of Tombs, right?  They must give lessons to disciples.
They start exploring the catacombs - seriously, that seems the most appropriate word even though this is not Roman construction - further. There are rooms with stone horses and stone furnishings for a comfortable afterlife,
Looked kind of like a storage room for "things the corpse did not really want".
and Wu Xie also finds a backpack, though that's very much of this world and nylon. In the backpack, there are drawings of the tomb and one that has a big question mark for some Seven Star Coffins.
Abandoned backpack = NOT A GOOD THING!!! 
A Very Bad Thing.
These are apparently not the same as the ones in the Big Dipper room (let's just call it that) because those are known and would've been drawn in. Wu Xie thinks he may have seen something similar to the Seven Star Coffins in Grandad's notebook. He calls to Uncle Three, but, neither he nor Pan Zi are there. Ouch.
MAJOR reason to freak out A LOT! He doesn't really. Just a little bit.
Sidebar: Oh, now I see the Big Dipper formation!
I have kept wondering what the significance of this is (that they're arranged like this), but I guess I am really asking the wrong questions, aren't I. 
There is probably some zombie-development reason.
So, the coffins start sinking into the floor, because, why not, and then
Zombie Cuddle!
That thing's eyes were open. Gulp! Oh never mind, I'm going to stop pretending and just scream. BRB. Look at this puppy and talk amongst yourselves!
WHHHHYYYY! So random, WTF, the zombie didn't even DO anything and it was ONLY a cheap horror effect becauses Wu Xie was in no danger at all and at no moment in time.
Don't you dare use this fabulous photo without proper credit.
Okay, I'm back. [Cracks Knuckles, Rolls Neck, Fighting!]  Kakashi, it was to make us cry.  Moving on.

So, Wu Xie has Chastity and High Jr talk him down from his fright and then, he says, those seven Big Dipper coffins are the Seven Star Coffins, that only one of them is real and the rest are traps. It's all from his grandad's notebook.
Oh, good. I guess. This drama does not well in explaining what is significant and what is not.
Wu Xie continues on his way, and walks into yet another chamber only to realize he's been walking in circles. Wu Xie is disheartened and tells High Jr that he hopes he can find the cultural relics soon and leave. Um, I hate to point out the obvious, but the entire place is one big cultural relic. You lot should've left and told that center for cultural relics to deal with it.
See!! They have not appreciation for walls and lion sculptures What So Ever. I think they should go back to Tomb Raider school. Also, his little sad meltdown when he sat down and was so sad that he was all alone was really very hilarious. And: I have started to wonder how they actually ensure bluetooth reception down there. Anyone?  
He looks at the drawings he'd found earlier and they seem to be a blueprint of the catacombs. Except where he came from isn't on it. I dunno, one minute it's known, next it's not. I'm not sure which tomb chamber is which at this point, but Wu Xie at least notes a secret passage and another chamber. He heads off with renewed purpose and determination! Conveniently, there's just a few stones sticking out just right for secret door-opening. Yay!
That map and where he is/is not: so confusing, next! Secret passage: good. Easy top open: even better. 
Except Wu Xie falls through a trap, so Boo!
Yawn, Chastity and High Jr squabble about going after Wu Xie. Boring, skipping.
Wu Xie should consider finding new friends, these ones are a bit useless.
Wu Xie goes through more underground chambers, and these weren't finished properly because, seriously, contractors always leaving something unfinished, urgh.
Oh, I thought they were a bit falling apart, but whatever: not in a very good shape.
There is yet another dead tomb raider there with a corpse eater on him. On his belt, Wu Xie notes double-dragonhead symbol and a number.
Is it a phone number? *tries calling* No.
Wu Xie hears someone coming, hears, "Mr. Three!" and says, Pan Zi, it's me, but Pan Zi pulls a gun on him and shoots at him.
What, are you CRAZY, Pan Zi?! (I am disappointed it's not Uncle Three, where the f$$$ is he!)
Luckily, it wasn't Wu Xie that Pan Zi was shooting, but the corpse eaters, who, interestingly, really seem to like live flesh.
I do not get the impression that it's a very good idea to shoot at corpse eater beetles.
The idea would be to destroy their nervous system so they can't move.
Pan Zi pulls Wu Xie up into the hole inn the wall - you read that right - and Fatty Wong falls into the same room. Wu Xie and he reconnect and the corpse eaters attack Fatty. Pan Zi jumps in to help him - they use torches - but the corpse eaters don't seem to care much. Fatty hilariously says he never thought he'd die in the company of two men.
Ah, the corpse eater beetles are gourmets! Also, Fatty has by far the best lines. Those stupid little torches .... come on, guys, so lame! Everybody could see that you would run out of "fire" within seconds and that the beetles would then attack you. Plan ahead a bit better!   
Fatty and Wu Xie make it up to the hole - yes, that's right - but Pan Zi is left fighting the corpse eaters and gets bitten. But, look who saves him with his magic fingers and magic blood!
He's a hero. Sacrificing himself and all (Idiot).
Little Master For The Win.
Little Master, how I missed you!
Yeah ... wait, where was he?! Shouldn't he have caught Fatty Wang in no time?! 
Little Master has his own agenda, that's for sure.  He's not just their hired magic muscle.  I feel sure he's a time traveling warrior from the Western Zhou.

