Brother’s Keeper: The Cruelty of Sam’s Fate, The Most Unconvincing Black Sheep
Note: This critical commentary for episode 30 of “Brother’s Keeper” is written by Funn Lim. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted.
I am beyond frustrated with Episode 30. I am very angry at what they did to my Ying. This episode makes me hate her.
There was an ironic scene where Rachel and Soon remembered and narrated how Sam helped them through thick and thin and I was laughing because well when Sam was in deep mess, what did Rachel do? She told him to plead guilty. She totally gave up on him and yet when she told him to plead guilty she did not make a promise; “When you’re out I will be there waiting for you”. It was as if asking him to plead guilty will just close the chapter for her, to her convenience. As for Soon, he did wanted to help and hire the best lawyer. But he did so thinking his brother was totally and absolutely innocent. He has some serious problems I tell you with wanting to believe his brother is totally innocent guy. Yes Sam is clearly guilty of misconduct and tampering with evidence but he did not help to kill Dino, something no one made clear to Soon and Rachel so again they were shocked and thought the worst of him when own lawyer said perhaps Sam may be involved but not enough evidence to charge Sam. And this is where I got very angry.
Ying on hearing Soon wants to pay the lawyers to fight the case, Ying like everyone else said Sam is guilty so why waste a fortune on him? Ying even called Soon’s mom and told her about Sam and his arrest, which she has absolutely no right to do so without consulting Soon. She did it anyway. She felt keeping the business is better than wasting money on a hopeless criminal like Sam. Soon listened to her and boy, was Sam disappointed, and angry. And so was I because minutes later Ying asked Soon when he can sign some new agreement on the purchase of a new shop.
Wait a minute! Did she say purchase a new shop? Money which they can use to help Sam fight the case? No, they rather throw Sam out to the dogs and let him find his own way than to help him, even with that miniscule hope of all hopes.
Realistic? Perhaps. An act of a loving family? Nope, not in this case. Why you may ask?
Well if Sam was some junkie hopeless gangster guy who spent his entire life in crime and never cared anything for the family but was a constant disappointment, who repeatedly cheated on his girlfriend and had no remorse, who is a cop killer or what not, then yes, I say give up on him. But Sam is not. What did he do wrong?
Evidence tampering, misconduct as a policeman. That’s it. And to Soon and Rachel and even Ying, that means Sam is beyond redemption, let him rot in jail so he can learn his lesson, destroy his entire life with a conviction and use that money to buy another shop. I was at that point can’t understand the logic of it all.
And let’s analyze the case for Sam.
So called video, the so called irrefutable evidence. Yes they saw him retrieve a golden chain but can anyone tie the golden chain to the Blondie gangster and then to him murdering Dino? No. In fact they have evidence of Sam tampering with evidence but they have no evidence against Blondie for murdering Dino. Now if you’re the police, will you want to convict your own guy the small fry or the retired big time gangster? If the former, then you’re an idiot. If the latter, then you will need Sam’s testimony; Sam will be the state prosecution’s star witness, he will be given protection, even witness protection program, new identity and probably suspended jail term. Because him stealing the golden chain is small stuff compared to what they can get from Blondie. I doubt Blondie confessed anything. This series like so many series about HK legal system, it seems there is never any plea bargaining.
Remember Mandy? Appeared and then gone. Back into freezer since her job is done. No continuity at all. So Sam got 7 years, small stuff actually. But that 7 years is built on the fact that yes, he did do wrong but was it so wrong to have everyone abandon him and talking about him like he was the worst sort of black sheep in the family? I love it when the mother scolded Soon, that he had promised to help Sam but he didn’t. Sam may be guilty but a case always have loopholes. In the end Sam thinking he was abandoned totally decided to admit guilt and he was depressed, refused to see anyone and lo and behold, Blondie and him in same prison. Now that is asking for trouble isn’t it? Blondie stabbed him in the shower room with a toothbrush but Sam had a better idea; he made Blondie stab him in the stomach so that Blondie can be charged for Sam’s murder. Shocked and afraid, I supposed Blondie from thereon left Sam alone. And Sam in a pool of blood remembered he wrote a letter to his family, saying he was ashamed to see them and hopes Soon will take care of mom and of all people, Rachel who didn’t care for him in the way she should have cared. Even till the end, he is trying to shield Rachel who has done nothing to shield him. At that point I was angry, very angry. What have this series turned into? Sam didn’t deserve all that. What did he do to deserve at one point total abandonment?
