Taiwanese Entertainment, Tender Huang, Yvonne Yao

Xiao Hai Da Ren

Because I wanted to watch Yvonne and since it was 8 episodes, I thought it should be all right, considering how I don’t have any problems with the rest of the cast. So how was it? Pretty good actually. In fact, surprisingly good.

Lin Zhen Sheng and Xiao Meng Feng were both framed for a crime they didn’t commit, one being a murderer and the other a thief. They crossed paths when Meng Feng was supposedly one of the hunters for the final reward. However, Meng Feng’s intention wasn’t the money. She wanted justice. Lin Zhen Sheng was said to have killed his wife, so he escaped to the wilderness with his son (who was just a baby at the time). A chase ensued with cops and other hunters involved, which ended tragically–with Zhen Sheng committing suicide by jumping into the sea. Five years later, both father and son resurfaced again and another chase began. However, Meng Feng was the one trying to protect the little boy from harm.

Main Cast:

  • Lee Wei as Lin Zhen Sheng (林振昇) aka Da Ren (大人). He was framed for the death of his wife and had to flee with his child still only a baby. Not only did he have to deal with the cops but also the hunters (who were after the reward). At first, I wonder why he was so reluctant to fight back. I get the beginning where he had no choice but to run since everyone was out to get him. YET later when he was in a somewhat safe situation and had the cops to back him  up, I didn’t get why he didn’t turn the other dude in. SO the other guy was his friend and also brother-in-law YET it wasn’t worth his or his kid’s freedom. When the whole truth revealed, I finally get it and felt that he was really stuck in a major obstacle. His family was so messed up that it was hard to deal with regardless. He had chosen to let go and seek peace, but they had forced him to throw the ultimatum. I seriously think Lee Wei does better in these types of closer to real life situation dramas than the typical idol dramas. NOT that I didn’t think he was convincing in the other ones or too one-dimensional. But I always felt he fit more into the serious drama category because he often acted with his eyes and less expression hence looking passive to viewers who were used to watching the usual exaggeration of facial expressions.
  • Lee Kang Yi as Xiao Meng Feng (蕭孟楓). The ending was a shocker with her character. It wasn’t surprising that she could hack into Zhen Sheng’s account and send out the e-mail since she was a pro in computer related things all right with her ability to fake the ID card that one time, among other things. YET I didn’t see it coming with her being the one. But it made sense since it was the only reasonable explanation in how she didn’t cave into the reward money but wanted to take in Xiao Hai and protect him even if her own security was being threatened. I know there are good people in this world who wouldn’t care for that type of reward, but in her situation, it wouldn’t be too ‘over’ with her wanting to improve her lifestyle by taking the reward money. Having a grudge with the Xia family once upon a time was one thing, but chasing after that reward money wasn’t too unreasonable either. It was guilt that had dominated her decisions in protecting Xiao Hai ’til the end since she did have a hand in influencing others to take action on Zhen Sheng (but had accidentally killed the wife instead). She can’t be blamed for others’ actions totally but what I’m saying is it was her guilt being the key to her unwavering decision. Same for Lee Wei, I think she fend better in serious type of dramas. Maybe the pressure to convince in idol drama was higher or the needing to add the right touch of exaggeration seemed too much. She would be better off doing these types of dramas since I liked her after watching Wayward Kenting and felt it was a shame she’s not more popular.
