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.
“What makes you think I am a good man? Do you really think you can judge a man’s character by his looks? I am where I am because the society outside does not accept me.” – Scholar Suen
I seriously can’t remember much of this episode. It just felt like lots of things happened but just so similar. But I do remember Grace being rather angry-scared-ecstatic-insane. That sort. I am afraid her Mui and Man Ho is not destined to be together since she will go back to modern times, since she is like arguing a lot with CPT so that means she will end up with CPT and modern Bowie will either die or be arrested by her. We shall see!
Anyway they all looked at the approaching ship called Black Ship I think.. anyway captained by Captain Wong Yi aka Eric Lee aka the real CPT but TVB won’t let him have the role. CPT and WY are not on good terms, they are rivals and WY is angry a young good for nothing could outperform, out stage and outgun him whilst CPT wants so much to defeat WY but problem is WY is his senior, his adopted father’s sword brother. Anyway CPT refuses to give up his loot aka the ship and happily runs to Mui and tells her today is her lucky day as she gets to witness a momentous occasion; he orders for all Qing soldiers’ pants to be pulled down and Scholar Suen to write his beautiful calligraphy on it. Basically the soldiers are forced to flash their bums at WY which write something like “Get lost, won’t share loot” or something like that. WY is deeply offended whilst Mui is busy screaming hard at the sight of naked men. For a modern girl, she is a prude. Well she is still a virgin by the way from what Sam says. So it figures. He goes to her happily and asks if she is enjoying the view and she looks at him angrily and whilst grinding her teeth promptly declares him as the most vile human being and he is happy to accept that as he warns her he will have more for her. And she is dragged below deck but when no one is looking, she grabs some can in her bag and throws into the fire pit.
WY orders his men to fire the arrows, one narrowly missing CPT and Mui is shocked as she is dragged down. But CPT is cool about it and cheekily smiles at WY and says he has a huge cannon and he fires one at them. WY is alarmed and hides behind his advisor when CPT is about to fire again when BOOM! The can exploded, his own ship rocked and the cannon split into half. They are all in shock and CPT realises it is Mui’s undoing and he swears to kill her when WY happily drags his own smaller cannon and ready to fire. CPT is advised to pretend to surrender but they know WY uses the same trick anyway. So CPT refuses to surrender and instead sails for Cheung Chau where he hopes there will be heavy mist or fog that will cover their traces and so they go but too slow, gang goes to throw stuff off board as CPT orders them to throw all useless things overboard. They see Mui and Scholar Sue has small talk with Mui. Mui asks why is he following the pirates since he seems educated. Scholar Suen looks at her and says;
“What makes you think I am a good man? Do you really think you can judge a man’s character by his looks? I am where I am because the society outside does not accept me.”
She doesn’t quite believe that. Anyway as they are moving the stuff, a notice flew onto her direction, she catches it and she is shocked to find out it is Qing Dynasty. So she asks as she is increasingly panicking;
“When am I? What year is this?”
Scholar Suen and his fellow pirate thinks that’s a funny question and says it is Kahing Rule Year… I can’t remember? Was it 18? 12? Sometime late into his rule. Mui falls back shocked, no no she says, it can’t be…
WY chases after them and notices the Qing soldiers still alive in the water and he looks exceedingly shocked. Why? We shall know later.
There is fog, covers them well but not too well yet when WY chases and releases cannon balls non stop and it hits CPT’s ship hard. She overhears they’re at Cheung Chau but when she looks outside, she can’t see anything familiar with Cheung Chau and she panicks and falls back down crying no no no can’t be no way…
“I…. I have traveled back in time? I…. I …. am in Qing Dynasty? No No Noooooo!!! I want to go back to HK!! Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”
Grace went overboard here. It was painful to watch.
WY continues to bomb them, CPT ship continues to get hit, Mui continues to scream in fright and in the end all men fell into her cage, wondering what happened. CPT sees her and angrily demands to know;
“I told you all to throw all useless things overboard. WHY IS SHE STILL HERE?!”
Well she isn’t pleased and sarcastically says;
“You call yourself Lord Of The Seven Seas? You call yourself a great pirate ruling the Seven Seas? And you can’t even beat one guy! Look at you now! Lord my foot!”
