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.
“If you don’t trust me, father, then there is no longer any reason why I should undertake this great responsibility” – Man Ho
Episode 08 > Episode 09
But for Ruco himself …
I am very very very unsure what to feel about these 2 episodes. It is already episode 9, and our leading lady has yet to meet our leading man. The series is as if split into two different stories, with two different tones and none has any logic in terms of reasonable logic. It is frustrating to watch certain performances, difficult to stomach certain plot lines and so hard to understand the emphasis. I am not sure this series is a celebration of girl power or quite simply a reaffirmation the notion of male dominance. In short, I enjoyed certain parts and Ruco is giving one of his most explosive performance ever, but his lead co stars are really pulling him down and the story should have just kick out CPT and just give us War & Beauty part 3 because the palace intrigues dominates.
And why is it forever winter in Qing Dynasty in TVB world BUT the gardens’ all green and hot?
Recap, two episodes in one. So this might be a little bit longer than usual.
Episode 8 and I watched it just now and I already forgot the story!!
Basically it is some festival where everyone on pirate island is celebrating the event with kung ming lantern. Our heroine is wondering when the day will come when she can go home to her sister when she overheard someone entering the temple which is forbidden to women and to her shock, she sees our Sister Kiu and some unknown man doing something which she thinks as committing adultery. Sister Kiu has been feeling hot in the cold weather (probably post menopausal hot flashes) and so Mui thinks she is just horny, no other word to put it better. Mui begins to think of her as having loose moral. Oi, where are we? Pirates island! Where men marry women they kidnapped!
Anyway later in her room, Sister Kiu gives Mui some new clothings to wear for special occasion which Mui accepted after thinking to herself she will be leaving soon, so better to just be quiet and obedient. They had a chat and to my surprise, Sister Kiu was kidnapped too and forced to marry a man many years her senior. The way she said it was like nothing and she assimilated and over time is happy in her situation. Kiu feels a tad disgusted and even suggests Kiu may wish to find someone she can fall in love with and Kiu is disgusted she is seen as so loose moral. CPT comes in and is worried about Yat and Kiu promises if Yat dies, she will make sure he is buried in a mega way to honour him and Mui thinks yeah, maybe she does want her husband dead so she can find someone new since Kiu did mention just minutes earlier they may live in Qing and is moral, they are allowed to remarry once their husband die. Not so strict in that sense.
So strange, this logic.
Mui walks around town and hopes to go home soon and she sees everyone doing things like any ordinary people and Mui thinks to herself;
“Hmmmm these people are not so bad. They are no different than other ordinary folks leading ordinary lives…”
At this point I almost switched off the TV. I know it tries hard to get me to sympathise and empathise with the pirates but where is the logic? Most women were kidnapped from their ordinary daily lives, forced to marry a man they hardly know, raped perhaps, over time got so used to it that they just accepted their fate and in so earned a place in the pirate world. They also kill ordinary folks like ordinary ships, for their stuff. Does it make sense to you?
Before Mui leaves for the temple she writes a message for CPT in English and in Chinese writing “She commits adultery”. Not her place to say it, just saying. Prior to that she tries to tell CPT who is going for a bath and he strips in front of her (pants still on) and she promptly leaves as she cries “YOU ARE INSANE!!” or something like that.
D-day. Mui at the temple. CPT and father and gang arrive to make offering to the huge golden pearl and Mui sees a cyclone and so excited she drops her bag and in it, strangely a bottle of nail varnish that broke and drops into a cup of wine on the offering table.
She carried that knapsack like ordinary day out. I suppose we take tissue, whilst she needs to colour her nails?
Mui notices the broken bottle and says to herself what a pity, but luckily she bought it with a discount. Then she noticed from upstairs as she peeped down our men are shocked to see the wine changes colour to glittering red and Yat is about to drink it (“Old man don’t drink it! It will kill you! So stupid!”) and CPT stops his father (“At least one of you is smart”) and he volunteers to drink it to try first (“So stupid! I take back my word!”) and he drinks and immediately feels a burning sensation and stomach pain. Mui by that time is running into the beach and after the cyclone when she stops and turns back as she feels guilty for perhaps killing CPT (if she reads her Ipad, maybe she will know he didn’t die of poisoning perhaps?) and runs back. Our guys could only think of using incense to burn two acupuncture points to remove the poison since Lau Sing interestingly worked in the Shaolin temple before! The points happen to be at the groin area and poor CPT cries no nononono. Quite funny antics and then Grace ruined it all.
If anything marks these 2 episodes, is two women screaming a lot.
