Liao Zhai 3

Since I was on a Liao Zhai binge, I had to hunt this one down and watch too. Too bad that other stuffs got in the way so I was off track with this. Now back to watch properly.

Hua Bi (畫壁)
  • Roy Qiu as Meng Long Tan (孟龍潭). First time watching Roy properly since others ones, I skipped around or gave up. But he wasn’t bad.
  • Zhang Pei Ran (張沛然) as Zhu Xiao Lian (朱孝廉). Hilarious despite his playful nature. What made his character redeeming for me was his extreme loyalty to Long Tan. Yet I still didn’t think he deserved to be saved at all. Yes, cruel but seriously? I agreed with the monk how he revisited the snake demon time after time so it wasn’t anyone’s fault for lack of trying to tell him to stay away. (Especially how the monk had emphasized many times already.)
  • Gong Mi (贡米) as Meng Fan (夢凡). A fox spirit. She was nice and kind and was one of the good demons within the portraits. She didn’t want to harm others but couldn’t do much because of that one powerful dark demon. Yet she tried to help many times.
  • Ben Ng (吳毅將) as Qing Shui Ju Shi (清水居士). Long time haven’t seen him. But he was indeed quite awesome with his portrayal in here. His story was so shocking (but not unrealistic) and how he learned his lesson (after a tragedy) was really moving.
  • Wang Yuan (汪芫) as Meng Su Niang (孟素娘). I didn’t think much of her from the start except that she was sure a doormat for her husband to do whatever. Taking in the fact that women back then didn’t have much say in anything at all, I didn’t care for her either. I just felt a bit sorry for her for having to marry such a person. It got even more annoying that she later kept chiding the monk about justice and righteous when she wanted him to save her husband. However, in the end, I think I admired her determination the most. Regardless if Xiao Lian deserved such a wife or not.
  • Zheng Yi Tong (鄭亦桐) as Meng Yan (夢艷). A snake demon.
  • Wang Yan Su (王妍蘇) as Shen Yue Jiao (沈月嬌). Cruel all right. She defined the cruelty and despicable natures in here. At first, I thought it was the actress that couldn’t act hence the wandering eyes at times when she communicated with Long Tan. Yet it wasn’t so. Those were little traces telling the audience that she was up to something. She was a mastermind of it all. Even scaring her father with her thinking and scheming ways.

OMG, could this get any sadder? I watched the stories out of orders so this one was the third story that I watched. It was like sooooo sad. Although Zhu Xiao Lian finally learned his lesson and promised to listen to his wife from now on and protect his family YET the main couple? Okay, Long Tan had nothing else to live for in the real world and he rather stay with Meng Fan yet it seemed endless with how they had to deal with the demon. The monk decided to go back in and help them but still. Not to mention how things weren’t really solved in the real world. Like how they weren’t able to expose the pair of cruel father and daughter and some other conspirators. Only some of them knew what was going on. Yeah, it was indeed true how it seemed impossible to go against some really strong forces within the royal courts and all. But this was Liao Zhai after all. There had to be at least a better explanation for it. Yeah, the injustice in life happened and it wasn’t new. But that was just too frustrating. Oh yeah, Long Tan’s father died for nothing!

Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘)
  • Akina Hong as Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘). She had the right image to be the main lead. The background story aided her character greatly. She was gentle and graceful enough at times as well. However, I think the plot made her character fell short of being awesome for some reason.
  • Tony Sun as Du Huai Sheng (杜懷生). He was too naive for his own good at times, thinking he could just use his power as an official to bring down Hu Xiao Tian. However, he did have a stubbornness to continue on with trying to bring the latter down.
  • Doris Lai as Hu Cai Ling (胡采靈). Supposedly spoiled, rich girl. However, she was shown to have a good heart from the start. She was also quite mischievous in her ways yet she wasn’t too over with other people. Very cute in her own way. I really liked Wei Ru’s portrayal in here and one of her roles that I watch ’til the end to this day. I was actually quite impressed with her when she was possessed and acted quite strangely, looking all suspicious–not like the usual loud Cai Ling. What was more impressive was the moment when she found out she’d been used as an excuse so the others could enter her house and search for the other guy and then carrying out the rest of the revenge plot. It was indeed quite tragic and shocking for her. Her reactions were justified. Those moments made her performance even more brilliant. It really tugged at the heart with how much she had to endure just because her father was the big, bad dude.
  • Zhang Dong Sheng (張東升) as Hu Xiao Tian (胡嘯天). Despicable scum. It was obvious to hate on him since he was the villain. But what was strange was how he caved in to his daughter’s demands. Well, it was his daughter after all. But still. He did slap her that one time, which shown that he was just putting up an exterior or try to. Or he couldn’t believe his daughter would betray him. Regardless, he didn’t deserve an ounce of sympathy after what he did to many, not just Jiu Niang’s people.
  • Du Yu Ming (杜玉明) as Ling Yang Zi (凌陽子). A Taoist whom had gone haywire. He thought he was getting rid of ghosts and demons and putting balance to the world. But he was scarier than the ghosts and demons he tried to exterminate.
  • Zhang Jin (張進) as Zhu Kang (朱康). Creepy. He was Huai Sheng’s friend and later got used by Ling Yang Zi to search for Jiu Niang’s corpse to perform the rituals.

What should I say about this? I swear this one was my 3rd most anticipated story. However, it was disappointing on some levels. Maybe it was me being impatient but I felt the story was too slow. I didn’t mind that Akina looked sort of older than Tony in here since I still felt their chemistry was refreshing. However, it seemed anti-dramatic in many ways. The revenge plot was enough to drive many characters on. Yet it sort of stopped there after awhile and then picked up again by the end of episode 4 and then going into episode 5. I felt that Wei Ru’s character, Cai Ling, was the saving point of the story. I was already prepared for her character to be bad or even aiding her father when she learned of the truth about him. Yet she wasn’t so. Yes, she was spoiled and loud, etc. However, she had a good heart, wanting to help others despite her constant tantrums toward her father at the beginning. I felt she was funny in many ways, not annoying like I would often think of overly loud characters. It would be interesting to see Tony and Wei Ru pair up in the future (if ever possible again). Anyway, back to this story, it was soooo sad to see how things turned out in the end yet it had to be that way in a sense. Many things had happened, so how could it turn back to a better time for them both? Even if the story let them both move on–or perhaps her, they still couldn’t be together. What happened to Cai Ling in the end could be said to be karma YET she was the one receiving it. It wasn’t her fault, so why did she have to go through so much? That guy sure knew how to pave the future for his daughter. Cutting all her paths and only caring for himself. Now that he was gone, there were too many backlash to ever move on from that.

Mei Nu (梅女)
  • Stephanie Hsiao (蕭薔) as Pan Xue Mei (潘雪梅). I can actually say that I watched her act growing up. LOL! Not trying to say she’s old, but it says something. She proved her strong acting in here with her various personalities. It was so convincing that when she was Xue Mei, I sympathized with her and felt she was a very cute, nice and gentle girl versus when she was Zhan Min later on with her attitude. It wasn’t Zhan Min’s fault, but the demon’s fault for being so convincing–and Yun Ting didn’t seem attentive enough to her. However, I felt like she was annoying in a way with her not being able to see past some stuffs, just taking one person’s side just because he knew how to flatter her. What was even more convincing with Stephanie’s acting was the part where she was still the somewhat dumb Zhan Min, wanting to be a waiter.
  • Frankie Lam as Feng Yun Ting (封雲亭). I also grew up watching Frankie, lol. Frankie once again proved his solid acting in here. There was a phase I will admit that he was going through (with TVB) that he seemed somewhat bland taking on repetitive roles (but it wasn’t his fault since TVB sort of wanted to recreate some sort of phenomenon but failed). He gained my attention again for delivering a solid performance in here. Many might think there wasn’t much. But there was this naturalness in his acting in here that I missed dearly during the last few years at TVB. (At least the years he was still active.) So yes, finally a role worth watching for.
  • Siu Chuen Yung (邵傳勇) as Han Ji Zu (韓繼祖). He usually portray jerks or on the side of villain roles. (Or whenever I saw him in some dramas.) He portrayed Yun Ting’s best friend in here. Convincing in a sense with being funny at times and being plain annoying when he was possessed (and did struggle to fight with the demon to regain his body).
  • Cheng Yong (程雍) as Wang Zheng Xiong (汪正雄). Despicable slime. He and his goons were responsible for Xue Mei’s death–or part of it.
  • Hou Jie (侯傑) as Ni Ren Nu Yao (泥人女妖). Ugh, it’s no surprise that he was the most hated one in here. Duh, right?

