Captain of Destiny <張保仔>
TVB Series 2015
Cast: Ruco Chan, Grace Chan, Tony Hung, Maggie Shiu, Ram Chiang, Elaine Yiu, Joel Chan
Disclaimer: 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 apologize if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.
“I should be the one thanking you. You will know why later”
I am very confused over the start and the end. This series starts with I suppose a short intro of future scenes which you may not even see in that particular episode and the last scene ends with a scene which I suppose is the coming soon episodes but still may not be the next episode. It feels like going way into the future and yet no idea when we will get to see those. Had me scratching my head. And I am also confused why introduce a typical boyfriend story and go like speeding bullet train and end all in one episode to show her vulnerable side when seriously the problem with Tai Mui is she has so many aspects to her character and none too well developed. Like touch and go. Not a bad thing but it feels incomplete and at 2nd episode TVB has broken its record for taking its time to reach the main point. Also this episode builds up the myth and persona of Cheung Po Tsai but every time I see Tony Hung I just go, “Miscast.. miscast..”
So bear in mind, episode 2 and still modern times.
The episode begins with… future episode? Or a revelation of another aspect we did not see from previous episode? Because this time we see Bowie is the guy in black on rooftop aiming his gun at Tai Mui. Yeap, he’s the bad guy. And he is at Cheung Chau drawing for a specific reason; he was mapping the place. Why? You will see!!
Bowie took Sonny to the vet and guess who’s the actor? The guy who left medicine as practising doctor to go to TVB to play all sorts of doctors, this time a vet. Poor guy. Talk about typecast. Anyway Tai Mui was there and the doctor made a remark that they can date all they want but try not to use the dog as a tool (Tai Mui fed Sonny sushi and causing poor Sonny to have major diarrhea problem). Tai Mui tried to explain no no she is not with Bowie, Bowie just smiled and in the end Tai Mui said she already has a boyfriend.
Enters Sam, super handsome, super successful Senior Inspector working under the super secretive G4 unit, whatever that is. Yes, Sam is her boyfriend and she is tasked with showing him around. Yes Sam is played by Matt Yeung. Poor Matt Yeung; typecast as the boyfriend of the lead character. He is either the good boyfriend who dies early or the bad boyfriend who breaks out leading lady’s heart. Guess which is him?
Meanwhile Tai Mui is shown the store room of the police station, at the basement and her boss told her when renovating the place they found a treasure trove of Qing books and all since the place was a former temple razed to the ground. There is a book on Cheung Po Tsai and Tai Mui thought he is just a myth.
I just googled Cheung Po Tsai and I got the following results:-
and many more.
Oh Cheung Chau is named after him! So why does Tai Mui thinks he is a myth when she has that handy Ipad like device?
Her boss said no he is real and so she read from the book about Cheung Po Tsai was an orphan kidnapped and then adopted by another famed pirate who later anointed him as his successor and he was at one time the greatest Chinese pirate. So Tai Mui asked what happened to him? Her boss said depending on which version you read..
I just googled and Wiki and many similar sites say similar things;
“Cheung Po Tsai was active along the Guangdong (Canton) coastal area during the Qing Dynasty. His followers are said to have reached 50,000+ and his fleet said to have possessed 600 ships. His piracy mate was Cai Qian and the two worked together until Cai Qian was destroyed by the Qing government, making Cheung decide to surrender. Cheung Po capitulated to the Chinese government in 1810 and became a captain in the Qing imperial navy, receiving the rank of navy colonel and an appointment in Penghu, far away from Hong Kong. He spent rest of his life helping the government fighting other pirates.”
Since Qing Dynasty isn’t so far back and since they do keep records, why did the boss say there are many versions? Guess why! I know why, if synopsis is true but I won’t reveal here, just yet. Oh you go read Wiki you will know. Silly isn’t it. He was real and he was made to sound so uncertain, so myth-like. I think the real man is interesting enough without being made into some myth.
