Tientsin Mystic - 河神 - Episode 8 (Recap)

SakiVI: Now, where were we? Oh, right, Shopkeeper Wang was arrested and Ding Dad seems to have been involved in the opium trade.
JoAnne: Hmmmm...do we really believe that, though?
kakashi: Oh yes, why shouldn't we?!
Episode 8

A clock tick-tocks. A match is lit. And what looks like Shopkeeper Wang's legs struggle until they don't. Oh dear, this looks ominously ominous.
The omens are not good, you'd say?
Murder, of course. And those short scenes matter, people. Watch carefully. Plus, recognize whose shadow they're showing us?
Butler Hu shows up at the police station late at night with soup for Ding Mao. He finds Mao going through the ledgers from the hotel opium den, and Mao quickly covers those up. Mao looks back at the clock. It says 11:30. Butler Hu tells Mao he has to eat better and to have this chicken soup that Mrs Hu made. And Butler Hu tells Mao he should come home, but Mao says that he is disturbed not knowing how his father died, and so he can't settle down to anything until he finds out what happened. Butler Hu looks sad and Mao looks pretty. Mao then thinks about how Xue Qingyang remembered only that the man who stole the dead baby had a cough and a limp.  He asks Butler Hu if his father ever found a girlfriend. Butler Hu is outraged. He insists that Ding Dad only every thought about the Canal Shipping Committee and Mao. Then, Butler Hu gives Mao a cigarette and tells him that Ding Dad cared for the Committee and for the waterways and Tianjin and that he was only selfish with regard to Mao.
Hu is definitely hiding something but he really seems to care about the Ding family, doesn't he? I don't want him to be a bad guy.
Whereas I was certain from the minute I saw him he wasn't clean. It's my Agatha Christie schooled nose.
The clock chimes and Mao gets really sleepy, even shutting his eyes for a bit. Butler Hu packs up the picnic things. Then, as Mao opens his eyes, the clock still chiming, Butler Hu says to him, look, it's midnight, go to sleep. Mao refuses, saying he has to question a prisoner. Butler Hu tells him not to harm the Committee's reputation, and Mao agrees.
The clock chimed twice - the same time. Take note! Hahaaaaa, I knew it the moment he offered him a cigarette that something was up. Did he drug him?
But when Mao goes into the cell, he finds Shopkeeper Wang dead, and, for some reason, soaking wet.
A locked room mystery!
A woman is dead in a cell but soaking wet: what happened? Watch episode 8 of Tientsin Mystic to find out!
Big rush of water signifying a scene change and we see Captain Fu and his underlings striding into his office. He demands to know how Shopkeeper Wang died from Mao. Mao says he'd like to know too. No one saw anything, and the place was guarded. Mao says someone wanted her silenced. Fu tells him to take responsibility, whatever that means. Wait, was she pregnant? Huh? No, I thought he needs to take responsibility because he was there while this happened. Mao says to open an investigation. Fu says he doesn't want reporters reporting on this, and Mao says those with nothing to hide will have nothing to fear (so naive). Captain Fu demands to know how Shopkeeper Wang died, and Mao says, she drowned. Yep, in a prison cell above water. But there was water in her lungs, because, in case anyone has forgotten, Mao is a forensics examiner by training, so he totally dissected the body.
That was fast. I wonder how long water would stay in the lungs...would it evaporate? Probably not, or if it did, really, really, REALLY slowly. But it would probably more likely get mixed in with other fluids. Oh, I don't know. It's gross to think about.
It would stay in the lungs of a dead body for a long time. Says I, who is neither a medical professional nor a forensic specialist. Anyway, it sounds like somebody waterboarded her to death. That's extremely cruel.
We cut to Guo Deyou in his bathtub. Master Guo is with him, though not in the bathtub but in a chair beside it. Master Guo tells Deyou that he doesn't have to solve everything. Deyou seems to think he does. Deyou then whines it's all Mao's fault and Master Guo gets mad and yells at Deyou for even being near opium when he can't even take regular smoke. Exhausted, Master Guo eventually just tells Deyou to soak properly in his medicine.
Poor guy must get waterlogged.
He's never wrinkly though. Skillz!
Second in command of the salvage diving team, Tie Niu, shows up. The police want Deyou to recover a body. Master Guo says Deyou isn't ready to go diving, but, as Tie Niu says, the person drowned, but in a jail cell.
The "recovering" makes no sense, but apparently, he also has some forensic skills? Forensics by eye and nose. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention this above: he bathes with full trousers on. Huh. What a tease.
At the police station, one of the underlings is convinced a water demon killed Wang. Trouble is, they're on dry ground. Mao and Deyou are looking at the body. Mao thinks she probably died around 11 the night before. They both sniff at the body and find it smells moldy. Do bodies mold? They can't figure out how anyone got in when Mao was outside the cell entire night and had the key. Deyou notes the padlock would've been hard to pickpocket and Mao says the passageway was the only way to the cell. Not exactly fire-safety-conscious, this prison, but I digress. Anyway, Deyou says Mao is the killer. Mao tells him to stop kidding around. Deyou says there isn't another explanation. Mao is all, ha, I have an alibi, Butler Hu! He brought soup and we were talking last night! So there! Mao says Butler Hu left at 12 when the clock rang. That's when Mao came in to check on Shopkeeper Wang and found her dead.
Okay, boys, you need to start tapping on the walls for secret passages now, methinks.

