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!

Master of Play

This was on my ‘to-watch’ list anyway so no surprise that I followed through. OMG, I read some spoilers coming into the series. BUT lucky I didn’t care for it since I had read some comments on how people who like happy, fluffy stuff might not like it. (AND that some people might not get it.) SO I was patient and followed throughout–without fast-forwarding. YES, I do admit that some parts were slow, but it was essential to the overall story. Because it revolved around psychological conflicts, I tried to be patient since I do enjoy those types of theme, and the mystery it often involved. I must say that I was quite impressed and have to say that it was cleverly done throughout. Honestly, the same creators who made When Heaven Burns and somewhat of a similar cast here and there, but it was worth it. I was really fascinated with the plot layout and the order the story was told in–in an attempt to focus on the emotional and psychological turmoils within more than just some lame plot about “OMG, it’s a psycho, we need to bring him in” type of thing. YES, the cops were there and they tried to bring the “psycho” in too. YET it wasn’t so. Since the cops were just part of the background story. The major and minor characters in here were much more complicated than that. Again, like When Heaven Burns, it focused on how life wasn’t just full of black and white–though the discussions often bounced back and forth–here and there. Exploring the gray areas of life with how people react to certain situations and what they would go through to protect those around them was more realistic than just focusing on convincing ‘who was right’ or ‘who was actually wrong’ all along. Sure, there were the obvious sides of the ones who were supposedly good and the bad, but only the layout was that way because society liked to separate. However, the way it was made with what was going on, the creators of the show let us decide that on our own.

Main Cast:

  • Adam Cheng as Kan Siu Nam (靳兆楠). Finally, a totally different role for Adam without the whole ‘heroic’ title attached. Though I found it a tad weird at the beginning and needed some getting used to, I soon focused on his character more to see what was going on. In a way, I found it cool to use that type of technique to solve cases at first. YET later, I found it stupid. Seriously, trying to attach yourself to the killer’s personality to get to him/her? It was crazy all right. It was too risky, to say the least. I realized more and more later on that he was such a busybody. It was like saying he didn’t have to involve himself within the cases yet he did. He wasn’t a cop anyway, so why was he meddling? I swore his fate was deserved because he kept digging and digging and all the stuff that he got into made situations worse–to say the least. Though I understood his character’s conflicts at times, especially regarding his daughter–and the way he was getting himself involved so he could avoid the unavoidable with what happened to his daughter ages ago. (That was my guess.) YET he didn’t know when to stop. That was his downfall. He seriously messed with the wrong party and even if he had killed Ivan, he was going down. I’m not hinting at the psychological breakdown either but more like the whole getting burned to death at the end. Aside from all those things, I thought he was convincing in this role. Regardless of how he was too into his conflict with accepting his daughter’s death OR when he was losing it with becoming Ivan, he sort of created those worlds convincingly.
  • Maggie Siu as Esther Lee Chor Kiu (李楚蕎). Typical poor rich girl role. YET the later parts made her character different. Maggie’s short hair in here reminded me of her younger days when the short hairstyle was her trademark. But I really miss her longer hair, like how it was at the beginning of the series. Anyway, I felt so bad for her not because she got sacrificed (or more like sacrificed herself to save Ivan). But her family had a lot to do with her downfall. To have her own mother not supporting throughout, always pretending to care for her (and scolding Ivan) YET all the mother cared about was status and reputation. (Not to mention how her mother loved sons over daughters, AND I wonder what the hell she is? Is she not a woman herself?) Only Ivan was the one who was there for Esther when she went through such tragic situations. Ivan made her feel whole and important.
  • Moses Chan as  Ivan Cheung Sai Yin (章世言). This must be one of Moses’ most challenging roles. Not only did he have to act as Ivan in conflict with himself, but he had to switch to the other personalities also. By the time the story shifted to Esther finding out about Moses’ multiple personality problem, that scene was so brilliant. Moses was able to distinguish the differences among each personality. When he acted as all those personalities, it really reflected how the others were playing out their roles as his personalities. It was like looking into a mirror of personalities. (Great team.) I felt one couldn’t really hate Ivan because though he could be considered a killer, but he didn’t just kill recklessly and as he liked. Either he was forced to kill or he didn’t have a choice. (Saying “we always have a choice” IS LAME and unrealistic.) The choices he made caused the irreversible in the end, but from the beginning, he was tormented with his own guilt and whatever voice of the conscience was left.
  • Aimee Chan as Natalie Cheung Sai Ting (章世婷). We were misled into thinking she was Kan Siu Nam and Angela’s missing daughter for the majority of the series. At least most of the clues pointed to her, until she later revealed it herself at the police station. (Actually, her conversation with Ivan before she left their house said it all with her telling him to clean up his act since there won’t be anyone around to do that for him anymore, and that because of him she had to lie to two very pitiful persons.) I was impressed with her performance throughout. She made me feel the liveliness of Natalie’s innocence side at the beginning, and the more complicated side later on as the story unfolded and she found out much more of her brother’s world that had caused her shift in attitude and/or reaction about life. (AND this was a comparison among all her other roles that I had watched, NOT hinting that she was superior to others. YET I don’t think I need to prove my taste–or capability–at all. People could think whatever they want. Honestly.)

Others:

  • Ram Tseung as John. The director at the local theater and also Kan Siu Nam’s best friend. He was often the voice of reason to stop Kan Siu Nam from doing anything rash or getting into sticky situations. I must indeed agree he was the wisest in here though he didn’t judge. BUT I disagreed with Kan Siu Nam that he would get killed for his own intelligence because Kan should be referring to himself regarding the whole getting hurt for being intelligent. (Since Kan kept meddling into others’ matters, which were not his.) I so agreed with John when he told Kan that it wasn’t Kan’s job to put the balance back in the universe with his actions (i.e. what to do with Ivan’s case).
  • Rebecca Chan as Angela Mok Lai Hing (莫麗馨). I liked her character in here, really liked it. She was not only wise but didn’t care if she became the ‘bad’ person or got misunderstood when she tried to stop Kan from his craziness. It wasn’t like she didn’t care for her daughter YET she knew how to stick with reality and moving on didn’t mean not loving her daughter anymore. It just meant she wanted to cherish her life and not let the others in her life down.
  • Lily Ho as Tansy Kan Chi Ying (靳芷縈). The older version of Tansy. NOT the real Tansy but more like the imagined version of Tansy to which Kan Siu Nam was drawing up as part of his fantasy (aka not accepting that Tansy was already dead). I don’t know. I didn’t have any feelings toward her except knowing she was what Kan imagined his daughter would be like, a cute, lovable girl, etc.
  • Yu Yang as Steve Chan Yat Kei (陳一奇). A very funny character. I know several dentists (OF COURSE with the necessity of having one BUT also personally), and his personality in here was too funny to relate to. Yet I guess all is possible since there are many dentists in this world and outside work, they’re normal human beings living their own lives after all. I really liked his character because he was really down to earth and could always turn negative moments into positive ones. Though what I found kind of unrealistic was him not getting suspicious or minding about Kan still being friends and hanging with them at mealtimes, etc. (NOT saying it’s impossible, it’s just awkward in so many ways–even if many years have passed already.) OMG, his death was so unexpected. I blame it on Kan for being the “unlucky star” and invited him over. (I wonder why he didn’t turn on the light BUT I guess he had a habit of listening music in the dark like that or just wanted to enjoy the music without turning the light on.)
  • Dickson Wong as Will Chan Cheuk Kwan (陳卓鈞). I felt like he was trying too hard at times or seemed like he was trying to remember the script. I swear, he looked that way. But regarding his character, I guess he was a supportive son at times.
  • Matt Yeung as Jasper/ Kong Sir (江Sir). I thought he was more suitable on the pyscho-killer route than being a cop. Seriously, he was just using his dead girlfriend as an excuse in every way he could to supposedly work hard and clean up the streets. He’s the one who should be cleared away. NOT only was he trying to “clean the street” BUT he was really ungrateful toward his colleagues and others around him. Sure, Kan was quite a busybody and had a hand in fueling Jasper’s craziness even more, BUT his attitude was already terrible before. He treated his fellow cops as “dogs” (his words at one point) and always exude the arrogant aura. I thought Matt did a good job portraying this character, convincing us Kong Sir was very well on his way to the psychopath route–without any help from anyone either.
  • Kenny Wong as Eric. Ivan’s evil persona. Creepy all right. Kenny’s rather challenging role instead of some other typical boring ones? I don’t know. I finally was convinced of his acting in this one. And I actually thought that he was capable of some other roles instead of the typical ones he’d been portraying for a while. It wasn’t like he was new, but he had been passive for a while so I felt it was refreshing he’d taken on this role.
  • Rachel Kan as Michelle. Ivan’s lust and envy persona. Convincing. She made me despise her so bad at first when I didn’t realize she was just Ivan’s personality.
  • Steven Ho as Martin. Ivan’s wrath and violent persona. He seriously was perfect with the rest of the crazy team.
  • Glen Lee as Edwin. Ivan’s pride and cunning persona. YUP, ever so convincing. With the additional makeup, it really aided his cause. And also how his eyes were always wandering that made me think he was always up to something. Cunning indeed.
  • Dia Yiu Ming as Henry. Ivan’s conscience. The voice that got snubbed out throughout the story and eventually disappeared since Ivan was already way past reasoning. (And I so don’t blame Ivan.) I guess Henry was one of the reasons why Ivan still kept it under wraps at times with his persuasion–even if his voice was practically blocked out by the other personalities.
  • Tsui Wing as the psycho-killer who chopped off people’s hands at the beginning. Seriously, he was crazy all right. But TW was convincing in that area.

