Our heroine lives a life of privilege: a perfect upper class lady who has the deathly combination of looks, brains, and background. Yan Zhi has no desire to be an agent, despite wanting to be challenged intellectually, but after this little incident, she has little choice. So begins our rookie agent’s journey.
Rookie Agent Rogue Chapter 1 RECAP:
1937. Shanghai is about to turn into a warzone with the invasion of the Japanese. The Chinese government decided offense is the best defense and they must destroy all Japanese vessels on Yangtze river, thereby eliminating their marine corps. That is how they can pull a decisive win against the Japanese. This battle is called the Songhu battle.
Lan Yan Zhi (Zhao Li Ying) maneuvers a crowd of protestors rallying against the Japanese on a ship. She stumbles into many people, including a fashionable woman, a tuxedo-wearing man, and a drunken man who peers at her face as if to check if she really is blind. Meanwhile, another young woman watches, sketching the crowd.
The young woman turns out to be Yan Zhi’s best friend Feng Man Na (Tao Xin Ran). Man Na asks if she really didn’t take a peek, which Yan Zhi answers that there isn’t any fun if she did. She then correctly describes all who she stumbled into. Sherlock Yan Zhi.
Yan Zhi points out the student leading the rally as the one she finds most interesting. The student is crying for justice for their country, yet she uses a Japanese-made perfume. Man Na declares her answers to be entirely correct and pronounces her perceptiveness to be exceptional.
But the last two men she met were still in Yan Zhi’s mind. The tuxedo-wearing man kept his suit on despite the fact that he was sweating in such warm weather, while Yan Zhi felt something hard strapped on the drunken man’s belt. The girls deduces it to be a gun and Man Na wonders if the man is a Japanese agent.
Yan Zhi grins, she wants to tail the man. She is unlike the student protestor, just shouting does nothing to help: “Besides, isn’t it more exciting for a game to turn into reality?” So with a change of clothes, Yan Zhi leaves to find the suspicious man.
On her way, she stumbles into the fashionable woman from earlier and they both drop their purse. They own similar compacts, which the woman notes with interest. Yan Zhi doesn’t get very far until she is called out by the man. She tries to leave but the man points a gun at her, forcing her to go with him.
I might as well introduce this man now. He is Song Mian (Yuan Wen Kang). Song Mian orders his men to check her for arms, while she can only struggle and kick in protest. Even with her mouth stuffed, she yells. The noise irks Song Mian, who finally quiets her by shoving a lit cigarette at her face. “I have a million ways to calm you down, wanna try?”
After leaving Yan Zhi handcuffed to a pole, Song Mian monitors the actions of the tuxedo-wearing man, who leaves a message for the fashionable woman. They are both Japanese agents. Later, he approaches the tuxedo-wearing man and asks for a fire. He points out that one of the matches strangely won’t lit.
The tuxedo-wearing man, called Long Er, finds a gun pointed at a back, and meanwhile the fashionable woman, called Junko, hides the message into her compact. As soon as she leaves her room though, she too gets accosted.
Man Na looks for her friend, calling out her name softly, but our Sherlock is still calling for help in a secluded area for a ship. Yan Zhi notices oil leaking from the pole and rubs it all over her hands to ease out of the handcuffs. She meets Man Na outside, who frets over her injuries. But more importantly, there are three Japanese agents on the ship now, they must let the captain know.
Song Mian tries out the match that won’t lit earlier, and learns that it can be used to write a message. That is how Long Er transmits his information after spying on their area, the Wu Song Kou defense territory.
He uses his tried-and-true method, this time by threatening to shove the cigarette into the Japanese agent’s eyeballs. When they try to stop the agent from consuming poison, a fight ensues. Long Er manages to escape and when he stumbles into the two girls, he takes Yan Zhi hostage.
Long Er drags Yan Zhi to the deck and Song Mian is forced to put down his gun. He kicks it away though, and challenges the Japanese agent on a one-on-one fight “like a true man”. Meanwhile, Yan Zhi thinks hard about how to save herself and spies a barrel of green slimy liquid behind them.
When Junko joins the party, Yan Zhi takes advantage of Long Er’s momentary distraction to shove him towards the liquid. He slips and the quick-moving Song Mian shoots him on the shoulder. Pulling Yan Zhi with him, he falls. While everyone is distracted by the fall, Junko rushes towards Yan Zhi’s forgotten handbag and stuffs her compact inside.
Yan Zhi is hanging on the rails, Long Er holding on to her ankle. She tries to force him to let go, and he does, falling into the sea. She herself is losing strength but just as her hand slips, Song Mian comes to the rescue.
