[Episodic Thoughts] “All That is Bitter is Sweet” Episode 2
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.
“I like Linda in this episode much better.”
Ahhhhh I got one relationship wrong I think.
Let’s recap the relations;
Pierre is the son of Bak Yan who is the 2nd wife of dead old master. Du Yan Ge is the eldest and presumably from 1st wife who is also dead and he in turn has one child, a daughter that is Linda whose mother is of course dead. Shirley is his young 2nd wife who is disrespected due to her background (still unexplained) and her inability to give him a son. Raymond is the eldest of 2 sons of Susan Tse and Poon Chi Man who is the mayor (or City Commissioner). The younger son has yet to appear and I am wondering who he may be. Natalie is Raymond’s distant cousin and she is the daughter a General and I assume is Elliot Yue and her mother died when she was little. The general is actually the husband of Susan’s cousin so that makes them related but distant relations. Raymond and Linda is engaged and I assume since young since if you wanna talk about power, money and influence, why wouldn’t Raymond be engaged to Natalie, right? Ruco is not related to any of them. He is a business who buys illegally obtained stuff from the police. Sammy is his middle man. Now Sammy is also not related to any of them but he is the right hand man of the general so he knows Natalie. As for Jazz, he is Ruco’s right hand man, presumably childhood friend.
And that’s the relations, thus far.
Now to the recap proper, not much happened in this episode without a huge leap of faith so to speak.
Linda helps the sick boy, diagnosing him but not quite sure if she got it right. I was thinking how she was gonna cure him since she has no equipment or medicine with her so I suppose this boy will act as her guinea pig in proving she has talent and can cure what would have been an epidemic. I was just darn curious why the boy’s father never wipe the blood off his own nose (where in previous episode he was punched repeatedly by Sammy).
Natalie is still waiting for Raymond and half the time she looks tearful. Maybe Natalie had flu? Anyway her hairstyle is terrible. It ages her. I am still undecided if she is arrogant or aloof or whatever. Anyway Raymond comes back and heard her squeal loudly as a rat escaped from the basket and Raymond rushes in and she quickly and unreservedly jumped into his embrace as he held on to her. Linda was there, she was surprised by her conduct but wasn’t displeased whilst Sammy looked shocked and displeased. Ahhhh he is IN LOVE with her but hey, she’s the General’s daughter, he ain’t good enough for her. Cops run in and I think Raymond asked why are there rats in the office and Sammy asked the cop in turn and the cop dimwitted said he though the deputy mayor wanted to catch rats and all that (which was Sammy told them to do) and Sammy angrily said to take the rat out of the office. Natalie looked bashful with Raymond and when Linda expressed that she was sorry she disturbed Raymond and made Natalie wait for Raymond, Natalie never looked at Linda when she answered but straight at Raymond and she smiled she doesn’t mind waiting at all. Neither party noticed her rude behaviour. Anyway Natalie wanted to go home to change clothes before dinner and Raymond told his driver I think to send her home and Sammy tagged along. In the car Sammy tried to make small conversations, saying how grateful he is for her father’s patronage who helped him get his current job when he ended his military career (kinda too young to have done so many things) but Natalie wasn’t interested until he mentioned Raymond and suddenly she perked up and he told her how everyone likes Raymond, etc etc etc which we all know is BS since he hates Raymond. But that got Natalie’s attention who thinks highly of her cousin as she said “Yes he is that sort of person, who forgets himself when he is deep in his work”.
At home, Susan Tse and Poon Chi Man (haven’t seen him for a long time!) counts wedding gifts and there were a lot! Poon was asked if the items should be deposited into his own personal account or city’s account he said personal until Susan reminds him there is an agreement between him and the general where he takes only 30% whilst 70% goes to the general. Poon argues these are wedding gifts, personal stuff but Susan reminds him not to rock the boat. One gift is a golden pistol and Poon wonders why he is given a pistol when Susan cleverly deduce the pistol is meant for the general. Poon is not happy about that but agrees to the 70%-30% thing. Meanwhile, Raymond arrives home and Poon agrees one thing was right; his son who is beloved by the people. Raymond says as long as he does his work truthfully and faithfully, they don’t need to depend on anyone good graces. Ahhhhhh…. doomed I tell you! Never forget the hand that feeds you!!
Natalie drops by for dinner. Poon hates her father but likes her because after her mother’s death, Natalie actually lived with them for a few years during which time I suppose she fell for Raymond. Raymond happily remembers their childhood where he and Natalie were often playing bride and groom with the prank loving younger brother (don’t know who yet) being the one who marries them off. It is clear Raymond sees Natalie as a little sister and it is clear from her body language Natalie doesn’t think the same way. She urges Raymond to remember he knew her first, and again he did not seem to catch the cryptic meaning of this. Later he takes her home and she gives him a wedding gift; an expensive Swiss watch and he wears it immediately as she says “Cousin, whenever you look at this watch please remember me” and Raymond smiles and leaves and poor Natalie always on the verge of tears now sits alone looking.. on the verge of tears.
