[Recap] Legend of The White Snake Episode 1

In a forest a thousand years ago, there was this luxurious forest where there were nice deers, nice tall grass and what’s that. AH SNAKE! Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the actress Ju Jingyi.

There seem to be some cataclysmic event happening all around the forest as lightning strikes down and birds fly away. A white snake silently slithers across the obviously CGI forest floor until it reaches a nearby watering hole where it just dive in.

As the snake is swimming through the water, a blinding flash of light is seen. Alakazam! The snake has turn into a pair of feminine legs. Uh…

Just like that a thousand years have past, and now the forest is blooming with flowers and CGI deers enjoy themselves (no longer running). A song plays in the background that honors the way the white snake (now called Bai Su Zhen) have cultivated herself for a thousand years and now she turns into a human! Wow, very humble way to celebrate your achievements write an ode about yourself. It seem that she has been swimming for a thousand years because she is somehow surprise at the fact that she got legs and hands.

She can not really use her arms and legs to their full potential yet and get stuck going back onto the shore. She calls out to a friendly mouse by the name of Jing Song who turns into a human (Nie Zihao) and help our “beloved” snake get onto shore. She excitedly ask Jing Song if he recognize who she was, and he calmly (while snacking on an apple??) tells her that mouses and snakes live together on the forest floor for thousand of years so no matter what she turned into he would always recognize her as he turn around to see Bai Su Zhen for the first time in her human form.

Well isn’t he intrigued. He compliments her on her appearance which she gleefully accepts and then tells her that she sucks at walking. HA! She gave him a slight shove and promises that she will get back to him after she learn how to walk.

Suzhen takes a walk through the forest with our resident mouse as one happy camper just seeing her walk.

He tosses a pebble at Suzhen who easily sideswipes it, amaze that her newfound hands can do such things. She takes a rest and Jing Song tells her that now she has a human form she can easily increase her magical prowess by seducing a human and taking his/her vitality. Suzhen refuses to hear such things, taking pride on the fact that she has taken no shortcuts these past thousand years to get to where she is currently. She decides to follow the way of Guan Yin (a bodhisattva) and to become basically a Buddhist nun.

At a nearby lake, our protagonist and snake whisperer Xu Xian appears. He is being ferry across the lake to a nearby town called Lin An City. He pays his fare using a bunch of grass, but the ferryman doesn’t mind. It seem like Xu Xian is really popular and well known in the city as everyone greets him as he walks down the main road.

In the same city, Suzhen has somehow found her way to a buddhist temple. She kneel and introduces herself in front of a statue of Guan Yin Bodhisattva (acted and voice by Sunny Tu). Suzhen declares that her aim is to relinquish mortal pleasure and follow the way of the buddha. Guan Yin smiles and ask her does she knows what it mean by “letting go of the mortal world”, thank you madame psychologist. Suzhen is puzzled and ask for pointers. Guan Yin then proceeds to say there’s a reason why all life that wants to follow the Dao (path) has to get past the “human” trial. Basically because human beings are AWESOME and only through overcoming temptations can someone/something truly “let go the mortal realm” and transcend to enlightenment. Guan Yin disappears and Suzhen makes up her mind to enter the mortal world so that she can learn the meaning of suppressing desires and become an enlightened being.

Suzhen walks (wow she knows how to walk perfectly now) through a nearby busy market street. She is mesmerize by the playing kids and the street vendors. She decides to go check out a vendor that is selling mirrors and make up to have a look at herself in the mirror (Mrs. Narcissist here). She becomes eye candy to almost everybody there. Even the vendor owner is mesmerize, just to have his wife tug on his ear and calls Suzhen a demoness (in a way not wrong…). Suzhen is oblivious to the meaning of that word, and ask the wife if she was also a demoness and that’s why she knows Suzhen is a demoness. The wife thinks Suzhen is roasting her (which she absolutely did) and calls Suzhen’s family all evil demons. Only then does Suzhen finally figure out that demoness is a “bad term”. She decides that she must blend in to the mortal way of life and style. To that end she goes down a deserted alleyway and does magic on her dress and wallah, new dress.