Mui enters and the men tries to push her out but she screams GET OUT OF MY WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY and they all got scared and stand aside and she basically did Heimlich Maneuver and he vomits the varnish and faints. She then does CPR and then she has no choice but to do mouth to mouth and the men are shocked at her boldness and CPT is ok and wants more kiss and pushes him away. Still in pain, she gives him dog’s medicine to cause diarrhea (remember the vet gave her the meds for Sonny the dog?) and makes him take it and runs after the cyclone. CPT feels red hot, since later we find out it is his first kiss and then the meds take effect and you can guess what happens next.
Sigh. This series is shooting itself on the foot. So am I to believe they kidnapped these women, not touch them until each is assigned a husband? So he is a virgin? What utter rubbish. At least show him sexually experience, that will make things very interesting.
Well.. cyclone gone and Mui lies on the bed of sand and is frustrated and then stands up and says;
“Mui, do not despair. There will be another chance. There will be a chance for you to go back to modern times to see your sister again. Never give up!”
And I was thinking, Mui, take out your mini ipad and just check when is the next cyclone. What is so difficult?
Oh dear, Grace was screaming almost at every scene, either that she is acting cute and pursing her lips. Is it necessary? Girl, whatever potential I think you have is quickly eroded by your god awful OTT acting. Mui is an ok character but Grace just isn’t giving her justice.
8 episodes in and we still have yet to meet some major characters or each meeting each other.
Anyway continue ..
CPT is in love with Mui. Yat feels even if he fails to benefit from the ceremony with the pearl, he gets to see something unusual; a woman saving a “damsel in distress” except the damsel is CPT, a man. The men are teasing CPT, saying she got his first kiss and does it mean Mui likes CPT since she was so bold and Kiu says not to mention unless he mentions it. And so he asks about Mui and they know he likes her. Kiu sees the lanterns and so writes her message of hope and it flies. CPT wants to write one to and so confiscated one from 2 young kids and writes his wish to marry before he is 28. He doesn’t want others to know but Mui sees him and is acting cute and all that. But she sees two goods in him; he is filial to Yat and he is not that bad a guy at all. CPT is very happy to hear her say that but she does clarify he was in pain because of her undoing. So CPT is so angry at the truth he wants to hit her and she says go on, so that she won’t owe him anything but he refuses, mumbling he hurts more if he hits her and then says since she saved him life, they’re equal. And Mui remembers her notes and rushes back, leaving CPT feeling rather sad at the turn of events when quite funnily, the kung ming lantern he lit fell in front of him and burn. He wonders sadly is the heavens also denying his wish?
Mui searches for the notes, nowhere to be seen. Young boys take it and lit it as lantern and off it floats into the sky as we see Kiu sitting comfortably in Yat’s embrace enjoying the view.
Then story switches to the palace and we have a 2 in 1 short of story except with Ruco, it is more buffet for me. What I don’t get is why oh why make his future wife such an idiot. I understand Mui is probably 24 or 25 and Ha Sim is probably 16 at most. But still… poor girl though.
Her first day officially at work and her boss got a huge scolding by the emperor. He comes home and then he is busy scolding Fok and I believe his name is Hon Yung (do correct me if I am wrong – the one eyed guy played by Stephen Wong Ka Lok) for giving no contribution but is snickering, laughing that yeah, other admirals and captains are ready with 3000 rifles lar, xxx ships lar, whatever and still they can’t do anything because no royal edict. Why the emperor doesn’t give the edict? We shall know later. So Man Ho refuses to let any of them eat or break for lunch until they think of a plan. Of course two men were arguing about this and Fok said he never ever let his men go hungry and Siu Fu wants to beat him up because that’s a lie and Fok says they agree never to mention the past, etc etc.. all very very juvenile.
Meanwhile Ha Sim is at the kitchen and notices her favourite, fatty pork and notices that’s food for Man Ho but the kitchen helpers warn her never to bring food to him unless he requests since he is busy and he is popular with being a stern boss who likes to scold people but Ha Sim is concerned for his health and so brings the food to him.
At the same time, Man Ho is at the height of his lecture about no food, think of a plan when Ha Sim rushes in and says happily;
“My lord, lunch! Eat first, you must be famished”
And Man Ho stops mid sentence and stares at her as Fok and Hon laugh themselves silly and 13th and Siu Fu are worried for her when Man Ho laughs and sarcastically say;
“You know what? You wanna eat? Go go. Haven’t rest? Never mind the plans. Go go”
And our two men leave laughing and Ha Sim still doesn’t get it when she brings him a plate of delicious food and Man Ho stares at her and promptly slaps the plate of food from her hands and told her to basically get lost and…
“Never ever show yourself in front of me again! If you see me walking by, go the other way! I do not ever want to see you again!!!”
