Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain

I also watched this ages back but just didn’t review it yet. How was it? It actually started really strong and then died down like somewhere along the way–as often was with TVB series. Not saying it was terrible, but I thought they sort of ran out of ideas after a while and wanted to let Selena portray double roles so that was added to crank out more episodes. I like Selena, okay? I thought her portrayals were impressive, but I found the twins’ storyline unnecessary. So the point? It should have been like 20-25 episodes. Then it would have been perfect because it was actually one of the decent ancient series TVB produced for a while now.

Main Cast:

  • Kenneth Ma as Chu Cheung Sing (朱長勝). Mixed feelings. I meant I like Kenneth and all and appreciated his effort put into the role. But I felt it was an easy win for him. Like there wasn’t anything special that he hasn’t done before in the past. His performance was consistent throughout and he led the audience through the story and convinced us he was that character. However, like I said, it wasn’t particularly challenging. He did as was expected of the role, nothing more. The character was all right. It was a typical smart-aleck character that later turned really dark because of the events of the plot. And oh yeah, he was already on thin lines with me yet what drove it further into insanity was how he criticized Kwan Chiu and didn’t trust her because of her past record YET asked to be forgiven for what he’d done? Well, it wasn’t his fault with the trap, but seriously, the others sure let him off easily for stuff.
  • Rosina Lin (林夏薇) as Yeung Lau (楊柳). I was surprised to like her character in here since I watched her in another series and felt annoyed with her. Looking back, it was possibly the general series itself and how it wasn’t well-written anyway, so the majority of the characters automatically became annoying, lol. But she did a nice job in here, portraying her feisty and witty character. She was very convincing in regard to her strong personality as well as her softhearted side–as the plot led us into at one point. She was my favorite female character in here because she represented the strong, intelligent female lead well. It actually did a character justice for once with strong characters and not steer toward some unnecessary element and ended up becoming disappointing. So, yes, I was glad that her character didn’t get ruin because of the twist of the later events of the overall story. Regarding the side romance story in the 1/3 way into the story, I forgave her. Because the other guy was too cunning. Who could blame her for being tricked? He was indeed a pro.
  • Pierre Ngo as Ngau Dai Lik (牛大力). It was interesting that Pierre got to be one of the main leads once again. It seemed like ages ago that he was. Just saying, lol. His character was so simple-minded. However, it was just that he was too hot-headed at times. Although he appeared rough or tried to be, he was really soft-hearted. Sure, he could be so impatient at times, but he wasn’t a coward at that. He just needed to settle down and be more patient when it came to figuring out the cases itself. He actually had some experiences doing his robber days, lol. So that wasn’t all for nothing. He was just too impatient and wanted to take actions more than sit around and think too much, that was all. I didn’t think that he was too dumb comparing to the rest of the group. However, it made his character different from the rest of them.
  • Power Chan as Ma Chuen Kung (馬川芎). The reason why I started to watch this in the first place was because Power’s character in another series mentioned it, lol. I knew about the series but didn’t want to watch it at that that time it came out, but yeah. Power’s AD got to me, lol. I do like Power, so of course, I checked it out for him. How was his character in here? Unlike his usual hot-headed roles, he was actually calm and somewhat composed in here. Well, he had this arrogance about him that was hard to endure for some characters in here. Yet it made sense because he came from generations of famous medics. It made sense he was proud of his ancestry and his achievements thus far. He did work super hard to get there. So why shouldn’t he, right? Somehow along the way, he managed to get along with everyone and they ended up forming this unbreakable bond, which was touching in a sense. What made me quite upset with him was how he decided to dictate his sister’s life just because he was the older brother. He kept forcing her to get married and all, not allowing her to choose her own path. Sure, he felt guilty and was trying to make up for not being there for her since ages ago. Yet, that wasn’t a good excuse. She almost married that one so-called “model” citizen and got herself killed if she didn’t pull those tricks. So, I guess, what I was trying to say was his overly traditional ways just rubbed me wrong. It gave off major controlling vibe and made him so unreasonable. Not to mention how I could just say he was just trying to get rid of her by marrying her off to some dude. I know it wasn’t, but the way he kept pushing was super annoying. And when I thought I was done with tearing his character apart, I found more. Yes, you would think I was done. But the part where the guys found out how Cheung Sing got Yan Mei Neong pregnant, he lectured Cheung Sing, which he had the right to because he cared. However, what he said along the way made me wanted to scream. He said it was all right that Cheung Sing “went out to play yet can’t invest real emotions into it” aka he approved cheating. Such a traditional type of thinking that made it infuriating. Yeah, you’re all like it fitted with the era because of their old views. But it was a never-changing element in series–regardless of ancient or modern backdrop–that made it ridiculous. He picked and chose what he wanted to follow, just like those scholars back then did. I’m not saying he was a terrible person, considering how he was a product of his time. Yet it was just something I can’t let it slide just because.
  • Raymond Cho as Hung Sup Kau (熊十九). OMG, it was hilarious that he acted all brave and tough and then ran when they tried to ask him some questions. He was also quite scared of blood. Everyone had their weaknesses, but he took it to another level with his fear. It was probably created for dramatic effect and/or humor. It was somewhat of a funny character for Ray. Not to mention a major role as well. Half of the stuff he did and said got me cracking up so hard at times. He was possibly responsible for a third of the humorous scenes in the series. Well, that was until his storyline got really serious and sad–like some of them–in here. This was actually one of the worth-watching roles for Ray. Because they allowed him to perform a more complex character than just some lines here and there and then be on his way again. He could be the comedic element to the plot as an overall yet also had his own storyline as well. He was sometimes too hot-headed, but also had this righteous streak in him that was hard to just ignore. I sort of forgave him for half of the stuff he did because of his background more versus how those so-called goody two shoes scholars who were supposed to be good yet crossed lines like no tomorrow and justified it at every turn.
  • Selena Li as Tou Fa (桃花) and Yan Mei Neong (殷媚娘). Like I said, her performances for both characters were impressive with showing us the differences between the sisters, etc. But it was not that necessary for her second role. Although it did carry some mysterious vibe, they didn’t have to dramatize everything and then killed off her first role just to have Kenneth’s character ended up with the second role. What is with people and their fantasy of being with twins? Yes, I said it. I’ve seen enough of those stories over the years that I’m sick and tired of the approach. They could have been twins and then have the same storyline with her being involved with the grand scheme at the end, but they could have edited out how she was also romantically involved with the same guy as her sister. Seriously? It reminded me of Into Thin Air, which they wasted time on the twins storyline as well, which ruined that series and dragged it out at the end. Although Tou Fa talked like she valued money, but she wasn’t the greedy type who took advantage of others. She knew what was hers and didn’t things without considerations. She was loud and stubborn yet her heart was just so soft at times, causing her to be taking advantage of. She was also forced into maintaining those stupid traditional values just because and it ended up reducing her role to a doormat. That was why it was even more frustrating to see her character die just like that. Yan Mei Neong somehow repented later yet I felt she sure was let off so easily. She harmed so many people and caused so much conflict yet did like one or two things before she was forgiven. Amnesia also aided greatly for her to have a start over. It also made the ending scene ten times more pathetic. And oh yeah, as I looked back for this review, I realized something. Her character could be an intense version of both Cau Yuet and Dong Yee. Why did I say that? Come on, that case was really small, but Dong Yee disregarded her good sisters’ warning and wanted to sold the info to the highest bidder. She was an immature compared to Yan Mei Neong , so obviously, she was brought down too easily. But the concept was still the same with wanting to sell information to get rich. The Cau Yuet element was, of course, the part that was romantically linked to Cheung Sing. However, Cau Yuet had more right to be around and making ruptures in Chueng Sing’s life than Yan Mei Neong. Because she was part of his past, come on. She was dubbed as a third-party because he was married already at that point YET the complexity of the past chapter made more sense if she were to show up and demand answers. Yet somehow, Mei Neong was forgiven and gotten a fresh start over? Well, we never did know what became the life of Cau Yuet except she left (and was fortunate enough to be a life and have afresh start), but I would rather they develop more to that story than tried to recrate that element in here and drag it out.

Supporting:

  • Lau Kong as Fun Nam Tin (鳳南天). Their all fierce leader, but could be quite soft-hearted at times too–when it came to their little group. However, it was revealed later that he had a hidden agenda. It sure threw me off all right. He was a secret agent for a rival country. So, that was a real kick all right. It made sense since Lau Kong wouldn’t portray such a tamed role in such an intense series. Of course, he had to take part in the final episodes to crank up the hype and also the force they needed to end the series on a high note.
  • Eric Li as Seh Bak Nin (佘百年). Trapped in a forever villain cycle, of course, he had to take on the villainous role once again, lol. Poor Eric. But I guess someone had to do it. However, that didn’t mean he slacked off on his acting. Although he was petty in many ways and was jealous of Cheung Sing, Eric brought out the character quite well, allowing the audience to see what type of struggles he was going through. The part where he thought he was doing his best to prove himself, but found out he was just a replacement for someone else was quite heartbreaking. He turned down many opportunities to stay behind, showing his loyalty to them yet couldn’t be compared to someone else who wasn’t around. It sure hurt. In a way, he wasn’t a typical villain as his usual role was with loving to torture others or a spoiled young master. It showed he had a life goal and somehow it showed his journey to going down a less than favorable path later on. Somewhata halfway complex villain since it showed his struggles at first yet totally sent him on a downward spiral that led to becoming a typical villain, getting rid of everyone who was in his path.
  • Candy Cheung as Ma Wan Ling (馬雲苓) / Kwan Chiu (關超). She rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I got it, she had a tough childhood and it made sense she became that way. But I didn’t have to like her. It somewhat improved later just because other elements in the story annoyed me more, lol, so she was let off.
  • Aurora Li as Mo (舞). At first, I thought it was kind of cool sto see another female agent among the group. I was all right with her competitive streak at times and her pride in her capabilities. After all, she did work hard for it. So, that wasn’t a turn off. However, she lost points with me after she made fun of Yeung Lau for being conned by the other dude. Because that was personal attack and pettiness that didn’t sit well with being a special agent. It made her gossipy and ridiculous. The irony? She also got conned by a man, and the worst part? She lost her life. To clarify, I wasn’t celebrating her death, just thought how funny in the most twisted way that her ending was even worse than she criticized others for.
  • Ram Chiang as Emperor Chiu Juk Hei (皇上趙旭熹). Goofy emperor role. I would say he was born in the wrong time. Because he was too simple-minded for such circumstances. Well, his heart was in the right place. But he just didn’t have what it took to rule over so many complex parties and their different agendas. If he had a great group of advisors, it could work. However, those were my initial optimistic point of view. Because this emperor sure deserved all the things done to him. Seriously, he was easily swayed and easily conned. He always fell into others’ traps yet never learned anything. He lacked critical thinking skills severely yet thought he was talented. He often listened to whoever he thought made sense, not thinking for himself. Sure, some traps were so elaborate and complex. Yet, I thought he would at least learn after some stuff he went through. Yet no, he just kept getting worse and worse. It took Yan Mei Neong’s secret message for him to turn around. Seriously. Even if he ended up faking his death to live a simple life at the end, I still couldn’t forgive him completely. But I guess it was about time he stepped down. He really wasn’t suitable to be a king regardless. It was better for him to have that little escape plan via Chuen Kung’s conspiracy.
  • Mary Hon as Empress Dowager Gung Shun Bik (太后公孫璧). I knew she was up to no good. Mary delivered flawlessly, of course. Was there ever doubt? She got it down. Whether it was the arrogance, the cunning nature, the royal air, she nailed it. She brought the character alive through her performance. Not to mention the turn around later that made it convincing. I guess in a way, she was just arrogant and wanted to rely on her family background to maintain her lavishing lifestyle. Because she didn’t approve of the fourth prince’s attempt to overthrow the useless king either. At least, not at first when she found out. Later, she showed legit concern for him, even if she didn’t have to.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Fourth Prince Chiu Chun Dhun (四王爺趙存端). No surprise he had to be the evil character again, lol. It just felt a bit repetitive. But he did well. At first, I was rolling my eyes at his list of excuses to snatch the crown for himself. Yet by the time the ending conflicts rolled around, I realized how right he was. The other dude wasn’t suitable to be king at all, only knew how to play and stuff, not taking things seriously. So, of course, I didn’t blame him when he said he didn’t want to help. Why should he? The real reason was, he was already carrying out secret missions via his extensive network. He was just messing around with Chuen Kung when Chuen Kung sought him out for help. It was hilarious really. Come on, no one got hurt, right? It was also strange how they were all uniting to fight outside forces near the end. And somehow, he got his wish with becoming the king at long last. Yet it seemed like he also learned a cold, hard lesson after having at the temple for a while. It gave him a lot of time to reflect while he was away from all that power.
  • Law Lok Lam as Hung Fung (熊峰). Hung Sup Kau’s father. I felt bad for him. His son kept blocking his path whenever he scored some big deal or was going to engage in some side business, lol. He was one of my favorite characters in here because he wasn’t fake. He might be rouge, hot-headed, slick with his moves to stay under the radar, whatever. But at least, he didn’t act all goody-two shoes either. Half of his businesses around town showed his power and his influence. Yet he actually showed up when it mattered.
  • Yoyo Chen as Cau Yuet (秋月). Chu Cheung Sing’s ex-lover. I do feel bad for her. Seriously, how many times did she have to get conned? If one looked at the current situation, one would say she was despicable to try to get together with a married man. However, that was her history, her past with him. She thought she had a second chance–after her tragedies–to reunite with the one she loved. However, she was used as a pawn to solve a case. I thought that she was brushed aside so easily and the scriptwriters downplayed the situation major time just to excuse the main guy’s behaviors. If anyone wanted to have some type of love triangle in here, her character was it. Possibly put in the struggle of seeing a past lover again and his love for his wife, NOT conjuring up the twins sisters fantasy with that triangle at the end. However, the writers just decided it was a good idea to use Cau Yuet and acted like she was the problem. Yoyo isn’t on my top list of a favorite actress, but seriously, the writers did her character an injustice that I couldn’t let go hence affecting my opinions of other characters as well, namely the main couple.
  • Charmaine Li as Dong Yee (冬兒). He killed her supposed “good sister” because she wanted to sell the country’s secret for money instead of handing it over to the proper channels thus helping the country. It was indeed scary. Well, we all need money to live, but she sure took it to another level. Even if she didn’t care for the country or whatever, she could have considered her good sister and all they’ve been through together. Instead, she chose to betray them for a little money.
  • Jess Sum as Chun Mui (春梅).
  • Kibby Lau as Ha Lin (夏蓮).
  • Iva Law as Lee Gwai Lan (李桂蘭).

Others:

  • Matthew Ko as Chu Yuk Lau (朱玉樓). I thought it was all downward for him at this point. It was like there was a time when had more favorable roles. Yet now he was back to portraying despicable smaller characters. Acting wise, I thought he had already made some sort of progress, not so wooden like he once did with his old vicious roles, so I guess it wasn’t really a miss. His character? I already suspected him when he browsed the brothels. Yeah, judging him. But if he was indeed a poor scholar trying to make a name for himself, why was he visiting brothels? He had to focus on his studies and much more. That detail stuck out like a sore thumb. When I watched it for the first time, I thought perhaps, they were trying to mimic another element of those classic stories about scholars meeting an artisan or something. Yet it was soon revealed that he was just some despicable person who thrived on his cons. It actually fitted with pointing out those fake individuals who were good at disguising themselves.
  • Raymond Chiu as Dai Ho Yan (戴浩仁). One of the suitors that Chuen Kung set up for Kwan Chiu. I thought he just had a very small role since they were just playing tricks on him to get him to back off, etc. However, he became a key character in a case later on. He sure was creepy all right. I just thought that he was one of those typical spoiled, arrogant kid. However, he was so cruel, ruthless even, willing to go to the extreme for his greed and selfishness. Appearing in such a brief case, he performed well, carrying through that character with the right touch.
  • Sam Tsang as Chan Gut (陳吉) and Chan Lei (陳利). Another pair of twins for the story. Chen Gut was a conman who posed as a Taoist and was in conspiracy with the empress dowager and the fourth prince in order to dethrone the king by making it look like the king was superstitious and unreasonable, etc. I haven’t watched Sam in an ancient series for a while now and at first, I felt it was such a shame he had to portray such a role. But once again, I guessed someone had to do it, so yeah. It was obvious he ran a cult-like religious group and attempted to influence the citizens through cheap tricks and deception. His unrealistic principles and commandments made it so obvious that he was up to no good. Chuen Kung was right that only the weak-minded were susceptible to his schemes. Then as the plot moved forward and how Sam got an opportunity to portray double roles as well, that cranked my interest up a bit. Chen Lei, unlike his twin brother, was just a normal person who lived a simplistic life by working hard. It was revealed that he knew of his brother’s deeds but did not interfere. He was later tracked down and forced to help them with exposing his brother.
  • Aaryn Cheung as Hak Ci (客似).
  • Johnathan Cheung as Prince of Jurchen Kingdom (金國太子).
  • Jimmy Au as General Fu Man (撫蠻將軍). He was in charge of the cannon ammunition. He only appeared in the last part of the series but played a major role in turning the events around to their advantage.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Kenneth/ Chu Cheung Sing and Selena/ Tou Fa. I only acknowledge this couple–even though both characters were portrayed by Selena. Because like I said above, I don’t care for writers’ attempt to fulfill twins’ fantasy once again. That means, in my mind, I edited out that part when thinking of this series if I ever go back to watch it again. Anyway, Kenneth and Selena proved their chemistry as they portrayed husband and wife this time. Both were hilarious in their roles and matched very well. They weren’t just a typical silly couple. That was just the surface. They supported each other through different trials. Yet still learned to maintain a positive attitude each time. That was until the writers went crazy and decided to introduce other formulas into it to tear them apart (aka killing her). She seemed silly on the surface, but understood him very well and actually supported him in returning to become an agent for the special agency. She knew he loved doing that, so encouraged him on. It was obvious that he loved her dearly and would do anything to protect her.
  • Pierre/Ngau Dai Lik and Rosina/ Yeung Lau. They were surprisingly an interesting pairing. I enjoyed watching their scenes together. I guessed they represented the bickering couple in here. Because at first, they didn’t really get along, clashing at almost every circumstance. The only reason why they hadn’t killed each other yet was because they needed to cooperate in order to complete their missions. It wasn’t like they always fought. Because when it came to the most important matters, they had the same mentality. So that helped them with achieving their goals. Or like that one time when they all kept the secret with the others in regard to that one couple eloping.
  • Kenneth, Rosina, Piere, and Power as a team. I really liked seeing them work together. First, they clashed and all. Yet they learned that each and every one of them had a righteous streak in them, so they took that as a good sign and worked more smoothly together. They all learned and grew throughout the events of the stories and cases and eventually becoming almost like family. Their bonds were convincing as the story unfolded with different events happening throughout.
  • Law Lok Lam/Hung Fung and Raymond Cho/ Hung Sup Kau as father and son. It was hilarious to watch to them. They couldn’t be more different. Sup Kau was sooo naive regarding the different deals his father had been carrying on. He thought it was so simple, but that was far from the truth. He had a righteous heart yet seemed to be born on the wrong side hence kept sabotaging his father’s efforts by accident. I sort of felt bad for the father, lol. All in all though, I enjoyed their strange father and son relationship. Both were equally stubborn, so I guess they had that as a similar trait yet it wasn’t a good one to both have, considering how extreme it could get with their arguments.

Likes:

  • Cases. The variety of cases were interesting enough to keep the series going and allowed us to understand the characters more and more through their interactions with others or how they approached the events throughout.
  • Humor. The light jokes here and there cushioned some of the seriousness of the events. However, I thought only the side jokes from some characters made it bearable while others could be too much at times. If only they kept it somewhat consistent with some characters instead of trying to put everything in the mix. It felt somewhat bloated at times. So yeah.

