Old Nine Gates 老九门 - Episode 3 (Recap)

SakiVI: In this, Chipmunk Hunk, a.k.a. Fo Ye, and his sidekicks get closer to the mine/tomb/Japanese-human-experimentation-lab/whatever, Japanese agents approach Er Ye and Chen Pi, Ya Tou makes noodles, and yes, sob, there are sharks in that wizard's lair. Does the place bend time and space or something?
kakashi: Watch out for "Timebending Sharks: The Dark Years", the spin-off of the spin-off, hitting our screens next year! (and yes, it's me! Still purple! But really me, kakashi!)
Strange child...

Episode 3 - Japanese Special Agents

Our Gang of Three, Fo Ye, Lt Zhang and Ba Ye are wandering through the deserted mining town and discover there are still some people there. And those people are cooking. Because no one thought to bring snacks, Ba Ye is very keen to go share food with those people. Fo Ye reminds him he could get killed and Ba Ye says, nah, you two thugs are here.
I do not fully understand how or when it happened, but I caught myself smiling at Ba Ye's antics more and more. I guess I'm getting used to him. Or maybe it's the Zhangs rubbing off on me.  
He's not Chastity-Chen-horrid, and he actually was a bit funny at times. I can see him growing on me. Plus, I like how he dresses, and the actor is handsome.
Cut to a warehouse, which from the outside looks like a regular house, and a bunch of merchants demanding to see the goods before they buy. They complain Er Ye would never have treated them like this. Ah, so this is Er Ye's trading business that he doesn't bother managing anymore. Anyway, Chen Pi is the boss, and he says, buy it all unseen or don't buy since the merchants always earned well from his goods. And boy, does this boy look a boss. He tells them buy or leave.
The problem with very small men that look like boys is that they need to overcompensate by being extra-boss-macho. It rubs me all the wrong ways with this one. He is SO unlikable! I want to smack him and send him to bed without dessert.
As it happens, they're all thrilled with the grave-robbed antiques, although one notices that one bronze horse from the Wei-Jin period is a little too perfect and that the strong colour is only added later. This gets Chen Pi slamming the table! He says the horse was sealed in the tomb for so long, of course its colour is perfect! The merchants immediately kowtow, and then rush through the boxes. They continue to flatter and smarm, and Chen Pi says, "I am the king of tombs. The things in the tombs are all mine." Ooh, that's a bit crazy.
They're all really afraid of him, I guess he's got a reputation. Also, huh! So ... he is not just selling antiques, he is forging them too? And all in the name of the Er Ye family?! Oi. 
Then the merchants start badmouthing Er Ye. Chen Pi doesn't seem to react much except to kind of think how Er Ye isn't helpful. He even says, "I am already doing this alone. This is my territory." Okay, this dude is way over-possessive.
So, I'm thinking (I occasionally do that when Fo Ye isn't on screen): Er Ye has really dropped the ball. It's a bad sign if your own apprentice establishes a fake-antique-scam in plain view and you do not even know. It also makes me wonder what really happened to Er Ye. Cannot just be the love for opera, right? Or the love for Miss Noodles.