Poor Ha Sim got so scared and scurried away and goes to the Guanyin temple and cries that she has offended Man Ho on her first day, that she is so stupid and slow. Just so happen future mom in law is there and likes her frankness and advises her that Man Ho may be strict but he is also very compassionate. Just that he is having a hard time and thanks her for taking care of him and for being such a good girl without any ulterior motive. She also likes Ha Sim because she can recite Buddhist scriptures and all and sees her having a pure heart. Ha Sim promises to be patient with Man Ho and to calm him down and serve him wel and Shun is pleased to hear that.
Meanwhile Fok and Hon are walking and laughing happily at Man Ho being upstaged by a simple maid called Ha Sim and Fok loudly says thanks to Yim for sending a maid as spy and how Ha Sim has actually helped him to give Man Ho his comeuppance. By that time Hon walks away to get transport when someone throws a … you know those tong that is used to spit in? Yeap, ewwwwwwwwwwwww. Poor man gets his head stuck inside and trashes wildly. The guy who does that is Siu Fu and he thanks Man Ho for letting him do that, as revenge. 13th wonders is that appropriate but Man Ho says he has longed wish to teach that bastard a lesson.
Kinda juvenile isn’t it, Man Ho? I never thought he will indulge in such pettiness.
Fok then bangs his head hard on some rock and the tong breaks. Oh it’s a porcelain. I thought it should be not porcelain? Maybe olden times is porcelain. His action that day will have serious repercussions later.
And so back to drawing board for Man Ho. Ha Sim just wants to serve him well and so brings him food again but no one is in the room and she puts the basket onto some documents which got stuck at the bottom.
Seriously dumb. What kind of maid is she to put stuff on top of documents? No other space meh?
She hopes to bring food to Man Ho, as peace offering I suppose when she couldn’t resist and took one piece of fatty pork to eat.
Why? Whyyyy? Whyyyyyyyyyyy? Where is the decorum? If you want a fictional series based on historical character with probably real decorum, go watch Bu Bu Jing Xin. That’s how servants behave!! Worse is to come.
She hears someone coming, that’s Man Ho’s voice and so she remembers his warning about not wanting to see her and so she takes the basket (with the paper at the bottom) and rushes out.
So why she brings food in the first place? Can’t she leave the basket there?
Man Ho sees her and remembers what Fok said about a spy by Yim and he wonders when he sees a missing paper and he suspects her.
You don’t ever want to see an angry Man Ho. Oh so man!
She rushes to some resting area at the gardens and notice something stuck at the bottom when an eunuch says Man Ho wants to see her and drags her with him and she feels very timid facing Man Ho who is eating loudly. She is very hungry and he notices that and asks;
“Are you hungry?”
And she says she hasn’t eaten since morning and he offers a fatty pork for her like she’s some poodle…
I can see what the emperor will say about Man Ho later.
“You can have this if you admit you stole from my room”
and Ha Sim immediately kneels and says she hasn’t stolen anything at all and Man Ho angrily pushes the plates off the table (oh such temper!!) and Ha Sim gets so scared she is trembling when Man Ho asks angrily;
“Give me back what you have stolen and I will pursue this matter no more!”
and Ha Sim is almost crying and says she doesn’t know what he is saying as Man Ho sternly asks again if she has lied to him and trembling she says;
“I… I stole a piece of fatty pork ..”
And Man Ho thundered that is not what he is asking and she rushes her sentence;
“Concubine Yim did ask me to spy on you but.. but I will never do that, I haven’t done anything to betray you! I am just a servant my lord, I have no choice but to agree to her request but I will never betray you, I swear!!!”
And Man Ho calms down a bit and says;
“You know why I chose you to be my maid? Because Eunuch Lai says you’re naive and is someone without any ulterior motives. You will pack your bags and leave! Get lost!!”
Ha Sim cries hard and holds onto his sleeves or something and begs;
“My lord, please don’t throw me out! If it is not me, she will still send someone else to spy on you! Let me stay! I swear I have not betrayed you and I never will! My lord, please!!!”
But he pushes her away and leaves and Ha Sim cries and the other eunuch who is there shows her now pity.
