Episodic Thoughts: “Three Kingdoms RPG” (Episode 2)
Three Kingdoms RPG <回到三國>
TVB Series 2012
Cast: Kenneth Ma, Raymond Lam, Tavia Yeung, Sharon Chan, Ruco Chan, and Ha Yu.
This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologise if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.
“Guan Yu … that is Guan Yu? But… he is so short!”
Before my recap, I have to say this is one very funny episode! Yes, a lot of modern slangs and all but in this context it works. And Shun came to 3 Kingdoms at a time before Zhuge Liang works for Liu Bei but has already earned a name for himself as a wise man. And I think I see TVB made a grave historical mistake. Let me google and I shall confirm down this recap.
Anyway recap and strangely it begins AWAY from the scene we last saw. No signs of Zhao Zhilung and all that.
Shun runs towards the edge of the cliff, in distress as he cries “I must find the cave! I must find the cave!! Have to go back to HK!!” as the young man he saved, his name is Ah Kan rushes to him and says “Saviour sir, be careful. What are y\ou doing?” as Shun cries “I want to go home to HK!!” and Ah Kan says “HK? Where is that?” and the rest of the conversation has Shun explaining HK as some hometown whilst Ah Kan says “Oh, part of Jizhou (Kei Chau)? But sir, it is dangerous, come back here…” and Shun realises there is no cave and there is no way home. Sadly he agreed to follow Kan back to his place after Kan tells him at night that mountain is full of wild beasts. But I think before that he discovered his sister last sent a message to him 1 day after he returned to 3 kingdoms era, saying she is worried about him, where he is and he thinks to himself “Even the phone is acting crazy. Sis must have sent this before I left so the phone screwed up the date!”. He left HK on 13th January. The message was 14th January.
It is very difficult to recap the above scene because Shun speaks very fast and uses many modern lingo, many of which would be lost in translation. Suffice to say Kan couldn’t understand him and just explain that Shun is speaking in weird tongues and in his own hometown lingo.
“Saviour sir, what is your name?” and Shun says “Vincent (which he says as Win San”) and Kan says “Win San? I never heard of a name with the word Win” and Shun says “Well, Win in my hometown means the clouds, Wan” and Kan says knowingly “I see! Wan San!!!”
Ahhhhh lost in translation! This is funny!! I don’t think Shun intended to call himself Wan San which in Cantonese lingo means “The Bothersome One” or rather a very negative connotation to say this person is just troublesome useless bugger! So when Kan says “I see! Wan San!!!” so innocently I burst out laughing!!
Shun was very distracted by the fact he is stuck in the past and he just says “Call me Shun, Wan Shun…” and so Kan calls him Wan Shun Brother. In this conversation Kan suddenly talks about his father and something about the values his father taught him about repaying kindness which is what he is doing to Shun for Shun helping him and remembered the good times as Shun asks “Where is your father?” and Kan says “He joined the army and was killed by the Yellow Turban Bandits. I miss my father..” and he promptly faced the hill side and spread his arms and emotionally screamed “FATHERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!FATHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and again I burst out laughing! Ever notice modern people don’t do that anymore? Only in olden days!! Shun immediately pulled him back “Hey! No need to go all emotional! Anyway, you have a good relationship with your father.. unlike mine where we always “chao wok kam” (in cantonese lingo it means arguing excessively but in olden times it may sound like cooking excessively or something like that)” and Kan curious asked “What does that mean?” and Shun says “Well… we cook a lot together” and Kan says “I see. Must be good to always cook with your father” and Shun says “Buddy, you have no idea the sort of cooking I had with my father. Small cook, big cook, we always cook…”
Lost in translation again!! But darn funny conversation!!
Anyway as they walked back they passed the farming villagers and Shun saw a lot of free roaming pandas (CGI by the way) and Shun cries “Wow so many pandas?!” and Kan curious says “Well there are a lot of such bears in this region” and Shun says “You call them bears? We at HK call them pandas and we have like only 4!!” and Kan says “4 only? We have plenty!” as Shun says “Yeah and they’re protected species, like national treasure” and Kan says “What is the meaning of national treasure?” and Shun says “Well, it means something very precious” and Kan says “Why would anyone want to call these lazy slow bears national treasures?” and Shun says “Beats me! I mean I am lazy and slow too, and I am not called a national treasure!”
