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.
“You said I listened to one unworthy servant’s side of story to make my decision. Well, didn’t you also make your decision based on the words of two unworthy servants? I am unreasonable? So is each of you! You (Yim) used your position as my imperial father’s favourite concubine to get what you want. You (Fok) too used you position to assert your authority on others. And you both (Hon Yung & Tung Suet) bullied others and act like you own the others! Why should I be reasonable to the likes like you who are unreasonable as well?” – Man Ho
For most of the time during these 3 episodes. That’s my reaction. I am beginning to be annoyed with everyone, Man Ho included. And at episode 12, Mui has yetto meet Man Ho. It is like we know the pre ordained ending when series doesn’t even bother to develop the relationship between our hero and heroine early. These episodes can be summarised as men getting angry, pirates going cute and the women breathing hard, like in labour. And some serious mistake perhaps and obviously a scene showing what is no longer in existence for I suppose 10 long minutes. I didn’t clock the time since I just fast forwarded and I missed nothing. Whilst Man Ho and Mui are match made in heaven with their propensity to talk very loudly, Ruco and Grace are so apart in terms of acting skills eventhough in episode 11 Ruco did go OTT a lot. And maybe TVB doesn’t like to count but where is 100000 sailors? In short, a lot of head scratching. Summary; I like some parts most of the time but some of the time I just wish the series get on with it and a few times I wish this series never existed.
Ok, we have plenty of heavy breathing by Ha Sim but none is sexy. So Shun takes her and says she will protect her when guess whose here? Yim! Yim turns and basically says to Ha Sim;
“Don’t you even realise who is you mistress? So why make life difficult for Concubine Shun since I am your master and you should be clinging to me for help”
When Fok comes running in with the gun pointing onto her head, Ha Sim is scared and clings to Shun and Shun warns Fok and then says to Yim;
“Sister, since you once said I was kind to you when you were my servant, perhaps it would not be too much for me to ask you for a favour to help Ha Sim”
Yim looks at Shun and says perhaps the bitchiest speech thus far;
“And you dare to remind me of that? Don’t you get it? I am now the emperor’s most favoured concubine. Maybe you once was but that was ages ago. Your beauty has faded, your face is nothing but wrinkles, age has betrayed you and to the emperor he no longer finds you sexually alluring. You are nothing but a dried up old prune and so why should I even give you “face”? Why should I help Ha Sim just because you said so? Ha Sim. Don’t you know who your mistress is? Who you should be begging to spare your life?”
Poor Shun is horrified to hear the reality and so shrink away and Ha Sim, not very smart so her intention is simply to survive, goes to Yim and Yim looks at her and smiles a little as she looks at Fok and says;
“Here, take her. I have no need for her. Do whatever you want with her”
And Ha Sim is shocked that Yim pushes her to Fok who then drags her away but bumps into Man Ho who sternly looks at tearful Ha Sim and deliveres a stinger;
“How long have you been in my residence? Look how much trouble you have caused me”
Very cruel things to say to a very scared girl. Yim sees Man Ho and basically warns him not to interfere and this is none of his business. He smiles and says sarcastically;
“Do you even think I will bother with a mere servant? Why should I eh?”
“Remember what you said! You said you will find her and deliver her to me to avenge the death of my son!!”
Tung Suet and Hon Yung both chimed that she did it, she pushed the kid, got evidence, etc etc.
Man Ho looks casually at all of them and says;
“Ha Sim, what really happened? Can you still speak up for yourself? Speak girl!”
Ha Sim says tearfully;
“My lord, I swear, please believe me, I have nothing to do with the young boy’s death!”
Man Ho looks at her and smiles and says;
“There it is! She has denied any involvement. Ok Ha Sim, go back to the kitchen and make me the fatty pork now. I am famished!”
Ha Sim was confused and shocked and then realised Man Ho was protecting her.
I don’t even think Man Ho cares whether she really did it or not. He is just happy to piss off Yim. Of course anyone with any sense knows Ha Sim did nothing.
Yim says angrily;
“11th prince, you better not go against me. Get away from this now and don’t make me your enemy”
Man Ho smiles at her and basically says he really doesn’t give a shit what she thinks and Fok cries;
“You are letting that bitch murderer go! She killed my son!! You can’t be that unreasonable to protect her!!”