In all honesty, not that much changed…

At a nearby market, Xu Xian sets up his own stand. Turns out the backpack of grass that he was carrying was in fact medical marijuana. He charges a relatively high fee for an examination, 1 tael of silver. A bunch of market “thugs” from some weird sect call Shennong come up to him and taunt him for being a money hungry bastard (true communist) to which he politely replies that he is a doctor just trying to make a living. The leader of the thugs laughs with his bullies and decides that this doctor needs a beating and they all go in swinging. Xu Xian shows that he ain’t a wimp and proceed to catch the boss thug hand, taking his pulse at the same time.

At first the thug boss is shock, asking Xian if he knows martial arts. Xian calmly replies that he doesn’t and begin listing out the boss symptoms (imbalance in heat, high blood pressure) from that one pulse reading. At first the boss doesn’t believe him because his employer said that the boss would live until 90 yrs old, but Xian says that he will die soon if not treated immediately. The boss and his gang then kiss up to Xian, calling him a godly immortal doctor and ask him for treatment. Xian points to his fees sign and the boss grudgingly forks over 1 tael of silver to get treatment.

Everybody in the market hears the news of some wonderful doctor and instantly rumors of this doctor Xian spreads in the span of several minutes. People called him the incarnation of the famous Han dynasty doctor Hua Tou (who is the first to use anesthesia while performing an operation. A famous story of him is when he cures Guan Yu of his arrow wound) and rush to Xian’s stand to get treatment. Bai Shu Zhen catches word of this “god doctor” and decides to pay him a visit to see if she can learn some of his medical trade (please sister, you’ll learn of his dick 😉 ).

Xian stand is pretty crowded fill with people trying to get examined. As Xian is passing out some medicine to a guy who has a case of the cold, a (I swear this is a female who is dressing as a male oh my god china loves to play this trope) nearby scholar with what look like a pasted on mustache interrupts to show his medical superiority over Xian.

He basically says Xian prescribes the wrong medicine (something to do with the patient has a cold and needs hot stuff but Xian is prescribing a medicine that is “cold”. Eastern medicine is very confusing man). Xian points out that the man has elementary knowledge in medicine, but before he can mic drop further, he catches a glimpse of Bai Shu Zhen. They stare at each other for a moment….

Until the man interrupts Xian with “whatcha abouta say to me bish”. Doctor Xian turns around to see the face of the man accusing him of prescribing the wrong thing and he instantly recognize that the person was actually female in men clothing. Xian decides to not be rude about it and explain to the crowd that the man cough was due to his rib cage injury and not because of the cold. The man admits that he was careless and fracture his rib doing work a few days ago and everybody applaud this god doctor Xian for amazing foresight. The female-man is definitely smitten, and quickly hurries away to the puzzlement of Xian. Before Xian can ponder any further about this mysterious figure, he is bamboozle by the amount of request. Suzhen is unimpressed by Xian mannerism saying he is too arrogant and tells herself that this man doesn’t look much like Hua Tou. She have seen Hua Tou before 1000 years ago (which would place this series around the time of Song Dynasty. 200 years end-ish of Han + 1000 = 1200). She turns to leave.

At a nearby monastery deep in the forest, we are introduce to our favorite villain, Fa Hai (Tim Pei or Pei Zitian) who is deep in meditation. This man seems to have high magic power cause he levitates a stick with his meditation and after some wacky Naruto hand seals, I am sold that he is powerful.

