03 September 2016

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Ice Fantasy 幻城 - Episode 8 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on September 03, 2016
Welcome to the Dream Tribe!!! It is full of incredibly beautiful sets, beautiful people and beautiful dreams. Well, also nightmares. But this was the episode that sucked me in completely. I will even call this good. No buts. Just good.
SakiVI: The costumes were incredible!  Everything was a visual treat. 
JoAnne: I am absolutely convinced that you two are playing a very elaborate joke on me.
How many times must I repeat that I really like this show?! Why does nobody believe me? I do

Episode 8

Kasuo and Li Luo continue to explore the completely empty Dream City ... but what is this?  It's not empty, people are just asleep! Oh, one has insomnia and is able to tell them Dream Weavers sleep during the day since they stay up at night to perform divinations, interpret dreams and resolve nightmares. For all three realms! Sounds stressful.
It's a job and someone has to do it. But are these people human?
If you prick them, do they not bleed? (P.S. The answer is no. Later on? She doesn't.)
While our dream team waits for people to wake up, Shi wanders through the forest, feeling alone. Awww, his Bro gave him the flute-leaf. And they agreed on some signals, so that Shi can tell Kasuo what the Fire Princess is up to. She's currently fighting one of her arrogant and ugly brothers. Wait, are they just randomly turning up to bully her? It just makes her more determined to kick all their fiery asses, but he does make her cry, the ugly brute.
He's a dummy brother. Okay, they all seem to be dummy brothers, but this is an actual dummy.  I like how she uses that instead of taking out her rage on slaves or animals.
Yeah, yeah, she's a real bleeding heart.
Shi is reminded of himself when he watches her. And he has some wisdom for her once her attention turns to him: it's herself that she despises, not her brothers. Her cowardly self. He says he can relate to what she's going through, and he once almost killed people who bullied him but didn't because of ... he holds up the flute-leaf, I'm guessing he means "because of Kasuo". Did he really think of killing people or is he simply macho-ing a bit? In any case, she has him play the flute for her.
I think he might be macho-ing a bit. Also, this was my favorite scene in this entire show, not least because she found a boat to lounge in. He's playing the flute for her on her command, yet she's doing everything happily at his cues. And they're both happy. It's so funny.
I won't lie, I do sort of like their baby steps towards each other - and as soon as they flashed that scene and he mentioned his wish, it rang true. He totally gets her rage and frustration.
Thanks to the secret IceBro-signalling technique, Kasuo now knows that Yan Da et al. are also on their way to the Dream Weavers. I could have told him that too, she's always just around the corner. Kasuo is feeling a bit pressured and wants to find Xing Jiu (played by Xu Ke), Lord of the Dream Weavers asap.
Our lord Dream Weaver is very handsome. 
At first I thought so but now maybe a little less, it was weird. His scream face was just embarrassing.

