Old Nine Gates 老九门 - Episode 30 (Recap)

SakiVI: In which Ba Ye and Lt Zhang become a pretty lady's white knights. We also get some villain-side story, but it's pointless and covered only in case there are any Nose fans reading this. Skip over and read the Ba Ye & Lt Zhang parts only if you want.
kakashi: I call this episode Traps in the Swaps. Because I'm very, very tired and I find that really funny right now. Don't ask. Don't judge.
It's funny.

Episode 30 - Traps in the Swamp

Back to our stunning Chieftain.
I immediately regretted she isn't the leading lady. She would never have moped and just cooked noodles! But wait.... is it my tired eyes or is this picture somewhat blurry? *squints*
It's blurry.  Even when I paused the frame, I couldn't get the full frontal look without blur.
Here. A bit better.
I love her patchwork style as well. She and the guardian argue over the choice of Han porters for the Bai Qiao prince's funeral.
Yes, those Hans, they always drop the coffin, right? 
Wow, for someone who just lost her child, she is amazingly sane. Unless, the death was over a week ago, and the body has just been sitting around and she's had time to pull herself together.
I don't know whether I should go for her being that cool and collected or whether I go for the second option, which involves a decomposing body. *tosses coin*
Our Chieftain is angry that the guardian, who is also her uncle, wants the Han Chinese to carry her son's coffin when it should be native people.
Anyone with a little tiny bit of brain should have immediately realized that this forceful insistence on Han-Carriers must be part of a vicious plan involving murder. It's not that hard, really.
Oh, she knows.
And yet, she walks willingly into it? *shakes head in disbelief*
The superstition, given below, is forcing her to go along.
But the guardian, who is the slimiest of slime, possibly even beating out Chief Lu for that title, says your son's death is your fault and a bad omen, so let the Han carry him instead of our own people.
Hands up if this made sense to anyone? No? Thought so.
What an utterly rotten thing to say to a grieving mother about her dead child. Then, when the Chieftain signals her handsome guard
time to discuss their tribal, uhm, facial marks? No? Okay, nevermind.
I like them. Colourful.
and he signals the others to draw the swords,
It's good that I like swords. Or I would have had a rage-fit about here. 
The guardian says another horrible thing to her: the prince's death is your fault.
What a jerk. It's like Chief Lu needs to come get lessons on general villainy and nastiness from this guy.
Can we ignore or kill him? Them? All the villains? But seriously, the face paint.....
Oh, and the Chieftain can't kill the Han porters chosen to carry the body because bad luck or something, so the swords are drawn back and the Chieftain storms out.
Saki, I realize I haven't had dinner yet, I will be right back
Good idea.
Fatty explains to Ba Ye and Lt Zhang how she has to bury the prince in the sacred tree and bring back a branch of it to the village to show the curse is cleared or some such nonsense.
Does U3 consume drugs when he writes his stories or does this stuff come naturally to him?
I believe he just knows lots of things and then strings it all together.
And the guardian tells the Han gang leader, make sure you do your job while thinking loudly to himself how she should never come back to the village.
Okay, at this point, I realized he's a very stupid villain too. You never say your evil plans out loud. That's chapter one in "Villainy for Dummies". (I had to google "vilainy" to make sure it's spelled correctly, that word looks so weird!)
Ah, so the point of this journey is to assassinate the chieftain.
Which we all guessed 5 hours ago. 