Dislikes:

  • Twins sisters’ love triangle element. Yes, I had to placed it in here as well and continue my petty rants, lol. Again, like I said above, I was fine with Yan Mei Neong being there and her involvement in the major plot later on. I just didn’t like the repetitive formula of having them being involved with the same guy–like many past series had approached it. Just stop it already. It had already been done to death. If I didn’t know better, I would say one of the writers had an eye for his sister-in-law hence using this opportunity to write such a twist in here to fulfill his fantasy. Yes, they (the writers) placed the formula in here, so don’t blame me for thinking that.
  • The importance of having children. Seriously, typical plot formula with forcing couples to have kids just because some bloodline stuff. Although it was more realistic with placing in this bit, considering how it was in the ancient times after all. However, it made for a major turn off for me. I rather they had kids because the wanted kids and NOT because of some duty or obligation they had to fulfill. It would have been even better if for once, they didn’t want kids and were fine with it than forcing the whole concept through. It was just a typical formula that continued to define marriage as an overall and women’s roles in general. (Despite Kwan Chiu’s hidden agenda, she was right when she questioned her so-called “brother” about a woman’s role and what they could and could not do. Granted, it was the ancient times YET she broke past the barriers with her questions.) Well, it was just pure entertainment so I shouldn’t be so bitter about it. But it was a shame that no matter, TVB could never break out of the mold. Also, this was the other reason why I hated that the twins having a link to one guy. Because it seemed like it was compensating for the main guy by giving him a kid later on, just like he wanted thus reducing the second twin role to nothing more than an incubator. Yes, I said it. I’m so done. I just didn’t see the point. Why can’t the writers just leave the story at that after Cheung Sing proved that he didn’t care for the baby thing and somehow they just found their way back to one another? Or just plain scrap that storyline altogether since they couldn’t commit with addressing the no baby situation.
  • Ripped off of Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber formula. I’m talking about how Yan Mei Neong made Chu Cheung Sing promised to do three things for her. Seriously, it wasn’t like Jin Yong invented it with the whole making promises thing. But he made it famous through his works. It continued to repeat through various series already. But because of how overused it had become, it made me even more annoyed hence it gave me even more ammo to attack the plot in general.

Discussions:

  • Assassins turned special agency theme. I read somewhere regarding how it was supposed to be a group of assassins instead of special guards. They actually filmed the promo clip as such. However, it was changed into a similar format as the four great detective guards that Wen Rui An created. Although the current story was considered decent, it was a shame that they couldn’t go with the original theme. Because the four detective guards type of plotline had already been portrayed numerous times already. It would have been interesting to see a group of assassins being the highlight of the series. Talking about the inspiration of the four detective guards, I found it funny that the four main characters were crippled by circumstances near the end yet it took Hung Fung to take some actions within his group. The point? Law Lok Lam portrayed Leng Xue in the ATV version of the four great detective guards, lol. In fact, he was my favorite Leng Xue till this day. No one else had lived up to it, only close second, but that was about it. Well, Hung Fung wasn’t the mastermind behind it, but at least, they needed his group to help as far as resources were needed.
  • The irony of getting rid of the fourth prince and then needing to seek him out later. Anyone seen that one coming? Well, the first time around I watched, of course I didn’t. But I had to laugh at it when watching the second time around, realizing what was going on. The impact of the later events made it seemed like so tamed with the fourth prince’s schemes.
  • The ending. Halfway satisfied actually. Regarding the royal conflicts and various power grabs, it wrapped up fine. The dissatisfaction was obviously coming the fact that the writers killed Tao Fa and turned the romance part regarding Cheung Sing into a joke. So, by that time, I only cared about Yeung Lau and Dai Lik.

Recommended? Once again, I think if you like the main cast, you would love it. And of course, no one is as stingy as like me to notice some stuff, so I think it was a success overall. Hey, I actually watched it a second time to do this review. So, that said something.

Line Walker: Bull Fight

This followed the story of Line Walker and Line Walker: The Prelude. This season tied up the last two installments by having characters from both merged and worked together for different cases. The elaborate planning to tell the backstory of some characters with another was kind of nice to see. Although, it also created some complications and repetition–as I will be going into more details below. I appreciated the efforts of joining the teams together and see how they worked with one another. However, some parts were so unnecessary that it should have been like 30 episodes instead of 37. They were stretching it out on purpose with some people that I didn’t think was necessary in any shape or form.

Main Cast:

  • Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). His principles weren’t so cut and dry anymore. It wasn’t about how he had interacted with Chum Foon Hei either. Or how he cut the corners when he tried to save his wife. His conversation with Ah Mui when she offered to stay and help him said it all. It highlighted some of the key points that they had visited in the past two seasons. It wasn’t just plain black and white with everything. There was a gray area that was often brushed aside because many didn’t care to think of it. Like Cheuk Sir said, there was also white in black as well. Everything wasn’t so clear. After all that was said and done, Cheuk Sir had emphasized that Ah Mui didn’t have to help him. They joked about it a little, but he was serious that they weren’t going to get some type of compensation, except this was a way for him to help society in general. If someone wanted to redeem themselves in any way, he was willing to take the chance. He wasn’t going to be held back by the old ways of thinking anymore. He wasn’t going to lose a chance to convert someone to conduct in a more legal manner with businesses by clinging on to the old ways. In short, prison had changed him. He saw many things there was to see while he was in there and realized how if people were presented with more choices or proper guidance, they wouldn’t choose that path either. In a way, he wanted to be a good role model or be the person that was there to pull someone back from the pit. At this point, do I need to go out of my way to praise Michael’s acting anymore?
  • Raymond Lam as Suet Ka Keung (雪家強) aka Bao Seed (爆Seed). Strange to see Ray with such a hairstyle. But I guess it made sense that he changed over the years and had become a handler even. They gave him a more mature image in a sense. Yet he didn’t lack his sense of humor when called for. I feel like his comeback brought the balance back where the leads were concerned. I meant Michael’s performance had proven solid already, no complaints about that. But Ray’s return also cranked the drama up several more notches. It was obvious they needed him like how it wouldn’t be the same without Michael, Charmaine, or Benz either. They were the golden four for the series and missing one or two wouldn’t be the same. Substituting others in and building an interesting story did help. But missing them as characters made the series felt it was lacking something. Yet I seriously don’t want to be greedy, so I would settle for three this time. Having Ray back felt like the series was lifted up even more. The character still had lots more to develop. His grace, his charm, his natural moves. It was what the series needed. A boost. Oh, what was clever was having him continue to pose as a gangster and only came into contact with them from time to time as an informant. Only some knew about him being a UC. So that kept him safe for the most part. But how did they explain the information leak from the other part? Or was it by saying the leak was fake? Or that it didn’t get to release his name yet? Because he was protecting Ah Ding at that time, so I guessed her name was the one being exposed, not his. It was explained in episode 20 when they met up with Tai Reis to discuss business together. Tai Reis mentioned Bao Seed once dated a cop, etc. Bao Seed said that they broke up because he found out she was UC that tried to investigate him. So, it answered that she was the one getting exposed with the list being released, not him. His reaction to knowing Ding Jie was dead showed Ray’s acting skills. It was indeed a very emotional moment. Who could blame Bao Seed for reacting? Luckily, Cheuk Sir pulled him back. His mourning for her after in private? Another heartbreaking scene. He didn’t want to believe. Who could, right? His complete breakdown in front of Cheuk Sir brought all their links back into consideration all over again. The flashbacks contributed nicely to their past relationship. It wasn’t overdone. It reminded us a little about their stories yet said so much more. Cheuk Sir was probably the other person who understood. So that scene was well done for both of them. Vouching to avenge Ding Jie’s death? Hello, Dark Bao Seed is back. Well, he was always known to be a rogue character regardless. But his dark side was back. He had tried to stick to the codes since Cheuk Sir made the sacrifice for him. But now? It was fair game. Having him back was a much-needed move like said before, but it made me so addicted to seeing what was to come.
  • Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). He was one of the golden four who made the series so much livelier and more enjoyable overall. Benz once again delivered brilliantly with his character’s cunning nature at first but later had become one of their companions in the very end. He’d become even wiser over the years. Well, he’d been through a lot and his intelligence was shown many times already. No one needed to prove that. But his deep talk at times with various characters in here showed that he’d seen a lot and had come to realize what was more important. I was so scared they took him out of the game. If they did, there was no way the fourth installment was going to happen without taking a major hit. His plans at the end with building more schools for kids and doing more good deeds got Cheuk Sir joking about him trying to make money out of it somehow was funny.
  • Priscilla Wong as Cheng Shuk Mui (鄭淑梅). Funny that she seemed much more interesting now that the timeline moved forward, lol. That was sad, but I could see her transition from a newbie cop to a much more experienced one in general. Even if she wasn’t a cop anymore but was an investigative journalist now, she seemed more confident of herself and what she did. It showed she was at a good place in life. Also, possibly because of the time between the prequel and this, Priscilla seemed more comfortable with her acting as well. It showed. I was glad. It was visible with how she interacted with Michael versus in the past. She’d always been comfortable interacting with Benjamin so I never doubted her scenes with him. But I always wondered whenever she interacted with Michael (like I had said in the previous review). So yeah, this sort of proved my point that she seemed uncomfortable with him, not just initial scenes like how she panicked at first either. It was awkward in the past. It seemed more natural for this part. Not to mention her emotional scenes were more convincing as well. The scene where she and Tin Tong finally talked about their feelings showed the depth of her acting. She sure improved. However, her character got dragged down when they revisited trying to develop a good romance story for her. I didn’t need that. I was fine with her not being with Tin Tong. She was so strong and awesome away from Tin Tong. I liked their friendship too. But I just didn’t like how the scriptwriters tried to pull them together just based on history. So, that had dragged her story down in general for me.
  • Benjamin Yuen as Tsui Tin Tong (徐天堂). I don’t know what to say about him anymore. Mixed feelings for him throughout. I think it was because he got overshadowed by both Ray and Kenneth. Yes, I believed that was indeed true because I think he was fending fine in the prequel. Then his interest factor went down several notches. The story around him and his past and how the Internal Affairs Bureau dragged him through hell were interesting. However, it also got somewhat sidetracked and distracted by other elements in the story. Like how I wished he was with Ah Luen even in the present timeline than Ah Mui. So that was a terrible idea that the scriptwriters didn’t think through. I also was more interested in Ah Mui being Wing-Cheong than him. So yeah, it turned into a mess. After his past was explained and sorted out? His side story just went into flames. Because it lacked energy after that, even till the end. So yeah.
  • Kenneth Ma as Wai Chok Wing (韋作榮) / Ngai Tak Lai (魏德禮) / Klein. The thing that made it really anti-dramatic about his character was that we knew he was the younger brother of Victor from the start. So that took away all the suspense. We already know the who. It was only the how now. I think my brain’s too wired into the “who” part that I became less interested in his character than expected. I mean we already knocked out the who and the why during his brief appearance in the second installment. So whatever he did, it was for Victor and his family–as he claimed. Kenneth’s acting was solid though, no doubt. But I was never that interested in Victor anyway, so having another family member in the picture didn’t interest me with that branch of the storyline as much. Also, bad hair runs in the family or something, because his hair in here reminded me somewhat of Moses’ hair in the other one. Seriously, lol. Circling back to Kenneth’s acting for a bit, I think his portrayal was the sole reason why the character became much more interesting later on. The previous comments I made were like for the first few episodes. However, his portrayal somehow cranked the character up a little more. So I think I was more curious about what his character would do later. And technically, he was just a killing machine to his grandpa. The old man had no use for him aside from that. It was pathetic to say that no one wanted him except his grandpa. Or like no one mattered except his grandpa and his older brother. That was his own skewed version of how his grandpa told him. Who knew if that was the truth about his mother as well. He was just used like his brother to carry on the Ngai empire’s legacy. His grandpa was getting old and feeble, he needed mini replacements hence grooming the next generation to take over for him. In that sense, I do pity both siblings for it. But both still sucked in my book regarding killing people to advance their agendas. They had a chance to travel the world yet their views couldn’t be changed? Yeah, constant brainwashing and grooming did that to them. But it was pathetic to see their demise without trying to change their own fate. Well, in some ways, Klein did try really hard to do it, but he was too far gone to even try to undo it the normal way. Instead, he resorted back to violence whenever he was threatened. If he didn’t want to let go, there was nothing anyone could do to convince him.
  • Mandy Wong as Cheung Kei Gee (章紀孜) aka Madam G. It was a different role for Mandy, considering how the mental disabilities she had and her childhood traumas. I found that Mandy had done a good job. However, I couldn’t get into her character regardless. It was hard. I didn’t want to pick on her so much since I did like some of her past performances. It wasn’t because she took the bullet for Klein either. But some of the things she did earlier in the drama made it very hard to cut her some slacks just because it was portrayed by Mandy. I got it why she ended up being bias or crashed emotionally because of what she found out regarding her sister. But I felt she didn’t cut other slacks when it was their weak spot, so I didn’t do it for her either. Fair game, right? What I was surprised about was the writers almost killed her. Or I thought it was an all-out killing with the ending closing up and the writers just wanted to give up with the killing spree. It had a major vibe with the ending of the second installment where Victor was going all out. However, she survived and was in a wheelchair, which they didn’t explain too much if it was permanent or not. Saying that she needed to make the best of what she had wasn’t much. It could mean that she had to move on after all that happened. To back up a little bit, I didn’t like how she put Ah Dau on the spot for the mission earlier in the story. She was a terrible handler. It reminded me of the handler who Chum Foon Hei had that eventually forced him to choose to go rogue instead of hanging on for the sake of the mission. Sure, it was Ah Dau who agreed to go back and continue her mission, but Bao Seed made the right call by pulling Ah Dau out of there and waiting until she cooled down. Because Bao Seed was better at reading the situation, he used a better method to help. I once again remember how Ah Dau had asked Bao Seed if Bao Seed wanted her to sleep with Pong too if it came to that for the mission, and Bao Seed obviously didn’t want that. Sure, when Madam G watched the first time they reunited and Ah Dau finally accepted Pong, they were only kissing. But how far was Madam G willing to go for some piece of information? This was why I didn’t like it that she was part of the CIB team. She was an effective boss to the others for enforcing the rules because she was good at sticking to the books. But she was a terrible choice for reading more sensitive situations. Also, the writers were getting really lazy with some of the female characters or something. Because Madam G totally was channeling her inner Madam Chan when she pulled the “trump” card on Cheuk Sir to help CIB. Yes, Ah Mui did break the law by using Madam G’s identity to get inside and seek some info, BUT knowing how to hold back and use that card until later was seriously something Madam Chan did. So yes, I was saying how lazy it was they made those two similar and hateful in that sense. I seriously thought it was Madam Chan pulling that move to force Cheuk Sir into helping. Madam G worked under Madam Chan and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she ordered her to do that. But Madam G didn’t deny it was her own plan, so I took her word for it. The saddest thing about her character was how she became the weakest link in here. I think the writers overestimated themselves and gave her too much mystery with her mental disabilities and how she would overcome it etc. In the end, she broke down and was taken out of the game until almost the end. It was a nice turnaround and Cheuk Sir was right to say that she was their last hope. Yet it seemed weak. Well, she did choose differently than how Scarlett did with Victor, but that was about it.
  • Sisley Choi as Dau Nga Hei (竇亞希) aka Ah Dau (阿兜). At first, when I was reading the news about her replacing Charmaine or other rumors, I felt unease and had this bias. It was mostly due to the fact that they returned to the main timeline instead of doing a prequel. So yeah, not sure what to think. I tried to put it aside but it was kind of hard. However, when I actually started the series, I liked her immediately.  It was really strange. I looked up her past dramas and realized that I actually liked her in quite a few of the ones I did watch in recent years. So, I was glad that she showed consistency and was able to hold one of the lead roles in here. By the time I got to episode 9, I learned that she had won TVB Awards for best actress. I was so happy for her. It was strange to be excited about someone’s award for a while now, so yeah. I felt like if Sisley had appeared more, the plot would have been more interesting. At first, I didn’t want her to appear too much to hog the scenes because that might have backfired and caused her character to become annoying. But the more the others appeared after her case was done and she was out of the way, for the most part, it felt boring to death if it wasn’t for all the backstabbing with various parties. Her character was tenfold more interesting than some of the major characters in here. Sisley’s strong acting had lifted up the series at the beginning and her character also helped that she was so lively. Even at her worst character-wise and how she felt guilty after her case was over, her recovery journey was much more interesting than some subplots in here, which was sad.

Supporting Cast:

  • Owen Cheung as Pong Ho Yeung (龐浩洋). He had some ambitious goals to reform Sung Luen Society. Too bad that his plan was thwarted by both people within the triad and also the cops. But in the end, he did learn a lesson with turning around–mostly by his own father–and the promise that he will keep with turning a new leaf once he got out. I actually got a little teary-eyed during the brief reunion between father and son in the hospital.
  • Tony Hung as Wong Wing Cheong (王永翔). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I was so glad he had a story in here and a tie-in with some of the characters that appeared in here. However, I was still very sad that there wasn’t any teeny-tiny bit that he could still be alive. Because I liked his character even more than some of the ones who appeared in here. It lifted up the series and became a shining part to look forward to whenever Ah Mui received a new package.
  • Shiga Lin as Cheung Yuk Luen (張玉瑄) / Birdy. An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I also liked how they included more stories for her in here like how it was with Wing Cheong. It made me have this same reluctant feeling of wanting her back for this series in general as in the present timeline. Too bad.
  • Serene Lim as Lam Lam (藍楠). I thought she was going to be Bao Seed’s neighbor and someone who would end up being in some weird business rivalry with him based on their first encounter. Yet it turned out that she was really gentle and patient after working at his massage place. She was quite cute at the beginning and quite thoughtful as it showed later with helping him. It was also quite unexpected that she died. Seriously, it was so random. It made sense, but it was sort of overkilled with getting rid of half of the cast involved. They sure wanted to clean house and start fresh with the fourth installment, lol.
  • Elena Kong as Mok Sin Ching (莫羨晴) / Katie. Her death was probably the most shocking and the saddest for me. Why? It was at the beginning of the series. I didn’t realize they would kill her off so Cheuk Sir had more time to browse around and get himself into various conflicts in here. I guessed the Korean soap pattern continued with her liver disease. So dramatic. Aside from that, she indeed wasn’t able to live with herself nor could she allow herself to become a bargaining chip for Klein’s own good against her husband. A solid character throughout yet had ended that way. And how sad was that? She was cut out of the show? Did she not want to be involved in the series anymore? Or was there a conflict in the schedules again? I haven’t paid attention to TVB-related stuff for years, so I’m seriously confused, not being snappy here. Too bad though.
  • Geoffrey Wong as Leung Kin Pong (梁健邦) aka Leung Sir. He was funny at first. It seemed like he was there for the comic relief of the show mostly, considering how he scolded Bao Seed for being so young and rash and all, which Madam G pointed out that he was using the 60-ish as middle-age range, lol. But when the series got serious, he sure proved that he was a reliable boss and a person with strong principles. He rather quit than betray the UCs.
  • Kelvin Yuen as Lui Hup Sing (呂合星) aka Lui Sir. Ching Chik’s stepfather. Mixed feelings throughout. I didn’t like his smug look and his mocking of Madam G at first (since it was mocking her disability). I didn’t like his high and mighty vibe either. Well, he didn’t know. But still. Later, though, when he finally realized what was going on and had the talk with Bao Seed, I realized that was his redeemable point. He was just too stubborn and by the book at times. At least, he was honest in that sense and was willing to admit his blind spot, unlike some people in here.
  • Li Shing Cheong as Wai Kit (韋傑). The founder of Sung Luen triad. He was the only person who wanted to help Klein after Klein had nowhere to hide or run to, but was shot by Klein because Klein didn’t believe him. It was indeed tragic. Sure, some might say it was karma for all his past deeds. But hadn’t he paid for it in prison all these years?
  • Anthony Ho as Mui Sze Kwai (梅小貴). He always acted like he was the boss, lol. He was a great comic relief for the show though. His chiding at times made it funnier. Oh yeah, Bao Seed kept calling him Moose Kwai so some of them ended up calling him that too. What was a bit off was that he wasn’t there for Lam Lam’s sent-off scene. It would make sense if he was there, considering their bond at the massage parlor throughout.
  • Alex Tse as Chow Man Ding (周文鼎) aka Ding (). Chum Foon Hei’s right-hand man. Really dislike him at first. Mostly it was because of the rivalry between Cheuk Sir and Chum Foon Hei. But he was all right later. At least, he was helpful.