Safe now, the first thing Song Mian does is to unlock Yan Zhi’s handcuffs. She demands to know who he is, and he tells her that he is from the secret service under the National Salvation Association. Man Na is quick to introduce her best friend as an exceptionally bright person suited to be an agent. How sweet.
Song Mian scoffs and tells them to reconsider it: “Do anything but this. For us, it’s too late to even regret it.” He leaves with his men and Junko in tow. Junko protests that she has diplomatic immunity as a Japanese consulate staff but Song Mian reminds her that special agents don’t.
Yan Zhi stops him before leaving and asks for his name and if they will meet again. Song Mian tells her if they are lucky, they won’t. Good point. She yells after him: “Even if you won’t see me again, remember my name! I am Lan Yan Zhi!”
Another Japanese agent watches as the passengers unboard the ship. This is Ichiro Watanabe, head of investigation. When Junko sees him, she sends a message in Morse. We don’t know what it is, but Watanabe orders his driver to drive them to another area, where they can intercept Song Mian’s car.
Song Mian seems to sense something is wrong and he takes out his gun. The light turns green, and when their car moves, Junko leans forward and Watanabe sends a bullet cleanly through her forehead. Song Mian stops the car and shoots at Watanabe’s car, but it is too late now. Their prisoner is dead.
In their headquarters, the Shanghai bureau head Wan Zhi Chao is informed that their people are fortifying the Jiang Yin and Wu Song Kou fortress in preparation for war. Someone enters with a message, and Wan Zhi Chao meets Song Mian, who breaks the news that both their leads are dead. Worst, they did not intercept their message.
This understandably upsets Wan Zhi Chao, but Song Mian is quick to add that they did find something from Long Er. It appears to be a military map but it is too damaged to ascertain the location. Wan Zhi Chao asks if this means the Japanese has gotten wind of their plan to block the Yangtze river. His boss reminds him that this affects the entire battle plan and gives him 24 hours to bring the information.
In the Japanese headquarters in Shanghai, Watanabe informs his chief that all preparations are under way. They also decode Junko’s message: the information has been transferred to Lan Yan Zhi’s compact. Their search paramater are considerably small, since not many in Shanghai have the surname Lan.
Song Mian correctly deduces that the information has already been transferred via one of the ship passengers. His righthand man is baffled, there are about 800 people on board. But they have no choice but to search one by one.
Back in her home, Yan Zhi is being fussed over by her mother, who worries about her injuries. She has apparently disappeared for a month after school break starts. Yan Zhi informs Mom and Dad that she has joined the summer camp for the youth army, organised by the Ministry of Defence.
She proudly tells them that she has been a stellar student: “They told me my hearing and memory skills are the best they have seen in recent years!” But she has no plans whatsoever to be an agent. Dad wants her to get married, but she wants to marry someone she worships. And the one she worships is herself, lol.
The Japanese have already found Yan Zhi: a student at the Mathematics department in Nanjing University, daughter of an influential bank owner. Dad is anti-Japanese, pro-American. But more importantly, Yan Zhi is a friend of Man Na, whose father is Feng Zhi Xiong. Mr Feng is obviously their man, because they decide to let him retrieve it.
Mr Feng is a high-ranking military man, and he informs his wife about what has happened. Man Na interrupts, and they appear to be a regular, loving family. It so happens to be Man Na’s birthday and Mr Feng suggests a birthday party, all friends welcome. Not only does she wants to invite Yan Zhi, she also makes sure that her birthday cake is chocolate because it’s Yan Zhi’s favourite. What a sweet friend.
Dressed prettily, Yan Zhi makes her way to the party. Man Na is outside waiting for her, aw. They toast to her heroics on the ship during dinner and Mrs Feng, who is sitting next to her, toasts her again. Yan Zhi looks visibly wary, and I wonder if she already knows about the allegiances of her best friend’s parents. It takes Mrs Feng a few attempts but she manages to steal the compact from Yan Zhi’s purse.
Ryu: I am already rooting for Yan Zhi by the first episode. She prides herself in her intelligence and has every reason to. Her inductive reasoning and intuition are clearly superior, even in actual life-and-death situations when her little game spirals out of control. Despite Yan Zhi coming off as a tad arrogant and prideful at times (I can see it being a problem when she does become an agent later), she is never annoying. I think we owe it mostly to Zhao Li Ying’s portrayal. She does the cute and spunky character so well.
I don’t have much of an opinion of the show yet (except it’s really colourful and pretty), because while the first episode is fast-paced enough, it doesn’t really tell that much yet. The plot is still setting up for Yan Zhi to be a proper agent, instead of a person who pretends to be one as a game. So I will keep watching but all that Japanese is killing me. Stop bullying a person who can’t read Chinese characters. So hard to recap, sobs.