And this is where he said my chosen quote. But Fok doesn’t care and he raises his gun and Man Ho nonchalantly slaps away his hand holding the gun and says;
“If you want to shoot her, shoot me first. Do you dare to shoot me? Can you face the consequences? Go on, shoot… SHOOT!!”
Fok doesn’t dare. And Man Ho just takes Ha Sim’s hand and walks out of the door but… Man Ho, isn’t this your house? Anyway they walk away and Yim says;
“Sigh….you can’t even avenge your son’t death”
Fok being so angry takes the gun and says he doesn’t care for the consequences and rushes out and points the gun at Ha Sim’s head and even Man Ho stops and did a double take when Fok says he doesn’t care, he will kill the bitch when Eunuch Lai happily rushes to Man Ho, doesn’t even bat an eyelid why these people are frozen and there’s a gun involved says to Man Ho;
“11th prince!! 11th prince!! Great news! The emperor has approved your plans and has granted you the emperor’s robe!!”
Everyone is shocked and Man Ho is so overwhelmed, he stroked the golden robe and almost in tears and he says;
“With this robe, no one can punish the wearer for even the worst crimes…”
and he dramatically takes the robe, spins around and places it on a shocked Ha Sim and says;
“From this moment onward, no one will be able to hurt you anymore”
as Ha Sim looks at Man Ho like he’s her god and Fok is so overcome by his emotions he basically vomitted blood.
Poor man. But he got the wrong person.
Oh so dramatic!! But Man Ho should have asked for the imperial sword for what is to happen later.
We get some flashback of the emperor signing the edict and stern warning where basically Man Ho must win the war if not he will be punished with death because he has lied to the emperor and disgraced himself before his entire ancestors. Really heavy stuff. BUT I wonder, if no one can kill him if he wears the robe, technically if he fails no one can well.. kill him unless it is the emperor wielding the imperial sword!
Where was I? Yeah so Man Ho declares war on pirates and set sails and he is so exhausted he is asleep as Ha Sim sits next to him to ensure he is not too cold and is excited of the voyage ahead.
And now we shift to the most pointless half of episode 10, that is the pirates.
I don’t want to recap the waste of time and nonsensical scenes. I mean what is the point of having cutesy scenes of everyone interrogating Kiu on her supposed affair when it is just Yat having sex with her in the temple? What is the point of Yat revealing that the 9 dragons pearl is not the huge golden one on the altar but what is hidden in it? That he believes in the power of the 9 dragons as many years ago he was losing to the best Qing fighters when cyclone appeared and something flew towards them and slashed them. So Yat reveals dramatically what is inside the pearl box; a motor from the motorboat. Mui laughs hard and feels how silly of these ancient people believing in such stuff and then she asks why it is called 9 dragons pearl and Yat pointed to some words on it and in English it says “Kowloon Motor Factory” or something like that and in Chinese it says “Gau lung” and the rest he can’t understand and so he names it Kowloon dragons pearl and everyone is in awe of the contraptions and somehow Mui thinks she can use that motor to return to modern time. It if uses battery, it won’t work anymore? And Mui never wonders so she is not the first to travel back in time but anyway the rest of the series have everyone thinking Mui is in love with CPT who obviously likes her and .. you know what? Spare me the torture. There’s an impossibly long and pointless 10 minutes underwater scene of Mui marveling sea life as she rightly points out modern HK no longer has all that SO WHY SHOW US WHAT IS NO LONGER THERE?!?!?? They swim and swim and swim and I was like what on earth is going on? Is there a quota to bad CGI scenes? Then they had hotpot with lobster and all and I was like when is CPT meeting his long lost brother, Man Ho? And then there’s Mui declaring her love for Qing and that it is not so bad and everyone thinks she likes the era because of CPT. And all along we have Mui who speaks with an English word in every sentence she utters, when in modern times, did she even utter a word of English?
And help me!!!! Grace was god awful OTT in most of her scenes that I feel like… help!!
It gets worse.