But one merchant goes too far. He not only says Chen Pi could snatch away Er Ye's territory, but that Chen Pi could snatch away Er Ye's wife. Then, Chen Pi snaps. He sends some claw thing at the guy and kills him. He warns them all to never ever say anything bad about his Master and Mistress ever again! And that they can only take half the goods! Chen Pi is clearly in a snit.
Oh. Hm. So...  he does not mind some dirt on Er Ye, but mention Miss Noodles in any derogative way and get killed by the poison claws? *takes note*
Back to the Hong mansion where Er Ye is doing what? At any rate, he's back in the wizard's lair which is looking less dusty. And he gets some sort of information from the model tomb on the table plus a ruler. (Sidebar: I miss the days I used a proper ruler instead of some app on my phone.)
Do you think he is trying to find out how many noodles he can secretly dump in those ditches, as to not hurt his wife's feelings?
Switch scene to the hostel where the leftover miners are staying and where Ba Ye is asking for food. He offers money, so do Fo Ye aand Lt Zhang, and eventually they get some soup. The soup looks grim, though.
*shudders* I was thinking corpse eaters. Remember that dog who was fed corpse only in the Lost Tomb? This looks quite vegetarian though.
Back to Chen Pi thinking of pretty Ya Tou and how she comforted him a bit after Er Ye had scolded him for buying stolen goods as a gift for her (from the black market! So he went and established one himself afterward?! Crazy fellow). She had told him to follow the rules, and he was all, what stupid rules, so what if this hair pin came from a grave? He still has a piece of that broken hair pin, ew.
I think he really does not like Er Ye. 
I think it's not so much that he doesn't like Er Ye as that he's done with the master-disciple relationship. Except, I think he doesn't know that he's done with it. Plus, he doesn't want to leave Ya Tou.
Our Gang are eating with the miners, and Ba Ye is talking, and then Fo Ye just glances over to Ba Ye, and Ba Ye, goes, oh right and asks, so you all from here? The miners say, nah, they're just wandering workers doing random jobs. Then Lt Zhang asks about the train, which the workers all deny seeing. They rush off to bed too. Fo Ye notes this behavior is all suspicious.
Denying a train the size of a whale will kind of establish you as a liar immediately, yes. 
They go off to sleep in this really nice room.
I hope nobody snores. 
Here is Fo Ye looking thoughtful-hot: Chipmunk Hunk is looking at the labourers' shoes.
Maybe his boots are giving him blisters and he's checking to see who has his size? Ah, no ... they're suspecting these people could be Japanese. Well, that explains everything, I guess. By the way... the title of this episode totally gave it away, duh! 
That night, Fo Ye sleeps sitting up because he's cool like that.  Lt Zhang looks amazingly pretty.  I think Ba Ye was in there some where.
The Zhang genes make it so you look really hot in your sleep, but only if you keep your head up high.
But oops, the workers are sneaking off!
How suspicious!
Where could they be going? Obviously, our gang follows them into the morning mist without being noticed at all, even with Ba Ye chattering almost nonstop. And then, those people just disappeared! So, naturally, Ba Ye yells out at them, and ducks behind Fo Ye and Lt Zhang.
Hahahaaa, this was the first time I laughed because of Ba Ye. Also, I notice that Fo Ye is really bad at stalking people. I'm not surprised, he probably never needs to do that, cause everybody just stalks him.  
I would stalk him if I could travel back in time...
Something gets thrown right at the gang!
Cue the William song! Fight, fight, fight! With William background song subtitles, oh well. It's still very foggy anyway, we don't see William all that clearly.
The rock music plays, and Fo Ye is awesome per usual, fighting off everyone. When they capture the labourers, he calls them out as fake because their shoes were too neatly placed for a quick getaway. But the fake labourers won't tell about the train. They each had a poison pill behind their teeth, and each bit his pill and each died. 
Ba Ye kicked them and jumped back to a safe distance :D And he won't stop babbling. Haha, seriously, why do I find him funny? 
Because we're getting used to him, something we couldn't do with abrasive Chastity, and his antics are not at all out of place.  He actually supports Fo Ye very well.  
Sigh. I'd have thought at least one would think, nah, I'll just talk.
Those poison pills are insanely good tasting. You really, really WANT to bite them. 
Ba Ye calculates meridians and feng shui lines, but his compass is not working. #BaYeFail
Turns out the Japanese used some mystery material from the mines to make the new rail tracks, and it messed up Be Ye's compass.
Oh. Some magnetic Tomb Kryptonite? Ba Ye's insanely large compass makes me chuckle. 
This, too: Ba Ye is Fo Ye's No 1 fanboy!):
I know, it's so cute!  Aargh, I can't believe I said that! Okay, Ba Ye and Ba Ye fans, you win.
Ba Ye also notes that the tomb should be around here because feng shui would've required water in front and land in the back. There's no water now, but he remembers there used to be a stream where they are standing. Fo Ye thinks there must be a tomb there and that that was where the secret experiments were conducted.
If you say so!
Cut to another pretty street scene
isn't that the same set, just from the other side?
and a Japanese lady bribing the opera house minion for Er Ye's schedule. She's not a fan, though; she's someone who wants Er Ye to work for her and her organization. Her name is Ryouko Tanaka and she is the head of the Japanese agents in Changsha. She's connected to the mines and the secret experiments.
Ohhh, I like villain ladies.
Me too, as long as they are competent. 
Er Ye is being told all this as he gets ready for his performance. He says to tell them after the show he has already left to rest at home.
I sometimes do that at the office. I close the door and switch off the lights and pretend I'm already at home, resting.
This is Er Ye getting made-up.
I wonder what he does for his skin? All that make-up, it cannot be good! 
Er Ye is a wizard with loads of chi: he can double-cleanse that goop with one swipe of his hand.
This is Er Ye performing. The dubbing is terrible. But Lay as Er Ye is very elegant.
Some lovely BTS about him practicing the moves! And the dubbing... hehehe. So you know, if you want to make it seem like sound is coming out of a mouth, it's better to make that mouth open at the very least. 
A minion who lets the Japanese woman in is fired. He probably thought he was just helping a fan see Er Ye, and just doing the usual sort of thing for extra cash, so I felt bad for him. But, these are dangerous times, so someone easily bought off would have to go.
It was justified. This woman is pushy and annoying and clearly up to no good at all. 

