Old Nine Gates 老九门 - Episode 33 (Recap)

kakashi: Saki will be away for a while, which means you have to enjoy this recap a lot and read it very carefully and maybe several times before the next one will be posted. Anyway! I love the Zhang-family mystery (and that it remains a mystery). After many very difficult episodes that challenges my love for this show, this one is a total winner.
SakiVI: I love the Zhang family. I kind of wish Little Master could've made an appearance in at least one of the Zhang Family episodes (HELL YEAH!!!), but the Zhangs are so amazing overall, I can let that obsession go - a bit.

Episode 33 - Zhang Family's Old Residence

Fo Ye wakes up... well. Not really. He has his eyes open, but he is still unconscious. The Chieftain thinks he is recovering, but that he is not free from the demon in his heart. We all have those, c'mon. That's a cop-out diagnosis. It controls his mind and makes him relive his most horrible memories over and over.  Still a cop-out diagnosis.  Er Ye is ready to face his demon (which is Yatou) and was therefore able to wake up. Not Fo Ye.  
Sigh, okay, I guess there are times a person just wants to go to bed and forget everything else. 
Being his best friend, Er Ye knows about Fo Ye's guilt (= demon). And of course, Ba Ye knows too. We are taken back to the scene in the forest that ended with Fo Ye's father being shot in front of him (because he pushed his son aside). His last words: "Go to Changsha!" Fo Ye himself was taken prisoner by the Japanese and ended up in a labor camp. People try to flee but all of them are brutally mutilated by the dogs.
No one blame the dogs. They're just following orders.
He cleverly befriends one ... but the food he gives him, I guess, is poisonous.  Aw, puppykins. Anyway, the dog ends up dead (*Sob* - right?! I was sad too! That dog was old and cute) and Fo Ye is put in charge of burying it. That gives him a chance to have a good look around outside and discovers the (barred) entrance to something underground. Yes, you guessed right... that leads into the tombs, of course.
Of course. And this backstory explains Fo Ye's intense hate and suspicion of all Japanese invaders.
One particularly rainy night, he and a few fellow prisoners (Zhangs? Probably. His men are mostly his own family. They must breed like rabbits.) escape and hide in there, barring the entrance with bricks again. The men are terrified when they hear the dogs outside, but Fo Ye has them hide in the water. Hence, they are not found. From there, he takes everyone to Changsha and builds up his fortune from scratch. Ba Ye lets us know that he and his men stayed in the tombs for 3 days and 3 nights.
Wow, Fo Ye is so cool.
So.... I know this was certainly all really terrifying, but what about it distresses him so much that he cannot wake up? Exactly what Er Ye is wondering too. It must have something to do with why the Zhangs decided to leave their home, he says. What happened in Dongbei? The only way to find out is to take Fo Ye there.
Sure, let's travel.
YAY! Road trip! Er Ye stays with the two ladies in love with him (nice) and Er Ye and Ba Ye take Fo Ye to Dongbei, where they are to meet up with Xin Yue. Now, it seems everybody thinks that Er Ye is mending well, but should he have hallucinations about Yatou in his water bowl? And of her sitting next to him?! I doubt that!  
Me too, I doubt that as well. Something fishy is going on.  
Okay, no more Yatou. Yay! We're in Dongbei and Xin Yue - looking FABULOUS - joins them. She is very concerned for her husband. Yes, I would be too. This zombie-state is scary. Lt Zhang has gone to the mansion of the Prince we met at the auction, remember him? He gave Fo Ye a token if he ever needed his help. Of course, Bei Lei Ye comes running immediately and is actually delighted to see them all. He is sweet. I liked him the entire time. And Ba Ye is much impressed by his wealth. Haha.
More money for Ba Ye's shop.
Thanks to Xin Yue's mentioning of Fo Ye's Qilin-tattoo (the subs call it Kamaitachi in this episode, which is Japanese, so I'm sure that's not entirely correct. Anyway, the Qilin isn't evil and what Fo Ye has is), Bei Lei Ye is able to go and try to find out where Fo Ye's particular line of the Zhang family used to live.
There are more Zhangs? Are they just the human race or something?
Cut to Chen Pi and Lu, now in front of the mines. Did they clear the entrance? Not sure, but some Huo people have gone in and are not back yet, 3-4 hours later.  Lu is nervous. Chen Pi isn't. The end of villain sequence, ouf. 
This scene could even have been skipped.

