23 January 2017

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Candle In The Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城 - Episode 8 (Recap)

Posted by SakiVI on January 23, 2017
SakiVI: Some seriously scary stuff happens in this episode, as well as something incredibly sad. Read on.
kakashi: It was a very action-laden, very "WTF ARE YOU DOING!"-episode.
Trotwood: It was too bad because the WTF stuff detracted from the sadness that we really should be feeling and the real warning this should be giving them about the dangers and risks they are taking.
JoAnne: We may have to agree to just ignore these things, I guess?

Episode 8

We return to Fatty refusing to give Shirley her father's notebook. Urgh, I really don't like him now. l'll get over it, maybe, but right now, I'm seriously annoyed by him. So, no sympathy for him getting Shirley's gun in his face. 
I am annoyed too, but because she weirds me out and because I find that reaction of hers straaaaaaange (really? You are that desperate you threaten to shoot him?), I'm not all that clearly on her side.
I want to smack both of them. He is all "finders keepers" instead of looking to see if there is info that can help with the exploration, and she's all "I'm going to pull a gun on you even though it might attract bugs that will burn us all to cinders" Pfft. 
JoAnne: I was still on my possession theory because who in their right mind would behave this way? But also, re Fatty: WTF, man. You know what that journal is, are you kidding me right now?  Maybe he's possessed, too.
Bayi to the rescue! He takes the bag from Fatty, has Shirley put her gun down, and hands the bag to Professor Chen (who is the person who should be getting that book anyway. I trust him more than I trust Shirley). Yep, this is the notebook they detoured for!
And still, no mention of "oh, where is dad? Could this ash be him?"
I don't understand her lack of interest in her father--maybe he was really mean or she feels abandoned?
I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't even notice this lack until a later episode makes a point of it.
Oops, Alien Aficionado used flash photography. He didn't mean it, and he's very sorry, but those fire ladybugs are definitely awake. All those hanging bodies are lit up all eerie blue. Our gang runs for it!
Okay, I was done with this dude at this point. Nobody is THAT stupid. Right? (Also, the bugs don't mind noise, but they do hate flashes? Is it a defensive mechanism because their rival bugs are morse-bugs?)
Oh, and there's a blizzard above ground and Girl Student, Xiao Ye, tries to pull a Chastity Chen. It was boring filler then, and it's boring filler now. 
Is this where she runs around without a coat? Brilliant thinking. Hey, there's a blizzard! Hey, let's take off all my clothes - she actually takes it OFF! - and run around like a headless chicken!
I literally screamed "Why the HELL are you taking off your coat!!" at the screen when she did this. it made no sense. Their lack of prep for the storm--when they had THREE HOURS--is completely perplexing, too. they should have been tying things down when they first heard.
This, I noticed. Maybe the person who wrote this has never, I don't know, been outside or seen a movie or read a book? And everyone else was just too polite to say anything.

Down below, the gang are somehow outrunning a horde of fire ladybugs. They run into the lake. Shirley hesitates because her journal cannot get wet, absolutely not! So, Bayi, strong hero that he is, throws it across lake to the other, dry side. And then they jump into the water, hand in hand, while the fire bugs shoot into it like missiles. 
The bag-throwing was cool. I hope the bugs won't set it on fire (as they do another one)... As for outrunning the bugs... that's not the last time they do that and it makes no sense. Sorry, drama.
Oh, there's this fish face. The red scales on its head are shaped like devil horns. That's just a design and nothing serious, right?
No, it's about the inner values, never the outer appearance!
Don't judge by appearances people. Maybe he just wants to be friends. It would make as much sense as them outrunning those bugs.
Maybe it eats bugs, and so it will be grateful and tell them a secret or something.
When Fatty comes up for air, one of the fire bug hordes aims at him, and a soldier drags him back under. Seriously, though, don't the rest need to come up for air?
They trained for all this, you know, when they prepared for the journey.
Yup. They were practicing hold their breath under water while trying on miraculously drip dry winter gear for the desert.
Don't forget building up calluses on their hands so they can rappel without gloves.
  