Next, we see the policemen wondering if the Little River God exorcised the water demon. Deyou just looks serious and cool. Seriously cool, if you will. He then lopes around the room and breathes onto the grandfather clock there. Mao asks him what he's up to? Deyou tells Mao to let him investigate already. Deyou then notes that Mao smoked a cigarette. Mao says, yes, sometimes he gets stressed and smokes one. Deyou checks who owns the ashtray? Mao says it's the station's. Deyou checks again when Butler Hu left? Mao says at 12 because the clock rang out 12 times. Deyou closes his eyes to think. Then, he says he knows who the killer is, how they did it, and what their motive is. Explain, cries Mao! It's complicated, says Deyou, and will cause you grief. Yes, this is frustrating, Dear Reader.
Very Sherlockian.
Yet so obvious.
Rush of water as we change scenes.
This signifies the viewer's need to pee at every commercial break, I guess.
No, it means this show is about water. 

Ah, the boys are at the newspaper office. Lan Lan comes in to tell them that in the past 30 years, Tienjin has been flooded 4 times, the worst flooding happening 20 years ago. The worst hit region was the Qiming village in the western suburbs. Two years after the flooding, an evil cult appeared, the Mo Gu Dao, who would kidnap children and terrorize the town. Unfortunately, all information about them has been sealed up. The military went in to exterminate the cult members, and Mo Gu Dao has not been heard of since. And, Lan Lan adds, there were three men in the regiment that suppressed the Mo Gu Dao. Three Guesses who they were:
Guessed who they were yet? Bet you didn't. Okay, I'll tell you:

1. Ding Dad
2. Butler Hu
3. Master Guo.
I woke up at evil cult!
Who'd have thunk it? Certainly not Ding Mao and Guo Deyou. On top of that, in the background of the photo that Lan Lan shows the boys is the statue of the Xianwu that Ding Dad was tied to in episode 1 when his body was found. 
*sharp intake of breath*
We already know who's the head of this evil cult, don't we... dundun.
We then see Butler Hu striding through the Ding mansion which is also Canal Shipping Committee Headquarters. He sits down for a cuppa, only to read in the paper that "Shipping Committee Heir Buys Police Detective Appointment; Abuses Power To administer Vigilante Killing To Prisoner." That's awkward. Off Butler Hu rushes. 
Can't let that pretty boy go to prison!
Twu Wuv.
Butler Hu walks in on Captain Fu. It's unjust, he says. Captain Fu waves away his underlings, and has them close the doors. Oh, so he can be serious sometimes. He tells Butler Hu that Mao is in custody. Hu says this is an injustice, and asks for an exception. Captain Fu says Mao was sober and lost control and suffocated Shopkeeper Wang. The prisoner even gave himself up willingly. It's in the papers. So, he must pay for his crime. But Butler Hu says that he is here to surrender because he killed her. That stops Captain Fu still.
Yeah, him and me both.
It was a good plan to get him to confess! Well done, boys!
Butler Hu explains in a really neato way where he and Fu watch the crime reconstruction as if they have traveled back in time and are ghosts watching everything, that after he prepared everything, he came with soup. The soup was made so that if you smoke a cigarette, you fall asleep afterwards. So, Mao, who smoked afterwards, fell asleep. Hu took the keys to the prison from Mao. He then filled a pig bladder with water. He went into Wang's cell and pressed some point on her neck even though she was sleeping, either to make sure she wouldn't wake up or to kill her. Either way, when Hu then ties the pig bladder with water over her head, she still wakes up and struggles. So, whatever to that point on the neck. After she dies, rest of the water is emptied out on her. It's all rather hateful.
I'm sad. I wanted him to be a good guy. But I'm confused because...okay, he kills the woman, but then when Ding Mao is accused of the crime, he goes to confess? Didn't he realize Ding Mao would be suspected? Is this a trick?
Of courso it iso. Boy Mao is the only thing her truly cares about! 
As for Mao not noticing that he'd been asleep for so long, well, Butler Hu fixed the clock. he set it back to just before midnight and woke Mao up at the clock toll to reinforce his memory. He even banged the spoon against the bowl a bit. After Mao left to question the prisoner, Hu quickly fixed the clock time, emptied the cigarette ash, and left.
Smarty pants Hu.

