(image credit: as marked)
Interestingly, I never reviewed this either. Or at least, I didn’t care to go back, lol. I just didn’t feel like doing that at that time. I don’t know. I guess I might as well since I had some notes and all. How was it? Mixed feelings throughout actually. I guess it was inevitable–due to the fact that this wasn’t the first version ever to be made. But there were some things that stuck out, which were hard to ignore. I’ll start with the usual, of course, before diving in deeper.
- Li Yi Tong (李一桐) as Huang Rong (黄蓉). She was adorable. If you could say that about Huang Rong, that was. She could be so mischievious at times too. If you read the novel or watched past adaptations, you get the idea. I don’t need to say it anymore. But what made her different and stood out for me was how the production team didn’t cut back on her martial arts scenes. I don’t know. In the past, only one person who portrayed Huang Rong made an impact for me during fight scenes and that was Athena Chu. (Yes, I loved Barbara Yung and she’s irreplacable and made an impact and was also my favorite Huang Rong but the production team cut back and downplayed her fight scenes so she didn’t shine in that area for me. There was a lot of awesomess about her, so that part could be overlooked.) Yes, I said it. But Athena’s fight scenes (especially the part they snuck into the enemy’s camp to investigate at the beginnning and she used various martial arts techniques to fend off her opponents. That was one of the scenes that defined her character but past adaptation had failed.) Anyway, back to Li Yi Tong’s scenes, I loved her martial arts scenes even more. Although, the production team did exaggerate at some parts, but it actually enhanced Huang Rong’s martial arts skills and made up for all the versions that downplayed her skills. I meant we heard from other characters about her background and having inherited all her father’s skills–and much more. Yet it was like she didn’t get the chance to demonstrate her skills. This one, it gave Huang Rong plenty of space for that and Li Yi Tong carried out her role wonderfully throughout. She was witty, she was intelligent and could be so cunning time called for it. Other times when she was with Guo Jing, she let her innocent and gentle side came out, which was a nice touch because it showed a different side of her when she was with the one she loved.
- William Yang Xu Wen (杨旭文) as Guo Jing (郭靖). He was surprisingly impressive. Yes, it was mostly because he was brand new (or almost) at that time. No one really knew what to expect of him. Yet he delivered. He became my second favorite Guo Jing. Yes, I’m picky. Granted, Guo Jing is really hard to portary. He could be so noble and firm in his beliefs (mostly influenced by his upbringing) but could be so clueless about other stuff. It could be said that he was just simple-minded, uscheming and had a kind heart. William did really well potraying those characteristics. What made him a success for me was how he managed to portray the character in a normal sense, not slow his motor skills. What do I mean by that? Some of the past adaptations seemed to let on that just because Guo Jing was a toned down character and simple-minded (unscheming), he should be slow when it came to his motor skills too. (Well, unless it was during the fighting scenes, of course.) That was not the correct approach–just because some people thought that was how a simple character should be. William portrayed it in a way that was much more normal for Guo Jing’s age, considering how he was indeed exploring the various environments when the others led him back to the mainland. Then there were lots he had to learn about human mind, instead of his somehwat safe bubble since little. His reactions were normal and relatable, not just super slow and disorganized like some had portrayed previoulsy. So, yes, I credited him and the production for noticing those details and wanted to humanize his character even more instead of the robotic ways some had chosen to portray the character. Some ended up abandoning the approach halfway, which made the character even more contradictory thus failing. (That was why, aside from Felix, I hadn’t liked anyone who potrayed this character before.) The little details mattered. That was why William became my second favorite after watching.
- Zoey Meng Zi Yi (孟子義) as Mu Nian Ci (穆念慈). Unfortunately, she was a major disappointment as Mu Nian Ci. I actually liked her style at first with her powerful moves and her vibrant appearance at times. I felt it was a different type of character since to be honest, I never thought Mu Nian Ci could be a sexy type of character before and she brought that forward. It was a different feeling and I won’t stomp on that bit. However, her lack of participation in the main plot made me frustrated. Not like I wanted her to steal everyone’s spotlight by appearing at the wrong time—unlike a certain adaptation, but she was so inactive with helping Huang Rong and Guo Jing that I wondered what her role was in there. That scene when Guo Jing was attacked in the palace? She ended up running away and committing suicide instead of confronting Yang Kang and helping the other two. Sure, it was devastating for her to find out the truth about the man she loved, but I felt her lack of reaction made it frustrating. What about her friendship with the other two? Not to mention Guo Jing was on the brink of death. They actually somewhat reinvented her character, I wished they had thought it through carefully, considering how well they did to uplift the other two with some details I had mentioned.
- Chen Xing Xu (陈星旭) as Yang Kang (楊康). He wasn’t bad, but wasn’t the ultimate Yang Kang either. Yeah, I guess having Michael in the production made it a tad unease. I thought his best scenes were after he thought he lost Nian Ci and then eventually scheming against everyone, including Wanyan Honglie. He possibly gave his stepfather the creeps too sometimes because how the man stared at him from time to time, wondering what was going on in his head. It was near the end how he was going to go to the max with his evil plots. Because the rest didn’t make he feel he was Yang Kang. Just a casual villain.
- Five Invincible Beings
- Michael Miu as Huang Yao Shi. LOL! When the news came out, I laughed for half an hour straight. Okay, exaggerating here BUT seriously! He was Yang Kang in the past, so it took a lot of convincing to see him in the role of Huang Yao Shi. (Initially, because I changed my mind when I finally watched.) If I had to admit, he was the handsomest Huang Yao Shi. (Yeah, I said what I said, NOT sorry.) Okay, for real, though, it wasn’t surprising that Michael pulled it through with his acting chops. He might not be your typical Huang Yao Shi that you had in mind, but he sure delivered with his own version and made it convincing. His attitude was sure stingy and could be arrogant at times, lol. But he delivered.
- Hei Zi (黑子) as Ou Yang Feng (歐陽鋒). I thought he would have nailed this character without a doubt. But I was wrong. Considering how he had several similar roles where he was quite stingy and stubborn. Basically, hard to get along with and all. Perhaps, the scriptwriters wanted to dial it down a bit and make it different. Yet, it was the wrong call. Because he seemed much more reserved and polite that it made him less powerful in the grand scheme of things. Why would he be polite to those Jin royalties? He was a famous martial arts master after all. Wherever he went, he caused fear and havoc. He didn’t need all the decorum act. Yet those scenes where he was actaully polite to those people made me feel unease. It was so out of his character for someone like Ou Yang Feng. If he was being polite, it was just a facade. Like how he would do with the five invincible beings on the same level as him (because he was testing the water and didn’t want to rock the boat with them until he could beat them all). Yet this one showed genuine respect for some parties that made it hard to endure. To top it off, it seemed like he was getting chummy with the others whom the Jin royalties recruited to help their agenda. It was unbelivable. Seriously. (Yeung Chak Lam still the best, lol. Sorry, but he totally nailed the role.) But maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on the actor himself here. It was possibly due to the fact that the scripwriters wanted him to be different yet missed the mark on their experiment.
- Ray Lui as Reverend Yi Dang (一燈大師). After having seen him portrayed Bodhidharma, I had no doubt about it and he delivered. I know it has been a really long time since that past role. But this was considered a safe role for Ray. So, I didn’t think he needed a crash course or anything, lol.
- Zhao Li Xin is portraying Hong Qi Gong (洪七公). I surprisingly liked him much more than I expected. Mostly, because I didn’t know what to expect with some pictures and initial trailers. I really liked his humor, his mischievousness but also his serious side. The actor did really well to make the character likable and lively all around.
- Han Dong as Wang Chong Yang (王重陽). It was a brief and interesting appearance. He delivered. It wasn’t that hard, lol. But he made the character seemed serious and respectable enough for what was relevant to the story.
- Seven Freaks of Jiangnan
- Wang Kui Rong (王奎荣) as Ke Zhen E (柯鎮惡). The leader of the group.
- Ji Chen Mu (姬晨牧) as Zhu Cong (朱聰). The brain of the group.
- Wang Chun Yuan (王春元) as Han Bao Ju (韓寶駒).
- Ma Jing Jing (马京京) as Nan Xi Ren (南希仁).
- Xin Peng (信鹏) as Zhang A Sheng (張阿生).
- Long De (龙德) as Quan Jin Fa (全金發).
- Xiao Yin (肖茵) as Han Xiao Ying (韓小瑩). The only female member of the group.
- Mi Lu as Mei Chao Feng. She delivered her character well. No doubt about it.
- Zong Feng Yan (宗峰岩) is Wanyan Honglie (完颜洪烈). I thought he did a good job for his role. He was convincing.
- Liu Zhi Yang (刘智扬) as Ou Yang Ke (歐陽克). I got used to his image as I watched further into the series. I realized that since he came from a different place, it made sense that he was dressed differently. However, his character, that was a different story. All right, the background story was the same for the most part. It was different in a sense that it allowed us to see more into his character than what was on the surface. We got to see his vulnerable side and his emotional state with his abandonment issues and his struggles growing up. I welcomed those different interpretations. It made sense, considering where he came from and how he must have suffered because of his uncle’s techniques, etc. Yet that sort of presented this tricky situation and became a double-edged sword in the grand picture. How? It became an excuse for his behaviors later and how it projected this rapists apologist vibe major time. How in the world did I jump to such a conclusion? Ou Yang Ke was a serial rapist. Yet having him so relateable distracted some viewers major time and sympathized with him, even siding with him in some situations. There were comments circulating about how Huang Rong was cruel to him. It was disturbing, to say that least. Once again, I need to clarify that I’m not picking on the actor. I felt he did a good job portraying this adaptation’s version of the character and I could feel his pain at times with being abandoned by his father when little and was forced to be tough. However, the scriptwriters glossed over the fact that all the women that he kidnapped and raped didn’t do a thing wrong. He was a dangerous person, why should Huang Rong show him mercy? If he captured her, she would be Victim # who knows what. (Which didn’t make sense during the ship explosion incident that she entrusted her master to him. It was a ridiculous bit. It showed Huang Rong’s vulnerability at that point and she wasn’t thinking straight but I didn’t like that bit.)
- Ning Wen Tong as Zhou Bo Tong (周伯通). I thought he was funny at first and didn’t mind his over the top jokes. It was his own portrayal. However, I felt the script failed when he said that they might as well give the manual to Wanyan Honglie. Even that was a ridiculous comment no matter who said it, because although Zhou Bo Tong loved jokes and all, he was patriotic in his own way, knowing what was important and serious. He wouldn’t insist they hand the manual over.
- Zhang Kai Yi (张楷依) as Ying Gu (瑛姑). She was so beautiful and fitted the role so well. I actually really enjoyed watching her. Yeah, I know she went overboard with some stuff, but honestly, try to lose a kid and no one was on your side regarding situations, you would go psycho too. I seriously was floored that Huang Rong (regardless of versions) wasn’t on her side regarding what happened. Just because Yi Dang repented didn’t make things better (and possibly because he was her father’s friend). But seriously, Huang Rong was one of those characters that went against the general public’s opinions. Sure, it wasn’t Yi Dang’s fault technically because he didn’t attack the kid (and he indeed was in a hard situation, knowing possibly the enemy created a trap for him) BUT he didn’t save an innocent child when it called for it. He put his pride above all else. (So yeah, he was lost in my book anyway–regardless of version.) Anyway, back to Ying Gu, I felt she was once again blamed (just like Xi Ruo) because she was a beautiful woman. Sure, she committed infedility BUT it wasn’t like she could leave the royal palace and divorce the king and get out the relationship. (It was all right that the king had lots of wives though, let’s overlook that bit. Yeah, sarcasm here. I don’t care if they didn’t show every one of the king’s wives in here, you have to be crazy to think he was one loyal king to have only one wife.) You must be like, “But two wrongs don’t make a right.” If there weren’t so many double standards going on, I would have reconsider. But this? Also, Zhou Bo Tong was a coward and I hated him even more in this version than ever. He ran away and left her just like that because he couldn’t deal with his own problems. (Sure, it was fun watching him at times but to think about it more seriously, he wasn’t that likable either if considering all angles.)
- Xia Zi Tong (夏梓桐) as Sha Gu (傻姑). The actress was convincing in her role. She was kind of adorable too.
- Tay Ping Hui is Temujin (鐵木真) aka Genghis Khan (成吉思汗). No one could beat Paul Chun in the role, but Tay Ping Hui came to a close second with his portrayal.
- Dai Wen Wen (代文雯) as Hua Zheng (華箏). It was really hard to like her, regardless. I did consider all that they’d been through. But seriously, not much difference. Technically, she was the legit wife and Huang Rong was the third-party. However, the fact that Guo Jing never liked her and treated her like his sister and only reconsidered because of his supposed duties and gratitude toward her father said it for me. Sure, it wasn’t her fault she liked him, but the advantage was in her court when her father was so powerful.
- Fu Tian Jiao (傅天骄) as Jebe (哲別). Guo Jing’s archery master.
- Shao Bing as Guo Xiao Tian. Guo Jing’s father. Not much to say really except he sure was unlucky, lol. Shao Bing portrayed him well as an honest and patriotic character though.
- Zeng Li as Li Ping. Guo Jing’s mother. I like Zeng Li, really like her as actress and thought she did quite well in this role. However, character-wise? NOT really. Am I being petty because of how the plot favored her and paved her out to be an enduring mother, bringing up her son without needing to remarry? No, I just never liked her because of how hypocritcal her character turned out to be. Yes, I said it. I actually wrote the character analysis for Xi Ruo first before circling back to this one. Given the situation, do you think she wouldn’t choose the same thing as Xi Ruo? I swear! You’re all like, “But you don’t like what ifs and thought it was unfair if the plot picked on Xi Ruo.” Yes, I do. But there was a pattern to based it on. She didn’t have a problem with pushing her son to marry Hua Zheng. It was all right that she liked Hua Zheng as a person, but wanting to push her son just because she liked Hua Zheng? Was it to repay all those gratitude? But seriously, if given a chance and if Genghis Khan had picked her, would she turn him down? She might not love him, but she could have done it out of gratitude, just like how she pushed her son to do so. (Of course, things change later, but seriously.) Stop making it like the hero’s mom was all superior to the villain’s mom just because. AND I’m not trying to pit the two women (Li Ping and Xi Ruo) against one another by doing the comparison or getting into this ridiculous debate that probably no ones cares about (because it is all fictional), but the plot did that.