I can’t stand it anymore! First 15 minutes and I was laughing myself silly!! So funny!!
Back at Kan’s place which is very small and a hut Shun observes “Wow, your place is indeed… rustic…” as Kan says “I am sorry Wan Shun brother, I am not very affluent…” and Kan says no big deal and wants to shower first and Kan gave him clothes and all as Shun says “Errr… no covers? I mean showering in the open?!” as Kan says “I have always lived alone so I don’t need covers. Moreover we are both men. Why so shy? I can scrub your back if you want!” as he made to scrubbing motion and Shun jumped and cried “Hey! Don’t go gay all over me!!! Ok ok, is there soap?” and Kan says “Soap? Oh you mean …” and he says something I can’t remember and promptly brings out some ugly melting looking thing in a wooden basin and Shun was shocked as he says “WHAT! IS! THAT?!” and Kan explains it is used to clean oneself, very good thing” and poor Shun in the next scene stood naked and grimaced as he scrubbed that thing on his body as 2 owls looked at him. Darn funny!
You know, I wonder what Shun’s reaction will be when he sees the toilet?
Dinner and Shun bites into something delicious and he asks “Hmm, doesn’t taste like beef or pork. What is it?” and Kan says “Oh, those bears” and Shun spits it out and cries “You eat pandas?! Like in my village if we eat pandas we get shot!! I think I will just eat the rice…” and surely by now simple minded Kan must think this man as really weird.
I really like the actor who plays Kan. He plays him so innocently, so straight faced, a great contrast with smart alek Shun.
At night Shun is sleeping when suddenly he sees this glowing bubble which he saw in the cave. He went to it, walked into it and promptly fell down the earth and tumbled into an open field. He cried “I AM BACK!! HK I LOVE YOU!!!” when suddenly he hears a loud roar and sees a T-rex chasing after him!! Shun cries “No! No! I came back to JURRASIC PARK!!! Don’t eat me! I am smelly!!!” when he wakes up and he says to himself “Maybe.. I am dreaming all these too!” and he whispers “Wake up… wake up” when he hears snoring and it is Kan on the floor and he realises he is indeed stuck in that time.
Morning and Kan says he is going to town and Shun says he wants to follow and for a while is excited at what he could see; bustling market and all and he looks at a bunch of grapes and he says “I want to eat grapes. Let’s buy this one” when he picked up a whole lot and Kan gulped and says “Brother Wan Shun, these grapes were brought in from out of state. We usually buy a grape and not a whole bunch. I am afraid I can only afford 2 grapes..” and Shun says “What? Never mind.. I don’t want it” as Kan says sadly “I am sorry brother Wan Shun, that I am poor…” and Shun says “Hey no big deal!”. Kan then runs into the village head and introduces Shun as “This is Sima Shun who saved my life”.
I don’t recall Shun ever introducing himself as Sima Shun in the beginning. So I assume this happened off camera.
Clarification :Vincent told Kan his name when he first introduced himself. He said ‘I’m Sima Shun, style name Wan Shun’. Actually, the full sentence is “My idol is Chukot Leung, style name Hung Ming, his friend is Kwan Yu, style name Wan Cheung, so, I’m Sima Shun, style name Wan Shun.” (Kidd)
Shun grabs the village headman’s hands and shakes it which is funny since the headman seems offended being touched that way. Shun finds out the village is having an emergency meeting and so everyone is meeting at the local temple and he goes along.
Now, Shun comes back to this period in his soldier Kei Chau costume. He is now dressed in ordinary villager’s clothes. The one who gave him those clothes would be Kan. Kan is dressed poorly. Either TVB is inconsistent or Kan probably gave Shun his very very best clothes. Plus Shun’s head must itch by now because he is using a wig by the way.