Butler Hu drops the pig bladder on Captain Fu's desk as evidence. Arrest me, he challenges. What's the motive, challenges Fu right back? You don't need to know, demurs Butler Hu. Oh, yes, I do, insists Captain Fu. As Fu reasonably explains, Butler Hu just looks a scapegoat to save Ding Mao right now. So, Butler Hu says, get a better explanation for how Shopkeeper Wang was killed than mine from Mao, and I'll leave. Otherwise, I'll use all the resources of the Committee to raise hell! okay, but couldn't you do that anyway, and both of you get off? Just saying there's a reason people like money and connections.
Anyhoo (geddit?), Captain Fu is suitably stumped.
His hair practically uncurled.

Cut to Deyou rushing through the temple. It seems this was actually a bit in the past from Butler Hu's visit to Captain Fu. He calls out to Master Guo, but Master Guo is nowhere to be found. His pipe is there, and a small leather bag that's probably really fashionable in Soho now, but no shifu. Inside the bag are more smoking tools. Deyou remembers how Master Guo denied all knowledge of the Xuanwu statue. We then see Deyou's diving mask tossed deep into the water and that probably has some symbolism but I can't think what right now.
I never really think very hard in scenes with Deyou. One because they're usually kind of trippy but two because he's so yummy I just want to look. Ding Mao is pretty pretty pretty but Guo Deyou is sekshi.
Sekshi, free and single.
Back to the police station. Deyou tells Mao that oftentimes, Master Guo would refuse to use smoke of insight no matter how much a victim's family begged, because he knew the truth would be too painful for them. Mao asks how Deyou figured it out? Deyou recalls telling Mao about the white vinegar smell on Shopkeeper Wang that was from the pig bladder. Pig bladders get soaked in white vinegar. And Deyou had realized the clocks were messed with. Mao, on the other hand, had the tolling clocked into his brain. Deyou, however, had noticed the clean spot on the clock where Butler Hu had opened the Clock to change its hands. Plus, there are oily fingerprints on the glass from the pig bladder. And Deyou, who knows about medicines, guessed at the medicines in the soup and the cigarette that sent Mao to sleep. In addition, the medicine that sent Mao to sleep was military issue, so only army people would be aware of it.
Are we playing Clue? s the answer the butler did it in the prison cell with a pig bladder?
I'm impressed his nose is so good. Plus, impressed with Butler Hu that he double-drugged little Mao with such potent stuff.
It seems then Deyou suggested Mao set the trap of the newspaper headlines and turning himself in. As Deyou explains, the Committee amassed a lot of power in a short time because the people in it were fiercely loyal. As Mao hesitated, Deyou told him Master Guo was missing and that Mo Gu Dao might be involved. And so Mao used Butler's Hu's loyalty. Ouch.
Well, what's the alternative?
Stare at Deyou? 
That is absolutely fine by me.  I want to run my hands across the buzzed sides of his har.  And trace the bump on his nose.  And look how perfect his ears are.
Back to the temple. It's so cool and misty and spooky. We see Deyou meditating. He's actually thinking of all the times Master Guo told him to stay out of all these investigations we've been watching.

Extra Scene
Mao has got Master Guo some steaks. They discuss the differences between the lingchi and the guillotine. Since both are repulsive, I'll let you look them up, dear reader. Just know that France was guillotining people into the 1970s, and China still does the lingchi to dogs in the dog meat trade.

I felt rather sorry for Shopkeeper Wang in all this. And Hu couldn't have found a loyal Committee man to do the dirty work and take the blame instead of doing all this himself? How is that better? Just thinking out loud because I've watched ahead and it's amazing the things these Committee people will do out of loyalty, so what's the big deal for them in taking the fall for murder?
Are you arguing that it's okay to sacrifice a worker bee to save Butler Hu?
No, just curious why Hu would do the murder himself and risk prison and risk Mao going to prison when he could pay off someone else to do the dirty work and protect his precious young master. 
There's a lot of pretty scenes in this, but the story could progress a bit faster for my taste. A whole episode to establish Butler Hu is a crazy loyal person? We already knew that. As for Shopkeeper Wang: yes, she was just a tool, used like one and then discarded. Brutally so! That Committee is real evil/ruthless... or is the evil cult that's really evil and the Committee is trying to stop them?