Bayi is still holding Shirley's wrist under the water, when they all need to come up for air. And oh, that fish's horrible head and eyes! I'm so scared. The fire bugs are gone, for now (where to?!), anyway, and the team cross to the other side. Poor Professor Chen is helped by two others, while Shirley runs to the journal. Priorities... Fatty is with the soldier, Da Gezi, who saved him, and who got injured doing so. That giant fish is still lurking. The team wonder where the wind is coming from and then this red beast bursts out of the water! It's HUGE! And looks a little like Jabba the Hut...
So wait, where IS the wind coming from? Certainly not from that beast underneath the water. Oh, is it the blizzard?
The wind really puzzled me too. I mean, they wrote it into the dialogue. It has to be important, right? Is it really just from the blizzard above?
Professor Chen cries out that this is the Prehistoric Hegemon Salamander! It's supposed to be extinct! Hahahaaaa. He cannot die ever. Who would tell us what these things are? And it's supposed to be only 2 meters long! Why didn't anyone tell this thing to behave?! The salamander, very much not extinct, rushes at the team. It sends Fatty and the soldiers flying and rushes at them again, and Bayi yells to Ga Wa to shoot! Ga Wa shoots! He shoots his machine gun, and the creature is injured, and here I feel a bit bad for it because those embedded bullets would hurt, and they all run. 
They really shouldn't kill something extinct!
But then it shoots its sticky tongue at Ga Wa's leg, dragging him back. Bayi rushes to grab Ga Wa, and Fatty shoots a machine gun at the salamander (I was yelling "Shoot at the tongue. Shoot at the tongue!), and it finally, finally, lets go. It doesn't die until Jin Dong grabs his big gun, though. And, unfortunately, the machine gun fire has set off the fire bugs again. Did they take a nap? Like a true commander, Bayi orders Ga Wa to take other soldier, Da Gezi, and escape! And Ga Wa does. Awww, bless. 
I think I had to laugh here. They're shooting at everything. Well, they really don't have many other options, I get that.
Sigh. they do have options. They can target shoot rather than wasting ammo. They can't be carrying an unlimited supply.
Come on. How do you shoot a bug?
I meant the tongue. The giant tongue. Shooting at bugs is just dumb.
Okay, but now the blue fire bugs are slowly coming into the cavern and Bayi and his sidekick are standing there with machine guns, why? Wouldn't it be better to get into the water?
These beetles really have excellent speed-control. They're a bit like helicopters. Slow if they want to be creepy and fast when they want to chase.
Their little buggy voices whispering, 'Slowly guys, slowly, we want to surprise them...'
We cut to the tent being blown away up above ground (of course, did you see how shaky it was when there wasn't a storm), and we see the rappelling ropes are moving. Below, Professor Chen is sending the young people up first, which is sweet of him, and Shirley is still looking at the tunnel to see if Bayi is coming. The blue fire bugs blaze through as our hero and sidekick blast at them. They blast through all their bullets, turn to run, and somehow run ahead of those flying insects. Really? 
Maybe the ladybugs stop to help their wounded?
Anyway, Bayi and Fatty run to where Shirley is the last one waiting to go up. They rush into their equipment, and oh noes! The bugs are nearly there! Bayi grabs a grenade (it is a grenade, right?) while Shirley points her gun, and when Bayi throws it, Shirley shoots it so that it blows up the fire bug horde. Respect, lady. That was serious cool. 
I agree! I still don't like her but at least, she's useful and a kick-ass woman.
Don't like her either, but that was perfect.
Yep, I cheered. Well, I said, 'Yes!' outloud. That counts as cheering.
We see Ga Wa and Professor Chen are still climbing up, and that Shirley, Bayi and Fatty are all climbing behind them. All without mittens. In sub-zero temperatures. On rope. Ouch. You forgot that they are soaked through and their hair is (or will be) frozen to their heads. Professor Chen's hook thingy that holds his rope in place falls out, and so when he slips down, Ga Wa, that cutie, handsome hero, rappels down to him. Ga Wa switches his hook (I think - those are belay devices, this one is a figure eight descender. As the name says, they're for descending, not ascending) for Professor Chen's and then falls down. Crikey, that looked painful! He fell all the way down, and on the way, he accidentally breaks Shirley's bag with the journal. That means Shirley is going back down again. 
I didn't expect Ga Wa to walk after this, but the boy has rubber bones! Well done. I'm also not sure why he fell. Did he let go of the rope? Should have worn gloves or mittens, told you so.
He didn't exactly walk. When he fell, his thigh bone clearly broke. He hoisted himself up and dragged himself a bit down there, but I think the perspective makes it look like he's using his legs more deliberately than he actually is.
Poor Ga Wa falls so hard, I think he's broken something, though he tells Bayi and Shirley to go up. Bayi goes down to him, while Ga Wa desperately attaches the hook. Oh no. Those bugs are coming. The bugs have finished taking a coffee break and have decided the go at them at medium speed. Another small detour through a side-cave and now ... okay, they're coming.  
I'm starting to think there are waves of bugs. They kill one wave, then the survivors regroup and call for reinforcements and then another wave of bugs come out.  
And Ga Wa unhooks himself from the rope. Don't do this, Ga Wa!!! But he doesn't. He takes out his grenade and blows himself up with the blue fire bugs. 
Hero.
And he's standing here, so maybe MY perspective was off.
Okay, were Shirley and Bayi out of bullets?  
How would they know. No one pays attention to their supplies here. 
Why didn't they tell Ga Wa to throw the grenade and that they'd shoot it?
Because they would never get in the way of such heroism.
Shirley sees her bag is lost. She goes back down, and we see Ga Wa is ash. Then the blue bugs come so close to her; she's terrified but they just leave her alone. She's as amazed as I am. If only they had all known her power before...
Maybe she smells really nice?
I'm thinking it's either the journal or maybe she's an alien or maybe she is really the bug queen and that's what's she's trying to hide.
Possessed, I'm telling you.
Shirley and Bayi climb up to the top, and Bayi is devastated. Ga Wa sacrificed himself, he says. Then they all have to rush because the crack, er, crevasse, is filling in with a snow landslide. Da Gezi screams for Ga Wa, and girl student cries, and I'm a bit teary now too.
It's a shame for nice little Nihuang bro, but I'm more angry than sad because it's all a bit silly. Of course everything had to collapse they second they were out.
I was feeling sad, too, but I'm more angry that they are fooling around with Ga Wa's sacrifice by not at least pulling up their hoods and rewrapping scarves. They are all soaking wet, on a glacier in a blizzard and no one is responding to the cold. That girl needs to be told to stop crying because her tears will freeze on her face. That is bad (I also know this from first hand experience).