- Li Zong Han as Yang Tie Xin. Yang Kang’s father. I never really liked him regardless, so not much to say really. It was interesting to see him portraying this character though.
- Crystal Liu Qian Han as Bao Xi Ruo. Yang Kang’s mother. I surprisingly liked her a lot more in this version. I thought it was a matter of perspective and I welcomed it more, actually. Some of the past versions made her out to be the villain straight away, no thought process whatsoever just because she followed another man. Yet, this one allowed us more time to explore her character individually than was just the surface of the plot with laying out the sequence of events unfolding. I thought the scenes of how they gave equal time to both of the widows and to-be-mothers’ struggles and journey after the tragedies made it better. Yes, some of the past adaptations also did that, but they highlighted and elevated Li Ping more because she was the hero’s mother. However, this one showed us how vividly Xi Ruo felt after the tragedy and the hardships she went through. She didn’t ask for all of the tragedies either, how the world was she supposed to know she saved the wrong person and thus unleashed a chain of events unknowingly? They glossed over the fact that she was also a vulnerable, pregnant woman all alone as well, NOT just Li Ping. Just because one was considered stronger physically didn’t mean that the other deserved all the hate because she was less capable. So, she remarried, but her thought process at that point was to protect her child. The safety of the baby was her priority and she might or might not made the best choice by following that dude. But she was in a very vulnerable state. Also, other versions totally hating on her for being beautiful (thus causing tragedies like that stupid old saying I hate). It wasn’t her fault she was beautiful. Besides, her beauty wasn’t forever, she’ll grow old one day too. Oh yeah, anyone felt like they should blame the dude who couldn’t control himself thus causing all these tragedies? Or her husband for knowing she was beautiflu and married her? (If she was so much trouble, why don’t you pick someone you don’t consider “beautiful” then? Then no tragedies. Yes, I’m on a roll, I’m not letting anyone off. Also, I’m sorry you’re so perfect, you know exactly what to do at the exact moment if you were to be thrown into the exact obstacle as hers.) If you’re like, “But they did condemn Wanyan Honglie.” Um, they hated him because he was part of the Jin empire and wanted to take over the Song dynasty. They didn’t focus as much on how he should be blamed for lusting after Xi Ruo, not being able to control himself. Yes, they did acknowledge he caused the deaths of Guo Xiao Tian and Yang Tie Xin (initially), but still acted like Xi Ruo was “the beauty causing the tragedies.”
Relationships – Friendships, romances, etc.
- William Yang/ Guo Jing and Li Yi Tong/ Huang Rong. They were so adorable and I loved them from the start. They were probably my favorite Guo Jing and Huang when focused on and I actually rooted for them throughout. (Once again, loved Felix and Barbara, but I actually loved watching Yang Kang and Nian Ci more in that version, lol. Don’t ask, blame Michael and Sharon.) Everything they went through–although the majority were almost the same because the creators of the series needed to stick with the original story, but some of their additional scenes were so cute. I could watch them forever, which is unrealstic, I know. But they were one of the rare few on screen couples of recent that made me feel excited to ship any pairing–for that matter, lol. Their chemistry were seriously off the charts for me. I looked forward to all their scenes together and hated that they had to be apart at any moment of the plot (didn’t matter if I knew that was how it was supposed to be). What was even more adorable? Not sure who posted it (possibly the production team or the actor/actress themselves), but there was there were several pictures floating around capturing a scene they were getting ready for the shoot. William helped Yi Tong combed her hair and all. It was so cute!
- Chen Xing Xu/ Yang Kang and Zoey Meng/ Mu Nian Ci. I don’t know. I saw some off screen pictures of them at different promotional events and they looked quite compatible, but on screen, not so much. It was possibly because they made her look older or something. NOT saying she’s old, lol. The image for her in there made her much more mature than his image in there. When I brought it up, someone said it was possibly they showed how she had traveled far and wide with her godfather and had endured a lot hence showing her more matured and experinced versus his having been in a royal bubble for all his life. That made sense and gave me something to think about. Anyway, together? Sometimes, I was convinced. I don’t know. (Once again, blame Michael and Sharon, lol. They made a strong impression on me ages ago and even overrode my focus toward Felix and Barbara, so what made you think these two could convince me otherwise?) I thought their acting individually and how they showed they cared about one another was convincing. But together, it seemed only so and so. Maybe it would have nice to see them in a modern background? LOL! Just a thought.
- The friendships between all the four major characters. I thought they had more foundation in here thus making the betrayals of later more heartbreaking. There were some scenes that was extended and showed us how the four of them shared a bond before things got even more serious with all the conflicts and complications that forced them all to pick sides. It was also interesting that they developed a separate friendship for Huang Rong and Nian Ci as well, not just somewhat interacting because their signicant others were sworn brothers. Well, they didn’t have a problem at all in some of the past adaptions. But sometimes the elders made it harder by pitching them against one another. Their genuine friendship in here made me felt their characters were also independent from their significant others as well, allowing them their own space. Like they weren’t mentioned just because of the other two characters. That was also one of the top reasons why I felt it was a joke regarding Nian Ci’s inactiveness in defense of Guo Jing and Huang Rong as said above. Perhaps, the writers gave up near the middle after they were done developing the initial scenes? I don’t know. I know, they had to make it different and gave us something else to think about. Yet it was hard to swallow.
- Shao Bing/ Guo Xiao Tian and Zeng Li/ Li Ping. Despite my criticisms of her character and all, I loved them as a couple. They sure had chemistry and showed their bond well during their brief appearances together.
- Li Zong Han/ Yang Tie Xin and Cyrstal Liu Qian Han/ Bao Xi Ruo. They matched and seemed like a model couple and all.
- Tribute to TVB’s ’83 version? I’m guessing but it seems so. Because they used to the theme song for the other version as a basis. They made it a softer version with music only. It was suitable though and a nice touch. One of the rare remixes that I liked.
- The parents’ stories were brief. Despite some extensions of scenes and exploration of characters added here and there, I felt it was nicely brief. Because TVB’s ’83 version sure dragged it out with the parents later on and the unnecessary back and forth. This being the umpteenth adaptation sort of helped pushing it forward and not dwell too long. But It was nice that they stuck through with making it brief instead of dragging it out on purpose so the actors and actresses had more scenes.
- Guo Jing actually apologized to Huang Yao Shi after the misunderstandings were resolved. I don’t remmeber what happened in the old versions anymore. Possibly he did and Huang Yao Shi just brushed it off as one of those polite stuff that he rather do without. But this one made it tenfold more sincere when Guo Jing tried to apologize for all the terrible stuff he did during the misunderstandings.
- Mu Nian Ci fallen down a cliff and still managed to NOT miscarry. Um, okay, I have to clarfiy, I have nothing against Little Yang Guo, okay? But that was one of the most unbelivable scenes ever. It was really hard to overlook. You know how high that cliff is? So yeah. That one dude fell off to his death while trying to grab onto Huang Rong’s condor. How could Nian Ci survived? You could say she fell where the trees were so she must have been saved by the branches versus the other dude falling down the rocky area. Even if she had fortunately survived, how could she not miscarry?
- Comments. This was one of the sole reasons why it took me forever to watch this. I didn’t finish until two years actually, lol. Because it got locked and then I sort of came back when it was unlocked. When I watched it while it was airing, I couldn’t turn off the comments at all and it was flying across the screen. It was so annoying. But those comments are seriously ridiculous and a good reason as to why I stop searching around for discussions in recent years. Why? Um, an example would be people picking on Guo Jing and Huang Rong for holding hands all the time when they were together. (If it was up to me, I would have cut all scenes without them and have them hold hands all throughout, lol. So, who needs the haters? LOL!) The thing was the people who picked on Guo Jing and Huang Rong for holding hands were the same ones who cheered for Yang Kang to impregnate Nian Ci so Yang Guo could come into existence. NO, I’m not jealous with them for cheering for their favorites. BUT seriously, read the line carefully again. It’s WAY up there and much more intimate than the whole holding hands bit. Seriously. I initially didn’t want to put this in here but had to get that off my chest.
Recommended? I think it’s up to you. Considering how this is the umpteenth adaptation now, I think it’s reasonable to opt-out, lol. It actually rings true for other series as well, lol. It’s all up to preference. I would say there were ups and downs of this version, like others as well. But the most important thing is you have to like the cast to enjoy it. Or you can just skip around, lol.
This followed the story of Line Walker and Line Walker: The Prelude. This season tied up the last two installments by having characters from both merged and worked together for different cases. The elaborate planning to tell the backstory of some characters with another was kind of nice to see. Although, it also created some complications and repetition–as I will be going into more details below. I appreciated the efforts of joining the teams together and see how they worked with one another. However, some parts were so unnecessary that it should have been like 30 episodes instead of 37. They were stretching it out on purpose with some people that I didn’t think was necessary in any shape or form.
- Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). His principles weren’t so cut and dry anymore. It wasn’t about how he had interacted with Chum Foon Hei either. Or how he cut the corners when he tried to save his wife. His conversation with Ah Mui when she offered to stay and help him said it all. It highlighted some of the key points that they had visited in the past two seasons. It wasn’t just plain black and white with everything. There was a gray area that was often brushed aside because many didn’t care to think of it. Like Cheuk Sir said, there was also white in black as well. Everything wasn’t so clear. After all that was said and done, Cheuk Sir had emphasized that Ah Mui didn’t have to help him. They joked about it a little, but he was serious that they weren’t going to get some type of compensation, except this was a way for him to help society in general. If someone wanted to redeem themselves in any way, he was willing to take the chance. He wasn’t going to be held back by the old ways of thinking anymore. He wasn’t going to lose a chance to convert someone to conduct in a more legal manner with businesses by clinging on to the old ways. In short, prison had changed him. He saw many things there was to see while he was in there and realized how if people were presented with more choices or proper guidance, they wouldn’t choose that path either. In a way, he wanted to be a good role model or be the person that was there to pull someone back from the pit. At this point, do I need to go out of my way to praise Michael’s acting anymore?
- Raymond Lam as Suet Ka Keung (雪家強) aka Bao Seed (爆Seed). Strange to see Ray with such a hairstyle. But I guess it made sense that he changed over the years and had become a handler even. They gave him a more mature image in a sense. Yet he didn’t lack his sense of humor when called for. I feel like his comeback brought the balance back where the leads were concerned. I meant Michael’s performance had proven solid already, no complaints about that. But Ray’s return also cranked the drama up several more notches. It was obvious they needed him like how it wouldn’t be the same without Michael, Charmaine, or Benz either. They were the golden four for the series and missing one or two wouldn’t be the same. Substituting others in and building an interesting story did help. But missing them as characters made the series felt it was lacking something. Yet I seriously don’t want to be greedy, so I would settle for three this time. Having Ray back felt like the series was lifted up even more. The character still had lots more to develop. His grace, his charm, his natural moves. It was what the series needed. A boost. Oh, what was clever was having him continue to pose as a gangster and only came into contact with them from time to time as an informant. Only some knew about him being a UC. So that kept him safe for the most part. But how did they explain the information leak from the other part? Or was it by saying the leak was fake? Or that it didn’t get to release his name yet? Because he was protecting Ah Ding at that time, so I guessed her name was the one being exposed, not his. It was explained in episode 20 when they met up with Tai Reis to discuss business together. Tai Reis mentioned Bao Seed once dated a cop, etc. Bao Seed said that they broke up because he found out she was UC that tried to investigate him. So, it answered that she was the one getting exposed with the list being released, not him. His reaction to knowing Ding Jie was dead showed Ray’s acting skills. It was indeed a very emotional moment. Who could blame Bao Seed for reacting? Luckily, Cheuk Sir pulled him back. His mourning for her after in private? Another heartbreaking scene. He didn’t want to believe. Who could, right? His complete breakdown in front of Cheuk Sir brought all their links back into consideration all over again. The flashbacks contributed nicely to their past relationship. It wasn’t overdone. It reminded us a little about their stories yet said so much more. Cheuk Sir was probably the other person who understood. So that scene was well done for both of them. Vouching to avenge Ding Jie’s death? Hello, Dark Bao Seed is back. Well, he was always known to be a rogue character regardless. But his dark side was back. He had tried to stick to the codes since Cheuk Sir made the sacrifice for him. But now? It was fair game. Having him back was a much-needed move like said before, but it made me so addicted to seeing what was to come.
- Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). He was one of the golden four who made the series so much livelier and more enjoyable overall. Benz once again delivered brilliantly with his character’s cunning nature at first but later had become one of their companions in the very end. He’d become even wiser over the years. Well, he’d been through a lot and his intelligence was shown many times already. No one needed to prove that. But his deep talk at times with various characters in here showed that he’d seen a lot and had come to realize what was more important. I was so scared they took him out of the game. If they did, there was no way the fourth installment was going to happen without taking a major hit. His plans at the end with building more schools for kids and doing more good deeds got Cheuk Sir joking about him trying to make money out of it somehow was funny.
- Priscilla Wong as Cheng Shuk Mui (鄭淑梅). Funny that she seemed much more interesting now that the timeline moved forward, lol. That was sad, but I could see her transition from a newbie cop to a much more experienced one in general. Even if she wasn’t a cop anymore but was an investigative journalist now, she seemed more confident of herself and what she did. It showed she was at a good place in life. Also, possibly because of the time between the prequel and this, Priscilla seemed more comfortable with her acting as well. It showed. I was glad. It was visible with how she interacted with Michael versus in the past. She’d always been comfortable interacting with Benjamin so I never doubted her scenes with him. But I always wondered whenever she interacted with Michael (like I had said in the previous review). So yeah, this sort of proved my point that she seemed uncomfortable with him, not just initial scenes like how she panicked at first either. It was awkward in the past. It seemed more natural for this part. Not to mention her emotional scenes were more convincing as well. The scene where she and Tin Tong finally talked about their feelings showed the depth of her acting. She sure improved. However, her character got dragged down when they revisited trying to develop a good romance story for her. I didn’t need that. I was fine with her not being with Tin Tong. She was so strong and awesome away from Tin Tong. I liked their friendship too. But I just didn’t like how the scriptwriters tried to pull them together just based on history. So, that had dragged her story down in general for me.