Poor Ha Sim. She may be dumb and all but she is right; better she is by his side where she will try to outsmart Yim by giving her false leads than someone else. Unfortunately I hate how dumb she can be sometimes when I was hoping she is more street smart and Man Ho is a bit too temperamental. Everyone is scared of him. Reminds me a bit of 4th Prince in BBJX except people respect 4th prince, not fear him only. I must add Kelly Fu did exceptionally well in this explosive scene. You never want to get into an argument with Ruco Chan! He was scary and Kelly was trembling at the right place, and suddenly she talks normal and not cutesy way and she actually seems better than usual! Why cutesy way of talking? Talk normally! And she was trembling so hard I would think she really is shocked by Ruco’s explosive performance in here. Great scene!
It is snowing and Man Ho speaks to his men on the ship and promises as soon as the emperor gives the edict, they will move out and kill pirates!! Suddenly 4 princes (or 3, can’t remember) appear and openly in front of everyone asks to split the funding for the expedition! So bold! Well there’s funding so why is the father not giving the edict? Well the princes did tease Man Ho about no edict. Man Ho sarcastically says well he will tell the emperor to give each prince a share so each can gamble away the money or seek prostitutes, etc. Siu Fu is happy to hear Man Ho’s retort. Then the eldest asks for Man Ho to give positions to 3 men he names and Man Ho smiles and tells Siu Fu to jot down their names and remember to NEVER EVER employ them in his service! Siu Fu gladly agrees. Princes got angry and leaves. However Man Ho knows he is in deep trouble. One admiral or whatever says if the emperor doesn’t give the edict by tomorrow, the snow will set and they can’t leave until snow melts and that is next year. Man Ho promises whatever and however he must convince the emperor to give the go ahead by tomorrow.
Why is the emperor jeopardising his own agenda?? Why?!
Meanwhile Fok brings his adopted son (handsome boy) to see Yim who likes the boy so much decides to spend the day with him whilst Fok rushes back to see our hero since he is scared of Man Ho’s nagging and all. In short, boy peed on Yim and she basically orders Tung Suet (oh still there!) to bring the boy back to Fok, wherever he may be.
At Man Ho’s place, Man Ho is again scolding them all when Tung Suet brings in the boy and Man Ho is pissed and leaves to see the emperor with the new plan. Tung Suet is tasked with taking care of the kid but she is busy flirting with Hon as the kid runs around wildly and we are ominously shown a piece of the broken porcelain on garden floor near the rocks, the same one which Fok breaks to free his head.
Ha Sim walks along the corridor with her baggage when she sees Man Ho walks by and ignoring her. Err Ha Sim you forgot to greet him! Where is the decorum?!?!? This is like the Curse Of The Royal Harem!!
Man Ho sees his father with his plan and for once the father likes the plan until he reaches one particular page and again he throws the book at Man Ho. Must be the same sentence than Man Ho refuses to change and now we know what;
“You are still insisting on this clause? That I shall grant you an imperial robe? So that will give you absolute power? ”
Ohhhhhhh!!! Imperial robe! Meaning if Man Ho wears it, anyone there must treat him like as if the emperor is there so basically no one can kill him. I feel it is essential since he will be commanding an armada of 100,000 sailors (urghhh so few) and he may need to subjugate a few corrupt ministers to get his way. In fact it is essential he is also granted an imperial sword so he can chop off any heads, except the emperor! But emperor clearly disagrees.
“With the imperial robe, you will be unstoppable. As it is now, you have been contacting and discussing on the naval plans with the other provinces as if I do not exist. You have overstepped your authority even without the robe, despite the fact I have yet to give you the edict to go ahead!”
Man Ho realises the issue, I think he already knows the issue and he slowly says;
“Father, I have no time to waste. I understand the importance of this expedition. Father, the naval army has to leave by tomorrow, if not all plans will not come to fruition!.Are you afraid I will betray you? I swear it I will never betray you or else I will be struck by lighthing!!”
Father isn’t convinced or so we think when Man Ho threatens saying my chosen quote and emperor states is he threatening him and Man Ho calmly asks for permission to leave and the emperor calms down and says;
“Fine. I will give you my decision. Go back and wait for my edict”
and so Man Ho turns and leaves as his father stares at him. I forgot who tells Man Ho that perhaps his strategy back there with his father might backfire on him but Man Ho says he will just have to wait for the edict.
