A Great Way to Care II

If looking at this as a standalone series–like I was advised, this was decent by itself. It could be considered a cop drama also. However, on the sequel front, it failed miserably on several levels. I’ll do a breakdown (like I usually do) to clarify a bit more.

First off, cast:

  • Alex Fong as Dr. Ko Lap Yan. I felt he was robbed. YES, he was just walking around randomly (like some people had said) at times and not even doing anything important. As the main lead, I swear he should’ve been given more stuffs to do than random walking. Even if I just said above that I will address it as a ‘standalone’ first, it still feel off that the main lead was standing around doing senseless stuffs more than being involved in the big picture. Despite all that, I felt Alex’s acting was still solid when he appeared, not slacking off even if he was ‘robbed’,  unlike some people who would only do the best when they’re given more meaty roles.
  • Ram Tseung as Dr. Lien Chi Sum. Once again, Dr. Lien carried the comedian role like the previous one. He was still the compassionate doctor who cared for his patients and keeping to the morals. However, I felt it was unnecessary to include a possible “extramarital affair” into his story. Perhaps, they were trying to put in the whole possible test with how he was away from his wife, etc. But still unnecessary. He should be involved with the cases and giving professional advices like Dr. Ko and not waste time with other matters.
  • Tavia Yeung as Yan. What to say about her? At first it didn’t click for me. Later on, her character grew on me. Yet it wasn’t enough for me to like her completely. AND I’m not sore about what happened in the past year or so (in case anyone was thinking it). But I felt like something was missing. It wasn’t the fact that she became the villain later either. It was more like maybe she–along with some others–were given unnecessary side stories as well. But I think she got luckier than the other characters since after all, it did tie in with her character in general about discovering her true background.
  • Ben Wong as Chung Kwok Ban. A more developed character here. Yet I felt something was missing. Like how he was so fierce and/or ruthless in the other one yet so dashingly handsome. This on, it seemed to show that he had gone soft. Though he was still stern with some of them when they were making fun of him and that one ‘girl’ who claimed to be his ‘girlfriend’, something was still missing. Then there was the image for him. I’m not saying he should stay the same as a character after all these years. Yet I felt if they were consistent with making Alex and Ram looked almost like the first part, at least pay attention to Ben’s image.
  • Yoyo Mung as Louise/ Kiu. Okay, I agree with some people she was robbed. It wasn’t that Yoyo’s acting was lacking but she was given such a random role. And I don’t care if she didn’t hog the screen all the time. I just cared if she contributed to the plot with its relevancy in regards to the theme. Yet like after Law Lok Lam’s case, her character seemed to go downhill in the development area. I loved how she interacted with the others but like the others, I felt there were just too many random scenes versus focusing on the main cases.
  • Edwin Siu as Jackson. I don’t know what to say about his character at first. Yet I got used to his character later. Sure, he was quite a smart-aleck and drove others in insane at times. The other times, he showed bravery and wasn’t willing to compromise a doctor’s integrity for money or pressure of losing work. At other times, I guess he was witty enough. Edwin had managed to make it work somehow–even if he was like others who were given more random moments than important cases related duties.
  • Aimee Chan as Jade Lai. Not sure what to say about her. Not that I would pick on her like others. It was cool to see her as a psychologist who had studied abroad with so much intelligence in her. But I felt it was hard to believe at times when she was giving Dr. Lien advices regarding him and his assistant. I got it that she could know and understand the signs, but I felt it was strange with her being the one pointing it out to him. So they did work at the same place so it was hard to not notice but I felt like it just didn’t fit. Just me though.
  • Christine Kuo as Scarlett. I was surprised to like her character in here and didn’t find her acting as annoying as some other ones. Or maybe it was the role and she wasn’t giving me the feeling she was “trying” to be cute. She showed a brave side of herself when she united with the others to fight against Henry later on. Quite noble and admirable in that sense.
  • Eric Li as Pauli. I always liked him. Glad he was rising again with some sort of important role or once in awhile not seeing him as a villain. He, like the others on the medical side, got robbed regarding their participation in the cases, but he didn’t lack charm during other side scenes.
  • Oscar Leung as Edgar Wong. It was really funny for me to see him in here as a doctor because of how vividly I remember him as a psycho in the first part. Yet I guess he did his part in here and managed to convince.
  • Power Chan as Sunny. Totally delivered but after that one case with him helping a certain patient and stepping forward to “take the fall” and more, his role got reduced like the others, unless it was some random scenes.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Henry Law. Again, appearing as the “despicable” doctor who had somehow convinced Dr. Ko to join the team. Yet later on he found out how Dr. Ko was protecting other doctors and wasn’t going to bend to his “rules”, he tried to kick Dr. Ko out by framing Dr. Ko for malpractice. Indeed, he met with his deserved fate. Somehow, his role also got reduced somewhat and made way for other randomness as well. I got it that he was already causing troubles in the first one and needed to be one of the ‘bad’ ones to wrap this part up but I felt it was loose in a sense.
  • Jimmy Au as Lao Gui (老鬼). I was surprised to find him in here. Was he in the other one? I don’t even remember anymore. But it was interesting how he was under Chung Sir’s commands. He later was given a major role when Chung Sir was in the coma. It was actually cool seeing him wearing the suit and all. I swear they’d given him a better image for the “boss” type than Ben in here. What in the world? Consistency people.
  • Amy Fan as Dr. Ko’s high school sweetheart. OMG, I found it was the funniest scenes were when she appeared. Sure, it was a tad nerve-wrecking for Louise that one time when she appeared and had tried to latch onto Dr. Ko. But it was so funny how one of the doctors pretended to be Dr. Ko (after all these years) and she saw right through it. I think I only managed to laugh out loud the hardest during that scene when she pushed that other doctor aside to reach Dr. Ko. (Then it was even more hilarious when Jackson was stopping Louise from preventing the other doctor to go ‘pretend to be Dr. Ko’ because he said maybe it would work, considering how Dr. Ko might look like that in several more decades. SAD for the other doctor but still funny.)

Pairings:

  • Alex and Yoyo. I was so happy that they were together since I enjoyed their pairing a lot in other ones. However, I’m the odd one out when it comes to wanting a large role for Yoyo or not. Because speaking on my point of view as an immature writer, the main guy doesn’t always end up with some major character in my stories, so I was fine with that arrangement. Even if Yoyo’s character wasn’t like having some ‘breakthrough’ role, I accepted the flow of the story for her and how it eventually came to develop the relationship with Dr. Ko. The foundation was laid out from the start. It wasn’t like it was random. They work together after all. And it would be too repetitive if Dr. Ko once again end up with a cop. NOT impossible that he would marry a cop again, but it seemed repetitive for this type of story. The only thing felt kind of beat to death and pathetic was how she chased him down (along with some others) to get him (and them) to donate “sperms” for her. NOT that I’m not open-minded enough to accept the scientific breakthrough. But I felt the way the script-writers made her approach them was really insulting and reduced her IQ to about 10. Aside from that, the ending scene was really cute with them bickering by the seaside. Then how he was saying how if she would say it’s her kid when the kid was in good, tip top “smelling good” condition versus how it’s his kid when the baby needed a change of diapers (i.e. being all “smelly”).
  • Ben and Tavia. Um…I felt their characters had chemistry through their interactions. It was so cute how he was the shy one and seemed to be so reserved, etc. She was the one doing all the teasing at the beginning. Then later they dated and he was really protective of her, etc. Yet as actor and actress, I felt Ben and Tavia didn’t exude enough chemistry for me to get overly obsessed with them. (I like some of her other parings better.) And perhaps it was the ‘lapse’ in his image for this one that had made him less compatible with Tavia–like I mentioned earlier. I actually felt it was touching how he was willing to “bend” some corners or try to talk her out of it, trying to help her when he finally realized she was “the killer”. Yet too bad things couldn’t be better for him. Sure, he got out of the coma (which was a miracle), but it wouldn’t be good after knowing what had happened to her.
  • Edwin and Aimee. Was this a compensation for Forensic Heroes III? I was glad that their characters were somewhat different. Yet I didn’t like the whole idea with her being the “third party” at one point. Sure, she didn’t know and later even teamed up with Scarlett to “pay back” but it felt strange. I was indeed touched with how he didn’t mind that she had surgery in the past and was able to overcome not looking at her appearance. But maybe it was because I wanted more focus on the “cases” that I feel their relationship was also a random side thing to fill up the gaps of the episodes.
  • Edwin and Christine. One-sided feeling at first. Later, it was sweet to me. It was such a shame they didn’t work. I was surprised she got over him so fast. Yet it wasn’t too weird since there were times in between. Just too bad.
  • Power and Christine. That was seriously random. I guess that was why the other guys couldn’t guess either. But was this an attempt to create a new odd pairing? Just wondering, lol. So did they get back together in the end or no? I wouldn’t mind.