A 1.5-armed zombie comes along and even Little Master runs from it. They call it the Blood Man.
Yes. They call him the Blood Man and pretend like they've known him or a long time. SERIOUSLY, drama, do explain things a bit better. Blood Man: who, why, what, where, when, wtf?
Blood Man In The House!
Little Master leads our group along masterfully. Here's the gif.
I think Blood Men can't run, because they just speed up for a few seconds and then say "now he's behind". 
Little Master is worth giffing.
A corpse eater is in Pan Zi's belly, so Little Master surgically removes it - with his fingers.
Not gross at all.
Compared to all the things they - and we - have seen recently, I don't see why this should freak them out.
Their faces, ROFL!
Someone is coming, though, and oh, noes! It's the 1.5-armed Blood Man Zombie! And for some weird reason, the Blood Man and Little Master have a fist fight, okay, wushu style, but still, and the Blood Man does not try to bite Little Master, nor does Little Master use his sword to cut off the Blood Man's head.
Saki, somebody did not tell us about Blood Man lore, I'm afraid.
Very sloppy of them. Basic rule of good writing is to define everything.
How inefficient.
How bad. 
The other three run until they find a resting spot. There, High Jr recognizes Fatty through the go pro and Fatty says he followed Ning, who was the lady leader of the mercenaries in episode 1, to these catacombs.
Yeah, only we never learned her name and this is very confusing and only becomes clear much later. 
He says he suspected Ning et al were up to something, and Wu Xie assumes Fatty wanted to stop them stealing cultural relics. Methinks Wu Xie is assuming too many nice things at once.
Wu Xie is one of these people that thinks nicely about everyone. It's a gift! 
Turns out Fatty has seen a fair amount of Ning's men turn into zombies. He even got burned by one.
Yes, they leave weird marks on your neck. They also bite. But still, no Blood Man Lore for us. 
Then, Fatty casually asks about the afterlife seal. So, that's what he's after. But he tells Wu Xie all the talk about the Lord of Shang raising zombies was a load of nonsense. Wu Xie asks why Fatty knows all this when he just followed Ning et al, but Fatty says that's just his professionalism. Yeah, right.
Since it does not at all matter whether people are good or bad or neutral in this drama, I don't care much.
Fatty explains that the Lord of Shang was an effective general who marched at night and blitzed the enemy by day - and based his troops in graveyards so it seemed like they came from the dead. He also explains that the Lord of Shang robbed tombs (even back then? Seriously?) to finance these military expeditions. Yunno, I'm beginning to find these tomb raiders and their whole line of work really tedious.
Ah, so is Lord Shang a relative of Wu Xie, who comes from a LOOoooooong line of Tomb Raiders? Maybe. In any case, I like this explanation. Fatty is the scientific and not the esoteric type. It never hurts to have them on your team.
It made excellent sense as an explanation. Fatty strikes me as very practical.

The Seven Star Coffins are apparently, according to Fatty, famous in history, and made by tomb raiders for tomb raiders, traps and all. But he also thinks they're all fake in this tomb, and that it's actually all Western Zhou, not Dukedom of Lu, and that the Lu tombs were put in later. Sidebar: I looked up both and Western Zhou was the main empire while Lu was a vassal state in it, and so they existed at the same time and were one empire. You don't know everything, Fatty!
Yes, so it's a bit complicated. The mummy that had the seven coffins sink into the ground and then popped out: fake. The stone coffin that shook like crazy and blow its top off: fake. Little Master's hissing at it: fake. What a waste of time! 
But what we do establish is that one tomb was built on top of another tomb. It's just a good spot for tombs. And despite his pain, Pan Zi is totally enjoying Fatty's little talk.
He likes it professional, that is why. 
Interestingly, Fatty thinks that Little Master tried to kill him by sending him down the same trap door where Wu Xie had fallen because of all the corpse eaters there. Pan Zi agrees. And then Little Master shows up. Whatever his game is, he looks good.
I'm just pretending this all makes sense, okay?
I was hyperventilating wondering how to summarize all this.
The boys also find the Blood Man's missing arm.
Why not. 
That was gross. Then Wu Xie goes to check out another passage and Ning comes flying out. And Fatty pins her to the wall with a gun to her neck. Sidebar: For all the big talk, I think Fatty's scared of women.
Ning or A'ning is described as "A grave-robber and the first major female introduced in the series, her motives are unclear but seems to be working against the protagonists". Wow, thanks. 
Not one word of that told us anything new. So unhelpful.
Wu Xie makes him back off (cause she is wounded, awww, he is so nice). Ning tries to walk away, and Little Master knocks her out because there's a corpse eater in her leg. Guess he's doing more Magic Finger Surgery!


All the creepiness aside, the seven coffin business was really confusing. It just wasn't working as a storyline. One minute they're big dipper tombs, then they're missing on a map made in the room next door, then they're famous in history, then they're the right tombs, then they're fake: confusing. They're trying to show the story behind all the coffins and which one could be the Lord of Shang's and thus the Cultural Artifact source, and it just needed to be written better. Maybe just show Wu Xie remembering he saw the coffins mentioned in grandad's diary.
I think they just wanted to show us that mummy popping out of that coffin. All the rest is negligible. But yes, quite confusing. I think we're to believe Fatty is right and this is not even what they're looking for. The Afterlife Seal is somewhere else, somewhere well protected by fake tombs with corpse-eaters who actually prefer to eat living people. 

We already know the other gang has been into them, literally for one of them, and that the coffins might have loot. But I would've pared it down to the following: "These coffins might contain the Lord of Shang and his Afterlife Seal, we can't figure out which one, Fatty tells us just to open them a little bit and use an iron hook." (a minute earlier, they said the fake ones were full of traps!) And the discussion of the tomb within a tomb, meh, okay. But mixed in with the badly written seven coffins discussion, it seemed silly (archeologically, this interested me, because it did, actually, happen often!). Plus, they were implying Western Zhou existed before Lu, when they actually existed simultaneously. Basically, this episode needed rewriting and redirecting.
And PLEASE explain to us how the Blood Man is created - what makes some people turn into zombies and others not? How can you kill a Blood Man? What does the Blood Man want? This episode was shit, sorry. But still entertaining.