Tientsin Mystic - 河神 - Episode 4 (Recap)

SakiVI: Some shocking things happen. S.H.O.C.K.I.N.G. Although now you've been warned, you might be all "meh." Read on.
kakashi: It was really shocking. Also, this drama is just so beautiful. Even the shocking things. 
JoAnne: I gasped out loud. And then immediately pressed play on episode 5 because how could you NOT?
I don't even feel like watching the later episodes. Instead, I just want to go to Episode 5.
Episode 4

We open with a group of men all wearing masks and carrying hooks. This does not look safe for people in the vicinity without hooks. Ah, the hooks are for carrying the coffin. Butler Gui signals them to move forward. He looks close to tears, poor man.
Thugs, coffin bearers... often the same
We obviously go to very different funerals.
In the next scene, though, we see a beautiful orange umbrella covering Butler Gui and the baby's coffin. Guo Deyou is holding the umbrella for them. He brings the baby's coffin in to the funeral room, and looks long and hard at the mother's body, all beautifully manicured and made up. I"m not even questioning this anymore because there was once a Chinese Marchioness found very well preserved 2000 years after death. There's some skillz here!
It's just mindboggling that's an actual job, mortician. I mean...who would you choose to do this? 
Two things: I went to school with the mortician's son in my little one-funeral-home town, and he planned (and did) grow up to become the mortician. It was attached to his house, he wasn't scared at all...we thought he was very cool. Second thing: the mortician in the town I live in NOW is named Stephen King, which makes me laugh every single time I see the sign (or him.) PS. That is a gorgeous aerial shot.
Cut to Master Guo asking Ding Mao if he has settled into the Po temple. They're doing something with twine and Mao says he is a quick study even if he is inexperienced.
Love all his clothes. Actually, all their clothes. Everyone is so stylish in their own right. So... what are all those paper figures in the background? 
Look at this courtyard. It's so misty and gorgeous I can't stand it.
Back to Deyou at the funeral. He tells Butler Gui that he had held the umbrella over the coffin so spirits wouldn't gather, but now he sees that the coffin - I don't know whose - is unlucky, and so he will smoke them out with cigarettes. (Sidebar: I'll remember this excuse next time I suddenly feel like a smoke. Why bother resisting like usual if I can clear bad luck by giving in?) Butler Gui is delighted by Deyou's help and gives him cigarettes. Honestly, I feel so sorry for him. The deceased were like child and grandchild to him, and now he can only bury them.
You mean I can stop suspecting him of murder? Deyou is a smart cookie, I really have a crush on him and feel guilty about it because he's so young.
I'm telling you, it's not the butler. I've never had that feeling about him. Uh, how old is Deyou because I like him more every episode.
Cut to Master Guo telling Mao, who also wants to learn the Smoke of Insight, that Deyou will never be able to do that trick without hurting himself. Deyou had severe allergies. Mao adds that Deyou has an oversensitive disposition which explains why he has such allergies. And as he says this, we see Deyou taking a drag.
I think we should be worried.
There's always a price for the hero to pay. Always.  