The manager tells off Ryouko for repeatedly coming to see Er Ye despite his not wanting to see her and for buying off one of the minions. She and her henchman wonder how they will tell Mr. Cox Hendry. (that, my friends, is the evil American we will meet soon) She says they can't use power since they want Er Ye's willing help, though I'd guess they'd settle for help under duress. She decides Chen Pi, with his known desperation for a cure for Ya Tou's illness, is the way to go. Good luck with managing that psycho brat, lady.
And off they go to this angry face.
I am waiting, but he is definitely not growing on me.
I basically like his nose.
He says that as long as it's from the tombs, she can have anything in return for the elixir.
Do you think he sniffs out treasures with that glorious nose of his?
Wow, look at this place!
Is it only called harbor or is that actually near a harbor? *googles Changsha*... oh, there's a river. 
Ryouko tells Chen Pi she wants Er Ye to work with her organization. Which means we get Chen Pi threatening her. Yawn, after the initial shock at the warehouse, that got old fast. He pulls the opera theatre bill from her pocket and notes she's already tried and failed to see Er Ye. Ryouko points out that what he wants is medicine that works, right?
I'm on episode 8 by now and I still don't get WHY the Japanese want Er Ye to work for them. Maybe it doesn't matter
Interestingly, Chen Pi threatens Ryouko, but she doesn't care. I wonder what her martial skills are like?
Hm, I already like her much more than Chen Pi. Fail, drama, fail! And those Chen Pi scenes in general..... draaaaaaaaaggy.
Back to the Hong Mansion and our love birds.
Ack, *yawwwwn*, where is my Fo Ye?!
Honestly, Ya Tou looks fine to me. No one desperately ill like she's supposed to be walks around all perfectly okay like that. Also, B-vitamins, magnesium, and saline drips help a lot. Just saying.
It's her will that keeps her walking, Saki, only her very strong will. She is quasi dead, but for Er Ye, she will walk to her grave with her eyes open.
Off goes Er Ye to his wizard's lair. Yes, I see the sharks. Why are there sharks? Why brood over a model tomb? What is the deal with the rings?
Only the tomb (and Er Ye) knows!

Guess who is making noodles and dropping porcelain? Three guesses.
Ya Tou! No!! Bet you didn't guess that, did you? Did you? Seriously, did you? Don't say you did, because I'll be so mad.