He creates some sort of sense barrier around himself with his stick, allow him to detect the presence of evil monsters around him. Using this enlighten sage mode, he detects a girl chopping wood a couple of meters away. He instant flies to her and calls her an evildoer. The little girl replies that she just wants to follow the path of buddhism and has no intention of harming anyone. Fa Hai would have none of it saying demons are demons and they receive their human form through evil methods of cultivation and therefore must be judged/killed. The two battle, the girl turning into a white leopard form and attacks him and he launching his gold rod using his literal mind. Nobody has the upper hand as the leopard flees and Fa Hai flies after it.

After a wild goose chase, the leopard disappear among the trees and turn into a holy spirit. Fa Hai is in shock……

Turns out it was only a dream and Fahai is in his full blown buddhist attire (with a casa) surrounded by a meditation platform and mystical writings. The master buddhist comes to him and ask if he saw anything during his meditation. Fahai respond that he saw an evil spirit turning into a holy spirit to try to “tempt him”. His teacher is sadden and tells him if he can’t judge what’s on the outside and inside, how can he knows that the evil spirit was really evil. Fahai tells his teacher the respectful version of “bullshit” and says that evil spirit is evil spirit and Buddha is Buddha there’s a difference! His teacher just shakes his head and tells Fa Hai that evil spirit through doing good and being good (living in harmony and harming no human) can turn into a holy figure and a buddhist/human with an evil heart can vice versa, turn into an evil spirit. He warns Fahai to be careful with himself, for evil spirit can be good and good monk can be evil. The Master reveals his latest news, the stars have told him that there is a thousand year evil spirit in Lin An City. The master gives Fahai two treasures, a purple golden bowl to detect and retrieve the evil spirit and his staff, which can react and kill the spirit if its heart have malicious intent. His teacher warns Fahai that if the staff sense no malicious intent, he should let the evil spirit be and basically leave it alone. He warns Fahai NOT TO KILL if the spirit can become good and become an immortal.

Back at Lin An City, Suzhen is walking amongst the street when she saw the strange scholar man from earlier. The strange man, when seeing no one is around, quickly peel off her FAKE mustache and wallah what a surprise she was a woman all along.

Intrigued. Suzhen turns into a “ghostly” form and decide to investigate this mysterious man/woman (acted by Yu Lang by the way) person by going into their house.

Apparently she’s been going around pretending to be a quack doctor to increase Xian reputation, her way of trying to get Xu yonker I guess. Suzhen mistakenly interpret this mysterious person words as Xian hires her to be a quack so that he can increase his reputation as “god doctor” even further. Suzhen decides to teach both of these fools a lesson, trying to blast wind at the woman but the mysterious woman is suddenly called by a person on the outside (who calls out Ruyi so I guess her name is Ruyi). The wind blast miss and hit a flower vase instead. The maid felt the rush of wind and turn her back and when she saw nothing, she follows Ruyi out. Suzhen luckily catches the vase before it falls. In her ghostly mode, Suzhen follows them outside.

The man reveals himself to be Xian who gives her butter cookies. Ruyi plays a “oh youuuu” game but Xu won’t have none of it. He tells Ruyi that her playing the quack doctor role today was, only to be interrupted by Ruyi saying that her act was so clever that she deserves more than just butter cookies. Ruyi ask to see how much Xian earned, and Suzhen shrewdly shoot a blast of wind which push Ruyi back. Ruyi is in shock and when the maid said that she lost her balance, Ruyi turns on her and say why didn’t the maid catch her. Ruyi is pretty angry that her hair pin broke during the imbalance and this (he may not be a god doctor but…) pull god decides to pick flowers for Ruyi so she can put it in her hair leading to this freaking moment….

He tell her that the flower can replace her broken hairpin. Ruyi shyly replies that she ain’t no country bumpkin wearing flowers in her hair. Suzhen overhears (after recollecting herself from being almost discovered) and is offended (she put flowers in her hair when she had that dress transformation).

Suzhen exit her ghost mode and she heads back out to the main entrance. She has a thinking moment, saying that Guan Yin had told her not to use her powers willy nilly and so being a good citizen that she is, Suzhen decides to file a lawsuit to the city court.