Ba Ye and Lt Zhang return to their lodging where they nearly run into this scary guy.
Lt Zhang just looks pretty, though, and doesn't care. Inside their rather nice room,
rustic chic. 
the two discuss this odd development and totally, completely, and utterly irrationally decide they should go on this journey and get close to the Chieftain to find out where Fo Ye is.
Saki, should I tell you what I had for dinner and what I need to do next? 
Me, I had chicken, and I have to clear my kitchen next.
I'm worried because zero logic here.
Ah, don't be. It's normal. 
No, really, they give zero explanation for why getting close to the Chieftain will get them any information, like why they think Xin Yue might've met her or I don't know, been in some sort of contact, or why they couldn't simply get Fatty to ask around more. Someone will speak with enough prodding.
Yeah, and what happened about going to the West? I think everyone has hair-disease. We too.
Speaking of whom, they do think of asking Fatty what he thinks the the guardian is up to. Cut to the three at a restaurant eating some delicious-looking food.
(I'm hungry now, darn it.) (Okay, I'm glad I didn't tell you what I had for dinner then) (It's okay, I went and ate.)  Fatty says the thugs are a few more highly skilled people to help the Chieftain on her journey, and Ba Ye says to where, Heaven? Pfffft.
Fatty hushes him, so Ba Ye says, if you can do it, you can say it.
Good point, Ba Ye! Oh. I'm pondering this and its implications. Should I change my life?
And Lt Zhang is all, anyone can see those dudes are assassins, and he does this swift zip with his chopsticks that has Fatty clutching his throat. Hee.
Oh, gooddie. The hair has temporarily left Visual Zhang's pretty brain.
Fatty goes on to explain the valley is flooded and muddy from heavy storms, so the guardian does not even expect the Chieftain to make it out alive, but the assassins are going just in case she does survive the terrible conditions. And Fatty knows all this because ...... Ba Ye and Lt Zhang are remarkably calm with this news which Fatty notes. They tell Fatty not to worry about what they are and instead ask about the prince's death. Fatty says people blame the death on the Chieftain's immorality.
Hm, I wonder what she's done. Had sex with someone? Where is the father of the dead son by the way?
Murdered. And the guardian pointed fingers at the Chieftain, but that's a minor spoiler. Plus, usually accusations of immorality are about improper sexual behavior.
Ba Ye's "Phooey!" is hilarious.
*feels like hugging Ba Ye cause he makes me laugh*
Fatty then advises our boys not to lose their lives over this and to escape when they can, especially since the assassins will act asap. The pair share a look, then clink cups with Fatty.
So. Do we want to get this straight? Fatty tells them in the previous episode to become for-hire guys with the mean Uncle because ... and then tells them all about the murderous intent of mean Uncle because ...... and the point of all this is ......
They're asking, so he's telling. Otherwise, he wouldn't say so much. Remember, he hesitated at the beginning.
No, I don't remember. I also think this is the last we ever see of Fatty, so yay
Cut to the next morning with the Chieftain, who is so beautiful and looks so noble, leading the procession out.
She is stoically enduring the Hans.
The killers are at the back.
That makes sense. Hey! Something makes sense! 
Lt Zhang looks awfully pretty as he explains the back has the best vantage point because nothing can escape their eyes.
Excellent thinking there, L(it)t(le) Zhang.
He's taller than Fo Ye.
I am not talking about his size here. Which I hope is considerable. 
Ba Ye tells him to hurry up and think of something because Ba Ye doesn't want to die there, pfffft. Lt Zhang then tries to cut to the front of the procession by the Chieftain. But he is stopped and the two men have to go back to the middle.
I will now go take a very hot shower because I'm a bit cold. I'll be right back.
I'm not sure what the point of all this was. But Lt Zhang looked heroic.
The point was to show us the nice sword, that's quite obvious.
Sidebar: one of these days, I want to go to this military museum in Istanbul that has all this old East European and Ottoman armour and weaponry. Dear Reader, don't judge my dream.

Cut to Ba Ye's house and Er Ye all angsty.
Who always fears we're cutting to some stupid villains next? *puts hands up*
Hand is up.
Huo Niang is nursing him.
She's all excited about being near him, the poor woman, and he only thinks of noodles all day. 
They discuss her beef (are you still hungry?) with Fo Ye and Er Ye says Fo Ye only wanted a look in the mines, and Huo Niang says she just wanted Fo Ye's territory and to topple him from the Nine Gates leadership. What do you mean "just"? "Just" as in not also: slowly torture and then kill him? Er Ye says he believes her. And then she says she will travel with him to find Ba Ye.
Frankly, dear reader, although this scene seems pointless, it kind of fits in with the rest of this story arc.
Which is utterly, entirely pointless, yes. 
William Chan needed some rest time.  This filler isn't entirely pointless.