As a sequel, how was it? Like I said before, it’s a sad story. After Law Lok Lam’s case, it went downhill from there on the medical side. Dr. Ko still got recruited from time to time, like some of the other medical staff to give advice for a case or two. But that was it. It seemed like the rest of the time, they were just fighting randomly at the office or doing whatever. Like I said before, I like it that the randomness continued into this series like it had showed in the past when they were off-work. Yet this one just continued on and on with their randomness throughout the working day, making their characters more like a joke than serious about their work. Sure, they were entitled to make a stab of a joke or two at times to lighten up and not get affected by the cases itself AND it would be easier to help patients if they’re calmed, but the random talk overlapped the actual analyzing of different mental problems or other issues patients might be going through. AND I had a feeling this was more like Forensic Heroes IV than A Great Way to Care II. Mostly it was because they focused on the cops and forensic teams working together more than the cop and medical sides like in the first part. I was fine with them needing the forensic team at times, especially with processing the scenes. But the focus here was supposed to be psychological cases.

Replacement counterparts. This is mostly my guess because I swear it seemed that way at times.

  • Tavia Yeung and Yoyo Mung for Kate Tsui. If I put in ‘Tavia for Kate’, I don’t think fans would let me off that well, especially after all that madness from the anniversary stuffs and the awards last year. AND because I heard both Tavia and Yoyo were female leads for this part so it was safe to put them in together. The script-writers tried to make both Tavia and Yoyo different from Kate’s character so that was the good part. But it lacked some essence with Yoyo’s character, like I said before. I would at least expect her to be more involved with the cases like how I said numerous times already.
  • Edwin Siu for Raymond Wong. I felt Edwin fended fine alongside Alex and Ram. Because it wouldn’t be the same if it was all another ‘copy character’ with someone like Raymond’s Chun. They made Edwin tenfold more ‘smart-aleck’ in his ways. And how Edwin’s character was a doctor and not a nurse made it different as well.
  • Aimee Chan for Vivien Yeo. The reason why I put the two in comparison was because of who they were paired up with later on. I still like Vivien’s Ka Bik more. Perhaps it was because of Ka Bik’s irresistibly cute and bubbly nature. Again, not picking on Aimee (unlike some people who hadn’t let that ‘dead horse’ rest in peace yet), but it was more like a comparison of characters.
  • Edwin Siu, Eric Li, Oscar Leung, and Christine Kuo for Ruco Chan, Ellesmere Choi, Timmy Hung, and Yoyo Chen. It felt that way to me with the setup of them gathering at times to discuss cases. Though the group of 3 from the first part were still interns and were preparing for their tests. I would’ve added Power Chan to the new team but he was sort of by himself more than gathering with the others at times so I left him alone for now. As for this case, I felt the guys fend better than Christine at first. Yet some foundation was put in for her later so it wasn’t too bad.
  • Power Chan for Ellesmere Choi. It seemed like both suffered through nervousness and/or confidence problems hence not passing a certain exam yet.
  • Oceane Zhu for Iris Wong. I just remember recently. Their characters and personalities were different, just that they were both nurses so I thought I place them against each other. I felt Iris’ character Daisy was really funny, even if she seemed flirty at times. She brought in a sense of charm to her role. Though I do like Oceane as an actress (considering the new group), but I didn’t really feel it was as funny or likeable as Daisy. (And I so didn’t see it that Oceane’s character was a spy for Henry later. SAD…)

The Missing Members:

  • Kate Tsui as Mandy/Monkey. Honestly, that was lame. Even some characters who got killed off in the past got more screen time than that. I don’t expect it to go on for episodes and waste even more time on personal matters, but at least have her appear in the first episode? And I remember reading about how someone had said that, “Kate was the heart of A Great Way to Care” and for once, I couldn’t agree more. It’s not about comparing or wanting to pick on new members. The new additions could be there to add in variety to the cast. Yet I felt it was soooo wrong to not wait for Kate. She and Alex have created this special chemistry that felt just right for the series itself, either it was personal or working together. To think that Kate was so excited for the sequel.
  • Raymond Wong and Vivien Yeo. Was mentioned but that was it. I felt robbed because I just watched The Days of Days awhile back and they were in there, but taking on some senseless comedic roles. And back to this one, I felt it was just too frustrating to not include them for more cute scenes between the two in here. After all, their relationship was already established so the story could move onto their married life; and it could always be written as they move business back OR have some expansion of the business hence it would make sense for them to be back in town.
  • Astrid Chan. OMG, I enjoyed her pairing with Ram and how their team of husband and wife cracked me up so much in the first part. It doesn’t have to focus on them all the time in here, since the other one was like that too, but it showed consistency. However, I didn’t feel as robbed with her story of going overseas to accompany her son while he was studying abroad. At least she wasn’t killed off.
  • Elliot Yue. Really? The main lead’s father wasn’t around. No one’s going to believe that one. Okay, it’s not unreasonable that he’s not around and about all the time. BUT he wasn’t just Dr. Ko’s father’s BUT also Chung Sir’s godfather. So it was hard to imagine Chung Sir didn’t visit him or vice versa. Dr. Ko did receive a call from him later on questioning about the future “daughter-in-law” but that wasn’t enough.
  • Ruco, Ellesmere, Timmy, and Yoyo Chen. For once, I didn’t have any complaints. First, I was disappointed, but then reality kicked in for me and I realized that it was unrealistic that the interns were still around. Sure, they could still work there, but it would make sense they would want to venture out there to get more experiences. And sometimes their specialized areas are different and they would want to find the hospital or facility that is suitable for their practices.
  • Iris Wong as Daisy. It would make sense IF she was still there. But perhaps it was because how she had ended up with Brian (Ellesmere) already so she would follow him to a new place.

Cases? Not as complex as the first part, because the first part was more deeply rooted to psychological stuffs and complex diagnosis. Even if it wasn’t as complicated at times, but still stick to the medical related issues.

So when Ben Wong said that this part was better than the first installment, he meant it was better for him because it was more focused on him and the police side more than the doctor and/or medical team side. If it was a spin-off, then I don’t think some of us would make such a big deal out of it. But it wasn’t so that meant it veered way off course from the previous one.

I’m not saying that it was terrible since I said it was decent as a standalone series. Just that when compared, it failed to deliver according to its main theme. Watch it as a standalone series then it would be more enjoyable.

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Dreams Link: The Ending

I thought the ending was somewhat on the side of corny. I felt it did not need to tell us that Zi Ling still cared for Chu Lian so deeply since it complicated the matter even more. Though her action and the test told it all that she chose Yun Fan in the end, I felt it was leaning back on the side of ‘fake-sy’ all over again. I actually liked the idea of Yun Fan and Zi Ling being together but somehow I just hate the whole link with Chu Lian and all. It ruined their funny stories at times or their romantic scenes.

What I thought was the dumbest was them NOT seeing what was in front of them OR how they did not force Lu Ping to go through psychological help sooner. It was too obvious. BUT they had to drag it out (possibly selling more episodes/DVDs). Whatever. I was glad that Lu Ping was able to have a good life again. I especially liked how Jian Bo was there for her throughout and finally got to see the person he loved start over with her life.

Chu Pei and Yu Shan were so funny and cute as always. I especially liked their scenes–as I said many times before–than others. It was what drove me to finish the whole series in the first place.

What was typical and I’d seen of Qiong Yao stories was the whole ‘forgive’ factor. I felt that it was unnecessary or too much of a joke. IF they did not hurt Lu Ping, why would they need to seek for forgiveness in the end? It was like saying it was all right to hurt them (just because they were family) and then try to do damage control later, expecting them to forgive like that, etc (just because they were family and should forgive you). Yes, it sounds judging and wanting them to be perfect, BUT I thought it was like an unsaid rule with not touching your sister’s boyfriend. (Same goes with brothers-siblings situation.)

So here I declare, unless it has a strong storyline, I won’t even touch a Qiong Yao related one again. Even if it has my favorite actors/actresses in there.

Dreams Link: The Truth

Chu Lian finally was not able to withstand the lie that he lived with for so long and told Lu Ping the real version of events in episode 42. It was probably the only time that anything he said made sense. It was his version of things or at least how he felt was supposed to be like. Though I still do not feel it was a good reason OR excuse to be forgiven like I mentioned in the other post. I meant even if it was not how he thought ‘love’ was supposed to be, but that did not make sense to push all the blame on Lu Ping either. I have to give Chu Lian credit for admitting that his dating Lu Ping was because of his longing for some sense of fame and acknowledgment when others looked at them and made him feel proud to have such a girlfriend.