OMG, this story compensated for some of the other ones. Although there were some frustrating moments near the end but the ultimate ending compensated for it. The beginning was tragic and then the sweet moments between Yun Ting and Xue Mei (even if subtle at times since she had to focus on avenging her death as well as others). The ending got me laughing so hard I forgave them for the other stories’ bitter outcomes. Seeing how Ji Zu struggled to call Yun Ting ‘Father-in-Law’ was a riot. Funny how things turned out, right?

Jiang Cheng (江城)
  • Jia Qing as Jiang Cheng (江城). Jia Qing’s acting in here was really top-notch. The quick switch in characters and how she was possessed from time to time showed her acting talent. She was very convincing.
  • Li Wei as Gao Fan (高蕃) / Lin Feng (林峰). There were mixed feelings throughout. However, I think he did enough for this one. He actually looked quite suitable in ancient attires.
  • Victor Chen (陳司翰) as Wang Zi Ya (王子雅). At first, I didn’t like him at all. Especially disliked him even more after the meds in the wine incident. Although Xiang Lan was lucky enough not to drink it and all and the plan blew up in his face, but I still thought that was a despicable move. However, later, I was less against him. Mostly because of his loyalty to Gao Fan and didn’t get all jealous because Xiang Lan might have liked Gao Fan. He also was a scaredy-cat but had tried to help as best as he could. So in a way, he was a comedian for the story.
  • Wang Gang as Priest Nie. Having seen him portrayed too many villainous roles, it was hard to get used to seeing him in this role. However, he didn’t appear much so that helped, lol. But indeed, he did show his capabilities throughout. Maybe he had underestimated the snake demon. In the end, he managed to put a stop to it all. He also wasn’t too arrogant about it, but had advised others to do more good deeds, etc.
  • Zhang Bo Jun (张柏俊) as Gao Fan’s father. I felt bad for him. At first, I wasn’t into it since I hated how he kept forcing Gao Fan to marry to forgo his connections, etc. However, when he finally caved in, he was indeed confused. Yes, the majority were confused and upset (rightly so) by Jiang Cheng’s behaviors. Yet he didn’t deserve all of those traumas. Luckily he–along with everyone else–learned the truth behind it and managed to move on. Unfortunately, Jiang Cheng’s father didn’t get to see how they’d finally figured everything out and their lives were back to normal.

I thought this story was decent. There were mixtures of romances and the conflicts with demons or the so-called fantasy world. Being six episodes helped the story along. Other characters worth mentioning were Xiang Lan and Judge Ma. I thought that Judge Ma (Zi Ya’s uncle) was a villain at first. Mostly because of his sneaky ways. But after seeing how the locals were so into burning Jiang Cheng and not really understanding the demon stuffs and all, I totally got why he wanted to hide his practices from them. The hilarious scene must be how he tried to apply the supposedly ‘magic water’ to see demons and ghosts and all. He ended up as a joke to the whole town (or at least the ones who came to see the cases). Xiang Lan, I kept suspecting her mysterious ways at first. But when she let Gao Fan see the truth, it all made sense. Well, as much as it could in the nature of the story. She was cute and likable in her own way. And lastly, Li Wei and Jia Qing sure made a cute couple. I was surprised. Jia Qing had good chemistry with most of her co-stars and this one was quite refreshing. (Or at least I thought so.)