Cut to a gorgeous, misty mountain scene.
That reminds me - you are allowed to wonder why - of that new feature in the iOS 10 photos app called Memories. Why? That's probably too long a story. 
And to our funeral group taking a rest.
Gosh, our Chieftain is so lovely, I'm girl-crushing on her a bit.
I had the same reaction to her, but since, I've grown increasingly bored with her.
Ba Ye and Lt Zhang share some Eastroc and a look.
I could really use a sip too
Lt Zhang tries to meet the Chieftain. He's blocked.
With swoooords! Everybody, get your swords out! Let's see who has the longest!
Ba Ye fetches him back. The Chieftain eyes them all, and the assassins relax back, and our heroes in this side story think the chieftain is so wary of everyone, she wouldn't believe them even if they told them who the killers were. Guys, I think she knows its the assassins at the back. She just doesn't know if you're in with them.
I should probably go brush my teeth. You know, it's late and I am awfully sleepy and I don't really sleep well if I haven't brushed my teeth.  brb
Cut to the "Chen" Mansion.
Guess this is the tea room.
It's the "we need to save some money, let's only show one room all the time"-room.
Chen Pi hears that, actually, Huo Niang left "brazenly" as the minion puts it and gets mad that he's hearing about this the morning after. He tells the minion to chase after her. Then, Chief Lu (who? ((Yes, I'm pretending I don't know him and that ignoring him makes him go away))) shows up and tells Chen Pi they should make a long-term plan if Huo Niang escaped with Er Ye as Chen Pi thinks. Chief Lu says Fo Ye and Xin Yue have disappeared from the earth, or so it seems, but that Fo Ye will make his way back eventually to that tomb which he is so interested in. They also discuss what to do about Huo Niang, and Chief Lu says they can replace her if she has allied with Er Ye. Yawn. Have some Nose, though it looks way cuter when his hair is down.
I don't mind this guy (the actor, not the character), but I always feel a strong urge to check online how old he is. 
I bet he's 17.
That's possible. I feel a strong urge but never look.
Back to our funeral procession in heavy rain. The Chieftain curses her guardian for insisting on this trip in the rain.
He probably owns the company which makes the rain-protection gear they're wearing.
Ba Ye slips, grabs Lt Zhang's arm, and sees the assassins in the back drawing their swords.
Ohhh, swords are out! Yay! 
He asks Lt Zhang what to do and our Visual Zhang says, "counter changes with consistency." Basically, he's going to fight them all, Fo Ye-style. Ha, Ba Ye promises to stay out of his way.
Thank you, Visual Zhang! I will counter change my sleepiness with much consistency. Have I told you that I'm wearing my favorite PJs now? They're red.
Do they have any patterns, or a plain red?
A bird on the chest and some dot-things and little stylized birds on the pants. 
They sound cute.
Ba Ye looks back again and sees the swords drawn, again.
Yay, swords are still out! 
He starts to gibber in fear and Lt Zhang tells him to be quiet, and he says he'd like to be quiet but he's too scared, pfffft.
You know what, I think he's excited about the swords. Deep down.
The Chieftain calls for a halt.
This stops the assassins for some reason. Dumb as bean-straw. That's a German expression that doesn't translate too well. The Chieftain tells her men, some of you stay back with the prince, and the rest, follow me. They walk into some field. There, some similarly dressed, but all in black, people are dancing.
They are the Black or, Hei Qiao, and they are enemies of the White, or Bai, Qiao. This is all getting really complicated.
Think a minute about why we associate Black with bad and White with good.
So Colourist.

