[Episodic Thoughts] “All That is Bitter is Sweet” Episode 6

By on September 17, 2014 in REVIEWS, TV Dramas

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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.

EPISODE 6

“Kai Kei, I know why… you’re jinx”

FUNNLING METRE

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I don’t know what to say. Episode 5 was quite a high and whilst a lot of things happened in Episode 6, I feel the only story I was ever satisfied with was Ruco and gang. The rest were either bad acting, inadequate acting, what the heck is going on acting or seriously? acting.

So… Kai Cho really really died. Pandemonium in the room, understandably parents are mad with grief and start to question old master, asking how come he died, why he died, he promised to cure the son in 3 days but now he is dead, why why why… and frankly he is too stunned to even offer and answer, moreover he doesn’t know. So that the mystery is lifted for the time being as you read this recap, nope, you won’t know why not even in this episode. But I can offer an explanation, later on..the father is shaking old master and Linda rushes in to very gently push away the father.

Pause.

God awful acting moment by Linda who is just OTT in everything in the first half today. She is a soft spoken lady but her soft spoken ways in this episode is so very put on, so very fake, I wonder what went wrong? Even her push is not real acting enough; I don’t mean she should PUSH, I mean she should at least push convincingly but her pushing seem like rehearsal sort of pushing. Linda, what’s wrong?

Continue.

Anyway the other doctor (do you know the veteran actor’s name?) explains “We tried our best. We did. We did all we could but.. we just couldn’t save deputy mayor”. Natalie could only stare hard at them all and then can’t remember who said it, someone suggests taking Kai Cho home which they then carry him out covered with a blanket on a stretcher. Everyone, even Ruco and Pieree are shocked that deputy mayor is dead. In fact in this episode alone, Ruco has only to remember 3 lines apart from some other lines, and those 3 lines are a repeat;

“Deputy mayor was a good man. He served us well. I just want to do my part to honour his memory.”

Repeated 3 times.

Anyway Linda rushes out crying for Kai Cho but let’s just say effectively Natalie tells Sammy to don’t stop going out and ignore everyone else. And so poor Linda is pushed aside.

Back home, parents crying with deep grief (but seriously not enough; I feel the actors didn’t do quite enough) and Kai Cho is on the bed, as if sleeping and when Natalie is alone with him, Natalie cries and tearfully says;

“Cousin, did you know I could have married you if I told my father I wanted to. But I didn’t want you to be unhappy so I didn’t insist. I have loved you all my life. If only you married me, you wouldn’t end up dead…”

Which is true… in a way.. in a very pessimistic sort of way… sorry girl,. if he had loved you he would have loved you eons ago.

Back at Sheung Chun Tong, Pierre is worried. After all, not just anyone died, it was the deputy mayor, the mayor’s son, the general’s relative… a huge huge person. He is worried on the effect on the business. Damn that selfish bastard.

Linda is alone, still in that god forsaken damn black/grey dress that now looks very appropriate since she has always dressed like a widow.

Pause.

She is NOT a widow. She is NOT married to Kai Cho at all. Not even a drink. NOT even a tea. NOT even anything. Which frustrates me. Why not just show them get married AND then he dies? Or is there an unspoken rule in such series that the leading female character must remain pure in physical sense to be fit for the next guy? Like Tavia in Storm In A Cocoon and many many many more. I just wished they married, had their honeymoon and then he died. Make it even more tragic and more difficult for her since she is now a widow, unwanted and discarded by her in laws and totally all alone in her struggles. Wouldn’t that make it a challenge and more dramatic eh?

Continue.

Shirley comes into the room and gently says “Cry if you want to. Don’t hold it in, just cry”. I think she said that and anyway Linda hugs her and cries hard (can’t see tears, no red eyes or red nose, not grieving enough. Wanna know grieving? Watch Carmen Lee in M Club). Old master walks by and sighs sadly.

General sees Poon and questions him on the 9-9 pills but Poon is still too sad to say anything except to angrily blame old master as he rightfully should. General sensing his opportunity promises to give him a proper answer in terms of blame and responsibility. And he promises him to give his son a great funeral. Later the general says he has wanted to get that old master as he never liked him and now is the chance. He orders Sammy to get old master and handle the funeral.

Linda with old master who expresses his sadness at Kai Cho’s passing but he seems to be full of himself, not much blame on himself, not broken and certainly not afraid. He really thinks he can get away with it? Even if he did everything proper, he would have been blamed anyway because the one who died is the deputy mayor, not the tofu seller. And true, police comes and old master is invited to general’s house to explain what happened. He goes there, forbidden to even sit and when he says with regret he is responsible for Kai Cho’s death, the general immediately has him arrested and police drags him away as he is as confused as ever as to what did he do wrong. Shirley begs Pierre to go see Poon or anyone to save old master as she worries about his health. She isn’t so bad as a wife at all so I am wondering, what will her role be later on? Everyone shirks responsibility until Linda volunteers.

