Episodic Thoughts: “Three Kingdoms RPG” (Episode 21)

Three Kingdoms RPG <回到三國>
TVB Series 2012

Cast: Kenneth Ma, Raymond Lam, Tavia Yeung, Sharon Chan, Ruco Chan, Kaki Leung, Joseph Lee, Savio Tsang, Jimmy Au, Law Lok Lam, and Ha Yu.


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 apologise if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.


“Once I have completed my promise to master, once I am done with my part in this war, I promise, no matter how far away you are, I will follow you, I will find you. I promise… ”

This episode had me asking a few relevant but thoroughly unimportant questions. I mean they won’t give rise to consciousness about the question of life, etc but it is relevant to this series.

1. with this series ending at episode 25 when all along I thought was 30 episodes, wouldn’t everything be too abrupt? Already the story of Song Yau and Shun is like 10% baked, with 25 episodes, it will in then end become inedible. Probably will cause food poisoning.

2. how is that horse/bull wheelbarrow thing a new invention and different from the usual wheelbarrow we see? I don’t get it!

3. this series seriously lack make actors to the point that first time ever in TVB there is a term called, not friendly appearance, but special guest star which surprises me because he appears and I go “he’s still alive?!” and then he dies in the same episode which makes his character rather memorable.

But this episode does answer why Sun Quan tolerates Zhou Yu. What Shun and gang doesn’t get it is Zhou Yu’s opinion mirrors that of Sun Quan in very important issues but they thought it is Zhou Yu’s opinion alone. In a way Sun Quan looks to Zhou Yu at most important time, hence Zhou Yu’s importance in Sun Quan’s life and thus his importance in the alliance.

This is also the episode which makes me question even more questions about ZGL’s sincerity in his friendship with Shun because I wonder why he never told Shun an important fact which leads to Shun making possibly the worst mistake of his life which makes him look utterly stupid.


ZGL shows his wife his “something” invention which I didn’t get at first and Yuet Ying, proving she is the real ZGL added something that made ZGL admit that will make his invention perfect.


The relationship between ZGL and Yuet Ying is like this. Let’s just say he designs an empty shell of a car, Yuet Ying will be the one to add engine, steering wheel, brakes, etc to actually make the car workable. Shun will add more fancy stuff like colours, logo, a good name for every part of the vehicle and perhaps add the automatic gear feature. And in the end the world will go “ZGL, the great car inventor!!” when all he did was creating an idea of a car, the others make it possible for him and he will be the best salesman by selling the finished product in line with the idea he had. So tell me, who is the real ZGL?


Xiao Qiao rushes in to show Zhou Yu something and to his embarrassment, he is having a meeting with Sun Quan who politely enquired what she wants to show and she designs some war outfits for Zhou Yu and she happily explains away but Sun Quan isn’t interested; in fact he looks offended and Zhou Yu knows. Later Zhou Yu and Sun Quan alone and Sun Quan praise ZGL about his invention and that his wife even contributed to the design. Sun Quan then observes, correctly “Gong Jin, how come ZGL’s wife can create something so useful and your wife can’t? I mean your wife spends her time creating such useless things like outfits and all?” which he means to insult Zhou Yu so as to bring to his attention how useless his wife is. To be fair to Zhou Yu, women at that time isn’t supposed to be like Yuet Ying, more like Xiao Qiao but let’s just say he was utterly humiliated.

At home, Xiao Qiao insists he tries on the new outfit and in a fit of anger he throws the outfit aside, Xiao Qiao sulks and Zhou Yu shouts “Why can’t you be more like Mrs Zhuge?” and Xiao Qiao protests what’s so great about her and that stupid invention that even Madam Wu sends her some expensive herbs and Zhou Yu snaps “Mrs Zhuge deserves those presents from Madam Wu. She is a brilliant woman” which surprises me because there is a tinge of admiration in his voice as he voices angrily “ZHUGE LIANG!!!!!” which means Zhou Yu is darn pissed.