Ba Ye and Lt Zhang discuss among themselves. They think the Hei Qiao are also there for the Chieftain too.
Seriously? I thought they were just a bunch of dudes dancing in some random field. 
"Thinking makes me even prettier."
Ba Ye complains about the danger and wonders how they got into this mess. There, there, Ba Ye. Dude, you walked into it! He summarizes the situation for the Bai Qiao: within, an troublesome, ambitious guardian, and without, the Hei Qiao ready to pounce!
I wonder whether someone changes Fo Ye's clothes for him? And what when he needs to go to the toilet? Does he interrupt his trance?
The coffin bearers catch up, but one slips in the mud. Told you so! The Han always drop coffins! Oh dear, Lt Zhang made my heart flutter again! He catches the coffin and saves it from falling over and possibly emptying the dead body out! Our stunning Chieftain notices. Maybe I will pointlessly ship them together, even though Lt Zhang's heart belongs to Fo Ye.
The Chieftain tells her bodyguard to keep an eye on Lt Zhang.
Honey, we're already doing that with both eyes, you can fire your bodyguards
Keep watching him, lady, it's worth it, trust me.

Finally, the rain has stopped.
Did they stuff their rain-gear into the coffin?
Looks like they're safe from Hei Qiao for now. Oh, those particular villains are all dead in some water.
Pro tip: Don't drink the water. 
Some of the Han freak out that there are ghosts. 
Seems legit. Dead people in the water = ghosts. 
The assassins and our two heroes remain with the Chieftain.
Ba Ye does a reading that says there's great danger. Lt Zhang correctly points out "great danger is obvious."
I'd say so too. Dead people = danger
Everyone keeps going.
*Squints* something wrong with my eyes again? 
There's fog, though it just looks mildly misty for good camera shots. Waving it away doesn't work at all. When they stop, those same Scaredy-Hans are scared again that there are ghosts even though they should know at their age that cold water in the air next to a warmer ground causes fog.
If there were more of them, it would be a mass-panic.
Ba Ye smiles because he has A Cunning Plan.
Ba Ye strides up all confident-like and says the Hei Qiao used witchcraft, and that it stems from the Fu Xi Bagua, making everything constant, even though it appears different. Ba Ye says, I can solve this.
And here are the bagua:
Couldn't these be imagined anywhere?
Sure, but Ba Ye KNOWS. He doesn't just imagine things.
Ba Ye tells them to follow the water, going east, out. The Scaredy-Hans are scared, saying no, no, there be Bad Things! And the Chieftain asks on what basis she should trust Ba Ye. He says he knows the 8 bagua and that's that. I guess a plan is better than no plan.
As the others hesitate, Ba Ye scolds them and says come on, it's getting dark. The Scaredy-Hans follow him, and the assassins are confused. After all, they have to get out too. They follow, and finally the Chieftain and her men decide to go too.
Ba Ye should have let the assassins into another Ba-whatever, one leading straight to hell. 
Sidebar: she is so pretty! Whoever this actress is, and I can't find her on the wiki page, I want to see her in more things.

