09 December 2016

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When a Snail Falls in Love 如果蜗牛有爱情 - Episode 1 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 09, 2016
kakashi: When a Snail Falls in Love is a lovely "little" (meaning 21 relatively short episodes) police drama with Eleanor's husband in the main role and because we really cannot say no to Wang Kai on this blog, we will recap it. (It's also really good, so there). I'm always so excited when we start a new recapping project!!
Shuk: I had not watched it before, but since we are recapping and I am not immune to the power of WangKai, I'm going to join in!
JoAnne: Everybody scooch down!
Eleanor: LOL now everyone is after my husband these days. Good thing I feel pretty secure about my love. 
Trotwood: I do, too, which is why I've already bought a ginormous hat to wear at the wedding.

Episode 1

A shot of a moving train, beautiful golden temples ... we are in Myanmar (also known as Burma)! Inside that train, there is our Wang Kai - as Ji Bai, a Chinese detective. He is undercover though, or just there on holidays?, wearing a straw-like hat and looking cute. When does he not.
Uh, never.
Wang Kai could wear a potato sack and still manage to look adorable and sexy. Kaikai magic. 
There's a corpulent Chinese national on that train who complains non-stop about everything ... until a bunch of ruffians rob him right then and there. In front of everyone. Wow, that is scary. When they get rough with a woman who is sitting opposite the complainer and has the guts to protest the theft, Ji Bai intervenes. He is very skilled (the ruffians are not), but they come in high numbers, like vermin. Ji Bai neatly stows them away though ... wrapped in chain or plastic and curtains.
Really awesome fight scene, using walls and doors and pineapples to subdue the bad guys. I did kinda hope he would throw the badguys off the train and let them choke on the chains a few seconds before annihilation by the oncoming train on the next track over. I guess I'm a little too bloodthirsty.
The pineapple was inspired.
*sighs* he is so cool! He didn't do any extra fighting training or anything really for the drama. It was mostly things he practiced etc on set while filming. Though I'm sure he still had some sweet assassin moves from his Ah Cheng days 😍
Pineapples always make me think of Shuk's fanfiction. I'd forgotten about the pineapples here. I really liked his use of clothes.
When the police arrive (they ride on the train?) and want to arrest the victorious Ji Bai, he coolly shows them his Chinese police ID and lets them know in quasi perfect English that he is a "China Criminal Police Officer". I bet you some people squeed right there. Especially when he sexily adds: "Ji Bai".
He whipped that out quite nicely.
I sort of squeegled, which is a combination of squeeing and giggling. I mean, he's Wang Kai and it's cool and all, but he's not in China so I don't think he's really acting in any official capacity? It's more like professional courtesy, I think, as Myanmar shares a border but is independent of China.
Hubby is welcome to practice his English with me anytime. The BTS of this scene is quite cute as well. It took him a few takes. But dang! He is sexy when he speaks in that gravelly voice of his! 
Next, he is out of the train and strolling through a city (which I guess is Yangon / Rangoon - and which, so the internet teaches me, "has the largest number of colonial buildings" in Southeast Asia). One of the aspects I thought was quite special about this drama are its location shoots, by the way.
Yes, I loved them. And we see so much of China and Korea around here, so I always welcome the excursions to Southeast Asia where everything looks so different.
And just so beautifully filmed! These Myanmar scenes were just so gorgeous! And not just because of Wang Kai ^^
Ji Bai gets himself a car (always a good idea), a Land Rover at that, and changes into a suit. No, we don't get to see it. Here's one of the show's many aerial shots (done with drones?)
It was amazing how nice his hair stayed throughout. What am I saying, his hair would never dare be less than perfect, lah?
So I'm totally just thinking 'Giddyup, Cowboy' but I'm sure you knew that.
Haha. Shuk, you should see how perfect his hair remains in The Disguiser. He must have the best hair gel in creation! 
If I was hair on that head, I'd learn to behave properly I'd be so honored.
The traffic is horrible, but proper looking Ji Bai arrives at some shop, selling antiquities. Ji Bai is interested in buying a pipe, but the owner, who speaks Chinese, tells Ji Bai to see "the Boss" about it and takes him to a different place.
These shots and angles and lighting almost made me die of beautifulness *sighs* I want to hug the cinematographer!
My thinking here was "How in the world did he snag a parking spit right outside the shop?"
It's a very clean and new looking office of sorts, in an otherwise rundown building. Ji Bai immediately notices the photos on the wall ... photos showing a man Ji Bai seems to know. And the pipe? Or is it a different pipe on that orange cushion?
Maybe same type but certainly not same pipe, right?
Why are we looking at the pipe when Ji Bai is in the room?!
We need to look elsewhere so we can breathe. Besides, you scold us when we stare too much anyway.
Then, a man with dark sunglasses comes in and is introduced as "our boss". He indeed has another pipe with him and marvels at Ji Bai's interest in it ... it's not very old. Ji Bai explains it's a pipe that belonged to his friend's deceased father - it's to be a birthday present. When "Boss" hears that Ji Bai is Chinese Police, he is interested enough to take his glasses off. He looks at Ji Bai long and hard, but does not say anything else. But he sells him the pipe.