Couples:

  • Adam and Rebecca. Though I got it, somehow I didn’t buy it.
  • Yu Yang and Rebecca. I felt like she–along with their son–were one happy family all right. They complemented each other quite well with him being the comedic one to calm her down while she was the serious one.
  • Moses and Maggie. A touching story. Cheating aside (though trust me, I don’t like those situations), I loved them together. It was so sad and tragic that no word could describe it completely. Yet their goodbye scene before she turned herself in said it all. Regardless of the things he went and did behind her back, he was firm on not letting her go, i.e. not allowing his other personalities to drop her (even after he got famous).
  • Adam and Maggie. ODD TO DEATH. I understand the purpose of the plot, but I just didn’t buy it. Even from Kan’s side, I couldn’t feel that he cared for her. Sure, he was sad and frustrated when she died, but I felt that wasn’t love. Maybe it was more like he blamed himself for her death. (And he probably did but it wasn’t love.)

Themes/Elements:

  • Multiple personality disorder aka dissociative identity disorder. The Jekyll Bar was the obvious sign of Ivan having a multi-personality problem (.i.e. hinting at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). This is one of the most popular themes used in any type of movies/TV series. TVB also love to use this one because it’s the most intriguing one. However, they often have like two sides fighting with one another, etc. This time, however, the creators of the show went all out with letting Moses’ character, Ivan, have five other personalities inside him. It was actually more realistic, considering what types of traumas Ivan went through since his childhood. I also liked it that they focused on the physiological side rather than just “capturing the bad guy.” They went to the core of the problems and acknowledged his internal conflicts more, what he was struggling through. AND that they looked beyond the whole “killer monster” thing. It didn’t matter if some viewers might not get it. I was glad they went ahead and kept things consistent throughout.
  • Stage Plays. I might not remember all the literary materials I read in school, but I felt it was clever to incorporate that into the whole plot. It somehow did the talking for the incidents happening around their lives. Like it was correlating itself with the current situations they had to deal with. (It reminded me how the whole radio segments were the narratives for the incidents in When Heaven Burns versus stage plays for this one.)
  • Sand Paintings. I might not like all the quotes in here, but I found it fascinating with the art. I liked the symbolism that was incorporated into the paintings. And it was a refreshing theme in a sense. At least something that hasn’t been overdone just yet.

Controversies/Rants/Whatever:

  • The name “Ivan” and some comparison going on on Weibo (and possibly other websites). I saw some really arrogant comments regarding this AND couldn’t let it pass. Really people? Picking on someone’s name? Or saying that you only remember so and so? Okay, so I get it that people could only remember so much after watching so many series, etc. But to imply you only remember that particular one AND not care for others, go ahead and say it out. Stop hiding behind phrases and trying to dodge when the time comes to clarify stuff. So you thought a certain character was more memorable than others OR something. (I’m guessing since I’m not going to get all arrogant to say I’m right.) YET to play that little ‘game’ regarding names is funny. (There are a lot of common names in this world, do you want to go there? Implying that only a certain person matter? Just because someone was named–or had chosen–that particular name too made them less significant?)
  • Too dark/morbid. Hello? If you didn’t want to be spoiled by the plot summary or whatever, at least watch the theme video first OR see the poster or something. It’s going to be morbid.
  • Too complicated for housewives to understand. Even if TVB had aimed to zoom in on housewives as the majority of the audience, the rest of us out there might want to watch too. AND that’s plain generalizing. Just because they’re now housewives DO NOT mean they could be stomped on and insulted like that. Sure, some might not get the complexity of the artistic view OR some other elements incorporated into the drama itself, but some of the situations occurred in there, they might have more contact with than those so-called ‘educated’ one. (I’m talking about people dealing with emotional conflicts and how losing a loved one OR having to protect someone might land them into such sticky situations.)

The ending? Did Kan Siu Nam die? Don’t you love open endings? (YUP, we’ve all been there, hate it. Yet I didn’t mind this time.) It left lots of rooms for questions. So here’s my interpretation. I think he did die. Because there was only 10 more seconds when Natalie stepped out of the tent and yelled for the others to stop the crank and let him go, etc. YET her voice was muffled by the crowd. Then it zoomed to Angela waking up and trying to look for him. The next part was him in his dream place playing with his daughter for the last time YET they didn’t complete the game. By the time it got to the dream he must have lost consciousness already hence being able to enter the dream realm. After he hugged his daughter, we saw that she was finally gone yet he was the one holding the seeds in his hands. He was finally released from his own illusion of his daughter. I don’t think he could ever let go of his daughter unless he ends up dying. Like it was the final release. Because even when he had become Ivan completely (or so he thought), he kept repeating the fact like he wasn’t Kan Siu Nam because Kan Siu Nam was so pitiful and that Ivan was the one having a sister, etc. SO he rather lied to himself and lived that lie than face the truth after that one last blow of thinking he found his daughter and losing her all over again. His psychological state was already going into the irreversible stage with him taking on Ivan’s role so convincingly hence when he finally found out the whole ‘daughter’ thing was just a lie, his emotional state collapsed at the same time. The whole going back and forth to reassure himself was already ‘screaming’ so loudly that he knew deep down he wasn’t Ivan YET he rather lived with still some hope of having a sister and his life starting anew rather than nothing at all. And what about the ending scene where they showed backstage around his work area where the scripts were pinned here and there and scattered everywhere? The voices reading the dialogues? That sort of was a memorial scene for a once-famous stage performer. Or it seemed so to me.