Others:

  • Eddie Koo as Hon Kin Yi (韓建義) aka Dr. X. He was a ruthless leader and a creepy doctor. He was seriously even more powerful than Victor could ever dream of. Sorry, lol, to stomp on Victor too much. But I think this was because of Eddie’s experience of over four decades of acting that backed his character so nicely. He scared the world out of me too with his gradual change of character. I swear, I thought he was portraying a regular doctor this time. I actually was convinced when he said that he and Bao Seed were similar regarding holding knives and all. But then bam, he changed his tune just like that. His brief appearances actually creeped me out more than Victor’s appearances throughout the second season. And that said A LOT.
  • Mimi Kung as Fan Hiu Wah (范曉華) / Madam Fan. It was so interesting and somewhat funny to see her back with TVB after all these years. Not to mention how I thought she was just passing by as a guest star yet she became a key character for one of the cases. She, obviously, didn’t disappoint. And was anyone laughing during the scene where Cheuk Sir confronted her at the church? Okay, it was a serious situation and it was heartbreaking for Cheuk Sir with what was happening and his wife was equally heartbroken after they were given false hope. However, I was thinking about their relation in other past series they’d been in together and she’d never got to be with him, so now it was major revenge time for her? Just kidding here, but yeah. Character-wise, she sure was crazy. Yeah, I get it, who could stand it when their loved one was dying and the feeling of helplessness was the worst. Yet to sacrifice another human being for that? I think I could say that Cheuk Sir was not really in the right to scold her either. I meant, sure, it was just that his wife didn’t need a heart hence no one needed to die to save her. But he crossed the line too. So the others could scold her but not him. (And Bao Seed was right when he said he understood why Cheuk Sir did it BUT wouldn’t trust him in the future to be more involved with the case.) Mimi sure delivered. I didn’t realize she was back with TVB. Also, shows how much I’ve been paying attention to TVB series in general nowadays.
  • Savio Tsang as Yam Sheung Yu (任尚宇) aka Yam Sir. Madam Fan’s husband. This was one of his last full roles. It was really sad when I heard the news. Was this a jinx? I mean he’d more tragic roles before. It wasn’t news. But it hit a bit closer to home when I watched it and was thinking of him. He delivered well once again. No doubt about it.
  • Lam King Ching as King. Pong Ho Yeung’s assistant and also his best friend. He was stingy and reckless at times. However, he was really loyal to Ho Yeung so I guess it was hard to blame him. He was in a gang after all. How could he take the high road? I swear he reminds me of Roger Kwok. Especially his various expressions at times.
  • Oscar Leung as Cheung Muk Wing (張木榮) aka Muk Sat (木蝨). He appeared in one of the flashbacks stories and one of the reasons why he became so loyal to Bao Seed later on. Well, there was a betrayal situation but it wasn’t like he wanted it. He was really apologetic and all. Glad to learn that little story.
  • Brian Tse as Tat Q. I really liked him in the previous installment as comedic relief for the show. So I was glad to learn another backstory about him. What was hilarious was his run-in with Mut Sat.
  • Joseph Zeng as Yan Tin Hup (殷天俠) / Madman. I said it before and I will say it again. He looks like a very young version of Felix Wong. Did Michael make the connection when they were filming together? Did anyone else? LOL! All in all, though, I was surprised to know he was participating in this production. I was looking forward to his appearance. I saw some BTS interviews. He was so cute, all shy when one of the fellow cast members complimented his Cantonese but he was saying how he could learn so much more from everyone. So humble. His role? Very creepy. He looked so harmless during the scene he got captured yet he did it on purpose to see who the opposing party was. Then he totally hexed Nine-Fingered Keung up. That was soooo creepy. His nickname wasn’t wrong after all. He was indeed crazy. If what he said was true about killing Ding Jie already, that meant TVB just killed Charmaine’s chance of coming back to the series–if they decided to make another installment, that was. Then again, they plugged in the side story to distract us about him actually being a UC from New Zealand. So? It was a gray area because it created doubt. It reminded me of that time in the first season when one of the UCs defected and they had to test her. He wasn’t an agent but was posing as one. So, who could take his word for anything? It was kind of surprising that they didn’t test him though. Or was it because he was too experienced with being an international threat that it was hard to catch? Considering how they were focusing on too many factors. Then I realized why. It was such an elaborate plot. Then he died out of nowhere. So that was hard to do anything else until later. I must admit, though, he was a nice addition to the already complicated plot. It wasn’t overdone though. It made sense as to why Chum Foon Hei was investigating the organization and he became another piece to the whole puzzle. Solid acting. No doubt about it. He got shot and taken out of the game by episode 24, but that wasn’t really it. It was shown in the final episode that he wasn’t an undercover agent nor Madman. He was someone completely different. And the others didn’t know. So, that was why. That meant he will return in the fourth installment if they make one?
  • Lee Kwok Lun as So Chi On (蘇子安) aka So Sir (蘇Sir). He seriously was greedy and crazy. I didn’t have any empathy for him at all. He killed his own daughter. Well, considering how his crimes and all. But usually, don’t those people usually use their loved ones as excuses for committing those crimes? Like “I did it for you to have a better future” kind of talk? Or like “If it wasn’t for me, would you be so well off right now?” kind of guilt-trip technique? Or just capture her and detain her for the time being. Yet he went all the way and sacrifice her. She became another pawn to use against his supposed enemies. We found out according to the flashbacks that it was an accident but if he wasn’t so adamant to stop her, it wouldn’t happen. It was inevitable.
  • Emily Kwan as Madam Chan. She was a real piece of work all right. She should be looking in the mirror with her accusations. She pimped Ah Luen out to investigate Tin Tong yet came back to accuse Ah Luen of sleeping with Tin Tong hence taking his side now? What a bitch. That was what her head was always thinking of hence projecting on others. Also, Ah Mui was right when she said Madam Chan’s only purpose was protecting herself and trying to advance her career. Not to mention how she had a fallout with So Chi On hence now using Ah Mui to take So Chi On out. The whole power play was pathetic, to say the least. She was no victim. She knew everything yet allowed Tin Tong to take the fall for it. She deserved prison or worse for her part in the whole scheme. I knew it even before So Cho On said it that Madam Chan was full of it. Her actions and behaviors during flashbacks said it already. She was just covering her ass and trying to beat So Chi On to a promotion or some higher-ranked position. Like she was always so righteous or something. Seriously. So sickening. Hated her throughout regardless of her intention. So her half-ass apology at the end to the team wasn’t really that convincing to me.
  • Penny Chan as Lee Man Hung (李文雄). He was part of the CIB team and shown his support for Cheuk Sir from time to time whenever they discussed Cheuk Sir.
  • Bak Piao as one of the gang members of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious to see him there and participating like that.
  • Chan Wing Chun as the advisor of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious really. Because when he was talking and Cheuk Sir showed up to expose Nine-Fingered Keung, I was thinking Chor Lau Heung and Wu Tie Fah were reuniting, lol. Aside from, brief appearance but I guess that was how the plot was.
  • Sophie Yip as So Miu Miu (蘇淼淼) / Melanie. So Sir’s daughter. At first, I didn’t know where the plot was going and if she was in it with her father too. I mean everyone in here was mysterious one way or another so yeah. When I realized where it was leading toward, I felt really bad for her for being used like that. Even if Tin Tong admitted his guilt in using her to extract information, but I didn’t forgive him for that one. I guess that sort of tainted how I see him since then too. I meant in the past, we saw him using different means to woo the ladies to tell him various secrets too while he was UC. But now? It repeated again and it had caused her life. Even if he didn’t do the killing, I felt it didn’t help. Sure, she chose to help, but she wanted to prove a point. Not to mention how her feelings for her were real. Even if he didn’t do the actual killing, I thought his short time in confinement sort of was payback for using people. Or were people thinking what happened to her was karma for her father? Because she was innocent and didn’t deserve any of that. She tried to stop him–for his own good–and paid with her life. It was tragic.
  • Ron Ng as a customer at the massage place. It was hilarious. Ron was so cute. Being random and asking Ray stuff. He also said at the part where they were taking pictures, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! It was kind of lame to plug that in, but I forgive them because of the brief reunion between the two.
  • Matt Yeung as a customer at the massage place.
  • Tsui Wing as a customer at the massage place.
  • Raymond Chiu as a customer at the massage place.
  • Akina Hong as Cheung Kei Wan (章紀泓) / Wendy. Madam G’s older sister. The Core’s owner. OMG, I almost couldn’t recognize her. It shows how long I haven’t watched anything TVB, lol. Um, her sister’s introduction of the boyfriend was seriously a shocker, lol. Not laughing as in something funny but how tragic was that and Madam G brought it up like it was nothing. And how nice was that? Her organization worked with Infinity or collaborated in the past. Interesting how things turned out. Almost everyone was connected, one way or another. I thought she was just an extra character to give Madam G a side story, like some of their stories were in here. Yet she created another mystery to the already crazy web. OMG, I was literally on the edge of my seat when she walked to Klein’s car. Really, lady? Are you crazy? OOoo, so Infinity funded The Core? Wow, okay, rich background story. Too bad they were all crazy together. Oh well, the mystery lasted for about five minutes. Oh yeah, it would have been really a kicker if she had defected and was just by Klein’s side to search for the seal while pretending to still be loyal to him because he had funded her education and was the one responsible for the establishment of The Core. It would have been a real surprise. At least, I thought that was more interesting than having weak subplots dragging out. It was revealed later that she was the one who called the cops on her father. However, it wasn’t the merit for her to become a criminal later. She couldn’t bear the abuse anymore and had to do it to save them both somehow. What she did later was what mattered. She admitted that she hurt her sister and somehow finally realized she should have left, which was too late. But she did leave some evidence for them.
  • Kent Cheng as Sun Chi Kin (辛志堅) aka Kin Gor (堅哥). One of the founders of the Cheung Hing triad. Funny intro but we all know most innocent-looking characters in here aren’t that innocent so yeah. He was the co-founder of Cheung Hing and got kicked aside? Served those idiots right for being so arrogant. Who got the last laugh now? He is still alive. Over half of them are dead already. Also, his appearance made things tenfold more interesting when he appeared to take over the story versus the other boring subplots. They needed him to carry the story and the ending home. Because I’m sorry, Kenneth couldn’t do it alone. Even if Kin Gor failed in the end to get Klein BUT the point was they needed Kent with his strong performance to carry them past a certain point. The other already strong characters couldn’t carry all the dead weight alone. No pun intended, considering how Kin Gor turned out.
  • Michael Tse as the sniper who killed Klein. What? It was somewhat a repeat of the prequel’s ending. Well, it was different because Klein was just using the gun to aim and vouching for revenge. But same vibe. Who was this character? Was he part of another mystery organization? Possibly Ah Hup’s organization?

Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc

  • Michael and Elena. Loved them. If it was possible to love them even more. I didn’t agree with his resorting to other ways to save her, because it made him looked like a hypocrite when he scolded Fan Hiu Wah. However, what they’d been through and tried to work things out, it was nice to see. Perhaps, it was somewhat refreshing in the past few years with watching Michael mostly and his pairings didn’t really click for me. Even if it did fit, but some other parts of the plot killed it for me. This one gave me a balance that I preferred. OMG, their ending was the saddest. Again, Korean soap material. Seriously. It made sense with what happened but didn’t make it less sad. Their last dinner, their last dance, their story as an overall. The song brought back from season 1 aided their moments and summed their story nicely. This was one of those times I didn’t mind the flashbacks because it has been a while since season 1 and it was suitable for such a moment. Both of their acting was really on par at that point. Okay, I admit, I cried buckets. It was really tragic. Seriously? Frustrating, but also really worth a few tears. Okay, maybe lots of it. Just grab the whole box of tissues–just to be safe.
  • Raymond and Charmaine. Although she wasn’t around but was mentioned a lot and some of the major characters were looking for her. Not to mention how he thought of her at various points throughout the story, so I thought it made sense to put them in here. For once, I want to give credit where credit is due and the writers made the right call for not replacing her yet hence their relationship was still ongoing. The mourning for her and the memories of them, so many things happened and he thought he lost her more than once. We could see their relationship through his point of view. What about the ending when he had the showdown with Klein? He thought of her before he lost consciousness. And the song that once again used to tell their story along with flashbacks was used, instead of saying any more words to drag out the scene. It was nicely done.
  • Michael and Benz. Round 3, right? LOL! It was hilarious that they were eating together again and how they actually joke about it, lol. I meant after the previous encounters? Ten years since they ate together? LOL! Cheuk Sir brought up the past by saying Chum Foon Hei went back on his words after Victor’s death, lol. What about this third time bumping into one another? It obviously wasn’t simple. Interesting how they kept hopping back and forth between sides. Well, it was for the first part of the story when they were backing the opposing sides for the seat of the chairman regarding Sung Luen Society. But it was hilarious to see them once again facing off. It became even funnier when they were almost working together to see what Eternity was about. Their exchanges and different methods that they would use to achieve that goal. Obviously, Chum Foon Hei was too driven at times and didn’t want to be patient with the regular path, so he did doublecross Cheuk Sir by using Tin Tong and Ah Mui to get Cheuk Sir to go along with it. Yet in the end, somehow, they were on the same side where the others were concerned?
  • Raymond and Benz. I always wondered why Chum Foon Hei never exposed Bao Seed as an undercover cop. Sometimes, I suspected if there was a plot hole somewhere in there. However, I realized that was on par with Chum Foon Hei. After all, he didn’t want to play all out with everyone. In case there was something down the road, he needed a way out. Maybe an unlikely ally as well. Somehow, though, they once again reunited later to find Ding Jie. That was their common goal and their link to one another. They had a few drinks together after learning of Ding Jie’s death. I think they needed that moment. The other time they talked, it was with Cheuk Sir. That time, it was just the two of them. Chum Foon Hei really knew how to pick the time. Because Bao Seed was ready to seek out revenge for Ding Jie. Or did Chum Foon Hei already predicted the move? That was what I initially thought. Then Chum Foon Hei went into this rant about how Cheuk Sir was wrong about retribution. Sure, he was upset that Ding Jie died, but he wasn’t helping with fusing Bao Seed’s determination even more with his revenge plans. Then Chum Foon Hei just brought the topic to the surface. It was unlikely of him because he loved those subtle hint games. Yet this time, he was honest with Bao Seed. Their mystery and their link to Ding Jie might have done that? When Chum Foon Hei just wished Bao Seed luck for the upcoming mission, I wanted to scream. I thought for Ding Jie’s sake, Chum Foon Hei would stop Bao Seed from doing anything rash or less helpful to the main mission. They were so close after all with trying to unearth the mystery behind Eternity. Yet when he handcuffed Bao Seed, I cheered. Because that was so on par with someone so sneaky like Chum Foon Hei. This time, his move was much welcomed. He knew talking Bao Seed away from the plan was useless. So he had to try another method. What Chum Foon Hei said to Bao Seed afterward also made sense. Their connection was too strong. Ding Jie was his god-daughter after all. He couldn’t let go either. Yet he couldn’t let Bao Seed be the person making that move. He wanted to protect Bao Seed, even reminding Bao Seed that he was a cop. It was almost like what Cheuk Sir did for Bao Seed. Because Bao Seed wasn’t tainted like them. Not yet regarding breaking the codes or cutting some corners at times to achieve their means. Even if Bao Seeed did go rogue during some events leading to the ending of season 1, but it was still not to the point of no return yet. And what Chum Foon Hei said was almost an answer to what Cheuk Sir asked him a long time ago. That conversation they had in the prequel with Cheuk Sir asking him if his revenge for his wife was worth it. It was worth it to him, but he also knew he had strayed so far that he couldn’t really return versus how Bao Seed still had a long path ahead of him.
  • Michael and Eddie Koo. It wasn’t until episode 6 when they had their confrontation aka their first meeting that I started laughing. Because I realized they were both in an old Taiwanese series called Flaming Phoenix (浴火鳳凰) together. They were love rivals. So, it was hilarious seeing how they were once again facing off, but for different reasons. I don’t know if they were in other series together in recent years but like I said, I haven’t been watching TVB stuff or paid attention for the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.
  • Benjamin and Priscilla. If you don’t succeed, try again, I guess. Because the writers really tried to push those two for this series. If the writers wanted these two to be together, it should have been in the second installment where their story would have worked out better. However, they chose to strike during the third installment and ended up reaching too far that it became some duplicate versions of the other characters’ stories.
  • Owen and Sisley. They were the cutest and probably my favorite couple in here despite their tricky relationship initially. It started as a trap but she realized she’d fallen in so hard it was hard to pull out. I knew it would turn into tragedy. But I low-key wanted it to work. Like somehow, my optimistic side wanted his plan to work with going clean and all. It was indeed a good teaser for the production team. They had a decent story though, which was also the reason why it was harder for both during the confrontation when he found out that she was spying on him with the phone. She couldn’t let him go either because of her duty as a cop. I knew it was a slimmer chance that they would somehow accept one another because of how the plot had steered away from them and it was also going off the cliff with killing so many characters. In short, it was hard to recover from the intensity of it all. Yet in the end, they managed to work it out. Or at least, they have some sort of ending. He had already forgiven her or he had said that he should have seen it coming as a gang member. She was promised to wait for him. Hey, they got the best story to tell their grandkids, right? Something like, “How did I meet grandpa? Well, he was in this gang and I was a UC. I had practically helped put him in prison. But then it was cool. I waited for him to get out before we got married.” LOL!
  • Kenneth and Mandy. If it was any other circumstances, I would have rooted for them. This? Nah. It was really boring. Klein and Madam G were like two robots learning to be humans. Mean. But seriously. The way they talked and operated. I was surprised she didn’t agree with Klein’s assessment about how it was more reliable to use technology for analysis versus leaving it up to humans for errors.
  • Tony Hung and Priscilla. Hear me out, what if those two were together instead? I meant it was too late now with them both dead already. But what they could have done to revive his character in this season was say he somehow made it out of the building or when it exploded, through some outrageous mean, the explosion tossed him outside so he was just unconscious and lost his memory but was safe. Yes, I know if using the memory loss formula, it would be too overkilled. But that might explain why he was missing for the longest time. Then if they want to stretch it and bring Ah Mui back, they could have said she wasn’t really dead. Someone wanted to experiment on her, so they took her body out and actually somehow resurrect her. Hey, we all thought Ah Hup was dead too and he wasn’t dead. So? Anything was possible. Seriously though, I thought if Tony and Priscilla were together with how their characters were, I would ship them more. They were getting along so well with those brief scenes. It was a romantic comedy formula waiting to happen with how they met, bumped into each other, joined forces (sort of) to go against the person who snatched her stuff. So, yeah. Too bad.
  • Benjamin and Shiga Lin. Once again, hear me out, I swear they had more chemistry than when they were with the supposed partner that the scriptwriters wrote for them–supposedly the endgame. I liked them together when watching the flashbacks of years ago. So, they had a rough start and there were misunderstandings. She was just doing her job to check out some leads for her boss but soon learned that he wasn’t like what her superiors thought. I could see their chemistry before they were together for real. They promised to get back in touch and travel together once their missions were over. That scene when he cried in the rain because the lady who got up on the scooter and rode away reminded him of her, I could feel his pain and all for her and how she lost her life just like that. They also lost their chance.