- Benjamin Yuen as Tsui Tin Tong (徐天堂). I don’t know what to say about him anymore. Mixed feelings for him throughout. I think it was because he got overshadowed by both Ray and Kenneth. Yes, I believed that was indeed true because I think he was fending fine in the prequel. Then his interest factor went down several notches. The story around him and his past and how the Internal Affairs Bureau dragged him through hell were interesting. However, it also got somewhat sidetracked and distracted by other elements in the story. Like how I wished he was with Ah Luen even in the present timeline than Ah Mui. So that was a terrible idea that the scriptwriters didn’t think through. I also was more interested in Ah Mui being Wing-Cheong than him. So yeah, it turned into a mess. After his past was explained and sorted out? His side story just went into flames. Because it lacked energy after that, even till the end. So yeah.
- Kenneth Ma as Wai Chok Wing (韋作榮) / Ngai Tak Lai (魏德禮) / Klein. The thing that made it really anti-dramatic about his character was that we knew he was the younger brother of Victor from the start. So that took away all the suspense. We already know the who. It was only the how now. I think my brain’s too wired into the “who” part that I became less interested in his character than expected. I mean we already knocked out the who and the why during his brief appearance in the second installment. So whatever he did, it was for Victor and his family–as he claimed. Kenneth’s acting was solid though, no doubt. But I was never that interested in Victor anyway, so having another family member in the picture didn’t interest me with that branch of the storyline as much. Also, bad hair runs in the family or something, because his hair in here reminded me somewhat of Moses’ hair in the other one. Seriously, lol. Circling back to Kenneth’s acting for a bit, I think his portrayal was the sole reason why the character became much more interesting later on. The previous comments I made were like for the first few episodes. However, his portrayal somehow cranked the character up a little more. So I think I was more curious about what his character would do later. And technically, he was just a killing machine to his grandpa. The old man had no use for him aside from that. It was pathetic to say that no one wanted him except his grandpa. Or like no one mattered except his grandpa and his older brother. That was his own skewed version of how his grandpa told him. Who knew if that was the truth about his mother as well. He was just used like his brother to carry on the Ngai empire’s legacy. His grandpa was getting old and feeble, he needed mini replacements hence grooming the next generation to take over for him. In that sense, I do pity both siblings for it. But both still sucked in my book regarding killing people to advance their agendas. They had a chance to travel the world yet their views couldn’t be changed? Yeah, constant brainwashing and grooming did that to them. But it was pathetic to see their demise without trying to change their own fate. Well, in some ways, Klein did try really hard to do it, but he was too far gone to even try to undo it the normal way. Instead, he resorted back to violence whenever he was threatened. If he didn’t want to let go, there was nothing anyone could do to convince him.
- Mandy Wong as Cheung Kei Gee (章紀孜) aka Madam G. It was a different role for Mandy, considering how the mental disabilities she had and her childhood traumas. I found that Mandy had done a good job. However, I couldn’t get into her character regardless. It was hard. I didn’t want to pick on her so much since I did like some of her past performances. It wasn’t because she took the bullet for Klein either. But some of the things she did earlier in the drama made it very hard to cut her some slacks just because it was portrayed by Mandy. I got it why she ended up being bias or crashed emotionally because of what she found out regarding her sister. But I felt she didn’t cut other slacks when it was their weak spot, so I didn’t do it for her either. Fair game, right? What I was surprised about was the writers almost killed her. Or I thought it was an all-out killing with the ending closing up and the writers just wanted to give up with the killing spree. It had a major vibe with the ending of the second installment where Victor was going all out. However, she survived and was in a wheelchair, which they didn’t explain too much if it was permanent or not. Saying that she needed to make the best of what she had wasn’t much. It could mean that she had to move on after all that happened. To back up a little bit, I didn’t like how she put Ah Dau on the spot for the mission earlier in the story. She was a terrible handler. It reminded me of the handler who Chum Foon Hei had that eventually forced him to choose to go rogue instead of hanging on for the sake of the mission. Sure, it was Ah Dau who agreed to go back and continue her mission, but Bao Seed made the right call by pulling Ah Dau out of there and waiting until she cooled down. Because Bao Seed was better at reading the situation, he used a better method to help. I once again remember how Ah Dau had asked Bao Seed if Bao Seed wanted her to sleep with Pong too if it came to that for the mission, and Bao Seed obviously didn’t want that. Sure, when Madam G watched the first time they reunited and Ah Dau finally accepted Pong, they were only kissing. But how far was Madam G willing to go for some piece of information? This was why I didn’t like it that she was part of the CIB team. She was an effective boss to the others for enforcing the rules because she was good at sticking to the books. But she was a terrible choice for reading more sensitive situations. Also, the writers were getting really lazy with some of the female characters or something. Because Madam G totally was channeling her inner Madam Chan when she pulled the “trump” card on Cheuk Sir to help CIB. Yes, Ah Mui did break the law by using Madam G’s identity to get inside and seek some info, BUT knowing how to hold back and use that card until later was seriously something Madam Chan did. So yes, I was saying how lazy it was they made those two similar and hateful in that sense. I seriously thought it was Madam Chan pulling that move to force Cheuk Sir into helping. Madam G worked under Madam Chan and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she ordered her to do that. But Madam G didn’t deny it was her own plan, so I took her word for it. The saddest thing about her character was how she became the weakest link in here. I think the writers overestimated themselves and gave her too much mystery with her mental disabilities and how she would overcome it etc. In the end, she broke down and was taken out of the game until almost the end. It was a nice turnaround and Cheuk Sir was right to say that she was their last hope. Yet it seemed weak. Well, she did choose differently than how Scarlett did with Victor, but that was about it.
- Sisley Choi as Dau Nga Hei (竇亞希) aka Ah Dau (阿兜). At first, when I was reading the news about her replacing Charmaine or other rumors, I felt unease and had this bias. It was mostly due to the fact that they returned to the main timeline instead of doing a prequel. So yeah, not sure what to think. I tried to put it aside but it was kind of hard. However, when I actually started the series, I liked her immediately. It was really strange. I looked up her past dramas and realized that I actually liked her in quite a few of the ones I did watch in recent years. So, I was glad that she showed consistency and was able to hold one of the lead roles in here. By the time I got to episode 9, I learned that she had won TVB Awards for best actress. I was so happy for her. It was strange to be excited about someone’s award for a while now, so yeah. I felt like if Sisley had appeared more, the plot would have been more interesting. At first, I didn’t want her to appear too much to hog the scenes because that might have backfired and caused her character to become annoying. But the more the others appeared after her case was done and she was out of the way, for the most part, it felt boring to death if it wasn’t for all the backstabbing with various parties. Her character was tenfold more interesting than some of the major characters in here. Sisley’s strong acting had lifted up the series at the beginning and her character also helped that she was so lively. Even at her worst character-wise and how she felt guilty after her case was over, her recovery journey was much more interesting than some subplots in here, which was sad.
- Owen Cheung as Pong Ho Yeung (龐浩洋). He had some ambitious goals to reform Sung Luen Society. Too bad that his plan was thwarted by both people within the triad and also the cops. But in the end, he did learn a lesson with turning around–mostly by his own father–and the promise that he will keep with turning a new leaf once he got out. I actually got a little teary-eyed during the brief reunion between father and son in the hospital.
- Tony Hung as Wong Wing Cheong (王永翔). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I was so glad he had a story in here and a tie-in with some of the characters that appeared in here. However, I was still very sad that there wasn’t any teeny-tiny bit that he could still be alive. Because I liked his character even more than some of the ones who appeared in here. It lifted up the series and became a shining part to look forward to whenever Ah Mui received a new package.
- Shiga Lin as Cheung Yuk Luen (張玉瑄) / Birdy. An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I also liked how they included more stories for her in here like how it was with Wing Cheong. It made me have this same reluctant feeling of wanting her back for this series in general as in the present timeline. Too bad.
- Serene Lim as Lam Lam (藍楠). I thought she was going to be Bao Seed’s neighbor and someone who would end up being in some weird business rivalry with him based on their first encounter. Yet it turned out that she was really gentle and patient after working at his massage place. She was quite cute at the beginning and quite thoughtful as it showed later with helping him. It was also quite unexpected that she died. Seriously, it was so random. It made sense, but it was sort of overkilled with getting rid of half of the cast involved. They sure wanted to clean house and start fresh with the fourth installment, lol.
- Elena Kong as Mok Sin Ching (莫羨晴) / Katie. Her death was probably the most shocking and the saddest for me. Why? It was at the beginning of the series. I didn’t realize they would kill her off so Cheuk Sir had more time to browse around and get himself into various conflicts in here. I guessed the Korean soap pattern continued with her liver disease. So dramatic. Aside from that, she indeed wasn’t able to live with herself nor could she allow herself to become a bargaining chip for Klein’s own good against her husband. A solid character throughout yet had ended that way. And how sad was that? She was cut out of the show? Did she not want to be involved in the series anymore? Or was there a conflict in the schedules again? I haven’t paid attention to TVB-related stuff for years, so I’m seriously confused, not being snappy here. Too bad though.
- Geoffrey Wong as Leung Kin Pong (梁健邦) aka Leung Sir. He was funny at first. It seemed like he was there for the comic relief of the show mostly, considering how he scolded Bao Seed for being so young and rash and all, which Madam G pointed out that he was using the 60-ish as middle-age range, lol. But when the series got serious, he sure proved that he was a reliable boss and a person with strong principles. He rather quit than betray the UCs.
- Kelvin Yuen as Lui Hup Sing (呂合星) aka Lui Sir. Ching Chik’s stepfather. Mixed feelings throughout. I didn’t like his smug look and his mocking of Madam G at first (since it was mocking her disability). I didn’t like his high and mighty vibe either. Well, he didn’t know. But still. Later, though, when he finally realized what was going on and had the talk with Bao Seed, I realized that was his redeemable point. He was just too stubborn and by the book at times. At least, he was honest in that sense and was willing to admit his blind spot, unlike some people in here.
- Li Shing Cheong as Wai Kit (韋傑). The founder of Sung Luen triad. He was the only person who wanted to help Klein after Klein had nowhere to hide or run to, but was shot by Klein because Klein didn’t believe him. It was indeed tragic. Sure, some might say it was karma for all his past deeds. But hadn’t he paid for it in prison all these years?
- Anthony Ho as Mui Sze Kwai (梅小貴). He always acted like he was the boss, lol. He was a great comic relief for the show though. His chiding at times made it funnier. Oh yeah, Bao Seed kept calling him Moose Kwai so some of them ended up calling him that too. What was a bit off was that he wasn’t there for Lam Lam’s sent-off scene. It would make sense if he was there, considering their bond at the massage parlor throughout.
- Alex Tse as Chow Man Ding (周文鼎) aka Ding (鼎). Chum Foon Hei’s right-hand man. Really dislike him at first. Mostly it was because of the rivalry between Cheuk Sir and Chum Foon Hei. But he was all right later. At least, he was helpful.
- Eddie Koo as Hon Kin Yi (韓建義) aka Dr. X. He was a ruthless leader and a creepy doctor. He was seriously even more powerful than Victor could ever dream of. Sorry, lol, to stomp on Victor too much. But I think this was because of Eddie’s experience of over four decades of acting that backed his character so nicely. He scared the world out of me too with his gradual change of character. I swear, I thought he was portraying a regular doctor this time. I actually was convinced when he said that he and Bao Seed were similar regarding holding knives and all. But then bam, he changed his tune just like that. His brief appearances actually creeped me out more than Victor’s appearances throughout the second season. And that said A LOT.
- Mimi Kung as Fan Hiu Wah (范曉華) / Madam Fan. It was so interesting and somewhat funny to see her back with TVB after all these years. Not to mention how I thought she was just passing by as a guest star yet she became a key character for one of the cases. She, obviously, didn’t disappoint. And was anyone laughing during the scene where Cheuk Sir confronted her at the church? Okay, it was a serious situation and it was heartbreaking for Cheuk Sir with what was happening and his wife was equally heartbroken after they were given false hope. However, I was thinking about their relation in other past series they’d been in together and she’d never got to be with him, so now it was major revenge time for her? Just kidding here, but yeah. Character-wise, she sure was crazy. Yeah, I get it, who could stand it when their loved one was dying and the feeling of helplessness was the worst. Yet to sacrifice another human being for that? I think I could say that Cheuk Sir was not really in the right to scold her either. I meant, sure, it was just that his wife didn’t need a heart hence no one needed to die to save her. But he crossed the line too. So the others could scold her but not him. (And Bao Seed was right when he said he understood why Cheuk Sir did it BUT wouldn’t trust him in the future to be more involved with the case.) Mimi sure delivered. I didn’t realize she was back with TVB. Also, shows how much I’ve been paying attention to TVB series in general nowadays.
- Savio Tsang as Yam Sheung Yu (任尚宇) aka Yam Sir. Madam Fan’s husband. This was one of his last full roles. It was really sad when I heard the news. Was this a jinx? I mean he’d more tragic roles before. It wasn’t news. But it hit a bit closer to home when I watched it and was thinking of him. He delivered well once again. No doubt about it.
- Lam King Ching as King. Pong Ho Yeung’s assistant and also his best friend. He was stingy and reckless at times. However, he was really loyal to Ho Yeung so I guess it was hard to blame him. He was in a gang after all. How could he take the high road? I swear he reminds me of Roger Kwok. Especially his various expressions at times.
- Oscar Leung as Cheung Muk Wing (張木榮) aka Muk Sat (木蝨). He appeared in one of the flashbacks stories and one of the reasons why he became so loyal to Bao Seed later on. Well, there was a betrayal situation but it wasn’t like he wanted it. He was really apologetic and all. Glad to learn that little story.
- Brian Tse as Tat Q. I really liked him in the previous installment as comedic relief for the show. So I was glad to learn another backstory about him. What was hilarious was his run-in with Mut Sat.
