Chinese · Drama · Episode Recaps · Mainland

Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城): Episode 2 Recap

Hu Ba Yi and Fatso are on a train heading towards Niuxin Mountain to see their villageman. While on the train, Fatso is studying up on tombs. The young man sitting across from them asks if they are on the archaeologist team and Fatso replies affirmative. Once they arrive, they’re picked up on a donkey cart and brought back to their village home.

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Everyone is excited to see them and are crowding around the two homecomers. Hu notices there’s no men around and when he asks, he finds out that they’ve all been recruited away by the government’s archaeology team. Due to an earthquake, Niuxin mountain split apart and unveiled a tomb as large as a palace. When the government learned about this gold mine, they sent archaeology teams to mine them, in addition to recruiting all able-bodied adults in the surrounding villages. Hu and Fatso looked conflicted but don’t say anything.

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Inside the house, they sit around the table with Old Secretary and another man to have lunch. Upon questioning the reason for their visit, Hu explains that in Beijing, the antiqued artifacts they possess are worth a lot of money. He tells them of his plan to bring the items back to Beijing to sell and then split the earnings with the rest of their villagers.

Unfortunately, Old Secretary tells them that they’re too late. When the archaeologist team came last month, they distributed food stamps to every household and said that their old stuff must be handed over to the government. Hu and Fatso look extremely troubled by this news.

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The next morning Fatso finds Hu walking by himself along the river. Hu shares with him his thoughts about trying to find the secret fort of the Japanese Kwangtung Army, thinking that the Japanese must have left some good stuff behind. He’s asked around and was told that the archaeologist team doesn’t know about the site and wants to take a chance at finding it since they have nothing to lose at this point. Fatso agrees and they set off towards the Savage Village.

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Before they could leave the area, a young girl on her own horse joins them. Yingzi tells them that she was sent by Old Secretary to accompany them on their journey to guide and protect them. Fatso thinks it s a joke that a younger girl was sent to protect them but she only retorts that there are no men guides available even if they wanted one.

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And off they go! They travel for a few days, slowly navigating through the woods and setting up camp when needed. When they reach the Savage Village, Hu comments about the silliness of a young girl commanding him – who was previously a company commander – around but he acknowledges she has skills. Fatso still brushes her off and refuses to acknowledge her. He then goes off on his own to pee but runs into trouble and a wild boar comes charging at him.

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Fatso goes running through the woods, screaming for help. Hu and Yingzi hear and immediately rush towards his aid. Yingzi’s dogs get to the boar just as he’s about to attack Fatso. Once the other two arrive, Yingzi shoots the boar and turns it into their dinner that night.

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Later that night as they’re eating, Hu asks why the valley is called Savage Valley. Yingzi tells them that it used to be known as the Moon-Carrying Valley. It was a cemetary of the Great Jin. After the Mongolians defeated Jin, Jin soldiers there thrown into this valley – thus rechristening it as Valley of the Dead. Then later on savages appeared and it was known as Savage Valley.

After her story, Yingzi leaves to go find some more firewood. Hu glances up at the moon and then does some readings from his compass. He realizes something and asks Fatso if he knows why it used to be called the Moon-Carrying Valley. Hu tells him that its because when the moon rises to the peak of the valley, the peripheral vision misleads people into seeing the peaks of the mountains as huge arms reaching up to carry the moon. He also explains the reason why the Jin chose this as their burial grounds is because of the celestial spirit of the sun and moon. And because of the excellent Feng Shui, there has to be a huge tomb here.

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Suddenly they hear Yingzi scream and a shot go off. Yingzi tells them she went nearby a makeshift hut and thought she saw a savage so she fired a shot. Hu goes investigate the site and they find the skeletal remains of quite a few people inside and outside of the hut. They find a notepad in one of the possessions that details what happened. Apparently the Japanese had arrived looking for the fort to join the Kwantung Army. Unfortunately, their guide died so they ended up just lingering in the area for a few years until a group of tomb raiders arrived. The Japanese killed them after they angered them with their words and then proceeded to commit suicide by disembowelment.

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Hu then deduces that the area they’re at is the burial site. They set off to find the hole that the group of tomb raiders must have dug.

It isn’t until morning that Fatso comes across something while digging. Hu trades places with Fatso and discovers they’ve hit a Dragon Spitter’s Glaze – a trap laid for tomb raiders in the Northern Song Dynasty. If there were to be any forced entry, the top tile that’s coated with Dragon Spitter’s Oil of the Western Regions ignites and burns in contact with air, burning everything in the tomb and taking the tomb raiders down with them.

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Hu decides there must be a side entrance and sets to look for it when they hear Yingzi cry out for help. Turns out, she fell through the side hole the previous tomb raiders found.

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Commentary;

Nothing too exciting going on in this episode. Seems more like a set up episode. Hu and Fatso seemed to have their dreams crushed pretty early on upon arriving at the village. I really like Yingzi. She’s so blunt and awesome haha. Fatso though, seems to have no problem disrespecting the dead with the way he was kicking the skeletons around like that. I like how rational and calm Hu always is. Seriously Fatso is gonna be the death of him.

I’m wondering when Chen Qiao En’s character is gonna show up…

Next Episode: 03 →

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2 thoughts on “Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城): Episode 2 Recap

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