In times like these I can't help but think about the experience of the actors, standing there staring at a blank screen and pretending to watch something happen. I always wonder if they feel stupid.
Cut to a new day with birds flying overhead. Our archeology team are on a van, tired and dejected, driving through green plains. (And not one case of frostbite among them? Pfft.) Shirley comes over to Bayi. She tells Bayi the planned route to the Ancient City of Jingjue: start at the Bosten Lake, travel south in search of the ancient Kongque River's course, then go into the desert, and head south along the Du An River until they find traces of the city. Crikey, this sounds exhausting.
Oh, desert. I've never been to one, you guys? A proper one, I mean. 
Nope. Have driven through bits of desert here in the US but that's it.
Me neither, just driven through it, too like Jo.
Bayi doesn't respond. Shirley continues, saying that once they arrive at the desert, she expects to leave immediately. Fatty complains they are all already so tired because of Shirley. Dude, shut up. You're getting paid, remember? (He is acting bratty here, but has she looked around? She needs to provide them with some rest. They are exhausted both physically and emotionally. They are going to need to be sharp in the desert) She ignores him like the brat that he is, and tells Bayi that the journal states that the Ancient City of Jingjue can only be found during the windy season. (Hmm, why?) And it's windy season right now.
I would guess it's because the windy season shifts the sand away from the ruins.
Professor Chen asks Bayi what his thoughts are on this. Bayi says the plan is all only theoretical, and that they need a desert guide to help them. Fatty blusters, and I'm going to ignore him like Shirley does. Bayi says another accident can't happen again. Yes, I agree. He says if anyone wants to leave, they should. Shirley decides time for a tactical retreat, and she sits back down. And the students all say they have made up their minds and want to continue because Archeology, yo. True, the opportunity is rare. Other Professor backs them up. And Shirley says, fine, we'll get a guide. And Bayi agrees.
I'm saying this again, they look like dead meat to me. Especially that annoying and completely useless woman shouldn't tag along. Sorry to be so blunt, but she said before people worry about her health. And you want to go into the desert?!
I would not travel anywhere with them again without some ground rules about desert safety behavior and supply responsibility.
I just wouldn't go regardless, so they all seem a bit crazy to me.
They arrive at this really lovely looking desert city. Sidebar: Is it real or CGI?
There might have been some location shoots, but in the desert, they often look very green from the green screen. And this one looks quite CGI to me!
The town chief, Chief Zhao, greets them, all happy that Beijing experts are there. Is he an executive director too? Bayi explains they are in urgent need of a desert guide, and Shirley adds that they have to set off right away, so they need someone super-experienced. Chief Zhao isn't sure who to ask, but his aide says, Anliman is a walking map of the desert. And he's got really good camels. The Chief tries to say it's hard to find Anliman, but the aide says, nah, it's a small town, so it won't be hard, pffft. The Chief then says they haven't seen Anliman for a couple of weeks. Then, he says, ask the police station where he is.
Hahaha.
Why does this guy not want them to be around Anliman?
At the police station, the police chief, Chief Wang, aka Tonglu discourages them because the windy season is dangerous. Bayi asks about Anliman. Chief Wang says that Anliman was saved in the desert by a camel once, and since then, camels became his life. Then, he admits that Anliman is in the police station. Anliman led some foreigners into the desert without official permission, and earned lots of black money. But, he came back alone. The police didn't know what to do, so they arrested Anliman and his camels. And so now they're feeding camels all day, pffft.
I love this.
That has got to be expensive. But it also made me wonder why the town chief pretended not to know anything about Anliman. Everyone in town would know him or at least about him.
But it's a good reason why he wouldn't want them with the guy.
Seems the police chief is fed up with the camels, so he says he will let Anliman go with them to do a good deed to atone for his sins. They go in to Anliman's room, where he is doing a pseudo-Muslim prayer per Chinese drama guidelines, and Bayi notes Anliman's pendant.
And I note that Anliman is Mr. Executive Director from NiF Wang Yong Quan. This guy is such an excellent actor!
Yay, I love these drop ins.

