[Episodic Thoughts] “Outbound Love” Episode 18

By on February 15, 2014 in REVIEWS, TV Dramas


Outbound Love <單戀雙城>
TVB Series 2014

Cast: Ruco Chan, Aimee Chan, Tony Hung, Lin Xia Wei, Matt Yeung, and Samantha Ko

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.


These are short recaps.



At episode 18, this series is fast becoming like those olden days tragic drama where the main couple’s happiness is so short lived, it is at best happy for 1 episode and then at the end tragedy. Except in this series, it gets rebooted each time, that it is going nowhere. When you thought it is going somewhere where all indications say so, suddenly in a split second it is like stuck in the same vicious cycle all over again. It is really testing my patience because this is a 22 episode series. 22 episodes about a romance that has yet to start or about to start and then went dead and then revived and dead and revived. This is like the undead romance. Worse is, there is one revelation in here that tips the scale towards “Are you kidding me?!” territory. Oh poor Sik Sik, oh poor Ruco? Nahhhh… this is TVB’s idea of romance with almost every element thrown in except proper romance. As much as I hate Taiwanese idol drama or is bored with the singular theme of any K-drama, at least they know how to show proper romance and the journey of a couple towards the inevitable togetherness. Which is such a pity because Ruco is delicious and he is amazing. Which begs the question; why is he always stuck in such badly written series?

Recap and a short one.

Basically entire episode is about Sik Sik discovering what we already know; Nic was behind her string of extreme good lucks, from her shoes to her sister’s shop to even her father’s studio leaking wall fixed and paid for by our Nic. Chun Chun knew since her shop was also paid for by Nic. Whilst Sik Sik, Chin Chun and even Ruco ganged up on Chun Chun to find out who (I mean that difficult to guess meh?), Nic arrived and explained it was him. Sik Sik still very much affected by his very name, more so his aura and now his presence wasn’t happy as Nic explained all he wanted was for Sik Sik to be worry free, problem free and happy. All he ever wanted was to see her bubbly happy self again and he never intended for her to know anything. All he wanted to do was to be her guardian angel, so to speak. Or in some cases, perhaps her fortune god may be more accurate. All Sik Sik could say was begging, literally begging Nic to “leave me alone, please, let me be”. She ran away, Chun Chun ran after her and Ruco looked at Nic and he called him some pet name. I think it was buck tooth guy and I think Nic called back teeth braces guy, I think.

Point is, they met at some summer camp when 15 or 16 and became best of friends. So best of friends, they got beaten up together, chased girls together, cheated to buy beer together, and Nic even saved Ruco’s life one time when he almost drowned. Then Nic left for I think England when he was almost 18 and then they lost touch.

Pause here.

Allow me to gag a little here. What an amazing coincidence isn’t it? And I am sure you can see the next possible plot line from a mile away don’t you? I mean why then introduce this nice little useless twist if not for that plot line which you can see a mile away? And again the romance died even before it began.


Nic told Ruco he felt sorry for what he did to Sik Sik, very very sorry. In his mind, Sik Sik was such an easygoing happy go lucky girl until his betrayal. He wanted nothing more than to make her laugh and be happy again. In fact he said it took very little to make Sik Sik laugh and giggle happily and never before had he met any girl he wanted so much to settle down with until Sik Sik. That Sik Sik’s love was so unconditional. Pass me the tissue man, I am gonna weep until I remember this; what about the 3 women he was simultaneously sleeping with/seducing/flirting with when he was still engaged with Sik Sik? Well he knew he was a jerk and he wanted to right the wrong. But he asked Ruco what he thought of his behaviour? Ruco confessed Sik Sik did say something about him some time back but wisely concluded he was not in any position to judge him. And cryptically I think he added that from now on Nic’s wish will be granted. Not in exact words but as if he will let Nic win Sik Sik’s heart again.

Rubbish I tell you! Absolute rubbish!

Sik Sik wanted to throw that nice shoe away but couldn’t. Chin Chun ventured into the rude nosy territory when he accused her of forgetting what Nic did to her and was forgiving him for the shoe, meaning she was materialistic. He also blasted her for not telling her sis and dad about Nic’s involvement in their good fortune. Whilst I feel he was right about Sik Sik’s undecided nature, I thought he was over the line with his almost like a lover’s hurt sort of accusation. I mean what a nosy nobody! Sik Sik blasted back at him angrily and said why can’t she keep the shoe she likes? It is just a shoe. Why must she reveal Nic’s involvement to her dad and sister and spoil their fun? She in fact thought very well of Nic who she said was someone who could hurt her so much and yet right now behind her back did so much for her without intending to reap the rewards so to speak, like so unconditional. In other words Nic should have stepped up his game and she would have returned to him. In fact in real life she would have forgiven him. All indications point to the fact she still loved him.