It sounds repetitive from the previous post of discussion, but I honestly believe that all of them were responsible for the misunderstanding, not just one person that should be carrying on the blame. It was hard to blame them since they could not truly see what was going on nor could they predict the future, BUT it was super obvious with certain things. We all have will power and self-control. Whether we meant for something to happen or not, it still happened, what was the point in forcing others to accept us or forgive us so fast when they were hurting too? Yes, Lu Ping was hurting the others and herself so much that it was irreversible but it did not mean she was the devil. I actually felt that because she seemed the most wicked that made her despicable YET I was able to recognize the whole pattern all over again with shifting the blame fully to her just because she was behaving so out of control. People who were able to be gentle and acted pitiful received more brownie points than ever. That was how life was.

Other than that, I was finally seeing some sign of Bao Jian Feng’s acting in that scene with Chu Lian revealing the awful, cruel truth to Lu Ping. It was like I was able to feel all the feelings hold up inside him and why he never really felt guilty for what he’d done. It was because he honestly believed his version of the truth and the reason he had to marry Lu Ping made him a bigger person–or so it seemed.

It was kind of obvious that the whole scheme with them portraying a wonderful family, getting along, etc did not work since it was lying all over again. Though they did it for the good, I thought it was lying too or forcing Lu Ping to the corner so of course, she didn’t fall for it. She thought of it as a trap (and indeed it was) so how was she able to accept it? That was what I understand from Lu Ping’s point of view, but I must agree with Yun Fan that IF Lu Ping wanted to play that kind of game with the reporters and all, it was fair game for both.

To get back to the original topic, I had a feeling and it was very obvious that it had to be Chu Lian to undo the knots of the past. YET I did not realize that Qiong Yao would go that way with finally letting Chu Lian reveal the truth version of it all. Though it did not make me like any one of the characters more, Chu Lian seemed less fake to me afterward.

Somehow, I had a feeling the truth was always the worst one. Though they were living in hell before with Lu Ping’s constant schemes and never-ending yelling, when she was reverting to her old self, it was much scarier. It was not because she wanted to start over. But it was the end of everything. Once again, I must compliment Qin Lan for bringing out her character so well. It made all the differences with transitions from the carefree and innocent girl from the beginning, to someone full of hatred and hurt in the later parts, and at the point where she realized she had nothing, to begin with–it had changed her into someone giving up finally. It was like she had let go, not because of wanting to start over but to end it all for herself. The worst of all was not having too much love or hate in the heart, but having nothing at all. For the first time, I actually feel or could understand why anyone would want to end his or her life just like that. I still do not approve of it as a way to escape from all the emptiness inside, but I actually could sympathize for Lu Ping at that point. She was not hiding or dodging away, but it was because it was the only way she feel she could do to release everyone from their guilt. If they honestly felt that she was in the wrong and she was their ‘burden’, then she wanted to help them move on with their lives, so they could no longer feel like they need to do anything for her. Those things were not what she wanted anyway.

The hospital scene was quite touching with the recounts and the events that followed. However, I think Zi Ling’s words sort of ruined it. Lucky it did not trigger Lu Ping anymore since she was more than ever regretful of her actions because of what her parents had done for her. In all fairness, I think she only needed to apologize to her parents and not anyone else. Since they (her parents) were the ones who brought her up and cared for her regardless of who she was or how stubborn she’d been these past times.

Dreams Link: The Confrontation

Before I begin this, I must state that I was never a fan of Qiong Yao or her overly dramatic formulas and I was actually watching this because of Joanne Tseng. (Though her screen time was limited in here because it was added in for this new version, I watched on anyway.)

Aside from the overly dramatic moments and the typical romantic backdrop often seen in Qiong Yao dramas, I want to mention that Qin Lan was really good in here as Lu Ping. I never watched the old version (obviously from my first sentence) so can’t compare. But by the time it hit episode 26, I felt that Qin Lan nailed it all. It did not matter if she matched with Bao Jian Feng (who was portraying Chu Lian) or not, but her performance during the confrontation was worth a lot of points. She really brought out the emotions of her character. She was lied to. Whether she loved him the right way or not (according to his words at times when he tried to convince Zi Ling that his and Lu Ping’s relationship wasn’t love), she did not deserve that kind of treatment. IF he messed up his life, he DID NOT have to make her look bad by saying that she did not love him properly. IF he said those things earlier on AND confronted her or ended that relationship faster (i.e. when they were WAY younger and feelings weren’t as deep yet), she would never lose her leg OR even better, she would’ve found someone who loved her for who she was (like Jian Bo). Lu Ping and Chu Lian were so wrong for each other and it was obvious at various points YET I found it dumb to blame it on her that she did not pay enough attention to him. He knew her passion for dancing AND just because she neglected him (or failed to know his presence) during her practice sessions, she was the one to be blamed? Hello! Attention getting much? She was practicing. NOT like she was flirting with the guys when they were going on a date OR something. She just trusted him and thought that he would understand her, especially how she even asked him about it too (and he said that he would support her). I wouldn’t blame him IF he didn’t choose her, but instead, he misled her and then made it like her fault that their relationship didn’t work? LAME!

At that point, I found out that the whole confrontation scene made Chu Lian even more despicable. He made it like he was not able to control the whole idea of people pinning him to Lu Ping since young BUT he forgot that he had a mouth to defend himself and clarify–regardless of how they misled him. IF he knew that he liked Zi Ling, then why go with Lu Ping until it was too late AND changed his mind? It was like he wanted to try it out and then if it did not work, he would go with ‘Plan B’ AND he made himself look all pitiful so others could sympathize with him. OF COURSE, I was disappointed in Zi Ling also for giving in to his words and betraying her sister. Though an accident prevented them from being together, it did not earn her any more points (since she was feeling full of guilt and wanting to give up). (So there, I did not just pick on the guy BUT the girl also.) I found it extremely stupid also that Chu Lian still tried to defend himself even after Lu Ping already read his MSN messages regarding how he planned to break up with Lu Ping after her performance. He made it like he was led astray by Zi Ling thus falling prey to temptation (aka pushing all the blame on Zi Ling OR something) but he had always loved Lu Ping. Who was he lying to? Weak defense. Not to mention how it made him look extremely stupid in front of everyone. Oh yeah, it was dumb too that he did not hide his past affairs more carefully than that. That was lame! He used Zi Ling’s birthday as the password? He should’ve just put it on the USB and take it with him IF he wanted to reminiscence about the past. NOT that I encourage him to hide it BUT if he had chosen already, then he should not leave so many trails behind, knowing that Lu Ping could find out one day. Also, what kind of come back was that? He wished he died already seeing how he hurt others? IDIOT! He was taking the ‘easy way out’ and leaving the rest of them there to patch things up for Lu Ping in the future? IF he had the gut to cheat, then prepare to face the consequences.

I felt like Chu Pei was an idiot to even not check his DVD OR the camera properly aka he should’ve erased the clip ages ago (when I read the spoilers and then actually witnessed the scene). BUT I do not blame him any longer. He should not be blamed or be responsible for what his brother had done NOR should he be responsible for cleaning up his brother’s mess. He was equally disappointed in his brother upon learning of the affair between Chu Lian and Zi Ling, BUT he also forgave him and tried to cover up because he thought it was to protect Lu Ping. BUT who knew that someone else (namely Chu Lian) wouldn’t move on and still kept a lot of other evidence around? Sure, they could pass it off as Chu Lian and Zi Ling posing for the camera aka helping Liu Yu Shan with filming BUT the MSN conversations became the solid evidence. AGAIN, not trying to encourage him to hide, but I hated that he was not able to fulfill his promise. He did not try to move on nor put enough effort to love Lu Ping like she deserved. IF he did not propose to her and then marrying her, I would’ve forgiven him more since he was obviously playing the ‘pity’ card and then backing out on it when he thought that it wasn’t what he planned it out to be.

At the beginning, I really disliked Zi Ling and Lu Ping’s mother for being fake and only cared for her reputation, etc BUT suddenly I realized it by the time Lu Ping’s confrontation that she was also a victim. YES, she cared for her reputation A LOT, but she should not be made as the scapegoat OR made out to be a ‘witch’ (or so it seemed), just because her husband chose to cheat and lie to her. I felt that in a way, Chu Lian was like him that they were too wishy-washy thus making others suffer AND then eventually wanting to back out and save themselves (YET they did not think how the other parties would hurt–whether physically or emotionally). It was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t ruin my life like this, I gotta back out. Time to think up of a way to make the other party feel bad about how she did not love me properly and move out.” I seriously have that feeling. They should NOT get with them OR even marry them IF they did not love them. It made marriage a joke and commitment nonexistence. It was like they were getting on the ‘marriage’ thing too just for the sake of it AND not because of love. (It was almost like a trend AND not something that should be taken in a serious manner.) Marrying someone and giving that person gratitude and pity doesn’t mean it’s good for that person. (AND I hate the father for saying that Chu Lian was a bigger person because he’d married Lu Ping. HE WAS trying to make his own guilt go away.)