Meanwhile Ruyi is totally smitten that the flower is in her hair. Her maid told her to not get so turned on because her father (Xu Xian employer it seems) will be mad at her.

Suzhen goes to the city court and submit her petition. When the officer does not take any action, she encourages him to go catch the swindler because she filed the petition base on “mortal moral values”. The officer ask her how has she been swindled, and when she said that well she hasn’t been swindle exactly, but he ain’t Hua Tou. The officer tells her that Xian is the Lin An mayor son in law and tells her to drop it or else he would have to arrest her instead. She is left alone outside the court building as she mulls over and have a Thanos moment….

Although it didn’t go like in the books she read, Suzhen refuses to back down. She decides to give Xian a warning so he will see the error in his ways and fix them.

Suzhen secret evil plan turned out to be pasting a mustache on her face like freaking Ruyi and pretends to be a man.

Xian is shock to see this weird man although he still manages to ask this “man” if he needs an examination. Suzhen uses the opportunity to drop some Confucian and Meniscus quotes on him saying basically “you must always be honest”. Xian decides to entertain this man and say “Not I” and she vehemently accuse him that he is the person that is pretending to be Hua Tou. He asks her how does she know he is not Hua Tou reincarnation have she possibly seen Hua Tou. Suzhen almost falls for the trap saying that she has, but luckily catches herself in time and ask him to stop trying to change the subject and repent already!

Xian ask the man how he should repent and Suzhen tells him to give her all the money that he earned today and she will redistribute them. Xian then tears off her fake mustache (please sister nobody fell for that… actually wait if she have seen other chinese dramas….) and tells her that he was going to let her off today seeing how she is so young. She is offended by him calling her young (well yes you age super well Ms. White Snake you don’t look a day past 24) as she is kicked out of the shop. Xian smiles a little bit and go back to his work.

Outside, Suzhen decides to take drastic measures into her own hands by appearing once again in her ghost form to mess with Xian.

She begins to blast wind at everything in the workshop just to annoy Xian who has to pick up everything. She accidentally blast a buddha statue in the medicine shop which totally is not affected. Panicking, she decides to drop the matter for today.

Somewhere nearby, a dark wind is approaching a group of kids playing ball with each other.

Suzhen appears outside of the shop entrance again and notices this strong demonic wind. She decides to investigate and run smack into you know who….

She says that she has an important matter to attend to. When he refuses to let her hand go without an explanation (I’m gonna send you to the government office for being a madwoman) she decides to pucker up blowing wind in his face. He instantly drop her hand.

NO GUTS MAN COME ON! As she runs away, he curses her as a loose woman.

At the mayor manor of Lin An city house, dinner (?) is being serve but the mayor son, Li Gongfu (acted by Li Lin) is too upset to eat anything. He tells his wife (who is Xu older sister acted by Zeng Yunzhen) that there has been a series of child-napping and killing (the killer hang the children bloody clothes outside). What’s worse is the fact that these children tend to be the only child from their house. He tells his wife to eat first if he doesn’t make it back home in time for the duration that the perpetrator of these attacks are still out there. The wife nags him and tells him that the neighbors say it’s a monster so how can he possibly fight a monster. Gongfu scolds his wife for being too superstitious just as Xian enters and says that his brother in law is so badass no monsters going to catch him. Gongfu quickly agrees but his wife says “fine then ignore me” leading Gongfu to scold Xian to look out for himself since these monsters are fearsome. They talked about a Madame Yang a lady who has been struck with a mysterious illness. His sister (Gongfu wife) ask him if Madame Yang can be cured, to which he replies that he needs rarer herbs so he’s been looking for ways to raise money so he can cure her. His sister thinks that if Madame Yu is gonna die, it would be too pitiful for her son Chang Sheng. Xian ask where Chang was and when he reveal to his sister that he didn’t see Chang playing outside, the trio rush out to look for Chang Sheng.