Geng Niang (庚娘)
  • Jess Zhang as Geng Niang (庚娘). Loved her in here. She was not only kind and gentle but smart. She just seriously incurred such bad lucks.
  • Ehlo Huang as Jin Da Yong (金大用). Um, I liked him with all the past lives and then the current one. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Yeah, it was cruel to let him just live a miserable life always moping over Geng Niang yet seriously? He seemed to love her so much and had fight for their lives in the last few minutes, wanting her to run first. (Even if we take out the part where the dragon girl didn’t interfere, the majority was accurate.) So I was disappointed, but luckily Ehlo’s acting didn’t disappoint at all.
  • Berg Ng as Wang Shi Ba (王十八). Haven’t seen him in ages and he sure still lived up in the acting department.
  • Sun Jia (孫嘉) as Xiao Niang (肖娘). When she entered the scene, I suspected her immediately because of her wandering eyes. Yet she ended up being a victim as well. She decided to commit suicide later to end the cycle of having to keep witnessing different schemes of her husband, Wang Shi Ba.
  • Du Jun Ze (杜俊泽) as Wang Shi Jiu (王十九) / Shang Zheng (尚正). At first, I was really annoyed with him. The righteous talk and all but it turned out he was avenging his brother. That sure changed things. The flashbacks didn’t help at all–although I knew he didn’t know what his brother had done to Geng Niang’s family. It wasn’t until he listened to the dragon girl’s story and then eventually realizing that people had also sacrificed in saving him that he understood. He blamed himself but also the fates for being so cruel. It wasn’t until Geng Niang chose to sacrifice herself to let their fates returned to its course that he began to see things differently. In a way, it was a relief that he remembered both versions of what happened, so he could really understand what was going on and appreciate what Geng Niang did. (Well, technically if the dragon girl hadn’t intervene, things wouldn’t turn out that way YET what was different was how it happened so he understood why his brother had reaped what he’d sown hence not blaming Da Yong.)

This story was one of the most anticipated for me. Mostly because I’m a major fan of Ehlo. It was interesting to see him collaborate with Jess. They were surprisingly compatible in here. Loved their relationships throughout and I so felt the green dragon when she was upset over what had happened. So I didn’t blame her at all when she interrupted the flow of nature or whatever it was to help Geng Niang. It was so frustrating how such good people keep incurring such fates. I didn’t accept the ending for Geng Niang–even if that meant every other person’s fates were back to their original course. How could such a gentle and kind person have to go through so much? The fact that they ruined Da Yong’s character didn’t even justify the means. So yeah, he had to move on sooner or later. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Seriously? The explanation was how Geng Niang had incurred bad karma in some other past life hence having to endure the three tragic lives (or something like that). Yet they don’t remember after reincarnation anyway, why continue to torture them like that? So did Geng Niang end up being a fairy or what? If yes, then okay, I could consider that ending. But again, seriously?

Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練)
  • Fiona Sit as Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練). At first, I felt she was somewhat interesting and then it seemed to be kind of bland. But later, I quite liked her because of how she liked Mu Chan Gong but didn’t force her way into his heart. Sure, she was around, but she didn’t force it (despite her sister’s urging). She also tried to save Xiao Mei, which was admirable.
  • Jin Jia (金珈) as Mu Chan Gong (慕蟾宮). At first, I didn’t really like him since he was too emotional and caused his lover, Xiao Mei, to suffer even more than before. Later, it was revealed he wasn’t that useless of a character. However, he still was not forgiven in my book since Xiao Mei had suffered so much.
  • Mao Lin Lin (毛林林) as Bai Qiu Ju (白秋菊). Cute and funny. Lively and mischievous. There were many funny moments with her and Zhen Jun. I especially like those scenes of hers. Yet what I disliked about her was forcing Mu Chan Gong to acknowledge her sister. Yes, I know she was thinking for her sister, but wasn’t that like what the Dragon Prince did to her sister? Like forcing marriage upon Qiu Lian? What I also disagreed was how she dragged Mu Chan Gong to see her sister that one time, stating that he kept thinking of Xiao Mei and not caring about her sister. Seriously, Chan Gong and Xiao Mei knew each other since ages back, so how could she use such words? It wasn’t like Chan Gong had abandoned Qiu Lian or anything like that.
  • Wang Xiang Hon (王翔宏) as Zhen Jun (真君). Funny! He was super hilarious. He kept misunderstanding the Bai sisters of doing evil yet later realized his mistake, seeing there were exceptions. His final determination in not lumping all demons together into the bad category was during the Bai sisters’ mother’s death. He tried to amend his actions.
  • Zhang Ming Ming (張明明) as Crown Prince Long. Liked Bai Qiu Lian and used his father’s power to force her into marriage. Despicable like the other dude who forced Xiao Mei into marrying him.