  • Tender Huang as Fang You Long (方又龍). A somewhat bizarre cop, but good in general. I thought he would be one of those really dark characters yet he was quite funny at the scene where he was in the boss’ office and the man was persuading him to get married with Xin Yu and he got back at the man by saying that his father wanted to severe ties with him (the boss). NICE… YET within all those jokes aside, he was indeed a righteous cop with high analytical talent and a solitaire persona to go with it. What made it realistic about him was how he wasn’t thinking about himself as a hero (because he was helping Zhen Sheng). It was more about his guilt and that he didn’t want to become a killer by just arresting people day after day. He thought of it as a burden because it wasn’t like everyone was guilty or more like his supposed ‘goal’ was getting wavered. He even realized he was losing it with going astray from the ‘cop’ route but at the same time, the concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ was deluding because of what he saw versus what he had learned (and carried out as part of the job). First time watching him (though I have heard of him already) and was impressed. Natural.
  • Yvonne Yao as Jiang Xin Yu (江欣瑜). I must admit this is like the first time watching anything with Yvonne in it properly (aka no skipping around). I tried to not get all biased toward her character (aka favoring her instead of focusing on the character), but soon accepted that it was all right she wasn’t portraying a more likable character. I was okay with her having contributed to the plot greatly (of course since she was responsible for capturing Zhen Sheng). Then I settled for how her character sort of made us realize there exist such people in life, always seeing what was in the box–and with a competitive attitude, it was dangerous all right. However, her turnaround was when she actually entered the Xia household personally and had a talk with the father and son. It seemed that she wasn’t really blinded with her sense of justice, but it was just her stubbornness getting in the way. She didn’t waver to those temptations with offering a smooth sailing career (i.e. allowing her to advance toward a higher position). Perhaps because of how she had chosen when presented that particular minion, we could appreciate her stubbornness and forgive her previous actions. After all, she was a person big on technicalities, right? And OMG, I so didn’t expect her to die. I swear! I thought she would continue to be her strong and independent self, leading on her team after this particular case. YET she died. (Is Yvonne meant to play these types of tragic characters?)
  • Luo Xuan Ming (駱炫銘) as Lin Yu Sen (林昱森) aka Xiao Hai (小孩). He grew up in the wilderness so of course his knowledge of what existed on the other side of civilization was foreign to him. At least where the whole pop culture went. Yet it seemed he had a lot of natural instincts and survival skills, which his father had taught him (to ensure his safety in case situations present itself). But it wasn’t like he was that clueless on some things, because he had known about those classics but Meng Feng didn’t. (Yup, thanks to his father for listening to those and teaching him about it.) What could I say about this child actor? He should be one of the kids getting some attention here because he was really convincing. He could look cute if it was the case, but someone had made a good call by keeping his character consistent with his somewhat rouge personality and allowing him to carry some sense of attitude. After all, he had been taught of survival skills and the whole hunter/prey concepts throughout those five years, so it would be irrelevant to make him suddenly a cute, cuddly teddy bear. It wasn’t like he wasn’t any less cute, but he didn’t act all ‘cute and cuddly’ to receive more viewers’ attention.
  • Pan Bo Xi as Ku Ku (酷酷). OMG, I feel so bad for him. His personal space got invaded and he also got threatened. SAD. But that was funny how he was being bullied by both Meng Feng and Xiao Hai. And sometimes I ponder about him, especially when Zhen Sheng returned to civilization and even stayed at their place for a while. I wouldn’t blame him for being scared out of his wits of the situation–if it were the case. Yet it was just too suspicious at times since his character was somewhat hard to figure out (if he was going to turn them in), which had nothing to do with Pan Bo Xi’s acting since I felt he portrayed the character convincingly. I was just getting paranoid because of the trust factor being quite questionable in many cases in here. Yet he pulled through with saying that they (he and Meng Feng) should take Xiao Hai in if Zhen Sheng didn’t come back.

Others:

  • Leo Ding as one of the cops. He appeared in episode 1 when they were doing the chase five years ago, but didn’t appear later. It was a shame but not too unreasonable since it was five years later, who knew what happened so it wasn’t like he would be around and about at the same place. I felt his somewhat smart aleck comments contributed to the already intense background because there would always be some cop making those types of comments at a crime scene or some similar situation. Wasn’t too out of it.
  • Deng Zhi Hong as Deputy Chief Officer (副局長). He was sure a voice of guidance in here though he seemed weak at times. The reason why he was even torn between doing what he should (aka his job) and emotional conflicts was because he was trying to look after Fang You Long. He was also often forced to take sides between You Long and Xin Yu. Though he received some blows from both parties but he continued to be advising them throughout the investigation. Though known to be looking after You Long and supporting him, but I think most of the memorable scenes were with Xin Yu since he often advised her on various matters, even scolding her if she was going past the line. (But in a way, I guess the conversations with Xin Yu emphasized his caring for You Long, etc.) One of his memorable lines was near the end of episode 7 when he told Xin Yu that money and power could buy a lot of things, including human life.
  • Fu Lei as Xia Yong Jun (夏永鈞). His words at the beginning were full of ironies even if I didn’t pay attention to the whole speech he was saying and how he had lie, etc. Well, I never thought he had a hand in his own daughter’s death (though it wasn’t impossible). I just didn’t think of it at that time. What was ironic though was his claim that he didn’t want to seek revenge on the killer, but only wanted his grandson to be safe and be with him, etc. Come on now, he might as well be saying: “I don’t need to take revenge, you guys could do that for me.” YUP, that was what I was thinking. You send people out on a manhunt with that amount of a reward and expect the other dude to be unharmed? NICE… (Or was that his purpose all along?) Well, if it were other situation, it would make sense that the father would be pissed off, in fact–beyond livid, if his daughter got killed by his son-in-law. BUT I just felt it was ironic with the statement of not wanting revenge when offering such a large reward for the kid.
  • Yao Yi Ti as Xia Xiu Min (夏秀敏). The poor victim who was too trusting. Well, it was her own family after all and I do admire her for supporting them and not just side with her husband like that. Though she had found out later of the real version and wanted to keep it under wraps (again, because they were family) and he had let go as well, but because of the e-mail, she had died in his place in the end.
  • Cindy Mong as Yan Xing Fang (顏幸芳). Can’t sympathize with her. Regardless. I don’t know. It’s just too much. She didn’t believe her daughter? Okay, so the pressures of the public was too much, but did that make it better by delivering the final blow? At least they had each other for support YET she pulled the final step under her daughter by letting on that her daughter should end it? Emotional support sometimes make the toughest situation better so there it went.
  • Olivia Wu as Xiao Wii (小Wii). I don’t know. It wasn’t her fault for what happened since she was captured. So no comment except she tried.
  • Wu Ting Hong as Ba Shang (巴尚). Always portraying the same type of role with loving his culture, singing those inspirational songs, and being his humble self. No complaints either. He did contribute to being part of the supporting team for the father and son.
  • Jet Chao as Chen Bo Lun (陳伯倫). What could I say aside from “I want to kill him too”? Honestly, the most despicable and/or hateful character in here. Yet I guess his character (among other hunters) gave us the side of how human nature had become when some type of situation occurred, such as that of the reward that was offered twice. Life’s not about all the marshmallows and granola bars but the down side of human’s driven instinct to fulfill a certain agenda was risking everything to achieve that, even if it took depriving other fellow mankind a chance to live.
  • Zhao Shun as Fang You Long’s father. A convincing performance. I had seen him more in hilarious dramas, portraying a father or grandpa. This time, it was the father but his character extended that to coping with his own sickness, and at the same time wanting to cheer his son on.
  • Ma Li Ou (馬利歐) as He Zhi Wei (何智偉). Knew he was bad from the moment he appeared. Blame it on paranoid, LOL! I don’t trust him. He just looked too suspicious (and probably intentional for the plot).
  • Lan Wei Hua as Li Zhi Ming (李志明).
  • Fang Shao Wei as Zhang Yong Kuan (張永寬).
  • Chen Jian Heng as Song Xiang Yang (宋向陽). Xiao Li’s boyfriend. Also the one responsible for Jiang Xin Yu’s death. Yet it felt satisfying when he thought he could get away with it but he became hunted in the end.
  • Xue Ti Ying as Xiao Li (小莉). The traitor. The same fate as her boyfriend. I didn’t care if she was upset when she found out her boyfriend had fired the gun at Jiang Xin Yu. She helped him throughout with all the other stuffs, sabotaging them.
  • Wang Dao Nan as Chief Officer. Part of the corrupted team. Or was he? I don’t know. There were just too many people involved in the whole mess that I ended up losing track, except for their immediate supervisor.
  • Lesley Hu as Xiao Hong (小虹). A loyal friend who had stuck through thick and thin with Meng Feng throughout different topsy-turvy situations. She took care of Meng Feng’s mother while Meng Feng wasn’t around, and even aided in all she could. Her threats to You Long to take good care of Meng Feng was both touching and hilarious since it seemed like he couldn’t back down.
  • Liu Xiao Qi as Xiao Luo (小羅). Almost thought it was him instead of Xiao Li, lol. Okay, so I wanted to pick on the guy but usually they make the girls the weakling (at least in other TW dramas I’ve seen). Wasn’t around much so I can’t comment but sure contributed to the case as one of the possible moles of the team.