At the temple, headman explains there is trouble. Some warlord or general by the name of Lau Biu (not Liu Bei) has 2 warring sons, Lau Kei and Lau Chung and the 2nd son, Lau Chung is coming into the village and will demand their crops and food like he does every year. The village is not rich, they need the food too so they’re at a lost as to what to do. Suddenly everybody whispers and parted ways as Raymond Lam walks in and everybody reverently refers to him as “Mister” and the headman asks for his advice but Mister, in a serious face waving his fan says sadly “I am afraid at this moment I am out of ideas” and Shun not knowing who he is mocks him as he says “Isn’t it simple? In my village we always have problems with gangsters asking for protection money, like how it is now. What we do is we report to police and then tell all this to the reporters!” and everyone looks at him like what the hell he is saying as he explains “Report to police means yo go to your local magistrate and reporters is like.. you paste the notices telling everybody his bad deeds on the wall everywhere” and everyone looks at Mister who sighs and is probably too polite to tell Shun to shut up as he says gently “I am afraid this sir doesn’t understand the political situation here. The magistrate is controlled by these men and the Laus have a lot of people who can easily tear away these notices..” and Shun suddenly feels stupid as the villagers ask “Mister Wo Lung, what do we do then?” and Mister says “Well let’s all have lunch and then we can think of a solution” and Shun says “But you can’t have lunch now! You have to think of a way. These soldiers, they are just soldiers, surely they won’t want to die for other’s cause. There must be a way” but everyone disbanded and Shun was like “Lunch? All he can think of is lunch?! What a loser!!” and Kan says “We all trusts Mister Wo Lung. He has always helped us and he will find a way” and Shun dismisses that as he snickers “Yeah right.. and hey a man’s gotta eat when he gotta eat right? Wait… Wo Lung.. isn’t Wo Lung the name of Zhuge..” and Kan says “Yes Zhuge Liang, he is our village’s wise man” and suddenly Shun changes expression and was like rushing to Zhuge Liang and shakes his hands eagerly as he says “You’re Zhuge Liang? Can I call you Kungming? More intimate that way! Wow you’re even more handsome in person!! I am your biggest fan!! Why don’t we have a drink? We can chat!” as Zhuge Liang looked at Shun and politely declined and walked away as Shun smiling happily says to himself “I met my idol Zhuge Liang!! Wow, he is so chok chok chok!!!”
TVB, those Raymond Lam chok jokes is getting old. Anyway I like this Zhuge Liang intro and I like how he looks at Shun like he is undecided what sort of guy this strange man is and is too polite to say to Shun “Nahhhh you are wrong!!”.
The army of Lau Biu’s 2nd son march into the village and suddenly Shun sees the villagers letting them take cart loads of food and Shun was like “But… why are you giving away the food?!” and everyone says “Mister Zhuge says to give and we will listen to him” and Shun was like “Surely my idol can’t be that cowardly to let the bad guys win?!”
We then see the armies eating fruits at the orchard when they saw some half eaten biscuits, trampled grass and a fire starter (those olden days bamboo stick used to start a fire) with the word Cao etched on it. The general confronted the village headman who excitedly says “Yes the Cao Cao army has been here to check on us and they’re ready to invade us. When we know you’re coming sir we are so happy! Because you can save us from the Cao Cao army!” and the generals went back and decided to leave pronto because they don’t want to be used to fight Cao Cao and Cao Cao has bigger army.
The village headman celebrated this event as he says “They didn’t take much food as well! Thank you to the wise strategy of our Mr Zhuge, thank you!” and so we find out Zhuge Liang advises them to create a false scene of Cao Cao army at the village knowing no army would want to confront Cao Cao army just yet. Suddenly Shun was all smiles as he says “I knew it!!” as Zhuge Liang credits Shun’s idea that no soldiers want to die for another person’s cause and Shun edged himself next to Zhuge Liang trying to share the limelight as the village headman says “Since it will be your wedding sir, take all the food as our wedding gift!” and Zhuge Liang politely declines and Shun thinks to himself “My idol is getting married?”
