[Episodic Thoughts] “All That is Bitter is Sweet” Episode 11

All That is Bitter is Sweet <大藥坊>
TVB Series 2014

Cast: Linda Chung, Ruco Chan, Raymond Wong, Natalie Tong, Shirley Yeung, Sammy Sum, Pierre Ngo, Jazz Lam, Elliot Ngok

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.


“Kai Kei is so hard to like … because I find Linda so ineffective.”

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Finally! Finally an episode worthy of my love even if Linda is still baffling me and I do feel this is probably her 2nd worst performance, after the “I wanna puke!!!!!!” one. This one is more like “I have something to say… please let me say… I do have something to say…. please…. please… please… I need to tell you…. what? I can’t…. ok”. Which sums up Kai Kei.

But this episode is about everyone.


I was so wrong! Jazz did not betray Yat Yuen. In fact evil Chun made him drink 1 bottle of hard liquor and even his men winced, Chun is a sadistic guy and yet I don’t know… he is a bad person but is he an evil man? I don’t know. Anyway Jazz’s mom appears..I forgot to mention her appearance in episode 9 I think. Not important except only in so far as she knows a girl that Yat Yuen seems very interested in and asked a few questions. Anyway she begs for his life and I suppose she reveals their location.

With limited supplies, Kai Kei saves stupid fella’s life. And he IS stupid. Will explain more later. But she can’t stop the bleeding and so Yat Yuen heats up a steel bar and press over the wound to seal the wound and blood flow. Very Rambo-ish. Not much else really but in this particular scene I find it quite inappropriate Yat Yuen calls Kai Chung as Kai Chung instead of Chong family’s 2nd master consider;

1. their obvious disparity in social status;
2. Yat Yuen hardly knows the guy

But Chun arrives and Kai Chung tells our 2 fellas to run but as usual, Kai Kei delays the whole thing with her “I won’t, I won’t … ok” sort of attitude. Kai Chung surrenders himself, looking half dead and Chun isn’t too nice to him and Kai Chung just punched him (yeah!!) and Kai Chung basically then beat the crap out of him (double yeah!!!) until his men kinda say please stop or something like that. Yat Yuen says he will follow the lorry (cleverly put a bottle of something underneath the lorry to leave a trail because obviously Yat Yuen can’t run after the the lorry whilst Kai Kei is tasked with finding the mayor and telling him where his son is, which you and I can both guess what will happen.

Yat Yuen reappears with his gang and Jazz has some beef to settle with Chun for threatening his mom. They find police guarding some rundown shack and Yat Yuen wonders why he is taken here and not the police station.

Meanwhile the Minister Wong from the Justice Dept of the Nanjing Government arrives and Mayor wants so much to tell Minister Wong about Kai Chung as minister asks about Kai Chung and then Chun arrives and Chun cryptically tells Mayor that the smuggler he is asked to apprehend is apprehended and so Mayor knows stupid fella is in their hands. He has no choice but to say son is in Japan, left yesterday or something like that but hey, minister ain’t stupid ya know? Meanwhile mayor opens the safe, money’s all there and the general even volunteers to pack the money and minister requests he goes back to Nanjing with him with the money.

Mayor rushes into the toilet to see the general and asks him what is his game. General says since mayor doesn’t know how to teach his son, he will do that on his behalf. He will keep his son until he gets the money. But Mayor cries the money is already handed over to the minister in a sense and the general says the mayor has the key to the safe, the money is in the safe and so? So mayor has to steal the money and give to the general. Mayor cries that means his reputation is all gone, it is criminal breach of trust, it is imprisonment and total collapse of reputation but general doesn’t care. All he cares about is the money.


I forgot to recap an important moment in episode 10 where Susan threatens General to save Kai Chung (the idiot-seriously and I shall explain why later), she mentioned their history together. We know the general recommended the mayor job to Poon. But here we know more; the general was a nobody and was running from enemies when Susan and Poon sheltered him, bribed for him and basically paved his way. So the general owed Susan. However the general feels that he has repaid everything when he gave riches to Poon.