Now at office, Char Gor wanted Ruco and Sik Sik to think of some travel plans for the agency. Not important to know the details because this is just another excuse for our main pair to have some one on one time together. And yes they flirted, and yet there was this lovely very short moment of them playing ping pong like game with a stack of papers and a crumpled paper as ball. Sik Sik laughed happily, carefree and joyous. And I can see how Ruco tried so hard to make her laugh and I wonder, why? Why is he doing so much for her? Now don’t tell me love is unconditional, because in TV world, it doesn’t make sense or rather it doesn’t make fair sense. Real world, yes, TV world, must be better scripted or at least a 2 way thing because if not the love goes to the guy, the hate goes to the woman.

And what happened next, in light of what happened the last 2 episodes may make you dislike Sik Sik when on paper you’re not supposed to.

So they sat down after some happy exercise and suddenly Ruco said he knew Nic and was on his way to explain their relationship etc when Sik Sik glumly said “Please don’t talk about him anymore, I don’t want to know”.

Wow! You see? You see the hypocrisy here? 2 episodes ago she emotionally blackmailed him to write songs for Yee Kiu, she didn’t succeed. She expected Ruco to write songs and be in the same room with a woman who hurt him so and yet she can’t even bear to hear Nic’s name. So why was his hurt lesser than hers? Or rather what made her hurt more than his?

I do believe this is a question not intended by the series but because the portrayal was so biased, you will wonder. What is your answer is up to you but that is one question surely you would have asked at some point in this series.

Anyway she was back to her sulky self when amazingly, Ruco trying to be sensitive became a tad insensitive when he tried to argue for Nic, that Nic changed, that Nic still loved her, that Nic for the past 6 months was alone etc etc and he made it clear Nic saved his life once. Wow only 6 months. So it was like one brother owing some favour to another brother and now Sik Sik is the ping pong ball? Well not very clear because he was kinda thinking about giving Sik Sik back to Nic but at this point he was just thinking. Sik Sik had every right to be pissed off so she angrily asked “Is that what you really want?” and angrily she left, leaving Ruco fretting.


I don’t get this scene. So now at episode 18 and probably 19 and even 20 we will have self sacrificial love? And then episode 21 he will write a song, reveal his status as white knight, Nic realising Sik Sik no longer loved him will now return her to Ruco and ending with a passionate kiss perhaps?

And is there at any point Sik Sik will ever go to Nic and say “Sorry dude, I love Kung Tzi so get lost”? Will she ever say to Ruco “You idiot! I love you!!”? Or will it always be the guys doing the running and she just stand by and see who catches up with her? I want Sik Sik to fight for her love, be proactive, be determined. But at episode 18 where she was in the cusp of a new relationship, she was obviously still so very much affected by her old one, the only fair conclusion is she is in denial and she will return to Nic except in TVB world, she won’t because upon knowing all that Ruco did for her, especially the white knight incident she will feel she no longer owes Nic anything and can now love Ruco freely. I feel the angle seems to be about her guilt at owing Nic so much so when you have someone doing more for her, she easily could switch to the other guy.

Again, I hope not because this is not love. This is a careful and calculated measuring of deeds as in who did more for me, etc. The focus should have been Sik Sik’s heart. Who does she love? Why can’t Ruco ask her “Sik Sik, do you still love Nic?” rather than stating the case for Nic, as if who she loved didn’t matter.

And so Ruco sat alone, fretted.

And so I sat there before the TV thinking why such a crappy story to waste the wonderful flirtatious talent of Ruco Chan who arguably is at his handsomest in this series?

Oh and earlier some segments about Sis Sze liking Chun Chun so much hoping her son will chase after her and Chun Chun also liking Chin Chun back. In fact this is also another undead romance except that is because Chin Chun is not in love with Chun Chun yet. Anyway at the end Chin Chun was very angry with Chun Chun’s lies and decided to leave “Manis Macaron”, the pastry shop. All Chun Chun could do was of course to feel absolutely terrible.

Yee Kiu lost out a theme song to a new rising young star and she knew her career will be over unless she could get Ruco to write her another song where she will maybe steal the credit again. I should hate Yee Kiu, but I don’t. I find her straightforward. I am disliking Sik Sik more and more because that woman’s emotional arc can be a high 50 degrees Celsius to a low negative 50 degrees Celsius. You will not be sure if what you are doing will be pleasing her now and not pleasing her 5 minutes later. I find her overbearing and I can’t for the life of me understand why not one but two guys would do so much for someone who did so little for them, unless of course her smiles and happiness is her return for their investment in time, effort, attention and love. Nic perhaps I can understand but Ruco? Why?