Luckily, it's night soon and Dream Weaver Town fills up with merry people. Kasuo and Li Luo come across a dream weaving contest, which means two Dream Weavers are competing in their dreams (about what, who can make the sheep jump more prettily? Maybe they're giving each other nightmares?). But things go a bit wrong when one of them thinks he's still in a dream and gets violent. Li Luo and Kasuo bravely intervene, despite the high risk to themselves! They manage to knock him out though and that unlocks the next level: the Grand Elder Xun Hao appears and takes them to the palace. 
This Elder's costume was just fabulous. And very traditional Japanese theater-like.
I could live with the lips. You could see them from a distance, they're stylized, it works. But those very faint smudge-y eyebrows in the middle of his forward just made me think of FFWD or RWND buttons, and you'd never see them from a stage.
There, he gives them some "Carefree Dew" because the rogue Dream Weaver messed with their minds (do they drink everything someone hands to them?) and readily admits he's been expecting them. Yup, those Dream Weavers use dreams to know the future. Handy! Also, this Grand Elder does not look very old to me. 
He's in and out of sleep a lot, so he's well-rested. Plus, he probably avoids caffeine and alcohol, eats fish and salads and is generally healthy so he can sleep well.
Very regular pooping.
Oh no, look who's here too ... yes, you guessed it! It's the Fire Brat. The young Elder says he'll give the ice crystal to the person who rescues His Lordship. Call him Yelder. Oh! What's wrong with him? Oh. He's in a dream. And he does not want to wake up because his younger sister, Princess Xing Gui (Xu Jiao) recently passed away. Elder thinks the Lord of the Dreamers is in a dream where she is still alive. No Lordship, no ice crystal, because he is the only one who knows where it is. The only option they have is go into Xing Jiu's dream and snap him out of it. Yeah... all the other dream weavers who tried were either kicked out forcefully or died trying. No biggie.
These are immortals. I can't even be bothered to use the word "gods" because I don't see anyone worshipping them. In fact, they're not even really immortal, they just live a very long time. Anyway, no biggie is right when it comes to them.
My favorite things so far are the wall panels.
We cut to the Ice Palace (my daughter hates the fake icicles with a vengeance!), where Granny has appeared, in search for the Ice King. She's unstoppable = many fire soldiers die. On her way to the Ice King and Queen she meets a servant girl who is acting strangely ... like she's being remote-controlled. She whispers: "Please save me". No, never a dull moment with this drama!
Where was Granny when the fighting was going on in Episode 2?  She might well have been able to stop everything if she's this powerful.
Ha! My immediate thought watching that was 'well if they can do THIS why did they LOSE?'
She was playing in the forest. She sometimes forgets time.
Yan Da searches the whole house for the ice crystal, in vain ... and Kasuo attempts to be sent into the Lord of Dream's dream all alone. Haha, nice try. Of coure, Li Luo is coming too, as is the Fire Brat as well as her slave. They go to the Dream Room and the spinning orbs in there, which apparently contain our Lord Dream's "Origin of Dreams".
I like how Yan Da likes keeping Shi with her everywhere, even in her dreams. So cute. Okay, to the extent someone that punk can be cute.
I'd keep Shi with me everywhere, too.
They all take a seat and the Elder sends them into the Lord of the Dream Weaver's dream.
Such a drama queen!
Kasuo and Li Luo find themselves on the streets of Dream Town again... it looks just like it looked when they were there earlier. But there are fireworks and on a sky lantern, it says: "Happy 100th Birthday, Princess Xing Gui". They guess that our Dream Lord must be celebrating with his sister in the palace. The throne room is packed, and indeed, there is Xing Jiu, calling for his sister to come and meet everyone.
I suppose, then, that the Dream Weavers are immortals as well.
Isn't that what you guys just said up there? I'm not sure about immortal. If you will 'be' forever, can you ever not have 'been'? She's only 100. I'd say that they are just very long-lived.
This confuses me too. They are not listed as "immortals" on any of the relevant sites. But they live that long? I think it was mentioned that the Tribe Leaders are mortals but all of them have very special powers
A beautiful girl comes in, carrying a dream animal in her arms. She walks up to her brother and he comes down a few steps to meet her... when one of the guards suddenly jumps in front of the Princess and kills her.
Right, young girl, stuffed animal. I loved her dress, though. It was so delightfully poufy.
*looks at you guys*
That weird elefant thing the Dream Tribe has everywhere is pretty cool. 
Xing Jiu screams in anguish and his dream shatters. Kasuo and Li Luo find themselves on the streets again... they're at the beginning of the dream. Is Xing Jiu's dream on a neverending loop because he feels guilty for not stopping her death? Something like that, or maybe he's trying to figure out a way to bring Xing Gui back to life. Uh-oh. Kasuo wants to stop the Princess from being killed because that should shock Xing Jiu out of his dream. Maybe? Anyway, the run into the Princess right then and there! Her pulse is weird (actually, everything is a bit weird), so they decide to take her to the palace.