She also found a genealogy book and inside her family and a portrait of a very beautiful woman named Chu Shuk-gwan whom she later found out from the same book was her great great whatever grandfather’s wife. This she shared with her sister.
Meanwhile we have a side story of how Fu Ma bullied Tai Mui’s sister, etc but Tai Mui’s sister didn’t want to leave him since what other options can she have? She is not as educated as Tai Mui, never left Cheung Chau, a small town girl.
COME ON! Give me a break! Have Tai Mui take her sister out of Cheung Chau for a day! It is not like Cheung Chau is some remote area hidden away and all that. Sam was shown inspecting the island in anticipating of arrival of a very important secret person and every picture he took got loads of people in it! And what about the sister living a fulfilling life ALONE? Sorry I had to roll my eyes. Cliche! CLICHE!
But Tai Mui confronted Fu Ma when she found out he merely brought her sister an antiseptic cream when her sister burnt her ankle a later. They argued and Fu Ma threatened to leave the wife until the sister cried to Tai Mui to mind her own business. So Tai Mui left angrily but softened when she saw her sister limping looking for her. So they reconciled and Tai Mui said she can never hate her sister because her sister saved her life. Her sister forgotten the incident when Tai Mui was 6 and playing in the sea when suddenly a errrr topical cyclone/water cyclone was formed and Tai Mui was so scared she couldn’t move and her sister grabbed her and hide inside some concrete barrier. Her sister said people said such cyclone means Cheung Po Tsai has arrived to steal another man’s bride and we have obligatory scenes of Cheung Po Tsai doing that even though I am not sure those are imagination or just to show us. Why not NOT show us and avoid confusing us all like WTH just happened? Anyway her sister was curious why the cyclone was coming towards Tai Mui and suddenly changed direction and Tai Mui laughed and said she actually was so scared she peed in her pants and her sister laughed that Cheung Po Tsai wouldn’t want a bride who peed in her pants!
Ha ha. Can we move on?
And yes indeed. Sam was doing research on various locations when he saw Bowie on a rooftop drawing and he demanded to see Bowie’s drawing which Bowie refused until Tai Mui tried to smooth things to say Bowie is a friend and so Bowie let him see the drawings and it was various detailed location of Cheung Chau, hence my conclusion he was scouting. Clever! And suddenly Sam stopped and saw Bowie’s drawing of Tai Mui and Tai Mui froze and Bowie looked guilty and I would too if I did such an ugly portrait. Anyway Sam angrily left and Tai Mui ran after him and explained she and Bowie were merely friends but Sam seemed angry.
No worries, conflict will be solved very soon.
Not long later Sam and Tai Mui saw each other and Sam joked and so all was ok and Tai Mui asked Sam when are they getting married since she realised she was truly in love with him and Sam said he was thinking about marriage and she happily rest her head on his shoulder but he looked… fishy.
Poor Matt Yeung.
He was at the cafe and Bowie was nearby when Fu Ma dropped by and basically we find out;
a. He loves visiting prostitutes in China
b. He lies to Tai Mui about going to London and even bought her Harrod’s chocolates when actually he was in China
c. Fu Ma will never tell Tai Mui but wants in on the fun and so they both enjoyed sexy pictures of Chinese girls on Sam’s laptop.
Bowie heard all that. Meanwhile Tai Mui was looking at restaurants with discounts for wedding packages and her sister was there and was very happy her sister may be getting married. She turned and saw Bowie and Bowie didn’t mince his words.
“Have you known him long? (Yes, 4 years, he was her senior at cadet school and he took good care of her and he was her first boyfriend) Ahhh first love, no wonder. You might want to rethink your.. (she thought Bowie was trying to confess his love to her)… whether he is the man for you because maybe he isn’t and that got her attention, She found out the truth from Bowie and went to the station to see Sam.
