Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy 九州海上牧云记 - Episode 1 (Recap)

kakashi: I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! It's gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. We're recapping! But not at the pace that DF has promised to release subs, nope. I have a life, too...where is it though? *goes looking for it, comes up empty* Anyway, as usual in a long C-Drama, we need a bit of time to set things up, in this case, time to introduce our main characters (well, some of them - the focus of episode 1 is on the nomadic grassland tribes) when they were still young and innocent.
JoAnne: Ooooooooooh WEE are we gonna have fun with this!  I hear Shawn Dou doesn't show up until after the first 9 episodes but that's okay because there is plenty else to see.
Panda: I am so hyped for this! I like Shawn Dou but I am perfectly happy with waiting to see his background. The Opening Credits!! AHHH!
SakiVI: Finally, something good.

Episode 1 

It all starts with a guy walking, walking, walking through absolutely breathtaking scenery, wow, I could watch this ALL DAY AND NIGHT (and I'm so in love with my 1080p files, you will hear this often). He gets very thirsty though, since he also walks through the desert. And it ends rather abruptly at a very meager kind of waterhole, where he is captured by little Shuofeng Heye of the Shuofeng tribe when he drinks much too much water after being parched for too long. Heye means to keep this man as a slave.
Plus that water is filthy, it's a mudhole more than anything else. He should get violently ill, but it looks like he won't live long enough for the bacteria to get their little hooks in him. Is Trot part of this project? I find myself looking forward to her comments on general preparedness for life under extreme conditions.
The  cinematography, WOW. So absolutely stunning. I can already see the mega budget and sheer scope of drama. That man spent a very long time walking. I was happy for him that the water wasn't a mirage (I thought it was initially) but yeah such filthy water. 
I wonder where they filmed?
Here's kiddo Shuofeng Heye:
He's a bit headstrong, but a good lad overall.
Loves the idea of having a slave though. 
The Shuofeng tribe is in dire straits - the weather is crazy (winter is coming - much too early, every year), they're starving. Their men need to hunt in dangerous places to even stand a chance to find deer to shoot. But apparently, those scary places are so scary that even the animals won't go near (will we see this place? I'm intrigued...(I hope so, because they rather dropped the topic.)). We meet little Shuofeng Heye's parents, Shuofeng Da and Longke Danzhu. Oh my, his dad is hot. There's real kissing (with tongue?) too. They're very much in love and I ship them like crazy even though I immediately think this Hot Dad won't survive for long. He has the air and the facial hair of a doomed man.
Man, he is hot. And she reminded me a bit of our beloved Nihuang.
(H)air of a doomed man indeed. I also get that vibe but gosh he is So Hot! And the passion between his wife and him is just so immense. "That place" sounds so scary- the way it reduced her, a strong woman sent chills down my spine.
I didn't find her that tough, tbh.
Hot Dad says to kill and eat the sheep to beat the hunger, but his wife tells him he's crazy: They need to pay tribute to the "Eastern Land" (the Muyun) and if they do not deliver, they will all be executed. Hot Dad doesn't like this prisoner his son brought home at all, especially not when he starts babbling about DOOM AND GLOOM and talks about a horrible secret the ruling family has. In Tian Qi City, the emperor desperately wants to hide the secret of one of his son's background - but it seems the baby has doomed the lands; winter keeps coming earlier and earlier every year. Natural disaster and great suffering everywhere. And the secret: the prince's mother is "not just a Mei" (not just a spirit). DUN DUN DUN.
Ooohhhhhh we get supernatural in with all the gorgeous scenery?
Reaction of dad was very swift and brutal to the Prisoner's tales. I wonder if he shut him up because he knew the secret and didn't want the man to say the secret or if he was just being annoyed at the Muyun Royal family slander.
If the prisoner starts saying bad things about the royal family, the listeners could get in trouble just for listening.
Yes, this is the kind of knowledge that will get you killed - especially when the Muru Iron Cavalry arrives basically right after the monk spills his beans.
How convenient.  Do you figure they were chasing him, or was it really just a coincidence?
Oh yes, he hit him because he was scared of the information. Smart man. Jo, they showed the Muru tracking him with the help of that weird slave tracker.
They were closely behind our fortune telling monk - who is seeking the Black Forest, which sounds a bit like that place that Hot Dad went to but shouldn't have gone - using a human tracker (he is kept like a dog and he sniffs things like a dog too).
Okay that guy was scary.
Don't like them.
Use a real dog. Much cuter.
They're goddamn scary, these knights. But hot. They let Hot Dad live (for a moment there, I thought we'd lose him already), but burn the fortune telling monk alive (yikes - and probably thanks, Chinese censors, Game of Thrones is brutal enough, I don't need details) and punish this tribe for harboring a fugitive by taking away ALL their assets / livestock. Which means they're doomed to starve and/or to die when the tax collector come.
Why not just kill them, then?
Hot Dad crawling to them and his back being used as a step from the horse made me mad. Their punishment was so harsh though, seeing as it is basically a death sentence. They were barely surviving and now they have absolutely nothing.
It was unnecessary. They knights could've just killed everybody and spared them the torture of starvation.
I think that's exactly the point. Torture
Shuofeng Da has one last reckless plan: go and seize some land that used to be theirs from another tribe. He tells his son that once upon a time, all the tribes used to be united, fighting against giants that wanted to take their land away. But afterwards, when they were weakened by the war, the Muru and Muyun came (back then, they were allies) and defeated them. After that, they split into eight tribes, according to the eight different branches of the army:
Long-ge: archers. Shuofeng and Helan: cavalry. Kusu: infantry. Suqin: engineers. Danyao: mystics. Heshu: horse whisperers. Suoda: logistics.
I missed that part.  Explains why later Hot Dad practically has an orgasm over the Maru horse when he sees one up close for the first time.
And the Empire has been stealing all the healthy horses from the Shuofeng. 
Poor HeYe felt so guilty. His parents are so supportive! They didn't blame him whatsoever which makes me even more sure they die very soon :(( The giant story was cool. It makes me sad that their reward for fighting them off was annihilation. I can't wait to meet more clans; except the Danyao.
a giant giant altar
special shout-out to the horse here! Who, amongst a lot of drama, ate its lunch and looked at the camera going: wazzup, dude.

