14 March 2017

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Candle In The Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城 - Episode 20 (Recap)

Posted by SakiVI on March 14, 2017
SakiVI: Crazy Chen is annoying. Fatty gets some things right - others wrong. Bayi is handsome. Shirley is smart and practical. Go figure.
kakashi: I loved Crazy Chen. In fact, it basically made this episode for me. He is so funny! I laughed all the time he was on screen
Trotwood: I loved him, too. He was hilarious up until the moment he wasn't. I got whiplash from the opening. More stuff happens in the first 3 minutes here than happened in the last 3 eps combined. Or at least it felt like it.
JoAnne: Perhaps they're all dead and travelling through Hell, like a Chinese version of Tales from the Crypt. Or maybe we are.

Episode 20

They are back to wondering if one of the five in that tomb is not human. The candles flicker, which, if our crew were paying attention, they would either wonder about there being air, or there being a ghost. Come on, people, either option is good!
I did get very excited, it's true.
I did as well, but also wondered why they weren't paying attention. I mean wasn't that the point of lighting them in the first place?
That was SO last episode, though. 
Bayi then goes, only joking, and what if there were 5 stick figures originally in this carving and one had worn off? I laughed out loud at that. How would that be even possible? And the other carvings are so clear, too. What if this prophecy shit is just that, shit? Except, as Shirley notes, nothing else is worn out on the coffin lid. Plus, she says with absolute seriousness and to my intense amusement to look at the circles for head, and the connecting lines are the limbs and bodies. Yeah, stick figures. Go figure.
It's hard to carve stone.
Fatty says to open the coffin, but before they do, the professor has a fit about one of the seated mummies, screaming "monster!" and jumping up and down. (This should be sad, but I laughed. Da best. I admit. I laughed, too) (Me too, his voice is so high pitched.) Both Bayi and Fatty struggle to hold him down. Then Girl Student, not to be left out, has her own, less energetic fit, and dies. Wow, she really does. That was ... anticlimactic. She seemed possessed there for a minute. I was hoping she was possessed. That's it? She struggled through all that stuff and they carried her sick ass all over and that's all the death scene she gets? She better be coming back as a zombie. About time, too. Bayi says Girl Student has always been weak, even though she survived the longest out of the whole team bar the professor. Yeah, I was a bit annoyed by this comment. I mean I found her annoying, but she had held out this far. Fatty tells a crying Shirley that it's all her fault even though there are so many factors in this whole mess including people's free choices (I was struck by how he seemed much more upset than I would've thought, but then I remembered his response about the corpse children they found), and then Professor Chen shouts about monsters. Sure, but could we see them, please? Don't keep them all to yourself, Shifu.
Did they run out of monster budget?
They didn't want anyone being too sad about a death so they added comic relief in the form of an elderly man sent over the edge by fear. Ha, ha.
Oh, Chen did open the coffin! And there's a box inside! Er, what? Anyway, Fatty notes the prophecy came true: 4 people left and one opened the coffin. Seriously. While Professor Chen cries over monsters, and, probably, his dead students, and Shirley cries over his insanity (it suits him though!), Bayi and Fatty look at the new box. It also has a prophecy, because why not? And it clearly, to Bayi, that is, says that one of the four is a ghost. That ghost is depicted as having eyes and teeth like a snake, and, it seems, like one of the pillars when they first entered this temple slash tomb. Apparently, there are two possible outcomes: evil ghost kills everyone, and that's it, or they kill the evil ghost and escape. Sidebar: who wrote this stupid script?
It wasn't me, I swear! 
It wasn't me either because I would've had a lot more happening in each episode than this.
And if I wrote it, at least one of the demons would have been really hot.
Everyone, meditate on Jin Dong from his Nirvana in Fire days while I calm down.
He has better hair in Candle, though, and he's not as much of a jerk. I didn't like the tricks he played in NIF.
Okay, calmed down now. Let's go!
Mark Chao has the much better wig.
Jin Dong has the bigger gun.
Mark's enthusiasm and sexy hair can make up for a smaller gun.