At the station she is so naive that the police is demanding for money and it takes her a long time to understand that. Inside her father got the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge treatment and even now the old man still is so arrogant and doesn’t realise he is in deep deep trouble.

Linda gets in and sees her father in a cell, barely dressed, wet all over and very very cold. She begs the police for a blanket and pays him. Her father rushes to her and finally the father says;

“I deserve this. I was too arrogant to realise there is something wrong with 9-9 pills. I killed Kai Cho. His death is on my hands”

But Linda refuses to let her father think this way but yeah, am glad the old man finally breaks down even if it is too sudden because moments earlier he didn’t seem so broken you know?

Outside Linda bums into Poon and she cries “Uncle…” but Poon declares “I have no daughter in law!!” and so Linda is disowned.

Sammy goes to see Ruco, the go-to-guy and says since he can’t profit from a wedding, he can now profit from a funeral. No expense limit, arrange for a great funeral. Wai Ka Hung (character name unknown right now) seems to know a lot about funeral. In fact these guys know a lot about everything! Ruco promises a great funeral because …

“Deputy mayor was a good man. He served us well. I just want to do my part to honour his memory.”

Natalie is looking at the wedding photos and in anger she cuts out Linda’s face and tells her father she wants to use this smiling photo of Kai Cho as the funeral picture. Father seems rather chirpy and Natalie notices it and father then turns grim.

Later Sammy arrives to close down the entire Sheung Chun Tong and everyone is forced out Linda arrives home to see her home sealed with an order that anyone enters will be prosecuted.

At another home, some loyal workers remain and the doctor explains old master really tried his best but he did not elaborate what went wrong. Linda arrives home to tell everyone father is indeed in jail. As usual no family unity but Shirley is worried for old master and begs anyone to see Poon or General and explain. She is not very smart, like her husband. This time the grandma instigates Linda by saying Linda is half the wife of Kai Cho already, why can’t she go to the funeral to send Kai Cho on his last journey. Of course we know this will be disastrous but that old lady is kinda malicious. Linda thinks and says yes that is what she wants to do. Shirley thanks her and says it will be difficult for her but Linda say she doesn’t care, this is what she must do.

At the Chong house funeral arrangement under way and Ruco and gang is there arranging things and again Ruco says he is glad to be of help because…

“Deputy mayor was a good man. He served us well. I just want to do my part to honour his memory.”
Poon and wife still grieving and Wai tells them they can’t send off the deputy mayor because chinese believes the son will suffer if the parents to do since by dying before the parents he is already being unfilial even if it is not his fault. After some hesitance they know this is what they must do when Linda arrives crying and begging to see Kai Cho one last time as she knows her family has wronged them but she just want to do her bit to help Kai Cho on his way to give him a peace of mind. Ruco and gang stand there looking at her pitifully when Natalie basically told whoever to push her out which they do with a bit of pity as one of the police says to her he is already dead, there is not much use for her to look at him. So she goes away.

Ruco and gang outside expressing their sympathies for poor Linda, how cruel these people are to her and everyone knows the deputy mayor would have wanted her to be there for him when one of the police comes out and says to them to guard the door and not let anyone in and Ruco smilingly says;

“Deputy mayor was a good man. He served us well. I just want to do my part to honour his memory.”

I swear!! Almost same dialogue. Anyway before that he did ask Sammy why not open the funeral to the public who may wish to pay their respects and Sammy knows he is talking about Linda and tells Ruco to mind his own bloody business.

Outside the gates some people delivering flowers and they comment that the deputy mayor was so well liked by everyone, evidenced by the number of flowers and attendees when he notices a pair of girly legs hidden behind the flower things and he knows it is Linda.

At night, he opens the door and lets Linda in and tells her everyone is gone for the day so hurry up. She goes in and the gang is there and she is handed the funeral costume, she wears it and slooooooooowly (eh girl hurry up!!) walks to the coffin and cries hard as she says;

“Kai Cho, I am here.. I am here, can you hear me? Kai Cho…”
and her tears dropped onto his face and Wai says;

“Madam, try not to let your tears fall onto his face. He may be reluctant to leave this world if you do that”

and Linda quickly wipe her tears away. And so the ceremony begins where she honours Kai Cho as a wife honours her husband.

At the end she must go but she begs them to let her stay for a little while longer, she has something to say to Kai Cho and they all look at Ruco who nods. Linda looks at him gratefully and kneels before Kai Cho’s picture as she cries…

“Kai Cho, you promised to take care of me. You promised to be by my side forever. Why? Why did you leave me so soon? How could you bear to abandon me here in this world, all alone without you?”

and the guys (I think Wai and Ruco only, can’t remember if the rest were there) look at her with much pity and sadness..

Pause.