I still didn’t get what the design was about. However even Zhou Yu admits it is brilliant and will derail his plans to derail ZGL who has no plans to derail anybody and so Zhou Yu tells his assistant to spread the news to Cao Cao about this magnificent invention so that ZGL will be forced to destroy the invention so that Cao Cao won’t get it and Cao Cao will kill ZGL so that no one can recreate it.

Something like that.

Cao Cao gets the idea and gasps that such an invention will destroy his army and so orders ZGL to be surrounded and captured and killed so that no one can ever operate that invention.

And all I was thinking was what the invention is?

Yuet Ying tells ZGL she wants to follow him to test that invention at some hill which Cao Cao knows ZGL will be there and she says she is fine health wise and she has memorized the route thoroughly which should have been ZGL’s job and she says “I want to see our invention at work, I want to see it working” and so ZGL allowed her to go.

Yuet Ying goes with ZGL and finally I get to see the awesome awe inspiring all consuming major excellent invention which is a push cart/wheelbarrow with a wooden bull’s head at the front. And I was like, “You mean wheelbarrows were invented on during 3 kingdoms?”. Joke is later you shall see a bigger wheelbarrow minus the bull’s head and I was like so what’s that?! I don’t get it. Does the push cart whatever shoot automatic arrows? It still needs to be pushed by a man. It is also small. What can it do that a normal usual wheelbarrow can’t? Can someone tell me?

Anyway just be awe inspired by the awesomeness of ZGL’s useless plagiarizing design which by the way Yuet Ying got the idea from the western books she translated. And everyone went “ZGL is a genius in invention” when we are not talking about reverse technology, but an idea and a design already in place! So what’s original? And which western civilization? Alexander the Great? Oh my history is so screwed up anyway, don’t care!!

Where was I?

Oh yes, led by Zhao Zhilung and like a few soldiers, they got news Cao Cao with his errrr I think 3000(?) men surrounds the hill and so ZGL has to run and suddenly Yuet Ying becomes rather sick. And I was thinking like my mother did but she said it out loud “What a troublesome woman”. But she still remembers to say “Husband, destroy the *invention’s name*. Don’t let Cao Cao get it”. Like as if he needs reminding but then this inept ZGL probably does need that reminder.

Anyway ZGL could do one thing right; he carries his wife and ran down the hill, etc and to a shack and he nearly fainted and all. Not very strong guy and since Yuet Ying has always been sick, she must have been very thin so my guess is ZGL isn’t strong, at all. Anyway she is sweating and becomes sicker and sicker as they had to hide for the night but has to leave by morning if not Cao Cao will reach them.

Meanwhile news reach Sun Quan and Lau Bei and Shun pushes for Sun Quan to send for help and he agrees and so he orders Zhou Yu to do it but Zhou Yu says one army is too far, the other can’t leave their posts and so he suggests the reserve army who only patrols the border to go to the rescue since they’re the nearest and dispensable. Shun angrily says to Zhou Yu “Those patrols can’t do anything!!! Are you doing this deliberately to get back at Adviser Zhuge?!” which Zhou Yu denies and in the end Sun Quan agrees with Zhou Yu. Shun angrily tells Lau Bei Zhou Yu wants ZGL to die and Lau  Bei agrees they have to depend on themselves for the rescue and so decides to contact Cheung Fei and Guan Yu, as if they have handphones or something.

Anyway morning comes, Yuet Ying is sicker than ever and ZGL is very worried but Yuet Ying as sick as she is could manage “I can lead us through the hidden route I know of when I memorised the map…” which really takes a lot of effort and so ZGL carries her, led by Zhao Zhilung and some men and then they hear some rustling and lo and behold, Guan Yu, Cheung Fei and some men arrives and they’re rescued.