Bei Lei Ye returns after a full day of inquiries and tells them that Fo Ye's Zhangs are "no ordinary family". Yes, we guessed as much. This show loves this phrase. Their origin and whereabouts are a total secret and only some ancient grand-uncles of the Prince had some clues.  He now knows where their residence used to be, but also that there is a line of defense around it that only Zhangs can cross.
Ooh, how magical!
They set out the next morning, Lt Zhang looking formidable on a horse.
I would like to go riding with him. He is the guy I dreamed of and never met back in my twenties.  
What a SHAME
Ba Ye is feeling motion sick inside the palanquin. Haha. I would too, to be honest. Xin Yue grabs this opportunity to split from the rather large group of people the Prince has provided for them and they continue on alone, Fo Ye and Xin Xue in a carriage, with Ba Ye and Lt Zhang up front.
But I love Lt Zhang on a horse. 
Ba Ye is alarmed as they get near their destination - everything is evil here. It prompts Lt Zhang to suggest that he continues on with Fo Ye alone, seeing how there's this Zhang-line. Fo Ye's eyes fly open. He's still not talking though. But they're all like "yeah, we've come to the right place".
Makes sense.
Before they get to the right place, they come to a village, where Ba Ye and Xin Yue want to wait for the two Zhangs to return. Unfortunately, Lt Zhang does not find any allies (he tries a few Zhang codewords) and what is worse, some of the villagers, who are working for the Japanese, take pursuit. Lt Zhang speeds up the horses and heads straight for the Zhang defense line, much to Ba Ye's chagrin. Lots of skeletons there.
Creepers, whose skeletons?
They look Japanese.
Fo Ye sits up.
The villagers are joined by many Japanese soldiers - and start charging. What to do??! Brave Lt Zhang takes them on, armed with just his pistol. Xin Yue tells Ba Ye to "rush in" and think later. Ha! She has guts.  
And a very good point too.
Because Ba Ye thinks it's better to die by some Zhang tricks than to die by the hands of the Japanese, he takes up the reins and crosses the defense-line. It's not helping that Fo Ye seems to be terrified...
What on earth could he be scared of in his own house?
... but nothing happens. They're through, and Lt Zhang comes running too now ... and crosses the line with ease. Uhm... what if those Zhang defenses are actually not working, guys??! Oh, but they are. As soon as the Japanese cross it, they're blown to shreds. Woohoo! Well done, Zhangs. It's here we find out what we thought we knew anyway: that Lt Zhang is one of THE Zhangs. Which maybe explains why Ba Ye and Xin Yue were able to cross. Maybe. 
And Ba Ye is annoyed by this information, why? Back in episode 1, Fo Ye stated his men were from his family.
And then, they're finally there: The Zhang Family's old residence. Is someone still living there? Dun-dun-duuuuuun.


Ohhhhhhhhh, cliffhanger! Show, you're doing really well, you're pushing the right buttons for me. Fo Ye and his lady are reunited, everyone is looking extremely good and we have this sense of dread hanging over everything. Knowing this show, we won't get answers, but I don't mind that at all. As long as there is Fo Ye, suffering, I'm good.
I loved this episode. It was interesting to go to Dongbei, see the Prince, and finally get to this mysterious house. I notice Fo Ye has calmed down in front of it. Perhaps he was afraid for his friends going over the defenses.  
Waiting desperately for you to return, Saki! The next episode is very good too!