I haven’t recapped in years. Lol. It felt strange to the fingertips to exercise this much!
Episode 1 RECAP:
We begin the episode very positively – our hero’s head in the chopping block as he recalls his risky mission to acquire the Shanhe painting – but nobody knows why he must obtain it. A flashback shows his child self “died” ten years ago and he never expected to see her – our female lead again. And she has now become the reason why he wants to live again.
As the executioner raises his blade, our hero reveals how he thought she would have changed ten years later – an image of her running appears, but boy was he wrong. I hope she’s running to save your butt, Mister!
One Month BEFORE.
The residence of Marquis of Jing An is on fire while its owner, Yan Yu, sits quietly in his dark room. General Qin enters the room and informs Yan Yu that he’s able to track the thieves and is confident they will be caught at daylight. Yan Yu reinforces how important the stolen item is, the Shanhe map contains their defensive positions and more importantly, the Kingdom of Da Sheng will be at the brink of destruction.
In North Da Sheng, at Shengwu Pass, a group of menacingly-looking martial artists attack the entire guards at the gate. They are called the Three Evils of Xue City. In their carriage, a man cradles what looks like the stolen item in his laps. After they have annihilated the whole gate, they demand more money paid per head and the man in the carriage tells them to hold their horses, they will get paid when they arrive at Chiyansha.
General Qin and his troops arrive and his flying arrow is caught by one of the devils with his bare hand. And now I’m afraid for General Qin. At least we now know the man in the carriage is called Duan Yan.
Half-Bald Devil is nailed in the shoulder by General Qin but his teammates, She Devil and Kid Devil take down General Qin with ease, but they are ordered by Duan Yan to let him live.
Somewhere overlooking a pond, a narrator tells us how unrest reverberates in the Kingdom with powerful lords holding the real power. In jianghu, the righteous side is led by Zhengyang Palace with the agreement that court politics and jianghu business shall not cross each other’s path.
Only Shanshui Sect does not comply with this unwritten law and their disciples are dispersed throughout the country, identities concealed; connection and intelligence widely interconnected with everything and everyone.
We meet Shanshui Chief, Wen Si Yuan (Zou Ting Wei) as he’s informed by his maid, Ling Xi, that it is time. The curtain behind him lifts up and Ling Xi reads aloud the new intelligence collected today in each mail box. One particular news causes his eyes to be on high alert – Jing An has lost the map! Another message from someone at Fangwai Valley asks for his assistance in retrieving the map. If it’s a successful transaction, their past dues will be settled for good. He/she requests two Zhengyang disciples – Shen Man Qing and Yin Chang Ge, and the master of thieves, Fei Kou Er, to work together.
Si Yuan sighs, this ain’t gonna be easy.
At a gambling house, we finally meet our hero! He’s Zuo Qing Ci (Zhang Yao), a physician who’s making fast money by treating gamblers when their money bag and their heart go down the drain. He’s also the young master of Fangwai Valley. Uh huh.
As he exits the gambling house, his disciple laments how little they made that night and Qing Ci wonders why but his attention is quickly diverted to a passerby and he calls out to the said person.
Said person tenses and reaches for their weapon. Qing Ci merely states that his injury looks quite serious and needs treatment. Said person replies in short, “No Money.”
The said person turns out to be The master Thief! Our heroine in disguise as a man and goes by the name Fei Kou Er (Zhang Ya Qin) and she just drops off a requested item to Si Yuan, who tells her that he needs her to do two more things for him before telling her the location of He Wei Bai.
1) Steal back the Shanhe Map
2) Protect a physician named Zuo Qing Ci
Next morning, the two Zhengyang disciples, Shen Man Qing (played by Deng Yu Li) and Yin Chang Ge (played by Zheng Hao), are led to a room in ShanShui where they are shown a few maps and Si Yuan explains how the precious Shanhe map – containing the country’s land formations, military strategic positions, is stolen by Duan Yan – the only survivor and successor to Prince Wei’s family line. Prince Wei rebelled a few months ago and his families were all executed.
Shen Man Qing reminds Si Yuan how court and Wulin matters do not mix together but Si Yuan is quick to tell her: when there’s no country, there is no home, and that is what will happen if the map gets in the hands of the enemy.