Recommended? If you like literature, morbid stuff, psychological stuff, AND are super patient, go for it. BUT if you rather go for a comedy and don’t want to think too much after a long day at school or work, DON’T BOTHER. It’s that complicated. I don’t want to insult anyone, but it’s a lot because of how it was crafted–like I mentioned earlier with the pieces of puzzles and all. It would drain you down with so much conflicts going on throughout after layers and layers of deception and confusion were tossed into place.

NOTE: I’m shutting down comments for this particular post because I had it with some of the hate rants regarding some cast members. AND possibly the plot. I get that this might not be everyone’s taste, but purposely dragging it down because of some aspects not related to the series itself IS LAME. I don’t have the energy to argue with anyone or try to prove my point anymore. AND I think I rather focus on bringing the positive side of this blog back to where it belonged–like how I first started it.

When Heaven Burns

I watched this one because my mom was looking for something serious to watch after all those sitcoms we were watching–among other comedies. First off, the title. I must admit that I was in objection to it when the title got changed from Heaven and Earth to When Heaven Burns but after having watched it, I could say that it suited the series quite well. Seriously, it was so intense and nerve-racking at various points so, in a way, it wasn’t too lame with changing the title. After all, the Chinese title was still Heaven and Earth, right? So how was it? Honestly, people who skipped it just missed a really good series. YES, that coming from me who has been ranting about recent series (and even got scolded for it on this blog). For once, I didn’t mind the repetitive team and/or group who contributed to this series. I meant not that I didn’t like the cast (okay, maybe for one or two persons), but I just got tired of seeing them together all the time. I was curious so I tuned in along with my mom anyway. Yet I found it more enjoyable than I expected. People who thought that this series was dragging shouldn’t even give it another go because you already set an opinion, so don’t let me convince you and later come back to scold me. Because seriously, if you think this was dragging, I’m not sure what ‘dragging’ means anyway. Sure, it was slow and passive at times, BUT it did not mean dragging. There were this underlying heaviness and intensity building up episode after episode until the breaking point that led to the mind buzzing mind games in the latter half of the series. Don’t believe me? It’s okay. You don’t have to. And perhaps I don’t like over-hyped stuff so I enjoyed this series even more. Though the cast seemed to be promoted heavily recently, the series did not aim to ‘shove it into your face’, or I didn’t get that feeling like they were trying to sell something. Maybe that was why it worked.

Moving on, like my usual reviews, I will place in the whole ‘cast/characters’ discussions–among other things. But will also include the ‘theme’ part this time around as well since I feel it’s essential and actually feel like discussing it more specifically for this series. However, I won’t include ‘couples/pairings’ this time around because I feel that wasn’t the point of the drama. YES, there was love spread into the drama at times, making things even more complicated with relationships. But that was just part of the small piece and I don’t want to get distracted with it for this one series.

Main Cast/Characters:

  • Charmaine Sheh as Hazel Yip Chi Yan (葉梓恩). A character worth watching after so many of her recent ‘goody two shoes’ ones. I mean I like to see her in those ‘nice and kind’ ones too. YET I felt she was getting rusty or would get there soon if she doesn’t take on any challenging role soon. Sure, the majority of the characters in here had to be quite serious as well. But I felt this one was a role that she won me over again with her portrayal. It wasn’t too much or too little. It was just right with her passiveness at times or her cold composure. She managed to capture those moments when Yan was hurting so much that she didn’t know where to turn to (aka all lost and confused). Then there was the whole not caring for the world attitude. There were so many complications in her life that she couldn’t handle, even turning to different means as an outlet–like senseless one-night stands or alcohol. I was really disturbed at first with how her character appeared to be cheating and all but somehow sympathized with her later with how her family was so broken and her being stuck in the past for so long that she was hurting herself and others around her. The worst part was not being able to pull out until later. But what I really liked about her character throughout was her stubbornness. Once she made a decision, she didn’t waver anymore. There was another thing that they (the scriptwriters) added to her character that I quite like, which was the whole deep thoughts and stories in her radio segments. I liked those narrations and it sort of set the tone for what was going on around them and how the guys–or other characters–would think it over as they listened to her segment. It was somewhat a narration or reflective moment at times when the scenes were happening around them but there were only her words to convey the message of those scenes–and the impact of what just happened.
    • Angel Chiang as the young Yan. Though she didn’t resemble Charmaine to be a younger version of Yan, she had the spunk and grace for the character. I really enjoyed her chemistry with the rest of the guys throughout as a band. Her bravery to fight against the guys at times was quite admirable as well. Maybe that was just her rebellious nature.
  • Moses Chan as Angus Sung Yee Long (宋以朗). After all those so-called ‘comedies’, he finally returned to the more serious roles as well. Mixed feelings at times actually. Maybe it was his intimidating image that had made the others believe he might have been the cause of their role in the Ka Ming conspiracy, BUT it wasn’t so. Perhaps Joe was right with his whole ‘drummer versus guitarist/lead singer’ theory/concept because that was what made Angus more suspicious of the three of them. What was admirable of him–even IF that seemed like an excuse to like his character–was whoever he hurt, he didn’t hurt the people within his group of friends (aka among the four of them, i.e. Joe, Ronnie, and Yan). It was like he was compensating for what he’d done in the past hence leading a distorted life yet didn’t want to hurt the other three more than he already did. (Possibly that was the difference between him and Joe.) What made me not able to forgive him, in the end, was sacrificing Jessica in order to get back at Ben (and eventually Joe). Did he have to do that? He probably thought so but that little act condemned him even more with his already life sentence (even if it wasn’t served in prison). SO Jessica had agreed to help him after confronting him BUT he should have considered it more, considering how Jessica had been so loyal to him throughout. (Or was he too blind with hatred and/or wanting to take revenge that he didn’t care? Not to mention how he was so close to winning.)
    • Yeung Chiu Hoi as the young Angus. Consistent enough. He looked less intimidating than his current self, of course, but for obvious reasons. However, there were always traces of the lack of confidence in him and the reluctance that was still present.
  • Bowie Lam as Joe Lau Chun Hung (劉俊雄). Was I the only one who got fooled by his character? Okay, so I was trying to put my biases past Bowie since I found his expressions were always so intimidating regardless of the roles he portrayed and thought I was being mean for picking on him. So I tried to focus on his character instead and what was going on around his character. YET I was wrong to think he was some poor guy who was trying to repent–with his wife not understanding him and even cheated on him. Sadly no. He was the most dangerous one out of the three. He was so charming in character and so manipulative in his words that made everyone feel they were in the wrong more than him. Often taking the blame and sounding like he was protecting the others yet he was just protecting himself by letting others think he was the victim. The part where he was telling Angus the reason why he picked up playing the drum really summed up his character. He told Angus that he used to think it was so cool being a guitarist and singing at the same time, having all the attention. However, he later realized that the drummer actually held the key to it all because the band had to follow the drummer’s rhythm or they would be all off (aka the drummer controlled all by forcing everyone to play fast or slow). Seriously, it really boiled down to him being able to control everything in front of him with his careful planning and patience throughout–and most of all his persuasive abilities.
    • Ronald Law as the young Joe. He managed to look as intimidating? LOL! I had no idea but I guess he was convincing as the younger version of Joe since there were signs present that showed how the current Joe hadn’t changed–with some flashbacks here and there.
    • Signs that Joe wasn’t all bad. AND NO, I’m not talking about the whole ‘facade’ he put up at times to deceive them–regardless of when he was younger or at times when he was older. I’m talking about when it was finally revealed that he was actually the most manipulative among the three guys. There were parts like him lying or trying to get through some sticky situations yet during his time alone, he would reconsider. Another time and more obvious was after Cloris’ death and him crying out in his office finally–while he was deleting her text messages to him.
  • Kenny Wong as Ronnie Cheng Chun Hin (鄭振軒). He started out as losing his memory and then recovering it slowly. We all hate the ‘memory loss’ card, right? But it made sense this time since he and the other two went through a near-death experience after all. Not to mention how he was traumatized along with the others during the whole incident. He struck first and planted the seed of evil. (YES, he was the one who stabbed Ka Ming first when Ka Ming was lying inside the tent resting.) But repented greatly later, wanting to pay for his sin. But wasn’t given the chance in that way. Instead, he paid for it with his eyes, and some more.
    • Kelvin Leung as the young Ronnie. Another good choice because he merged in quite well with Kenny’s portrayal because Ronnie seemed to me as always the passive one OR possibly the invisible one out of the three guys (aside from Ka Ming).