How did Cheung Fei and Guan Yu know about that route if it is so secret that Yuet Ying had to study the map to know? How come they can stroll and walk and not ride horses which will be faster since they were supposed to beat Cao Cao to ZGL? But one thing I can answer. Yuet Ying became to sick because she never expected to stay overnight out of the mansion. Again, what a troublesome woman. However the next scene is also the most romantic.


3 doctors came and gone and there is nothing they could do. Yuet Ying is dying and they advise ZGL to say his last goodbye. Shun wants to rush in to comfort ZGL but stopped by the doctor who tells him to let ZGL have his privacy with Yuet Ying. And frankly at that moment my impression was Shun doesn’t care if Yuet Ying dies or lives, it is ZGL’s feelings he is concerned about.

ZGL is stunned at what he is told and he goes quietly to Yuet Ying’s side and holds her hand. She is laying still, probably deep in coma or whatever and ZGL holds her hands gently as he says something which I feel is finally the actual truth about their relationship;

“Wife, you can’t leave me. You have yet to finish translating those books for me”

And if that scene is left at that line, this would be the funniest line ever because it is so true. But truth is ZGL didn’t mean it that way, you know what he means but I am sure you get what I mean too!

“…You and I still have to go back to that garden we dream about, playing chess, spending our days happily together, remember? When this war is finished, we are to retire to our dream house and spend the rest of our lives together, happily. You can’t leave me yet…” and he sorta cries. He did mention earlier about retiring when war is over but I was thinking this was is his lifetime! And he continues gently; “Wife… I promise you, you won’t ever be lonely. Once I have completed my promise to master, once I am done with my part in this war, I promise, no matter how far away you are, I will follow you, I will find you. I promise…”

Which is utterly romantic because what he means is he will kill himself. But I again thought this war is his entire lifetime so frankly he will be very old before he dies but then this is TVB’s version, anything can happen.

ZGL is despondent about the dying Yuet Ying. Outside Shun sees a young doctor sorta arguing with the guard about offering his services to heal Yuet Ying and next scene we see, Shun eagerly drags the young doctor into the room and says urgently to ZGL “Adviser, you must let this young doctor see Mrs Zhuge!” and ZGL is like “3 doctors who are the very best have seen her and their diagnosis is the same. There is no hope, leave me be…and let her leave in peace…” as Shun says “This is Wah To!!” and yeah, finally Wah To appears and ZGL says “What can this young doctor do that the 3 others can’t?” and Shun remembers “Oh right, Wah To only become famous after the Battle At Chibi”

And in case you don’t know who Wah To is, he was supposedly the best doctor ever lived and he can cure even those who are dying but he has a rather sad life, imprisoned to his death by Cao Cao if I am correct.

Shun says “Adviser Zhuge, you must trust me. This Wah To can heal Mrs Zhuge. Trust me!!” and ZGL looks at Shun and nods and later Wah To does heal Yuet Ying, probably cure her of her illness and everyone marvels at Wah To’s greatness and asks how Shun knows Wah To is so great and Shun just say “I am a pretty good judge of character…” and ZGL thanks Wah To and then Shun.

Yuet Ying sitting up and smiling as ZGL plays the most attentive husband, feeding her food, giving her drinks, etc and Yuet Ying has to ask him to stop being so attentive as she smiles and then she turns serious as she says “Husband, you must promise me, never ever do anything to harm yourself if I am gone first” and ZGL surprised as Yuet Ying says “I could hear what you said about following me after the war is over. I wanted to respond, I wanted to say no don’t but I couldn’t move and I was very worried you will do as promise. Promise me, never think that way ever again” and ZGL smiles and he hugs her and she hugs him back but for me, there is intimacy lacking in this scene. ZGL as in Raymond should have hugged Yuet Ying as in Kaki tightly, but Raymond was too polite.

