Rookies’ Diary: The Finale

The journey is finally over for those who had been tuned in since last summer. I will definitely be missing it–regardless of the mixed feelings I have throughout watching the show. The positive just overrides the intense moments. I think those who declared not to watch part 2 missed a major part and a priceless moment that they would’ve loved.

Ta-da! Yup, Luo Gang re-emerged in episode 20 working at a fruits farm. He had promised Sheng Nan to turn a new leaf, stay out of trouble and meet her again on her birthday, which was supposedly 6 months later. What else does it call for? The triangle that I said wasn’t even resolved yet in the other post. So I didn’t miss anything after all. People are going to love FTV for this since they managed to pull it off–even if Tang Feng/Luo Gang seemed to be forgotten for the first 19 episodes. (Not totally since Sheng Nan did mention him at various points.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yhJNbUwsug]

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I thought they were going to forget it too since Tang Feng had to shoot Father & Son at the same time, etc. However, they managed to squeeze it in, giving the audience the final answer. I sort of have the feeling the audience will never forgive FTV if they didn’t resolve this. They did put us through one season of agonizing tennis, right? (Yes, the ball being bounced back and forth between Luo Gang and Shan Ren.) It was too hard to believe that Sheng Nan would settle for Shan Ren after developing their bonds even more in season 2. Why? It’s not that I wouldn’t like the story of how she’s touched with Shan Ren’s actions hence giving him a chance. But it was way more obvious already that she loves Luo Gang, so why settle?

Though it was more like Shan Ren let go, allowing Luo Gang and Sheng Nan a chance without any hesitation at last. YET Luo Gang and Sheng Nan are both very strong characters. They wouldn’t be feeling guilty or bad just because Shan Ren likes Sheng Nan. Why should they be sorry for loving each other, right? But I thought that was kind of funny that they were wrapping everything at the part where it would determine whether Shan Ren would make it or not. After all, Shan Ren had chosen to join Wang Wei and the others to continue that journey of training and staying within the military. Yes, he finally found something that he could follow besides Sheng Nan.

Do I have to remind people that I’m a Shan Ren/Sheng Nan shipper? Yet I won’t resort to all those name-callings toward the other side like some Luo Gang/Sheng Nan shippers have been doing. If you’re not one of them, I’m not talking about you. With that said, I’m so glad the writers made Sheng Nan ended up with Luo Gang. Fans would be happy. (AND I already said numerous times already that I’m a Tang Feng fan, but I don’t just support blindly if I don’t feel strongly toward a couple. Though I can accept the final outcome. I don’t think I need to justify myself even more.) No more wars or attacks about whether it was pathetic that Luo Gang lost, right? Since after all, he didn’t lose. In a way, I’m very glad because he could start over, but also get the girl. NOT seeming so depressing and hopeless like the end of season 1. (Though he did think it through when they wrapped up season 1 but it just seemed so sad for his case.) But after seeing him working hard at the fruits farm and being full of hope again made everything better. His dark moods being gone made things tenfold better as well. It meant he had let go of that dark past already. Who said the main guy had to be the hero to be the winner, right? He had lost the other chance, but that didn’t mean the end of the world. There are still other alternatives to it. (And it wasn’t like he didn’t get to be the hero since we did see the rescue scene at the beginning of episode 22 AND how his righteousness had gotten him into some disagreements with Chen Pai Zhang. But I so support Chen Pai Zhang at that part since the kids’ parents should be responsible for looking after the kids, NOT the military. They already put up a bunch of signs to warn others AND not to mention how one of the officers on duty already told the kids about the dangers.)

Enough about that since I think some others deserve some spotlights too? LOL! Who to talk about first? Or actually what?