Zhuge Liang is drinking with his 2 other friends whom I am sure are famous people in their own right when Shun barges in with 2 bottles of wine to see Zhuge Liang and to celebrate his impending wedding with a drink. Zhuge Liang and his 2 friends are not too happy to be disturbed since they are talking politics but too polite to decline and so Shun goes to them and as he hears Zhuge Liang talks about Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, he says loudly “Ahhh three great men! Guan Yu the brave, Liu Bei the benevolent and Zhang Fei, a bit too brash but his heart is in the right place” and Zhuge Liang surprised says “My friend, you seem to know a lot of politics” and Shun says “Of course!! I even know strategies is the way to win a war!! Like Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War!!” and everyone looks at him strangely and Shun says “Oh yes, Sun Tzu has yet to happen..err well I have my own strategy.. the HK Men 18 methods!!” and he went on to recite the 18 methods, the one ending in begging much to the wariness of his 3 guests.
I was like isn’t Sun Tzu and his Art Of War like BC whilst Three Kingdoms is like AD? So I checked online.
Sun Tzu = 722-481BC
Zhuge Liang = 181-234AD
Unless Art of War was not discovered until AFTER three kingdoms, which I doubt TVB is that microscopic in its historical facts, I will say TVB got the historical fact wrong in the sentence that Zhuge Liang would not have known Sun Tzu or rather Sun Tzu was AFTER Zhuge Liang’s time. But did Sun Tzu really write the 36 Strategies or Stratagems? I see here that says he and even Zhuge Liang were credited but neither was the true author. Anyway I remember Shun mention Sun Tzu, Art of War and the 36 stratagems.
Clarification: What Shun means in his inner monologue is during the 3 Kingdom period, 36 stratagems still does not exist. So, when Zhuge ask him what is 36 stratagem, he said “oh, my 36 stratagem came from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, plus and minus a little”. So, my conclusion is, Sun Tzu’s Art of War already exist and Zhuge also knew about Sun Tzu. But, the 36 stratagems has not yet exist (Kidd)
So what Shun is saying is Zhuge Liang would not have known about 36 stratagems which has yet to exist although he thinks Sun Tzu Art Of War contains those Stratagems. Which means the mistake is still there because Sun Tzu is BC and if Zhuge Liang knows about Sun Tzu and Art Of War which Shun says contains the 36 stratagems, then Zhuge Liang being a learned man would have known about Sun Tzu, Art of War and 36 Stratagems which existed since BC and Three Kingdoms to me is considered pretty late in history as in AD. That is if you believe 36 Stratagems was written by Sun Tzu.
Oh never mind. Since I don’t see Cao Cao sons in the cast list, historical accuracy is not important.
I love this scene though. Because I can see Zhuge Liang was too polite to decline Shun’s invitation to drink and all. Anyway after he left, Zhuge’s friends say “Your friend Shun seems like a smart man but his views are all nonsense”.I bet Zhuge Liang agrees!
Shun sees Kan making a new shoe for himself and Kan says it is because of Zhuge’s wedding, he needs to look his best. Shun finds out Zhuge is marrying the daughter of a rich man and happy for his idol, he volunteers to help with the wedding.
Wedding day, Shun helps to deliver wedding stuff (I just can’t recall what’s the name for it; dowry?) and discovers the bridge connecting two lands are broken. The “mui yan poh” is not very happy as time will be delayed and Zhuge’s future in laws are very strict on timing and all. Shun who doesn’t want his idol disappointed for the first time actually thinks of a way; they will have to walk around the mountain BUT things are so heavy, they may be delayed for 2 hours. At the in laws’ place, they’re not that happy when right on time Shun appears with the dowry in cartloads and shakes their hands and proclaims himself “Buddy of Zhuge Kungming!”. The “Mui Yan Poh” took a long time to explain about the 4 main prayer stuff she brought, like 4 bottles of wines, 2 coconuts, etc when in actual fact Shun’s idea is to bring the prayer stuff and the empty boxes on the carts so that things are not heavy and they can reach on time. Meanwhile Kan and some villagers will carry the real stuff to them and put them back into the boxes. Zhuge Liang will not be embarrassed and Shun saves his idol from ridicule.