Likes:

  • The songs. I’m soooo glad that Ray got to sing for the third installment. Because I was surprised he didn’t participate in the soundtrack for the first season. With his return, there was a bonus along with it. I was also glad that they used the song “Love is Not So Easy” (越難越愛) by Jinny Ng only for the characters in season 1, because that would have killed me (NOT really, but still) if they allowed that to be used for the new characters too.
  • Ray and Ron reunited briefly in one of the scenes at the massage place. Ron said to Ray, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! Corny but funny. (As I said above, I forgive them, lol.) The group of friends told Ray to join in with the group picture, lol. That was kind of crawling over to the lame side with their tangent moment but kind of fun to see a Ray and Ron reunion–briefly. Did Ron volunteer to enter the scene so he could troll Ray? Just wondering, lol.
  • The Shadow Warriors team. Although it was set up by Madam Chan initially to cover her own ass and to further her agenda by claiming the credit yet the majority of the members were a true team. They’d been through so much together. Soooo funny when Chum Foon Hei arrived, everyone was giving him a long face. He said it was all right they didn’t throw a party to welcome him, but giving him that long face? LOL! He was hilarious really. They were acting like he was the one bringing bad luck. Great to know he wasn’t being forgotten as one of the key characters. They needed him. And when they were celebrating–sort of, only Ah Mui was trying to celebrate, Tin Tong was trying to act sweet to Ah Mui and Chum Foon Hei reminded them that there were other people around too, not just them, lol. He couldn’t stand the sweetness anymore, lol. Poor dude. What was worse was how Madam G said that was how Klein treated her behind closed doors AND Bao Seed was yelling for her to stop because no one wanted to know what they did behind closed doors, lol. Tin Tong was a pervert and wanted to know, lol. Ah Mui couldn’t say that about Tin Tong though, she was with him, right? They also joked about how Klein was a savior because he took in Madam G. Those were the days before they found out the truth about Klein though.

Intriguing subplots:

  • The investigation into Tin Tong in the past. Ah Luen and Tin Tong met and we got to discover some of their backstories before coming into the events of their timeline, which led to them finally landing in the current situation. Wing Cheong also had to investigate Tin Tong, which led to them meeting and becoming friends. It was really fun to watch how they all linked together one way or another. Too bad they didn’t know they all knew each other one way or another. Also, how Ah Mui knew Wing Cheong as well. It was just too bad that they didn’t know anything else aside from some details here and there.
  • Joseph Zeng’s roles as Madman or Yan Tin Hup. He was neither since it was revealed in the final episode. However, who was he really? The person who worked for Michael Tse’s character? Or was Michael just a sniper for some other big boss? But his appearance also created another mystery for the overall series. It led us into believing there was something else out there. Also, a hint for season 4, obviously, lol.
  • Kin Gor’s return to take over Hong Kong and manipulate the world in general. It was a good one. Because it forced the story to move forward and drove it into the ending. Because I think the story died down a bit after some hype here and there. It needed a boost that some of the major characters couldn’t save.

Subplots that were a complete waste of time:

  • Tin Tong and Ah Mui’s love story. If the only purpose of their story was to teach the rest of us a lesson about not wasting our time and cherish one another, then okay. But other than that, I didn’t see the purpose of their characters getting together. Apart, I liked both of their characters. Together, it was sooooo boring. Besides, I already discussed above that I preferred them with the characters mentioned before, so yeah. Not to mention how their story was somewhat a copy of both Bao Seed and Ding Jie and somewhat a version of Kobe and Yan as well. That scene at the hospital trying to find each other and it got super dramatic and dragged out? It reminded me of season 1 when Kobe rescued Yan from that explosion and they found each other afterward, except Kobe and Yan’s version wasn’t forced. It was indeed intense and I finally appreciated Sharon’s acting more than ever because I realized Priscilla couldn’t carry through–and neither did Benjamin. I’m sorry. It just felt so forced. And when I say they resembled Bao Seed and Ding Jie was because they couldn’t catch a break with spending some intimate time together, it was never the right time, etc. It was funny when Ray and Charmaine did it even if it was a tad cheesy at times YET I felt once again, I’m sorry, Benjamin and Priscilla couldn’t carry through. They were playful, etc. I think I should blame the scriptwriters for the poor planning. Because season 1 allowed for those scenes to be included at the right interval of the story, unlike this one where they were captured or were just at an intense part of the story. The hospital scene was supposed to be really tragic and sad but I wasn’t affected at all. Only Michael’s and the others’ reactions made it seemed tragic enough. Also, that scene became the reason Bao Seed cracked the code regarding Ah Hup’s gesture before he died. It was when Tin Tong placed the ring on Ah Mui’s finger that he figured it out.
  • Bao Seed’s son. Aside from distracting us, there was nothing there really. He chose to return to help the others, that was it. So, it wasn’t like there was much to go on. It was a side plot to increase more episodes. Sounds harsh, but it didn’t contribute to the major plot even if you take it out. That was how terrible it was. The idea was nice and a good distraction, but that was about it. Not to mention how it stole from Kobe and Yan with having a child without the former knowing yet this son survived, obviously. But it was a wasted plot. I mean Ray’s acting was good and we saw another side of him as portraying a fatherly role and their interactions were cute, but it was a weak subplot overall. Like I said, if you take it out, it wouldn’t make a difference to the overall picture.

Discussions:

  • Katie’s luck with actually finding a boss who finally has a backbone. Good luck with that! Seriously. The asshole expected her to grovel? He was an asshole through and through, not even hiding it at all. Well, I guess the previous boss had bigger fishes to fry, so of course, he kept some sense of secrecy and patience initially. This one just didn’t care to show his true face just like that. And I clap her on once again for not caving. Well, she was floored by his request and was still thinking. But then she couldn’t live with it since she was struggling inside the whole time. So she finally chose to stay with justice’s side. Brilliant! But that high only lasted for like two seconds because thanks to Wai Chok Wing, I also remembered why it was really a bad idea to call Fan Hiu Wah as well. Ugh. Life, right? It was also really frustrating that she was forced to walk back on her stance regarding justice and all. It was indeed heartbreaking and frustrating. When Bao Seed went to talk to her, it highlighted their feelings vividly.
  • Raymond Lam/ Bao Seed vs Kenneth Ma/ Klein – LOL! I wanted to laugh the first time they met up. It was hilarious. I meant they worked together in a bunch of series already. But just funny to see them again like that. Oh yeah, CIA vs SIA, lol. I thought that scene was hilarious. At least the initial exchange. Bao Seed asking if Klein wanted him to join CIA and Klein was saying, “It’s SIA.” Bao Seed was like it was about the same, just one different letter. LOL! He wasn’t wrong, lol. Still an intelligence committee.
  • When the old team met the new team. Interesting or what? LOL! It was funny to see their interactions and reactions to one another. Bao Seed trying to bring up his status on the team YET failed somewhat because according to the timeline, Ah Mui was actually his senior. LOL! Even if that was really funny though, I felt that the writers did that on purpose timeline-wise made it too much of a stretch. Bao Seed, obviously, was more experienced as an undercover cop regardless. He only cracked near the end. Like who wouldn’t? They were at a dead-end. However, the rest?
  • When Bao Seed found out Cheuk Sir wanted to go rouge and help Pong Ho Yeung to claim the Sung Luen’s leader seat. It was hilarious to see Bao Seed’s expression. It was like, “Seriously, man? You were the one who told me not to cut corners or cross the line. Now you’re playing this game?” And the fact that Cheuk Sir pointed out that they might become enemies if Bao Seed was going against Pong Ho Yeung. That was why the betrayal regarding Ah Dau was even more heartbreaking. Bao Seed reminded Cheuk Sir what Cheuk Sir told him previously and how Cheuk Sir had steered him toward the right path. So how could Bao Seed be calmed to face such a change with their roles? Cheuk Sir was right that he was no longer a cop. But that didn’t hurt any less. Cheuk Sir had a point when he said that he had nothing to lose with the way things were, so he was much freer to do what he wanted. Even if he failed, it was just him. However, what a way to mess with Bao Seed’s head. That was a powerful confrontation between both, though. Even if it was all an act from Cheuk Sir, but it still made everything more complicated than before. Like I said, it was messing with Bao Seed’s head big time. We all know this was a short fallout comparing the rest of the madness later on. But at that time, how was Bao Seed supposed to act?
  • The main cast seemed a tad bloated. However, I thought it cranked the hype up a bit compared to the prequel. The shifting back and forth between various characters made it interesting. But I thought the writers got a bit cocky and some of the subplots got away from them hence some subplots were less desirable than others. It was discussed in the points above already. So I don’t want to rehash again.
  • When Ah Dau confessed to Bao Seed that she’d fallen for Pong Ho Yeung and wouldn’t be able to do her job properly. It was indeed a change. I thought she would sneak around until it got out of control. She’d been struggling for a while. It wasn’t like she didn’t know what was going on. But that moment was indeed different from other dramas with how she went out of the way and said it. Bao Seed, obviously, already knew. And his reaction was why he was the most suitable to her handler and not someone who couldn’t care less about her and her well-being, except to be able to climb the ranks and all. Their talk after the whole operation went down without his involvement said it all as well. He was indeed a very good handler, taking in all angles, considering her feelings. Because he used to be a UC and still is, he could understand all the complications going on everywhere and how UC work was very hard. He didn’t use her to exploit the chance, knowing it would be very hard for her to pull out and deal with the fallout afterward. His words to her summed up his philosophy: UC is human after all. Many had forgotten, especially what happened to past UCs. So, yes, it indeed needed to be said, even if it seemed obvious. They moved on to talk about Ding Jie and how it had subtly hinted that Ah Dau was never going to replace Ding Jie regardless of the situation. They were all waiting for her to come back–whenever that was.
  • Leung Sir and Madam G as mentor and student. The first time I saw Madam G showed real emotions toward anyone–aside from her sister. The part where Leung Sir quit and Madam G wanted to follow him yet he told her to stay. She promised but had clung onto him. Many might think that was a childish gesture but that was her way of showing her emotions and how important he was to her. He was her mentor and partially the reason why she’d been around for so long.
  • They killed Goblin! I was watching the one with English subs so he was listed as Goblin. OMG, they were going all out on killing everyone to let us see how terrible the situation was or something. I was surprised that he was apologizing to Cheuk Sir and saying how he couldn’t say no to the grand reward prize. However, he was just using that as an excuse and later diverted attention away from Cheuk Sir and onto himself so Cheuk Sir could escape. I liked him. He was a fun addition to the cast and comedic relief for all of us when it got too intense.
  • They never mentioned Moose Kwai again at the end when Bao Seed told Lam Lam he was going to seek out Ding Jie? Really? They dragged out some other stuff yet didn’t give us some clue as to where he was going after that? Just a tad, considering how he did appear at some hilarious scenes throughout. I mean, I’m sure he would be fine looking for another job. But he was part of the massage place and cared for Lam Lam deeply as a friend as well. He would want to know or would cry over it.