My favorite team in here. Yet I felt disappointed that they didn’t get more scenes near the end. I meant like to the ending to show their bond. Yeah, sure, we get it that they were closed and were pals. But I honestly want to see more. Just a little more. It was just off to see Luo Gang supporting Shan Ren and trying to encourage him on–though through reverse psychology. It was just off even if I wanted to see Luo Gang get some sort of action toward the end as well. Why? Wang Wei had been helping Shan Ren subtly since the beginning and they had been consistent throughout with making fun of each other or even during the trials. Yet they only got a bit of a few wisecracks after everything was taken care of? What I thought was cool was the part where Shan Ren conned Wang Wei into thinking they would have the face-off. It was a chance for them to see who was really the better one. LOL! Hilarious since Shan Ren tricked Wang Wei and fled. That was why I feel the more that Wang Wei should be the one beside Shan Ren, helping him get through the last bit, not Luo Gang. Or was that scene near the end with Luo Gang helping him and cheering him on–along with Sheng Nan–a key scene to allow him to make the decision about letting go? Maybe…YET it made me feel they lost momentum with separating Wang Wei and Shan Ren into two teams near the end. I had enjoyed their reunion at last with fighting by each other’s side again like brothers YET it had to turn out that way. A shame, but I won’t dwell too much. Can’t protest anyway because it already ended and no one cares that much like me.

What was a bit disappointing and extremely saddening? Enson Chang’s accident hence him not being able to have more scenes in here. No one wanted it to happen and glad that he had been recovering since then. However, I was really looking forward to watching him.

What was somewhat interesting yet turned out too hilarious? Ah Xiang and Hao Zi weren’t in season 2 yet they were listed in the opening credits. Nice? Was I the only one being confused? What in the world happened? And their appearances in the flashbacks DO NOT count.

Oh yeah, one last item for this one. This totally got me going. Wu Yong got robbed during the last bit of it. I meant he was impressive with his vast knowledge of the jungle/forest, etc. How could he fail so miserably near the end? Okay, so the other team followed Shan Ren’s plan and won because Shan Ren was so cunning (and I so believe that). And I don’t really care who wins since they all passed anyway, but it was like Wu Yong practically went into the shadow. He got forgotten just like Wang Wei. I just can’t accept that (and will probably have to live with it since like I said before, no one cares as much as me about the little details). So Wu Yong trapped Shan Ren and let him go that one time AND Shan Ren was going to repay him YET it was a trap? A TAD too messed up with Shan Ren trying to win. Though they probably didn’t care since they were good sports about it but it made it a bit less challenging with Shan Ren’s team winning all the time. I actually thought some of the others on Wang Wei’s side weren’t that bad with their techniques. How could they lose so badly? Or be that careless? It made them too much of a joke because they were after all part of the Special Operations Unit after all, right?

I’ll save other stuff for the next time when I do a different post about this drama. YES, there are more. Yet I don’t want to say too much for now.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

Rookies’ Diary 2: Thoughts

Seriously, after watching like 9 episodes, I think I’m entitled to some kind of opinion. What about it so far? Mixed feelings actually. The opening was good with how they were tested and couldn’t pass the challenge and all. Yet the upcoming parts kind of made me feel disappointed because of how unprepared they were, including Shan Ren. Those moments were supposed to create humor for the rest of us to see, but I hated it that they were too much of a joke with not passing or at least fend for themselves in some way that made it ridiculous. It made the whole process ridiculous because they were tested already in the trials before coming here yet they were so scattered and were so off. It might be a better explanation that they were so comfortable at the other base that they weren’t prepared. Not to mention how they had gotten so comfortable with their bonds somewhat near the end that they had let their guards down again but they should’ve known better. It was too much of a joke (like said before).

What I found clever was the part when Wu Yong fell and got his face all dirty, but he soon came up with a plan to merge himself into the jungle as well. Then the next part with both him and Shan Ren managing to jump in and catch the rope to save Lai Hu in time had compensated for their lack of preparations yet the other parts kind of killed it. What I became even more annoyed with was how Lai Hu got himself and Wu Yong into trouble by making comments about the female soldiers hopping past them, causing them another round of punishment. Like he could turn a new leaf that soon, but I was just too annoyed with him for not having to learn from the past and even doing that in front of the trainers. It was like asking for trouble. And he got it.

Another thing that made me feel kind of irked was when George Hu was making a comment in the BTS about ‘Mo Gui Ban Zhang’. Okay, he must be joking and all of that. But it sort of made me feel like comparing himself to ‘Sun An Bang’ (though An Bang was ‘Pai Zhang’) with the strict rules and all. He, Zheng Qiang, couldn’t even be compared to An Bang. Honestly. The way he was carrying on, it was like what the others were saying, nothing but a crazy dog. I meant the character AND NOT George–in case anyone was offended. In a way, it might be a new challenge for them all to learn and follow the strict rules of the new place YET it was kind of repetitive with creating another fierce character who seemed too much like An Bang. I thought that sort of backfired. At least for me.