In the mansion, Shun chances upon Zhuge’s future wife, Yuet Ying (oh so this is Kaki Leung?) and he finds out she is rather plain and she is also very sickly. Even Yuet Ying herself says to her servant “I feel like I am a fraud. Mister Zhuge is such a handsome capable man, capable of greater things but I am plain and sickly. I am afraid I will only bring him down” as her servant says “Miss, you’re smart, educated, wise and considerate. He is lucky to marry you!” but it seems Shun agrees with Yuet Ying as he says to himself “My idol is marrying a plain sickly girl? Nooooooo”
At night before the wedding I think, Zhuge thanks Shun and Kan for their help and praises Shun for his great idea. Shun smiles happily and then says “Errr.. Brother Zhuge, if I may say…” and Zhuge says “If you have something to say, please do not hesitate” and Shun says “Have you ever seen Miss Yuet Ying? I have and she is rather plain…” and Kan says “We never see our wives until the wedding night, it is a marriage arranged by our parents and we must honour it” as Shun says “Yes I know but you know, you will soon play a great role in this war and be a prime minister” and Zhuge looks at him curiously as Shun says “I mean you have the capabilities to contribute to this great war and surely you want to marry a prettier wife…” and Zhuge says politely “A man should seek to marry a decent woman (“suk lui”) and should not place emphasis on other unimportant elements…” but Shun says “Ok ok, she is sickly too. She is very sickly” as Kan tries to stop Shun as Zhuge’s face darkens and he says sternly BUT politely “My brother Shun, I thank you for your concern. But this is my private affairs and perhaps we should leave it at that”.
I bet Zhuge Liang wanted to punch him then. I know Shun meant well but he was very insensitive the way he said it.
Wedding night and Yuet Ying sits in the room alone waiting for her husband and she too feels she is not good enough for Zhuge Liang. Meanwhile Shun losses his bet with every generation who plays some finger game with him and he got seriously drunk. By the way this is such a funny scene!! Can’t describe so when you watch do not miss this scene where he losses to even a child! Anyhway he is so drunk he rushes to nearby room where Yuet Ying is and says very loudly and insensitively “My idol can’t marry a plain ugly girl! She is sickly too! She is not good enough for him! I must stop the wedding! I must!!!!” as Kan carries him away but Yuet Ying hears everything and silently cries.
Oh that Shun!! That jerk!! How could he? I know he sees Zhuge Liang from a viewpoint of a fan looking at his idol and we all want our idol to marry the most beautiful girl on the planet. But he was so insensitive. I am sure if Zhuge Liang was there he will smack Shun on his head with his hand held fan!!
Anyway Zhuge walks into the room and removes the head cloth and sees Yuet Ying crying and he asks “My dear Wife, what is the matter? We are married now and you can share your troubles with me so that I can help you..” and Yuet Ying says gently “I am afraid I am not good enough for you. I am plain in looks and weak in body and you’re handsome with enough wit in you to be great someday. You’re meant for greater things. I am afraid I will only bring you down. You won’t want to spend your days looking after a sickly wife…” but Zhuge sat down and gently touched her hands and assured her “You’re my wife now and I only wish to marry a decent woman such as yourself. Please be rest assured, I will not regret this” and finally Yuet Ying smiles a little as Zhuge Liang looks at her with gentle affection.
Love this scene!!
Idiot Shun wakes up at night with a hangover, not that I care. Jerk! He looks at his handphone… I forgot.. earlier he receives an SMS from his sis dated 3 days after he left HK. So he experiments, he sends an SMS to his sis, he figures he can’t send to his parents but somehow he can send to his sis. This night he receives a reply from his sis who says she believes his story about him stuck in the past and will consult her professor on how to bring him back to present. Shun is filled with hope. Yeah, and he is still a jerk for what he almost did to Yuet Ying.
Morning and Shun goes to town as Kan tells him he almost ruined Zhuge’s wedding night. Anyway he sees a whole lot of people gathering around a group of people and he walks up and he sees 3 very familiar faces as the leader who is fair and noble looking says in a very distressed voice “How I Liu Bei can consider myself a leader of my people if they have to suffer for me?” and suddenly it hits Shun as he thinks to himself.. “Oh my gawd! Lau Bei!(and we see Liu Bei up close), Cheung Fei (Savio Tsang in a lot of beard) and Guan Yu … that is Guan Yu? But … he is so short! Oh my gawd… I have just met these 3 historical figures… oh my gawd…”
This has got to be one of the funniest tonight as he sees Guan Yu and he goes he is so short. So funny!! I guess that is why the actor was chosen. Often reality is different from the stories passed down through generations! I too assume Guan Yu is tall and muscular but at least he is red and all that!