Anyway all you need to know is Mui declares she is not interested in CPT who then insults her physique who then regrets it who then waste my time with nonsense until thankfully back to Man Ho now at… not sure where but his ships are parked. He greets the two camps (since 1 follows him) and I believe one speaks Fujian, the other teochew and they hate each other and laughs at each other and Man Ho is so disappointed at they lack of discipline or even good equipments and uses some words that I feel no prince will use and he solely blame Fok who arrives to shout at Man Ho to be careful with his words and then tells the men to disperse but none dares as Man Ho says whoeever leaves will be court martialed (DEATH! THROWN OUT OF STATE!) and why is it winter dress but the sun is so hot and still Man Ho is wearing fur? Anyway Fok insults Man Ho to say he is just talk the talk but not walk the walk and Man Ho says he will stand in the sun until the sun sets with ALL the men. Remember 100000 men? Looks no more than 30. So they stand and stand and Fok and Hon Yung also stands and one by one faints and carried out and still Man Ho is stubborn…
Man Ho should just relax.
Meanwhile we have a pointless scene of Ha Sim cleaning rooms and listening to soldiers complaning about Man Ho and about Man Ho insisting on staying with the soldiers in some terribly inadequate accomodation full of mosquitoes when he could have stayed in big mansion and then how she is so concerned she prays to Ma Tzu I think and asks for rain and rain it did but so heavy when Man Ho thinks the Heavens is trying to defeat him and Ha Sim cries to Ma Tzu I think to ease on the rain and it stops and Siu Fu declares Man Ho has beaten the heavens and finally he lets them dispers when Fok has already left pretending to be faint and his one subordinate looks at him like WTF and Man Ho says whoeever is still standing will shares the 3 months salary of those who has fainted who is punished for that reason and everyone rejoice and Man Ho is pale when Ha Sim runs to him with an umbrella unaware that rain is no more and Man Ho is kinda touched and Man Ho complains about the unpredictablity of the weather when Ha Sim whispers it could be her fault and Siu Fu laughs and says now even Ha Sim thinks she can control the weather and well…
my hand hurts from the typing.
I don’t get why Man Ho is so insistent on being super harsh or we are shown Ha Sim being rather ignorant and not helpful at all. Don’t worry; it gets worse.
Fok doesn’t get why the “rabid dog” or direct translation is “crazy dog” but he means worse than crazy. Anyway he doesn’t get why Man Ho doesn’t want to stay in such a comfortable mansion.
Will we at some point get to see Fok actually at peace with Man Ho? Will we? Can’t we?
He swears to make life difficult for Man Ho and make sure Man Ho fails in his mission and Hon Yung says he has an excellent plan.
Man Ho is discussing on plans of attacking the pirates and wants to focus on CPT who is the emerging huge force in pirates when he decided let’s hit the lessers ones like Wong Yee when news come to him that two camps are fighting. He rushes there and tries to stop the fighting but he himself falls in exhaustion as he is sick and our villains laugh. Man Ho finds out it must be Hon Yung who did the poking and instigation and that man has no talent except his mom is from one province of one camp and his father from the other and so he can speak both Fujian and Teochew and only he can unite both camps and Man Ho doesn’t want to use him when he isn’t well and faints and doctor diagnose him with MALARIA!!!!
Man Ho doesn’t want to go back to the palace where the medicine is there and so prefers to manage the disease hoping it won’t flare up but the stress is not helping and so he remains bed ridden.
And at that point I feel like this series is taking forever for Mui to meet Man Ho and forever for Man Ho to start fighting the pirates. Now he is bedridden. Oh dear, when oh when? Worse is to come.
Man Ho refuses to rest. Stubborn fool! And yet he doesn’t want to ask Hon Yung to help with maintaining peace with two camps. So suddenly we have this impossibly idiotic scene where Ha Sim goes to Fok and Hon Yung to beg Fok to help Man Ho. Stupid eh? And Fok slaps her, pushed her and basically says;
“Ok, I will help him on one condition. You repay my son’s life with your life”
And well, she obviously doesn’t want to die. And weird is later Hon Yung sees her at night at some alley and she is carrying a lantern and walking in such a happy bouncy way, I was thinking is that the same girl who just begged Fok who tells her to go to hell and why she walks like she is going shopping happily? Hon Yung follows her and basically tells her he can help only if she gives him what he wants; molestation in the street and one scene is censored and next we see her being pushed to the wall. A flashback later shows he grabbed her arse so why bother to censor? So poor girl keep mum as the guy says quite succintly Man Ho needs him, so what can she do if she is molested eh? Nothing.