What’s more? Getting back to the cast of part 1 and this time regarding Shan Ren. I couldn’t believe that he was bullying that one dude when they were trying to claim their beds. It was like using his power to gain an advantage, but he should’ve known better, so I agreed that he got scolded and was punished. YET I didn’t like Zheng Qiang’s attitude either. I got it why Wang Wei was scolding at Shan Ren afterward for using their previous bond to order Wang Wei around since it was like getting out of line. But I didn’t like Zheng Qiang’s taunting look. I don’t know if it was because of George Hu’s portrayal or his character was supposed to be that way. It was just I didn’t trust him to be unbiased, unlike what Sheng Nan and Wang Wei were projecting with the strict manners the whole time because it was necessary to enforce the rules–and not some personal dislike. It was like Zheng Qiang had something to prove, like being a show-off more than just enforcing the rules, being there because he was proud to serve the country, etc. I don’t know, I can’t seem to buy into his sincerity. And to wrap up about Shan Ren, I think I must agree with him regarding the phrase he uttered in episode 2, which was “虎落平阳.” Seriously, he lost BIG TIME, not thinking of the real consequences or being prepared for what was going on. Sucks to be him because he was being yelled like the others too, maybe even worse. Or this could be a wake-up call for him since he had been too comfortable previously, kept scolding the others and enforce the rules but not going forth with the routines at times. YES, he had to run with them and demonstrated stuff too but he wasn’t pushed into so much like now.

Talking about the unpreparedness of the characters from part 1, I must say that I was also disappointed of the female soldiers. I meant they were really unprepared too with how they messed up with the bed making scenes and getting things in order. (Only one girl was prepared YET was pulled down too because someone else just had to be careless, which caused her punishment too.) Again, this will apply for both guys and girls BECAUSE this was the Special Operations Unit after all. I know they need more training to get into that ‘tip-top’ shape. YET it was really disappointing that both groups couldn’t fend for themselves or make an impression. They were chosen to be in the Special Operations Unit SO that must mean something. So I take back my optimism toward the group. I meant okay, I’m still watching and supporting because the cast worked so hard for it YET this is one of those times I felt they were riding on the success of the first part. Like it wasn’t obvious already since they decided to go forth with part 2, BUT  I didn’t want to act all bitter toward it and want to hold on to some hope. I felt it might have been better if they had waited until Tang Feng and Fu Zi Chun’s schedules cleared up and get this thing going again since I felt that they were the ones really qualified to enter the Special Operations Unit. It would make this thing shine a lot more with the soldiers.

Xia Zheng Feng’s Wu Yong was the only one–sorry to say–among the soldiers with the abilities to pass the trials and to convince that he could do it. The rest, not as much, but he was reduced to being somewhat hopeless so he could get yelled at like the others? It wasn’t like he was perfect since part 1, but he sure showed potential in some areas so I felt he was somewhat robbed of showing his talent at times. Again, I’m not picking on the new cast by not complimenting them BUT I felt they definitely need Luo Gang and Yang Hai Sheng for this one. The creators of the show could add more cast, BUT seriously they need more capable force than the comedy act. I still find them funny but it was just that it didn’t suit the Special Operations Unit as much with some of the things. OR were the creators wanting to strike while the iron was hot? Somehow, I think it had somewhat ruined the legacy of the drama itself. BUT I seriously hope to be wrong this time by seeing this move forward even more.

Since I’m already in the complaining mood, what else? BTS showed that they were working hard, of course. Their spirits were still high with willing to work hard and all. Yet sometimes I felt they were a bunch of whiners, except for some who were just goofing off. Seriously, IF Li Xing Wen could pull it off with some of the scenes, so could they. (Except for Qian Jun Zhong and Enson who were obviously injured at various points, the rest have no excuse.)

