13 January 2017

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Candle In The Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城 - Episode 6 (Recap)

Posted by SakiVI on January 13, 2017
SakiVI: I like our heroine.  There's nothing that says women have to be smiling and nice all the time, or "sassy and cute". This woman's got her own issues, concerns and goals, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Trotwood: Well, so far, I don't like our heroine. I think she makes an interesting character, but I don't like her and because I like enough people in this show, I don't have to like her. As I said (warned) someone at work last week, "You don't have to like people to work well with them. That's what adults do." However, it isn't because she doesn't smile and she isn't nice (Xu Xu in Snail didn't smile for episodes on end, and I loved her). She is barely civil, and I don't respect people who can't even do that and don't believe they should make the effort just because they're experts and/or are paying people.
kakashi: I don't like her either. I don't think the show wants us to like her at this point. She is dodgy - or, to put it more nicely, "mysterious".  Bayi and Fatty don't know what her deal is and neither do we. Something is off about her
JoAnne: Funny, I read her as deeply worried about her father and thus preoccupied by that to the point of distraction. She has a lot riding on this personally so I think it's hard for her to just relax and trust anyone. I don't see her as mysterious or dodgy at all.

Episode 6

Back to our meeting in Professor Chen's house. He's saying how they need Celestial Patterns Feng Shui to find lost tombs along the Silk Route. Everyone is gathered around, excited that Bayi is going to lead them. Except our lovely heroine. She's listened and gone on her way. I'm sure she's happy in her own way, though.
Did I miss something? How do we know that? (need to go back to episode to review; I keep feeling like I'm missing clues)
I doubt that she's happy, haha. Maybe she just went to the toilet? I think it's part of her "I'm so mysterious"-act. Or maybe she's just sad and lonely and hates everybody
Or maybe she had something else to do.
That's what I assumed. They should all be prepping for trip not just sitting around.
The other professor says that intellectuals like them are all Stinking Old Nines, which was a contemptuous term for the educated during the Cultural Revolution, which is his way of clearing the air. The students get introduced: Sa Dipeng, who studies archeology but also likes aliens (haha, I like his alien obsession); Chu Jian, who specializes in mountaineering, and likes Bayi's hair; Xiao Ye, who is also an archeologist.
I don't like them at all, sadly (and especially not the alien obsession). As I mentioned before, they all annoy me and they will be a huge problem on that expedition. Just look at them
Yes, but we don't know this yet. I looked at them like eager pups. I know I probably sounded this eager, too, when I first started grad school--until it broke my spirit that is  and I found a way to crawl out of the pit of despair.  (I refer to my Masters program as being in the Bastille by the way)
Yes, they just seemed like eager young students to me. At this point we have no idea how well- or ill-prepared they are for what's to come.
Then the boss shows up, awesome hair and leather jacket and all (she really does look great) (agreed). Her name is Shirley Yang, and she is introduced as the investor of the event. She'll be going too, and she's a famous photographer for National Geographic. So, she's used to traveling into the wilderness. Bayi tries out a line of English on her, and as she shakes his hand, she tells him they should just speak Chinese. Okay, I know that's going to annoy people here, but as someone who had to suffer people either speaking bad English to her when they could've just used Urdu, or worse, speaking horrendous Urdu when they could just use English, I'm totally cool with her setting the language boundaries right at the start.
She should. It saves time later.
Especially since he really doesn't speak any English, apparently. 
I saw it as his attempt to be friendly and her rejection of same. On practical grounds I have no problem with either: establishing the method of communication up front, establishing relationship boundaries up front.
Fatty tries to shake her hand too, but Shirley asks what his skills are. Again, fair question. She is paying, after all. His skill is: being a great annoyance but also a comical relief. Hey, hair has mattered in other tomb stories - maybe his hair will be a force for good. Bayi says Fatty is good with guns, and Fatty brags that he once beat bandits in Xinjiang until they peed in their pants. No one is impressed, and Bayi is even embarrassed, but Fatty pulls out his jade piece as a "trophy" and both Shirley and Professor Chen are startled by the jade. Okay, but doesn't one piece of jade look much like another? Chen and Shirley carefully examine the jade and then add Fatty to the team. And then they talk money: $10,000 for the trip alone and an additional $10,000 if they find the ancient city of Jingjue in the desert.