I am convinced Raymond and Linda had a marriage contract as shall be revealed later. If not why wouldn’t the general betroth her to Raymond? Unless Raymond is not good enough for her since even Raymond’s dad has to depend on the general.
Linda asks uncle Pierre for the medicine issued to the patients for the day and he refuses her until her grandma tells Pierre to give the documents to her and she happily leaves. The reason Pierre refuses is because he thinks Linda is checking on him but grandma says don’t rock the boat. “She will be married soon, your brother does not have a son, so guess who will be taking over the business? Be patient, all will soon be yours. Whatever she wants, just let her have them”. Wise words.
Linda looks at the diagnosis for reasons I do not know as I am not sure how that is helpful to the boy who is still very very sick. Father knocks on the door, she hides the diagnosis and father-daughter has a good time remembering the past and they have a good and fruitful discussion on medicine and diagnosis. Linda I suppose gets her answer as her father remembers how she was little and she sat next to him as he went around diagnosing and treating people. He happily says he is happy Linda is marrying a good man like Raymond who is the son of his old friend. Marriage contract perhaps? But so happens these 2 actually fell in love. Anyway Linda says she will miss home and will come back often to visit but her father says “Don’t do that. If you do that, people will gossip that your in laws is not treating you well” and Linda understands her father’s reasoning. Anyway father leaves and Linda sits wondering about the symptoms, illness, diagnosis and cure. Father looks sad as he walks into his own room to see his young wife Shirley napping and immediately snaps into action as he enters and blundering when she gives him the smoke pipe, tries to light the pipe and fails, etc etc. He gently asks her “Am I so scary that I frighten you?” and Shirley sadly says “No, no but I feel I am not doing anything right. I can’t even give you a son and I am here as a waste of space and waste of rice”. The old man looks at her as he says “Don’t be too bothered with what mother (little mother to be precise, as in Bak Yan) says. You know how her mouth is” but Shirley says “But she is right, I am not a good wife” as the father says “No, it is not your fault. All my knowledge in medicine and I have no son to pass it to and it is because I have no luck with having sons”. Shirley looks at him demurely.
Sounds like a reasonable man.
Back to Ruco which I forgot. Anyway remember the bet about the 2 boxes of tea? Sammy at the end tells Ruco to just pay him $50 but Ruco volunteers to pay $100 much to the surprise of his men because he says he wants to keep good relationship with Sammy who has been very very helpful to him in the past. Sammy leaves as a very happy man and Ruco happily smiles away. Back at their office (storage warehouse) Jazz and gang ask why pay $100 when he could have just paid $50 as asked for by Sammy. After all the tea has a weird smell and probably of bad low grade quality. Ruco displays his immense knowledge of tea and acute business sense by replying “Do you think I will make a bad bargain? Remember what I said? Keep good relationships! By giving him $100 he is happy and will continue to do us favours which is exactly how I want it to be. Moreover what we have here is worth much much more” and he opened it and the tea leaves were green instead of the usual black. They all went ewwwww with the smile but Ruco smiles and says “What you see here is the famous and expensive longjing that every rich man drinks. Not like our pu’er which is black, these are so rare people will want to buy these. These are top grade tea! I paid $100 for what is potentially worth $300. And the fact that he asked only for $50 means he himself didn’t know what was in the box. It was a risk worth taking” and they all happily sipped the tea and marveled at the taste and how expensive the tea was.
A very very long scene, much like the father-daughter diagnose and treatment discussion scene except the former has some relevance and the latter, whilst exciting is to me rather irrelevant. But it shows Ruco as someone very knowledgeable and it also shows why Jazz Lam is da man. I will explain more later.
Frankly I can’t remember what happened next or what was the last scene but I don’t think I missed anything. Time to start taking notes even if not much happened in this episode. The story has yet to start.
As for performances, I like Linda in this episode much better. Gentle, soft spoken, kindly and innocent, as long as she doesn’t do drama or screaming or crying, she won’t go OTT although she is a tad too old for this sort of roles anymore. Somehow I feel she is missing the youth factor here.
Shirley surprises me. Thus far she is doing well and I suppose this is her last TVB series? Not much for her to do yet but I suppose later on she will have loads to do. Will she be the villain?
Jazz Lam shows in here why Oscar Leung fails in Line Walker. Even when squatting Jazz was a natural. He is some may say the perpetual secondary actor, the one next to the lead actor and never the lead actor but that is not something shameful or bad. He helps the lead actor’s performance, in here it is Ruco and their banter is funny and natural.
The rest, no comment.
This Episodic Thoughts is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://bigapothecary.blogspot.com/.