Holy Pearl Episode 1 Recap
We open this drama at an archaeological dig where a new discovery is made. A man has found a zither embedded in a cliff side. After a long time searching, they have finally found something! Professor Ding (Shu Yao Xuan) who is in charge of the dig brushes dirt off the zither and red light shoots out and the sky turns dark and stormy. The cliff side cracks and a flute is then revealed, also embedded. Once the sky returns to normal, the professor says that must be proof that the owners of the instruments must still be fighting today. The professor believes this is a sign they have finally found the ancient relics of the Nan Yue kingdom which existed 3,000-3,500 years ago.
A group including Professor Ding head inside the cliffs to look for more relics and ruins. They are surprised by the spaciousness of the ruins they find. They take off their breathing masks, but Professor Ding tells them to be very careful and cautious. Why? They are in the forbidden Nan Yue kingdom. This kingdom was far more advanced than any other kingdom of that time or since. There is no telling what traps lie in wait for them. After the earlier pyrotechnics, I wouldn’t want to be in that cave, but Professor Ding and his team are all happy to be there and making such a discovery.
In their exploration of the ruins, the team finds the legendary Nine Stars’ Wheel. This precious wheel is what the people of Nan Yue used to predict the past and future. Of course Professor Ding wishes to take this most valuable item. The two younger men set about taking the wheel off of its pedestal and in National Treasure or Indiana Jones style this triggers an elaborate booby trap which sends spiked balls on chains flying through the air. The walls and floors start cracking and the team must make a desperate run to escape the cave before they are squished by the spikes or fall into the crevasse. Professor Ding is forced to jump across the increasing chasm, but his students manage to save him and they all escape the ruins.
We then cut to a statue of a man with lightning crackling before going to a peaceful and beautiful water scene where a pretty young woman is approached by a demon travelling in puffs of what looks like black smoke. She smiles and turns, but the demon quickly hits her with a blast and she drops a green vase and is flung into the water. She herself must be a sorceress or something as light surrounds her and keeps her from being submerged. The demon quickly absconds with the base and the injured woman goes back to the pavilion yelling at his retreat demanding to know why he lied. Oh…and of course she starts screaming how much she hates him.
Apparently this scene is the recurring dream of modern day woman Ding Yao (Gillian Chung)—Professor Ding’s only daughter. She’s preparing for her thesis dissertation and nodded off at the meeting, earning her the professors’ scorn. She is even laughed at when she is asked what her dissertation will be about and she spills out “clay dolls” as they were on her mind as ever since she received that clay doll amulet she wears from her father, she’s this same dream over and over again.
On her way home Ding Yao still ponders the dream’s connection to the clay doll when she runs into the her friend Xiao Ye who teases her about falling asleep at the meeting. Ding Yao blames her father for calling her at midnight and making her do some research. She then shows off her amulet and says that she only has nightmares because of this Nan Yue relic which is supposed to protect her. Ding Yao is worried about her thesis and the nightmares aren’t helping. Her friend then ditches her to go be with her boyfriend and this worsens Ding Yao’s mood. She’s never even been in love. She asks the amulet for help and when a car pulls over she wonders if her plea worked, but it’s just a middle aged man looking for the parking lot, lol.
She then gets a call from her father telling her to go to his office later and do some research on the Nine Stars’ Wheel. Ding Yao is miffed that this request is the first thing out of his mouth when she just had her dissertation meeting. Her father apologizes and asks how it went, but Ding Yao refuses to tell him, though she does promise to go and do the research he requests. Ding Hao then complains about the amulet and her father says it is a protection charm and he wishes her to have it since it is old. He then says he’ll be away for several more days since they have made progress. Ding Yao hangs up and her mood improves as she should be able to find information for her own research (since daddy is a history professor).
When Ding Yao arrives at her father’s office the Nine Stars’ Wheel is being delivered. Ding Yao is then left alone in the office and Uncle Zhou tells her not to stay too late and to remember to turn off the lights and lock the doors. Ding Yao then starts her research and we cut to the dig site where her father is busy working. A new discovery is found. This time it is a box found in a tomb. It’s an artifact of South Nan Yue and a female worker is tasked with figuring out how to open it.
We now get to learn the myth of the wheel. Ding Yao’s readings say that the goddess Nuwa made the wheel out of the broken heaven’s staircase. The wheel was then always in the possession and care of the high priest of South Nan Yue and was kept in the country’s special sacrificial tomb. The wheel is the most prized possession of the country. Learning all of this, Ding Yao puts away her book and gets up to look at the wheel. There’s a passcode lock, but she easily cracks it as it’s her mother’s birthday. Looking at the wheel, Ding Yao feels it is nothing special, but unbeknownst to her the amulet begins to shine and the smiling face turns into a frowning face.