Later Man Ho refuses to entertain the idea of Hon Yung who is proposed by Siu Fu himself and poor Siu Fu gets slapped hard by Man Ho and Man Ho not a tinge of regret saunters off to bed and swears to get better fast so that he can solve the problem and Siu Fu is on his knees, his ego hurt and he is crying.
Is there a reason to show Man Ho so impossibly stubborn? If that slap leads to Siu Fu betraying him, I guess I understand that scene. I feel Man Ho is such an unlikable man and not even a gentleman as opposed to CPT who is supposed to be the uneducated one but he never slaps his subordinate and make them feel small. Man Ho can learn from CPT about earning respect, treating his man as equals and all that.
I forgot what happened but in the end when Man Ho hears how Ha Sim begs Fok and all he realises he needs to ditch his ego and asks Hon Yung for help. So he summons Hon Yung who sees Ha Sim praying, goes to her and basically feels her up and she could do nothing.
Please dear lord, how much more of this idiotic nonsense of “poor Ha Sim sacrificing herself for Man Ho” when the best would be her taking poison, dying in front of Fok and doing exactly what Fok wants her to do?
Anyway Man Ho asks Hon Yung to attack the Black Flag’s island and Hon Yung agrees. He sees Fok later who says how dare he agrees, wanting to reap the fame and glory for himself and Hon Yung says he knows Wong Yee won’t be on his island so he will just capture a few old ones and consider that job well done. Fok then tips him and says he knows why Wong Yee is not there; he will be in I think Guangzhou holding a wedding to marry 6 concubines at once. Woahhhh!!
And why Man Ho doesn’t know? He has no spies?
And so we shift to pirates on a ship with usual gang except Yat attending Wong Yee’s wedding and Mui comes along and they don’t get why she is there and later we see CPT rowing her to the harbour and says she is free to go and gives her back her bag (didn’t she already got her bag back earlier???) and so she understands and walks away and then realises she needs the cyclone and if she leaves pirates island now she can’t go back so she runs to the harbour and screams for CPT faraway in his ship and waving for him to come back and it is like the longest screeching ever and CPT and gang thinks she is so joyous to leave them she is waving happily goodbye and CPT is so sad he just closes the window and sails away and our heroine screams and screams and screams and I am like HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why is everyone raising their voices today?
First Mui is screaming or acting cute in an annoying way!
Then there’s Man Ho being god damn stubborn and screaming as well!
Then there’s Ha Sim and her heavy breathing and idiot things she did!
It seems like only CPT seems normal!
Anyway worse is to come.
Mui remembers something and happily runs and we have the obligatory scene of her marveling at the markets and comparing it to modern HK markets.
Our gang is at Wong Yee’s wedding and there are 5 brides sitting in the room and they replace the 5 brides as they let them go. So we have men dress in women’s wedding dress and they joke how Kiu chooses the best one and is so happy wearing her wedding dress when she looks sad and they shut up as she says;
“When I was taken and had to marry Yat, it was such a rush we never had a wedding. In fact we consummate soon after without a proper wedding.. well.. who cares about such useless tradition anyway!”
And they console her by saying she looks great, she is beautiful, Yat was so eager to consummate the marriage since she was so beautiful he never bothered with tradition…
Seriously? She was kidnapped! She was forced to marry a man twice her age! And he was in such a rush to RAPE her! And tell me, is that cute? Is that romantic? Is that even remotely funny? I don’t get it! It was pretty clear what she meant. How crazy is the logis here?