Poon tells his wife he has no choice; he will steal the money. Meanwhile he is so confused and troubled that when Kai Kei comes by to see him, he ignores her and leaves. Now this scene is just pure stupidity. You want to save a friend and yet here is Kai Kei going “I have something to say… please let me say… I do have something to say…. please…. please… please… I need to tell you….” when she should have shouted or whispered loudly “Sir, I know where Kai Chung is!”. I mean girl, get to the bloody point. Nope. And when he walks away what does she do? No urgency, she walks slowly and sulkingly away until Minister Wong notices her and sees her and knows she is To Sum’s daughter since he met with To Sum secretly when he first arrived.


I consider this Linda’s worst acting moment in this series and since it is only episode 11, more to come I am sure. I don’t get it. I don’t get the coy pretentious overly ladylike manners. I don’t get the script. I don’t get why she walks away slowly when her friend is beaten half to death and captured by police. Where is the urgency? Why the bloody slow mo? Why is Linda so disconnected with her character Kai Kei? Why is she acting like she is acting? Why is she so insufferable to watch? Why? WHY? WHYYYYYYYYYYY????????????

Ahhh you might say “Funn, she has always been that way”. I don’t agree but let’s move on and not be so Kai Kei where everything is… so.. darn…sloooooooooooooow……….


Minister begins to leave when he turns to the mayor and says he is impressed with the police work and the efficiency and so requests to buy dinner for the force and he asks how many police and Chun says about 10 but some are out working and so minister says he will present certificates of appreciation to all 10 and so each and every one of them is expected at dinner.


HA!!! Clever man!!! First he made Chun reveal he has 10 men. Then he makes Chun make sure all 10 come to dinner which means whoever guarding Kai Chung will have to leave and buys Yat Yuen time to free Kai Chung. He knows all these because Ka Kei told him about Kai Chung kidnapped and Yat Yuen following so he is basically freeing the obstacles. Smart!!


General respectfully declines.

Meanwhile Yat Yuen and gang see Kai Chung very very hurt inside a barred shack when the police left and they figured now or never but couldn’t open the door until Wai takes out an axe which is funny. I mean this series has moments of witty exchange and comedic moments courtesy of this bad of merry brothers.

At the dinner the minister smilingly gives each a certificate until one name is called, reaction is delayed and someone else admits he is the guy. Chun smiles to himself, satisfied he has fooled the minister but the minister… is…no…fool FOOL!!

Back to Yat Yuen, suddenly 2 police appeared and they hide whilst Kai Chung basically saved himself by pretending to faint and they open the door and Kai Chung in his condition can still manage to force his way out. They couldn’t see it is Yat Yuen but the axe is used to bar the door so I suppose that’s how Chun will know. Anyway he escapes and thanks Yat Yuen for saving his life.

Back at the mansion, Poon is packing the money into a bag for General and Chun is there watching when Minister suddenly walks in shocking everyone and General says he is packing the money for minister and minister says thanks and insists to remind general that he must follow him to Nanjing.I can’t remember much the exchange here except the minister sighs sadly he couldn’t see Kai Chung who has left for Japan who is instrumental in Nanjing getting the money and Poon couldn’t take it and wanted to say where Kai Chung actually is when Kai Chung slowly walks in and does not expose anyone but merely express his gladness in meeting the minister. Everyone is shocked, except the minister who happily welcomed Kai Chung and thanked him for the money and also said he reminds him of Kai Cho and since the town needs another good deputy mayor after the loss of one very fine deputy mayor, he asks Kai Chung if he could do him a favour and accept the job of deputy mayor? He also says he is sure Ngai Chun and gang will serve him well since he has awarded them with certificate of appreciation and the general will appreciate such a talent as well since the general can’t be there to assist the mayor and so Kai Chung as deputy mayor is the perfect solution. Everyone is lost for speech and Kai Chung finally agrees and even shakes Chun’s hand as the minister again reminds the general he will be accompanying him and the money to Nanjing, like the general is doing him the greatest favour ever. What a skillful politician and I love how he quickly changed the situation and outsmarted the general and Ngai Chun and yet guaranteed that the general won’t do stupid things to Kai Chung!