- Joseph Zeng as Yan Tin Hup (殷天俠) / Madman. I said it before and I will say it again. He looks like a very young version of Felix Wong. Did Michael make the connection when they were filming together? Did anyone else? LOL! All in all, though, I was surprised to know he was participating in this production. I was looking forward to his appearance. I saw some BTS interviews. He was so cute, all shy when one of the fellow cast members complimented his Cantonese but he was saying how he could learn so much more from everyone. So humble. His role? Very creepy. He looked so harmless during the scene he got captured yet he did it on purpose to see who the opposing party was. Then he totally hexed Nine-Fingered Keung up. That was soooo creepy. His nickname wasn’t wrong after all. He was indeed crazy. If what he said was true about killing Ding Jie already, that meant TVB just killed Charmaine’s chance of coming back to the series–if they decided to make another installment, that was. Then again, they plugged in the side story to distract us about him actually being a UC from New Zealand. So? It was a gray area because it created doubt. It reminded me of that time in the first season when one of the UCs defected and they had to test her. He wasn’t an agent but was posing as one. So, who could take his word for anything? It was kind of surprising that they didn’t test him though. Or was it because he was too experienced with being an international threat that it was hard to catch? Considering how they were focusing on too many factors. Then I realized why. It was such an elaborate plot. Then he died out of nowhere. So that was hard to do anything else until later. I must admit, though, he was a nice addition to the already complicated plot. It wasn’t overdone though. It made sense as to why Chum Foon Hei was investigating the organization and he became another piece to the whole puzzle. Solid acting. No doubt about it. He got shot and taken out of the game by episode 24, but that wasn’t really it. It was shown in the final episode that he wasn’t an undercover agent nor Madman. He was someone completely different. And the others didn’t know. So, that was why. That meant he will return in the fourth installment if they make one?
- Lee Kwok Lun as So Chi On (蘇子安) aka So Sir (蘇Sir). He seriously was greedy and crazy. I didn’t have any empathy for him at all. He killed his own daughter. Well, considering how his crimes and all. But usually, don’t those people usually use their loved ones as excuses for committing those crimes? Like “I did it for you to have a better future” kind of talk? Or like “If it wasn’t for me, would you be so well off right now?” kind of guilt-trip technique? Or just capture her and detain her for the time being. Yet he went all the way and sacrifice her. She became another pawn to use against his supposed enemies. We found out according to the flashbacks that it was an accident but if he wasn’t so adamant to stop her, it wouldn’t happen. It was inevitable.
- Emily Kwan as Madam Chan. She was a real piece of work all right. She should be looking in the mirror with her accusations. She pimped Ah Luen out to investigate Tin Tong yet came back to accuse Ah Luen of sleeping with Tin Tong hence taking his side now? What a bitch. That was what her head was always thinking of hence projecting on others. Also, Ah Mui was right when she said Madam Chan’s only purpose was protecting herself and trying to advance her career. Not to mention how she had a fallout with So Chi On hence now using Ah Mui to take So Chi On out. The whole power play was pathetic, to say the least. She was no victim. She knew everything yet allowed Tin Tong to take the fall for it. She deserved prison or worse for her part in the whole scheme. I knew it even before So Cho On said it that Madam Chan was full of it. Her actions and behaviors during flashbacks said it already. She was just covering her ass and trying to beat So Chi On to a promotion or some higher-ranked position. Like she was always so righteous or something. Seriously. So sickening. Hated her throughout regardless of her intention. So her half-ass apology at the end to the team wasn’t really that convincing to me.
- Penny Chan as Lee Man Hung (李文雄). He was part of the CIB team and shown his support for Cheuk Sir from time to time whenever they discussed Cheuk Sir.
- Bak Piao as one of the gang members of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious to see him there and participating like that.
- Chan Wing Chun as the advisor of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious really. Because when he was talking and Cheuk Sir showed up to expose Nine-Fingered Keung, I was thinking Chor Lau Heung and Wu Tie Fah were reuniting, lol. Aside from, brief appearance but I guess that was how the plot was.
- Sophie Yip as So Miu Miu (蘇淼淼) / Melanie. So Sir’s daughter. At first, I didn’t know where the plot was going and if she was in it with her father too. I mean everyone in here was mysterious one way or another so yeah. When I realized where it was leading toward, I felt really bad for her for being used like that. Even if Tin Tong admitted his guilt in using her to extract information, but I didn’t forgive him for that one. I guess that sort of tainted how I see him since then too. I meant in the past, we saw him using different means to woo the ladies to tell him various secrets too while he was UC. But now? It repeated again and it had caused her life. Even if he didn’t do the killing, I felt it didn’t help. Sure, she chose to help, but she wanted to prove a point. Not to mention how her feelings for her were real. Even if he didn’t do the actual killing, I thought his short time in confinement sort of was payback for using people. Or were people thinking what happened to her was karma for her father? Because she was innocent and didn’t deserve any of that. She tried to stop him–for his own good–and paid with her life. It was tragic.
- Ron Ng as a customer at the massage place. It was hilarious. Ron was so cute. Being random and asking Ray stuff. He also said at the part where they were taking pictures, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! It was kind of lame to plug that in, but I forgive them because of the brief reunion between the two.
- Matt Yeung as a customer at the massage place.
- Tsui Wing as a customer at the massage place.
- Raymond Chiu as a customer at the massage place.
- Akina Hong as Cheung Kei Wan (章紀泓) / Wendy. Madam G’s older sister. The Core’s owner. OMG, I almost couldn’t recognize her. It shows how long I haven’t watched anything TVB, lol. Um, her sister’s introduction of the boyfriend was seriously a shocker, lol. Not laughing as in something funny but how tragic was that and Madam G brought it up like it was nothing. And how nice was that? Her organization worked with Infinity or collaborated in the past. Interesting how things turned out. Almost everyone was connected, one way or another. I thought she was just an extra character to give Madam G a side story, like some of their stories were in here. Yet she created another mystery to the already crazy web. OMG, I was literally on the edge of my seat when she walked to Klein’s car. Really, lady? Are you crazy? OOoo, so Infinity funded The Core? Wow, okay, rich background story. Too bad they were all crazy together. Oh well, the mystery lasted for about five minutes. Oh yeah, it would have been really a kicker if she had defected and was just by Klein’s side to search for the seal while pretending to still be loyal to him because he had funded her education and was the one responsible for the establishment of The Core. It would have been a real surprise. At least, I thought that was more interesting than having weak subplots dragging out. It was revealed later that she was the one who called the cops on her father. However, it wasn’t the merit for her to become a criminal later. She couldn’t bear the abuse anymore and had to do it to save them both somehow. What she did later was what mattered. She admitted that she hurt her sister and somehow finally realized she should have left, which was too late. But she did leave some evidence for them.
- Kent Cheng as Sun Chi Kin (辛志堅) aka Kin Gor (堅哥). One of the founders of the Cheung Hing triad. Funny intro but we all know most innocent-looking characters in here aren’t that innocent so yeah. He was the co-founder of Cheung Hing and got kicked aside? Served those idiots right for being so arrogant. Who got the last laugh now? He is still alive. Over half of them are dead already. Also, his appearance made things tenfold more interesting when he appeared to take over the story versus the other boring subplots. They needed him to carry the story and the ending home. Because I’m sorry, Kenneth couldn’t do it alone. Even if Kin Gor failed in the end to get Klein BUT the point was they needed Kent with his strong performance to carry them past a certain point. The other already strong characters couldn’t carry all the dead weight alone. No pun intended, considering how Kin Gor turned out.
- Michael Tse as the sniper who killed Klein. What? It was somewhat a repeat of the prequel’s ending. Well, it was different because Klein was just using the gun to aim and vouching for revenge. But same vibe. Who was this character? Was he part of another mystery organization? Possibly Ah Hup’s organization?
Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc
- Michael and Elena. Loved them. If it was possible to love them even more. I didn’t agree with his resorting to other ways to save her, because it made him looked like a hypocrite when he scolded Fan Hiu Wah. However, what they’d been through and tried to work things out, it was nice to see. Perhaps, it was somewhat refreshing in the past few years with watching Michael mostly and his pairings didn’t really click for me. Even if it did fit, but some other parts of the plot killed it for me. This one gave me a balance that I preferred. OMG, their ending was the saddest. Again, Korean soap material. Seriously. It made sense with what happened but didn’t make it less sad. Their last dinner, their last dance, their story as an overall. The song brought back from season 1 aided their moments and summed their story nicely. This was one of those times I didn’t mind the flashbacks because it has been a while since season 1 and it was suitable for such a moment. Both of their acting was really on par at that point. Okay, I admit, I cried buckets. It was really tragic. Seriously? Frustrating, but also really worth a few tears. Okay, maybe lots of it. Just grab the whole box of tissues–just to be safe.
- Raymond and Charmaine. Although she wasn’t around but was mentioned a lot and some of the major characters were looking for her. Not to mention how he thought of her at various points throughout the story, so I thought it made sense to put them in here. For once, I want to give credit where credit is due and the writers made the right call for not replacing her yet hence their relationship was still ongoing. The mourning for her and the memories of them, so many things happened and he thought he lost her more than once. We could see their relationship through his point of view. What about the ending when he had the showdown with Klein? He thought of her before he lost consciousness. And the song that once again used to tell their story along with flashbacks was used, instead of saying any more words to drag out the scene. It was nicely done.
- Michael and Benz. Round 3, right? LOL! It was hilarious that they were eating together again and how they actually joke about it, lol. I meant after the previous encounters? Ten years since they ate together? LOL! Cheuk Sir brought up the past by saying Chum Foon Hei went back on his words after Victor’s death, lol. What about this third time bumping into one another? It obviously wasn’t simple. Interesting how they kept hopping back and forth between sides. Well, it was for the first part of the story when they were backing the opposing sides for the seat of the chairman regarding Sung Luen Society. But it was hilarious to see them once again facing off. It became even funnier when they were almost working together to see what Eternity was about. Their exchanges and different methods that they would use to achieve that goal. Obviously, Chum Foon Hei was too driven at times and didn’t want to be patient with the regular path, so he did doublecross Cheuk Sir by using Tin Tong and Ah Mui to get Cheuk Sir to go along with it. Yet in the end, somehow, they were on the same side where the others were concerned?
- Raymond and Benz. I always wondered why Chum Foon Hei never exposed Bao Seed as an undercover cop. Sometimes, I suspected if there was a plot hole somewhere in there. However, I realized that was on par with Chum Foon Hei. After all, he didn’t want to play all out with everyone. In case there was something down the road, he needed a way out. Maybe an unlikely ally as well. Somehow, though, they once again reunited later to find Ding Jie. That was their common goal and their link to one another. They had a few drinks together after learning of Ding Jie’s death. I think they needed that moment. The other time they talked, it was with Cheuk Sir. That time, it was just the two of them. Chum Foon Hei really knew how to pick the time. Because Bao Seed was ready to seek out revenge for Ding Jie. Or did Chum Foon Hei already predicted the move? That was what I initially thought. Then Chum Foon Hei went into this rant about how Cheuk Sir was wrong about retribution. Sure, he was upset that Ding Jie died, but he wasn’t helping with fusing Bao Seed’s determination even more with his revenge plans. Then Chum Foon Hei just brought the topic to the surface. It was unlikely of him because he loved those subtle hint games. Yet this time, he was honest with Bao Seed. Their mystery and their link to Ding Jie might have done that? When Chum Foon Hei just wished Bao Seed luck for the upcoming mission, I wanted to scream. I thought for Ding Jie’s sake, Chum Foon Hei would stop Bao Seed from doing anything rash or less helpful to the main mission. They were so close after all with trying to unearth the mystery behind Eternity. Yet when he handcuffed Bao Seed, I cheered. Because that was so on par with someone so sneaky like Chum Foon Hei. This time, his move was much welcomed. He knew talking Bao Seed away from the plan was useless. So he had to try another method. What Chum Foon Hei said to Bao Seed afterward also made sense. Their connection was too strong. Ding Jie was his god-daughter after all. He couldn’t let go either. Yet he couldn’t let Bao Seed be the person making that move. He wanted to protect Bao Seed, even reminding Bao Seed that he was a cop. It was almost like what Cheuk Sir did for Bao Seed. Because Bao Seed wasn’t tainted like them. Not yet regarding breaking the codes or cutting some corners at times to achieve their means. Even if Bao Seeed did go rogue during some events leading to the ending of season 1, but it was still not to the point of no return yet. And what Chum Foon Hei said was almost an answer to what Cheuk Sir asked him a long time ago. That conversation they had in the prequel with Cheuk Sir asking him if his revenge for his wife was worth it. It was worth it to him, but he also knew he had strayed so far that he couldn’t really return versus how Bao Seed still had a long path ahead of him.
- Michael and Eddie Koo. It wasn’t until episode 6 when they had their confrontation aka their first meeting that I started laughing. Because I realized they were both in an old Taiwanese series called Flaming Phoenix (浴火鳳凰) together. They were love rivals. So, it was hilarious seeing how they were once again facing off, but for different reasons. I don’t know if they were in other series together in recent years but like I said, I haven’t been watching TVB stuff or paid attention for the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.
- Benjamin and Priscilla. If you don’t succeed, try again, I guess. Because the writers really tried to push those two for this series. If the writers wanted these two to be together, it should have been in the second installment where their story would have worked out better. However, they chose to strike during the third installment and ended up reaching too far that it became some duplicate versions of the other characters’ stories.
- Owen and Sisley. They were the cutest and probably my favorite couple in here despite their tricky relationship initially. It started as a trap but she realized she’d fallen in so hard it was hard to pull out. I knew it would turn into tragedy. But I low-key wanted it to work. Like somehow, my optimistic side wanted his plan to work with going clean and all. It was indeed a good teaser for the production team. They had a decent story though, which was also the reason why it was harder for both during the confrontation when he found out that she was spying on him with the phone. She couldn’t let him go either because of her duty as a cop. I knew it was a slimmer chance that they would somehow accept one another because of how the plot had steered away from them and it was also going off the cliff with killing so many characters. In short, it was hard to recover from the intensity of it all. Yet in the end, they managed to work it out. Or at least, they have some sort of ending. He had already forgiven her or he had said that he should have seen it coming as a gang member. She was promised to wait for him. Hey, they got the best story to tell their grandkids, right? Something like, “How did I meet grandpa? Well, he was in this gang and I was a UC. I had practically helped put him in prison. But then it was cool. I waited for him to get out before we got married.” LOL!
- Kenneth and Mandy. If it was any other circumstances, I would have rooted for them. This? Nah. It was really boring. Klein and Madam G were like two robots learning to be humans. Mean. But seriously. The way they talked and operated. I was surprised she didn’t agree with Klein’s assessment about how it was more reliable to use technology for analysis versus leaving it up to humans for errors.