To get back on a positive note, I’m so glad that they let Wang Wei be the leader for the most part with the gathering and giving them instructions (out of the male officers, that was–since Sheng Nan was their main leader–aside from the other Pai Zhang who came from time to time to check on them). Why? Jun Ya’s powerful voice. Not to mention how he had been there since the first part. It made it less of a joke to let him lead with the general instructions. We’d seen him as Wang Wei in the first part with his hardworking attitude and how he was taking up the challenge in taking the test hence advancing toward being part of the training officers for this operation, instead of coming in as a last-minute addition. He was always prepared and composed, knowing how to separate between the personal and the serious matters. Though it meant I kind of miss his constant randomness with Shan Ren and Sheng Nan like the first part. But I was glad to see the consistency in his character with his ‘cold face, warm heart’ projection. Because of what happened at the breakfast scene in episode 3, I really wanted to hug him for it since he was subtly helping Shan Ren–without Shan Ren possibly knowing it. Seeing how Shan Ren could blow it with trying to let the thing go with Zheng Qiang and him going for the soup at the same time. It was like Wang Wei had gotten up on purpose and gave some new instructions so that it would allow Shan Ren the chance to get out of there before things escalated to much more. Then there was also his expressed concern toward Shan Ren to Sheng Nan in the later parts of episode 3 also. Yup, he could enforce the rules accordingly, but sometimes he couldn’t help but be worried for Shan Ren, who had been his friend since when.

Yet I found it a bit disappointing that Shan Ren couldn’t see through Wang Wei’s fierce front since he was complaining to the others that Wang Wei had forgotten him, after all those times he’d been there for Wang Wei. Wang Wei had been doing those subtle rescues and even gotten misunderstood. But that was so touching (okay, I’m just a sucker for it) when they finally realized that Wang Wei hadn’t changed at all. Well, Tian Bin was the one who disclosed to the others that it was Wang Wei who had told Tian Bin to buy the drinks (with Wang Wei’s money of course) and prepare the drinks for them. Then I sort of forgave Shan Ren again since in a way, he’d been keeping his bottled up feelings inside, so he was just complaining to the others who he’d known for a while, NOT just anyone. Then it was so cool seeing how they were bonding like once upon a time, seeing their signature high-five, etc. That sort of restored my hope for the drama as an overall. Not to mention how it would motivate some of them to work even harder because they know Sheng Nan and Wang Wei were still silently supporting them.

One of my favorite parts of Shan Ren and Wang Wei, aside from the drinking to their reunion part and resolving their misunderstanding, was how Wang Wei called Shan Ren out to introduce himself to the others YET he was quite reluctant, even pulling the long face and the indifference attitude. Wang Wei had to signal to him, clearing his throat like several times and tilting his head toward one direction to send Shan Ren the message that Sheng Nan was coming. It was then that Shan Ren got it and his energy was like back up, ready to impress Sheng Nan again. Darn, Shan Ren really got going with the whole speech though, causing Sheng Nan to actually stop from her walking and reconsider things. Even Wang Wei looked so proud of Shan Ren. Man, he was so supporting his friend. Yet Shan Ren didn’t forget Wu Yong and Lai Hu either, including them in the last bit of his speech.

Talking about bonds, I still have hope for F4 and Shan Ren. They managed to keep everything consistent. The beginning scene showed their relying on each other in the jungle somewhat. But also when they met Tian Bin again was kind of funny how he played the trick on them, but also offered to help them pass messages to Hai Sheng and Shi Jun. We finally got an answer that both were just placed into another group, not gone yet. (But of course, I think it was just mentioning them at various times to show references that both characters were still around, just not making their appearances.) Another example of the bonding between F2 and Shan Ren was during the scene in episode 5 where they were caught and punished for talking behind Zheng Qiang’s back, and Shan Ren lost it again hence dropping his broom. Lai Hu actually jumped in to take the blame for him. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect that of Lai Hu since he’d been the one the others were shielding the whole time. Then there was also the part where Shan Ren was joining in with the other three for the punishment outside (the one where they didn’t sleep during the mid-day break and was causing disturbance). What I thought was fun was seeing another character, Tian Bin’s childhood friend, Jin Zhan joining in with the group. He was so clueless with not understanding Taiwanese, lol. Back to the role reversal thing, I think that the others had to cover for Shan Ren and sometimes stop his temper because they didn’t want to see him getting in more trouble than that or more like getting them in trouble as well. Then I would forgive Shan Ren for losing faith in Wu Yong and Lai Hu hence wanting to abandon them and keep himself safe.