Chen Pi rushes into help and gets scolded.
All that noodle-cooking has meddled with her brain. He was simply concerned for you, woman. 
Okay, at this point, I'm beginning to see why he's nuts. People's good deeds should be encouraged. Anyway, he's all loving and understanding with Ya Tou and looks longingly after her. Chen Pi is very sad about the broken bowl and wasted noodles. There, there, Chen Pi. Ya Tou will probably make more noodles before you know it.
What horrible fate to be in love with this annoying noodle-poodle.
Cut to our Gang walking along a rail track.
I really like Fo Ye's boots. And now I really want a pair just like them even though all the lacing gets annoying.
You just need servants to tie them for you. As you need servants to carry your luggage. What is IN those suitcases?! Not food, that much we know.
Aish, chincha, why don't I have servants?
Ba Ye is missing the little donkey. We all do, Ba Ye, we all do. But next time, try riding him.
Now that you mention it... where did they leave their mounts?! Also, Ba Ye... didn't you just WALK next to your donkey? What's the difference? 
The company.There is a bifurcation and they try to decide which track to go on. Fo Ye notes one has train marks. Ba Ye asks how that could be when they're in barren wasteland? Fo Ye smiles (yay, dimples!) and says they'll have to ask the Japanese.
Yes, a very hard question, Ba Ye. Why would there be train marks on rails. Really, why? 
Oh, look an old man gathering wood.  Reminds me of that Lost Tomb episode where the old man was gathering wood and herbs for his many ailments.
Saki!! I even went back to the Lost Tomb recaps to check his face!!! He looked so familiar, I was almost certain it was the same man!!! (It's not).
Ba Ye naturally runs behind Fo Ye. And the old man runs away from them because, frankly, they were running at him. Listen, it made sense to me.
Is William Chan tall? He doesn't look it. But if he is, I'd run behind him too. 
His wiki page says he's 6 feet. My guess is he's around 5'10. I've met a few kpop idols all supposed to be 6 feet, namely Block B's Zico, PO and my Beloved Jaehyo, and they're all 5'10.
Anyway, the old man outruns Fo Ye of all people (yeah, cause he doesn't even bother running, our hot General), disappearing into his village.  Fo Ye just shrugs it off because he sees the old man dropped his tools.
What a CLIFFHANGER! (smart observers will have noticed the old man carries a shovel. Shovel ... digging..... graves. YES!)


Wowzer, Fo Ye! He smiled a lot in this episode. Sigh, sigh, and happy sigh.
He is clearly and outdoorsy type, happy when he's about and away. 

That said, how scary is Chen Pi? I think that claw thing might be for catching crabs, and I don't understand how it killed that man, but it must've been shock. One thing is for sure: Chen Pi only loves Ya Tou in that house. He can tolerate bad things being said about Er Ye, but he can't stand anything bad about Ya Tou. I think he does love her, but he's generally greedy and unhinged, and so he has become obsessive.
You know, that makes him interesting. This ... I guess anger? ... that he seems to feel for his shifu. Apart from that, I really don't like his character and the scenes with him are repetitive and frankly boring.
He needs to go against Er Ye et al to be more interesting.

Also creepy: that Japanese lady. What I'm not understanding, though, and I hope it gets cleared up, is why a Mr. Cox Hendry is her boss when she's a Japanese agent. What's the connection? Cox Hendry is a very American name. Does this mean the Japanese and the Americans are working together against the Chinese?
We meet him soon, don't we, and we will get some explanation, namely that he is working for HER (I think), but that he has his own hidden agenda (which is tomb related). There also is an American in the Lost Tomb, a descendant? There are a lot of descendants. 
It might even be the same American because that person in the books is supposed to be really really old.

Finally, I could see a use for Ba Ye. He does the talking. He does a lot of talking. But he gets in with people and makes them comfortable in a way that Fo Ye would not. Yeah, but he should get his compass fixed. 
He still borders on the annoying, but there are aspects of him that I am amused about, just like Fo Ye is equally annoyed and amused. Yes, we are soulmates.
I bless you and Fo Ye, even though I like him too.