So, they have to kill the evil ghost and they can then escape. Okay, but who is the ghost? Fatty seems to think it's Shirley since he's pretty much hated her since they met. Well she is an American after all and why wouldn't he since he is pro Mao? But I couldn't understand why he'd pick her when Chen is the one acting possessed.  But Bayi says it could be any one of them. As they argue, Shirley, who has been calming Professor Chen down, notices they're upset and asks what is in the casket? The boys go, nothing, innocent whistling, tootoototoo, and Professor Chen pours out water from the bottle saying it's poisoned. This is exactly the moment for me when he stopped being funny. While Shirley is distracted, Bayi and Fatty try to figure out how to sniff out the ghost.
Isn't it pretty obvious WHO is not behaving like himself?! 
What she said.
You can't tell with this show, though.
(Fatty also misquotes Chairman Mao, but since the translations were the same for both what he said, and what Bayi said when correcting him, I'm not sure how.)
Intention.
Bayi says the ghost is from the Ancient City of Jingjue, and lacking in Cultural Revolution brainwashing, so the way they'll figure out who is possessed by the ghost is by reciting a poem that praises soldiers from World War III (not making this up, it's in the subs). Clever. It actually was, but how can they know the ghost cannot read? And has been to the outside and knows this poem? Except that Shirley wouldn't know such a poem by virtue of not having lived through the Cultural Revolution and all its training. Oh, and this poem was written out in a notebook by Fatty that he gave to Bayi when he turned 16 on his birthday. Let us not forget that important detail. Okay, Fatty, this is going beyond Bromance and into Girl Crush territory. He says it sealed their connection as brothers because the movement and the poem showed how they were all equal. You keep that dream alive, Fatty. You know you don't really believe you're equal to Bayi.
And if you do, well...*shrugs*
The two passionately recite the poem like they're on stage (there's swelling music to accompany them in the background, too.  I laughed) and not in a small room that is likely running out of oxygen, when Shirley snaps at them to stop fooling around. Pffft. And they are so convinced of their plan, the two boys (at this point, they are not acting like men) get the black donkey's hoof and some rope and swagger over to Shirley all pushy and determined. More comedy. Bayi orders her to bite the black donkey's hoof and make Professor Chen bite it too. (I want BTS of this because I can't believe they did this without laughing). Shirley tells him no. Bayi tells her the prophecy in the casket says one out of four people will be an evil ghost, and that they have been examined as not ghosts, and that if she doesn't bite the hoof, she's an evil ghost. Okay, I last heard logic this weak back in elementary school. Shirley snaps she doesn't want to and what are they gonna do, huh, huh, HUH? They lunge for her, she ducks, and grabs the rifle they left on the ground, and tells them to stop fooling around. Hot dayyum, she is so cool!
Imagine how ANNOYING this all is. I think I would have shot them a little.
Oh, definitely. Maybe more than a little. If you're going to use up the ammo, make it count.
Shirley is furious, telling them that just because she asked if they were tomb raiders, they want to kill her, and that she should've exposed them much earlier. Yes, that's how it would look from her point of view, indeed.
They are acting very strangely, indeed. Their delusion began humorously but now it's dangerous.

