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Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城): Episode 17 Recap

Fatso makes a comment about the black pillars and ground feeling a bit sinister. Professor Chen explains that the materials are from the magnetic mountain so it’s no wonder he finds it sinister.

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Hu notices that the pillars have different carvings the deeper they go. He asks Professor Chen about it but the professor is wondering too.

As they go deeper in the cave, Professor Chen realizes the meaning behind the differences in pillars. Generally, supernatural beings guard shrines. But this place is completely different. The stone pillars probably mean something spiritually since there are distinctive ranks starting from the low to high class. The lowest are live stocks which are then followed by commoners. The next rank are those that have big pupils.

The next pillar they come across is a patron saint. Its head has something like an eye protruding from it. It looks like the eyes are the source of all power according to Jingjue civilization.

Shirley deduces that the Jingjue Queen’s eyes must really have a power that ordinary people couldn’t explain aka make someone disappear or send them to a different dimension.

Fatso goes further a head and notices that the pillars that are supposed to be of highest rank is empty. There’s just a stand and no pillar. He wonders if it wasn’t completed before the kingdom was destroyed. Shirley says that’s impossible that there would be nothing for the most important part.

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Hu thinks it represents an imaginary dimension. He refers back to the story of the American boy who could connect to a dimension that we couldn’t find.

The pillars most likely represents the unknown beings from an imaginary dimension. The power that the Jingjue civilization worshiped the most was placed here to control this place.

Hu really wonders if there really exists a dimension that can’t be explained and that the eyes of the Jingjue queen control it.

Their flashlights soon shines upon a statue up a head with a smaller rock on top of it that looks like an eye.

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Above their heads, the ceiling is marked in the shape of an eye and it starts glowing orange.

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They get closer to the statue and Fatso moves to touch the eye looking thing but Professor Chen tells him not to touch it. Fatso then asks if it’s jade and the professor tells him it is and it’s also of the highest quality. It’s a priceless treasure.

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Professor Chen and his students circle the statue and observe the characters carved all along it. Fatso keeps touching the jade despite Hu smacking him a few times. Shirley notices this too. Eventually Professor Chen catches Fatso and scolds him. Then he finally backs a way a little and Professor Chen continues with his lecture about the Devil Cave Dwellers. He’s getting excited about everything they’re discovering about the ancient western culture.

Professor Chen is certain that the Jingjue Queen’s tomb is underground and that a river is below this shrine. It’s very likely since all ancient kingdoms in the western region frequently put the tombs of the royal family in the city center.

With everyone’s back’s turned and rapt attention on Professor Chen, Fatso sneakily lingers behind and tries to lift the jade eye up but it doesn’t budge.

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Shirley suggests they look for the special mechanism to access the underground tomb. She then catches Fatso and asks what he’s doing.

Now that he’s caught, he says he was just studying it. Shirley asks him what exactly was he studying. He looks to Hu who can’t help him, then he directs their attention back to the jade eye. At the top, there’s a heptagon groove carved in. Hu takes a closer look at the grooves and says that Fatso’s jade pendant is also a heptagon shape.

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He takes it out and Hu fits it perfectly into the shape on the jade eye. A mechanism is released and the lump of jade and status shakes. They all move back and position their guns on the statue but when nothing happens, they come back closer. Professor Chen asks Fatso for the origin of the jade. Fatso starts with his wild story but Hu tells him to tell the truth.

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Fatso tells them it was his father’s. His comrade led his army to Taklamakan Desert. They had a run in with bandits and after an intense battle, he took this from a dark bearded man. Then after he was born, his father gave this to him as a gift.

Shirley asks if this man is still alive but Fatso tells him that he died of an illness long ago. He heard the story from his father.

Professor Chen is outraged that such an ancient relic has just been passed around like this. He insists that it should have been handed over to the states.

Fatso suddenly grabs the jade stone into his arms. Professor Chen shouts for him to put it back but he refuses and insists that the eyeball is his and he’ll fight anyone for it. Both Professor Chen and Sa Di Peng try to talk some sense into Fatso but he’s adamant about the eyeball being his since it was his jade pendant that fit it perfectly. He starts saying something about according to the rules – but is immediately cut off by Hu scolding him, that it’s not his.