Back at the dig, the box is opened and the most startling discovery is made—a picture! Not a painting, but an actual photograph on real paper. How is that possible when the technology and paper did not exist at that time. Our workers are then tasked with restoring the photograph. While they are doing this, Ding Yao asks the wheel to tell her about her future husband and her amulet starts glowing again. Our female worker Lin Qing is joined by Zhang Pao and the two talk about what the picture could contain. Both are horrified to see that when the picture is restored the woman in the picture looks exactly like Ding’s daughter Ding Yao.
Back at the office, just as Ding Yao complains of no reaction, the wheel begins turning and electricity sparks between her amulet and the wheel which spins faster and faster. A storm brews and a hole opens up in the clouds outside. Ding Yao is then pulled into the wheel and everything calms down once more at the office while back at the dig the hole in the sky is seen by the workers and Ding urgently calls his daughter only to receive no response. Ding then tells Lin Qing to take him back to the office to check on her.
When Ding Yao wakes up she is in a strange place filled with antiques and where the Nine Stars’ Wheel sits. So you can say that she is in the exact same spot her father found the wheel…only it is in mint condition here. Ding Yao tries her cell phone, but no service. She wanders around and sees a man in a field of light which sends her running when she is then surrounded by guards and dragged out for trespassing—a crime punishable by death!
A woman clothed head to toe in red and gold is sitting and playing the zither when a woman in purple runs up to tell her shifu that a woman was caught in the sacred temple. Mu Lian (Guo Zhen Ni) has no idea why she needs to be informed of this, just execute the person as per normal. The young woman then reveals that the culprit is none other than Xian Yue. This startles our scarlet maiden.
Ding Yao is brought outside a palace and is told that she is there to be beheaded. She demands to see the person in charge and then starts spewing modern law. When she finally demands to know where she is, Ding Yao is startled to hear Southern Nan Yue! Could she really have travelled back in time 3,500 years? Enter Mu Lian who inspects her and decides she is not Xian Yue. She orders her death and leaves. The general orders his men to behead her when the emperor, king, whatever returns from hunting and demands to know what is going on. The general denounces Ding Yao as a demoness about to be executed. And guess what happens? His royalness Rong Di (Patrick Tam) thinks she’s Xian Yue, too! He immediately pulls her into a hug which earns him a hard slap across the face. You’d think Ding Yao wouldn’t have done such a thing given her life was hanging in the balance, but thankfully Rong Di doesn’t take offense and even has her life spared!
Ding Yao is taken to a room and allowed to clean up. She is amazed at the place, but she does wonder how to get home…and how to take back all of these antiques! That would make daddy happy wouldn’t it? Of course, our Mo Yun priestess Mu Lian must confront Rong Di. The girl is not Xian Yue and should be put to death, but as the leader, doesn’t Rong Di have the power to pardon the woman? Well, the scarlet priestess can’t argue against that. Of course, she does wish that Rong Di would wake up and forget about his beloved Xian Yue who will never come back.
As Ding Yao walks around, she gets servants to give her a gold bowl and that’s when Rong Di shows up. As soon as he does Ding Yao warns him to stand his ground and not come near her. She doesn’t care who he is, she doesn’t want to be manhandled. It’s funny what she does and says to make him stay away. Eventually he gets he needs to keep outside of Ding Yao’s personal bubble and invites the girl to lunch with the general and Mu Lian who is again quick to assert Ding Yao is NOT Xian Yue (who is the previous priestess who has passed away…and also the love of Rong Di’s life…not to mention the first woman who ever rejected him—Ding Yao is the second). Oh, and Ding Yao tells her crazy story which Mu Lian and the general denounce as nonsense.
We end with Mu Lian advising Rong Di to get rid of Ding Yao from Nan Yue as soon as possible, but of course Rong Di, I’m sure, sees this as a second chance…even if Ying Dao is nothing like his beloved Xian Yue. No romance is good if you base it on the fact that a person looks like a former lover (or sibling or parent).
This is NOT an official adaptation of Inu Yasha, but even if it was, drama writers take tons of liberties with manga stories that are officially sanctioned. So, don’t expect this drama to be like the beloved manga and anime. It has similar elements and somewhat parallel plots, but there are tons of changes woven in culturally and in the overall story, like with Rong Di and Mu Lian and Xian Yue. I haven’t read the manga, but I did watch the anime and from what I recall, there really wasn’t anything like that.
I am enjoying this drama for what it is and I do squee a bit when I recognize some Inu Yasha arcs and themes.