How was this one? I say it was in the middle. There were mixture of happiness and sadness. Yet what was most tragic was Xiao Mei’s fate. She suffered so much, more than anyone could see. Then she sacrificed herself for them all.

So wrapping up, what was the best story? I say it was Mei Nu for its story, pace, acting, and ending. Yes, that was how I rated ’em all. Jiang Cheng ranked second–despite the fact that her father died. It was a minor detail I was willing to forgive and I had to take what I could get. Not to mention, they already wrapped up quite well. Third was Geng Niang–after I calmed down and thought about it more. Then Bai Qiu Lian–although there were some parts I was frustrated with but thought the pace wasn’t bad. That left Gongsun Jiu Niang and Hua Bi, which Hua Bi had to be shove to the last slot. Why? As said already, although I liked the chemistry between Roy and Gong Mi, the pace wasn’t too bad, and the story was unique enough YET what killed it was the ending. It got me choking and it just never recovered from there. I just felt so sad for Long Tan and Meng Fan. Gongsun Jiu Niang lost on pace major time, but the ending made up for it. Yes, it was tragic and very sad for Cai Ling BUT the others got their revenge. It wasn’t all for nothing like I felt with Hua Bi. (Although to be fair, Xiao Lian did learn his lesson and all, but what about the other two? Don’t they deserve better?)

I like the majority of the pairing and how some were especially refreshing. One of the reasons why I like watching Liao Zhai saga, because it created the opportunity for some stars from different regions to collaborate. My favorite pairing though had to be Frankie Lam and Stephanie Hsiao. At first, it was Ehlo and Jess, but they lost points with me because they didn’t end up together. Well, NOT at the last bit. Although after I calmed down, I accepted their ending more, but I still felt so sad for them. Second favorite would be Ehlo and Jess. Yes, I decided to place them second after having watched all stories already. Third would be Jia Qing and Li Wei, loved their chemistry–as said before. I was surprised. My last favorite pairing would be Roy and Gong Mi. They were compatible and their story was touching–despite the tragic ending. Tony and Akina did have chemistry and I so felt for them, but they didn’t click for me as much. Just personal preference. And I didn’t feel anything for Fiona and Jin Jia–although I liked them individually.

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Dressage To Win

I must say that this was not a bad series at all although it might not be as good as Heart of Fencing since HOF was interesting from the start. Ironically, this series was about horse-riding, but the side stories–regarding family, romance, and friendship were even more interesting than the actual theme itself. The story did pick up right around the end of episode 4 since there was an actual depth behind the story. (The attempted humor of the previous episodes were a bit lacking in the charm department, plus its nonsensical element made it even cornier in every way.)

I really liked the story between Ah Him and Kimmy the most–although Ben and Michelle was actually the main couple. It was because Ah Him and Kimmy had this funny yet sweet chemistry overall. Maybe because Michelle Wai’s acting was of lacking so it made it less appealing as of her story and Ben (Ken). Not to mention that Him Law’s acting did help a bit–since he does have the potential–although Kimmy Kwan’s a bit forced but not that bad–comparing to some newcomers. My second favorite couple must be Nel and Boy since they were just too funny. Third was actually Peter and Mary because they represented the mushy-slash-cheesy couple but still kind of cute and funny at the same time.