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While all attention was on Fatso, Shirley continued observing the statue and the hold the jade eye was covering. She then calls Professor Chen over to take a look too, suggesting that it could be the mechanism to the underground tomb. Professor Chen thinks it’s likely. He then turns back to Fatso and tells him to quickly put the jade eye back. When Fatso continues to ignore him, he looks to Hu for help.

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Hu takes the jade eye back from Fatso and moves to put it back. But then suddenly, the black snake from the desert comes up from the hole and strikes at Hu. Shirley pushes Hu out of harms way, causing his hands to slip and the jade eye shatters to pieces on the ground.

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Fatso opens fire at the snake and kills it. They’re all still for a minute to make sure there’s no other snakes around. Then they notice the shattered jade on the floor. Professor Chen is shaking at the lost of the priceless treasure while Hu and Shirley have this oh-shit look on their faces.

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Hu feels awful and tries to come up with way to piece it back together but it’s hopeless.

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Suddenly, there’s a loud rumbling sound above them. They watch as the eye on the ceiling starts moving and drops a large ball down. Everyone runs to get out of the way.

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The mucus hits the floor and breaks, revealing hundreds of the black snakes from the desert.

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The ones with guns start shooting at the snakes. Shirley reminds them that the snakes are afraid of intense lights. Hu screams for Fatso to get the flare. He pulls the trigger from the flare bomb and throws it but it ends up hitting the ceiling and coming back towards them. He apologizes and tells everyone to run. Hu swings at it with the butt of his rifle towards the snakes. Then he grabs Shirley and pulls her to the ground for cover.

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The light bomb sets off and kills all the snakes. This sets off another mechanism and the statue they were looking at raises a bit.

They pick up their guns again and Hu tells them they need to leave immediately. Professor Chen is reluctant because they’re so close and he’s certain that there’s an underground river below them. However, they cannot take the chance as it’s too dangerous and everyone’s safety is Hu’s priority.

Before they can turn around, Shirley directs their attention to the statue, saying the position changed. It seems taller now.

Transfixed, Shirley advances back on the statue. Hu tells everyone to stay back while he goes after Shirley. The two carefully maneuver through the dead snake corpses back to the statue and confirm that it did get higher. The base is a circle and it can separate from the platform. Hu thinks they can turn it.

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Hu looks around and realizes that the 16 stone pillars matches the arrangement of the 16 ground-penetrating  dragons. Some tombs from the Han dynasty used these mechanisms to set traps too. He then turns back to the statue and asks Shirley if she trusts him. She does. They each take a side and prepare to the turn the statue five times clockwise then one time counter-clockwise.

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The rest of the team are standing back and hiding behind the pillars. Should anything go wrong, Fatso is to take them and run.

The statue actually turns and everyone is in awe watching.

When they finish turning it, the space between the empty pillars opens up revealing a staircase going down.

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Shirley asks Hu how he knew how many times to turn and in which direction. Hu explains the mechanisms relevancy to the 16 ground-penetrating dragons thing and the number of turns correlates to Luo counting and star arrangements. After his brief explanation, they start heading down the path.

The path is long but they eventually find the underground river. All of them rush to get a drink of water. Hu tells them to rest while he and Fatso looks over the area. He comes across a gate on the other side of the river and calls everyone over to take a look.

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Shirley wants to go over there to take a look immediately but because they don’t know how deep the water is nor what’s in there, they start looking for a mechanism to help them cross over.

Fatso asks Chu Jian for a flashlight and he shines it into the water. He sees a stone path in the waters that connects the two sides and starts following. Meanwhile, Hu is looking at what is possibly the mechanism and is asking Fatso to hand him a shovel and crowbar. When he gets no answer, he turns around and sees Fatso standing in the middle of the river. Fatso tells him there’s no use in looking because there’s a secret bridge here already and he’s on it. Hu tells him to come back so that he can take a closer look. Turns out the secret bridge is connected to the mechanism he was talking about earlier. Someone had already activated it.

Hu decides to cross it to check it out first. Shirley goes with him. Fatso wants to go too but Hu tells him to go back and protect the others.

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Next Episode: 18 →

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2 thoughts on “Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城): Episode 17 Recap

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