Kai Kei, I know why… you’re jinx. First, he contracted the disease because he got bitten by that kid. If he didn’t follow you in and was a bit more careful, he wouldn’t be sick. Secondly if he didn’t trust your dad with those pills he wouldn’t have taken them so diligently. Third if he didn’t give your dad permission to treat him with that needle in the head method, he wouldn’t have been so irreversibly poisoned. Fourthly if he didn’t meet you he wouldn’t have died this way. Period. However we won’t have drama lar, tears lar and that whole twin brother in love with sis in law and sis in law treating twin bro as her dead fiance storyline. Cliche? Indeed! Entertaining? YOU BET!

Continue.

Poor poor Kai Kei.

Meanwhile at the train station Raymond again appears but this time he is the younger brother by 4 years? 3 years? Not twins, anyway Kai Chung who has a shorter more punk-ish hairstyle, no glasses (so more reckless I suppose) and in school uniform with a red packet. He is smiling and as he enters the car the cutesy music is on which is so darn inappropriate. The driver says to him young master.. reluctantly and Kai Chung smiles;

“What is it? Is brother very angry with me that I missed his wedding?”

and the music cut off abruptly when driver says;

“Young master, big master.. is… dead…”

and no more smiles from Kai Chung.

At home, Linda is still crying for Kai Cho, begging him to come back to her when suddenly they hear footsteps and lo and behold, KAI CHO!! (not, Kai Chung!) and Linda so shocked runs to the man and hugs him tight as she cries “You’re back! Kai Cho, you came back to me! You came back! I know you would!” and he is as shocked as Ruco and gang who are all wide eyed looking at the impossible.

Next episode, probably more tragedy for Linda.

I am surprised Linda doesn’t know Kai Chung’s existence, never met him but he has photos don’t he? How long has she known Kai Cho? Hasn’t Kai Cho shown him a brother who looks exactly like him? Doesn’t make sense. But I suppose even if she knows, she would have been so affected by her grief that she makes such an easy mistake. Ruco and gang are understandably shocked.

Story wise, ok lar. Later part is better than earlier part even if it is cliches all over. I don’t like how old master handles his guilt. The development is inadequate to say the least. I want to see a broken man, not a broken man IN prison. The only consistent characters are Sammy, Natalie, Ruco and gang.

Performance wise, ahhhh the veterans falter in part due to writing but mostly because I can’t feel the grief enough. Oh the crying is all there but I just feel the acting from Poon Chi Man is inadequate. Susan was ok.

Ruco is doing well and is given more and more role. He displays enough of sympathy and empathy that shows his Yat Yuen is a good man deep down. In Episode 4, I did not write a sequence even if I did jot it down on my notes; he writes in a diary or journal where he flips to a page I think perhaps 2 or 3 years down and then he flips back to the current year which is 1918? 1915? Or thereabouts. It shows he faces an uncertain future that maybe his life expectancy is not beyond that 3 or 4 years. Get ready with tissues unless Kai Kei becomes an amazing doctor and cures him and we then have a happy ending and damn it, I WANT A HAPPY ENDING!!

Wai Ka Hung is as good as the pity and empathy as Ruco. He is a wonderful actor.

Linda does well in the later part but I still feel she is holding back. I don’t mean she must cry her hardest and go “I WANNA PUKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!” but rather, I feel why is she so pretentiously calculative in her ladylike manners when she is naturally ladylike?

Shirley is ok, not much to do but I am impressed that her character is a decent lady.

Natalie continues to impress with her subdued performance which is great for her.

The rest are ok, no comment.

Episode 6 should have been greater than episode 5 but I feel some things were totally off. Hopefully normalcy is reached in the coming episodes.

Question now is did old master really make a mistake with the medicine or was there hanky panky? I prefer the former but if it is the former, he won’t be released won’t he? Since Linda will try her best to prove her father didn’t make a mistake? That to me will be cliche storytelling. I’d rather the father is guilty.

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

3 comments to [Episodic Thoughts] “All That is Bitter is Sweet” Episode 6

  1. skinnymocha says:

    I’m glad Natalie only cut the photo for the funeral picture. For a moment there, I thought she was going to get a little crazy and slash every single one of Linda’s faces.

    Linda does seem too tentative with her acting and I really wish she’d do away with that voice she puts on – she does not need to sound extra soft or refined. It’s as if she only ever focuses on her voice (and her lines) and forgets what to do with her limbs.

    Anyway~ Acting aside, I’m not really invested in any of the characters thus far – save from Natalie’s and Sammy’s. But I’d like to see more of Sammy’s dark streak and hoping he doesn’t just end up being some lovesick puppy.

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  2. JCLL says:

    This was the best episode so far I think. I loved it even though it was so sad. Linda made me feel her pain and I had tears with her. Linda’s crying was good and real. Maybe u guys have high standards? Lol. Episode 7 explains why Linda don’t know the younger brother that well.

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  3. Norika says:

    Cracks me up whenever the Ruco phrase is repeated! ALS lol. The whole funeral matter is so draggy, but I’m surprised when Ruco lowers his voice and give Kai kei the funeral clothes, “Kai Jo is waiting for you…” makes me cry all in a sudden.

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