Funn’s Note: The following are not episode recaps but are ramblings and torrents of disbelief for The Confidant <大太監>. All merely personal opinion.
There is this awesome scene from Kang Xi Di Guo/Kang Xio Wang Chao (http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Kang_Xi_Wang_Chao) (starring Chen Daoming as Kangxi) where his eunuch, Li Dequan made some mistake and Kangxi wasn’t very pleased, but not some murderous emperor, anyway he asks Li Dequan a question;
“Do you know how you will die in future?”
And Li Dequan was baffled since he was young and not very sharp and he was like “Errrr Your Majesty… I.. errrr…” and the Emperor whilst looking for his book answered sharply;
“Ni hui ben si” aka “You will die from stupidity”
It was a funny scene! And as I watched the sorry life of Seung Hei, An Dehai and gang, I suddenly remembered that scene and my feeling is everyone who will die and did die in The Confidant died from their own stupidity.
Thank you to Kangxi for highlighting the obvious!
And so here I am, continuing with this post with a bit on the single most emotional moment so far in The Confidant (and it is nearing its end) and that is the death of An Dehai and how in the end everyone in The Confidant dies because in some ways from their own stupidity or others’ stupidity. In An Dehai’s case, it was not by his own stupidity. I predicted a whole lot of things but two things I never thought of:-
1. An Dehai remained true to himself and died in my eyes a true man, balls and all.
2. The cause of his death in a large part is thanks to people he cared about and who brought about his sorry end. And one of them his good friend Yiu Seung Hei and the other his benefactor whom he loved/hated and admired and respected who hurt him most when she insulted his perfect Siu Chai and yet comforted him when he cried for Siu Chai’s death, and that is his master, Cixi.
After I saw episode 25, I felt so disgusted with Seung Hei. For the princess and thinking if eloping with her, he betrayed An Dehai. And guess what? He lived to tell the tale. I mean what does Seung Hei have to do to actually die? He eloped with the princess, he aborted the princess’ unborn child without consent and now, the best of all, he told a white lie; he accused An Dehai and Cixi of a sexual adulterous immoral affair and yet, here he is, alive, well, crying and blaming himself. One of the best scene of Episode 26 was Sam Shun who even reprimanded his uncle Chan Fuk for his evil deed and Lianying who lost his best friend and brother An Dehai could not believe their eyes and ears when Seung Hei tried to justify himself. A scene worth recapping because I clapped at Lianying’s logic.
Seung Hei who after telling them that he bought back Dehai’s manhood and buried him with it was given dagger stares by both Lianying and Sam Shun frustratingly and with a tinge of anger says; “Lianying, what would you have done if it was your Sin Yung who was kidnapped? What would you have done?!” and Sam Shun angrily says with his trademark opener as in “Aiyah!! That doesn’t mean you can betray your friend!!” and Lianying angrily says “I would never have betrayed my brother and telling such a preposterous lie!! Poor Dehai! He already had his manhood cut off when he was little, now he had his head chopped off and his naked body humiliated by being hung at the wall for all to see!! I’d rather Sin Yung die!” and Seung Hei almost smirked as he said “You’re saying this because you’re not in my shoes!” and Lianying says “Yes I mean what I said! I will rather Sin Yung die than to frame my friend! And I will kill myself as well, so that I will not be a threat! I will never do what you did!” and I was clapping as Seung Hei looked shocked at Lianying’s reply and he knows Lianying will do what he said. Seung Hei defeated says dejectedly “I know what I did was wrong. After I have saved the princess, I will kill myself to redeem for what I did to Dehai”.
Seung Hei, does it matter then? Dehai is already dead. DEAD! D-E-A-D! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! And it is YOUR fault, you spineless, ball-less, hairless piece of crappy trash garbage bacteria virus disease unfit to be called a human being!
And guess what? When the Princess confessed to Seung Hei she no longer loves him, she actually loves her dead husband (which is why she wanted to keep the pregnancy and Seung Hei thinking much too highly of his manly charms thought she loved him still-oh and yes, also because Cian lied to Seung Hei about that love part as well), he was so angry, he shook and shook her body until she fainted and when Tim Sau said “She’s dead?” and Seung Hei was so angry with hateful he said with venom “If you so want to be with your dead husband, I will let you be! Join him in hell!” and he left. Wow, what a piece of work this Seung Hei is. And I suspect, even till the end he won’t die. So far, Lianying and Sam Shun is treating him like a pariah. GOOD!!!
But the true cause of An Dehai’s death is also in part thanks to Cixi. He was to be sentenced for corruption charges, the affair part was ridiculous eventhough Tongzhi believed it for reasons I am not sure why except he saw An Dehai hugging Cixi’s legs and crying as Cixi gently patted his head. That looked more motherly and lover you know what I mean? Anyway Cixi needs to save her reputation and so she asked An Dehai to do something which he agreed. That something was screaming at Cixi saying “You know want to abandon me? After you used me during your lonely nights and now you cast me aside? I am a real man! I served your needs and now you kick me out! You despicable wanton woman!!!” and even before he was beheaded he was screaming the same thing. Then his naked headless body was hung on the city wall for all to see, that he is an eunuch so where can there be any sexual affair? Why An Dehai did what he did was because he felt he owed Cixi; he knew he was dying anyway. Might as well save Cixi who was wronged in this instance. Cixi knew it was Cian’s doing by the way and Cian knows she knows and she doesn’t care.