Recommended? I thought it was worth it for the major plot and some of the subplots with the new characters. Plus, there were some gaps they needed to fill to tie it together for some characters involved and how they all got to that point. There was also a cliff-hanger which would lead into the fourth installment. So, you know, you could wait until they actually make a fourth one so it would be less of a wait? LOL!

Year 2016 in Recap

Year 3 in doing this. I really want to keep doing this, but I felt that 2016 had been a complete letdown on my part. Granted, it was a terrible year on many levels. It had affected me so much, draining me emotionally that I didn’t feel like keeping some kind of streak anymore. I only did some posts when I felt like it. Then I also tried to pick myself up by the end of the year by trying to release songs translations back-to-back at times, not even saving them for later so cushion posts could do the honor. I just didn’t feel like updating a lot of things. At first, I had prepared a post about a particular pairing, but I felt like I’m better than that. Not to mention how I wouldn’t want to cause even more misunderstandings between fans. At times, it’s very hard to restrain. But in the end, real-life got in the way. I took the actions that wonderful couple took, instead of arguing with senseless people who are full of evil thoughts for them. Yet I will say that can’t be epic like them so maybe one day I will break out of my silence to go at it in one post to unleash all the bottled-up frustrations. Because I know one of those days I will just blow up.

Total Posts in 2016: 77 (6.5% of all time).

January: 18 (23% of the year)
February: 3 (4%)
March: 1 (1%)
April: 3 (4%)
May: 9 (12%)
June: 7 (9%)
July: 14 (18%)
August: 3 (4%)
September: 3 (4%)
October: 6 (8%)
November: 2 (3%)
December: 8 (10%)

Notice that I took the poll out for the stars. Partially, it was due to what happened earlier this year. The other part was because I felt kind of wrong with teasing readers about possible updates if they voted more or whatever. I’m grateful to those who participated and continue to follow my blog–even in silence. I appreciate the constant likes and all as well. I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to be leaving you hanging on that. Sure, I will continue to update for my favorites from time to time, but that will depend on how long before I take care of some real-life matters.

Books Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

I think the year reached a new low for fan fiction updates because of my distractions of other stuff. I can’t promise it’ll get any better this coming year. I’m sorry that I made those of you who are reading those stories wait for too long. But I can promise you that I will finish regardless of obstacles since I don’t usually scrap stories away when it’s well on its way. I’ll try to do a separate fan fiction update later this year to clarify some matters.

  • Payback – Chapters 4-5

Songs Translations:

Using Rebirth to start the year didn’t help at all. Despite the fact that I was having high hopes at that time. The year continued to dive with a lot of forced positiveness. But what else could I do, right? Hopefully the coming year will be better.

So, what now? I don’t think there is any other choice except to move forward. I want to keep being positive, ignoring trolls in general, and just focus on my own matters. I want to get back on writing posts about Jun Ya and Xiao Xiao Yu. I have been active on Xiao Xiao Yu for the first part of the year and then somehow faded. But I did update more on Qiao Qiao in the later parts of the year. I just have to continue on that track. Not to mention getting back into fanfics, because I seriously miss them. Focusing on just real life stuffs really suck all the energy right out of me. I’ll try to work on a balance. Somehow. Because I seriously miss this blog. What I did do though was letting this blog becoming somewhat official with its own domain. Yes, that was a mini-Christmas present for myself since I managed to find a deal. Oh yeah, how could I forget Janine? Although I did update on her this year, I was somewhat neglecting her and only updating randomly. I also want to get back to Penny. More importantly, I want to actually watch and finish reviewing some dramas I’ve been holding back on.

This might possibly be the last year I do this type of update since I don’t find the fun in it anymore. Maybe resorting back to the typical data from WordPress next year. Not sure. But we’ll see.

Under the Veil

I wanted to watch something of Wayne’s so that was the reason for tuning in to this one. Then I realized Wayne and Sonija were collaborating again so the better for me since I had liked them together after watching Pages of Treasure (and felt they were kind of robbed as a couple in there). I also didn’t have any problem with the rest of the cast so I dove in. As I was patiently waiting for the plot to unfold, I thought it was just another palace related show. However, I was wrong. Yes, the main story arch was regarding the palace and the uprising of some arrogant dude who thought he would be a better ruler. It always happened that way. What made it different was how it brought back feelings of old series. Mostly feelings of ancient series of the old days. It wasn’t being controversial on purpose or try to dramatize everything. The story just flowed along. I found it funny at first that they had several characters in here in various roles and even their characters looked alike. I soon got past that and realized it would be an interesting one. At least it was different. Then I got pulled in by the story. Sure, some were repetitive and reminded me of Liao Zhai related stories. Yet it was refreshing in a sense of the chemistry between various characters. I felt it strange at first that they let Kristal portray a guy. It was almost as if they were running out of cast or something. But then the character grew on me and so did Kristal’s portrayal. (If they did some Mulan adaptation, she would make a perfect Mulan. Not kidding.)

Anyway, aside from the main story arch, I felt the rest of the couples had a fair share of stories. Although Yat Pan Heung was shown as a greedy, flirty, and despicable character at first, the background story for her made sense. She was a prostitute, what was she expected to do? Then she was living in such a place, how could she not come up with different schemes to triumph over others? Who was she supposed to trust? It made sense. The previous happening with the switch and all was only to teach Chu Yi Dan a lesson. It didn’t allow for Yat Pan Heung to justify herself more than that. Because he wasn’t her fate so he only saw her as the fun person, not like his boring wife–as he mistakenly thought. Chu Yi Dan finally learned that his wife was very talented in her own way and very strong. There were many things she’d done for him but he didn’t realize its importance until she was no longer doing them. It made him realized his unreasonableness and knowing that the wife he wanted had been by his side all along. When Yat Pan Heung finally met Hon Tin Loi, the story unfolded and she found her own happiness and what could be considered a normal life. I actually liked those characters more, lol. Call me bias but scholar versus awesome martial arts dude. But both Wayne and Sonija did quite well in bringing out their different roles.

Then there was the story of the Song prince and Princess Lap Ka. Their story was cute at first and then moved toward the tragic route. However, their story was spread out throughout and not bunch together. It created a sense of mystery to it, making you wonder if there would be some sort of miracle in the end, which there was. But it didn’t make it too corny. The story actually made sense in the fairy-tale or folktale kind of way.

The story regarding the fish spirit and Cheung Chan was a mixture of cuteness and tragedy. Although it turned out favorable in the end. But that story brought forth both humor and mystery. The ideal, sweet girl wasn’t who she posed as out in public and a supposedly fish demon wasn’t so evil like often portrayed in others’ eyes. Eliza actually did quite well portraying both roles. She brought out the innocent, cute side of the fish spirit nicely. Then there was the cunning, scheming side of the royal miss, Hung Mao Dan. Her chemistry with Bosco was cute and likable in their own way.

Aside from all the couples in here, I felt some of the notable mentions went to Lee Kwok Lun, portraying two roles (like some others in here) of the turtle spirit and Justice Bao. He was humorous as the turtle spirit and somewhat grim as Justice Bao. Yet he was convincing in both roles. Koo Koon Chung was given a loyal, righteous role in here, which was hilarious. Well, okay, not like he’d never portrayed a good person type of role before, but I was more used to his cunning side or somewhat playful roles in the past. So having him in this role was a nice change. He was a great addition under the reins of Dyun Fung Sam. At the part where it was thought he had abandon Dyun as well, considering how he had a family and all, it was tragic but understandable. Yet he returned after having settled all his families at a safer place. It proved that he really meant what he said, i.e. caring for his family, and that he wasn’t afraid of death–like initially thought.

After all that was said and done, I think the most tragic couple must be Yuen Sam Yeung and Dyun So Sei. The ending for them was so sad. There was supposedly another chance for them at long last after all those years of waiting. However, in the end, they couldn’t be together. Both Raymond and Kristal acted out their scenes so well. Their chemistry wasn’t bad either.

There were many things about this series that made me wanted to defend TVB again, although I know they’re a lost cause for the most part. Most dramas nowadays are always leaning toward “love, love, love” and not so much for the theme of patriotism so I thought this series sort of brought that back into focus. Yes, there were various love stories in here–and it would probably contradict my previous statement somewhat, but I think that they made the right calls for the main story arch, i.e. the side stories weren’t that dragged out for the sake of it. It was more plot-driven than character-driven so it made the pace likable and enjoyable in many ways.

The ending? Although not completely satisfying and I’m sure there were flaws somewhere, but I felt it was nicely executed for the most part. A typical ending with a battle between good versus evil. Yet it united some of the key characters for the epic ending. It was nice seeing Raymond in another role, but this time as Prince Wanyan Siu. He joined forces with them to help find the special liquid and also defeated the ultimate bad guy in here. It was a nice battle scene. Not overdone. They actually worked together to defeat the bad guy AND NOT make it like someone hogged the entire scene for some outright exaggerated battle. It brought forward a sense of joint effort like how it was from the beginning, having different characters participate in the events, not one or two-persons all the time. One of the main reasons why I liked this series. And yes, it was indeed a major surprise that I’m praising it.

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 stuff to do than random walking. Even if I just said above that I will address it as a ‘standalone’ first, it still felt off that the main lead was standing around doing senseless stuff 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 advice 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 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. The rest? 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 advice 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-racking 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 worked together after all. And it would be too repetitive if Dr. Ko once again ended 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 scriptwriters 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 was her kid when the kid was in good, tip-top “smelling good” condition versus how it was 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 “payback” but it felt strange. I was indeed touched by 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 liked it that the randomness continued into this series like it had shown 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 were 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 was 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 stuff 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 scriptwriters 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 liked 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 three 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 fended 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 likable 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. They were 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 the 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 didn’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 stuff 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 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.