The reason why I only listed 4 as the main cast AND not like the other lists had indicated was because I felt the story revolved around those characters for the majority of the time and it took them to resolve all the conflicts as well.

Supporting Cast/Characters:

  • Ben Wong as Bowman. The reason why I put him first was sort of by order of appearance and somewhat because I’m biased (LOL). Anyway, he was actually somewhat my favorite character throughout despite his limited screen time. (Though acceptable since I felt he contributed to the story by tying in different characters and moving the story forward but didn’t need to be ‘in your face’ to get the point across.) I felt so bad for him at the beginning since he was just part of the whole charade that Yan was putting up for herself, wanting to find replacements for her past (and more specifically for Ka Ming). But then I had somewhat forgiven Yan for deceiving him. Though that didn’t mean I like him less because I found him very genuine, not tainted by all the things around them. Ben had made that happen with his portrayal–regardless of the amount of screen time he had. In a way, I was glad he got a new start later–after Yan finally sorted out her mind (for good). (Side-note: My mom actually wanted to see Ben portray Kenny’s character instead YET I had convinced her it wasn’t a good idea because that would mean he was part of the ‘cannibalism’ conspiracy. LOL! NOT that anyone was being sacrificed in the events of shooting the drama but those types of characters were disturbing still, LOL!)
  • Maggie Siu as Emma. One of Maggie’s couldn’t care less roles? I don’t know. It seemed like it didn’t fit her. I had a hard time imagining Emma so dumb, mostly due to Maggie. NOT that I doubt her acting in the past, but this time it seemed weird. I don’t know what happened. But it was like she was uncomfortable with the role? I enjoyed her chemistry with Moses when they were shown as a somewhat cute couple at first. Yet it all crumbled in the later events (mostly due to the story), but I also had a hard time with her character being that naive. But I guess her character wasn’t too unbelievable since she was so sheltered by her sister and how she sort of depended heavily on her sister to look after the family business so she didn’t have to worry about other stuff.
  • Astrid Chan as Gina. I had mixed feelings for her throughout the series but I let go of certain judgments later on because I felt she was another victim in this whole web of lies and other deception games. So she chose to stick around and continue with her role but I felt she was so given a bad image or seemed to reflect so in front of the others at the beginning because her husband was so good at acting that she had been pushed to become the ‘bad person’. Astrid didn’t fail to deliver her emotions throughout, projecting her image–or what we were led into believing–and the actual tormenting turmoils she went through later on.
    • Joey Mak as the young Gina. Good casting actually since she somewhat resembled Astrid. OR did they do the make up that way and somewhat of the hairstyle too? Not sure but she did manage to show consistency in the character.
  • Felix Lok as Dr. Ivan Wong. At first, I found him too despicable because of the affair he was involved in. But I sort of pity him later. Just slightly. Or perhaps I wasn’t so judging of him anymore. A minimal role for Felix but he played a key role in the end. Somewhat, but it wasn’t like he needed to prove himself.
  • Angela Tong as Shirley. Ronnie’s wife. I was arguing with my mom about whether her character accepted Ronnie regardless if her husband had once eaten someone OR if she was too traumatized and didn’t want to believe. YET I had to wonder in the later parts of the plot after things cooled down. YES, she relied on her husband the majority of the time. But let that slide as well? Do people just accept things just like that? (I meant cannibalism isn’t like shoplifting. Sure, both could be repeated BUT shop-lifting dealt with the store’s possession versus a human being.) Regardless of the ambiguity of her character, I thought Angela did quite well with conveying all the torn feelings she’d gone through. AND no, I’m not saying it’s unrealistic with her character, just felt that it was worth some thinking with her point of view–and how it was a different sort of reaction from the other female population in here. AND yet it made one really think about human nature–and whether one chooses to accept or to dodge.
  • Queenie Chu as Jessica. I think she was the most pitiful in here. Some could argue that she got what she deserved because she aided Angus in deceiving Emma–and possibly others. YET I felt she had always been loyal to Angus and only loved him hence it was too cruel to see her being sacrificed as his final pawn. The scene with her and Angus at the music store was quite touching. She didn’t ask for anything extraordinary–and had never asked for more, except for him to play a song for her one last time. Indeed, she was right that Angus was the most truthful or real when he was playing his music. The other thing about her that made it even sadder was how she was a replacement for Yan at first (could be seen through various points of when Angus was playing the guitar at the shop and saw Yan sitting there instead of the actual Jessica) and gradually earning a place in Angus’ heart with how he finally took the hint to be more attentive to her (mostly through Ben’s urging BUT Angus began to open his eyes to see Jessica for herself, not as a Yan who he could never be with), like how he was giving her the birthday gift (aka his necklace) to symbolize her importance in his heart. Yet it was just too late for them when he pulled the final card (i.e. sacrificing her as well) and perhaps that little scene with him playing the guitar for Emma (and actually picturing both Yan and Jessica) made it somewhat forgivable for him? NOT like completely forgivable but like how she finally earned a spot in his heart. Anyway, another different role for Queenie and I think she nailed it.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Ben. He got robbed. NOT the character, but CKK. Personal opinions here since seeing him in these types of roles just make me want to cry because I imagine him all so powerful in some of his previous roles. (One of the most memorable was in No. 8 Bus.) Anyway, he didn’t fail to deliver by convincing us he was this despicable character who betrayed his boss again and again. Yet I felt it was kind of lame that they had him playing the harmonica and trying to seek sympathy from Jessica in the end. I swear it was a bit over-killed with linking everyone to music–one way or another, but I will let it slide. (Like I could do anything anyway.)
  • Lau Dan as Uncle Chuen. Had some major scenes at the beginning but still didn’t lack in importance later on. It was his mission to help Joe repent from his past wrongdoings, and he made it his responsibility to bring Joe back to the correct path near the end as well. Yet it was too late. Or was it? AND do I need to say anything else about his acting? Convincing as always.
  • Cindy Lee as Cloris. Also a pawn in here and this had to do with Joe. Yet I can’t feel any pity for her though I was shocked by her death. I meant, okay her final moments were really worrisome and tragic, and I know I’m heartless to not pity her. But she had it coming. She criticized and chastised Gina at the beginning for cheating on Joe YET she ended up helping Joe cheat on Gina? Love’s blind YET she had it coming. The reason I was shocked, of course, was I didn’t expect her to die. I would expect the usual seeking out Gina later to confront Gina or would just go crazy, not death. Though her ending indeed made an impact on Joe when he broke down while deleting her messages. (As mentioned earlier.)
  • Elaine Jin as Brenda. She was an interesting character at first because of her mysterious nature possibly being the only one to overthrow Angus. YET I lost interest in her character after she fell into Joe’s trap as well. WHAT? I don’t care if they were having an affair either since I was used to Joe’s manipulation already. But what I was disappointed at was seeing how she fall into his trap so easily. Or was she just letting go and using him to enjoy her remaining days? Another way to look at it though was emphasizing Joe’s ability to manipulate–even the most cunning person in here (at least from the female side).
  • Chan Hung Lit as George. His second last role and he got this? How memorable. NOT. But anyway, to be honest, he did quite well (OF COURSE) and I think it got cut off because of the inevitable? NOT SURE. But it wasn’t too lame in covering the tracks because he might as well just disappear though he was sent on a mission to uncover Angus’ secrets elsewhere. (Though I shouldn’t even blame anyone or be mean about it since no one knew this one was his second-last role, right?)
  • Tsui Wing as Arthur. I really, really hated him at first (equally as Yan so don’t worry about me picking on just the guy) but later, I was like whatever. And TW showed us another side of him in here with this role.
  • Andy Dai as Sam. The minute I heard ‘Sam’, it reminded me of his role in this old series called Exchanging Couples (OR something like that), because he was also named Sam in there (and the fact that his wife/later ex-wife in there worked at a radio station as well made it even more familiar). He was quite funny in here. So he was trying to be serious and at times appearing quite arrogant–as most bosses were allowed to. But it made it even funnier that he thought they were supposed to worship him yet they were just conning him at times.
  • Joe Junior as Dr. Dylan. The person driving the whole ‘rock and roll’ theme forward in here. Though the rest of them were there with their goth look and all, I thought it wouldn’t be the same without his recounts of past events and his passionate talks about ‘rock and roll’ from time to time. They definitely needed a respected elder to point them in the right direction or tell them to go with the music, etc. His talk about life wasn’t cheesy either but it made sense, incorporated into the overall theme itself.
  • Rachel Kan as Daisy. Sort of a double-faced person, but I don’t blame her since she was quite witty with her comments (even if it was mostly through sarcasm). And the other reason for being bitter was having to cover for Emma just because Sam wanted to score points with Emma.
  • Catherine Chau as Mabel. Almost didn’t recognize her. Maybe it was because of the image. It was all right I guess, fitting in with her character and making her sort of wild along with the other two. It was kind of random that she got together with Arthur at one point (since Arthur claimed to really love Yan, so much for it).
  • Stanley Cheung as Hui Ka Ming (許家明). The unfortunate guy that got eaten by Angus, Joe, and Ronnie. I put him last on purpose (AND YES to make a point). Was this what they called the weakest link? He was really kind-hearted and down to earth from those flashbacks.