Oh yeah, the whole thing with everyone wanting to shut Lu Ping up and go back to their peaceful life was even more despicable. NOT everyone, but like her parents and even Chu Lian, etc. I felt that only Chu Pei and Yu Shan were the only ones truly wanting Lu Ping to be happy with how they honestly wanted to think of a way to cheer Lu Ping up–regardless of how ridiculous it was. It was to make Lu Ping happy and that they actually liked her for who she was–unlike others who thought OR seemed to push the blame on Lu Ping just because she was frustrated and/or beyond mad at what happened. I felt she was entitled to be mad. Even more than that. Why did the others had to shut her up? OR wanting to go back to their normal life just like that? They weren’t the ones hurting. Making themselves more pitiful did not mean they were right. Just because she was the loud one did not mean she was wrong. Just because they tried to make it like a phenomenon or somewhat a miracle that Chu Lian was marrying her OR Chu Lian seemed to be a bigger person (as said before) DID NOT mean he was right! IF They think it was good for her, THEN do a better job of concealing everything. IF NOT, then don’t lie at all because everything would blow over anyway. Just because it was ‘good for her’ according to them, that means she should be glad and JUST MOVE ON like that? Were they treating her like a machine? Saying they cared for her YET they just didn’t want everything to be exposed to the public OR faced the consequences IF more people know.

Another thing was Chu Lian did not even know he was wrong BUT wanted to shift the blame on others. YES, I mentioned before how dumb it was that Chu Pei still have the clip and Yu Shan copied the part over to the DVD along with the dance segment by accident, BUT IF Chu Lian didn’t cheat and didn’t get caught, THERE would be no clip in the first place. Why was he making it like IF there was no disc, there would be no problems? The problem already existed the minute he cheated.

In the end, only Jian Bo comprehended the whole picture behind Lu Ping’s extreme, cruel exterior. Only he knew and understood her right from the start. He knew that she was hurting so much that she used the schemes to torture others YET she was hurting so much she did not know how to cover up the hole in her heart. She was falling through an endless pit that she was unable to save herself. She not only discovered betrayal but her own stupidity for being too innocent, too trusting, and for not being able to look at her surroundings more carefully. She blamed herself more than anything for letting things like that happened, for not knowing how to protect herself.

Things became even clearer with Yun Fan and Chu Lian’s conversation regarding Chu Lian’s thoughts. Chu Lian grew up with both sisters yet he did not realize what they really wanted OR did he understand Zi Ling. He thought that by convincing Yun Fan to bring Zi Ling back to France and seal her away it meant that he was protecting her. He did not understand that the only way she could be happy was to resolve everything. Though Yun Fan did not like the idea of coming back and facing the matter either (since he was fearing the worst) but he still respected her in accompanying her back and being there for her throughout. Chu Lian feared Lu Ping and continuously making himself the victim YET he did not know that he had chosen that path, why was he blaming her? It was pathetic to hear him confess his fear of Lu Ping amongst other things. It goes right back to what I just said regarding how he did not understand either sister.

I just want to clarify that I DO NOT hate any part of the cast, BUT just hate the characters, so don’t misunderstand.

Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain

Being a sucker for the majority of the cast, I finally gave in and watched–although I have already watched like two versions of this. I must admit I was having an internal struggle at first whether to watch–mostly because it was because of the incurable habit of comparing between different versions. Despite the fact that Wong Jing was the producer (which was the reason why I hesitated to watch in the first place), it was actually pretty good. Well, I have to say that he usually has good ideas, just that it often goes downhill OR was not properly handled so it often ended up being a failure. (I never forgave him for the ruins of Eight Heroes and World’s Finest so that said something.) This did not guarantee the ‘drag free’ formula though since the beginning was considered fast pace then it became so dragging by the time they had Hu Fei met all the girls. It was driving at viewers’ patience or something. But it was an interesting take at various times with some twists and turns. There was predictability within the unpredictability. Not that bad, but unforgivable with some parts.

Likes:

  • Alex Fong Chung Sun as Miao Ren Feng. I was surprised. I always have mixed feelings about Alex and would jump back and forth between pondering about his acting and this time was no different when I read the cast list. But his performance actually changed my mind right from the beginning. It was a good choice actually since with the ancient costume, he could pass as the righteous guy and how the plot was, I was convinced. With the help of the plot, his character unfolded in the later parts of the series, which made it even more admirable. I also liked that they explained why he was wearing such simple outfits than letting us assume further about the production itself. But it was because Miao’s family practiced hardworking attitude and believed in living a simple life hence his simple attires and not caring about his appearance.
  • Patrick Tam as Tian Rui Nong. No one in their right mind would like the character BUT I have to give Patrick the proper credit for portraying it so well. He made the character ten times even more shocking than imagined. The way the plot was written, sometimes I couldn’t blame him for being evil but more like others for being too honest and trusting. At first, when I realized Patrick was portraying such a despicable character, I didn’t like the idea and thought it would be better seeing Alex Fong in the role (since I’ve seen Alex portraying evil roles before), but I was wrong. Patrick was perfect for it. His cunning expressions and his darting eyes were deceiving everyone without them knowing. He could pass as a loyal person to his other sworn brothers but there was much more to him than met the eyes. I remembered Kenneth Tsang being awesome in the role, but Eddie Cheung was all right (possibly because of the jumbled up script so can’t blame him). Patrick brought out a different side of the character and maybe because of the script, but he brought forth a chilling effect to his character. The fact that I found it addicting to watch him throughout was even more messed up. But I was just too fascinated to see what else his character would do, waiting for him to push it to the max. It was a change to say that this was a TVB free formula so I was excited for once while watching. (Though the overall storyline was from Jin Yong, adaptations vary and interpretations were always different. TVB would always curve back on things so I thought this was a change.) What was even funnier and what I enjoyed even more while watching him was that he even deceived the Qing emperor without the emperor knowing of it. The emperor thought he could control Tian but the emperor was wrong major time. Tian was seen as a coward and/or obedient person in front of him, but Tian was not a fool. He played the part well and the emperor was just too arrogant with his power that he failed to see through Tian’s actions and/or motives. One of the most memorable scenes must be where he gave the letter that Nan Lan wrote to Ruo Lan to the young Ruo Lan. It showed in a way that he really cared for Nan Lan and wanted to fulfill her wish in giving that letter to her daughter. It made one wonder really what kind of person he was. Yes, he was greedy. He was despicable but there was something else within that cruel exterior too.
  • Alex, Anthony, and Patrick as the ancestors. I felt that Anthony fitted better portraying the ancestor than Hu Yi Dao and the other guys fitted in with him well. Maybe it was because they were at war that everyone looked so serious so it did not matter if Anthony was looking fierce.
  • The fact that the Miao’s sword and Hu’s saber were pinned on the inn’s name board. It made sense that they just kept it like that after that interesting round to go celebrate and talked rather than saying that their weapons weren’t by their sides but somewhere else hence creating the opportunity for the medic to place poison on the weapons.
  • Ping A Si was not totally at fault. Okay, so I never liked the character at all because of how he did not let Hu Fei know of the things he found out, like the medic poisoning the weapons, etc. But I must say that he was not at fault this time for just snatching the kid up and run. This time, it was Hu’s wife entrusting the kid to him so A Si did not have time to say anything else except obey. Hu’s wife was not to be blamed either since they were surrounded by the Qing soldiers and did not have any other alternative hence the quick decision to let A Si protect her son. Miao was nowhere to be found either so it was reasonable that A Si raised the kid. I actually liked this little change more since it made the plot less frustrating to some extent. Though it was still frustrating with the misunderstanding, I think I could forgive A Si a little more since he thought Miao was pretending to be honest but let Tian and the others secretly do other things to kill Hu and his wife. He did not fully understand but it was acceptable. Not to mention what he overheard what Tao told the medic about how Miao was in the whole scheme with Tian–if not, how would the plan be as successful. That was believable enough since Miao and Tian were known to be on the same side at first though Miao did dismiss Tian and the others. Tao mentioned that they were just putting up a front and was moving according to plan so that Miao could gain Hu’s trust. So A Si was not at fault to provide the wrong information. Also, what I liked about A Si of this version was that he was careful at all times and was never arrogant, especially during the time when he and young Hu Fei were still in hiding, hence he was more likable in that sense.
  • Hu’s wife did not commit suicide to follow her husband. Okay, another change BUT I loved this version more for this also. Just a little change but it made all the difference. Since she died in a more righteous manner than just wanting to follow her husband. That reason did not go well with me because it felt too much like she was shrugging off the responsibility of being a mother. Yes, it showed her love for her husband but it did not show that she cared for her son’s future at all. The fact that she was killed by Tian in this version made Tian even scarier.
  • The fact that some of the male characters were wearing braids and others did not. I was not sure if it was done on purpose or not. But I found it interesting because it represented what they believed in. Like Hu did not wear braids because he did not follow the Qing dynasty and resided in the mountains. Miao was traveling under the territory of the Qing dynasty too yet he was not wearing braids, which would be a major offense, but it showed that he was not worshiping and/or following the Qing dynasty either–and was staying true to his own dynasty. On the other hand, Tian was seen wearing braids because he was secretly working for the Qing emperor to get rid of all the threats. It showed that he was not just following the rules to be safe, but had ulterior motives.
  • The father and daughter bond between Miao Ren Feng and Miao Ruo Lan. Though Ruo Lan loved her mother dearly, she became understanding of her father later on, staying by his side. (Though it was mostly because she had no choice but to at first but she became a considerate person later on, knowing how much her father loved her and sticking through thick and thin with him.) I think I felt the father and daughter bond even stronger in here with showing Little Ruo Lan being abandoned along with her father and how they coped later on. (It caused me a few tears even upon seeing the sight.) Then how they were together since that day on when Ruo Lan finally realized that her mother did not want her anymore or more like not wanting to return to their home to live together as one family. It was just too late yet the girl did not understand. But what was interesting was the little girl kept her promise to her father. Though she ran away that one time with the intention of finding her mother, I thought that was just a way to show her longing for her mother and a hopeful thought of having acceptance from her mother–if it was just another small hopeful glint. Just like how she wanted so badly to open and read the letter–the one she suspected was from her mother (which was true to some extent). Her persistence in staying with her father when he was poisoned and lost his eyesight was quite touching also. Her caring gestures toward her father when she was younger was really something. Yet somehow I liked how funny it was that when Ruo Lan had grown up since her playful side was quite cute. (At least at first.)