The funniest part–aside from the part with Fiona Sit as the crazy patient–must be where Nel and Boy sneaked out near the woods to have a little night stroll and then they bumped into Ah Him and Kimmy! And then there was also Peter and Mary walking by as well! (Talking about finding a deserted place or a location where NO one would be present.) It was funny that they began to keep secrets from each other from there on!

The other things that I enjoyed for this series were:

  • Shek Sau as the principal: It was funny that I really enjoyed him as the hilarious principal in here. He represented both the humor and the serious side.
  • The various guest stars: Although some of the guest stars I really don’t care for but really nice to see people like Edmond, Hui Siu Hung, Ben Wong, Ella Koon, and so on.
  • The music: I loved how they still maintained some of the songs from the previous one as a transition into this story as well. There was other refreshing youth music also, which made it a suitable drama for young people and had the spirit of it.
  • The length: Yes, like its traditional pattern, it liked to take on a short path with stories and NOT overdo the whole series with the stretching story or creating too many dramas. It was actually necessary for each obstacle or downfall of character(s) in here.

I must admit that it was part of the ‘4 Clover Leaf’ collection, but the mention of the leaf itself was a grand total of sadly–ONE. I thought they should at least put in the importance of that leaf more with the relationship. It wasn’t overdone in part 1 at all with mentioning it all the time, but it let us know through various details of the story. In this one, they forgot about that and put the focus on it so little that it seemed non-existence. I understand that they must have exhausted with the emphasis of its significance by now since this was the 3rd series in the collection, but it didn’t have to be that subtle. Other than that, it was actually a decent series for a little light heart drama and refreshing with the young cast.

Posted (on Xanga): January 4, 2009

Re-posted: Friday, March 19th, 2010

ICAC 2009: Episode 3

*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

This case was probably the most complex among them all because it contained a 48-hour deadline and a lot of information searching and witnesses seeking.

This case was actually about insurance fraud. A man (Johnny Tang) was waiting for the insurance company to transfer money over to his account after the death of his sister–who bought a policy that has him as the person who will benefit from the insurance if something happened. The cause of death was due to the fact that she was hit by lightning.

Every piece of information was there and seemed to be legit on the surface. However, when the ICAC investigators dug deeper into the case, they found out that not only the deceased was still alive and well, but she did not have a brother or have ever been in those places that the paperwork had claimed. The truth was that she had lost her ID card awhile back and had since replaced it with a new one. Her identity was used to commit fraud without her knowledge (obviously) and had sent the ICAC investigators on a wild goose chase. Though all was not in vain since they managed to persuade all witnesses to show up in court. The only problem was that they were not able to convince the so-claimed ‘brother’ to slip out who his conspirators were.

While Carrie (Maggie Siu) and Henry (Raymond Wong) were riding around verifying different pieces of information the insurance company passed on to them, Kenny (Pakho Chau) and Sam Sam (Fiona Sit) were trying to persuade the guy to disclose his conspirators. As the clock was ticking, everything seemed so nerve-wracking and not promising until the man finally agreed to help them. (Because he was able to see through Kenny and Sam Sam’s sincerity toward him–and it was not just about arresting the criminals and solving their case.)

This episode not only unfolded the conspiracy among several parties involved in the insurance fraud but also showed some more bonding of the ICAC team. There were also traces of a personal life out of their work. However, the person who got most out of it was Sam Sam since we were able to see that she had a boyfriend (who was portrayed by Jason Chan). We also learned in this episode that Carrie has a little daughter while Henry was already married. Although they were busy with their work, they still managed to take some time–even IF only a little–to call and check in on their family members. Sam Sam, seeing how her colleagues cherished those little moments, also made an effort to spend the little time that she could spare with her boyfriend. It led to very heart-warming scenes at the end.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

ICAC 2009: Episode 2

*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.


Ah Chuen (Sonija Kwok), Zoe (Yoyo Mung), and Rainy (Halina Tam) were three best friends since high school–who were also known to be sworn sisters. Their lives had taken on different paths as in career and leisure but they still remained close after all these years.