Themes:

  • Cannibalism. YES, I placed this first because that was the ‘advertised’ theme at the beginning–even before the actual filming took place. It was just a small part of the story but had a really big impact. Because they only showed a bit of it at the beginning and a more graphic (IF could be called ‘graphic’ at all) scene later on when the truth finally unfolded. But they didn’t dwell on it. They moved on to the ‘forgiving’ part and the whole ‘repenting’ part. Or what could be called an attempt to heal–if at all.
  • Friendship. It was all over the place in here. Yet it was real. Besides, what’s the right way to be friends anyway, right? What I mean is those random times between Hazel and her co-workers versus what she would do with the other three guys.
  • Black/White. The morality in here was also quite scattered but understandable. Yet it had made its point that life was more about the grayness of it all more than establishing boundaries. Sure, people could put up boundaries all they want YET the outcome when those things happened was different. In short, you don’t know what you would do until the actual moment. ‘What ifs’ could not measure the real impact anyway.
  • Rock and Roll. The reason for the whole goth look throughout the series with the majority. And at first, I felt it would be too wannabe with seeing them trying to fit in and act like they were caring about ‘rock and roll’. BUT it wasn’t so. I was so glad that they made it so natural with different characters talking about ‘rock and roll’ but tied it in with the whole story. They weren’t trying too hard either (for once).

Favorites:

Basically, I like the whole series–regardless of how random it got at times but it made sense and let us explore the characters even more. But there are other things I want to focus on as well.

  • Dark. I guess what made the whole thing worked was its goth nature and how it didn’t manage to crank the hype up by throwing in some other things. It appeared boring (to some people) and passive, but it was like they were waiting for that dark curtain to lift and free them all. The darkness of it all (NOT literally but could be) allowed for a wider range of exploration–whether through the mind or other types of interactions.
  • Consistent. I’m talking about both the consistency in personalities for the characters who had a younger version of themselves in here, and of the storyline itself as an overall. It was a bonus of a so-called ‘slow’ series because it covered most of the tracks with its flow. It was never too fast or too slow but drove the point loud and clear in the end.
  • Filming Technique. I was surprised and somewhat blew away by how it was filmed with merging the two worlds into the story–back and forth–throughout the whole story. I will admit that it was a bit confusing at first but I got used to it later and really liked how they used the past as bits and pieces of the puzzles–until they reached the end. Awesome indeed.
  • Karma’s Kick. Chills literally ran down my back when the mother of that kid call out his name, telling him to apologize to Gina in the hospital. I must admit I was soooo scared that the ending would be corny and cheesy with everyone getting together singing a ‘Barney song’. (SORRY, inside joke if you know what I mean.) But it wasn’t so. NOT that I’m the type that wants to see deaths left and right. In fact, I’m more peace-loving than I let on at times. But what I felt throughout the series was the intensity that reeked so strongly as each episode went by, so how could they mend things just like that? Yet when Joe died, I only felt okay so one of the bad guys died, and indeed it was because of his own doing. Not to mention it was too late to return. But it wasn’t so. It was until the kid’s mother called his name (also Ka Ming like their friend Ka Ming), it totally went over my head and really made it more complicated in a way. In fact, it was really the writer’s intention because Gina had literally stopped in shock and finally realized it was really karma getting her husband, NOT just because he died saving a kid. YES, there was something inside him (something still good in there though he had claimed it was too late) that insisted that he wasn’t all bad. He even made an effort to buy his wife a gift for their upcoming anniversary, and then the obvious with him wanting to save the kid the instant he saw the kid wandering out in the street. But it was like the time to pay his debt had arrived. What about the other guys? Ronnie lost his vision and had to face the authorities regarding the case involving Joe. The final question that the investigating detective had asked Angus upon his departure was if Angus had felt lucky that he had gotten away for what all three of them had done. But Angus had replied, “How would you know I’m not facing my own punishment?” Indeed, Angus’ punishment was never seeing Yan again because she had claimed that she would leave and would never come back. That was on the surface though because I seriously think that Angus had already paid somewhat for his betrayal to Ka Ming. Why? Yan had stabbed him that one time at the apartment where they used to gather and practice their music after learning the truth version as to what really happened to Ka Ming–and Yan. Then she came back–as if having forgiven him already. (Yeah, call me superstitious but I sort of want to elaborate on that little possibility as some of the details were relevant to the story.) That was why Angus received the lightest punishment physically. (And personally, I think the reason why Angus got the lightest punishment was because he never intended or really agreed to their actions at first with Joe trying to convince him, pulling him out of the tent to talk about it since Joe was saying Ka Ming would die anyway. Then before they knew it, Ronnie had already stabbed Ka Ming–and they just went ahead with the plan. Perhaps Angus’ reluctance at first and his deep regret later made it more pitiful? Sure, he participated in different schemes later on and wasn’t so ‘good’ anyway, but before Ronnie recovered his memory, between the two of them, Angus had shown more regrets among them all, knowing he was already marked to pay a debt.) Emotionally, all three would always be scarred by what they did–regardless. Though I think Joe had finally got his release from it all because usually, the ones staying behind are the ones who have to face the cruel truth–no matter how they try to repent themselves.
  • Full circle. I almost forgot about this but it was the scene where Yan saw a group of five going into the apartment building where they once practiced at and found Angus renting the apartment out to the five teenagers. Life was full of both the expected and unexpected. Yet it seemed familiar with how they once started out.
  • Alternate Ending. Most of us probably hate alternate endings, but I thought this one was well planned and well-executed. Maybe because of the ‘what if’ concept and not the actual thing with TVB playing us, saying it didn’t happen, they were doing the ‘what if’ at the beginning. (LOL, that would suck big time because they did put us through so much since the beginning.) And the most unexpected thing (but made sense) was it was Yan who held the key to it all if their lives had been different. Why? It was revealed when Yan was walking to the bus stop at the end that “if she had turned around, Ka Ming wouldn’t leave with the guys to the mountains” thus their lives leading toward normality–with everyone not suffering from endless guilt ’til the end. Then there was also the possibilities of the other people’s lives like how Emma would’ve gotten married to that one lawyer guy, Angus might have started something with Jessica, etc. And one day, just like the scene showed with them reunite to sing and enjoy their music once in a while. But to get back to Yan and her decision, maybe that was why she tortured herself, indulging in guilt all these years? She was blaming herself more than anyone because if she had turned around, then Ka Ming wouldn’t leave. But it was too much to take so she had chosen to blame it on the others and severed her ties from them rather than confronting her own demons. SURE, the others were at fault for making that decision, but it was from her own take that she could’ve made a difference if she didn’t leave. Interesting take indeed.
  • The sub-theme song. At first, I was like ‘whatever’ since I didn’t like the three guys’ singing too much. How wrong I was. Because I actually liked it a lot more when the last two episodes came around. Because at that point, it made sense. Though some earlier episodes showed them composing it together that one night. But I still thought it would be one of those moments and then they were back to scheming again. That was it. Yet the song finally came into importance when they finally reunited on stage and performed together with their counterparts. (And just for clarification, for the relevancy of the story, the characters wrote it BUT in real life, some of the talented musicians/lyricists had made it happen. Go here for the translations from llwy12.) Oh yeah, for some weird reason, when they sang onstage like that, it seemed to be the live version? (Like it wasn’t obvious with the stage setup but at times nowadays, we wouldn’t know if they just sync in the studio version.) Or was it? I wasn’t sure but it sounded different from how it was in the sub-theme.