About the other new characters and cast, I felt that the other newly introduced officers had fended better than George Hu for some reason. Maybe George was afraid of yelling at them too much versus the others? I don’t know. He did yell and you could feel he was trying to put on the appropriate strict air. Yet something was definitely missing, like he was sending mixed signals at times. Perhaps the pressure was getting to him with living up to being part of the main cast of this epic drama? (And I can’t believe they pulled that one with squeezing in an attempt to utter George Hu’s name during the scene where Wu Yong, Lai Hu, and Jin Zhan got punished. LAME! But that sort of got me laughing ’cause of how Wu Yong said the phrase so it was like similar to George’s name.) The part where Wu Yong had the dream in episode 3, I thought George was more comfortable with the exchange in words, etc. Maybe he should’ve been cast as one of the soldiers since it seemed like he was uncomfortable or maybe afraid of yelling at them too much. (Or maybe if he’d been one of the soldiers, then he wouldn’t get an important role? Or would have to do more of those exercises? No idea.) To be fair, I think George’s momentum soon kicked in with the routines of enforcing the rules, etc YET he hadn’t mastered the whole thing with keeping his face neutral with the strict attitude. It was like an expression that had some personal gripe toward others more than the indifference one or at least the fierce expression because they failed their tasks–and he had to make them carry out some punishments.

Talking about the new characters in this one, aside from Jin Zhan, Li Zheng Hua was funny as well. Maybe because he was ABC so he didn’t understand it when the guys were using different dialects so it got all headache-y when they were trying to converse in it, LOL! Then there was also Wu Yong’s assigned partner for one of those missions in the forest, Xu Yi Fu. Wu Yong saved him from almost getting killed with the trap and then he wanted to pay Wu Yong back BUT failed. That was funny though! Xu Yi Fu and his needle techniques, lol.

Moving on, episode 5 was also Enson Chang’s debut as Tang Kai Yu. What I found quite interesting was his laid-back nature at mealtime. Yes, he seemed serious at the first introduction of him to the others. But mealtime changed everything. He seemed to be not as strict, especially around mealtime–as he mentioned about it not necessary to be so intense when everyone was just eating. He might be a refreshing character in here because he was different, not someone trying to be like any of the characters in the first part. Well, they had to be strict so the soldiers would learn. Yet I think we have enough strict people already so a different type of personality was much needed for the show.

OMG! Wang Wei cracked me up so bad with calling Zheng Qiang ‘Feng Ban Zhang’ like about halfway through episode 6. (Feng as in ‘crazy’, not the other kind.) That was like priceless! Man, he was like returning the comment regarding how Zheng Qiang called Shan Ren Wang Wei’s ‘Precious Ban Zhang’ with it. Then Zheng Qiang was really annoyed and told Wang Wei to call him ‘Zheng Ban Zhang’. Zheng Qiang was asking for it though since one could see Wang Wei’s annoyed expression upon hearing those words, it was like a slap in the face, so he had to return the favor and ever so gracefully. Honestly, that guy had no sense of humor, LOL! So he could call people names but others couldn’t do it? PUH-LEASE! I’m picking on the character here and not George, if anyone’s getting offended again. Anyway, to get back to the story, I think Wang Wei unleashed some chain of events since, after that, the other pai zhang and ban zhang were calling Zheng Qiang ‘Feng Ban Zhang’ as well, LOL! Then Zheng Qiang had to correct them, lol.

Episode 7 when they were allowed to go inside the shop to buy stuff, they were reminiscing about their convenient stores at the other base. It was funny that Wu Yong was crying out “My Xiao Yan” tearfully when Lai Hu was talking about Xiao Yan. YUP, he can’t see his Xiao Yan for a long time. Man, Shan Ren was so behind, he didn’t know that Xiao Yan got together with Wu Yong already. But it was cute to know that they were still mentioning the other characters from the store (and also Hai Sheng with Yu Ting).

What else? Several characters surprised me by the time I get to episode 9. But I think I should leave it at that and do a followup when I’m even further. My opinions have definitely changed since the initial comments but I didn’t want to leave it out just yet. Those are more like my personal notes to see how my views have changed since starting the drama. Until next time…

*All images were captured by DTLCT