They point guns at her too and there's this face off where they call her a ghost and she calls them the ghosts. Bayi then wants to know why she looks like the queen of Jingjue. Shirley says that's YOUR hallucination, you figure it out! (Sidebar: I think Bayi likes cosplay.) Fatty says so how do you keep dreaming of Guidong language (I am guessing autocorrect went haywire here), and Bayi says how does an American know tomb raiding jargon? Wow, these guys have really tiny minds.
To be fair, it's the 80s. The internet is not really a thing.
Shirley tosses them her tomb raider's seal. The boys realize Master Gold gave them a fake, hahahaha. Shirley says she doesn't know why she dreams in Guidong, and that her maternal grandpa was a tomb raider so she knows the jargon. (Right, because that's the sort of thing grandparents teach children.)
Yes, liar
Actually, it is exactly the kind of thing a grandpa would tell his grandchildren. My grandfather was not, unfortunately, a tomb raider, but he did teach me all sorts of customs and lingo from what he learned growing up.
My grandfather was in the Coast Guard and not around a whole lot, but his father tried to tell me all kinds of things. Unfortunately, I didn't speak Italian and he had no teeth, which made his Italian fairly hard for even those who did.
Professor Chen interrupts saying he is the guardian of the Jingjue kingdom. Guise, this is probably your ghost.
They are so good at ignoring the obvious in this show.
As Fatty tries to calm Chen down and, as it happens, feed him the hoof, Shirley takes her seal back and tells Bayi if she was the ghost, she couldn't have worn this seal.
And why is that? And if Bayi knows so much about tomb raiding, why didn't he know that his seal was fake?
In the meantime, Fatty is trying to put the black donkeys hoof into Professor Chen's mouth. Wow, that really looks as weird as it sounds. Again, I thought this was funny. Yup. Funny when it should be either sad, tense, scary or all of the above. Shirley tells him to stop and she faces off with Jin Dong and his big gun while he says it concerns 4 lives and he has no choice. er, what? Before we find out what Bayi has no choice about, Shirley fires her gun. Not AT them, sadly. Bayi and Fatty are shocked while Professor Chen sniggers. No, really, he does. Fatty is yelling for Bayi to shoot, and Shirley says, calm down! Fatty screams, "Shoot!" And Bayi slaps him down. Good job, Bayi!
??? This really makes no sense, does it.
No. Not until what he says next.
I'll just trust you on that.
Bayi and Fatty are confused and run to the stone box that is apparently not a coffin after all. The carvings are no longer there. Bayi says he understands. It was all an illusion and Shirley's gun shot woke him up just like Fatty 's did on the bridge! Phew, glad that's sorted.
Which part was the illusion? Are they still high on flower drugs? 
I think we are to think the whole reciting the poem like they were auditioning for Les Miserables and subsequent activity was caused by hallucinating.
Yes. Their whole thing this whole episode, who's a ghost and who's not and how do we tell, all of it was the result of them hallucinating the intial information.
Bayi tries to work this all out. He decides that when the titan arum blooms, it's control area expands. He thinks that even the red spider lily was a hallucination aimed at getting them into this cave and trying to kill each other. In this way, the Queen of Jingjue's secret would be safe. Cool, but what secret was that?
Yeah, what secret was that? Do we have to watch the whole show again to know? 
I no longer care. She can keep her damn secret. But don't go by me. I was always like this even as a kid. People would tease me about not telling me something secret. I'd ask a couple of times, but if they kept refusing; I'd genuinely cease to care. People often just told me because they got frustrated by my lack of caring. Generally, the secret was never really all that interesting.
I'm supposing it's that she's not really dead, or at least not permanently dead.

Sidebar, though not really: Bayi looks really handsome.
He still manages perfect hair.

Shirley says perhaps the Mr Walter or whatever his name was became deranged after seeing his team try to kill each other. Yep, like Professor Chen. And Bayi apologizes for him and Fatty trying to kill Shirley. Fatty also speaks nicely saying she's magnanimous, probably because he's worried about the money. She says she will deal with them when they get out, pfft.
I wouldn't go insane if I saw my team kill each other
No, but I might freak out at the thought of suffocating under a mountain.
They decide to see how they can get out. Looking again at the stone case, Bayi says they should agree that if they see anything wrong with the others, they should slap that person and not feel bad about it. Shirley glares at Bayi and he says the main thing is, you slap the two of us, hahaha. She agrees.
Oh, doesn't Trot have a slap-suit? Maybe we should get that out and put it on
I do, but I don't like any of them enough to share it. However, if we got to partake in the slapping . . .
Bayi opens the stone box within a box to find a notebook. Wow. That was so boring. And how come the paper looks brand new? Anyway Shirley looks at it for exit clues. Apparently the hieroglyphics in it mainly talk about the secrets of the Guidong tribe. There's a ghost cave, everyone wants to know what's in it, a priest built a jade eye to see the bottom, but instead they got lots of weird snakes, and Fatty asks if the Guidong tribe didn't have anything else to do? Good point, Fatty. Bayi asks if the eye he broke is the one they built. Fatty thinks so.
Is this how everything that previously happened is explained? I don't get it. 
I think we just don't care enough anymore.
So the sages destroyed the snakes - guess they came back - and the cave was viewed as one of disaster. (Personally, I think people aren't pressing the right buttons.) Then the prophet was born, that's the mummy with pink and yellow ribbons. But he could only predict what was going to happen in this region.
A local prophet. Makes sense.
Pink and yellow ribbons? Where was I when that was happening?
Then, Professor Chen grabs the book saying not to read the last pages which he promptly rips out and eats. Bayi gets one page out, saying, "Professor Chen licked it off." Wow, the writer was really struggling here.
Do you guys know that paper you can eat? That is slightly sweet? It's actually quite tasty.
There is no way he could have licked off any ink that fast when I'm assuming they are pretty dehydrated.
By now shouldn't they have just knocked the guy out for a 'nap' ?
Shirley shrugs them off saying there wasn't anything on the last page. Bayi wonders if the prophet knew Professor Chen would lick the page, and Shirley stares hard at him before deadpanning, "maybe." Okay, I know they're in a tomb with mummies and might die from lack of oxygen, but this scene was pretty funny because it rang true.
Shirley continues to read the prophesy in this new notebook while Bayi looks over her shoulder, Fatty holds onto Chen, and Chen sniggers. The Queen of Jingjue was predicted, including her eyes that could see into the ghost cave and her calling evil spirits and conquering neighboring tribes. But God was angry and let the desert swallow the kingdom. And there would be 4 survivors - that's in the subs - and one would be a descendant of the prophet's tribe. Who could that be? Bayi and Fatty think it's Shirley. Fatty says sure because Shirley can see places she hadn't been before. Good thinking, Fatty.
Of course it's fucking Shirley. We are not dumb, show, but you are testing our patience.
And why those bugs didn't bother her.
But those bugs have no connection to this tribe.
Shirley continues to read - they're hoping for an escape route plan - and the book says the prophet will show the descendant the way out, but DON'T DROP THE MANUSCRIPT! Otherwise, they'll all be swallowed by a sandstorm.
Okay, PLEASE drop the manuscript.
This is when I began chanting "Put the book in your bag. Put the book in your bag" over and over. I can't believe that she didn't immediately put the book in her bag.
It would be difficult to read, then. Just sit down and put it down and read it from somewhere it can't fall.