I have been dreading An Dehai’s death scene and it was quite underwhelming. I feel the writer could have stretched it a bit and show us An Dehai’s body on the city wall as well. Also perhaps a private scene of Cixi crying for An Dehai’s sacrifice. She did loved him like a son. All these were missing so there was no emotional punch. I am also disappointed Lianying did not vow to avenge An Dehai’s death but rather sought permission to leave the palace and join Sin Yung which Cixi permitted. I feel Lianying is so passive. But I suspect, as he leaves the palace with determination in his eyes, he is out to find a way to avenge for An Dehai’s death. Lianying can’t just leave and then come back to save Cixi. It wouldn’t make dramatic sense. Or maybe Lianying is THAT passive. If that is so, very very disappointing. Sam Shun meanwhile remains in the palace and remains as the only other character (other than Dehai) to remain dignified despite being from the enemy’s camp.
A side note on a few episodes ago about the fate of Siu Chai. I was wondering what will happen to Siu Chai when Dehai dies. Well, writer solved the problem by suddenly turning Siu Chai into a slut and then have Tim Sau to kill her and her lover off. The sudden bravery (in a way he was brave even if evil brave) of Tim Sau in killing people and his sudden association with Chan Fuk was… sudden. No rhyme nor reason, no explanation, just suddenly Siu Chai = slut, Tim Sau turns murderous. At least Seung Hei got some explanation. I was disappointed at this sudden turn of events for drama sake. I was really hoping to see that emotional side of Siu Chai crying as she sees An Dehai being executed, vowing to stay true for him and him alone. I was convinced theirs was a good love story. Unfortunately this series wants to drive home a point that even if eunuchs want love, they can’t get love since they can’t satisfy their woman and so there can’t be love with sex and there can’t be sex without that missing tool. Total and absolute BS! I hate what the writer did to Siu Chai. It was unbelievable, it was too sudden.
So far this series is more passive than aggressive. More people should be dying and yet no one is. An Dehai’s death is the first true “yuen on” (wrongfully convicted). And he remains the only character from start to end that is somewhat well developed with some emotional changes and personality changes but apart from that, he remains largely a positive sort of character.
The rest remains same old same old.
Performance wise, Michelle Yim has moved up a few leaders but thanks to the non existing writing for her character in this episode, she seems more inhuman than human. I find her rather too subdued, considering she was accused of having sex with her favourite eunuch and she did beg Cian to let Dehai go and Dehai ended up dead in such a horrifying way. She should be more angry. In private maybe throw a cup or something. But she is still same temperament.
Wayne Lai had more emotional scenes in here, and he handled them well. The scene where he questioned Michelle why she let Dehai died was a good scenes, you can see his hunched back and yet he is daring to question her but he understood why. He just wanted to know whose idea it was for what happened to Dehai, was it hers or Dehai. She answered “Does it matter?”. Maybe to Lianying it does.
Raymond Wong actually did very well in that explosive scene of vindictiveness with the Princess. He was ugly! Very good performance as well in that grave side confrontation scene. But oh how I hate Seung Hei! He has got to die a terrible death. And since he plans to die in the end, why not he takes a knife and stab Chan Fuk and Tim Sau and then die?
Power Chan basically is the bystander throughout and although he starts every sentence with AIYAH!, it doesn’t feel irritating or old. He also has the honour of being the one character that is from enemy’s camp who is honest with everyone and remain good. Quite an interesting situation he is in!
Raymond Cho is the star of this episode. Although his death scene could have been so much more, he died with integrity and honour. I love his last scene, as he screamed about Cixi being slut and liar and all, the moment before his head was chopped off, he looked down a bit, became sorta quiet and faced his imminent death with dignity. He truly made An Dehai a very masculine character even if An Dehai is an eunuch and in history is really darn corrupted. But he made me sympathise with him, even in Siu Chai’s matter. I understood his desperation and his willingness to forgive Siu Chai. He changed my opinion about eunuch being sissy and all. Sam Shun is a tad sissy. Even Lianying is a bit soft with perfectly manicured eyebrows. Seung Hei is a scumbag, he doesn’t not count. And here we have An Dehai, looking manlier than them all. Even in death, he faced his death with fortitude. TVB has brainwashed me into thinking An Dehai in real life must be that good! Of course I know all these are fake stuff. But truly, Raymond Cho deserves a gong for his fine performance. If a less competent actor is cast as An Dehai, the effect may be different. Ruco Chan was invited to act in this series and my feeling is he was offered the role of An Dehai. He would have made An Dehai more suspicious as to where his loyalty lies but no doubt he would have given a manly interpretation to An Dehai. What is great about Raymond Cho’s interpretation is his An Dehai is upright and righteous in his own way. Yes he is corrupted but he is not maliciously mean like Chan Fuk. He is a go getter and ambitious but he would never betray his friends like what Tim Sau did. He is also susceptible to love but he won’t for love throw away reason like what Seung Hei did. In a way he is Sam Shun except more serious, less silly and much manlier. He is brave, he stands up for himself, even in death it was in a way by his own rules. A fantastic performance even if the writing for An Dehai falters a little in the middle. The Confidant without An Dehai will be very different because everyone is either so desperately stupid or so cowardly passive. An Dehai represents that proactive gutsy guy and Raymond Cho is the embodiment of THAT An Dehai The Confidant shows us.
Oh An Dehai, I shall miss you so!!!
By the way raise your right hand if you are one of those who have called The Confidant as The Confident. I swear my Engrish is dam powderful somedimes.
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