End song was thankfully Ruco’s song. At this point I can’t bear the nasal theme song, not with the rubbish I see onscreen that is neither romantic nor helpful in the plot. Yes it has its moments. I was charmed with the flirtation scenes, or rather I was charmed by Ruco. If it wasn’t Ruco Chan, there is nothing worth anticipating in this series which is really very predictable.

So why not be unpredictable? Why not have Ruco telling Nic “You hurt her once, you are not gonna hurt her again. Leave her alone. I can make her happy. Get lost”? Or Sik Sik telling Yee Kiu “You used him you bitch! Leave him alone!”? Where is the love worth fighting for instead of the sacrifice of giving away the love? What is so positive about being sacrificial lamb or emotional blackmail?

Performance wise, Ruco Chan is the only reason to tune in. I realised he looked robust in here, he did so much, much more than he ever did in previous performances. Handsome, articulate, some times emotional, he is the “always on” actor. Never seen his “off” moments in this series. A great pity the script or rather development of the story so beneath his talents.

Aimee Chan has a lovely smile. Her eyes twinkle when she laughs or giggles and yet the very same eyes can be hurt or really sad when she is not smiling. She doesn’t have a middle ground and for Sik Sik, that is not good news. Sik Sik on paper is this bubbly happy girl that you will love. Right now I detest her. Nothing to do with Aimee Chan, who I feel did well as the more mature Sik Sik back in Malaysia as the executive of Lassie Hotel, however inappropriately dressed but as the agency Sik Sik, I feel she crashed and burnt and crashed and burnt some more. Her Sik Sik is so of two minds or rather so passive. She takes, she receives, giving little back unless if you count scolding someone is the ultimate love and so I do feel her love. I find her reaction to Nic as opposed to how she feels Ruco should react to Yee Kiu is one of the many reasons why I dislike her. She is like someone on the outside such a nice girl but on the inside, there is something not quite right. This is mostly because of the writing but maybe some part of it is Aimee’s problem. Her acting can be like Charmaine Sheh, very compartmentalised but not as neatly. There is potential in Aimee but she is not ready for the leading yet. Her Sik Sik should be all consuming, after all this is her story. However I feel everytime she appears with someone else, anyone else, she is sort of hijacked by that person. Elaine who has so little scene dominates which is funny because normally Elaine is in the background. Even Xiawei sort of dominates. Aimee sort of fades into the background when there is someone stronger, and whenever Ruco is there, she disappears. I know she is the partner, the chemistry and all and maybe I am biased but I didn’t notice her at times. And when I did notice her, all I see is this inconsistency in character and performance. She is not a bad actress but in the role such as Sik Sik, she is not dominant enough nor likeable enough. Or maybe I should say she could not display the dominantly likeable Sik Sik. It is like a typical Qiong Yau series I always watched in the past; I am supposed to love the leading lady but I ended up hating her. Same case here.

Everybody else no comment.

Next episode is only a few episodes away from the final end where we go YEAHHHHH when they finally, FINALLY get together. There is still some time to redeem this mess, to make it exceptional. If episode 19, 20, 21 and 22 do it right, there is still time to forget the mess of the past episodes and forge a lovely ending for the beginning of a romance. It can happen but it will require some convincing, some good writing and some amazing performances in some fantastically touching, moving romantic lovely moments.

After spending so much time investing my time and effort in writing for each episode for Ruco Chan, for the sake of Ruco who I want to have a quality production in his long list of filmography (whatever is the ratings), I hope what opened badly, continued terribly will somehow end wonderfully.

Let’s hope.


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

20 comments to [Episodic Thoughts] “Outbound Love” Episode 18

  1. LINVIN8 says:

    Unfortunately, dramas like these have very obvious, predictable endings. As talented as Ruco is (I like him very much too) and how well he’s done in his last few dramas, Outbound Love’s ending is mediocre/slightly satisfactory at best. And it’s a shame that it doesn’t justify Ruco’s performance.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      The ending is not the problem. It is getting to the ending is the problem.

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  2. david says:

    OMG, episode 18 and 19 really did my head in. These two episodes are the worst for me. At first I disagreed with some of your analysis, Funn, regarding Sik Sik and her relationship with with Gong Tzi in your earlier posts but I am beginning to agree with you more and more. The series has jumped off a cliff for me in these two episodes.

    I can put up with some so so performances but bad writing and illogical plots really put me off. I could barely look at the screen when Nic was on the screen with what was happening. I swore so many times, not believing what was happening – not because it was unpredictable – but I just didn’t want it to happen that way. [email protected]#$ me man, you can’t play “ping-pong” with people like that (oh the irony!). Why do people still think relationship is something you can play with? It’s not a game! I am mad at Gong Tsz for not considering or asking what did Sik Sik truly feel or want. I am mad at Sik Sik for doing the same for Gong Tsz previously.