For the record, my father has pipes that he has smoked for years. Whatever wood they are made out of, it doesn't seem to burn. They just need refurbishing whenever the stems crack. So a 20- or 30-year old pipe should smoke fine. If smoking is what's intended.
Actually, he makes this comment because the pipe is not an antiquity! And he is dealing in those
Still. This whole thing is so far-fetched. How would you know that a particular pipe was in some random shop in another country? Is it registered somewhere? He should have been on vacation, and just happened on the pipe in a shop. Also, do we know this guy?
Well, I'm guessing that Detective Ji Bai has been doing some detective work to find it...and there is probably more to the story I'm guessing. Ji Bai doesn't strike me as the type of man to do things casually and without purpose.
I found a website for "estate" pipes all over the world, with pics of each. So perhaps JB has been combing these types of resources to find that one. Okay, I'm grasping at straws here, just for the power of  Ji Bai.
When Ji Bai leaves the building, he witnesses how a gang drags a man away, who looks pleadingly at Ji Bai. Do they know each other? But he does not follow straight away. First, he goes to his car, puts the pipe away and takes off his nice jacket, the tie, and the cufflinks.
Your gifs are the best, Kakashi.
This scene was pure and utter beautiful fan service. I'm not complaining. Well, even if it wasn't fan service, it is still just so beautifully executed! 
I thought at the time that it was fan service. I also admired a person who was respectful of a quality well-tailored suit. No point in getting that ripped up and sullied if there is time to avoid it. He doesn't look like he's got a lot of time to do dry cleaning and it's hard to find a good place when you aren't familiar with the town you're in. Clothes are important.
Then he goes back and kicks the bad guys' collective asses. I totally dig how controlled he is about everything. He clearly never rushes anything. The man he saves from being assassinated has stolen some sensitive data from these guys, it seems - and is a pro.
The Engrish was a little painful, but the action more than made up for it.
You guys marvel over his hair not getting mussed...I couldn't believe his shirt didn't even untuck.
You can buy men's shirts that are extra long in the back so that they stay tucked. I've only found one woman's dress shirt like this once in my entire life (sigh).
I actually think that less than perfect English is more authentic. Having lived my entire life among non-native English speakers, the reality is that people communicate even without perfect English. On WKI we shared some BTS photos of this scene and his shirt was super sweaty. Though you would never know it from here. 
When they drive away, the man claims he stole "trade secrets", or at least tried to. And no, they don't know each other. Or do they? I don't get it, but Ji Bai asks him whether he can "get to see him". Him = who? He is taken to a nice looking restaurant, and just when Ji Bai comes in, a man folds his newspaper, gets up and disappears. Ji Bai gets told to sit and wait but the guy he rescued and does so ... scanning his surroundings thoroughly.
They have to know each other, and this is so not about a pipe.
I wondered if the pipe itself had a USB dongle. Or maybe the box had a hidden compartment.
It might be about a pipe, and perhaps something more. Definitely an interesting mystery no doubt. 
The one Ji Bai rescued comes back and says Ji Bai has no luck: Boss isn't here. Ji Bai does not believe this for one second (for "what a load of BS"-face, see below) and he tries to go see in the kitchen for himself - also, he is really suspicious of that person who got up right when he came in. Rescued Man holds him back for the moment and hands him a tiny slip of paper. It reads: "The jade is no longer here. Unresolved issues of the past. The Golden Python is stirring up trouble in Burma. The cobra is active in Lin City. The storm is coming".
So is Rescued Man a police mole? Or some type of triad member that now owes Ji Bai a favor?
Well whoever he is, he's definitely someone Ji Bai planned to meet. I'm not sure the guy intended to get his ass kicked at that spot, but hey, we can be flexible. 
Haha Kaikai facial expressions are the best! 
[Your lucky numbers are 10 32 6 14 25 40] That's what's on the back.
Cut to Lin City! Which looks like this (and is made up).
And here, we meet ... Trotwood's husband!! HURRAY!!! This is 4th brother Zhao Han (Yu Heng) who is on the phone with Grandpa Ji (about Ji Bai) and who gets informed there's a new case by another police officer (nickname: Monkey). Blades were hidden in a park. Yikers. Monkey is much more thrilled about "the new interns" though - he is smiling broadly. Might it be because they are women?
Husband! And Monkey! It's been a whole week, and I missed you so much!
Zhao Han is adorable. Seriously adorable. I can see why both you and Trotwood call him husband. 
That's Husband with a capital "H." It's not just a role but a name.
Zhao Han gets a bit annoyed at him because of it (seeing how they get interns every year and there's always women), but then, Ji Bai calls from the airport (he seems to be back in China and he mentions Beijing, so maybe that's where he is). He is asking about that "girl from the Institute of Psychology" - and tells Zhao Han to find a way to dismiss her. She failed her physical fitness test and that's really a no go in the Major Crimes Division. Zhao Han shows us why Trotwood husbanded (HURRRAY!!--I promise I will try not to say "Hurray" every time he's mentioned. It will be hard) him right away - he is extremely kind and tells Ji Bai that that girl has done nothing wrong. But Ji Bai remains adamant - go she must.