Bonds/Relationships/Others:

  • Lee Wei and Luo Xuan Ming as Da Ren and Xiao Hai aka the father and son team. Quite touching (as it should be between father and son). Though raised far from civilization and somewhat abnormal to others yet it didn’t mean the kid was any different. He was quite attached to his father regardless of what he would come to know with all the correct terms to call his father (or know of it).
  • Lee Kang Yi and Luo Xuan Ming as Xiao Meng Feng and Xiao Hai. I loved their interaction. At first, it seemed like she was going to be the gentle caring kind, which she could. Yet the two of them trying to get along was just hilarious. He was driving her insane with all the questions and she was trying her best to explain. What was even more hilarious was the little kid knew of Tchaikovsky’s music YET she didn’t know. It was just too funny. Priceless moment when she kept going, “What?” and he took over the explaining, lol. What became touching between the two of them was when Xiao Hai realized she had became a prey just like him (after Kuku explained the situation), and he stepped over to where Meng Feng was working on her laptop and sat down back-to-back just like how he and his father used to do. It was like acknowledgment that she had become family. Not to mention the trust and sense of security the kid felt toward her (which Zhen Sheng said in episode 6 before he left the car).
  • Meng Feng, Xiao Hai, and Kuku under the same roof. Hilarious. Kuku was so outnumbered, lol. Kuku’s home got invaded by two barbarians! (LOL!) He suddenly had to behave around his house? It was so funny how Kuku was given the threat by Xiao Hai if he didn’t eat the hamburger. They both don’t like it anyway, but Kuku was given the ultimatum? LOL! Poor Kuku! And what was funnier was seeing Kuku complaining to Meng Feng that Xiao Hai was being partial to her versus him. (LOL!)
  • Lee Kang Yi and Tender Huang. I don’t really know how to call them since they were a mixture of being on the opposite side at the beginning yet shared some kind of companionship throughout the later parts of the plot. I liked it that they were speaking in codes when they were contacting each other and all. Then the funniest part was him telling her to be careful yet he didn’t realize he had been followed and/or being monitored by his own team until she told him. Then there was the trust between the two of them. It wasn’t like they trusted each other immediately after the whole rescue scene at the beginning. Their trust built slowly and rationally because it made sense they were on their guards, considering the circumstances they met. And how they were considered to be on opposites, but I found their trust for one another held true, unlike other cases where trust should have been mutual yet it wasn’t as they had thought. Their relationship developed slowly from unsure whether they should trust one another to some sort of partnership/companionship/conspirators (whatever you want to call it) and then love. It wasn’t rushed or unrealistic like other dramas where you suddenly just ‘know’ he/she was the one. (*roll eyes* Sorry, I had to put that in.) Their relationship was built over time, not letting on they were living in some delusional world. What I felt was quite refreshing was the scene near the end where they met in the woods again and she ran over to hug him, but he had said that he hadn’t forgotten Xin Yu yet. She replied that she didn’t want him to forget Xin Yu, but she just want him to remember her (Meng Feng). It made all the difference with their type of relationship and was consistent with the rest of the plot thus far. Whereas other dramas where they always convince us that the leads have to forget some other person and focus 100% on the current person to be acceptable (which I would understand since no one in their right mind would want their significant other to think of someone else all the time), this one had said it was all right that someone else lived in the guy’s heart. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that Xin Yu had died, but I also remember other dramas wanting someone to forget the ‘deceased’ being 100% too before moving on. But this one didn’t force that concept into play. It made Meng Feng a refreshing character. (And of course he had considered her feelings hence uttering out those words, not wanting to be unfair to her when he knew he still have Xin Yu in his heart. YUP, reality check was always good since it would be too flaky if he didn’t say that but just hugged her back and/or added some other cheesy line about them finally being together.)
  • Tender Huang and Yvonne Yao. Refreshing pairing for me yet their characters didn’t allow more chemistry (and it made sense not to linger just there), but it wasn’t lacking either since I could feel the intensity of a couple bickering, among other scenes of sweetness or tormented feelings. They were so wrong for each other and he had realized it already. Finally breaking it off was a hard blow for her hence making her mixing between work and personal. Though she had said it hadn’t affected her judgment but I felt she was out to prove her principles more than anything. And though I don’t agree with what she had done but I felt the reaction made sense. Sometimes couples do not realize they shouldn’t stick together or at least one person sees it but the other couldn’t. It was the latter in their case. (And it rang so true with places not allowing co-workers to date OR it would lead to disaster.) I was on my way of convincing myself it was all right they didn’t end up together but the finale made it so heart-wrenching that it was so hard to let go. The part where he heard that Song Xiang Yang’s girlfriend was a cop named Xiao Li, he was running like mad to get there yet it was too late. And in situations like these, I felt it was okay that he was being unsure that one time when she left after the arrests to go and deal with Xiao Li’s situation. (YES, he looked like he was thinking some possibility or was torn between her and Meng Feng.) I guess when they let their ‘being right’ get in the way, it was better off breaking up. When they cooled down and made their peace (in this case she knew he was right in his hunches), it wasn’t impossible to rethink their relationship. Though I knew they wouldn’t get back together anyway–even if she hadn’t die, it wasn’t too unreasonable to have lingering feelings because they had been together for five years already. (Right? That was my guess since it seemed they weren’t together at the beginning of the story but maybe was just working together when he was brought in as an expert.)
  • Tender Huang and Zhao Sun as father and son. They were convincing all right. I felt that hug when You Long returned from the hospital and the old man thought it was Meng Feng and the other two returning from the park. And the old man said he knew his son would make it. That was touching indeed.