Turns out Chang Sheng is at a pawnshop trying to sell a fake pearl so that he can get his mother the treatment he needs. The shopkeeper see that the pearl as worthless and throws it out, telling Chang that this place is not a charity. Chang runs after the marble unaware that an evil cloud is hanging near him. Suzhen arrives just in time to blast the evil cloud away and ask Chang his name and what he was doing running about. Chang replies that his mother is sick and his father broke his leg so he can’t work and that he was chasing after his pearl, which he views as his protection charm. Suzhen is moved by the story and does some magic for him, putting his pearl of a lanyard. so that Chang can wear it and never lose it. Chang calls her an angel from heaven and that since he has been a good kid she will cure his mom. Suzhen agrees as Chang leads her to his house.

The evil spirit follows close by as they approach the Li manor. Suzhen quickly blast it away and Chang turn to her and tells her that he forgot to tell his babysitter that he would be gone for a little while. Suzhen encourages Chang to step in the house and promises that she was going to visit his mom tomorrow.

Xian and co. runs out and find Chang safe, all breathe a sigh of relief. Chang tells Xian of his encounter with a fairy and Xian tells him that she was a swindler and not to be believe, cause magic? BS!

Meanwhile Suzhen tails the evil cloud but soon loose trace of it, although it is literally behind her. She panics when she sees..
*epic drum music* FA HAI COMES TO TOWNNNNN. Suzhen quickly runs away saying that the buddhist monk is so scarryyyy.

As the night falls on Lin An city, the Evil spirit turns into her evil female human form.

She curses out a mere 1000-year worth of prowess snake dare to interfere with her work. The evil female is not alone however an evil male spirit is close by and warns the female of Fa Hai and his rod of destroying evil. She laughs and say that she wants to see this Fa Hai stop her.

The next day Chang Sheng waits for Suzhen in a nearby tree. Xu takes Chang down and tells him that the fairy wasn’t real, she was just a big time swindler. Xu ask Chang to retrieve him a fan, and Chang does while pondering if he was really cheated. Suzhen arrives though as promise and sees the boy mother. She notices that Madame Yu has been poisoned from a certain demon snake as Xu steps in to interrupt the pair. Chang introduce Xu to the fairy and of course they recognize each other. Xu accuses her of being a trickster and a low woman even tricking a kid. Chang interrupts the pair, fearing a big argument and Xu decides that to have a bet on who can cure Madame Yu with Suzhen saying that if she won she can punish 😉 him however she wish. But if he won, he asks her to stay away from Changsheng. Suzhen takes the bet and ask Chang where his mother has gone recently. Chang tells her that every year on this day, his mom goes to Goddess Nuwa temple at a place call “Ten Miles Hill”. At Nuwa Temple there are these four people acting like statues standing nearby the worshipping table. One of them sneeze and cause all four to lose their grip and weapons in their statue like pose.

After a short argument, they notice that their chief has been gone for sometime. They decide to investigate as they smell something coming from outside.

Oh noes, it’s madame GREEN SNAKE (Xiao Yan) that goes by the name of Xiao Qing. She is seen happily eating a fruit while the statue-weapon people screams out for their boss.

Turns out Xiao Qing is their boss and she have only cultivate for 500 years so she has not completely transform into a human yet, she still have a snake lower body. She muses that if she becomes a man after 500 more years, she will surely break a lot of women heart cause of how HOT she looks. She claims that she will be number 1 in looks. Just then Suzhen arrives at the temple and Qing caught a glimpse of her from afar. She is mesmerized by how beautiful Suzhen and instantly say that Suzhen is number 1 and there’s no way she can ever measure up to Suzhen. Her minions point out that she has a nosebleed staring at Suzhen (Lol) and that their boss must keep up her composure.