He's so husbandy it's kind of insane.
Good choice, Trot. I support you and shall lend you glitter for your sign.
I dunno. I'm kind of on Ji Bai's side on this one. If you're going to be doing field-intensive police work, it kind of helps if you can pass a physical...
I have t admit. As much as I loved Husband at first sight, I would've disagreed with him about this, too. Physical fitness is not only important for her safety but for the safety of the team.
Another cut, this time to the interns. One of them is observing everything and everyone and doing fountain pen sketches in a notebook. The other arm wrestles another officer - and wins. Meet Xu Xu (Wang Zi Wen) and Yao Meng (Xu Yue)! When Zhao Han comes in, everyone stands to attention - he is their superior. He has studied the files of the two interns well and knows that Yao Meng is a very talented sportswoman and Xu Xu is a psychological supercrack. 
I'm sorry, it's Husband. I just... *sigh*  But I did like both women and all the guys right away.
This really is such a lovely ensemble cast! Yay! 
I didn't like our heroine right away. I thought her talented and and excellent artist. I didn't mind that she is clearly an introvert (takes one to know one). But she seemed to me to be a bit of a snob--like it was okay for the others to be all physical, but that she didn't need to be bothered with all that.
He speaks to both women briefly (really clever way of introducing us to their completely different personalities) and then attempts to be haughty with Xu Xu (because of her dislike for physical activity and because he thinks - or at least says - her cartoons are immature). But the rest of the team gathers around them and take interest in her drawings: she drew all of them very accurately, even guessing their nicknames. There is a Monkey, a Rhino, an Old Goat (also called Old Li) and a Fox.
If these are going to be the sidekick team, I approve!
They're the best, Shuk. You're going to love them all.
They really are the best! I luff them. 
I love them. She is also very very good. She "gets" them all perfectly after only being there a very short time.
They're very enthusiastic and Zhao Han looks a bit like a party pooper now (which is perfect for the Husband future dad role). He realizes she has drawn a scene from a photo on the wall. Turning this into a "test", he asks her what happened before the boat capsized. Point by point, she gives the right answers. And when asked by Fox what kind of animal Zhao Han is, she draws ... a hippo. Awwww.
I squeegled again here.
Eep! So cute! 
Yup. It's cute. And she's cute. She'd be adorable if she weren't prickly. I think that is why she started to grow on me that and her skill and the fact that she really is humble and learns to understand her own bias.
Oh dear, Zhao Han is really embarrassed (he is so cuuuuute) while everybody cracks up laughing. Xu Xu has won. He tells her she's someone the Chief of Police requested personally, and she won't have to do hand-to-hand combat with criminals anyway. She has her colleagues for that. She replies: "I think so too, but I'm afraid Captain Ji won't agree to it". BAM, girl. Ahahaha. Zhao Han is so uncomfortable about everything he even bumps into a pillar.
He is so adorably earnest. He's trying to be a hardass like our boy, but he's clearly marshmallow material. Oh dear, is he going to be the second lead?
Ah! He is so adorable! I love how Xuxu totally has the whole situation figured out. Whoohoo!
But I think that this is why he and Ji Bai get along. I assume that he's an excellent cop but their skills and personalities work well together. There doesn't seem like there is any redundancy on this team.
Ji Bai doesn't seem to bother though, he is currently racing horses with a gorgeous woman named Ye Zi (Zhao Yuan Yuan). Later, while drinking Kai Kai Water, he gives her the pipe he bought in Burma - it brings tears into her eyes. It used to be her father's, who was murdered. She seems to think the case was not handled properly; and that her uncle (who was only punished for embezzlement) instigated his kidnapping.
She's so pretty and so sad.  Do you think one of them likes the other?
I'm definitely getting unrequited romance vibes here. Kaikai water. LOL. I bought all the colours when I was in Shanghai #gottosupporthubby
I think she likes him (who wouldn't? Is there any way to resist him if you know him more than a minute?), but she doesn't seem to be the type of woman that he'd find interesting in that way. I think he cares about her the way he cares about Husband--like family. I thought this because Husband was talking about him to a Grandpa character on the phone, so I felt like they all grew up together or something.
Eventually, she lets it go and their conversation turns lighter again ... though not really, because she makes a remark about his rank in the police force and how anything she says may be evidence against her. Ji Bai tells her he's not at all in charge of financial crimes ... but it seems he is suspicious of something nonetheless. She is a major shareholder in the Ye Corporation and it seems there were "odd" losses in her domain this year. She does not want to talk about it though and he does not persist. But there is darkness and sadness in this woman and I can't wait to find out what it is.
She knows his grandfather and he calls her "Little Sister". Maybe her murdered dad was his best friend? His secret bromance?
Well, but they're pretty close in age...parents were close family friends?
I wonder if maybe there was romance but she decided to walk on the slightly greyer edge of the law and he's a police officer, so no dice there? 