Likes:

  • Reality Check. At first, I thought there were some careless moments like how Meng Feng didn’t lock her door when she got in the car to escape with Xiao Hai (since it was common sense after all), but in the later parts, I found it flowing along with real life instances. There were little details that helped convince different situations.
  • Genuine. Perhaps it might go along with the previous point. But what made it likable was its ability to carry through without adding side formulas that would turn into the whole ‘lame’ zone.
  • Theme. I liked it that it revolved around the pair of father and son among other types of relationships and happenings in life. I guess I’m just sick of watching too much romance stuffs from TW dramas and found it refreshing to see it focus on family or other types of relationship rather than just romance. I meant I know everything co-exist at once in other dramas too, but the main focus was always romance between the main leads, and not as much as focused on other types of bonds.
  • No romances between Zhen Sheng and Meng Feng hence no triangle between the three main leads. The triangle was already subtle between Meng Feng/You Long/Xin Yu so I had to thank the script-writers of sparing us the moment of another triangle. They didn’t have time anyway BUT glad they didn’t include that too. Technically, You Long had broke it off with Xin Yu because of their conflicting POV and had fell for Meng Feng after but because of Xin Yu’s continued feelings for You Long, I sort of treat that as a triangle. That was why I was so glad it didn’t happen with Zhen Sheng/Meng Feng/You Long as well. It would take away the whole focus on the father and son relationship between Zhen Sheng and Xiao Hai. And I have no problem if Zhen Sheng were to find love in the future after he put his past behind him, etc BUT it would have been a joke if they had done that at the same time when he was already in a mess.