Deyou goes straight into his vision/alternate universe. The deceased girl is now up and looking at him. There are pieces of paper floating through the air, and she shows Deyou her messed up manicure. Then she sits in a chair. Deyou looks at her ear which is missing an earring. Then, he looks over at a life-sized wooden doll with all the papers floating past. On a table before it is a teapot with cups. Deyou looks down at the table, and there's paper there as well. And in a wooden box, there is the missing earring. Deyou can see the girl's image in the jade, when he comes out of the vision, coughing.
clues, clues, clues....but what do they mean? I LOVE his vision world
So do I! Once he puts it together it's like ohhh, okay, that makes sense - but while it's happening you just sit there with all this odd imagery and can't imagine it will ever make sense. Just know this: anything you see in that dream world matters.
Butler Gui tells Deyou they should go rest in the lobby. Deyou drops the earring he actually was holding back in a jewelry box. Butler Gui says the young miss came home wearing that earring.
I feel more and more strongly that the ending for this particular story will be really sad.
Cutting over to another Butler, Butler Hu, telling Ding Mao he has to represent the Canal Shipping Committee at the wedding of the City Secretary General's daughter, Xiao Lan Lan, that night.
Is she the reporter girl? She had an important father as I recall.
Yes, that's the one.
Oh, I did think that woman looked exactly like her!!! By the way, it took me 5 minutes to get this shot below without any subtitles in the screenshot.
We now see the bride with Captain Fu at the police station. Her fiance, Qian Zi Xian, is missing, and she says it has been a week since she last saw him. Captain Fu carefully sets down a white bottle, and says the fiance is sure to show up for his own wedding. Lan Lan says, nah, I'm reporting him missing. Captain Fu thinks the groom-to-be is on an extended bachelor party, but Lan Lan says she is the one who will lose face, so Captain Fu needs to take this seriously.
Here, the way everything is filmed and because of Captain Fu, I was very much reminded of a Wes Anderson movie
He's so ridiculous, Captain Fu is.
And so we get Captain Fu at night, smoking seriously, hanging around outside the wedding hall where everyone's presents are being announced out loud. Upon hearing things like "ten gold ingots" and "an imported sedan," Captain Fu chokes on the smoke. His underlings come up with a present for him to take in. He told them to get something fresh. They got him river crabs.
Why not? 
When I think 'here, have some crabs on your wedding night' this is not the scenario I envision.
As Captain Fu storms off, he sees Lan Lan's Third Uncle, a man with no eyebrows. Captain Fu explains he is here to look for Master Qian for Lan Lan. Third Uncle looks at the crabs and pronounces them an excellent gift, fat and yummy and just what Lan Lan likes. At Third Uncle's invitation, then Captain Fu promptly ditches his underlings and goes in for the wedding.
Certainly NOT to do any work.
'Lan Lan's Third Uncle, a man with no eyebrows' - still laughing!
Ah, now we have the Gu Shamans trying to get in. They pretend they already were in but went out to eat. (At an Asian wedding, no less.) When that doesn't work, Mama Gu threatens the guard with her enmity and a diarrhea curse. Gu Ying reminds her that this is silly considering they don't even look the part, but Mama Gu says she has to warn the family and yells at the guard that the bridegroom is in big trouble. Then, Ding Mao shows up all in white with dapper hat. He is really very pretty. He says the Gu ladies are with him, and Mama Gu rushes inside. Then Deyou shows up and asks for the 50 silver dollars Mao promised him, and to tell they are returning to the Xue mansion. Mao looks pretty and intrigued.
Ah, the wardrobe! To be rich and pretty! 
Get you a perm and some BB cream and an all-white suit, you'd be twins.
The next morning, we are back to our opening scene, and our dignified Butler Gui, ready to take his baby girl and her baby to their final resting place. Except the Scoobies show up. Mao tells Xue Qingyang not to worry about the burial because he has to clear some things up. This doesn't sound great - for Qingyang. He is furious, and tells Ding Mao he's pushing around the Xue Family as the Shipping Committee heir. But Deyou then asks if Xue Yuan Yuan died in her room. He says in the old days there was a type of torture where they'd soak paper in water and layer it one by one on a prisoner's face, so they couldn't see or speak, even to the point of death. Well, we know about Qingyang's penchant for ancient styles of executions from the last episode when he tried to bury Mao alive as Yuan Yuan's bridegroom-in-death.