They suddenly remember there are supposed to be SIX brides and now there are only FIVE and so one is hidden and finally a new character; Mandy Wong looking demure and somewhat lovely so yeah, we see Mui’s great great great great whatever grandma. She escapes, Wong Yee enters and can’t do a thing since only 5 brides and he must marry 6 plus his actualy 1st wive to make 7 so that it is good feng shui for his battle to be the lord of 7 seas against Yat. So they go in search and Mui bumps into Mandy whose name I can’t remember and she saves her and suddenly sees her birth mark and remembers that her g.g.g.g grandma and when Mandy says her life is bad because she got orphaned when her parents die from disease and then her uncle took her in and her aunt bullied her and then chased her away when she is accused of seducing her uncle and her uncle gave her some money where she met Wong Yee who made her gamble her money away and then forced her to marry him and she doesn’t want to and so she goes and change her clothes when dear lord, she is kidnapped, AGAIN! So Mui goes to save her as she fears Wong Yee, surnamed Wong may be her great great great great great grandpa and CPT recognises her voice but refuses to reveal himself and still underneath the head dress and Mui takes Mandy away only to have Mandy sort of cynically freaks out when Mui says she is helping because Mandy is her great x 5 grandma and Mandy suddenly takes a knife and holds it to Mui’s neck and says since she is insane anyway, might as well they switch places and they change clothes with Mui tied up as Manday confesses;
“You fell for my story didn’t you? (Demure voice) I was orphaned when my parents died from disease… well I wanted them dead anyway, they were so damn poor they had no right to bear children and make their children suffer! (Demure voice) My uncle took me in and my aunt accused me of seducing him… well I did and that fat bitch found out and kicked me out! (Demure voice) My uncle gave me some money .. yeah like as if he did! He wanted to have sex with me more, that’s what he wanted that miser! (Demure voice) I was forced to gamble… I did not. Wong Yee bought me from a prostitution den. I am worth more than what he paid!”
Yeap, grandma is a female scumbag. So she runs and Mui is taken since Wong Yee likes her the first time and doesn’t mind. On the stage for the wedding CPT recognises her voice and basically Mui claims she is CPT’s woman/lover and so Wong Yee can’t break the code of brotherhood and claim her for himself. Other pirates also agrees with what Mui says but Wong Yee says since CPT is not here, he will take Mui for himself and Mui screams ;
“CPT!! SAVE MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!”
And CPT is smiling happily because he thinks Mui means what she says and so reveals himself and fights Wong Yee in a surprisingly lame fight culminating in Wong Yee falling from 2nd floor and breaking his leg. And then he hears announcement of the return of Hon Yung and he hides and he sees his people, especially his advisor in carriage in chains looking defiant and he wonders what the hell is going on.
CPT teases Mui never to tease his heart that way and he confeses he likes what she says and Mui tries to explain when they hear the same commotion and they see the pirates and they observe even if they do not get along well with Wong Yee, there is still a pirates code of brotherhood and so CPT wants to plan something but Mui must go back to the island first and so she leaves AND WHEN WILL SHE EVER MEET MAN HO?!?!??!?!??
Man Ho is delighted to hear the success and even if Wong Yee is not captured, he is the chief no more! He also declares he never trusted Hon Yung and will transfer him away when his health permits and he is getting better and Ha Sim is most happy to hear that. Siu Fu asks what then of the pirates and Man Ho is bouyed by the success and says the pirates have been bullying the common folks for so long and since Fok did a bad job as an admiral here, he decides…
“We shall execute the captured pirates in front of the army camp here”
Next episode, FINALLY MAN HO MEETS CPT!!
I am too tired to comment on the acting. Too much typing. Just know…
1. Grace is a disgrace to her own potential
2. Tony ain’t that bad but he is no CPT
3. Mandy is ok but I am disappointed her character is another sassy one. Can’t she be demure and yet streetsmart?
4. Kelly is actually ok but I hate where her character is going
5. Lee Seng Cheung is fantastic
6. Ruco overacts at times too, like his expressions don’t measure up to the situation. But overall, thank god it is him even if I am disappointed with the Malaria, etc etc etc. It just takes forever for him to get somewhere and then a setback.
7. Elaine is not that bad but she is no concubine. She slouches and she gives me an impression she is not regal.
8. Too few sailors.
9. Too few advisors. In fact Man Ho needs an advisor pronto.
10. So many waste of time scenes.
Is there so little contents that they had to stretch it? And the logic defies logic. It is trying too hard to justify the pirates being ordinary folks. Yeah right! And I think what I fear most will happen; this series will go Bollywood.
Imagine Man Ho shaking his hips as he sings…
“I have to kill a pirateeeeeeeeeeeeee… but he is my bradderrrrrrrrrrr … oh ma maaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!”
God help me. What is TVB trying to do?
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 1
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 2
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 3
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 4
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 5
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 6
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 7
- Episodic Thoughts: “Captain of Destiny” Episode 8 to 9
This commentary is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com and was originally posted at www.p2e-cod.blogspot.com.