On a concluding note, I must give this series a ‘one of the best of 2011’ label. This actually deserved to be on a mantel for once. This really put the ‘quality’ part back into some of the recent TVB productions. YET if people are just looking for some ‘excitement’, better skip it. Because this wasn’t another ‘hype-up’ series trying to draw in viewers just for the sake of it. But about a journey all of us must go through in life, accepting things, reflecting on things, forgiving or not forgiving, etc. In short, it was the explorations of the mind and heart.

Be Home For Dinner

One of the worst sitcoms ever made. Or should I say it is the worst? I had high hopes for this one, partially because I thought the cast would be smarter than to involve themselves in this. But why should I expect more when creativity just couldn’t win in this time and day–and not to mention at TVB. Then the whole thing with everyone making a living and needed the money so they wouldn’t be fussy about it, right? Though I had lowered my standard of the overall the sitcom since it would be long anyway. Something would get lost–one way or another. Yet I couldn’t forgive the creators of this sitcom for putting in so much lame morality. I’ll elaborate later. But what I would like to point the finger toward right now is the story–at least the general story–was so creepily like When Dolphin Met Cat. Though I started watching When Dolphin Met Cat somewhere along the way of waiting for more episodes of this sitcom YET I could see already the creepy likeness of it. I had finished When Dolphin Met Cat like way before I finished this because let’s see 14 episodes (about an hour each episode) was much faster and easier to take than 100 and something. For one thing, When Dolphin Met Cat was made more than six years ago so that ruled out the whole finger-pointing at the drama for copying. I’m NOT implying that this one’s copying since I have no proofs. Yet it’s just so creepy that there were so many details alike. After finishing the other one, I decided to wait on the review so I could add more similarities before posting it. But I will post the other review in the future with a section of similarities for everyone to read also. However, I must say that When Dolphin Met Cat had a better ending though it had many frustrating plot elements as well. Why? It didn’t force the whole ‘family getting along’ like this one tried to so hard.

The Main Cast (sorry, going to use Mandarin pinyin though it’s a Canto production):