He was cutely chewing.
Nowadays, they're enemies. Is he secretly hoping to united the tribes again? Well, his entire tribe packs their things and leaves - except for their elder, who is too weak to walk. He beats the war drum as everybody leaves, only leaving ashes behind. Very sad.
It was sad.  Not for the first time, I had a strange moment of recognition here - I will mention later.
Elder stayed behind rather than be a burden. It takes such strength to do that. 
It's tribal behavior, I guess. I've seen this in other movies romanticizing ancient tribes and their social mores.
It seems the Shuofengs are especially vicious - Hot Dad beats about ten warriors of another clan (Helan) single-handedly. They become blood-brothers through a slightly strange ritual involving some blood and a stone that is rubbed along the Helan dude's head (this is Helan Dao). We also meet: Helan Tieyuan (his son) and Helan Tieduo (his daughter). She is rather smitten with Shuofeng Heye.
Slightly strange?  Completely strange.  Helan Dao is not as hot as Hot Dad but he's not bad at all.  And there's another guy in Shuofeng tribe who is also very hot.  We get a lot of them upfront, hope it lasts!
I thought to be blood brothers, there should be mingling of blood? I would have expected Shuofeng Da to also cut his wrist or something... Anyway, Helan Dao is Hot too. It must be all that fighting. No flabbiness allowed.
There is so much cutting of skin in this show.  
While playing (=shooting arrows etc.), they discover another tribe's campsite (Suqin tribe). Shuofeng Heye receives a special gift from his father: an axe made from the thighbone of one of those giants they once battled. The next day, the combined forces of Shuofeng and Helan storm the campsite of the other tribe (they had some celebration and are drunk, poor sods), killing many. Shuofeng Heye kills someone too, without even blinking. Wow, dude. I guess that "innocent" up there was really misleading.
It's a rough world.
As their God said: only the strongest survive. But yeah, Heye is quite the bloodthirsty lad.


Loved it from second 1 until second howeverlongthefirstepisodetimessixty. Some people said this show is slow, I didn't think so at all. Not a boring second in this first episode, absolutely stunning scenery, beautiful people, good acting (a bit of over-acting, but I found it negligible). Some rather rough editing here and there, but I don't care about that and don't even think I want to discuss it unless it really messes up a show (which isn't the case here). Verdict: I want more, I want it now.
Love love love love love.  One small weirdness, though, from the moment I first saw the teepees right through to the war cries as they stormed the Suqin:  MAN this looks like an American Indian movie.  That was kind of wild for me, to think how similarly they would manage their environment.
I have been anticipating this drama for a year and I am so happy that so far I Loooove! The Cinematography is simply amazing. The scale is huge and I love that but they also didn't forget the little details. I nodded happily at both the Giant story battle scenes and Shuofeng beating 10 men scenes. Quite a lot of slo-mos but that's so minor. No complaints whatsover.
I'd pretty much forgotten about it, so I'm pleasantly surprised to have it a) start, and b) be good. To be honest, Chinese dramas haven't really caught my attention this year, so better late than never.