Conclusion? It’s such a shame that these types of dramas aren’t as popular nowadays. It’s really a gem within all those current ones. The characters in here are so genuine, capturing different types of people existing in real life. And their relationships and/or interactions might or might not be similar to the ones we know near us. But because of how it was projected, we could really relate to them. Whether it was Lin Zhen Sheng’s choice to run for it, defending himself rather than relying on others since the beginning (because he had been betrayed by someone so close by). Or if it was Xiao Meng Feng who used her connections of friends actively when she was on the run (at least for the first part of the escape). And what about that of Fang You Long who was quite righteous but also considered other possibilities to different stories? He wasn’t a perfect being (just like everyone in here) but he also represented a part of reality where one would understand life wasn’t about pure black and white, but a whole lot of grayness in between. Then there was Jiang Xin Yu who stick to her principles and stubbornness with not caving in to other types of measures, believing that she was approaching things in the right direction. She was possibly the least likable among the supposedly “good side” in here (at least until near the end), but also someone who existed in real life. After all, don’t we all know some people who wouldn’t cave in to anything? Unless they suggested there was evidences or supposedly doing everything the way they thought right? But it wasn’t like the script-writers had gone out of their way to make us hate Xin Yu so we could sympathize with the other female lead better since Xin Yu’s admittance to You Long later in the hospital had allowed us to look into her character a bit more. It was her vulnerable side and that she was a woman after all–aside from that police officer tough exterior, and a woman who wanted to protect the man she loved with all she thought she could do (whether it had been the wrong approach or not). Then there was Xiao Hai, an innocent kid who knew a lot about survival of the fittest but wasn’t utterly cruel because of his contamination of the wilderness and his father’s teaching. He had a lot to learn about the real civilization but his emotions were very real with the people around him. What made the characters real was also because they didn’t have to be on the opposite of the scale with one really hyperly active versus the other being passive like in other dramas. Their principles and actions defined who they were without needing to stand out. That had made the difference.

Trust was like the driven vehicle throughout the plot. It was questioned numerous times between different characters. Yet who could they really trust? Lin Zhen Sheng was betrayed by someone rather close to him hence the flee at the beginning. Xiao Meng Feng was forced to cave in and admit guilt by her mother, but still chose to trust her friends–and later Fang You Long. Fang You Long had trusted his team yet they had betrayed him. (If he hadn’t trusted them, would he have been that upset upon the discovery–and the eventual confrontation?) Then there was the hybrid of polices whom were no longer trustworthy because they could already be bought over by the many promises doled out or money thrown in. It was hard to blame Jiang Xin Yu totally for sticking to her principles of what was the correct process in an investigation because that stubbornness had allowed her to stand firm with the justice side, not caving in to the temptation thrown her way.

What I love about this drama (YES, I had used ‘love’) was the anti-dramatic element. Well, there were quite a few nerve-wrecking scenes in here. Yet it wasn’t portrayed in a way that was too over. Nor was it magnetized with the dramatic moments to the point that we caught the creators of the show trying too hard to make it a suspenseful drama. There were tear-jerking moments and emotional confrontations, but it wasn’t overdone to the point that we realized it was too flaky (aka done on purpose to grab attention that it seemed too unreasonable and out of the plot’s context). No one was really the real hero, but was just drifting along doing what they had to in the circumstances that were presented. After all, how many situations in life do we see all the whole ‘hero’ scenes so dramatic presented like onscreen in other dramas? Sure, we all want to be the hero in situations, but it wasn’t like it happened so dramatically. Sometimes, it was just the small deeds that occurred. But then again, the reason why this drama might not be as popular is because people love dramas and love being drama-kings and queens so why not seek for more exciting shows, right?

*Image was captured by DTLCT

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