Zhou Yu comes to pay ZGL a visit and ZGL gives him that death stare as Zhou Yu offers some herbs and ginseng or whatever to give to Mrs Zhuge and wants to visit her but ZGL says “There is no need for that. There is no need for anything. In fact, I thank you for your concern but no thanks…” and Zhou Yu looks sorta surprised as ZGL says “No one knows I am going to that hill, and yet Cao Cao knows, so my guess is you leaked the news so that I will destroy that invention and he will in turn kill me. You almost succeed but luckily for me, and my wife we escaped. I know you have schemed against me in the past, but I always let it go. But this time, you went too far. If it is against me, I am fine by that, I can let it be. But this time you involved my wife and nearly caused her death. That I can never let you do” which Zhou Yu denies and ZGL says “Don’t forget our enemy is Cao Cao. He is our common cause, not you, not I but Cao Cao! I can forget about this incident and keep this between us. But I want your one assurance…” and Zhou Yu thinks for a while and then says sternly “You have my assurance such an incident will never happen again” and ZGL looks at Zhou Yu in the eye sans a head shorter and says “For that I am assured”.

Shun says to ZGL “Wow, he admitted he was the mastermind? Never thought you will confront him but good that you do. However how can you be sure he won’t do anything like that again? I mean he will…” and ZGL says “What makes you so sure?” and Shun says “A leopard doesn’t change its spots.  A person who is devious at the core will always be devious no matter what. This reminds me of the story of the frog and the scorpion. The frog carries the scorpion across the river one day and half way through, the scorpion stung the frog and they both ended up drowned” and ZGL says “Zhou Yu is like the scorpion, he will never change, he will continue to plot against me?” and Shun says “Yes I am afraid that’s how he is and always will be. You better be careful of Zhou Yu” and ZGL nods.

An old general, General Deng Song pays Sun Quan a visit and ladies and gentleman, give a big applause to Tam Bing Man!!! He is still alive!! Very special guest star!!


General Deng Song pays Sun Quan a visit but he sees Zhou Yu instead. Shun, ZGL and Lau Bei are all there to see how this old general basically walk all over Zhou Yu, insulting Zhou Yu for not being respectful to his elders and even Madam Wu is being very respectful. Deng Song feels he can still contribute to this impending Chibi Battle and instead of serving faraway at Liyang, with his 4 capable sons as assistant to the general, he recommends his sons for general-ship, especially his 2nd son who is great at war on water aka navy and Shun laughs at Zhou Yu being humiliated and scolded and Zhou Yu smiles benignly and says he will inform Sun Quan of what Deng Song says.

Sun Quan isn’t too pleased.

“What is that old fool doing here? Didn’t I send him faraway? Why is he back?!” and Zhou Yu explains and Sun Quan angrily says “Isn’t it enough he tried to walk all over me? Now he wants his 4 sons to walk all over me as well? NO!!” as Zhou Yu says “My lord, calm down. You must in fact offer him a better position, to shoo him away” and so Sun Quan agrees.

Sun Quan meets with Deng Song, everybody is there and basically Deng Song insults Sun Quan. He sees Sun Quan as this little kid and not as a ruler as he says “I still remember I was important and treated so when I was serving your great brother, Sun Ce. I miss his leadership. He was great! He knew when to use people and to use who, unlike you. Do you still cry? I remember one time we were all hunting and you saw a rabbit being killed and you cried!” and Sun Quan embarrassed (and Lau Bei looks embarrassed for him) says “I was only 8 then…” but that old man isn’t listening and praising Sun Ce, dissing Sun Quan like he means nothing and Zhou Yu puts it nicely that Deng Song is to be promoted to general at Sanjiang kou or whatever is the name but he isn’t too happy and complains and all and  in the end Zhou Yu steps in and says “Well why don’t we talk over dinner and some wine?” and Deng Song smirked at Sun Quan.

