Candle In The Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城 - FINAL Episode 21 (Recap)

SakiVI: Finally, a finale! And a surprisingly funny ending, too.
Trotwood: I didn't get what they were trying to do with this ending--not the plot questions nor the tone. But then again, I gave up understanding anything about any of the choices when we were at the glacier episodes.
kakashi: Back when I watched this - that was when blogging was not yet dominated by 3310 - I really liked the ending. It gave me a good feeling. And even though it's very open ended, it gave me closure.
JoAnne: Wow, it feels like a lifetime ago. Three lifetimes.
No Peach Blossoms in the desert. But maybe in our dessert?  

Episode 21

Back to the desert. And gosh, it looks lovely! We see a lizard hopping around as our gang of tomb raiders plus Anliman plus camels stir. Somehow, they all slept with their faces buried in the sand. (wouldn't you suffocate?) Bayi is still gorgeous, though. (He needs to give advice about how to keep his hair looking so good in all these situations) He gets Shirley up from the sand - seriously, how did they not suffocate? (exactly) - while Anliman checks on Xiao Hong. To each man his woman. (haha) Bayi and Shirley stare at each other, amazed to be alive. And then Fatty stirs. He and Bayi hug and cry and I guess Shirley is a bromance fan like some others here because she cries, too. Oh, wait, what about the professor? Oh shoot, he’s alive and quoting a Chinese poem called The Red River. (I couldn’t locate the text, but I did find The River Is Red from the Song Dynasty instead. )
I guess they are just glad to be alive and that's why they have patience for this. I have a Ph.D. in literature, and I don't think I'd have patience for poetry at this moment. 
I really like the soundtrack here.  
All you doctors of various things really class up the joint, I think.
Our three tomb raiders just watch him for a bit as he blabbers on. Anliman tries to calm him down, saying it’s all over. Oh, but what have we here? The students! They’re alive! There’s Boy Student 1, and Alien Aficionado, and Girl Student! (I remember being relieved when the one I liked turned out to be alive, but then pissed when they brought everyone back. Sigh. Was this all going to be a dream?) And they only remember that they were sent out of the tomb to get water for the journey back. How mysterious. There’s even spooky music
I was mad because I wanted more answers about this. We could spend all that time discussing what pictures on cave walls meant or the story behind statues in tombs, but we have actual people come back from supposedly being dead--a shared memory of three people not just the delusion of one, and we get like three lines, and we are all supposed to move on. Pfft.
I was disappointed. I had hoped so much someone would die ... they finally did ... and now they're not dead
So... everyone who died inside that cave is alive, but that guy who died before, he's still dead? That sucks.
As Fatty goes looking for water, Bayi stumbles and falls, confused as he sees the students hugging and crying over Professor Chen’s newfound insanity. Wait so they didn't die but he really did go insane? Fatty comes to tell Bayi there’s no more water, and, is Bayi’s hair purple? Plus the desert Bayi is looking out on is all pink. Whatever happened, they climb on the camels and set off to whatever that city was where they met Anliman. And Anliman actually walks the entire time. Amazing.
A big fat PFFFFFTTTT from me. Just ridiculous. It's like all the writers just got tired and said "bring 'em home" to an intern and made the new uni grad intern write the rest. But she's told that no one can really die and nothing can really happen just write some desert scenes.
I liked the desert scenes the best though
She's the talented one!
I hope they at least got to ride a camel, even if everything else we see in the drama is fake.
Finally, even a camel collapses. Anliman is very sad, and so am I. Anliman says the sandstorm has destroyed their sense of direction. Bayi begs him to think of something, anything. Anliman’s mournful expression is a sweet, sad sight. Finally, he says, let’s go West because there’s an oil field there, and so it’s their best bet. But no riding the camels.
The problem is that Anliman is the only one I like and thus there is no elation because he wasn't ever threatened in the tombs. And now that everyone has been brought back to life because it was all a delusion, I have no faith (or fear) that anyone is going to die ever again in this story. Thus, there is no dramatic tension at all.
So, this oil field ..... it makes me wonder how close to civilization they've always been. Maybe there's a resort just behind that ridge? 
It's all one big elaborate fake. EastWorld.
Off they go, walking, walking, walking. And somehow, for the first time, I see a stache on Bayi’s lip. (episode after episode of no growth of facial hair, we get this much in one ep? I remember thinking that the intern must have been wondering about this all along but couldn't say anything, but now that she has the opportunity, she is going to write it in.) Fatty talks about them having walked for days, so does that mean they found some water along the way? Fatty says he is about to collapse. And he collapses. Hold on, that means he is about to find something, right? That’s what happens when Fatty falls down. The team tries to get him up, and nothing happens. They keep walking. How disappointing.
Nothing can happen remember? This is the last ep.
He could find water.
Fatty falls down, they try to get him up, and then keep walking? They just left his ass to die in the desert? (I told you, months ago - I kept falling asleep every time I tried to watch this episode and eventually I decided I'd just wait and find out what happens when we did the recap.)
No, I meant nothing happens. I was hoping Fatty would fall into water.
Later, we see them all collapsed on the ground. Shirley lies next to Bayi. They stare at the sun. Surprisingly, Fatty is not trying to get between them. Oh, they didn't leave him. Shirley says this is all her fault. Bayi says don’t say that, everyone is the same. Oh, Fatty is praying with Anliman! Shirley tells Bayi she is from the Zhagelama tribe. That’s the Queen of Jingjue’s tribe for anyone who has forgotten. Her mother is a descendant. The tribe is cursed, Shirley says, and none can live past 50 years old. So, that is why Shirley insisted on searching for the Ancient City of Jingjue, to find a way to break the curse for her mother and herself. Bayi asks why she didn’t say earlier. Shirley says he wouldn’t have believed her. Bayi thinks perhaps that’s why the fire bug wouldn’t harm her. Then Shirley shows a birth mark. She says this is the mark of the curse.