Kai Chung, Poon and minister go into Kai Cho’s office and Kai Chung only wants to know if the minister appointed him because of his capabilities or merely to save his life. The minister smiles and diplomatically and wisely says;
“If you don’t do your job well, no one can protect you. If you do your job competently, I needn’t do much either”

Kai Chung understands and promises this will be a lesson to him in how to act with care and not go gun blazing into the whole situation and hurting everyone and himself and finally he will morph into Kai Cho in terms of wisdom, patience and looks since they’re played by the same actor. Not that fool anymore even though I was happy Ngai Chun beat the crap out of him because he nearly hurt his family.

Minister, Kai Chung and Kai Kei meet old master in prison and here is the real clincher of irony of the century. Remember general wants the $300,000 and willing to imprison or kill old master for it? Remember what I said about why not pay $300,000 for his freedom or lesser jail time? Here is the irony.

To family is missing the $300,000 either way. Either the general gets it to fund his army OR the Nanjing government will get it for rebuilding the company. In both situations the To family WILL NEVER EVER get back the money, it is just a matter of losing the money to who and the consequence on old master. Minister tells old master there are deaths due to the pills (ONE DEATH by the way, just ONE albeit a very significant ONE death) and he did confess to the fact that his pills killed people and fraud and all (COERCED CONFESSION by the way). So in the end he still goes to prison but for 5 years. Kai Kei is shocked. 5 years? And I was shocked too. Bloody hell, you took $300,000 and still 5 years when you know the confession is coerced and he didn’t mean to kill Kai Cho whose family has in their own way forgiven the old master!! And the business is still shut, no longer can they be Sheung Chun Tong. That’s not a good deal! Who is the bigger crook here? The Nanjing government who gets the money and gets to pretend to be just and fair and reasonable when in actual fact;

1. They took the $300,000 without good reason. The money should have been returned to the To family unless the To family has to pay compensation. The minister terms this amount as DONATION.

2. Sheung Chun Tong is still closed due to the fraud thing when everyone agrees there is no fraud. Old master is not fraudulent. Negligent maybe.

3. Old master gets 5 years in jail. I assume in comfortable jail and not hard labour. 5 years for his age is a death sentence.

4. Kai Kei can still investigate what went wrong with 9-9 pills. So what does that mean? Old master goes to jail for a crime no one is convinced he ever committed and if discovered innocent, he would still have been jailed and served his sentence.

I feel this part is just totally and absolutely idiotic. Nanjing government is as crooked as the general except the general should learn subtlety and style from Minister Wong who manages to openly cheat a family of their entire fortune, close down their business and imprison a man he doesn’t believe to be guilty and yet get everyone to say a huge thanks sir to him. I feel for the general, I do.

Kai Kei protests, slightly but old master says movingly;
“Kai Kei, enough. Let it be. I deserve to be in jail. I was too arrogant for my own good, my arrogance killed Kai Cho. I accepted that fact now, that I caused Kai Cho’s death and ruined your happiness. I deserve my sentence and I will serve my sentence willingly so that I can go on with my life with a peace of mind and a humbled man”.

In a way this is his best outcome actually but the minister should have sentenced old master to some hospital to serve as a doctor to serve community service sentence and prison sentence. He should have made the same offer to Kai Kei or something. Anyway Kai Kei cries, nods and vows to clear the Sheung Chun Tong name.

Like as it if even mattered. I swear she prioritised Sheung Chun Tong’s good name than her father’s freedom.