Anyway what will happen after? I wish for some preview but there is none. Shun has now met the most important people in the Lau Bei camp. I wonder how he will react when he meets Cao Cao? I am however excited about Sun Quan!
I have to say, episode 2 is even better than episode 1. There are a lot of modern lingoes but thankfully they blend well with this episode’s dialogue. Kenneth Ma doesn’t disappoint and he is still funny with his expressions which thankfully is not OTT but is dangerously so. I hope he doesn’t go overboard but his reaction to meeting his idols and all are apt. All I can say is fans of Kenneth Ma will be excited about this series. I was worried how he can shine when he is surrounded by so many actors. Well the most famous side actor so to speak is Raymond Lam. The rest are veterans or less famous so the attention is not taken away. Plus Raymond plays a serious straight faced Zhuge Liang and so Kenneth being the more expressive comical one still has the attention. But seriously, the script revolves around Kenneth’s Shun. So frankly, to me Kenneth is the leading man in here. Everyone else is supporting actors.
That being said, Raymond Lam shines as Zhuge Liang. I already like Zhuge Liang very much but I worry that Raymond will play him like a dork, like in Mysteries Of Love. The trailer seems to suggest that as well, like he is the smart nerdy naive dork and all. BUT when he appears in this episode, his character is not a nerdy dork but a polite wise man. Half the time he looks at Shun like Shun is some strange weird guy. Whilst his 2 friends sort of mock Shun in private and you will see Zhuge agrees, he doesn’t mock Shun but rather views him with a bit of apprehension. He is not sure who Shun is as a person; whether he has integrity or not. I like the scene where Shun oversteps the boundary on what is decency when he tells Zhuge about his plain and sickly wife and I like how Raymond handles that scene; his face darkens but he is still polite but very sternly said what he said to Shun. That to me shows Zhuge Liang has personality and a decisive mind. He may be quiet and gentle and polite but he is also stern and strong and is a decisive man. His stable constant politeness which is sometimes teamed with an eye which says more than that is a direct contrast to the immaturity of Shun and I like the contrast. I know fans of Raymond will be worried that Kenneth will steal his thunder since Raymond has to be so serious but like Kong Wah in Journey To The West, Dicky Cheung may be overactive noisy monkey, but you will always notice the quiet dignity of Kong Wah’s monk and so the same for Raymond Lam; his Zhuge Liang is a gentleman and I like that. And I pray will continue to be so. I just hope the writer won’t make Zhuge Liang so innocently dumb and naive so as to make Shun look smart. I like the fact that Shun is stupid. Because it shows he will smarten up later on.
Everyone else is ok. However I don’t find Kaki Leung ugly though so I don’t see why Shun says she is plain. I personally feel Tavia Yeung is plain as well but I remember the trailer has Shun says she is a babe. In fact I find Sharon Chan wrongly cast as the beautiful wife of Ruco’s Zhou Yu. So I don’t see why Kaki Leung is plain. But then Raymond Lam who looks rather fine in here is of course supposed to be very handsome so I suppose any pretty girl that is less stunning will look plain next to him. Oh and for Raymond’s look, I like it. After all Zhuge Liang looks that sort of way although the goatee is a bit too fake looking. Maybe back in those days there are gel for the beard. As for the 3 actors as Lau Bei, Zhueng Fei and Guan Yu, no comment as yet. But interesting that TVB chooses often seen veterans in these important roles. Right now I won’t say miscast but perhaps a more prominent veteran would have suited these roles better. But then that would take the thunder away from Kenneth and even Raymond. Moreover TVB lacks such prominent veterans so I guess you make do with what you have.
Except for the very major historical fact boo-boo, this is one funny episode. Are you watching this series? No? If you have the same fears as mine before I started, right now at Episode 2, things are still witty and smart. So my fears is still far far away. And I am beginning to love Raymond Lam again and I hope he gets to play an angry Zhuge Liang later on. Poor super calm and cool Zhuge Liang needs that. But please TVB, can you stop with all these chok jokes?
This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://3kingdomsrpg.blogspot.com. Kidd also contributed in fact-checking this Episodic Thoughts.
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