  • Nan Lan’s death scene. Other versions often portrayed how Nan Lan died in Miao Ren Feng’s arms or how their family of three were finally reunited with Nan Lan being forgiven by both her husband and daughter thus seeking closure. But this one, she committed suicide by hanging herself and died instantly with Tian Rui Nong by her side, crying and begging her to wake up, apologizing for his wrong in yelling at her. The only similar thing was that Nan Lan realized how the sweet moments between her and Rui Nong were all fake, an illusion created to lure her in. She finally realized that Ren Feng was the one who really loved her and always found ways to please her. It was a big puzzle whether Rui Nong really loved her or was just using her to get back at Ren Feng but seeing the scene where Rui Nong cried and reacted after her death was really tragic. Patrick did a great job in this scene, causing for one not being able to help it but sympathize with him.
  • Feng Tian Nan’s death scene. Though he was a despicable character who resorted to any type of tactics to secure his position and connection with Fu Kang An, tricking his daughter, his death scene was something to think about. It was not just an open and close case like past versions but showed a greater depth by allowing Zi Yi to forgive him for the last time–as he had asked her before he died. It was like closure for them both with the complexity of things.
  • Ling Su and her shi jie (senior of her sect) reconciling. There were misunderstandings between the two parties and of course some conflicts with how things were supposed to be done. But somehow, it was really touching how they reconciled and finally resolved their misunderstanding. More like it did not matter anymore. The interesting thing was they both died at the same time so it was like closure for both. It was the last chance for them to reconcile and end it there. It was interesting how the senior finally restored her beauty and then seeing Wen Tai Lai and her son by her side and then disappearing. It was like her illusion was gone and she finally became in touch with reality, at last, facing her own demons before her death.
  • Ling Su’s death scene. I was utterly annoyed again with her selfish thinking when she thought of not giving Zi Yi the pill. But then I think Zi Yi’s words touched her or moved her to the point where she was not able to forgive herself if she let Zi Yi died. The struggle between the two extremes forced her to decide and not to mention how Zi Yi was prompt for time. When she walked to the corner of the room and realized how it was better that she died since Hu Fei did not love her made it a bit tragic. I could almost forgive her for what happened. I think Gillian did very well in that scene since everything was happening so fast and how devastated she looked after having decided what to do. Then when she crashed down, the moment was even more obvious and came into focus for Hu Fei and Zi Yi. Ling Su’s words were very true because Hu Fei did not pay attention enough to realize Ling Su was strike with the poison as well. But it was not in a nagging tone but more of a fact or an attempt to joke as a reminder how he would never like her anyway so it did not matter. The scene was worth a few tears really. I was still thinking at the same time if Ling Su was going to tell them about how Zi Yi had to drink the second pill to be safe but she did so I thought I could forgive her at last because she did not hold back information. Then there was also Hu Fei’s silent confession at Ling Su’s grave about understanding her feelings and what she went through. (Perhaps he was not so dumb after all or clueless BUT his attempt to hide and ignore the situation made it even worse for her, leading her to do many foolish things.) Although his confession was a way to answer her even if she was not able to hear it, I felt there was no point anymore since what good did it do? She was already dead. (Like I said, I do not blame him for loving Zi Yi, but he should’ve severe the tie between him and Ling Su faster than that if he knew rather than pretending not to know, causing more troubles.)
  • Fu Kang An’s reaction upon hearing about Zi Yi’s death. Although Zi Yi didn’t technically die, the way the soldier was coming back and reporting to Fu Kang An, it was said as if Zi Yi was already dead. It was interesting to see how Fu Kang An reacted since there was actually a tear forming in his eye and dripping down. It made one wonder if he really loved Zi Yi or was just wanting to possess her because she was someone who was hard to conquer. It was still something to think about.
  • Tian Rui Nong’s reaction upon seeing the grown-up Ruo Lan. A flashback image of Nan Lan was seen when a disguised Ruo Lan revealed herself to the others when they were inside the mansion up in the mountain. It was interesting to see what Tian–a person who couldn’t care less about keeping his words–would obey Ruo Lan’s order of returning the pills to Zi Yi like that. It seemed like he was experiencing a moment of the past because of how Ruo Lan resembled her mother. Not to mention how we were able to see and question that he really loved Nan Lan, not just using her like he first thought of doing.
  • Tian Rui Nong was the one who found the treasures and many other things. Though Hu Fei found it first, Tian was the one who got to explore more of the cave and many other objects inside it. It was an interesting take since it was often times that the main guy stumbled upon those situations and not as much as the villain. Not to mention how someone did not bother doing research on the types of martial arts mentioned that Tian had acquired since it was mentioned in The Return of the Condor Heroes that people who think too complex or are deceptive could not learn those types of martial arts. That was why Huang Rong–a very intelligent person could not learn it BUT Guo Jing was able to learn it. So, therefore, Tian being able to learn it was NOT relevant at all. But still funny that they made it possible in this one. Possibly to build up for the last battle. (And I was right since that was what it was all about.)
  • Balance between fighting and talking. What I hate most about wuxia/ancient series was having more talks than the actual fighting scenes so I was glad there was a balance. There were lots of fascinating scenes, especially how they showed various parts where Young Hu Fei learned the saber methods and other skills as well. The remaining of the series became a bit lagging because of Hu Fei’s conflicts with the three girls but there were some fighting scenes in between to make up for it so it was not as bad or unbearable. The most exaggerated parts were the ending since Tian Rui Nong had acquired quite a skill and was the most powerful so Hu Fei had to work harder to win. It was too pathetic but still funny in a sense because you get to laugh at the people who didn’t do research properly.
  • Costumes. At first, I was thinking, “What in the world were these people thinking?” But I realized that it was more realistic that way. Unless they were from a wealthy household, would they wear those really elegant ones? It seemed less pleasing to the eyes at times yet it was suitable in such circumstances.
  • Effects. Thank you for not using CGI. Phew! (Okay, it was sort of there BUT not so sloppily done that it was noticeable or overwhelmingly ridiculous.) It could be used properly IF know how, but I have the impression that it was not used properly in the past since other creators loved to throw it in just to show that they could do it. OR they are just plain crazy and do not want to use the old techniques or other types of technique to reach the same result. But this one was a nice one, especially the fighting scenes between Hu Yi Dao and Miao Ren Feng at the beginning.
  • The reunion for Alex and Patrick since Split Second. Honestly, thanks to my mom for this one since she reminded me about it. Considering how their roles were in the other one, it was major payback time for Patrick since he got to make Alex’s life miserable in here, tricking and trapping him at every turn and twist. One of the most memorable scenes was at the middle of episode 25 where Tian Rui Nong asked Miao Ren Feng for Miao’s forgiveness and how Tian reminded Miao that they were sworn brothers. Miao thought for a moment before turning Tian down, saying that they were no longer brothers and how the next time they meet, he would not let Tian off as easily. It was a turning point for them with how Miao would be taking the action the next time, it was a time where Miao would finally draw the line between them both, declaring the ultimatum. It could be seen that Tian was very despicable and was able to resort to any tactic to escape from Miao’s grasp, knowing Miao was very capable of killing him.