  • Elliot Yue as Zhong Guo Zhu (鍾國柱). His intro scene was very cool with how he was setting up the trap with sending in Tian Kai and Ou Gao Rong to test the food at the restaurant before actually emerging himself, exposing the others in the end. Then there was some foundation–though he wasn’t perfect. It was all right with me that he was a bit paranoid and crazy like the rest of his family. He had some sense of arrogance, which was expected of such a famous editor like him having a reputation, or as they called it ‘having an important footprint in jianghu’. (Can’t translate it accurately but basically it represents his importance.) But all that was lost until near the end when Jessie reemerged, making his character dumb as well for falling for such tricks.
  • Helen Ma as Dou Gui Sen (竇桂森). A kind and innocent elder of the Zhong family. She sure qualified for the naive character in here. I think of all the characters in here, I would understand if she falls for Jessie’s tricks BUT the others? Unacceptable. Perhaps because she has this kind nature that was hard to hate.
  • Stephen Au as Zhong Guo Dong (鍾國棟). Mixed feelings. I really liked his character at first until how he kept pushing Bei Er into mending things with her mother and sister. Then how he handled the whole Jessie thing. SO he wasn’t bright in that area YET the others made him dumber AND then when he found out, he still went through with it? Overall, not bad YET the plot ruined his character.
  • Kristal Tin as Carmen Cen Bei Er (岑貝兒). I always thought she was quite bright and reasonable. Not to mention graceful as well. Yet all that was lost near the end. What a shame. I felt really bad for her with being cornered by others and how they were putting the blame on her, making her cave in. YET I sometimes felt it was deserved, especially near the end when she didn’t fight back hard enough.
  • Yvonne Lam as Mary Suen/Sun (孫瑪利). The best character in here. I swear. It has been a long time since Yvonne Lam was given a great role. I liked it that she had been given a variety of roles over the years YET I wonder when she would receive a role worth mentioning again. Her performance had always been wonderful but this one was one of those roles that really made her shine above all characters. I really loved her witty humor and blunt personality. She was not fake at all. The fact that she was making snark remarks regarding Jessie’s wedding was funny and made her the smartest in here. I loved how she didn’t just force herself to go along with the others during that time. Sure, she would support her family when the situation presented itself. Yet that wedding was too much of a joke for her hence her making a joke out of it (which was what it was really). Can’t say enough about her character. Absolutely lovable.
  • Law Lok Lam as Mr. Ko/Kao. Awhile now that I saw him in a role worth mentioning because at times he would appear but just briefly or so. NOT sure if it was because I couldn’t catch the right one where he appeared more than a few episodes. Yet I remember the last one worth mentioning was for The Brink of Law and interestingly, he portrayed Elliot Yue’s brother (who was later killed by Elliot Yue). Great performance as always, so funny with the comedy yet his serious moments were worth mentioning as well.
  • Jason Chan as Sam Zhong Si Han (鍾思翰). Somewhat spoiled at times. Yet he had a good heart overall. He was quite determined and somewhat stubborn like his father. Acting? Can’t say much at this point except he was great eye candy. But then again, it was not like he exaggerated to the point of intolerable since his emotions were seen through his eyes. He needs to take on more challenging role (well, if he’s allowed) to see what else he could do with. Hopefully, we would get to see it.
  • Lily Ho as Qi Qi (琪琪). It was a bit odd to have her introduced so far into the story yet I guess that left something new for the audience to discover. Not too bad with her being so graceful and knowledgeable about various things. I thought Lily had improved with some of her past performances, especially how she had to carry such a role. Not the best but was still convincing enough.
  • Matt Yeung as Tian Kai (田凱). Matt finally made his way up again. Because I could remember the days when he was in The W Files playing a major role. I haven’t really watched him in recent years OR watched enough TVB series to know. Yet this could be an important role again. I had mixed feelings toward him one time or another. Mostly because of the plot that impacted the character. Yet I must admit he was a good friend to most people in here.
  • Katy Kung as Zhong Si Ya (鍾思雅). I don’t know. I wasn’t into her character at first after the whole incident with messing with Sam’s laptop and destroying valuable information. At least almost. Yet later on, her character somewhat grew on me when she finally grew up and was serious about work.
  • Raymond Chiu as Ou Gao Rong (歐高榮). Very clever. He talked less and did more, making him so mysterious yet cool at the same time. So Raymond doesn’t have the look yet he’s very charming and witty in his own way, making his character very convincing. I liked how he was always doing things silently and never took credit for his work. He was not arrogant either and not abusing his power like that one time when the others thought he was Mr. Ko’s son. Probably because of that hence Mr. Ko trusting him to do so much.
  • Oceane Zhu as Susan. I thought she was quite clumsy and somewhat fussy at the beginning. Yet I found her quite lovable later. Though she seemed weak on the outside but was quite strong inside. Like how she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her but kept her head high and continued on, not coming back to him after he begged. Also, she was very considerate of others though she could be so girly at times too. A different role for Oceane comparing to her role in Twilight Investigation yet her performance didn’t disappoint at all.
  • Queenie Chu as Qing Qing (菁菁). At first, I found her character so cool and multi-dimensional but due to the plot that had dragged some of the characters down as well, she sunk along with the others, coming out quite disappointing as well. I rather they brought back more of the Lolita persona to make her expose Jessie and more than have her NOT speak up at all–just like some others. I liked how she was yelling at Li Chun that one time at the restaurant. Why not use it later on too? But then again, the script sucks so it didn’t matter if she wanted to or not, she couldn’t control it. It was too unreasonable that she became quiet and somewhat a doormat again later on. Didn’t make sense. Yet it didn’t mean I disliked Queenie. Still convincing.
  • Celine Ma as Bai Mei Gui/ Rose. Never doubt her in the acting department. She made it quite convincing with her performance throughout. How she was so fierce and somewhat of a hateful person to a more likable one near the end. Though her straightforward personality still stood tall until the end, which made her different from some others, she became more tolerable as in her habits and how she treated others. She had always taken care of people around her yet she had tuned down on some bad habits. I liked how she was the other wise voice in the whole Jessie thing since she hated that too and didn’t even have a hand in it, even encouraging the cancellation of the wedding. It wasn’t like she was evil YET she just hated fake people.
  • Glen Lee as He Jia Ming (何家明). Odd and silly at times yet found his story touching with how he set up that one skit with the others to make his ‘Uncle’ proud.
  • Becky Lee as Cen Hai Er (岑海兒) aka Tang Jing Jing (唐晶晶). Mixed feelings. I didn’t really think much of her at the beginning but soon got used to her. Then the plot ruined it by making her sounding so unreasonable and inconsiderate with pushing Bei Er as well. YET I rather they focused on her bonds with the others at the newspaper place. Because I quite enjoyed her scenes with others at various points, especially the part where she tried to help Jia Ming with the whole meeting his ‘Uncle’.

Others:

  • Geoffrey Wong as Brian. It was a shame that he was the scapegoat for some other cause. I quite liked him and wonder if he would get any other serious role in the future aside from these comedic ones. Not that I don’t enjoy it but feel it’s a waste. Is this the price of leaving ATV? Like ATV was doing anything at that time but still. A shame.
  • Steven Ho as Liu Li Chun (劉立春). I really hated him at first for cheating and ruining his future like that. Yet I found him the wisest–among all those that were cheated and hurt by Jessie–later on. Because he was the one who asked the whole question about whether it was worth it to keep it from Guo Dong and all. I knew it wasn’t just some side jealous rant then because honestly, he had gotten over it and he was convincing in that area.
  • Griselda Yeung as Jessie and Rachel. I must say that it was quite convincing with her playing both roles of Jessie and Rachel since I had a feeling they were different characters. And sometimes I even wanted to side with her character, Jessie, more than the main people because they were seriously dumb enough to fall for it OR not even expose her so why not, right?
  • Mannor Chan as Ann. I found her somewhat despicable. I don’t know why she would still have face to ask Bei Er for favors later. OR even talk and chat like normal with Bei Er. So she admitted she spoiled Jessie hence the consequences now. YET she kept doing it and acted like everything was normal later, which was even more unacceptable. But I guess some people are just too forgiving OR WAY TOO NAIVE so she was able to pull it off as well as her daughter in playing the pitiful card.

Favorite Characters?

  • Mary Suen/Sun. I said it in the other section already and I will say it again, the only intelligent person throughout regardless of the obstacle. Very brave, blunt, and witty in many senses. Quite graceful as well. Never cease to surprise me with her jokes. Yet she always meant well. But she was never fake at all.
  • Bai Mei Gui/Rose. Another favorite character because of her straightforward personality and somewhat intelligent and witty nature. I guess for her case, it would be called cunning more than intelligence YET I felt she was a lot smarter than some characters in here so I clap her on. Except for that one time when she was trying to pull Bei Er and her family together too BUT I sort of forgave her for that because the positive just won over the annoyance.
  • Mr. Ko. YES, hilarious at times yet he was quite clever also. Well, if he didn’t let his emotions get in the way. I also found it funny that he and Ou Gao Rong were in it together that one time, not clarifying about their father and son status. Priceless actually. Another funny moment was how he was doing all the chores for the Zhong family and acting like one of their members, LOL!
  • Ou Gao Rong. An intelligent person and quite capable hence the trust and many assignments bestowed on his shoulders. Already said most of the things I want to say so don’t want to be that repetitive.
  • Susan. Need I say more? No. I sort of forgave her participation in the whole wedding because honestly, she just wanted to participate in the fun and didn’t know about the whole conspiracy–unlike some people who had all the pieces of the puzzle but clammed up.

Sadly as it was, I narrowed it down to only these choices. Why? It seemed like the majority had disappointed me immensely with their stupidity at one point or another. NOT that I want them to be perfect. Yet the scriptwriters ruined it by making a lot of things so complicated when it was just plain common sense. NOT to mention how half of them were like drinking some kind of stupid potion throughout or something. Like they were too eager to torture themselves that sometimes I just want to side with the villain just for kicks.