CPT wants to strangle her but the men stops her and bombs continue and then he thinks;
“YEAH! Why not we stuff her full of gunpowder and attach a stick into her ass (dialogue didn’t say that but I interpret it as such) and light her up, float her over and let her explode on his ship?”
And he is congratulating himself for being such a genius when Mui wonders, gunpowder, bomb… in modern times in I believe episode 2 Inspector Leung did say they found some ancient water torpedo from that era and she wonders could this be it? She quickly tells them her plan and since they can’t think of any, they let her do it. She puts gunpowder into wooden boxes, attaching an incense into it but not yet touching inside. And lets them float on water, letting the current to take the boxes to WY’s ship. CPT looks at her and warns her if it doesn’t work, he will use all methods of Qing torture on her and she confidently looks at him, sure that it will work. So they sit inside the heavy fog and wait.
The boxes bumped onto the ship, pushing the incense inside and BOOM!! So they know it works. More boom sounds and WY suffers heavy losses.
And so CPT survives another day and reaches Cheung Chau I think, never knew Cheung Chau was pirate land. THey cover Mui’s eyes since she is not one of the members of the community and well, the places looks impressive.
It is a town of its own, with markets and such and when everyone hears CPT has returned, they all ran and hide except for an old lady. CPT is angry that they all hide and makes him feel unwelcome. Old lady says of course, that is because he has played tricks on everyone; like putting bugs in buns, etc etc etc. Mui feels disgusted by what she heard and CPT pours cold water on the old woman, shocking her and all Mui could do is to look at him like he’s a monster. He then drags her with him and she screams her way to the main hall or whatever.
Meanwhile the Qing soldiers reach the beach and try to figure where they are when they see an old scarred woman afar tending to some graves and 2 approach her for direction when suddenly, she turns and promptly slashes their throat. She then kills everyone and a knife was thrown and it plunges into the eye of the 2nd rank official but she lets him run away, for a reason. And that old woman is Maggie Siu.
Mui is told she can’t leave and they’re trying to figure out who she is but she tells them the truth and they won’t believe. King Kong, one of the pirate whose name I do not know delivers the punchline;
“She speaks English. I recognise the sentence, THIS IS AN ORDER. That’s English for this is an order. I know since I worked on a western pirate ship before, I learn English, that explains why my Cantonese is so bad”
I thought that was a funny line. So he concludes she is a foreigner, especially her clothes. So he will speak to her in English and if she replies in English, confirms she is a foreigner.
They approach her and King Kong says “A man and a pen, a pen and a men..” sentence and she asks in English “What are you talking about?” or something like that. And they go..
“AH HA!! YOU ARE A GWAILO!!!”
She is like WHAT?! and she says no and CPT says she is probably mixed, so mommy must have played hooky with a gwailo and got her! She is angry but she thinks to herself;
“These Qing people are so simple minded. I might as well go along with their assumption of me”
and so as she is tired of explaining she admits she is a mixed. And so CPT demands to know what are the stuff in her knapsack, like the hand phone and then he pulls out her gun and she says smilingly let her have that and she will show them. He gives it to her and she promptly fires the gun towards the roof and they all run out scared and hiding, realising it is a gun! But CPT says;
“Wait! Western guns only fire once before it needs to be reloaded!”
and so one man says he will take her on and runs in and then 2nd shot and he runs out and panicking says;
“Isn’t it supposed to be one shot?”
and CPT says;
“Well, it can’t be more than, even for the latest version!”
and one volunteers, run in and bang! runs out scared and dazed why is there 2nd shot and CPT or gang says now it can’t be 3 shots and so asks for volunteer and they all applauded CPT’s loyalty in volunteering when he didn’t and so he is about to rush in when a guy came and says WY is here demanding for his head in from of his adopted father and so he rushes out and ordering them to make sure she goes nowhere and all 3 men look at him leaving and sigh…
“Loyal man huh?”