At dinner, Shun isn’t there but Lau Bei, ZGL, Sun Quan, Deng Song and Zhou Yu with assistant are all there and Deng Song is pretty drunk, so is Sun Quan as Deng Song goes on and on and on about how great Sun Ce is, how useless Sun Quan is compared to Sun Ce, “Your brother, he was really a great leader! He knew talent and he knew when to use a talent. Not that I want to teach you sunny but listen up to this old man who has advice to give; you must learn to be more like your brother! You are nothing but this insignificant kiddo, but your brother, oh how great he was, how wonderful…” and basically he insults Sun Quan that even ZGL and Lau Bei both winced and he is so dismissive of Sun Quan, like Sun Quan is nothing compared to Sun Ce that finally Sun Quan being drunk snaps and takes the sword by his side and loudly and angrily says “Shut up you old fool!!!” and stabs Deng Song to death. Zhou Yu and assistant are both shocked whilst Lau Bei and ZGL both are also shocked but not as shocked as Zhou Yu as Sun Quan says “Hmmm… that will show that old fool a lesson!! Gong Jin, you clean up the mess!” and he leaves.

Zhou Yu looks at Lau Bei and ZGL and says “He killed Deng Song. Deng Song has 4 capable sons and army in his command with friends in high places, this will cause chaos” which ZGL agrees and Lau Bei observes “We can’t let anything affect our alliance”

Which is strange since I will be more shocked at Sun Quan’s sudden cruelness and all that but they all didn’t care about that. In the end all agreed to keep this as a secret and not to tell anyone at all.

Meanwhile Shun walking late at night sees Zhou Yu and assistant being suspicious and followed them and finds them burying something like a coffin and he wonders what are they up to. He runs to ZGL and tells ZGL to be careful of Zhou Yu who might be planning something and he tells ZGL everything he sees and ZGL becomes very dismissive as he says “Oh don’t be bothered by what other people do in their own land. Mind you own business, Shun” which surprises me since Shun already said he is afraid Zhou Yu will harm him and all that. They’re so close, ZGL should have told Shun and strangely he doesn’t tell Shun anything.

In the morning Sun Quan regrets what he did. “Oh I can’t believe I killed that old fool. Why was I so drunk? Why was I so impulsive? I shouldn’t have killed him”

which answers my question whether he was deliberate or not. He wasn’t hence why Zhou Yu was so shocked.

Zhou Yu says “Don’t worry my lord, everything is taken care of. No one will reveal anything, and I have buried him, no one will know” and Sun Quan gratefully says “Gong Jin, what will I do without you? Thank you..”

which also explains why Sun Quan tolerates Zhou Yu’s jealous behaviour because basically he and Zhou Yu thinks alike. And Zhou Yu does his dirty work and he never thinks of betraying Sun Quan.

Shun suspects Zhou Yu is up to no good. When Deng Song’s 1st son, Deng Xi came asking where his father is, he knows the box inside is Deng Song. When Sun Quan remains very quiet whilst Zhou Yu says maybe a drunken Deng Song was swept away by high tide last night, and sends army to search, Shun knows Zhou Yu has something to do with Deng Song’s death. But he is worried Zhou Yu will harm ZGL somehow and so he hires some blacksmith to dig up a box in that location only to have the same blacksmiths leading Deng Xi to Shun and all of them now stands before Sun Quan and Zhou Yu and Lau Bei and ZGL and Deng Xi questions why Shun suspects some box has something to do with his missing father, etc and basically Shun reveals all he thinks he knows;

“Don’t blame me! Blame Zhou Yu! I saw him burying something and I suspect that is your father which he killed! Ask Zhou Yu!” and Zhou Yu defended himself and said “There is no such thing! I did not kill Deng Song!” and Shun mockingly says “You are sure? You are very sure you did not? Everyone knows you hate General Deng Song who hated you too. Who else would have reasons to kill Deng Song if not you? YOU DID IT!!! If you don’t trust me, dig up the box and find out what or who is in it!!” and Shun looks at Zhou Yu triumphantly as Zhou Yu stares back…

Next episode, ZGL will slap Shun at last? No? I mean why isn’t ZGL saying something? Sun Quan is all quiet I understand since he killed Deng Song and he is letting Zhou Yu handle everything but ZGL.. which adviser allows his assistant to talk so much anyway? He should have told Shun what really happened instead of letting Shun’s imagination run wild because he believes Zhou Yu will continue to harm his precious ZGL. I felt it is so illogical that ZGL did not tell Shun to shut up. I mean he never told Shun to shut up anyway but now he is derailing the entire alliance and this will lead to Sun Quan. Will Sun Quan give up and execute Zhou Yu? No, he won’t. I think Zhou Yu will accuse this back at ZGL somehow.