And she was trying to escape the palace. That was weird too.
So, a couple things: One: Not immortal; Two: Flustered Pulse. What the hell is Flustered Pulse? Three: I take it back. Xing Jiu is the real drama queen.
I think she's just pretending to be asleep. Nice one, Li Luo
Her brother is relieved to see her - but it seems Xing Gui is quite ill. So ill that she is normally not allowed outside. Awwww, another pair of siblings that truly love each other. They're a bit intense. I recommend they make some other friends. Kasuo and Li Luo invite themselves to the banquet, but this time, as special guests, they are much closer to where they know the assassination will happen later. Kasuo plans to grab Xing Jiu as soon as they have averted it and go back to the real world. In Version 2 of the dream, Yan Da is also present. Only... Prince Shi is making sure she cannot get too close. She'll be heartbroken when she finds out he was working against her all this time!
She did kill his siblings and help take over his city, so I think they're even. I'm amused how Shi easily convinces Yan Da of anything he says.
He flicked a booger. It hurts to be reminded that someone so beautiful is still going to pick his nose.
He only pretended to flick a booger! Totally different! Shi has no boogers
Xing Jiu gets up, welcomes everyone and calls for his sister to come and meet her guests. Exactly like before. In she comes, just like before ... but this time, Li Luo gets her knife shooting weapon ready, eyes firmly on the guard who will kill the Princess. He moves and so does Li Luo ... and Yan Da. The traitor-guard is killed, but the Princess lives! Kasuo tells her brother to quickly take her to her chambers, but oh no, there is a second assassin!! He comes rushing through the crowd, ready to kill, but Li Luo blocks his evil force magic with her own body.
Clearly, this is Xing Jiu's is trying to kill his sister because she represents his hidden desire. Not sure yet whether that's to BE her, or to HAVE her, but whichever it is, his dream self ain't gonna let him.
Too little, too late though... the Princess is dead again, hit by the force even though Li Lou intervened, and so is Li Luo. And as the Lord of Dreams screams in anguish, his dream shatters. Kasuo tries to have him wake up, but...
I wonder why they didn't think to ask why the Princess would be assassinated, as in what enemy are the Dream Weavers' fearing?
Perhaps, since it already happened in real life, they already knew who did it in the past, and weren't currently fearing anything? Her death at the time was a very personal attack against Xing Jiu, not the Dream Weavers as a group - but I'm guessing they're used to people being unhappy that their dreams didn't come true and so they must face attacks regularly.
... Chief Dreamer takes him to another dream. Kasuo finds himself in the Snow Forest, in a different outfit. Xing Jiu is also there, still clutching his sister's lifeless body. Kasuo tries to talk sense into him and tells him of his sister's birthday wish, contained in some cloth she is carrying with her. He knows all this because she dropped it when they ran into her in the streets. Inside there are ... a bunch of plastic four-leaf clover.
Such a letdown that plastic clover.
Yeah, so unrealistic. It really threw me out of the mood.
Somewhere, Li Luo wakes up. But is she awake? Or still dreaming? We know from the Dream Weaving contest that went awry how dangerous disorientation can be ... you can lose your mind! The smart woman looks for something she would not have in the dream world and finds it: the kite string that she has kept in her belt. It is proof that she is awake! But why is everyone else still sleeping, she asks herself? Not everyone. The Lord of Dreams ... he isn't sitting there anymore. No. He is fully awake - and does not look all too friendly.
Not friendly, but terribly handsome. And I think Li Luo is the smartest person in the room all the time. 
He actually looks kind of tired, to me.

Comments

What, noooooo! I like the Chief Dreamer! Such an expressive face!! He can't be one of the bad guys!!! Actually, his strand of hair totally gaves him away. If you don't believe me, go back to that scene where the Fire King meets with a hooded figure. Yes. That person has a strand of black-ish hair hanging from his hood.
Then again, sageuk heroes often have strands of hanging hair while they act terribly but then turn out to have hearts of gold. I'm going to wait for more information before I decide on this Chief Dreamer.
Do we have any info on whether the Fire Tribe can bring people back to life? He could have made a deal.

I really love the atmosphere in the Dream Tribe episodes, and I especially love all the sets, including the ornaments and details. Most of it is CGI, by the way, as seen in one of the BTS filmed with green screen. Anyway, the Dream Tribe episodes themselves are a bit like a dream and all of a sudden, we're not quite sure what's going on. Also, for the first time since episode 1, I feel there is danger for our characters. The rules in the dream world are not the same and who knows what this Lord of Dreams can do to them while they're trapped in a dream!
Don't you think the battles they fought in Episode 2 were dangerous? Agreed, the Dream Weaver CGI is the best yet. I wonder how long it took to design it all?
Yes, I cannot argue with that.

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