Ah Chuen was happily married to a Taxi driver,  Zeng Wing Hong (Derek Kwok), and was pregnant with their first child. They had quite a few good news having worked so hard all these years for it. They had nothing more to ask since they were satisfied with their current status. Bad luck struck when Wing Hong was involved in an accident and being the party at fault for not reacting fast enough thus causing the consequences. In compensation, they had to pay one million for the damage.

Zoe, on the other hand, was still dating her boyfriend of seven years, Lee Chi Lun (Raymond Cho), who was a hard working man. Although Zoe was proud of Lun and was supportive of his efforts, her family thought otherwise. Zoe silently wished to get married too but did not dare to open her mouth, fearing that Lun would misunderstand it for persistence. Facing the pressures from both Zoe’s family and his boss, Lun wanted to prove to them both that he could succeed.

Rainy chose a different path from her friends, wishing to become a successful businesswoman. Though single, she was proud of her work and hoped that her efforts will pay off one day. Perhaps, her urge to bring in several more major customers and/or projects was her downfall because it led to her succumbing to other alternatives of seeking financial benefits.

A possible solution presented itself to solve everyone’s problems when Lun’s boss presented a new land redevelopment project involving several areas, including a rundown apartment building. Lun, who was lured in by Rainy several times of a possible collaboration, finally consulted with Rainy of the new project thus leaking out the secret. It was supposed to be a way out for them all, especially Ah Chuen and Wing Hong’s urgent financial needs. Not to mention Lun finally having a large sum of money to impress Zoe’s family and in getting married.

The gig was actually to move into the apartment building and wait for the compensation fees to arrive thus reaping in at the end. Ah Chuen and Wing Hong would pose as two strangers moving into two of the apartments in that particular building. They would pretend not to know each other so that they would be compensated twice the amount. Rainy would arrange all the details since she was a realtor agent. With Lun’s information, all plans should work out in the end. All they had to do was be patient and wait for the result.

When Zoe learned of their conspiracy, she protested and objected against the whole matter, knowing that it was illegal since they had traded inside information and used it for their own benefit. However, Lun convinced her of the possibility of saving Ah Chuen and Wing Hong’s financial crisis and at the same time help them earn enough for an elegant wedding.

Ah Chuen and Wing Hong were more than grateful with their friends offering a solution to help them ease off the financial pressure. However, they did not know the consequences of it nor the actual laws covering that section. Ah Chuen even asked Rainy about the matter at first and Rainy covered it up by convincing Ah Chuen that they were just helping themselves and weren’t harming anyone.

Zoe watched silently as all plans proceeded. It was just one more month before they could collect their money and start anew. They had no idea that the ICAC was investigating the matter in the background, following their every move.

Lun and Zoe finally moved forward with preparing for their wedding. Ah Chuen, Zoe, and Rainy also returned to their high school to help in the yearly event, practicing their hit song “Yesterday Once More” with Ah Chuen holding onto the microphone and performing while Zoe and Rainy accompanied her by playing the music on their guitars.

Coincidentally, one of the ICAC investigators, Sam Sam (Fiona Sit), was actually the junior of the three women. It was a bit ironic to see Sam Sam having to arrest her seniors if they could find evidence that proved the three to be guilty. While she was being torn between admitting the cold facts in regard to what her seniors had done, she also had to reconsider what she had been trained to do all along–with the guidance by Henry (Raymond Wong).

As they were leaving the wedding parlor one time, Zoe spotted Rainy taking money from someone–possibly after having sold her new learned information to that person. Zoe was once again thrown into the obstacle of knowing and not telling. Perhaps it was a relief for everything to finally end as the ICAC team finally pushed forth to arrest Lun and Rainy because they had more than enough evidence.