Sam was emailing his boss and the man he will be protecting is the dot com billionaire (again) and the boss sent him some password and access code. And imagine this; same laptop he used to see sexy girls! WHAT? Well he received an email and indeed, new “stock” for him to examine and was happily seeing when Tai Mui knocked and he half closed the laptop and she basically asked about why supposed chocolate from London has a bar code meaning it was bought from China? I forgot his answer and he was called away and damn man, such important info in his laptop, password and all and he didn’t even shut it! For whatever reason Tai Mui took the laptop with her and met with Bowie at the cafe and she saw the contents and rushed inside the toilet to cry her heart out and scolding herself for crying since it wasn’t her fault. Conveniently Bowie took out a pen drive and inserted into the laptop.
It takes a huge leap of suspension of disbelief to believe that Bowie knew she was coming back with Sam’s laptop and all that. I was like scratching my head furiously. So convenient.
She came back, stopped crying and she thanked Bowie for telling her the truth, if not she would still be living under some illusion. That was when Bowie said my chosen quote and we all know why he said what he said. And he said he hoped she will wake from the nightmare and Tai Mui said she will wake up. Basically she had thought things through.
Sam was looking for his laptop when Tai Mui returned and it was a weird confrontation. He admitted the prostitutes but termed them as stress relief activities and he blamed it on his job and on Tai Mui who for 4 years refused to have sex with him so he had to relieve his needs somewhere and he said surely Tai Mui herself used the services of Bowie. She promptly slapped him and ran out, couldn’t believe he could twist the facts and blamed her instead. He ran after her and tried to persuade her to forgive him since they had 4 years together when out of the corner she saw a young girl walking and asking for direction to the police station and she angrily said to Sam someone is now looking for him and he looked over and said to himself why is she there, how he is gonna avoid the talk of marriage now. That moment, Tai Mui knew the full scale of his deception. He explained that girl is only 17, a nice girl, he had to marry her if not she will be forced to go back somewhere remote and Tai Mui angrily asked what about her feelings and Sam said since Tai Mui was always so independent, she didn’t really need him all the time. Tai Mui wanted to leave when Sam now panicking on how to explain Tai Mui’s presence to the girl said to Tai Mui since they’re most certainly breaking up, why not think of some story together as parting gift and Tai Mui promptly kicked him between his legs. She left and turned and saw how he went to greet the girl lovingly and hugged her.
She sat alone on some big rock on the beach and wondered what happened, what went wrong, why Sam was such a jerk. She looked pensive until she saw some people wave boarding? Some water sport and suddenly she turned cheerful and stood up and she seemed to know that person and screamed her name, waving wildly.
Next episode? Don’t have preview but Tai Mui was on the board and cyclone took her back to the olden days.
Wait. Are we shown the many possibilities she could be transported back in time? I am confused.
Anyway, interesting episode but cliches and confusing start and end.
Performance wise, I really feel sorry for Matt Yeung. Not only does his skin looked terrible in HDTV (oh Wallace Huo, so apt to be SK-II spokesperson!!), he is now THE BOYFRIEND in every series. Question is whether good (and die) or bad (and live).
No comments on others as many are still untested, Ruco included.
Grace however.. I like the girl. She can act, raw but potential is there. But HDTV is just too cruel to me as the viewer because looking at her hurts my eyes. Not because she is so thin but because she is so sharp features it hurts. Eyes way too big, lips too thick and camera just love to close in on her and she is a pretty girl but HDTV is making her features like a knife slicing my eyes every time I see her. Too sharp! Camera, back up a bit please! And I feel sometimes her expressions is OTT when it shouldn’t be.
As for Tony Hung, poor guy. Series is building up his myth and so when you do see him, believe me, you are in for a disappointment. So far no legend of Man Ho yet.
You know, Cheung Po Tsai’s true story is interesting enough for a proper story, and not this hybrid.
Don’t get me wrong; am enjoying what I am seeing but again I won’t be rushing to re watch the first 2 episodes like I will with other better series. Once is enough for me.
This commentary is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com and was originally posted at www.p2e-cod.blogspot.com.