Back at Man Ho’s residence, Ha Sim kneels to say bye bye to Guan Yin and asks for Guan Yin to bless 13th prince lar (he is the only one to show concern when she is hungry and all that), Shun lar for being so kind and also our hero. Shun so happens to be there and sympathises with her and Ha Sim swears she has never ever ever ever betrayed Man Ho and Shun tells her she took some papers and she realises the issue and remembers the basket and goes in search and finds the paper in the bushes but stupid kid takes it and runs and she runs after him and Fok sees Tung Suet busy flirting with Hon when argghhhhhhh and Ha Sim is actually elsewhere after she gets back the paper, dismayed that the paper is torn whilst the kid sees some bird, climbs up rock, falls onto the sharp edge of the porcelein and dies. Poor kid. Fok sees him and cries hard and Hon and Tung Suet lies and says Ha Sim probably killed the kid (never bothered to wonder why eh?) and Fok swears to kill Ha Sim and Ha Sim overhears and runs and road so big and she gotta kick some vase and they see her and runs after her. Man Ho intercepts and knows the son has died and angrily remind them where they are and not to act rashly and promises to find Ha Sim and asks Siu Fu to do it to give him an answer and meanwhile forces Fok to go back to the room to discuss as they wait for the edict. Kinda cold of Man Ho. Anyway Fok is forced to go back to discussion room.
Meanwhile 13th finds Ha Sim hiding and when he sees Hon with a huge knife, he tells Ha Sim to run.
At the palace, the emperor is considering his options. Eunuch Lai says;
“11th prince may be temperamental, he may be hot headed but he does give a good plan”
Emperor sighs and explains;
“Look at him now. Even without any power, he is already so hot headed and arrogant. If I give him this power, he will be even more arrogant and offensive to many”
Oh I see! The emperor is right and he is using tough love.
Eunuch Lai wisely says;
“Then perhaps this is the best chance to teach him a lesson in life, maybe crush his over confidence a bit”
So the emperor thinks they will lose? But 100,000 lives depend on this expedition, isn’t this a too costly way to teach someone a lesson in life?
Anyway emperor agrees and is about to place the chop chop when 4 princes rushing in and cries;
“Imperial father, we beg you not to give 11th brother the edict!! He is already uncontrollable without the edict, with this edict, he will be so arrogant, we will be bullied from now on!!”
Emperor is in a dilemma and Eunuch Lai sighs… so close yet so far. But he will chop lar, if not stuck for another episode and this series won’t ever move on, ever!
Back at the residence, Fok losses his cool and could not concentrate and when someone opens the door, Man Ho thinks it is the edict when it is Hon who says he couldn’t get Ha Sim since 13th let her go and Fok accuses Man Ho of siding with the maid and Man Ho thundered;
“Why would I protect a mere maid? I have already sacked her this morning!!”
And Man Ho asks for something from him and Fok is forgetful, as he is grieving and Man Ho is insistent (kinda heartless of Man Ho) when Fok losses his cool and says;
“WHAT DOES IT MATTER?! MY SON IS DEAD!! I WANT THAT BITCH HA SIM DEAD!!!”
I get his anger. What I don’t get is how nonchalant Man Ho is. I mean give that guy a break, he just lost his son! And true. Man Ho means it; he doesn’t give a damn about Ha Sim. He only cares about the edict. Anyway Fok gets so angry he takes the golden pistol on display and leaves to find Ha Sim herself and Man Ho who likes to be in control lost total control of the situation.
Meanwhile Ha Sim hides in the Guanyin room and cries for help and swears she never killed the kid when Fok finds her and wants to kill her by pointing the pistol to her head but Shun arrives and says he will do no such thing and takes Ha Sim by her side and when Fok ignores Shun and points the gun at Ha Sim, she coolly says whilst pushing the pistol away;
“If you want to kill her, you will have to come find her at my residence!”
And promises to takes Ha Sim back to the palace and leaves.
Meanwhile Tung Suet reports to Yim who in her own way doesn’t believe Ha Sim would kill the kid and knows Tung Suet is manipulating the facts but in her own words;
“I really couldn’t care less about that Ha Sim, whether she did it or not. But this is the perfect time to give that 11th a lesson and to destroy Concubine Shun and her followers”.
And so whilst the drama is happening inside the 11th residence, Yim arrives and see Shun’s transport (errr litter?) and smiles knowingly to herself as Tung Suet says;
“Oh Concubine Shun is here”
and Yim says slyly;
“Oh very good”
What dastardly plans has she cooked up this time? When will our two sides meet? How long with this draaaaaaaaaaaaaag on? I want Man Ho to meet Mui because both as hot headed and so they can scream at one another. Will be quite a passionate pair.
Last scene, we see Ha Sim on a horse with Man Ho who is fighting an army of err…. pirates I guess.
- 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
This commentary is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com and was originally posted at www.p2e-cod.blogspot.com.