Dislikes:

  • Anthony Wong as Hu Yi Dao. It was a miscast. It had to be. The only role that I was ever impressed of his was from TVB’s War of the Dragons and that was it. For this one, I don’t know. I feel like he didn’t fit the role. It didn’t matter if they had the outfits or build the plot around his characters, introducing him as the cool dude. The character was that way, so it didn’t matter or helped–at least to me. I didn’t care if he was not good looking or whatever, but I felt he did not have the proper ”da xia” (大侠)/”ying xiong” (英雄) aka “hero” look. Ray Lui was awesome as Hu Yi Dao, Felix was not far behind either. But Anthony Wong? I don’t know. It was just like he was too arrogant. I have a feeling Hu Yi Dao was more humble? No idea. The only good thing about it was that he was only around the first part of the series. That sounded mean since I remember liking Hu Yi Dao the last two times, but this time? I don’t know. If it was someone else, I would’ve enjoyed more. What was even worse was seeing him with a beautiful young actress by his side–again. I remember Hu Yi Dao and his wife were around the same age or at least NOT that far off? But this was just plain odd. So before I get into any more details, I’ll stop here.
  • The supposedly good friendship/bonding between Hu Yi Dao and Miao Ren Feng. Though they fought and there were misunderstandings but their friendship and recognition of one another’s talent was the highlight of the story. Yet I did not feel it while watching them interact in here. Usually, I would blame Alex for it not working but it was not the case sadly. Because this time, I felt Alex delivered very well and managed to pull his character through and collaborate to make it work. Yet, it was Anthony that I felt wasn’t pulling the weight OR at least was not giving off the right vibe toward the friendship. Again, I felt he was too arrogant. He swapped with Miao Ren Feng. Sometimes, I have a feeling that Miao Ren Feng was too cold and quiet yet he was a righteous person. Was Anthony forgetting he was supposed to be the humble Hu and not the passive Miao? I did not get the feeling of the whole ‘knowing the hero, respecting the hero’ concept that was often mentioned in those ancient times. Something else that made their bond less convincing was how Hu was so grateful of Miao for helping him with fending off Tian and his men the night Hu’s wife was giving birth YET Hu brushed off Miao’s attempt to explain so easily before the next battle that it was uncalled for. Though it was due to the misunderstanding that Miao did not care for Hu’s letter through the medic’s words BUT Hu should not be so rash like that. Hu was a straightforward person but he was not dumb nor rash about matters, especially toward an honorable person like Miao. So he should’ve at least tried harder to hear Miao out before fighting. It was a different interpretation of the storyline yet Anthony’s arrogant expression did not help the situation. I totally pitied Miao at that time with how Alex looked. Though Hu changed his attitude toward Miao again after Miao had received the underhanded attack from Tian’s weapon but it did not convince me to side with Hu. (Again, Anthony was still looking arrogant.) I was very sure that the script didn’t change regarding swapping their personalities since Miao actually admitted after the second round of duels that he was usually arrogant and indicated that Hu was the humble and straightforward one. It was supposedly through Hu that Miao loosened up and became less distant and cold, but I had a feeling someone wasn’t humble, lol. So it was Miao loosening up on his own–or something. I remember liking their bond because of how Ray Lui and Patrick Tse had portrayed it. But I was not able to accept this bonding through Alex and Anthony–though mostly because of Anthony’s portrayal. And I barely remembered liking Felix Wong and Vincent Wan’s portrayal too of their friendship. (I just realized it was a reunion between Felix and Vincent since Racing Peak? LOL!) The dialogues were mostly the same, which conveyed their friendship throughout but I always felt something was missing.
  • Nan Lan aka Miao Ren Feng’s wife. It didn’t matter which version it was, she was meant to be hated regardless of the reason. It didn’t matter if she came from a rich family. The fact that she agreed to marry Miao Ren Feng meant that she had accepted his background. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, her father was dead and he was a lifesaver so it was her only choice. A spoiled brat and probably more real than some versions often portrayed her since it made out like it was Miao’s fault for neglecting her for his martial arts. YET I think that this was more siding with Miao that he really tried hard to provide for her and took great care of her but she did not appreciate those, always wanting more and more and more. Yes, she was from a rich family after all and was not able to adapt to it, but since she had no one else and after all the times that she spent there, wouldn’t she be more cooperative and negotiate with others? But I guess she never matured to go past those materialistic stuff hence falling prey to Tian’s sweet talks and his many bribes. Yes, she did try to redeem herself after realizing that she had gone overboard, but she didn’t love him enough nor was strong-willed to resist from temptations. Maybe it was a mistake from the beginning with their relationship since it seemed like he was treating her like a child and trying to give in to her demands more than with the relationship of husband and wife. What was more, he was becoming strained and worn out with how he had to work so hard to make her happy while the financial was getting low. He was not just responsible for her life but the whole household. I did not blame him for feeling restless but I kind of felt that it was his fault in driving Tian toward her since he told Tian to go talk to her, thinking that Tian was a more suitable candidate for conversations. What a big mistake! A cliche mistake that often happened in stories but it had to be something to drive forth the consequences, right? It just meant that they wouldn’t work out in the end. So perhaps, I shouldn’t blame Nan Lan for all of it either since Miao was sooo dumb in presenting Tian with an opportunity to move in. Yes, Miao was honest and straightforward aka not deceptive or cunning, only thinking of letting his wife having a friend or whatever. BUT wrong tactic. He accidentally unleashed some problems. And probably this was a test of Miao and Nan Lan’s relationship too since they were not able to pass the test. Despite the fact that Nan Lan finally gave in to Tian and following him, but I think I have to give her credit for being able to stop herself from the enthusiastic talks or realizing some inappropriate conversation going on AND managed to pull away like several times.
  • Ma Chun Hua. I never really liked her in any of the versions. But this one was probably the worst one since she was quite despicable in trying to plot against Hu Fei as well. Though it was supposed to be for a good reason, why didn’t she stick to the original plan of having Hu Fei save her kid? It was easier that way since Hu Fei was more than capable. The part where she was apologizing silently and saying that she was doing it for her kid was really fake. She just wanted to become Fu Kang An’s official wife, NOT just caring for her kid like she claimed. There was no doubt she loved her kid but there was much more. Sure, she saved Hu Fei twice but did that mean she could take his life away from him like that? Trying to redeem herself afterward did not help since she already caused trouble.
  • Young Miao Ruo Lan. I don’t know. Some of her actions made me feel extremely annoyed with her at times. Yes, she was a kid and she had her smart-aleck moments and how she was such a spoiled brat BUT I was just so scared she would turn out to be some annoying person when she grew up as well. Perhaps it showed some character instead of the dull side or one-dimensional personality. She was smart in her own way but she was also so stubborn. But probably it showed some arrogant side of her father and the spoiled gist of her mother. NOT sure but that made me think that she inherited from both parents. Zhang Ji Ying had this arrogance aura on her that made me think of it as that way. Like she was a spoiled, stubborn kid. I wouldn’t expect her to understand that much since she was a kid but it was still a bit disturbing to see. And I couldn’t forgive her for stealing from Ling Su and causing troubles later on (aka increasing the intensity of the situation between Ling Su and her shi jie.) It was an accident but another disturbing thing that she was stealing from others and it especially reminded me of how she was stealing from all those shopowners when she ran away from home that one time. The bigger picture and the more serious matter was that Ruo Lan actually caused someone’s death when she was so young. She did something and was afraid others would find out, especially Hu Fei, so she rather ignored it and the consequences than to try to redeem herself. I could no longer forgive her for being a kid anymore. Miao Ren Feng probably felt guilty for causing her not to have a mother so he spoiled her rotten but I felt that it had turned her into some unreasonable and irresponsible person. It also reminded me of how her rash nature had always caused trouble. IF she had not been persistent with opening the letter from her mother, her father would not have been poisoned. YES, it would come sooner or later but she really wanted to open it so her father had to try to see if it was poisoned or not. (She reminded me so much of her mother that she would always get what she wanted or else.) And by the time they reached the scene of the river where Ruo Lan disposed of Ling Su’s shoes in the water, I could not even stand it anymore. Up to the point where she vouched to take revenge on Ling Su one day made me feel more than outraged–to the point that I did not care IF she was a kid, but had to call her ‘witch’ and doubting IF the scriptwriters were playing us, pushing our patience with her character. Regardless of how she turned out later, the little things she did when she was a kid would always stay. Like I said, her ‘being a kid’ excuse had run low by then in my definition. I no longer cared for her anymore and decided to just watch on after the scene in the abandoned house that night when she snapped at Ling Su. That was my last straw for her. It did not matter what she saw was really that BUT it was her attitude that had turned me off completely.
  • The fact that Hu Fei and Cheng Ling Su weren’t traveling together like I would’ve thought. I don’t know. I feel like the young Miao Ruo Lan was way too annoying and it was not essential to have her around while the other two were traveling together. I was looking forward to seeing this part and I would’ve appreciated it more IF there was no third wheel around. If Ruo Lan was more obedient and more cooperative as a sweet girl, I wouldn’t mind as much. I know they were showing some character in Ruo Lan but honestly, that was too much, making it harder to like her and accept when she was older. I meant, after all, she was the same character so it was hard to erase everything she had done when she was younger. I thought that Hu Fei would depart from Miao Ren Feng and the others after Ling Su restored Miao Ren Feng’s eyesight but that was not the case. I kept waiting and waiting but it continued on with them bumping into Zi Yi AND then more Young Ruo Lan annoying scene that I became super impatient and felt like Ling Su had been robbed of time spent with Hu Fei. Yes, I was glad that they finally left after Hu Fei confirmed with Miao Ren Feng regarding his father’s death and declared that he would return one day to seek revenge. BUT still…I was on my last nerves by then. Not to mention to throw in the fact that she saved him from the poison made it even more disappointing. He would be taking responsibility instead of real love. I rather Ling Su leave right there and then–regardless of whether Zi Yi left or not.
  • The fact that they made Ruo Lan the one responsible for Zi Yi’s death. I meant come on now. It was crazy. The scriptwriters were out to get every one of the girls. Not to mention making it tragic on purpose of how Zi Yi died. And the fact that everything was even faker since Zi Yi had 7 years with Hu Fei yet she DID NOT cherish those times OR kept her promise with Ling Su. She wasted all those times AND Hu Fei also wasted those times. What guilt? What not being able to live with Hu Fei because they would always remember Ling Su was the one who died for them? It was a total joke. It could be explained that they really matured and thought it through all these years BUT what was the point? IF they had valued the limited time they had with each other more, they would not have been facing such a scene of separation. I am NOT trying to defend or justify for Ruo Lan’s actions here since I wrote in the other part that Ruo Lan was responsible too regardless of the reason behind it, BUT I thought it was a big joke with how Hu Fei and Zi Yi did not take advantage of the time more. Ling Su died, giving them more time to spend together YET they were being too fake and pretentious that they DID NOT make good use of that time AND now that it failed, it was too late. The best way to repay Ling Su was to live every moment the best they could, NOT acting guilty–like Ling Su said. So why react so strongly knowing that the moment would come? (They still had to consider the possible happenings just like some outer force sabotaging them.)
  • The fact that Ruo Lan got raped by Fu Kang An. I swear this seemed like TVB’s 1999 version too much. It was like every girl got taken advantage by Fu Kang An, except for Zi Yi. I thought they would prevent it from happening. Regardless of what Ruo Lan did and all her stubbornness but she did not deserve this. Especially since she lost her memory and was already lured into Fu Kang An’s trap. I thought Hu Fei would arrive in time, BUT NO. The first time, they made her stab him AND the second time, he was too late. Stupid script. The worst thing that could happen and they let it happen. Were they copying The Return of the Condor Heroes with what happened to the main girl?
  • The fact that Tian Rui Nong wanted to claim Ruo Lan as his too. I know that he was testing her at times and pondering IF she really lost her memory. BUT that was really gross that he wanted to replace her mother with her. The scriptwriters really had sick minds all right. We all knew how despicable Tian Rui Nong was. NO need to drag it out and beat it to death regarding the matter. We got the message with all his previous actions already.
  • The fact that they used Patrick and Gillian’s song for this one. This was because the song was probably the Mandarin version of the song that was used for TVB’s Legend of Love. But the other version was sung by Gillian and Kenny Kwan.