At that moment all I could think of is how utterly stupid Shun is.

Performance wise, no comment except great performance by Pierre Ngo especially when he was attacked by a very obnoxious Tam Bing Man’s Deng Song. And Tam Bing Man was brilliant. His sneers, his insults, his over glorifying of Sun Ce just to get to Sun Quan whom he forgets is his master now and not that crying 8 year old kid anymore. Brilliant.

This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://3kingdomsrpg.blogspot.com

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  1. I’ve never taken a Chinese History class so can someone please tell me if Zhou Yu is supposed to be kind of sketchy according to the books? Obviously, Cao Cao is supposed to be evil but I feel bad for Zhou Yu if he was actually a brillant advisor now portrayed to be an envious petty man.

    1. The real history books say Zhou Yu was a humble, loyal, friendly man and brilliant advisor to Sun Quan.

      The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a fictional story written about that time period, portrays Zhou Yu as a selfish, jealous person – as a contrast to teh great Zhuge Liang.

      TVB’s version is likely based on the book, hence the bad characterization of Zhou Yu. If you want to know more about the historical context in the series, I’ve written some posts at my blog (http://casualtvb.blogspot.ca)

      1. Thank you for the link! I did check it out. It was definitely very informative.

        Can you explain to me what “既生瑜, 何生亮?” means? I gathered from your site that it’s saying that Zhuge Liang is superior to Zhou Yu but what is it literally saying?

      2. “既生瑜, 何生亮” was spoken by Zhou Yu before his death in Romance of 3K. Literally translated, it means “If (ZHou) Yu is already born, why let (Zhuge) Liang be born?”

        He is lamenting that Zhuge Liang is smarter than him. Zhou Yu always thought of himself as the best and the smartest. But he is outwitted by Zhuge Liang so many times, he must finally admit that Zhuge Liang is better. This statement is like complaining “Why? Why must he always be better? Whyyyyyyy?”

        Of course, it’s only fictional since the Zhou Yu-Zhuge Liang didn’t exist in real hsitory.

      3. Doesn’t the statement means there can’t be 2 tigers in one mountain sort of thing? As in since the world already has ZY why then does it have ZGL?

      4. “Of course, it’s only fictional since the Zhou Yu-Zhuge Liang didn’t exist in real hsitory.”

        Excuse me, they exist, the once lived. But not like how ROTK says so.

      5. An aside. After the men’s single badminton final, some articles wrote ‘既生李, 何生林’ (If Lee is already born, why let Lin be born?)

        Very apt sentence.

  2. Not interesting ending. It’ll be more interesting if simmasun managed to fascinate the ppl in 3 kingdom that he’s from future, or at least a farewell. Songyau shud manage to go back to future with simasun and i think from there tvb can do a second series of a story who come from the past and live in the future. I know tvb had this type of storyline but im sure there r many possibilities to be explored. very disappointed with the ending. Anyway, tvb drama endin has been bad since i cant remember when. Is it a sin for tvb to make good n happy ending for once?!!

  3. tvb gave the character yuet ying too much credit. not even the 3 kingdoms novel glamourised her to this extent.

    besides, what zhuge invented (actual history) was actually the repeating crossbow – you can google it.

    it looked like a wheelbarrow, but it’s a repeating crossbow flanked in the middle. think of it as a rotating machine gun, this is the bow and arrow version of it.

    this drama sucks even if one reads 3 kingdoms and is well-versed in actual recorded history.

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