Ba Ye leads them past the water with the dead Hei Qiao. He and Visual Zhang are the first out of the wheat field and fog,
looks like a disease
I thought it looked like fungus.
and Lt Zhang is impressed.
He discounts Ba Ye too easily. Since Fo Ye is his hero, he just copies his bullying behavior towards Ba Ye. What he doesn't understand though is that Fo Ye has a lot of love for Ba Ye but can only show it by being a bit rough.
The Scaredy-Hans are next, then the assassins, and all of them bow to Ba Ye. Nice.
I don't get the "we'd be dead"-part. Dead of what?
Oh look. I was pink for a second. Duh
Lt Zhang looks pretty.
Minus twelve minutes to go
Then the Chieftain arrives.
She asks Ba Ye where next. He says, to get shelter.
"Naturally", he says. Bossy, Ba Ye. A bit sexy. You're doing well.  
He only loves Fo Ye, though. That means no little Ba Ye's.
They arrive at this deserted village somehow. They look around.
No fear of ghosts anymore??
There are weird rocks there, and Ba Ye says don't touch this one, or evil spirits will arrive. Ah, now we're talking. Or something like that. I have never understood the occult. (I'm just a mild-mannered office worker, you know.)
Should we put our hands through that hole in the stone?
Lt Zhang tells everyone there is an ancient tomb nearby, and this stone stands guard. Just don't touch it, okay?
Okay *retracts hand*
The Chieftain's men check out the village temple and declare it safe. Ooh, I love how she says to stay there with a little look at Ba Ye for his agreement.  He's in his element.
Can I please ship them?
Once they're all in the temple, eating and chilling, the assassins are still eyeing the chieftain and she is still wary of everyone. Guess overcoming that shared danger earlier isn't going to keep the thugs from doing their ghastly job. 
Come ooooon, guys. 
Lt Zhang notes she is closest to the door. Ba Ye calls her clever, but Lt Zhang says that still won't protect her.
Dude, sit closer to her, then. Seriously! He's such a boy! He probably thinks girls stink. Lt Zhang wants to know how Ba Ye knew the Chieftain would follow him. Ba Ye says because it was certain death in the marshes vs most likely death outside.
*weighs options* oookay. *follows Ba Ye*
Then, Lt Zhang says Fo Ye told him Ba Ye is good at reading fortunes, but really good at reading hearts. Ba Ye is happy to hear that. And then Lt Zhang says Fo Ye also told him that because Ba Ye is good at reading hearts, if reason won't work, use force. Ba Ye is not happy to hear that. Lt Zhang laughs.
Haha. Dream team
Then they both get sad about Fo Ye.
Awwwwww, double boob hug! }}|o|{{
Ba Ye remembers Fo Ye's intense trance when he had looked into Ba Ye's magic mirror.
Fo Ye TT____________TT
Back to Fo Ye's current abode and Dr Mo.
These pictures look very familiar.
Fo Ye is still dreaming of his earlier traumas.
Just an excuse for an extra Fo Ye pic...
Then back to our motley crew. People gather around Ba Ye to chat with him and thank him again. Ba Ye tells them there are no ghosts, just people pretending.
Ha! That is quite daring for a fortune teller, Ba Ye! Even I believe in ghosts! 
 The men ask what happened that day then? The Chieftain is listening carefully.
Ba Ye says it was too strange to meet the Hei Qiao today, though, you don't say and so they should all be careful in case the Hei Qiao come after them again. The Chieftain and her men discuss the Hei Qiao too, and she says they have to be careful because they may come back since it was all too coincidental and, this was not a day for ceremonies.
Come on, you can go dance in the swamps if there's no ceremony! It's allowed! 
Then Ba Ye pulls out Hei Qiao bells which freaks everyone out. He scolds them, saying he's just setting a trap.
It's not the first time people freak out when they her bells. Can someone explain? 
They all go to sleep with the bells tied at the door.
Ha, Ba Ye has his head on Visual Zhang's lap.
D'awwwwwwwwz. all this bromance!
For those who like that sort of thing.
And our lovely Chieftain looks completely perfect while sleeping.
You should offer her your lap
I would prefer to offer mine to Lt Zhang.
Oh Noes! A snake slithers in under the bells. It's going straight to the Chieftain like it's trained.
And the Bei Qiao people stride into the temple only to face an empty hall with flashing green lights! This was creepy. I'm not a fan of statues as it is.
They run as our crew return. The Scaredy-Hans fall on their knees to Ba Ye. He's so modest.
What did they do to the poor snake? 


Wow, this was a pretty good episode! I rather like the Chieftain of the Bai Qiao, and I felt a lot of sympathy for her, and was totally cheering Ba Ye and Lt Zhang on as her knights. I really am wondering how Ba Ye and Lt Zhang will save the chieftain. If Fo Ye was there, he'd just beat everyone up, or just terrify them with his incredible charisma, so, since we're stuck without him, it's interesting to see a different angle to solving problems. I think Chen Pi and Er Ye were in there somewhere, but now that the episode is over, I barely remember them.  
No, I did not like this episode. I don't like any of the filler, simply because I don't see the point. It's nice of Ba Ye and Pretty Zhang to go along and hopefully save the beautiful Chieftain, but does that really need to take so many episodes? I know she returns in later episodes (*oups, spoiler*) to help them, but again, is it necessary to spend sooooo much time with her? Also, the whole outside shoot ... I appreciate that they try and actually do a lot of outside filming, which is far more tedious and expensive than filming in studios, but the whole swamp thing did not look good. I think the weather was truly bad and everything is so brown and muddy... no. When is Fo Ye waking up? Can we fast forward a little?