- Tony Hung and Priscilla. Hear me out, what if those two were together instead? I meant it was too late now with them both dead already. But what they could have done to revive his character in this season was say he somehow made it out of the building or when it exploded, through some outrageous mean, the explosion tossed him outside so he was just unconscious and lost his memory but was safe. Yes, I know if using the memory loss formula, it would be too overkilled. But that might explain why he was missing for the longest time. Then if they want to stretch it and bring Ah Mui back, they could have said she wasn’t really dead. Someone wanted to experiment on her, so they took her body out and actually somehow resurrect her. Hey, we all thought Ah Hup was dead too and he wasn’t dead. So? Anything was possible. Seriously though, I thought if Tony and Priscilla were together with how their characters were, I would ship them more. They were getting along so well with those brief scenes. It was a romantic comedy formula waiting to happen with how they met, bumped into each other, joined forces (sort of) to go against the person who snatched her stuff. So, yeah. Too bad.
- Benjamin and Shiga Lin. Once again, hear me out, I swear they had more chemistry than when they were with the supposed partner that the scriptwriters wrote for them–supposedly the endgame. I liked them together when watching the flashbacks of years ago. So, they had a rough start and there were misunderstandings. She was just doing her job to check out some leads for her boss but soon learned that he wasn’t like what her superiors thought. I could see their chemistry before they were together for real. They promised to get back in touch and travel together once their missions were over. That scene when he cried in the rain because the lady who got up on the scooter and rode away reminded him of her, I could feel his pain and all for her and how she lost her life just like that. They also lost their chance.
- The songs. I’m soooo glad that Ray got to sing for the third installment. Because I was surprised he didn’t participate in the soundtrack for the first season. With his return, there was a bonus along with it. I was also glad that they used the song “Love is Not So Easy” (越難越愛) by Jinny Ng only for the characters in season 1, because that would have killed me (NOT really, but still) if they allowed that to be used for the new characters too.
- Ray and Ron reunited briefly in one of the scenes at the massage place. Ron said to Ray, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! Corny but funny. (As I said above, I forgive them, lol.) The group of friends told Ray to join in with the group picture, lol. That was kind of crawling over to the lame side with their tangent moment but kind of fun to see a Ray and Ron reunion–briefly. Did Ron volunteer to enter the scene so he could troll Ray? Just wondering, lol.
- The Shadow Warriors team. Although it was set up by Madam Chan initially to cover her own ass and to further her agenda by claiming the credit yet the majority of the members were a true team. They’d been through so much together. Soooo funny when Chum Foon Hei arrived, everyone was giving him a long face. He said it was all right they didn’t throw a party to welcome him, but giving him that long face? LOL! He was hilarious really. They were acting like he was the one bringing bad luck. Great to know he wasn’t being forgotten as one of the key characters. They needed him. And when they were celebrating–sort of, only Ah Mui was trying to celebrate, Tin Tong was trying to act sweet to Ah Mui and Chum Foon Hei reminded them that there were other people around too, not just them, lol. He couldn’t stand the sweetness anymore, lol. Poor dude. What was worse was how Madam G said that was how Klein treated her behind closed doors AND Bao Seed was yelling for her to stop because no one wanted to know what they did behind closed doors, lol. Tin Tong was a pervert and wanted to know, lol. Ah Mui couldn’t say that about Tin Tong though, she was with him, right? They also joked about how Klein was a savior because he took in Madam G. Those were the days before they found out the truth about Klein though.
- The investigation into Tin Tong in the past. Ah Luen and Tin Tong met and we got to discover some of their backstories before coming into the events of their timeline, which led to them finally landing in the current situation. Wing Cheong also had to investigate Tin Tong, which led to them meeting and becoming friends. It was really fun to watch how they all linked together one way or another. Too bad they didn’t know they all knew each other one way or another. Also, how Ah Mui knew Wing Cheong as well. It was just too bad that they didn’t know anything else aside from some details here and there.
- Joseph Zeng’s roles as Madman or Yan Tin Hup. He was neither since it was revealed in the final episode. However, who was he really? The person who worked for Michael Tse’s character? Or was Michael just a sniper for some other big boss? But his appearance also created another mystery for the overall series. It led us into believing there was something else out there. Also, a hint for season 4, obviously, lol.
- Kin Gor’s return to take over Hong Kong and manipulate the world in general. It was a good one. Because it forced the story to move forward and drove it into the ending. Because I think the story died down a bit after some hype here and there. It needed a boost that some of the major characters couldn’t save.
Subplots that were a complete waste of time:
- Tin Tong and Ah Mui’s love story. If the only purpose of their story was to teach the rest of us a lesson about not wasting our time and cherish one another, then okay. But other than that, I didn’t see the purpose of their characters getting together. Apart, I liked both of their characters. Together, it was sooooo boring. Besides, I already discussed above that I preferred them with the characters mentioned before, so yeah. Not to mention how their story was somewhat a copy of both Bao Seed and Ding Jie and somewhat a version of Kobe and Yan as well. That scene at the hospital trying to find each other and it got super dramatic and dragged out? It reminded me of season 1 when Kobe rescued Yan from that explosion and they found each other afterward, except Kobe and Yan’s version wasn’t forced. It was indeed intense and I finally appreciated Sharon’s acting more than ever because I realized Priscilla couldn’t carry through–and neither did Benjamin. I’m sorry. It just felt so forced. And when I say they resembled Bao Seed and Ding Jie was because they couldn’t catch a break with spending some intimate time together, it was never the right time, etc. It was funny when Ray and Charmaine did it even if it was a tad cheesy at times YET I felt once again, I’m sorry, Benjamin and Priscilla couldn’t carry through. They were playful, etc. I think I should blame the scriptwriters for the poor planning. Because season 1 allowed for those scenes to be included at the right interval of the story, unlike this one where they were captured or were just at an intense part of the story. The hospital scene was supposed to be really tragic and sad but I wasn’t affected at all. Only Michael’s and the others’ reactions made it seemed tragic enough. Also, that scene became the reason Bao Seed cracked the code regarding Ah Hup’s gesture before he died. It was when Tin Tong placed the ring on Ah Mui’s finger that he figured it out.
- Bao Seed’s son. Aside from distracting us, there was nothing there really. He chose to return to help the others, that was it. So, it wasn’t like there was much to go on. It was a side plot to increase more episodes. Sounds harsh, but it didn’t contribute to the major plot even if you take it out. That was how terrible it was. The idea was nice and a good distraction, but that was about it. Not to mention how it stole from Kobe and Yan with having a child without the former knowing yet this son survived, obviously. But it was a wasted plot. I mean Ray’s acting was good and we saw another side of him as portraying a fatherly role and their interactions were cute, but it was a weak subplot overall. Like I said, if you take it out, it wouldn’t make a difference to the overall picture.
- Katie’s luck with actually finding a boss who finally has a backbone. Good luck with that! Seriously. The asshole expected her to grovel? He was an asshole through and through, not even hiding it at all. Well, I guess the previous boss had bigger fishes to fry, so of course, he kept some sense of secrecy and patience initially. This one just didn’t care to show his true face just like that. And I clap her on once again for not caving. Well, she was floored by his request and was still thinking. But then she couldn’t live with it since she was struggling inside the whole time. So she finally chose to stay with justice’s side. Brilliant! But that high only lasted for like two seconds because thanks to Wai Chok Wing, I also remembered why it was really a bad idea to call Fan Hiu Wah as well. Ugh. Life, right? It was also really frustrating that she was forced to walk back on her stance regarding justice and all. It was indeed heartbreaking and frustrating. When Bao Seed went to talk to her, it highlighted their feelings vividly.
- Raymond Lam/ Bao Seed vs Kenneth Ma/ Klein – LOL! I wanted to laugh the first time they met up. It was hilarious. I meant they worked together in a bunch of series already. But just funny to see them again like that. Oh yeah, CIA vs SIA, lol. I thought that scene was hilarious. At least the initial exchange. Bao Seed asking if Klein wanted him to join CIA and Klein was saying, “It’s SIA.” Bao Seed was like it was about the same, just one different letter. LOL! He wasn’t wrong, lol. Still an intelligence committee.
- When the old team met the new team. Interesting or what? LOL! It was funny to see their interactions and reactions to one another. Bao Seed trying to bring up his status on the team YET failed somewhat because according to the timeline, Ah Mui was actually his senior. LOL! Even if that was really funny though, I felt that the writers did that on purpose timeline-wise made it too much of a stretch. Bao Seed, obviously, was more experienced as an undercover cop regardless. He only cracked near the end. Like who wouldn’t? They were at a dead-end. However, the rest?
- When Bao Seed found out Cheuk Sir wanted to go rouge and help Pong Ho Yeung to claim the Sung Luen’s leader seat. It was hilarious to see Bao Seed’s expression. It was like, “Seriously, man? You were the one who told me not to cut corners or cross the line. Now you’re playing this game?” And the fact that Cheuk Sir pointed out that they might become enemies if Bao Seed was going against Pong Ho Yeung. That was why the betrayal regarding Ah Dau was even more heartbreaking. Bao Seed reminded Cheuk Sir what Cheuk Sir told him previously and how Cheuk Sir had steered him toward the right path. So how could Bao Seed be calmed to face such a change with their roles? Cheuk Sir was right that he was no longer a cop. But that didn’t hurt any less. Cheuk Sir had a point when he said that he had nothing to lose with the way things were, so he was much freer to do what he wanted. Even if he failed, it was just him. However, what a way to mess with Bao Seed’s head. That was a powerful confrontation between both, though. Even if it was all an act from Cheuk Sir, but it still made everything more complicated than before. Like I said, it was messing with Bao Seed’s head big time. We all know this was a short fallout comparing the rest of the madness later on. But at that time, how was Bao Seed supposed to act?
- The main cast seemed a tad bloated. However, I thought it cranked the hype up a bit compared to the prequel. The shifting back and forth between various characters made it interesting. But I thought the writers got a bit cocky and some of the subplots got away from them hence some subplots were less desirable than others. It was discussed in the points above already. So I don’t want to rehash again.
- When Ah Dau confessed to Bao Seed that she’d fallen for Pong Ho Yeung and wouldn’t be able to do her job properly. It was indeed a change. I thought she would sneak around until it got out of control. She’d been struggling for a while. It wasn’t like she didn’t know what was going on. But that moment was indeed different from other dramas with how she went out of the way and said it. Bao Seed, obviously, already knew. And his reaction was why he was the most suitable to her handler and not someone who couldn’t care less about her and her well-being, except to be able to climb the ranks and all. Their talk after the whole operation went down without his involvement said it all as well. He was indeed a very good handler, taking in all angles, considering her feelings. Because he used to be a UC and still is, he could understand all the complications going on everywhere and how UC work was very hard. He didn’t use her to exploit the chance, knowing it would be very hard for her to pull out and deal with the fallout afterward. His words to her summed up his philosophy: UC is human after all. Many had forgotten, especially what happened to past UCs. So, yes, it indeed needed to be said, even if it seemed obvious. They moved on to talk about Ding Jie and how it had subtly hinted that Ah Dau was never going to replace Ding Jie regardless of the situation. They were all waiting for her to come back–whenever that was.
- Leung Sir and Madam G as mentor and student. The first time I saw Madam G showed real emotions toward anyone–aside from her sister. The part where Leung Sir quit and Madam G wanted to follow him yet he told her to stay. She promised but had clung onto him. Many might think that was a childish gesture but that was her way of showing her emotions and how important he was to her. He was her mentor and partially the reason why she’d been around for so long.
- They killed Goblin! I was watching the one with English subs so he was listed as Goblin. OMG, they were going all out on killing everyone to let us see how terrible the situation was or something. I was surprised that he was apologizing to Cheuk Sir and saying how he couldn’t say no to the grand reward prize. However, he was just using that as an excuse and later diverted attention away from Cheuk Sir and onto himself so Cheuk Sir could escape. I liked him. He was a fun addition to the cast and comedic relief for all of us when it got too intense.
- They never mentioned Moose Kwai again at the end when Bao Seed told Lam Lam he was going to seek out Ding Jie? Really? They dragged out some other stuff yet didn’t give us some clue as to where he was going after that? Just a tad, considering how he did appear at some hilarious scenes throughout. I mean, I’m sure he would be fine looking for another job. But he was part of the massage place and cared for Lam Lam deeply as a friend as well. He would want to know or would cry over it.
Recommended? I thought it was worth it for the major plot and some of the subplots with the new characters. Plus, there were some gaps they needed to fill to tie it together for some characters involved and how they all got to that point. There was also a cliff-hanger which would lead into the fourth installment. So, you know, you could wait until they actually make a fourth one so it would be less of a wait? LOL!
This, obviously, was a prequel to the previous installment, Line Walker. How was it? Mixed feelings actually because it was hard to get used to the additional cast somewhat. It was also because of some tangent plots that got me annoyed, which I will explain later. Other than that, it was decent, I guess.
- Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). Continuing to show solid acting from the first season, he allowed us to travel into his past along with the other characters. We got to see how his past journey had shaped him to become so cautious and so protective of his undercover agents as he did in the present time. He showed great restraint in some situations versus others. Did he lose his patience? Yes, he did. Did he feel lost at times? Yes, that had happened. Yet thanks to some of his fellow colleagues and good friends, he managed to get past that and continue on with his mission. He also made mistakes, which led to a rift in relationships and trust issues–as it did with Tin Tong’s situation. However, he proceeded to try and fix it and proved himself again. Because he was able to relate to their own struggles as undercover agents.