Meanwhile general is drinking like crazy and here we see the human side of him. He is very angry he lost the money and Chun apologises, says it is his own fault but general says no, it is his own fault because he is a leader and he failed to lead well. Chun looks grateful for the respite and the general says he is not angry he lost the money, he is angry he lost to the enemy and that the enemy bettered him in so many ways. He couldn’t believe he lost to that wily minister Wong. Natalie arrives and scolds her father for drinking so much as general vows to hurt Kai Chung and Natalie says to her father to let it go since he doesn’t really need the money anyway. Her father drunkenly says;

“I the man don’t need the money. But I the general needs it desperately. Do you know there are a few of the soldiers that I will need to pay and they didn’t defect for me, they defect for the promise of money. Above me there is my boss and he will question me why I could not buy the loyalty of these defectors. What should I tell him? WHAT?!”

Poor man. He is a brute, he is cruel and stern but at this point I kinda understand why he really wanted the money.

Chun sees Natalie and sits down with her and gently tells her not to worry so much about the general who is strong and will stand back up again. He says rather good things about the general which I feel is genuine. Natalie is grateful for Chun’s kindness. Well he is kind to her even if he is brutal to others. Then Chun tells her to be wary what sort of friends she makes and shows her the telegram that Kai Chung sent and he says he did not tell the general it was she who helped Kai Chung to foil the general’s plans and Natalie reads the letter, gets very emotional as Chun walks away, his back facing her and he is smiling deviously as Natalie speaks to herself;

“Kai Chung, how can you use me like this?”

Angry woman alert! Angry woman alert! Kai Chung, you’ve just made YET another powerful enemy!!

This is a good episode. I like how Minister outwitted the not so smart General, I love the scene where he shocked everyone by appointing Kai Chung as deputy mayor. I hated how he can legitimately take the To fortune and walk away smelling like roses. Overall a very entertaining episode and moving at a faster pace.

Performance wise, I feel Sammy Sum does better in here than in Line Walker where he is wimpy at best. In here, there is a devious side to him that I enjoyed watching.

Everyone was ok, except for Linda Chung. She is so disconnected with her character, her performance is so bland and I think she can stand there and I will still not see her. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She cries beautifully, she looks pretty, she has the look, the feel but her acting is so off, I don’t think I can find the on switch anywhere. I am hoping she grows into the character, be a tad natural but it just spells FAKE to me. I am very disappointed, especially in this episode. It is like she is not making any effort. It is not like she totally gives up but Kai Kei is so hard to like some part due to the weak characterisation but mostly because I find Linda so ineffective.

But the guys are good and thank god for that.


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

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  1. I agree with u on Linda!!!
    Didn’t know why I just find her too pretentious in this drama!!!
    Especially the tone of her voice..urghhhh!!!
    Yes, Ka Kei is a kind hearted character but the same time she is too a strong and a fighter but Linda tone of voice just killed that character!!
    And ewww her lollllllll all so goody gal acting!!!

    Goshhh!!! I guess I wish her character got killed than Sharon 43 in Line Walker!!!

  2. Linda best performance to me is her in A Journey Called Life. The one with Steven Ma.
    She is so good in that!

    And I do noticed that her performance gone down the hill since Brother’s Keeper…
    The same voice tone…==|||

    Hopefully she don’t spoilt TigerClubs!!!!

  3. Please don’t be too harsh on Linda … she is just acting from the script … yeah right ask the script writer n the director!!!

    1. But why did people not see her as the character, Ka Kee, written and described in the script? Strange! Funn is not the only person who said that, and she likes Linda very much. She can’t be biased.

  4. Minister Wong took the money because the government really needed that money to maintain control. This is a period where all the generals are actually warlords all fighting for territory and power. He couldve at least left some money to help the family though…

    The minister believes old master is innocent, but the people of Fushan, the mayor does not. If he is released and the ‘clinic’ reopened, Fushan will destabilize, the people will be upset/riot, mayor and general will protest, and question the governments decision; it will cause more trouble than good. Which is why he told the others to investigate so if they have actual evidence so they can clear their name, and release old master and reopen the clinic.