Comments:

We lost a puppy, and gained an ancient camel. I would have liked Ga Wa to have survived and continued on with them to the desert, but I suppose that actor just had a cameo, as some do.
At least he gets a bit of exposure! Also in When A Snail Falls In Love. This company likes him and so do I.
I get that we needed a sacrifice for the narrative structure, but did it have to be him? I liked him. They should've killed off one of the annoying snowbunnies.
Promise me that when I find you in the Zombie Apocalypse, you don't secretly plan to sacrifice me at some opportune moment.

So, I suppose we're off to Jingjue! I see Shirley is now more accepting of Bayi: she seems to respect him now, where I'm not sure she did before. I don't know if he respects her yet, but he seems intrigued, at any rate. And while I don't want a romance cluttering up this show, I do like how these two are developing a friendship connection.
Yes, I am glad we're not going the romantic love route just now. I'm okay with how things are. He is fascinated by her, that much is clear, but also wary. This will be an issue for Fatty, of course, who is like a self-declared Bayi watchdog.
I know you are all hating on or at least annoyed by Fatty, but I'm with him here. I've had too many friends fall for the Shirley types, but they don't change. And then I have to spend free time listening them complain about how she is so cold and only thinks about work and keeps too many secrets. Well, duh.
Still, Fatty shouldn't interfere and act like Shirley is the enemy when no one knows her full story except, possibly, Professor Chen, and he's okay with her.
Fatty's probably got a sister or a cousin somewhere that he hopes to marry off to Bayi.

Also, it was interesting that the fire bugs didn't touch Shirley. I wonder if she has magic blood like Little Master in The Lost Tomb?
She's American. The bugs are Chinese. She won't taste good to them.

The rest, of course, are the same: Fatty is loud, and the archeology team are all, Go, Archeology! Sure, why not - if you can avoid getting people killed.
If I have one quibble with this drama, it's the student "team". What's the point to them, storywise? Maybe we'll find out.
I think they are there so people can die not the main characters.
Chen is a professor. What professor ever goes on an expedition without students?

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