- Jessica Hsuan as Sze Ka Lei (施嘉莉) / Scarlett. I felt Jessica should have received better challenges in her old days with TVB than just portraying her typical characters. This was one of her more memorable performances. I watched the majority of Jessica’s series already but had given up over the past few years. I think the last time I was impressed with her was in Gun Metal Grey because she was so lively and natural without looking like she was uncomfortable–although some people disliked her in there. It was different. The talk she had with Cheuk Sir in episode 14 was important because it defined her character and humanized her more. Although some of the past scenes already highlighted her capabilities, those were professionally and related to the crime operating business. The part where she told Cheuk Sir about her past assignment showed a small window into her past, and what her journey was like before arriving at the current point. She already showed us the wise and level-headed side of her. Not to mention her well-planned schemes. We finally got to see her vulnerable side and learned more about her background. I liked her throughout because of her struggles at times and her determination–regardless of which side she was on. I thought she–out of all the characters–had the right to doubt the authorities in general and on such a grand scale. It was like many of the undercover agents who had doubted their superiors and the purpose of the whole operation, even harming those who tried to protect them. On the grand scale, they hurt more people because of their greed, but sometimes, there was always a question, just like how it was addressed in season 1 with some of the characters who had gotten too attached with some of the gang members. However, I found it disturbing to the max that she chose to return to Victor’s side near the end. Of course, they didn’t succeed with their schemes. Yet I was still disturbed. Because she turned into a typical character who would follow some guy who would do anything for her. Didn’t she see how scary he was? Sure, he did everything for her, but did she forget that he manipulated her to stay by his side? Like she was there with the chip planted in her and she wasn’t sure if she was going to survive. He let her live in that fear. Not to mention the downside of how if she were to oppose, she would face a consequence worse than death. So, yes, I was really disappointed in that change. It downplayed her character in the final moment that the show was going down. I didn’t expect her to end up with Cheur Sir since that was impossible and unrealistic. But I expected her ending was how she rode off into the horizon and gotten away with everything. In fact, it should end up with how she was finally able to be free of everything and headed toward her final destination to find peace at last. Cheuk Sir was willing to turn a blind eye to that part because he sympathized with her past. So, making her return to Victor’s side sort of set her character up for destruction. I understand that it was probably her blind spot, but it didn’t make sense or it just seemed like a typical way to wrap up the plot. What would have been an even more awesome move though? She could have returned in the third season to aid Cheuk Sir with some side mission or as a contact or an anonymous tip. She didn’t have to be a key character to hog the scene like some people, but that could have been an interesting turn.
- Moses Chan as Ngai Tak Shun (魏德信) / Victor. Someone give him a comb, please. Mean, but seriously, I was getting annoyed by it. It wasn’t like it was messy but the style made it look that way. I think I wasn’t impressed with this role as I was supposed to be. The most impressive part or the one that I got the chills for was actually the part where he passive-aggressively tried to dethrone his father with that speech shortly before announcing his father’s retirement. It was really chilling. Even more chilling than when he took down the others. The legit fear his father had for him said it all too. The whole scene was memorable in that it let us know how creepy he was. Aside from that, he wasn’t the least bit impressive to me. So what if he was ruthless and acted like he owned Hong Kong? Chum Foon Hei was even scarier because he was good at playing long games. Look who turned up on top, right? Moses miscalculated IF he had ever thought of stealing the show by being in this installment. I don’t want to blame him because everyone has bills to pay and TVB’s decisions are always tricky. So I don’t know all those inside plans OR whatever. But he couldn’t really shine for me in here. It was interesting to see another character, but he wasn’t what made this series for me.
- Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). It was already revealed in the movie (which didn’t have much to do with the first season and wasn’t really worth it if you didn’t watch) that he was an undercover agent already. However, this one extended to his back story even more and how he ended up going rogue. I mean, can you even blame him? It was like survival of the fittest out there. His cowardly handler didn’t make it easier for him. Although the guy did redeem himself and aided his escape, the damage was already done. Not to mention he wanted to survive under Victor’s empire, he had to go to the extreme. His revenge schemes were hurting lots of others as well. However, I didn’t really blame him for what happened. Sure, he manipulated people and got what he wanted. It wasn’t news. Yet between him and Ngai, I was rooting for him all the way. It was obvious who won because this was a prequel and we already knew he even survived with the other one, so why not, right?
- Pakho Chau as Lok Siu Fung (樂少鋒). I liked him from the start yet felt a bit shame that he was from the supposed “bad” side. But soon learned he was an undercover cop, so I was reassured. I liked the development for him with being around the gang and Pak-key for so long that he developed an attachment to them. However, the grand twist of his true identity made everything even more intriguing. Like it stopped becoming a typical formula of the show with how they were either undercover or cop turned bad. YET this one sort of pushed us into thinking other possibilities again. I suspected that the timeline didn’t fit and thought the scriptwriters made a mistake when it was described that he somewhat grew up in the gang and had followed Pak-key a long time already. However, it was explained later that his brother was the actual undercover agent. That made more sense. What made his character for me was his complex relationship with various characters in here–whether it was romance, friendships, or some sense of loyalty toward. He vowed to avenge his brother and Pak-key’s deaths. He was able to carry out both in some ways. Even if he’d gone to the max with his method but it was in some sense understandable. At first, he was also hostile toward Chum Foon Hei but later also became loyal to him–or somewhat developed a bond with him. It was really unimaginable after how he saw Chum fled and saved his own skin after Pak-key’d gone down. But over time, they reached an understanding with many complex actors coming into play. Not to mention the similarities between their characters. I think Chum mentioned it at one point as well–with them being undercover agents and then becoming rogue. However, the twist was Lok wasn’t an undercover agent at all. He was just posing as one and also wanted to avenge his brother’s death. They also managed to cheat death, so yeah.
- Priscilla Wong as Cheng Shuk Mui (鄭淑梅). I initially didn’t like her because I thought she was so awkward around Michael’s character, thinking she was uncomfortable with interacting with him. As the series progressed and I understood her character more, I felt it wasn’t like that. I was glad I stuck around. Her suggestion with creating their own codes to Lok Siu Fong was really smart because she said even Scarlett knew their CIB codes. Not telling Cheuk Sir was a good idea too. She had alternative motives, but in a way, it did help in the future. Perhaps, it was like what Cheuk Sir said, the reason Lai Sir picked her was because of her innocent nature and her vulnerability. Her genuine nature had made her an asset to them, making it easier for her to gain trust from people. Not to mention her determination to continue on and beat all odds, not giving up when she ran into an obstacle, like how Cheuk Sir had pushed her limits at the beginning with those training sessions and small tasks.
- Benjamin Yuen as Tsui Tin Tong (徐天堂). I liked him at first because I felt his character was intriguing. Then I felt he was a typical villain character. Like the cunning type YET he sort of grew on me and I tried to get past that since it was hard to hate him with all the comedic scenes that he had. Then the truth came out with him being another undercover agent and it made sense with how he tried so hard to act like some money-grubbing asshole throughout just to gain trust. Although his comedic acts were fun to watch, I thought his best scenes were with Lok and not Ah Mui. Because it showed his constant struggle of keeping a level head and also to focus on his goals. Despite knowing his actions weren’t going to be rewarded or anything. His friendship with Lok and the struggle with helping Lok or not made it even sadder. Because it was another decision that they had to face. He had his struggles with trusting others and somehow learned to do so with Lai Sir again. Yet was disappointed when confronted by Cheuk Sir and Ah Mui. After proving themselves to be the real deal, he learned to trust them once again.
- Vincent Lam as Chai Fing (猜 Fing). How could I have forgotten to talk about him in the first installment? He was a very interesting character from the start. I was glad to learn more about him in his installment and how he followed Chum Foon Hei since then. We all knew how he died tragically fighting off those rivals and allowing for the others to run in the first season so he won’t return in the third season–unless he had a twin, lol. His loyalty to Chum was shown throughout and he proved it time after time. No wonder Chum trusted him so much after all these years.
- Nathan Ngai as Ben Sir (朱志彬). I initially really liked him. Maybe it was because of my biases toward him being Cheuk Sir’s apprentice. His intelligence and his righteousness was his shining point. However, those were also what fused his ambition and ego. Sure, having ambition wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Yet his perfectionism and his ego got in the way, which finally led to his downfall. It seemed like he couldn’t be manipulated to cave. However, the other gang proved their capabilities by being able to twist things and find people’s weaknesses to get their way. I felt disappointed in Ben though, because of how he wasn’t able to let go. He was one of those supposed heroes who was only good for being a shell because he liked to look good on paper but failed the test when it actually mattered. Good acting from Nathan though. Especially, during the scene where he came back and had the memorial ceremony for Cherry. YES, I thought the actor brought out his emotions well, however, I couldn’t sympathize with the character at all. He chose.
- Louisa Mak as Yeung Wing (楊詠) / Cherry. She was actually my favorite character in here in regard to the female population. Yes, I hate to compare, but she was the favorite one among the female characters, so it was really tragic and sad to see her death. She seriously was very likable from the start. It was to the point that I feared she might be another agent from the other side. It was a surprise reveal that she was also one of Lai Sir’s undercover agents. She was very smart and cautious. Too bad she trusted the wrong person, which led to her inevitable demise.
- Eddie Cheung as Lai Sir (黎瑞權). I was surprised to see him in here. However, I enjoyed his brief appearance. He delivered flawlessly and I got a little teary-eyed when he died. I swear, I knew it was coming. It was basically a copycat version of how Hong Sir died in the first season but because of his performance, I got sucked in. I know these events were years before, but since this was written after, I couldn’t help but think they just somehow changed some details and location and that was it. Regardless, we still got to see a very wise Lai Sir at times before he exited the show.
- Jimmy Au as Hong To Hang (康道行). I was soooo sad to see him killed off so shortly in the first one, but that was part of the setup for the whole chase in the first season. So, of course, I was glad that he was in the prequel, trying to see him in action versus having characters talk about him at various points like in the other one. It wasn’t exaggerating to say that it was one of his better roles and worth mentioning roles of recent years as well. He appeared sometimes in here but wasn’t the main focus because of the way the story was crafted, which made sense. We could see the bond between him and Cheuk Sir as they met up at times to talk and gave one another advice. It was revealed that he was gathering up the team for their next assignment at the end of the series, which unleashed the chain of the events of the happenings in season 1. He wanted to consult Cheuk Sir about the members that he picked. However, Cheuk Sir didn’t look. He wanted to go out first. That topic was obviously delayed once again and obviously never addressed until Cheuk Sir finally had to seek out the actual team members as seen in season 1. Couldn’t blame Cheuk Sir too much–after all the stuff that went on during this installment. Cheuk Sir needed a break and some fun, and he also trusted Hong Sir to choose his own team members, so it was never talked about again.
- Kenny Wong as Pak-key (鄭弼奇). For the first time ever, I actually liked his character and performance. I meant he’d been shoved into our faces for so long with various projects and the same cast that I got tired of watching him and eventually wanted to avoid everything he was in. I was actually kind of unsure about this one too, wondering if he was going to hog the camera thus ending up minimizing other characters. However, this character was really intriguing and a mix of depth within the character itself. It was like it wasn’t supposed to copy any past characters on purpose. His performance was actually quite more genuine than some past ones. I think TVB shoving him in series after series might have overworked him thus not solid performance at times. Yet I was actually sad when he wasn’t around anymore in this one. Strange, lol.
- Alice Chan as Yao San San (姚姍姍). Chum Foon Hei’s wife. In the movie, she was portrayed by someone else and also was killed by someone else. However, once again, ignore the movie if you watched it. Because the movie followed its own timeline somewhat and made a big mess of the overall plot. So, for once, I forgive TVB for being inconsistent in that area. Anyway, she sure was an interesting character and fought bravely till the end. It was too bad her husband couldn’t tell her that he was actually a cop all along. Her death also fused his anger even more and caused him to go rogue with his revenge schemes. However little she appeared though, she had a great impact on the overall storyline, especially that of how Chum came to switching sides and eventually was just looking out for number one.
- Tony Hung as Wong Wing Cheong (王永翔). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. He was very charming and likable. It was too bad that he didn’t get to stick around for the later scenes. It made sense with the plot and how Cheuk Sir was even more cautious of his decisions and actions later on, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating.
- Stephanie Ho as Sparrows (雀雀). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. She was another interesting character that I would have loved to learn more about if the plot had allowed for that.
- Koo Ming Wah as Tomato (蕃茄). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. It has been a while since I’ve seen him portraying somewhere near an interesting character. To bad.
- Shiga Lin as Cheung Yuk Luen (張玉瑄) / Birdy. An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. Yet another interesting character that could have been developed into much more. Once again, too bad.
- Yeung Chiu Hoi as Tam Siu Lung (譚兆龍)/ Raptor. Assumed to be dead along with the rest of the undercover agents in Thailand. It was later revealed that he was the mole. He arranged the explosion and escaped. After he returned, he was chased down many times. Then he went and worked for Victor. Too bad he assumed that he would be spared by double-crossing Victor.
- Karen Lee as Leung Si Man (梁斯敏). She was another undercover agent under Lai Sir before he passed away. She was so deep undercover that she gained trust from several parties within the triads/organizations. Also, she had terminal liver cancer. Um, recurring theme? The other one, Kobe died too. Tenfold more dramatic and tragic. But seriously? What gameplay were they doing? Seriously, she was a mixture of Kobe and Bao Seed because Bao Seed got so frustrated near the end that he didn’t care what extreme he went through to seek justice. He was frustrated that innocent people were dying and bad dudes kept living in such luxuries and getting away scot-free. So, yes, in a way, we could understand Si Man’s approach–even if we didn’t agree–because we were able to connect them to Bao Seed’s actions previously. Good performance from her though, because I’ve seen her in really sweet roles before and believed she couldn’t harm anyone, lol. This one, she exuded the creepy and mysterious aura quite well. It wasn’t until she finally revealed her identity to Cheuk Sir and explained the situation that we saw her vulnerability.
- Gill Mohindepaul Singh as Yu Lok Sing (佘樂成). He was hilarious. He had some talents with the other two but were oddities among the cops hence being tossed out. He became a valuable connection while Cheuk Sir needed backup.
- Kandy Wong as Law Siu Sze (羅小絲). She was equally hilarious as the other two recruits. She sure had some wit. It was funny to see her tossing it right back to the other two when they tried to pick on her height.
- Penny Chan as Lee Man Hung (李文雄). The third of the recruits and was as valuable to Cheuk Sir when needed.
- Kenneth Ma as Ngai Tak Lai (魏德禮) / Klein. I was rolling my eyes when he appeared. I meant I was sick and tired of the Ngai empire and their neverending dramas. Yet I changed my mind later when he appeared in the present time. So, I will stop here for now and save it for that review.
Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc
- Michael and Jessica. Like I said in the other review, I actually quite liked them in Gun Metal Grey yet just didn’t like the dragged-out story. So I was quite intrigued to watch how their story went in here. Obviously, we knew from the first season as a guide, they wouldn’t work out regardless and they weren’t the endgame. However, it was still one of the storylines I was looking forward to seeing their scenes more than some others in here. They were always friends more than anything else. As much as Cheuk Sir was able to share without compromising his identity and his fellow undercover agents, he gave her a lot of helpful advice yet didn’t force her to choose. His character seemed consistent for the most part with how he came to be in the other installment. I found it troubling at times that he wasn’t so to the book when dealing with her at various points and knew that it was his personal biases that had affected his decision as well. However, I treated it as that he sympathized with her and really wanted to give her a chance to run if she pulled out of the whole operation in time. However, she returned and deterred his goal in arresting Ngai, so she gave him no choice.