Cut to 7 years later he left prison without telling his family. Again everyone acts like here is a black sheep that has left prison, now it is time to take him home and all that stuff, as if he has repented. I feel it was most unfair for Sam to have only his mother by his side; the brother he protected didn’t protect him. The woman he loved abandoned him. Everybody else sees him as a liability. He didn’t deserve such treatment. His so called descent into hell is to me seems incomplete; not enough justification which makes him looked pitiful and everybody else plain selfish, Ying included.
About Ying, I feel she would have enough loyalty to stand by Soon but she was the one who singlehandedly decided Soon had done enough. She had no right to do so and I hated her rudeness, her way of handling this delicate matter. Next came the most stupid scene; Ying advising Soon to woo Rachel. Talk about kicking poor Sam into the gutter and jumping on top him as the same time! I feel like Ying has lost her marbles; the writer has destroyed everything decent about Ying and all is left is an angry dissatisfied woman who thinks her opinion matters the most. Ying was never like that. She wouldn’t have asked Soon to do what she asked him to do. She knows Soon loves Sam, he did put Sam on the pedestal however a disappointment Sam turned into and so she knows Soon will never take Rachel away from Sam, even if Rachel wants Soon to do so. So why would such a stupid scene exist? To give Soon more dilemma, to tell us what we already know? That Soon has the hots for his ex-future sister in law? By not going after Rachel doesn’t mean he has no guts, it means deep down there is a little bit of respect and love left for Sam and if he did go for Rachel, then the torture and cruelty towards Sam becomes absolutely complete. Soon can’t be that cruel. He may emphasised on having another branch than spending the money on Sam’s defence but he can’t be as cruel as Ying advised him to be. I know the scene is to illustrate an advise of a dear friend to another dear friend, after all Ying always have Soon’s best interest to heart. But this time she got it wrong; Sam is Soon’s most loved, not Rachel even if he was drama queen about Rachel and Sam some episodes ago. I can’t believe Ying is complete destroyed and turned into this raving mad woman daring to suggest the cruelest suggestion. You think Sam will take lightly Soon’s betrayal of him going for Rachel? I doubt it.
What is missing in this episode to me is the humanising of Rachel. Soon has sort of redeemed himself. His eagerness to spend huge amount of money on Sam’s defence is because innately he believed or wanted to believe in Sam’s innocence, which was why when confronted with the evidence he with shocked said “He is guilty? He lied to me? Why would he lie to me?” Sam again disappointed his little brother who looked up to him but still he wanted to give his brother a chance of a decent defence. That to me is Soon’s redeeming quality. Rachel however displayed none of those redeeming qualities. Yes she showed concern for Sam but for me, just on the surface. She knew what would make Sam turn around, what will give him hope, but she didn’t give him her promise. And I suppose why promise something you can’t give? It still didn’t show Rachel in a good way. So a pivotal scene would have redeemed Rachel, or condemn her to hell in the eyes of fans of Sam. What would that be? When Sam sorta committed suicide (he clearly did not die), we get to see the reaction of mom and Soon and even Soon’s father who turned into a better man by supporting his wife and even giving some sound advice. But what of Rachel? What did she think of that news? Did she cry? Did she feel guilty? Did she feel nothing? Well that missing scene would have given us more aspect of Rachel we can see and understand but alas, the scene being missing means there is no bridge between Sam and Rachel. So when earlier Sam held up Rachel’s picture, all I can think of is “Come on man, forget that woman! She does you no good! She doesn’t care about you!” which in a way is true. She cares but not enough. She wants to help but not enough. Some missing scenes would have helped answer the question; does Rachel still want to be part of Samchel? I don’t know. She seems disinterested so why is she appearing before Sam and torture him by giving him false hope and yet be judgmental about him and told him to please plead guilty? How much more cruel can she be to poor poor Sam? Sam already in the gutter, Sam already abandoned, Sam now amongst enemies.. What more can be expected of Sam? Well … death and that scene with the Blondie guy makes sense. His closing himself into his own world makes sense. His avoiding his family makes perfect sense. But Ying telling Soon to go for Rachel? That made no sense at all.