Thoughts? It was actually a very touching story and the most in consideration for a lot of matters. It was good to put in how Sam Sam was torn in between her job and her seniors. The group of five were not bad in actuality but it was the circumstances they were facing that they chose to seek another alternative. Ah Chuen and Wing Hong did not know the consequences of it but Zoe knew yet she did not tell. Perhaps it might have been better to stomp on the urge to move forth with such a plan but it was not easy since the obstacle they were all in. When pressured, people choose other alternatives and possibly any to just find a way out. I think the one most guilty had to be Rainy since she had always wanted personal gain whether it was from Lun or someone totally different. She said that they were just helping themselves yet she ended up selling the information to others as well, bringing in even more money for herself. I could understand that Lun would go crazy with so much pressure and the need to prove himself. But he was not any better that he pressured Zoe into it with the whole “we’re just trying to help Ah Chuen and Hong” thing.

Cast? Was surprised that they put Sonija, Yoyo, Halina, Derek, and Raymond Cho into one but it was really cool to see their collaboration. I especially loved both pairings of Derek/Sonija and Raymond/Yoyo–once again. It was nice to see their pairing though it did seem repetitive yet just for a short span of about 40 minutes.

It was interesting to see Raymond Wong getting to supervise over someone this time around and guide her through the process. However, I rather have Jessica for this one as well and how she would continue to work with Raymond as a team. It would be interesting to know just a bit more about her character.

With all that said though, this was actually my favorite story since the friendship between Ah Chuen, Zoe, and Rainy was admirable though Rainy was more for her self-gained than the other two. The song “Yesterday Once More” was a nice companion to their friendship and past.

*Special thanks to *.marshmalloww for helping with some of the character names above.

ICAC 2009

I especially like this approach to investigation dramas more than the dragging storyline of the same characters over and over. It could be nice to watch when the storyline is good with a mix of crimes and personal life, but in these cases, it’s better not to have too much randomness. This was 5 episodes long so 1 episode per case.

Anyway, the ICAC Investigators included:
Jessica Hsuan as Annie (Episode 1)
Raymond Wong as Henry (Episodes 1-4)
Pakho Chau as Kenny (Episodes 1-4)
Gregory Lee (Episodes 1-2, 4)
Fiona Sit as Sam Sam (Episodes 2-3)
Maggie Siu as Carrie (Episodes 3-4)
Mariam Yeung as Matilda Yeung (Episode 4)
Andy Hui (Episode 5)
Sammul Chan as Ka Ming (Episode 5)

Cases:

Episode 1 was about the crafty handling of money between a couple and one of the assistants at the husband’s company. There were also others involved in the acts (including Ellesmere Choi). Bowie Lam and Krystal Tin portrayed the husband and wife while Vivien Yeo was the assistant. Jessica was leading the case while Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, Gregory Lee, and various other ICAC investigators were following the suspects. Lau Kong made an appearance as Krystal’s father.

Episode 2 involved a conspiracy between a group of friends who had inside information regarding a building project in an attempt to benefit from the compensation fees. Sonjia Kwok, Yoyo Mung, and Halina Tam were best friends while Derek Kwok portrayed Sonija’s husband and Raymond Cho was Yoyo’s boyfriend. The ICAC investigators involved in this case were Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, Fiona Sit, and Gregory Lee.

Episode 3 was about three guys trying to con the insurance company by faking a death with all the legit information throughout the whole process of buying the insurance policy to the death scenes. Johnny Ngan was the guy who posed as the deceased’s brother. Maggie Siu was leading the team this time around with Raymond Wong, Fiona Sit, Pakho Chau, and the others involving in the case. Jason Chan also made an appearance as Fiona’s boyfriend.

Episode 4 was dealing with some clever tricks between the construction workers, the agents (which could be called middlemen), and the actual company that needed people to work on their projects. Kenny Wong portrayed the middleman. Maggie Siu was leading the team again with Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, and some others as the investigators. Mariam Yeung also made a special appearance as one of the madams of ICAC.

Episode 5 was trying to shoot two birds with one stone since it involved two cases–one major and one side one though it intersected with each other, affecting one’s progress and both had to do with cars. Evergreen Mak and Louis Yuen were the bad guys this time around while Stephen made an appearance for the other case. Andy Hui was the person in charge while Sammul Chan and others were investigators.

*Note*: Click into the links to read detailed episode summary and analysis.