    There are also alot of stupid things that the characters do that doesnt make sense at all, but I blame the scriptwriters for that.

    anyway, the part where Jazz’s mom comes out to beg the officer; did she know where kai chung is hidden? i was thinking the officer started to threaten/hurt the mom in order to make Jazz spill the beans

  5. Anyone remember this show House of Harmony and Vengeance (耀舞长安). Here Linda is acting as someone who is not exactly her usual role, and she is atrocious to watch.

    Anyone who thinks she played some role which is not like her usual role better should really watch this.

    1. I have watched House of Harmony and Vengeance(耀舞长安). Agree. Linda Chung was not too bad in her character, but still a good-girl, but elegant, role.

      In fact, I like to watch Linda Chung acting ancient roles more than modern roles. She always looked the same with her long hair in modern drama series.

  6. “…the general…here we see the human side of him. He is very angry he lost the money and Chun apologises…” I like this part when the general reveals his human side. And I think Sammy acted so well in such a way his smile showed not only for a moment of relief, but also he looks a bit cunning so i suspect he will attack the general later in the story to climb further

  7. “I have something to say… please let me say… I do have something to say…. please…. please… please… I need to tell you…. what? I can’t…. ok”

    Omg, describes Linda’s character perfectly! Especially that scene where she was trying to inform the mayor on the whereabouts of his son. *facepalm*

  8. Don’t know why my comment was moderated. I was just saying how perfectly you described Linda’s character with her slow-mo responses. Especially the scene where she was trying to inform the mayor on the whereabouts of her son. *facepalm*

    1. Totally. Only watching this show becoz of Ruco. Up till now, his screen time is still limited and really a waste of his talent. He can do so much more as he’s a very versatile actor…immersing into every role he plays. This show probably can’t bag him the BA award. His bunch of buddies and the imperial doc are also quite hilarious. Enjoy their bickering…at least they bring some comic relief and life to the show. Linda’s acting is almost similar in all her shows. Her voice, intonation, facial expressions are quite similar from her previous shows. But nonetheless, I still like the Ruco-Linda pairing…they make a great couple in terms of looks.

      1. I don’t want to copy your comment but yes, this is what I also want to say. Never hate Linda but don’t like the way she handles her relationship. It seems that she is using Ruco to attract attention. Poor Ruco. This is just my opinion.

      2. Somehow I feel Linda is fond of Ruco…judging from their on/offscreen chemistry and her body language during interviews, promotional events and award shows. She is full of praise for Ruco and it doesn’t sound fake. She may be afraid to go deeper into this romance with Ruco since she is already romantically linked with Philip and also for fear of tarnishing her good girl image. Actually, Linda should have no qualms about dating Ruco as the audience love their pairing since they acted together in BK. I’m sure their fans will accept them as a real life couple. I just feel it’s a pity if Ruco and Linda are genuinely fond of each other but yet can’t take it forward.

  9. For me personally Linda’s acting is very average for the whole episode. And i don’t know why both his role in Brother’s Keeper and this series are pretty much the same. Annoying. i wonder how funny having her (meant to be) gold hearted, persistant, strong but also a fragile woman likeable, instead…she appears annoying. Her character appears like making everybody will do anything for her but ended up she is even not directly will send them into trouble. i still fondly remember Ruco’s character in Brother’s Keeper turning upside down because of Linda same with Kristal Tin and Edwin Siu. i am sorry to say, no offense, TVB maybe spoil Linda too much.

  10. I feel sorry for Linda since she was hiding her romance with Philip for so many years, when she tries to follow other actresses to public their romance then she met with Ruco and both have chemistry with each other, but now they can’t take it forward, because they afraid that will affect their entertainment career. I agree if they dare to open their romance story, the fans will accept them, but the point is they afraid to do so, and especially Ruco’s entertainment career still at the staring point, that is why they are in the awkward situation now. I really feel sorry for them.

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