That's waterboarding with tea. Wow. 
THAT's waterboarding? I never knew. I thought they dunked people.
Qingyang is furious and threatens Deyou with consequences, whatever those are, and that Deyou is crazy. But Deyou calmly says, even a tiger won't kill its young, so you're the crazy one.
(Sidebar: okay, so not one of those pallbearers is reacting to all this news?)
They're like: we were only paid to stand around.
I hear Dory the fish saying 'just keep standing, just keep standing'
Qingyang orders his men to throw Mao and Deyou out, and somehow, Ying holds off 2 or 3 of them, while Deyou does comedy karate moves. And Mao just calmly taps Qingyang on the shoulder and says, you haven't disposed of the murder weapon, have you? And Mao says that the nail polish on the Yuan's body, applied before death, had scratches and marks from laquered wood on it.
Sadness. I knew it would be her dad. It's going to be him, isn't it.
Deyou continues the reconstruction of the crime scene while we see it happen in interlocking scenes: when Mao was dressing as a ghost bridegroom, he saw a messed up tea set and paper on a laquered chair in the dressing room. And when people drown in the river, says Deyou, their noses and ears have traces of mud and silt. But not Yuan's corpse. Of course, it could have been cleaned up, but her hair smelled of expensive Longjing tea. And the earrings she wore before death still had traces of tea-soaked paper on them. Not likely that would happen in the river.
Awww, Dad...really? Your own daughter?
Finally, Deyou notes that the mansion has high walls and guards, so most likely, the killer was from inside. Qingyang collapses onto a bench. Poor Butler Gui looks like he had his suspicions confirmed. And Ying asks Qingyang why he would kill his own daughter? Family reputation, it turns out. Instead of living her life quietly inside the mansion, she was trying to leave to go to the child's father. Qingyang had snapped and killed her with that paper and tea method while she cried out for Butler Gui. He then claimed someone stole the baby away. Anyway, Yuan was dead in that chair the entire time Qingyang had told his men to search for her. And when Qingyang returned to the murder room, a masked stranger held a knife to his throat and demanded the baby (who had an adorable double chin). All Qingyang knew of the man was that he had a limp.
So messed up. Kill your own child because she is with child. Wow. I hope there's a special place in hell for guys like this.
Then the pallbearers grab the coffin and run! Deyou yells at Gu Ying to run after them. Is she some sort of thug, and is that what she's really for, bodyguarding? (No pun intended, but it works.) Mao grabs Qingyang and demands what trick he's up to, and Butler Gui says those men are just some dock workers - incidentally, they heard the whole sorry tale - and Qingyang says it's the rapist's men!
Oh now they run? I guess they've heard enough. Also...she wasn't raped, right? Wasn't it a love connection? That's just Dad trying to rewrite history, right?
Probably just Dad trying to rewrite history. Unless seduction and rape meant the same thing in those days.
Frustrated, Mao says, can't you remember anything else, if he was a friend, or even from Tianjin? No to both, cries Qingyang, also frustrated. He only knows the man had a cough. Wow, Yuan could've at least found a cute guy for all this trouble. I tell you, if the guy is cute, then even if he turns out a jerk who convinces you to leave home and then return pregnant, there's at least you could feel good that you were with someone hot.
I wholeheartedly agree. If it all goes to hell because you sleep with a guy, then AT LEAST make him and it hot, hot, hot.
Instead it's an old guy with a cough who limps, it seems.
We next see Ying chasing the men with the coffin. Some other men catch up to her but she beats them up with mad Shaolin Kung Fu skillz. (So that is what she's for.) Gu Deyou catches up from the other end and insouciantly asks the pallbearers if he can help? Oh, he can fight too! Not the fancy acrobatic stuff Ying does, but more street brawl stuff. While Ying beats up more pallbearers/minions, Deyou continues chasing the coffin - isn't that thing heavy? - and, by way of his own acrobatic shortcuts over balconies and roofs, catches up, only to find the coffin empty.  He kicks the coffin in frustration, and the gathered crowd laughs at his pain.
Wild coffin chase. 
Loved every single thing about every bit of this sequence. Love that she's bad ass, love that he's bad ass, love the scenery, love the mystery.
Something splashes deep into water.
That usually doesn't mean anything good. Unless it's summer and people jump into the water to swim and have fun.