Pairings:

  • Elliot Yue and Helen Ma. Odd couple, considering their characters. Yet I found it touching at various points to learn how they met and fallen in love. Not too mushy yet could be a guide for their children to understand the story behind their past and respect them more as a couple.
  • Kristal Tin and Stephen Au. I was so rooting for them but halfway through, I got turned off. Mostly because the plot had ruined their foundation. Whenever they were together later on, I really liked it, but I can’t stop thinking about the stupid details that went along with that. Too bad.
  • Kristal Tin and Geoffrey Wong. Another collaboration as a couple. I really, really liked them as a pairing since watching No. 8 Bus and TVB had really used that to their advantage each time trying to find some pairing with Kristal. YET too bad he always get the toss aside in here.
  • Law Lok Lam and Yvonne Lam. Man, the hilarious older couple in here. I really loved how their story started and developed in the later parts of the story. Many hilarious twists and turns as well as when the serious issues were addressed to test their relationship. It wasn’t just about love but respect. YET I was super convinced of their odd chemistry, not just because of the plot.
  • Jason Chan and Lily Ho. Was this a resurrection since their collaboration in Pages of Treasures? I must admit it was all right in the other one though I do not remember much anymore. Had mixed feelings with that series so I tend to tune the rest of the stuff out at times. But not bad since it was kind of cute with them and somehow, I liked how their relationship matured over time. Then there was the whole idea of her being all talented and graceful. Call me a sucker for it but yeah, I don’t mind their pairing.
  • Matt Yeung and Katy Kung. I was so glad that they paired up instead of Tian Kai ending up with Jing Jing. I don’t know. It made it somewhat cute that he was with his ‘xiao shi mei’ AND that it was fun watching them bicker and then working together at times.
  • Glen Lee and Becky Lee. Strange pairing but whatever works. I guess they had to gift-wrap everything hence letting them end up together as well. Not to mention how they had a good musical background and would be suitable, etc.
  • Raymond Chiu and Oceane Zhu. They were so cute together. I loved how they were friends at first and then developing into a romance. A typical cute love story. YET I didn’t mind because it fitted with her bubbly, sucker for romance character and his somewhat prince in shining armor one (even if he was just an average guy to some people). I also liked how their characters eventually got married in the end and shared the happiness with the rest of the characters, not just forgotten like that. (Or I would rant even more. NOT kidding here.)
  • Tsui Wing and Celine Ma. So unexpected since I thought Rose would end up alone in the end. YET that was so cute and funny in a sense. I guess her good heart paid off since she was able to marry a person she often dreamt of, having wealth and all. And I swear it was so deserving because she was kind enough to hang out with the kid and helped the kid, etc.

What was disappointing? Heaps actually, but to break it down, here goes:

  • The family conflict with Bei Er, Hei Er, and whatsoever. I don’t know who was right or wrong YET they had implied and stressed and even wanted to shove it in our faces with the importance of family–regardless of the details throughout. I seriously was sickened by the fact that they (the scriptwriters) paved it so lamely. I got so confused with all the recounts from different characters that I eventually gave up altogether on it. However, it never made sense how they put the blame on Bei Er’s father. I swear, it was so weak, considering how the mother left with Hai Er already. I meant okay, she explained that she knew the father loved Bei Er more hence taking the risk. YET it didn’t make sense because of possibly the fact that we were so used to the flashbacks of how Bei Er’s father was so sincere and nice and kind. OR it was her point of view. YET I just didn’t trust the other two, mostly because their portrayals were too poor or too fake OR something. At least at that point. I just wasn’t convinced. Then came that whole idea with how everyone was shoving and pushing for Bei Er to accept her mother when she had to overcome so much of finally realizing that Jing Jing was actually Hai Er and more. They were pushing her too much that I felt it was too sickening. AND I didn’t see the logic of just because “family is important” that they should push her. She needed space and time. Even if she remembered later and came to peace with her past, but I wasn’t convinced either. Considering how the others kept blaming Bei Er IF she chose to ignore them. They kept scolding her for being cold-blooded, etc BUT who the hell abandon her ages ago? How could she accept them in two shakes? Who’s the cold-blooded one now? I couldn’t help but associate this to Pages of Treasures in relation to Abbie (aka Shirley Yeung’s character in there). What the heck was that? I just couldn’t accept their twisted morality of forcing others to accept and admit when it was so weak with the setup of the plot. Then there were the whole recounts with blaming on the ‘China Town’ in the other country being close-minded and not understanding the situation with the Cen family. How lame was that? I don’t know. But it made me feel more suspicious than ever.
  • The love-hate thing and whatever else with Zhong Guo Dong and his ex-wife and the people involved. The other thing that made me want to throw things at people in here. I knew by the time that no one was saying anything that it would be up to Jessie to leave before anyone else made a move. Seriously. That was soooo bad AND stupid of everyone to think they should just hold it in. After all, Guo Dong was right that his only true friend was Mei Gui. Though afterward, he still chose to marry Jessie, which was LAME. So messed up YET Jessie wasn’t exposed properly that made me even more pissed. She was so scheming and manipulative yet the others tolerated her? It was like they thought it was okay that Guo Dong lived with such a psycho? SO fake. Seriously, in real life, IF you find out someone had harmed your family member in the past and was back to do it again, would you let them? Regardless of the reason, you would be more than protective. It doesn’t matter with past guilt OR not. You start putting up some radar–even IF you want it to work. What was even more despicable was how dumb Bei Er and Qing Qing were for not saying anything because they were the ones having pieces of the puzzles. I think after all that was done–wrong or what, Li Chun was smarter than the rest of them since he was asking Bei Er that one time at a cafe place about how they were letting Jessie return to Guo Dong’s side AND how if Guo Dong hadn’t been so successful now, would she jump in with him again? It wasn’t like she wasn’t rich herself. But it was like it was something for her to grip on, like seeking a perfect or successful person versus a loser such as Li Chun now (or so people would dub him as). Talking about Li Chun, that was the other frustrating thing about not exposing everything since Jessie manipulated the details, making it like she’d mistaken Li Chun for Guo Dong one time BUT it didn’t seem so with Li Chun’s recounts and some details here and there. HELLO, sometimes I just want to side with Jessie altogether and let her bring the rest of them down since they were so dumb.
  • How stupid people were. This could be combined with both of the choices above YET I want to emphasize even more. Anyone have common sense? I don’t believe in real life people would still react that way. Like loving to be someone else’s puppet and torturing themselves and others around them like that. It was like I rather side with the villain than them at times, especially the Zhong family and eventually Carmen as well as some others at the cooking classes/dessert shop.

What needed to be focused on more?

  • The main theme. YES, they still talked about food and all. YET somehow it got lost along the way. Though it resurfaced again through different stories, I felt it wasn’t developed enough.
  • The newspaper people. I rather they expand more funny stories or random ones so we could understand some of the employees there more than so much on family or love dramas of the Chung/Zhong family. Sure, they were the focus of the sitcom YET it was too lame when they were too focused on with trying to resolve some matters. I rather the scriptwriters went toward the random/nonsense route than attempt to teach us a bunch of twisted morality stuff.

Recommended? If you want to waste your time, go ahead. If you like their twisted morality story, go ahead as well. NOT that I disagree with the essence of it, but I hate how they approached it. Why in the world did I watch it and even continued if I thought it was so terrible? Typical me wanting to see if it would improve. Then there was the whole ‘good foundation’ at the beginning with some witty exchanges here and there. But I was wrong and it didn’t improve at all–despite the fact that some side stories were worth watching more than the ones involving some major characters. Then there was the whole thing about curiosity like I said before, wanting to see what else was similar to When Dolphin Met Cat and all.