Outside at main hall, WY accuses CPT of many things like rudeness, insubordination. He mentions I believe 15 years or is it 12 years ago, the seven seas was a mess and Qing easily beat them until they united under one banner of seven seas and appointed CPT’s adopted dad as leader and now they have become so powerful even the Qing is afraid of them. But CPT is dragging them down and the old man refuses to believe that and challenged each other to a duel but the old man is so old he can’t even hold his heavy sword anymore when CPT arrives and holds his father’s sword together and says why use this great sword on such a small matter and so old man puts down the sword. CPT argues with WY over their issues; WY accuses CPT of recklessness and rudeness, CPT says WY is a coward, waits until they all beat the Qing and only then appear to take credit and demand half the loot so CPT refuses to back down. Old man is on CPT’s side and WY is very angry. And then his assistant reminded him something and WY looks at CPT and says;
“When the Seven Seas Society was first formed, we sworn an oath on the pain of death that if we ever encounter any Qing army, we will kill them without hesitation, did we not? This is so because they have made us suffer, lost our families to them”
Old man agrees and WY delivers the main crux of his argument;
“But your beloved son not only did not kill any of them, he lets them go!!”
Old man couldn’t believe as WY says;
“I see now how you are going to protect him after what he has failed to do!”
Old man is speechless, CPT agrees he did let them go and is in a bind when his adopted mom, played by a vibrant Maggie strolls in and CPT rushes to him and whispers luckily she is back in time and she whispers of course, she has to save his ass each and every time and WY greets her, with gritted teeth and says how now she is going to justify his actions and insulted her that she is just a woman even if she is the leader’s wife. She says;
“What? He didn’t tell you? I was supposed to wait for the Qings at shore and to kill them all, he will lead them to me and I did slaughter them all except for the leader whom I let go so that he can tell everyone what we did as a warning!”
WY demands for proof and she throws him a small sack, he opens it and inside are eyeballs!! He throws them in disgust if I remember correctly and she declares;
“I cut their eyeballs out”
and CPT’s adopted father declares CPT did not break the oath and demands for wine as celebration.
He pours for everyone,gives one to CPT and one to a very dissatisfied WY and makes them drink the wine and they drink and he gives one to his wife, thanking her for her hard work and she drink and he invites everyone to drink when Mui runs out, gasping for air, everyone holds their bowls mid drinking and she takes the bowl from the father thanking him and drinks fast and then whilst breathing hard, looks around and sees she is to her horror surrounded by pirates who are as shocked of her as she is of them.
Last scene, perhaps future scene, we see a fierce sea battle between two ships and Mui running scared and crying;
“Why is this century so violent? Why did I return to this blood soaked time?!?!?!?”
and scream and wants to go home to HK and last we see, she is in ancient clothing, like a pirate, as in eclectic style.
No sign of Man Ho yet.
I forgot to add somewhere in this episode, earlier on, her phone rang. YES! It did!! It was her sister and she was so happy that she declared;
“Wow, sis could call me? More expensive data plan is indeed way better!” and was about to take the call when CPT knocked her out cold.
Story wise, tonight was ok. I am ok with the flow and the story. What I can’t stand are these;
1. Grace Chan overacted many many many times. But considering this may have been her 2nd or 3rd series, she is doing well. Better to overact than to underact or be wooden or basically can’t act at all. She has potential but she needs to tone down or the camera needs to pull back or she needs to gain weight or all 3 at once. Painful to watch, literally and figuratively.
2. Tony Hung is ok as the goofy guy but when he threatens her, I feel nothing. He is ok as a pirate but as CPT, he is an absolute miscast. If this is the start of the legend of CPT, maybe but since Qing army has targeted him, he is probably at his height and so Tony Hung has no charisma, no angry presence, no nothing. And he talks lazily, hardly threatening or commanding.
3. Eric Lee is great as the angry commanding Wong Yi until he is shown as a wuss which is a pity. Why downgrade him just to upgrade CPT? Why can’t WY be as ruthless and all but in the end losses out because he isn’t a good guy with a purpose? That can be a differentiating factor. I am sick of making the bad guy look bad by making him having major character flaw borderline pettiness just so to make the main guy look great.
4. Maggie Siu is too young to be Tony Hung’s mom. Maybe elder sister.
Other than that, you know what, it is ok enjoyable for what it is but looking deeper, it could have been much better. On a good note, the CGI is looking good, the sets are good, the costumes are good, the pacing is also good.
Still deserve a watching chance.
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 1
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 2
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 3
This commentary is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com and was originally posted at www.p2e-cod.blogspot.com.