Comments

This was a very intriguing start - though I wouldn't have minded a somewhat shorter Burma opening - and I can't wait to find out more about all kinds of things. The biggest mystery at the moment is "Little Ye Zi" and "Third Brother Ji Bai"'s relationship. The way they talk to each other suggests they are super familiar, even intimate - but clearly not lovers. They remain somewhat cautious around each other, which is very interesting.
There's dead bodies between them for sure. Probably not just her father, but some other skeletons.
Dead lovers. There's lovers in here somewhere, I just know it. 
I like sad and moody. I also just love the lighting and camerawork of Myanmar. It was so gorgeous! 
I found her hard to like without being able to put my finger on why.

I loved how we were introduced to the team at the police station, though that bit was almost too short for me - I'm looking forward to seeing them in action during the first case (blades in the park). 
Brings new meaning to 'let's go blading in the park.'
LOL Jo. Haha. I'm so glad we are recapping this together. I've missed your awesome comments. 

I remain confused about the Burma-part. Did Ji Bai go there because of the pipe - or did he go there for additional/different information? If not, why did he GET additional (and highly cryptic) information? I think he did go for more than the pipe, because Zhao Han mentioned that the mission was "sanctioned" by the higher-ups. I doubt he would have had a search for a pipe sanctioned.
Since he's a vice guy, it's possible that he was expected to pick up some sort of drug- or human trafficking information while he was there, like an assistant or something. Anyway, I'm sure all will be revealed in the end. Maybe with BTS of him changing clothes?
I like it. Yes. Perhaps while he's there he got a suit made, and we could see him get measured and stuff.
LOL all this grabby hands for my hubby! What to do! XD I am also really interested in seeing how the Myanmar story fits into the larger story arc. It's actually really cool having Myanmar as part of the story and I feel like we are getting a window into a part of the world that perhaps we only read about in the news. And I will definitely help Ji Bai with that suit...
Husband looks great in his uniform, so you guys can go off to get Ji Bai his suit. I'll be here eating pancakes with Husband.

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