- Moses and Jessica. I’m not even sure if they’d ever paired up before since I didn’t watch all of TVB’s recent series. However, I didn’t feel their chemistry like with their other pairings. Despite all the set up of touching moments for them during various scenes. I also tried to push aside their characters as being villains or in-between characters throughout but didn’t feel so strongly for them either. That was seriously bad, lol. Because their story worked out well for one another. They had the same mentality and seemed to operate on the same wavelength. They both had the intelligence and wit alongside one another. However, Moses and Jessica didn’t give me the couple vibe that I waited so long–even till the end of the series. Also, Jessica’s character was tenfold more interesting than Moses’s because she had many layers. Moses’ character had the same vibe throughout aka kill regardless of consequences and only the result mattered. It was homicidal and maniacal. Nothing special. Yes, that seemed harsh, but seriously, he was a disappointing villain because he fitted into a typical villain mold like some of the past dramas or stories had gone with when approaching the formula of how to present their villain to us. That was why I said in the section above that Moses wasn’t going to steal the show anytime soon. The spot still belonged to Benz’s Chum Foon Hei through and through. Like I said before, Chum was playing the long game. Ngai just wanted to defeat his opponents quickly and easily and through the cruelest methods. He wasn’t going to last if the story had stretched out even more. His underestimating of his enemies was also his downfall. So, aside from comparing Moses and Jessica’s characters and lack of chemistry, lol, I didn’t have much else to go on with them.
- Michael and Benz. I actually wanted to put this in the other review but I decided to save it for this review instead. There were several overlaps here and there so yeah. I noticed their interactions and constant face-offs reminded me of their last memorable collaboration in The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984. In fact, each time they appeared together, everyone was seeing the actual scene playing out, but I was seeing another image alongside the actual scene during their Chor Lau Heung confrontations all over again, lol. Their interactions once again made it one of the highlights of the show as far as the Line Walker installments went. It was the side talks that made me felt somewhat amused. The best scenes in the series were actually their confrontation scenes and the chess games they played with one another. They both made very good points during their various face-offs throughout. I have to agree with Chum Foon Hei when he said prison can’t stop someone like Ngai Tak Shun. But Cheuk Sir wasn’t wrong either when he said so many innocent lives have been lost because of the war between both sides, and because Chum wanted his revenge.
- Michael and Eddie. I don’t remember anymore when was their last collaboration in the old days. However, I really enjoyed their interactions in here immensely and felt that their talks at the beginning were probably one of the hallmarks of the show. Lai Sir was indeed very wise and had a strong impact on Cheuk Sir’s perspectives and principles also.
- Michael and Jimmy. Also, one of the best interactions in here. Like said before, their scenes were a little more developed. We got to see their friendships and how genuine it was, just like how Cheuk Sir and Lai Sir were. Two completely different types of friendships but in some ways, they influenced one another from time to time.
- Pakho and Priscilla. They were all right, I guess. I didn’t feel as strongly for them as some couples out there. But considering how they were in such a complicated situation, it was hard to put that aside. Their only date was possibly the time before he said goodbye. It was indeed a relationship meant to fail.
- Benjamin and Priscilla. It was obvious that Tin Tong liked Ah Mui, but they were friends for the most part. There were many funny scenes between them at first. I actually enjoyed them since they were somewhat comedic within all the hectic stories developing at the same time. However, it was ruined by her mother’s storyline. The confrontation between them after Lok’s death reminded me of how Bao Seed and Ding Jie argued in the other one, asking why he wasn’t there to save the day. However, I didn’t feel as strongly about it versus the scene where Tin Tong and Cheuk Sir were on the roof talking about Lok’s death. It was very touching and expressed all their emotions well.
- Pakho and Benjamin. I mentioned above how I felt stronger with their bond than them with Ah Mui and my opinion remained unchanged until the rest of the story unfolded. They didn’t have many things in common at first and even had quite a strong misunderstanding regarding Pak-key’s death. What they were able to bond over was their common mentality with being undercover agents. Even if Lok wasn’t really an undercover agent but he’d been in the gang for so long that he understood too well of its operations and the harsh reality of it all. That was also why the two came to make the pact.
- Nathan and Louisa. Every series has a model couple. I think Cherry and Ben were it for this one. However, they were ruined because of what happened in the story. I was screaming mad when I realized he was turning bad. Yet it was turning into a whole new level of tragedy. Yeah, it fitted in with showing us how one caved to temptation or when faced with obstacles, how they would react. However, it still sucked. I thought they might be untouchable. But looking back at how the scriptwriters completely killed Kobe in the other one and let Yan suffered during the last few episodes, it was on par with it. This one wasn’t less frustrating, but it was actually making more sense because they were all trying to complete their missions? Kobe? How random was that? Killing him off with a disease so unrelated to the case as an overall? Sure, people die from diseases all the time. But it seemed off course and way off base for going that way while the series was reaching its peak in the other one. Anyway, back to this one. I think we were all heartbroken along with Cherry. I mean, it was frustrating and beyond cruel of that scumbag’s actions. (Yes, that’s what I’m calling him now.) However, I think she didn’t see it coming either. I think there was a teeny-tiny part of me that wanted him to reconsider or have some kind of wake-up moment where he realized he had to turn back for her sake. YET he chose himself. He chose self-preservation in the end. It was expected. But weren’t we like a little bit hopeful it was otherwise? At least we liked to lie to ourselves, thinking that love might save him? Well, it was love, but his love for himself over anything. But I think I could say I completely disagree that the scumbag was still a good cop. He totally looked out for his own ass. How could anyone say that? Unless you would have to say all cops are equally the same as in they always look out for their own ass, then yes, he was good at that.
- Cheuk Sir’s Thailand undercover agents vs Lai Sir’s undercover agents. Once again, I apologize for pitting them against one another. However, I felt more intrigued with the Thailand team more. They gave us some hints here and there and had them introduced. We were already invested in their characters and wanted to know more. Yet bam! They were gone. Well, boom, actually. But still. The least interesting person had to survive. Sure, that was the point of the plot and it was revealed he was the traitor. But still. I liked the characters who became the main focus of the rest of the plot as well or came to like them. However, I felt less intrigued because of their similarities to the characters in season 1.
- Quotes. Were they necessary? It reminded me of When Heaven Burns so much and later of Master of Play. Having Moses in all three didn’t help the situation, lol. I learned some new and deep quotes through them. But I sometimes questioned it. Because it sort of veered off course from Season 1. I usually like deep stuff and discussions made but felt this one sort of didn’t fit in that aspect. Sure, they still talked about some of the themes addressed in the quotes in the previous season and this season as well. But I felt it was sort of off.
- Forgiving family because they’re family aka blood-relations. Enough with the BS about forgiving your mother because she’s your mother. In fact, enough with the BS about just because they’re family, you can’t cut them off. I know Tin Tong meant well when he tried to cheer Ah Mui up at the karaoke place. YET I’m sick and tired of the message about family and forced getting along OR brushing everything under the rug in the name of family. Just because those people give life to you that you have to take all the crap? If you looked at it, Ah Mui didn’t have a choice to be born either, SO why brought upon her all those miseries? Pathetic to think everyone could get away with it in the name of family. Although it gave Ah Mui some background story, I’m sick and tired of family dramas regarding gambling and all. I know it happened and is still going on in society in general. But this is a cop drama and finding the mole, etc. Just focus on that. They have other series where they could focus on those. And saying that having parents is better than none doesn’t justify their actions. NO one asked for their tragedies in life. BUT you can’t push your views on others just because you wanted parents OR whatever. And unconditional love works both ways too if anyone wants to advocate for it. Because Ah Mui was ONLY useful to her mom because she worked at a financial company. But she was dead weight when she wasn’t making any money. OR at least wasn’t well off. It’s beyond pathetic to play the pitiful card throughout and guilt trip others into thinking that as long as they’re fragile and weak, etc at that age because they’re NO longer able to being abusive that you’re supposed to cave in. How come parents never have to be responsible for their actions? Or like face consequences for their actions? Just because they play the parent card? The amount of money Ah Mui gave her was already enough for expenses YET she still dared to gamble? Greed knows no bounds. Even if they want to play the angle she had addiction issues, at least make it that she gets help OR whatever. Stop trying to make it into major guilt trips just because she’s playing the parent card. It’s frustrating to no end to drag out that plotline. So what it was because her husband died AND she was wallowing in gambling to forget? It’s a pathetic excuse. I have enough and mean MORE THAN enough of the endless excuses that abusive parents get away with. It’s pathetic to make Ah Mui the one feeling guilty. So she didn’t stay in contact. But what was one supposed to do when one felt so unloved and unwanted? To keep staying in an abusive relationship? Or keep in touch just because? Always the wrong message regardless of time or situation. The pathetic act isn’t convincing anyone except for those sooooo deep in the Stockholm syndrome that they couldn’t pull out. What was supposed to be paved as a touching scene or whatever was intended to be that was really pathetic and beyond outrage that I just want to forward it so I could watch more relevant details to the plot. Again, Tin Tong meant well because his mother passed away when he was young. However, it wasn’t his call to say whatever or tried to pull them together. Again, the scriptwriters forced it that way. But it was seriously pathetic and infuriating.
- The gray areas of life. The struggles between carrying out your duty as a cop and betraying someone who had your back actually was addressed more strongly in this one. The struggle continued with wondering if what you were doing was right. In the first season, other themes were also addressed, but the majority of them agreed that the bad person must be brought in. In this one, the gray areas just seeped all over, not knowing what to do when you were too close to everything. Like how Scarlett had said about busting the druglord in Thailand. He told her to run because she was innocent, despite knowing the rest would be killed, etc. Or how Lok was so loyal to Pak-key. Technically, Lok wasn’t the undercover cop sent in, but he still witnessed those within the gang looking out for him, especially Pak-key. The gray areas brought forth, becoming a mess even if they knew what their duties were supposed to be. Chum Foon Hei was also a gray character because there were many reasons he was driven to the end. His handler was an asshole, except near the end of his life when he finally covered for Chum to run to his wife. So many things to consider.
Recommended? I thought this installment was all right. If comparing with the first season, I felt the first season was much, much stronger in the sense of characters, plots, and acting. However, it was inevitable with the precedent being set already. As a standalone series, I would say it’s worth it. Some of the new characters and stories weren’t that bad.
If only I watched this series much earlier. Because this was actually one of the good ones in the past ten years regarding TVB series. I guess it was just that when I tried to dive into a series for the sake of Michael Miu, he was portraying some less than favorable character–or it was same old, same old. I didn’t feel there was a challenge for him. Even if he was in that one series with Felix Wong. Unlike some of the past series he was in since he returned, I felt like this was much more up to his par. Aside from that, the plot of this series was decent enough that it didn’t contain those characters that were just too good to be true aka unrealistic. This was a true gray areas series that got you thinking at times more than the tired same old you must let your enemies stomp on you left and right to be considered a good person, so yeah. I was surprised and glad that it stayed consistent throughout. Sure, there were corny moments, but it was just there to buffer the intensity of the main plot.
- Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). Once again, this was one of those series of Michael’s since his return to TVB that I felt was worth it. The last I tried to watch of him was My Better Half with Maggie Cheung. I did like their chemistry together but didn’t like where the story was going, so I dropped it. I even dropped Gun Metal Grey, so there were was that. (Side Note: I felt Gun Metal Grey was just using him and Felix to promote the new generation SO it was a rip-off and not meant to be a Felix and Michael reunion at all, so I didn’t even bother to continue. Although I did like both of their portrayals and his chemistry with Jessica Hsuan in there. Yeah, it ties in with what I said above regarding Michael’s repetitive roles of the past few years.) Anyway, this one gave his character not only capabilities but some depth. He wasn’t a goody-two-shoes at times either. Sure, he wasn’t going to resort to the extreme or lose his head in situations (because of his experiences over the years) but he wasn’t going to sit in a jail cell and rot either. He knew he needed to get out and use his wide networks and resources to get answers. It made him more flexible and realistic than say some typical recent main character TVB often drew up. So yes, I felt Michael had more to work with and try to shape the character more. He, of course, had times when he was unsure of what to do or if he was being a good handler to the others, but he never lost his goal. He felt like he failed Bao Seed when he couldn’t reason with the latter but he knew he had to continue on. And I so fell for it when I thought he might be bad, lol. Not in the sense that the others thought. But I had a feeling like he was hiding something. Totally exuding the Yang Hong vibe at that moment, lol. Like was he really a good guy or nah, lol. But it was the part where he was all like trying really hard to nail Bao Seed. I thought his going to prison later had to do with him finally losing it because in trying to stop Bao Seed, he lost his head. That would be some major twist for the show all right. But it was all an act and we could see another level of acting with Michael himself but also his character as an undercover agent. He was showing them all his capabilities and why he was their handler, not just always sitting behind a desk to enjoy the AC–as some would put it. He was the real deal and he got the experience to back it up. It was a good turnaround all right.
- Charmaine Sheh as Ding Siu Ka (丁小嘉) aka Ding Jie (釘姐). I think her character in here was a mixture of the characters in Angels of Mission and When Heaven Burns. Yes, the cop identity and how her humor reminded me of Angels of Mission and the goth appearance reminded me of When Heaven Burns. However, the similarities only ended there. Because the events of the plot development led on to other parts of her character that were more complicated. The trials and tribulations she went through shaped who she became later on. In fact, it was a test for her. Her most traumatizing scene must be at the hospital and learning that her adopted mothers had all passed away after that tragic event. It was so frightening and it shook her world to the core. Charmaine brought out that scene really well. Who could imagine? Her safe zone got breached and torn apart just like that. All in all, this was a character worth it for Charmaine fans who wanted to see her in more challenging roles.
- Raymond Lam as Suet Ka Keung (雪家強) aka Bao Seed (爆Seed). I haven’t watched anything of his in a long, long time although I know he could act. I seriously miss it. But it was because I didn’t like any of the themes or cast he was involved in for the longest time. Sad, but true. I was glad to finally have a role of his that I liked in here and could actually look forward to seeing the sequel when he comes back again. Yes, I went and hunt down some news just out of curiosity and realized they made two more installments–aside from the movies. (Yeah, I’m that behind on TVB-related series and/or movies because I can block it out if I don’t care for it.) Anyway, he showed some acting depth in here. The character was full of layers and he totally delivered at each stage of the plot development. It was addicting to watch what else he was capable of and how his character evolved. It went on many layers of emotional rollercoasters and explored why he took to the extreme with his actions in the name of justice.