Talking about Ying, I thought she broke up with Lung Fei and yet this episode, there they are, in the same house, teasing one another, etc. The entire scene just made Ying looked so selfish when I expected maybe a bridge between breakup and makeup. Did they marry? I have no idea. All I know is I am confused.
And what happened to Kim Sir? What about his fate? For entire series we all expect Sam’s father Kiu Sir as that irresponsible father but he was the one who actually helped Sam and even visited him and gave him some sound advice. It felt weird that at the start the fathers were douchebags but in the end each father sort of redeemed themselves; Rachel’s father by buying Rachel the shop, Soon’s father by being supportive of his wife and Sam’s father by telling him he does not intend to use Sam to benefit his useless son, Kim Sir. Which is why I find it very sad when Sam thanked his father for being his father for the first time in his life and he sadly said “But… all is much too late”.
Two more episodes till the end. How much more must Sam suffer before he gets his silver lining? Must he die? Go back to jail? Soon vowed to look for Sam in 2012 which to me redeemed Soon in my eyes. Rachel? What is Rachel’s role in all this? Will she just sit back and judge? Or will there be this major reconciliation scene of Rachel going after Sam and to find Sam, to talk to him, to confront him? Because they never really properly break up. They never properly got back together. They never properly anything for any matter.
So for the next to episode I hope to see a proper closure. I hope to see Soon helping Sam. Sam dies or lives does not matter. One of them had to be the other’s keeper, as per the title. Soon may die trying to save Sam for all I care. I want Sam to find his redemption and his hope again. I hope to see Rachel proactively do something instead of just standing there like a pretty little vase. If she loves Sam, I want her to find him, save him, give him a promise, a chance. I don’t want Sam and Soon rescuing her any more. This woman needs to take action, not receive action. If not to me till the end Rachel will remain an annoying selfish uncaring cruel woman without actually being actively uncaring cruel and selfish. Some people can do more harm by doing nothing at all, some nice people with the best of intention actually helped to create a worse off environment, such is Rachel. I hope to see Ying marrying or already married Lung Fei. By my calculation, shouldn’t they all now be in around 40s to even late 40s? For a series about passage of time, I see no movement of time. I want a good ending, for once I want a complete ending that benefits Sam. The fall of Sam to me is unconvincing, half done so I hope the redemption of Sam will be convincing and well done.
This episode is not bad. But it is one that has some parts that made you question whether the editing got in the way or the writer lost his mind when writing this episode. Well, whatever may be, what’s done is done. I am Team Sam and so to me everyone else is just wrong. Everyone sees Sam as this hopeless creature but to me Sam was just dealt with a series of major blows of bad luck.
As for performances, I shall reserve my comments until the last episode and I shall write solely on performances and some memorable moments. I won’t have much bad to say about the performances but even the best performances are somewhat destroyed by the inconsistencies, the inaccuracies, the stupidity of it all. Not the actors’ fault but when it comes to taking sides in certain characters, these inconsistencies will not help these characters. What on paper sounds good on screen sounds like the most selfish person ever. In this episode, Ying. In previous episodes, Rachel and Soon. I am sure that was never intended but somehow it will lead to that conclusion. Poor poor Sam.
This commentary is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at www.point2e.com.