So clearly this piece of jade is NOT like any other piece. It's basically Fatty's golden ticket. He should just open with that to save time.
I thought I had missed something when they got all starry eyed about his necklace. Do we know where he got it from?
Didn't he get it from his father?
((I rewatched - he got it from some bandits he was sent to exterminate, if it's true!))
After seeing Bayi and Fatty off, Professor Chen says that the Guidong Language, or Ghost Cave Language, is carved on the jade. This was a minority tribe from ancient Western regions that are now extinct. Cool. They want to research the jade more, and think they'll know more when they find "that journal." Omo! There's a picture of Bayi with his fellow soldiers in a newspaper on the table! He's been circled in red!
So that's why they were so eager to be nice to him when they had just kicked out people with more experience when they arrived. 
Totally dodgy. What is going on here
Makes me wonder if the reason Mister Gold went back to Bayi and Fatty after their first encounter was to facilitate THIS one.
Bayi and Fatty get some tea outside. Fatty wonders if he can sell the jade to Shirley. Fatty is also really excited that they can get so much money for this job, but Bayi sensibly points out that if the place was easy to find, Shirley wouldn't pay so much money. And Bayi notes that Professor Chen is so old and wants to go to the second biggest sand-shifting desert in the world? (Seems like an accident waiting to happen to me. It's not his age, he just doesn't seem to be in that kind of shape. See?! Told you so up there! But you were talking talking about the grad students not Professor Chen I thought.) Bayi says that he lowered the chances of finding the place so that when they can't find it, the archeological team can't blame him. Fatty laughs that they are just going on vacation for $10,000 USD.
Live in your fantasy world for as long as you can, Fatty.
Bayi should have refused to take on any responsibility here (especially since, as we are going to find out, he has bad memories about losing people). Again, look at all of them! I bet you they're in no shape at all
Pffft, every archeological thriller I've ever read has a fairly senior professor leading the thing.
I know older archeologists who do field work. They are fit. they are fitter than most people, often moreso than their students who haven't learned yet the importance of being fit. If they aren't, they usually wait until the site has been established and then go in.
Oooh, choochoo train time! In the train we see Jin Dong has a gorgeous new haircut and even Fatty has improved his a bit. I like both of their new hair! Professor Chen asks Bayi to come chat with him, and Fatty stays to play with his new friends. Then he follows Bayi to hear him exclaim, "Kunlun Glaciers? Why didn't you say earlier?" These are in Tibet, and that would be Southwest for this lot, not Northwest as originally planned. Bayi is mad and walks out for a smoke. Ooh, the scenery from the train is sweet. Anyway, Bayi says he won't go to the Kunlun Glaciers. Fatty tries to convince him, and Bayi snaps at him, no! It's too dangerous.
My first thought was, "Crap, they packed for the desert not snow and glaciers!" I mean I would've had some cold weather items because nights in the desert can get cold but not glacier cold. That requires all sorts of layering and waterproofing in addition to cold protection that I wouldn't have prepared for. Even the backpacks would need to be different. You have to be able to have access to things without having to remove mittens, for example. Sigh. Poor planning irks me. Surprises that sabotage good planning piss me off.
As for me and Trot and the coming Zombie Apocalypse and my plan for surviving said apocalypse: I have no worries at all, and this is why.
So dodgy. Did they just TRICK him into going to the Glacier first? 
If Trot were Bayi's sidekick she'd have noticed what they were packing.
I always look to see what people are packing. I want to know where to find emergency equipment quickly and in case I have to get it in the dark. I assumed everyone did this.
In 1970, Bayi went to the base of the Kunlun Mountains at the Tibetan Plateau and many strange things happened there. Bayi is afraid to think about them. For instance, a perfectly good car broke down when a weird blue light hit the windshield. They stopped and saw that it was a glowing blue bug. The comrade, Xiao Luan, caught it in a jar. They tried to set off and the car wouldn't start. I'm thinking the bug had some weird energy vibe. Bayi checked the engine,and saw the pressure pipes had burst. Bayi decided that he would walk to the military depot for help, and told Xiao Luan to stay warm and guard the supplies. Aw, natural leader. (I love him because he told him to guard the supplies)
Bayi seems like a guy you would want as your military superior. Until he goes berserk and shoots prisoners of war, that is.