He begs the two young swordsmen to join in the great cause. The younger disciple Chang Ge is ready to be honored as a hero for his country but he is quickly pulled back by his senior sister, Man Qing.
But even Man Qing can’t compete with Si Yuan’s intelligence. He knows the whereabouts of the man she holds a grudge against. If they are successful with their retrieval of the map, he will tell her. TA DA!
The third person to this equation shows up at Shanshui entrance. HA! Of course for such a dangerous task, they need a physician to keep them in good health. Lol. Add the Master Thief, our heroine, and the quartet is complete.
Man Qing sizes our physician up and down and asks how his stamina is, and he hilariously replies that he was born weak and must rest every two hours. LOL. A short version of their conversation below:
“What can you do?”
“Play chess, etc.”
Man Qing: “I don’t need him.”
Si Yuan assures the senior sister that Physician Zuo will be of help.
Fourth person arrives and the two righteous disciples reach for their swords – the Master Thief! They immediately accuse her of stealing the Guihong knife last night. She says no but we know what she did.
Sensing the unwelcoming attitude, our thief leaves the room and will meet them at Ye Pass in ten days. Not much of a choice there; we see Zuo Qing Ci, his disciple (let’s called him Little Disciple from now on), and the two disciples from Zhengyang horse-riding to Ye Pass.
They reach Ye Pass and impatiently wait for Fei Kou Er. She shows up and tells them they have to take a longer route because the area they are headed is uninhabited, extremely cold, and has huge wolves hunting. Senior Sister tells Kou Er to stop her bluff, “If you are scared, you can head back.”
Chang Ge says the same ominous things to Qing Ci, in an attempt to ward him off their trip but our physician can’t let them catch a cold without him. As they move forward, the wind becomes bitingly cold, snow begins to fall, and the idea of wolves keeps them on their toes. They have a good night sleep but one wolf has been keeping tabs on them.
The single wolf attacks in the morning but is knocked aside by Senior Sister’s ….nutball? Lol. Qing Ci is exhausted from the run and rolling down the mountain side, so he passes out. His last image is Kou Er coming for him.
She piggybacks him. Awww. What a role reversal. The doc in distress. Lol.
He wakes up and notices the face mask she’s wearing to pose as a man and asks to be put down. They get to the cave where the other three are resting, with Senior Sister looking pale and leaning against a rock for support.
Kou Er asks for the dry food and leaves without telling them her intentions. Qing Ci feels Senior Sister’s pulse and announces that the cold has reached her bones, he needs a place to treat her. But they can’t leave the cave yet due to the wolf and there’s no food left. Chang Ge and Little Disciple agree that Kou Er probably left them here to die but Qing Ci, without defending her, deduces that she won’t be able to make it back alone in this weather. All they can do is wait.
Outside in the freezing weather, Kou Er hides herself and lures the wolf with food. She crawls slowly towards her target and the wolf can smell her scent and turns around to face her with its ferocious-looking teeth. We don’t get to see the battle. Kou Er carries the dead wolf back to the cave, impressing everyone.
Chang Ge feels bad and apologizes but Kou Er names her prices for the wolf and its skin, immediately making Chang Ge snicker in disdain.
Deep in the night, when everyone is asleep, Qing Ci wakes up, the curiosity about Kou Er bubbling up inside. He heads over to the other side of the cave and watches as Kou Er unwraps layer and layer of clothing from her body. When the clothes drop to the ground, revealing a scar on her ankle, he is stunned, recalling the little girl who was bleeding from her ankle and pushing him against a rock.
—————– END —————–
Kappy: I like it! Yesh I do! Episode 1 is fast-paced with enough information to keep us going and guessing. I really like the setup too, similar to Shifu and his four students’s Journey to the West + the Wuxia elements. Our female lead’s background is very interesting, though I did read snippets about the novel so I know a little bit more about her back story and where she is coming from. The role reversal is a treat in the wuxia world, where the males are almost always more adept and gets to play the hero, I like that our girl is the mysterious one and isn’t much of a talker. Refreshing. I find our male lead very adorable and fitting of the gentlemanly physician (well, maybe not a gentleman since he peeked at her changing! XD). You can say that’s why I gravitated towards the novel and sought out spoilers because it feels different from other wuxia novels.
Let’s hope for a good ride, everyone. I need one.