So apparently this green snake thinks she’s a man, hur hur more crossdressing things eh. Qing tries to coax Suzhen into being her girlfriend while Suzhen is only interested in the antidote. Xiao tells her that if she is willing to become Qing’s girlfriend, then of course Xiao will give everything up. Suzhen gets angry and tells Qing that a mere 500 year snake needs to be taught a lesson and the two end up fighting with Suzhen pulling out an electric white whip.

Qing is finally hit but then turns into her green snake form.

Unfazed, Suzhen says “HENSHIN” and transform into a much bigger white snake…..

Thoughts:

I got to say, it’s a pretty decent first episode. We got a protagonist, a snake who just wants to become a righteous enlighten being. She might be innocent and not knowing the way of the world, but she has one heck of a pure heart for an “evil spirit”. We got a doctor, who I think is a dick (even though it’s only the first episode). Yes he is kind to the kid, but we must remember that this doctor wouldn’t cure a dying patient without paying. Did the patient threaten to beat him up before hand, yes, but like you are a doctor, if the guy has cancer you cure even without the money or even if he is being belligerent it doesn’t matter. I get that Xu Xian needs to make a living too, but come on man a tael of silver is a tad much especially since these people look like ordinary citizens. If they were nobles, by all means take a tael of gold if you want. I hope more of his character is reveal throughout the series, there’s a journey to be had here and also yo you got fiance, UH OH!

I think the best character that we got so far is Fa Hai the antagonist, in this one Fa Hai is not a turtle spirit but an actual monk who has good intention at heart. He is much like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, people might think that’s a bad comparison, although Gaston wanted to kill the Beast because he likes Beauty, if you look at it from another angle he was trying to kill a Beast that look like it would, in the future, harm villagers. Fa Hai is the same thing, although he is willing to go at lengths even trying to kill a little girl just because she was a white leopard spirit (even though she was just minding her own business) but to him she is not a little girl she is an evil spirit that has the potential to harm. Then again, his brand of justice is a bit wrong in believing that people don’t change and this type of justice when apply in real life is why we have discrimination (oooh that stranger who’s not my race MIGHT hurt me you know) and massive genocide. I wonder what happen to him to make him think like this (backstory???), I mean his master clearly states that evil spirit can become good just as good spirit can become evil.

If there’s one thing (beside the CGI) that I do not like about the series so far is certainly its decision to drop the backstory (I mean it might show more of the backstory later in the show). Like to viewers the show does nothing to establish what era it is set in or why does the Bai Suzhen want to become a buddhist in the first place. She mention Guan Yin saving her, but I didn’t see jack, all I saw was lightning deer running she goes to a lake and then a flash of light 100 years have pass. The show seem to pass a lot of her knowledge on mortal lifestyle as “she has seen it in books” uh…… You could have show us a scene like “500 years later” she is still a snake but is becoming more human and human by the day (I mean that’s what you are doing with the green snake Xiao Qing right??) and is reading human books on law and medicine?? It’s also weird for me at least that she is amaze about her hand and feet yet she isn’t amaze when she can shoot her magic powers through them?? I just wish it had shown a progression of the snake Bai Suzhen becoming human and cultivating and reading these mortal books gaining the knowledge then “BANG” a flash of light and a thousand years have pass! Bai Suzhen also claim to see who Hu Tou was during the Han Dynasty and that she had seen him (that’s why I even know that this takes place in the Song). You know a quick progression clip might have helped.

It’s not a bad opening, I just have wish we have seen more than the producer just waving their magic hands and saying “ooooh she seen it in a book. We didn’t show you but she read all of this in a book ooooh”.

Also is it foreshadow, I wonder if mating with a human is an “evil behavior”. I mean keep in mind that the master say don’t KILL the spirit if it can be converted to Buddhism, so I mean if it’s (or should I say she’s) off mating with Xu, that means she won’t be able to reach enlightenment after all. OOOOH DID I SEE A LOOPHOLE??

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