Elsewhere, Ying is beating up two of the pallbearers without even breaking a sweat, let alone a nail. But she brags Deyou can run all day and night without stopping. Such a fangirl. As she chokes one of the guys, he admits to just being hired to steal the body, and not knowing by whom. (So, why all the fighting and all? Were they paid that much to take a beating?) In the dark, though, as she chases yet another minion, Ying sees someone carrying Yuan's body. He does not stop when she tells them to. Instead, he jumps deep into the river with the corpse, and does not come up again.
Not sure about the hullabaloo either, though it was fun. 
In these stories not only do you not get paid if you don't deliver, you get beat. Or worse.
Cut to Captain Fu and his underlings clapping for Ding Mao, who in turn rolls his eyes. Then, one underling says Captain Fu will say a few words. Another Mao Eye Roll. And Captain Fu says Ding Mao solved the murder of Xue Qingyang's daughter and is truly the gyro desired. Underling tells him it's the "hero." Mao just looks around with his arms crossed. As he turns around in frustration - side view is seriously pretty - he listens to Captain Fu saying how they need to celebrate with food and drink. Captain Fu is still talking about food, braised lamb to be precise, when Mao turns back to say the case can't be closed as yet because the bodies are missing. Captain Fu and Friends continue discussing lamb. Mao says they need to find the bodies and find out who stole them! Captain Fu then suggests eating fish. Mao yells he can't do this alone and he needs police department authority! Captain Fu then says maybe they should drink more and eat less.
Captain Fu is such an idiot but he makes me laugh. His hair! 
The side view of those perfect rolls is astonishing. There's not one fly-away.
Deyou and Ying burst in. They admit to not having either body and not having any pallbearers either. Mao is mad. Captain Fu decides: They'll have roast duck.
Dammit, I want roast duck
Wow, Mao really is pretty. But I'll take Gou Deyou. I like the way he moves, very loose and confident.
Our Scoobies go down to the river. Deyou thinks the lover was mad with grief and jumped into the river with Yuan because of his deep love. Mao says the jump in could also have been to erase evidence. Ying says the person who jumped with he body didn't resurface - but then she adds it was dark, so maybe she didn't see him resurface. Deyou shrugs all this off, and says they should go eat hot food. Mao calls them back. They're here to investigate. And, he states the obvious: search underwater for the body and the bodysnatcher. Deyou haggles with him and gets Mao to agree to $50 per body found, assuming there are 2 bodies.
I thought this was particularly well shot. Everything.
It's a really gorgeously well-filmed series. The set design is spectacular.
Ooh, pretty street lamps! They are lighting up the river nicely for Deyou. He dives deep in (where did he get his gear from?), and sees Yuan's body tied to a metal door. To free the body, Deyou has to open the door, and then, when he opens it: EEEEEEEKKKK!!!
Oh my god. But before we continue...I'm glad they thought about the issue of light, only...a light that far back would never light the river up enough to dive and see in it. But nevermind. 
You guys could see what was behind that metal door? My screen was too dark.
More bodies. They float out one after another. It's creepy. Deyou swims to the surface first. You won, he tells Mao. And body after body fills the river surface.
Just wow


Looks like a mass murderer is on the loose, eeps! I hope Mao sticks to paying for only 2 bodies. He'll be so broke otherwise because that looks easily 50 bodies minimum. But weren't any reported missing?
That was so well done. When the second body drifted out (why exactly did they drift out?), I was like...uh-oh. But ...they kept coming. First underwater...and then we saw them all pop up.   
Very eerie.

And I wonder why Yuan wanted to go to the child's father when she had left him to return to her own father? She must've known what her dad was like: no one can hide their insanity for long. At the very least, even if it was the situation that drove him insane, she would've known that the situation was such that it would drive him insane.
I'm not sure about this point. If she knew what kind of man her father is, why did she go back at all? Desperation?
I don't know if she'd necessarily know that her father would kill her. I have a theory why she went back to her house but we'll see.

And that Captain Fu: he seems silly, but I think a lot of it is an act. Avoiding work is serious business, and he's very good at it.
He is a horrible man, but a great character. With skillz!
I began to think it was an act tonight, too. He reminds me more and more of the police chief in Disguiser.