Fatty yells the manuscript is a ticking time bomb, and Professor Chen laughs! And, that's it for story time. They look at the corpse for clues while Chen sucks on Fatty's finger. Fatty reminds Shirley not to let the manuscript drop. She starts (finally) to pack it in her bag, and Chen rushes at it! It goes flying, and Bayi kicks it! And fatty kicks it! And Shirley almost grabs it but Chen blocks her and drops it. Totally satisfied, Professor Chen says, "that's it."
Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa, one of the best scenes in the entire drama
And it goes on forever. It's like they were trying out for a FIFA World Cup team (Bicycle kicks)
Professor Chen jumps on the book for good measure, and the cave starts crumbling down. Fatty cries they are really done for this time, and Professor Chen dribbles and kicks the manuscript like a football. This is all pretty funny.
I was too busy rolling my eyes to laugh.
All that bouncing around disturbed the cave, nothing supernatural about it.
As the rocks and walls crumble down, the gang have to choose a route. There's a choice of three. Bayi says Shirley should choose. She sees the prophet mummy has fallen over and that it's hands are pointing the way. That one!
Okay.
I'd go with that one, too. It makes sense if we are following the book and the book did warn about the crumbling that is happening right now.
I mean, why the hell not. It's as good a choice as any.
Professor tries to stay because he says he belongs there. Bayi punches him out, Fatty grabs a gun and they all run.
Shoulda done that ages ago.
Next we see them fighting the sandstorm, Chen on Fatty's back, and there is Anliman! Yaaaaaaay, he's still here!!!! He and the camels are running away. Bayi fires a gun to get Anliman's attention. He waits for them and they get on the camels. And Anliman pulls the camels along, and Chen falls off. They all just get off and huddle by the camels and dig a trench and basically try not to die. As they collapse, we see the sand blow over them.
Goodbye. Ah, no, one more episode coming up
I'm used to how these episodes just stop rather than ending after all this time.
No one mentions a freaking dinosaur?

Comments:

That notebook was so boring! Couldn't we have had more snakes or red spider lily or something instead of reading that stupid notebook? At least cut it down to the prophecy alone. But at least they got out of that cave.
But we got a death. Granted it happened in the first 3 minutes. But still we got one.
The prophecy stuff annoyed me. It's so dumb, really. You have a prophecy that leaves no room for the imagination and it ALL becomes true just like that. That's unimaginative and booooooooring. I did love crazy Professor Chen and I am sure this actor had a ball filming this.
Nothing even faintly like a monster. I'm so disappointed.

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