The In-Between:

  • Nie Yuan as Hu Fei. To be honest, I was excited that it was Nie Yuan at first but then later when I saw the trailer, I was a bit hesitant. But glad that he pulled through after seeing him appearing as the grown-up Hu Fei. He was really witty and charming in his acts and was very clever. What changed me regarding his character was the whole triangle with him, Zi Yi, and Ling Su. It was only fair to include him in this list and not be too harsh on the girls. He was so wishy-washy that caused even more conflicts between the girls. He was really clueless–which could not be blamed, but he decided to take responsibilities but could not let go of anyone. I was all right IF he had chosen Zi Yi since she was the one he loved YET he insisted taking responsibility with Ling Su but failed to deliver. What was the point? Perhaps he was a man of his word and considering those ancient times with the importance of a girl’s life so he was taking responsibility for Ling Su, trying to do what was right. YET I rather he did not since it encouraged Ling Su’s many scheming tactics and caused Zi Yi to severe the tie between them both. His decision had caused Zi Yi to become the one taking actions since he was not strong enough to do it.
  • Athena Chu as Yuan Zi Yi. Surprise of all surprises, I didn’t really like how the character in here and how Athena portrayed it. I don’t know. It felt wrong though I knew her acting wasn’t the problem. (Or maybe I was never used to her style in the first place, except for in this one movie and that was it.) It just had the wrong feeling. I did not find her charming, witty or clever like I expected though she did try to exude that aura. It made me even more annoyed than actually be impressed or amazed by her actions. Not to mention that though I felt weird with some of the cast’s costumes in here but I managed to get used to it and found some good side to it or if it actually suited the person’s style yet the outfit for Zi Yi was poorly designed, making it unbearable to watch each time she tried to show off her skills, especially the very first outfit that she wore. And moving on, the hair made it even sadder since combined with the outfit, it made her looked like she came out of a nuthouse. (I do know it was not Athena’s fault for having such outfits or hairdo, but I was just pointing out the image for her character was a major failure.) Throwing in the tragic story was still typical but I still can’t find myself to like her for some reason. I somehow pitied her after finding out that she and Hu Fei were not meant to be because of this one incident BUT it was because the scriptwriters ruined the great foundation they established for Ling Su that her character finally rose above other characters. I ended up having mixed feelings because of other factors. Not because I liked her. And I think the whole idea with this was that I hated the fact that people often want to use the excuse of cutting off from the outside world, etc by becoming a nun or a monk. If they were willing, it was all right, but it was because they wanted to hide or because they could not solve the problems. I hated that the most so I could not pity Zi Yi as much as I thought I would with such characters. Her master was right that she was not ready but she was still forcing herself into it. The funniest thing was she looked prettier 7 years later when she was supposed to be appearing sickly (because of the poison still in her) than when she first appeared at the beginning. Very interesting. Perhaps the makeup team finally paid attention or they weren’t paying attention that much because of the long filming process?
  • Gillian Chung as Cheng Ling Su. Interestingly how I was influenced by the previous version that I watched so I did not like her as much. However, in this version, I really liked her character. Gillian brought some sweetness and grace into this role. Her character was not boring or pestering as it seemed to be in the other version but there was a mystery to her character with a mix of intelligence and complexity. She did things without reasons or explanations at times yet she had her own way of doing it. She did not mind that others were misunderstanding who she was since she did not care how they judged her but only wanted to reach her purpose, such as the time that she tried to get Young Ruo Lan to do the chores to get rid of the poison. Perhaps she did not have contact with the outside world as much so sometimes her actions or lack of actions caused troubles or misunderstandings yet somehow I did not hate her for it. I don’t know. Maybe it was a bias with how much I liked her character at the beginning when she was introduced. Or perhaps I somehow pitied her. Though my hope kept falling and falling as the story developed further, I still somehow liked her or perhaps pitied her like I said before. It was like because she was so afraid of being lonely after having found someone she could’ve depended on. I did not know why the scriptwriters kept making her character sink lower and lower in tactics since she was seen as wanting to separate Hu Fei and Zi Yi too many times for me to forgive. I kept telling myself it was okay that she wasn’t perfect but I was so disturbed because Hu Fei did not like her yet was stuck with her. She was too selfish for my taste as the series progressed. It was like she knew what she was doing yet she kept doing it. Some part of me did not blame her, considering how she had been lonely for the majority of her life, especially after her master’s death. Yet the other part of me knew that Hu Fei did not like her (as said before), so it was hard to endure. I kept wishing that she would get it and leave regardless of how he was stuck with her because of responsibilities. She finally learned to let go afterward and only wanted him to be happy yet I think it was too late since the damage had already been done. I did pity her a lot but it still wasn’t enough to make me liked her again. It was like she knew all along she could not get what she wanted YET she still wanted to get it. I didn’t like that. The excuse with ‘any girl would do that’ DID NOT go through for me since why didn’t Zi Yi do that? (Though I did not like Zi Yi any better.) Why did Ling Su have to be so selfish knowing that she would hurt Hu Fei by making Zi Yi go and separating the two? The constant drop of the jade butterfly was a HUGE reminder of how Hu Fei was not able to forget Zi Yi YET she still DID NOT get the hint or cared to acknowledge that fact made it even more frustrating. The fact that she said how Hu Fei was pitying her and was just doing some charity when he was caring for her like that was ironic. Since she was the one who clung to him throughout. IF she had any dignity in the first place, she would not resort to such means to get rid of Zi Yi. When she finally realized to let go of Hu Fei and told him to chase after Zi Yi, I didn’t feel she was being a bigger person for it, but I felt more like she should’ve done that ages ago. It was already overdue. Somehow though, Gillian did look pitiful enough that I was having mixed feelings YET I still could not forgive Ling Su for such actions.
  • Ady An as Miao Ruo Lan. Interestingly, Ady appeared on episode 27–probably around the time she should be appearing since the story was almost ending since they had only one last thing to take care of aka the battle between Miao Ren Feng and Hu Fei. For some very, very strange reason, I liked Ruo Lan a lot more upon seeing Ady. I don’t know. Maybe because of Ady’s smile. Despite her playful nature and somewhat stubborn personality, she seemed to have matured. Possibly because of her promise to her father with being more obedient in the future (that night when she found out about her father’s conflict with Hu Fei). Perhaps IF they had cast a different girl to play Ruo Lan’s younger version, I would’ve liked and accepted her action more. There were traces of her older self being quite unreasonable too. I guess they could not just make her character turn 180 degrees just because she was older now or supposedly more mature. They had to maintain some consistency with the character. Yet I wished she wasn’t so spoiled at times. I have to clarify that I’m not trying to be harsh on the kid who portrayed the Young Ruo Lan BUT I think that the script had been badly manipulated that it was hard to tell between Ruo Lan–though there was still subtle consistency (as mentioned before). It was like they did not do as a nice job for it. The possible reason could be Ruo Lan had grown up and was able to think of the consequences more than before hence her actions not as annoying or rash but there was something missing between the link of her character. Ruo Lan’s attempt to chase away all the possible candidates as her future husband was quite funny–though kind of mean. I really don’t mind Ruo Lan being stronger and more independent than the typical weakling character, just that I was not able to get over the fact that she was a little brat in the earlier episodes. Just when I thought it was safe to keep her name in the ‘Likes’ section, I had to move it to the ‘In Between’ since I could not forgive her for acting on her own and killing the flower that Hu Fei had worked so hard to grow it these past 7 years. Just because she said she did not know or did not do it on purpose she should not be forgiven so easily, considering how important it was. Yes, Hu Fei should have told her a lot more OR told her NOT to touch it OR tell her exactly what was going on. BUT she should have known better that he had taken care of it all along SO it was not like he didn’t know how. IF she did not understand something, ASK, NOT DO and then regret OR apologize. This reminded me of how she caused the death of Ling Su’s shi jie’s son’s death when she was younger though unintentional. She was seen as clever upon learning the fact that Fu Kang An knew Tian Rui Nong and showed her brilliant side by diverting out of the sticky situation. But somehow, I could not forgive her for the other thing (though knowing it was the script’s fault for twisting the whole thing). I wish I could like her character more than that BUT I did not want to make an exception because it involved the importance of someone’s life. The most disappointing factor wasn’t about how Ruo Lan was so stubborn and spoiled BUT the fact that she got raped later by Fu Kang An (like some other girls in here) AND then was reduced to a complete weakling that made the plot even weaker. I did not mind IF they butchered it so that her character learned martial arts later BUT what was more frustrating was letting her suffer so much through the trials, especially being raped. Since she’d gone through the hardships, she learned how much her stubbornness had caused so much trouble, BUT not to that extreme.

Interestingly Funny YET could be equally annoying:

  • Cheng Ling Su vs. Young Ruo Lan. It was so funny that they were doing a little face off when Hu Fei was trying to bury the other three men who accompanied them to that one place to find the cure for Miao Ren Feng’s eyes. I actually enjoyed Ling Su’s playful nature and how she tried to piss Ruo Lan off on purpose. Ruo Lan was such a spoiled brat that I did not even feel sorry for. Maybe it was the girl who was cast as Ruo Lan and partially because of the script. But it was funny all right. Ling Su did not want to fight with the little girl but the little girl brought it on herself. Ruo Lan was only a kid but she was so possessive already–though she might or might not know or understand love yet but I was thinking on a different level of how she would think ‘whatever is hers, she won’t back down’, etc–it was as if Hu Fei was her toy. I know it wasn’t that extreme but it was still a tad disturbing to see her having liked Hu Fei at such an age. NOT to mention Ruo Lan’s ongoing childish tactics against Ling Su made me even more annoyed with her. Ling Su was not calculating with her nor treating her in an ill-mannered way yet she kept causing troubles.
  • Yuan Zi Yi vs. Cheng Ling Su. vs. Young Miao Ruo Lan. I found it unbearable that Ruo Lan sided with Zi Yi just to piss Ling Su off. Although Ling Su sort of tried to get rid of Zi Yi at their first encounter, somehow I didn’t hate her or found her annoying. Somehow, I wanted to side with her more though I knew that Hu Fei really liked Zi Yi. It was just that Ling Su’s character was better written that made me feel for her and how Gillian had portrayed it. Unlike the other two. Though I somehow found Hu Fei’s collaboration with Zi Yi a bond that others could not replace (like the scene that they fought off all Tian’s men and the Qing soldiers), I would’ve liked it more OR liked it better IF the young Ruo Lan wasn’t around to be so annoying. The young Ruo Lan was just a deceptive little witch. The fact that she kept taunting and rubbing the matter in front of Ling Su’s face made me want to slap her so much. She was a little witch all right. Just when I was going to clap on Ling Su’s decision to leave after curing Miao Ren Feng, the scriptwriter had to go and ruin her character by making her do such a despicable thing. It was an accident at first because Hu Fei dropped the jade butterfly BUT I wished she had given him back the item regardless of whoever else stepped in to find him. It was like they needed to ruin her character too since after they jumped to ruin Ruo Lan’s character. That night, Ling Su actually returned the jade butterfly to Hu Fei and told him what happened. But I couldn’t help but wonder if she did it on purpose or if she was just answering to Zi Yi’s question unknowingly. I wanted to trust her but it was hard to predict her actions at times. Perhaps, she did not do it on purpose or meant to but she was lacking communication skills since she had been trapped in some isolated pace for so long with her master hence not knowing how to handle certain situations. But still…I wish it hadn’t happened. And I knew it was leading to much more since after Hu Fei was traveling around with Ling Su, she continued to cause the rip between Hu Fei and Zi Yi. I did not like it even if it was natural for her to react in that way yet it was petty and childish, almost reducing her to the childish Ruo Lan. I felt like the scriptwriters needed to ruin Ling Su’s character too to make matters worse or something. I just did not like it. I kept wishing that Ling Su would stop yet it kept getting worse. I hated how her character was ruined just like that and just like the others.

Conclusion? Not really a must watch but it was another perspective. Considering that I did not read the novel properly, I won’t comment on its accuracy though I could guess that they distorted it quite badly, almost as badly as TVB’s 1999 version, considering how they included the fact that Fu Kang An was involved with almost all the girls in here–whether the girls cared to acknowledge his existence or not. After seeing another butchered version of Wong Jing’s production, I finally vouch not to watch another one regardless of how good the cast would be. (Maybe that was why he needed a good cast to pull the production through.) And then I wonder silently why Jin Yong let Wong Jing do this adaptation since it was as bad as TVB’s 1999 version.