So I'm thinking he's really best suited to less high-pressure situations.  You're away on a business trip and one of the kids suddenly remembers he needs to bring in cupcakes the next day? Papa Bayi is ALL over that: you don't even hear about it until it's over. That seems to be more his speed.
So he's a Cupcake Guy instead of a Pancake Guy?
In the present, Bayi says no one could explain what that bug was. And when he got back from the depot, Xiao Luan was missing. But there was a snow shape of a body in a black ice patch and the jar was empty. Oh, this is creepy. Oh, it wasn't snow: it was ash. Xiao Luan was burnt to death. Ooh, I feel icky and sad: sicky. The army just assumed Xiao Luan was killed by bandits and declared him a martyr. But Bayi knew it was that blue bug. The boys look around and see Shirley listening to them, looking concerned. She asks them to her room to discuss something.
I think the Professor and Shirley must have known that Bayi was with that group in the mountains and that's why they picked him to come. Tricky. Now he's stuck on the train w/o many options. Pfft.
Yes. They knew this and they tricked him and I don't like them for it
I agree. We shall call this Ignoble Idiocy: where someone makes a decision for someone else because it benefits them and they think the objection of the other doesn't matter
Professor Chen is there. Shirley shows a drawing of the bug to Bayi. Yep, that's it. Shirley explains the bug is called the Fire Ladybug, and the closest thing I've got to it outside of this Candle In The Tomb universe is the bombardier beetle, which is more like a living machine gun. So, this Fire Ladybug is very, very, rare and only found in the records of explorers and archeologists. Sidebar: I know a few archeologists, and their lives are nowhere near this exciting. Anyway, Shirley asks if he is sure he saw it with his own eyes? And Professor Chen asks Bayi to tell his story with the Fire Ladybug.
It was eerie, beautiful and scary, this bug
Bayi's Fire Bug Tale: he explains he and his squad were supposed to do a top secret mission deep into the Kunlun Glaciers. But, there was an accident. Comrade Zhou fell down the glacier. And as they tried to help Zhou, a ball of electric blue fire hurtled through the air and burned another comrade alive! Well, that put a damper on the current mood. Bayi says some of the soldiers subconsciously fired their guns, which brought more murderous blue bugs who attacked them all. Then, there was an avalanche which Bayi thinks was set off by the guns. When Bayi woke up, he was the only one left alive and he was in the hospital. Ah, survivor's guilt.
No wonder he's traumatized. No wonder he doesn't want to go back. No wonder he really wanted to give so much of his money from Gold tooth guy to the families of his comrades. The only one left. What a burden.
So mean of them to use him. So mean.
But Archeology!
In the present, he gets mad about the route change. Professor Chen explains that that year's avalanche was caused by an earthquake, not by the firing guns. Yeah, big difference, you intellolo. They're still all dead. And that earthquake cracked the eastern foothills of the Kunlun Glaciers. Okay, and? Chen explains that a few years ago, a foreign combined study group went to explore in Xinjiang, the leader of which was one of Chen's old friends. But, for some unknown reason, the group changed their route and went to the Kunlun Glaciers. Then they disappeared. And Shirley looks incredibly sad, which Bayi notices. Sidebar: I like this story a lot. It's just like watching a Graverobber's Chronicle novel come to life.
And Chen says they know the group disappeared there in the Kunlun Glaciers because that's where the last signal for help was from. Bayi is still looking at Sad Shirley. I hope we won't get a love-line.... Chen says the disappearance has to do with the crack from the earthquake, and what they want in that crack is the diary of the English explorer, Mr. Walter. Sure, why not? As long he's not a Hendry Cox. It could be his pseudonym!!! Hendry is her brother.  She looks permanently grumpy because wouldn't you if Hendry was part of your family? The diary details how to find the ancient city of Jingjue. Shirley says she wants to go to the glacier to complete her father's journey, and find out why they went to the Kunlun Glaciers. Bayi correctly guesses that the leader of that expedition was Shirley's father. Chen says culturally and historically, the ancient city of Jingjue can explain a lot of mysteries. Cool.
Okay. I admit that I was getting excited here, but I'd still be mad about the inability to prepare. I'm assuming that they will have time to at least get proper fitting boots. Not having proper fitting boots can be the end of any forage into cold wilderness or even a 4-mile walk into town from campus in 40 below weather (yes, I've done it so I know).
Trot, we can rage about things in the next episode. I'm already feeling the anger starting to boil.
I love how seriously you both take this.