The intern fit this story in, and it makes me mad because this is far more interesting than any of the backstory we had before. the intern knows this. She had suggested it in a workshop she was in, which is how she got the intern job. No one is paying attention now, so she slips in this story. None of the other writers care because it's too late to do anything about this story. But if the ratings are good enough and a sequel is called for, they'll be able to steal it.
At first I got Zhagalama mixed up with Wagamama but I can't even remember where I know that word from. Oh, it's a noodle shop. So anyway, now that I'm hungry I don't really care about Shirley's backstory. But why'd she have to lie and make up a dad? Why couldn't her mom have been the explorer?
OMG, there’s a white camel! And Fatty saw it first! (That's his job apparently) Darn it, Fatty, you should’ve prayed earlier! Xiao Hong, there’s your boyfriend! Oh, I’m so relieved to see that white camel! Finally we can finish this ennui-inducing journey. They all perk up and rush to where the white camel was standing. There’s a puddle of water, and even the professor’s crazy ramblings are on point. Guess he’s not so crazy that he doesn’t want his basic needs filled. They fill up their containers, and disinfect the water and Anliman thanks the white camel and the heavens for sending the white camel and providing the water puddle.
I was trying really hard to not be bored by the water drinking.
I was very happy to meet the white camel
So where the animal was standing there's now a puddle. And none of you... okay.
Then Chen goes, "Eh, heeheehee!" He’s pointing to a car! And buildings! Shirley shoots her gun! The car comes to them, but, isn’t that a bit weird? If I heard gunshots, I’d go the other direction. Shirley says it all seems like a dream. Bayi says yes, if we tell others, they’ll think it’s a ridiculous tale. Also, it’s cute how they all think they are saved now and not going to be sold into slavery or something.
I remember thinking that if this wasn't the last episode, they would be captured and tortured for their story and to see if they had any artifacts. But we are at the end, so we had to have this anti-climatic ending with them just miraculously finding a town in the middle of the desert with water and vehicles and everything.
That 'white camel' is an old roadside sign advertising a restaurant in the middle of town.
Phew, back to Beijing! I thought we’d never get here. The streets look cool and soothing and grey. Bayi is writing about the trip for an investigation by the authorities. He looks really handsome. And boy, does Bayi chug water down! I'd be chugging water, too, after being in the desert for so long. Cut to Fatty complaining about not taking any gold from the tomb. And he even waxes lyrical about the huge taro. But Master Gold is irritated because neither Fatty nor Bayi brought anything back. Fatty says couldn’t do it because all the archeologists were there, and now they are being investigated since one professor died and another went mad. Hmm, sounds appropriate to have them investigated. Master Gold smacks Fatty’s shoulder on his way to answer the door to customers, and when Fatty moans a lot, checks the shoulder. There’s a red mark that Master Gold says looks like an eye. Fatty is disturbed. We know it’s the Zhagelama curse!
They are throwing this in now? Does everyone have one? There is no time for this. (checking minutes remaining in LAST episode)
Trot, I don't think they want to give us an ending. They want you to think "noooo! It's over! So many mysteries left to uncover!"
Exactly. More seasons are planned.
Maybe Fatty is also from the Zhagalama tribe. He and Shirley are twins; they used to be conjoined. When Bayi and Shirley get married, Fatty will spend a lot of time thinking about how close he actually came to being with Bayi in the way that he dreamed.
Cut to Bayi looking at his fake tomb raider’s seal when there’s a knock. There’s Shirley looking lovely! Bayi is a little shy about asking her in, but she out-charismas (yes, I know that’s not a word) and comes in. Bayi tries to explain away all the posters of a movie actress, blaming Fatty, and Shirley asks where Fatty is. Bayi thinks she is there for Fatty, and his face falls. Shirley says she is there for them both. She’s there to pay them. She’s leaving for the US to get Professor Chen treatment. Bayi tries to refuse it, but Shirley says she still has to pay what was agreed. Aw, Bayi just wants her to stay.
I don't have time for this. The show doesn't have time for this. Just ask her  to dinner at least for goodness sakes or move on! 
Why the hell would he refuse the money?  Fatty would never forgive him.
Then Shirley, in a softer mood, says both their elders are tomb raiders, and that tomb raiding brings bad karma. She asks that Bayi stop raiding tombs and instead come to the States sometime with Fatty. But Bayi announces he must use his Skillz and open up tombs and their artifacts to daylight! Shirley tells him enough, and that she has met the most cunning person in the world.
Sigh. What did this whole interchange mean? What is it's function to the narrative or to the characterization? Why do I still care at this point?
They like each other but for a variety of reasons, did not act on it.
Bayi doesn't want to be widowed in 15 years.
Bayi goes on about his principles and how he’s learnt dialectical materialism from Chairman Mao, and Shirley says, okay, then you won’t want this money, pfft. But Bayi takes it anyway saying it’s because of her sincerity. Ha, yeah, right. He even tries to call it a loan to save some face, though why? She owed you that money. (yeah. I didn't get this at all. in fact, I'd be angling after a bonus after all the danger and the fact that she admitted they went to desert for a completely different reason than they were told.)  But perhaps he wants to be on a more equal footing than employer and employee. Whatever.  They still have to eat. As she leaves, they look at each other and thank each other. Bayi is really sad she is leaving. Then she asks if there is any problem with his or Fatty’s body? Nope, says Bayi. Shirley seems happy with that answer and says they are unlikely to meet again. Bayi is sad at that. And Shirley leaves with Bayi looking after her and saying, "until we meet again." Then he feels pain on his shoulder, and sees the mark of the eye in the mirror. Okay, scary.
Pfft. I'm no longer scared. As soon as saw that on Fatty. I knew it was going to be on Bayi. I was hoping their conversation would be more about this with her telling him about it, but him not being aware of it before she leaves, and then realizing after she's gone and it's too late.
*singing* I put a spell on youuu