- Sammy as Lin Ho Kan (連浩勤) / Kobe. I actually quite liked him after watching some series that he was just some minor character. So I was glad to see him being a bigger part of the plot throughout. I enjoyed his character and his stories throughout. He sure got what it took to be an agent. Sure, he had his vulnerabilities and his worries at times, it was understandable and very real, considering how and what they had to deal with on daily basis. It was indeed really scary. What got me really mad was giving him that tumor. Seriously? The writers need to lay off the Korean soaps for a bit and steer it back onto the topic or something. I was really frustrated that he wasn’t able to stick it through to the final battle. Sure, he helped a lot while struggling to survive. Yet, I felt they’d taken him out of the game with the tumor on purpose. It made everything so antidramatic in that sense because he’d been there from the start. Now he’s out of the game? I liked the other characters too, but I felt he needed to be there front and center with the others. I welcome some new changes to the plot and not so typical outcomes, but this was pushing it for a cop versus gangsters series.
- Sharon Chan as Mok Sin Yan (莫羨昕). I had mixed feelings for her when she first appeared. Partially biases because she kept stalking Cheuk Hoi and making it like he was a criminal. However, I tried to step back and see it from her point of view. She was just doing her job and indeed was just cautious. She was at least consistent in her principles and goals. She loved Kobe dearly but tried to keep a level head or at least tried to move on. Her professionalism was also shown throughout. She was always strong and stuck through it, not caring if she lost her job over some publicity game her bosses were playing. She found another way to help others, not just by being a face to the public only. So yes, her principles and consistency were what I loved about her character. Back to Sharon in the acting department though. I mean I think at times she stepped backward and forward. I think I could say she had improved in her old days, but I feel she was still stuck in the same phases at times that she couldn’t pull out of.
- Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). I thought he was going to be a typical gangster that they would bust and then that was it. But it wasn’t so. Sure, he was always smiling (duh, his name, lol), but he could be so ruthless and chilling in many ways. Yet I didn’t think the writers would prop up Benz Hui in this series and even spanning it into two more installments. It was crazy to imagine but this was one of Benz’s amazing roles since whenever. I’m not praising or rooting for gangsters here. But I think plot-wise and characterization, it was really well written with the complexity of his character and how Benz brought forth with his portrayal throughout. You’re scared of him and you know he could carry out a lot of crazy schemes. But you could also laugh with him or cry with him even. For a gangster boss, he was sure relatable in many ways. Of course, I never doubted Benz’s acting since I grew up watching him, lol. But I was surprised TVB could allow the writers to shape his character so that it has become the highlight of the show. Considering how TVB always used veteran actors to prop up their latest batch of newbies. (I don’t hate new people, I just hate TVB politics at times. Also, again, totally poking at Gun Metal Grey.)
- Oscar Leung as Cheung Muk Wing (張木榮) aka Muk Sat (木蝨). I swear, I thought he would make it till the end. I didn’t read spoilers or tried not to, so I didn’t realize he was going to be sacrificed as well. It made sense, but still not any less tragic. His death sort of united them as the golden three again, but also fused Bao Seed’s anger even more. He wanted to do something big but didn’t realize how far or how deep things could get with all sides fighting each other and he was caught up in it. It was a surprise that the scriptwriters made it that he liked Ding Jie, but whatever, it wasn’t like a major focus or anything. Once again, Oscar delivered his role convincingly.
- Patrick Tang as Yip Siu Leung (葉兆良) / Marco. Head of OCTB and was often seen to be in disagreements with Cheuk Sir. It was revealed he was much more involved in the grand scheme than what was let on the surface with his constant rivalry with Cheuk Sir. I never really liked Patrick that much in the past, so this one made it easier to hate him, lol. That probably also meant he had improved in his acting. It would be hard if he hadn’t, lol. But seriously, have to give him credit for making the character despicable enough. The plot didn’t have to make him the mole as well, I already hated him before because he was being a huge asshole to Yan and how he pretended not to care YET had sought out revenge against others and eventually lashing out at her. Of course, he went to the extreme and it later revealed another side of him. I just initially thought that he was just corrupt and didn’t care if he crossed a line to win over Cheuk Sir. I meant everyone crossed the line one way or another at times in here. No one was a saint either way, especially if they wanted to survive when they were going undercover. But his disturbing actions off-work made it harder to like him, especially of his controlling behaviors toward Yan–as stated before. So, yeah, that was a little twist that he was also involved. I was just glad his character and/or story arch didn’t drag out until the end. That would be torture. The writers wanted to focus on the big picture, so it made sense to navigate toward letting the other characters see how big the scale was with the influences the latest gang had in society in general.
- Lau Kong as Kwok Hok Wah (郭學華). I think I overlooked him, sort of. Because I drew the connection with him being Cheuk Sir’s master and how well they got along. Okay, I was more focused on the fact that they were father and son in The Legend of the Condor Heroes ’83, lol. It was hard not to see the connection, lol. Aside from that, I thought it was cool that they were collaborating on a grand scale in here. Okay, I might have suspected if he was in on it because after I wasn’t really paying attention to Yip Sir, thinking he was just a typical asshole, he turned out to be a mole. I wondered if Kwok knew about it, considering how higher up he was and it seemed like Yip Sir managed to get away with a lot of stuff. So yeah, that was when I suspected him.
- Elena Kong as Mok Sin Ching (莫羨晴) / Katie. I was a bit taken aback when she first appeared. No, it wasn’t Elena, lol. I knew she was in there. But based on the main theme, she was involved in the court scenes, so I just didn’t expect her story to start from there. It made sense later and I was glad she was able to pull out of such a tragic situation–with some help from Cheuk Sir. I was also glad that they developed her story even more before allowing her to move on with more romance, which I will elaborate on below in the relationships section. Obviously, I had watched Elena since she was with ATV and loved her performances–regardless of roles. So, no complaints about her acting.
- Law Lok Lam as Kwok Teng (郭正). I swear, I didn’t expect him to be involved as well. I meant, I thought he was just there as a side development to Katie’s story. It made sense for her to return to work and face challenges that would test her professionalism and her sense of justice. Yet his character had taken up another level. Yup, he sure was good at the innocent act all right. It made sense with the schemes they were in. They wouldn’t want to draw attention, just acting normal for the majority of the time.
- Stephen Huynh as Pong Yin Ting (龐彥廷). He appeared later in the story but was a major character that shouldn’t be overlooked. He was indeed a strong opponent, which made a lot of sense because he was one of the masterminds. It would be a joke if he wasn’t always so cautious of his actions and be suspicious of those around him.
- Samantha Ko as Lam Hei Mei (林希微) / Amy. I suspected from the start regardless of the fact that she turned out to be another undercover cop or not. She was too suspicious. I was glad they sprung a trap for her later and wasn’t too blinded by the fact that she was also a cop that they overlooked that bit.
- Skype Chan as Tse On Yee (謝安儀) / Ada. Omg, I sorta suspected her and I felt so guilty for it, lol. Well, trigger response, but half of the population were suspicious at one time or another. You just never know with them. But seriously, she was a very cautious person and managed to aid Yan a lot while she was part of the team and was still alive. I thought she would survive till the end. Like she would somehow escape or fight back. But Yip Sir was indeed experienced with his routine and was prepared, so it had to be that way. She, of course, wouldn’t go down without putting up a good fight–and even left them some clues as well. Another tragic death and a character worth mentioning.
- Toby Leung as Chiu Mei Yin (趙美賢) aka Yin Chai (賢仔). Cheuk Sir’s niece and also worked under his department. She was quite hot-headed at times when dealing with others. However, some of her anger wasn’t irrational. It showed her righteousness. She was all right I guess. She was just doing her job and possibly even more. I’m no longer sure if she still gets the heat for stuff, but I guess it’s a good idea to keep her out of the limelight for now, lol. This was years ago, but still.
- Jimmy Au as Hong To Hang (康道行). The unlucky person who was killed off at the end of the first episode. Well, he had to die for the chain of events to unleash. But still, that was a shame not being able to see more of him. Although brief, I really liked his collaboration with Michael and how their characters were friends and understood one another’s mentality. They joked at times and also managed to give one another advice when the time called for it.
- Chung King Fai as Chin Sui On (錢瑞安). So, he was the real mastermind. It was seriously full of twists and turns to see how it turned out. It took Cheuk Sir going undercover to unearth that one. Many people could see how innocent and harmless he looked, so that was a good twist. But it made sense with the number of people involved that he would have anything to do with it as well.
- Sam Tsang as Lok Kei (骆祺) / LK. A lawyer. He was seen at times representing some people and was also a strong rival of Katie in the courtroom. However, I wasn’t too sure how much he knew. Probably not enough to get him killed? That they only needed his legal knowledge and what he could do at times? But he did give that weapon to Kwok Hok Wah, which he hid under the table, so I doubted that he was that oblivious to things.
- Cheung Kwok Keung as Sum Kam (崇金). A rival of Chum Foon Hei who came back for revenge. He was sure scary and sure was crazy enough to measure up to Chum’s scale. However, he wasn’t cunning enough to win.
- Ankie Beilke as On Lam (安琳) / Amrin. She was a very tragic character. I didn’t like her at first because duh. But seriously, I sympathized with her later, how her adopted father went through to keep her under control and used her for his revenge schemes. Her death was one of the most tragic in here and shook everyone involved to the core. It showed us once again that death was expected when involved in such a situation. We, as the viewers, thought she could finally escape and broke free of that horrible past. However, she chose to return to help and eventually lost her life.
Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc
- Michael Miu and Elena Kong. Surprisingly addicting to watch. I liked that their relationship started slow and then turning into romance. It wasn’t rushed or too forced, trying too hard to convince us. He accidentally discovered her domestic violence situation and couldn’t stay out of it. I mean, who could? Then he tried to help her and his investigation had led to an even more shocking discovery. Well, on some levels, she probably knew, but she was trying hard to stick around for her ex-husband because of his depression after losing his job and other stuff. But it turned out he was just using those excuses to finally carry out the final part of his plan (aka the final con to get her money). Cheuk Sir was meddling in her business, but he felt the truth was better than lying to herself. She was finally able to stand up on her own and started over. It wasn’t just in the matter of romance. But she learned to live for herself first and got her career back. There were some side encouragements from him and sometimes a little shove in the right direction, but he gave her space to build her own strength. Then they started their relationship. It felt right at different points of the story, not just rushed or randomly.
- Charmaine and Raymond. I think this is my second favorite collaboration of them where they actually paired up. What was the first? It was actually Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion. Yes, that long ago. Because I didn’t like how their relationship was going to head toward in The Drive of Life–with both of their family histories and all. I gave up around the 20-something mark. I meant to go back but never really could. So I guess I don’t have to go back anymore since I got this one to fuel me. Because seriously, this one was a mixture of cuteness and seriousness rolled into one. They were so funny together when the time called for it and also had some of the most touching moments without making it too dramatic. Well, there were many dramatic scenes, but I felt like the way they portrayed their characters at those points and how they interacted with one another made it natural, not giving off the flakey feeling like in other dramas that created that intensity on purpose to draw in views. Sure, it was created that way, but it wasn’t too obvious because it made sense to the plot itself and the theme surrounding the gangs and all their conflicts. The most dramatic scene between the two of them was probably the part where she confronted him and asked why he didn’t do anything to save her adopted mothers. We, as viewers, knew that he tried and was held down and watched in helplessness. It was really hard to explain it without it sounding like an excuse. How could he say it when he was still processing everything? She also needed to let all her feelings out. But the turnaround to it was how they both needed to cool down and realized what had happened and why it did. He took it to the extreme by wanting to resort to all methods to punish the criminals yet she told him to let go because she reminded him they were supposed to be the lawful cops and doing it according to the books. Despite all the grief and pain that she went through, she was able to see clearly they couldn’t sink to the others’ levels and destroying themselves too. Sure, it mostly had to do with the fact that she had some time to calm down already. But I was amazed that she didn’t go that way. They went through so much together and their conflicts and the consequences of many events spilling out. It was so intense to the point that we weren’t sure if they could ever heal from it. Yet the turnaround wasn’t too corny either. At least, it made sense for me how they healed through time.
- Sharon and Sammy. OMG, can the writers just leave these two alone? Please? Too late now, I know. But seriously, why must they endure such tragedies? It wasn’t enough that they had a misunderstanding, lost their baby, finally reunited at long last to be separated again because of a tumor? (throwing my hands up in frustration but mostly for dramatic purpose) I mean, come on! I loved watching them and was one of the rare times I didn’t mind such a dramatic romance in the midst of all the intensity. It was a different kind of story from others in here. But that was soooo sad. I mean it wasn’t like it was the first time a tumor separated lovebirds. But these two seriously need a break after all that they’d been through. Sure, she learned to live and she built herself up through his encouragements to help others, not just depend on him, but seriously? It wasn’t like she wasn’t capable before but losing him had really affected her in ways she didn’t realize.
- The team as a whole. I felt each and every one of them had a bond that was unbreakable for the most part. They started out unsure of one another because of what happened to Hong Sir. Then they learned to work together–through all the events of the story. For some, it took drastic turns; for others, they learned to get past it. There was a variety of reactions that was more realistic than just keeping the constant positivity. They also developed various types of relationships throughout and became more understanding toward one another, which made sense because of how much they’d gone through together.
- Elena and Sharon as sisters. I didn’t really feel it at first but got drawn into their relations a little more. Maybe it was because how Katie managed to start over and they had more time to bond after what happened. It was also how Yan managed to pull out of the other toxic relationship and was more determined to keep to her goals. Their care and worries for one another at times were enough and weren’t overkilled some other dramas seemed to let on with family relations. Sure, I know people react differently depending on bonds or if it was a family member and all. But I felt their story was more believable.
Recommended? I think this is one of the rare series that I recommend recently, especially for TVB. Hey, especially if you’re fans of the main cast. If you’re a Charray fan, definitely a must-watch.
(image credit: Michael Miu’s Weibo)
The other day, Michael shared this picture. He also included a message that said: “Of these three people (in the past of The Legend of the Condor Heroes adaptations), there are one Guo Jing, two Yang Kangs, and one…Huang Yao Shi.” (LOL!) Nice reunion picture actually! Nice to see Felix all smiling, lol.