Fatty says that for Shirley it's about family, and for Professor Chen, it's about science. Therefore, it's nothing to do with him or Bayi. And that Bayi said it was rather dangerous. So, he asks for another $5,000. And Shirley tells him, okay, get off at the next stop, pfffft. She repeats Fatty's words back to him with reverse parallelism (I love that): that it's dangerous and has nothing to do with them. Bayi who has been looking at the drawings, gets up at Fatty's patting, but as he leaves, he looks back at Shirley, and says, "I'll go."
Of course.
Wouldn't be a story without it.
Look at his perfect hair.
Fatty is shocked. Bayi says he wants to face his comrades' suffering and pain. Basically, now he has a personal reason to go too. He wants to know why he was left alive. Fatty goes along with it. Bayi tries to dissuade him, but it's all for one, and one for all for Fatty. And Fatty says he was terrified of losing Bayi back when Bayi left for the army. He had so much to say to Bayi and couldn't and was so happy he could talk to Bayi finally when he was kicked out from the army. Sidebar: why was he kicked out?
Because he went crazy back in episode 1.
I love this about them. Fatty clearly loves Bayi, probably more than Bayi realized up until this point. I'd love to get more about why at this point. I mean basically Fatty was pining away for him while he was in the army. Did he rescue Fatty from bullies when they were young? Pull his favorite horse out of fire? What?
Maybe Fatty's wish to see Bayi get married is more, uh, personal than we realized.
Fatty even quotes Mao: to fight with the heavens, to fight with the earth, there is endless joy. So, no way he's staying behind. And Bayi jokes Fatty asked for too little money.  It's all very bromancy for people who like that sort of thing.
Yup. I do. My favorite part of episode actually.
I agree! I really enjoy all of their interaction
Next to arranged marriages/contract marriages, I like bromance best.
I'm okay with arranged marriage stories, but bromance-shomance for me.  Still, good that these two have each other.
As annoying as Fatty is, I was relieved. Who is going to look out for Bayi? He's the type that will look out for everyone else. No one on this trip will put him first except Fatty.
Cut to everyone at the glaciers. I must say, professor Chen has serious gumption at his age. He's off in that intense cold with everyone else. And Shirley Yang's outfit is cute. Is red her colour? And I'm glad to see our boys got warm clothes and snow boots for this journey. (Thank the heavens)  Looks like they all have some army people with them too. They walk and walk and walk, and then Bayi, who looks super handsome, orders a rest. One of the soldiers gossips there's a secret base around there. Hi there, familiar face! Oh! Another! Hi guys! Apparently, that's hush-hush information, but too late now. Bayi and Shirley both look at the scenery, but I don't think they are just admiring it. Shirley is listening to the soldiers talk about an ice cave, and Bayi is looking for what? Those bugs? And even the soldiers say they are following Bayi since they've never been so far out before. Bayi continues examining the snow and rocks and finds a red and gold thing. What a coincidink. Fatty guesses it's a remnant from one of Bayi's comrades. Ah, so Bayi was recognizing the place. Omo, Bayi is crying. That's good, Bayi, let it out.
This was really sad.
So it never snowed? Ever since? the sign was just ... kinda there?
Yep. Lying right there on top of the snow, a decade later. It's a Christmas Miracle.
Cut to a view of the mountains. Wow. And our group continues. Crikey, they must really want to go to this freezing place. They look over a valley of sorts and that's where we end.

Comments

Gosh, this was all so interesting! I like the new haircuts, we got some backstory for Chen and Shirley, and Bayi and Fatty were bromancy for people who like that sort of thing. That snow looks incredibly cold, though. I hope they all make out safely.

This is my favorite episode to date, it was great! But ... the snow looks too fake. I will stop complaining, I promise! But as I will say again in the next recap, the lighting (and especially the shadows!) are ALL WRONG for snow. Should have asked a proper snow expert! 
Listen, this journey is doomed. They have no hot cocoa. Everyone knows that the one thing you cannot miss during a snow storm is an ample supply of hot cocoa. With Fluff, ideally.  Marshmallows are an acceptable substitute.

Also, I think one reason the archeology team is so intense about everything, is first, it's their passion.  And second, they are getting to indulge their passion, finally, post-Cultural Revolution, when the aim was to destroy the "Four Olds": old ideas, old customs, old habits, and old culture.  That would pretty much altogether destroy archeology as a field, which is all about old ideas, old customs, old habits, and old culture, and which would require research and expedition grants.

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