Cut to Shirley in a hotel suite. She answers a call as she swirls whisky in a glass (note, this is after her workout). OMG, she’s talking to Daddy! hahahahaha! and that mark is stronger than ever on her shoulder.
Oh wait, if this is a curse of the Zhagelama tribe, then are Bayi and Fatty now part of this tribe? Why? Did Shirley adopt them?
She knew who they were up front. I think they were always part of the tribe.


Okay, I laughed at that ending. And, it made me want the next season asap to see what happens to them all now. I know this show was slow a lot of the time, and lacked supernatural beings after the initial episodes, but it was still a good story and the cliffhanger was effective. I would totally watch our three tomb raiders in a new season where they try to solve that curse - if it really is a curse.
So is there really going to be a new season with the three of them? Will the students also have the curse or only the people that stayed in the tomb and didn't go mad like the professor?
Shirley is a villain, right? I mean, she lied completely about her father and lured all these people to their (almost) deaths. Not quite sure why though
Is she, though? Perhaps she's a desperate victim.

Anyway, this show was quite enjoyable to watch, but doesn't work well for recapping. It's the first time I come across something like it. While watching, I was sometimes bored and often fell asleep but you only realize how little actually happens when you need to describe it. And when you need to take screencaps or do gifs.
The anticipation of something happening was enjoyable, but the story itself was not enjoyable because nothing happened that could be enjoyed. And now I'm mad because right up until the end I hoped something would happen. It could have been a lot of fun.

Apart from the lack of plot, this was not a bad drama. I liked all the actors and characters (except for the superfluous students) and even though you guys often got annoyed with Fatty, I am glad he was with them. Imagine this drama without him! 
I don't want to!This drama didn't suck because there was nothing to suck. It's like foam food. It tastes like roast beef, but in the end you still just ate bubbles. Don't watch it. It will pull you in with pretty scenery and the anticipation of monsters and then it will give you NOTHING.