    Funn, your analysis in this post was excellent with regards to the relationships. I enjoyed it more than the episodes times a thousand.

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  3. Tsul Kalu says:

    “Ruco trying to be sensitive became a tad insensitive when he tried to argue for Nic, that Nic changed, that Nic still loved her, that Nic for the past 6 months was alone etc etc and he made it clear Nic saved his life once.”

    1. This scene signified the point when both leads have become inhuman creatures with no sense of moral or empathy.
    2. I understand ‘bros before hoes’ and all, but when your bro cheats on the ‘hoe’, that rule is supposed to be null and void.
    3. Really? As if any amount of good behavior/deeds can make up for cheating on you… with multiple women… including your best friend… up to the day of your engagement.

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    • buzz replied:

      “This scene signified the point when both leads have become inhuman creatures with no sense of moral or empathy.”

      You really lost me on this. What’s it got to do with morals? Are you saying both are immoral? How might that be the case? Ruco was insensitive yes, cos Sik Sik said to please stop talking about Nic but he went on and on but i don’t see how he’s immoral. Aimee too, when she pushed him to go back to his music was insensitive. But how was she immoral?

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      • Tsul Kalu replied:

        Okay, maybe immoral was a bit of a stretch.

        But I maintain that neither of these characters have a shred of empathy left in their beings. How could 2 people who have been cheated on not at least have a basic understanding of how it feels? Much less 2 people who had an almost EXACTLY EQUAL reaction to the cheating. (Both moving to Penang to get away from the cheater). At least on Sik Sik’s part she did not know that Yee Kiu cheated on Ruco.

        There is so much material here for a good series… To have it wasted like this… Sigh.

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      • buzz replied:

        I guess Luk Kung Zi thought that he was doing the “brotherly” thing in trying to patch things up betw Nic and Sik Sik, not that he didn’t have any empathy for her, insensitive on his part definitely. I wouldnt say that Sik Sik didn’t have any empathy for Luk Kung Zi either as she was unaware Yi Kiu had similarly betrayed his love; she felt quite awful when his mother told her what had actually happened in episode 20. I think you made that comment without being aware of how the story will develop, jumping the gun so to speak.

        I had kinda guessed that it’ll take up to the last one or two episodes for the 2 leads to finally have their long-awaited lovey dovey moment. Luk Kung Zi was certainly aware of his feelings for Sik Sik but it had to take 21 or 22 episodes for silly Sik Sik to realise this. Perhaps it’s the scriptwriter’s way of keeping us in suspense. Anyway i did enjoy this drama if only for the great Ruco moments, from his acting to how deliciously droolicious he looked, so not all is lost.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        “I guess Luk Kung Zi thought that he was doing the “brotherly” thing in trying to patch things up betw Nic and Sik Sik,”

        No he made it clear in ep 19 I think that he believes Sik Sik is still in love with Nic and since he owes Nic his life, he did what he thought best for Sik Sik.

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      • buzz replied:

        i think it was also the brotherly thing cos he cld have chosen to fight for her but he gave up without a fight. He also said that if he lost to nic, he can only blame his life.

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  4. buzz says:

    Btw can someone pl explain why Sik Sik left such an impression on LKZ at that autograph signing ceremony? I certainly didn’t see what’s so special about that occasion that her image is etched in his mind. Was it love at first sight? But that couldn’t be possible since he was in love with Yi Kiu at that time. It left me scratching my head.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Not love at first sight but rather he was taking photos, it was a memorable day for him and remember it took him a long time to remember where she had seen her before so basically she remembered seeing her but not where. Moreover maybe he is a man with good memory.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I meant he, not she.

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      • buzz replied:

        Still, even with good memory, it’s a bit of a stretch.

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    • Pigu Dave replied:

      Not love at first sight. Sik sik is an aquired taste. Her ‘ugliness’ stems from the tragic experience of her childhood and upbringing of her dad and also the recent traumer of her betrayal by nic the dic. So I did not dislike her for her rudeness to gong zi. I felt gong zi is always loved and admired by so many girls around him that in some way that the fact that sik sik is different compared to the othe girls was what sparked his initial interest in her. As he grew to know her more he found her more and more intriguing…and eventually saw the loveable side of her despite the outer self.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Is rudeness the way to a man’s heart? If a man can accept such rudeness then perhaps no pity for him when he is the object of her rudeness.

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  5. buzz says:

    I’ m beginning to think that the chinese title, literally translated as unrequited love in twin cities, makes perfect sense for the pace of the romance. LKZ’s love was unreciprocated till the last one or two episodes and the story took place in HK and Penang. So we can stop complaining and bashing our heads in frustration over the slo-mo romance, it’s meant to be that way folks!

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      That is bad storytelling and not romantic and since it translates into very bad series please do continue to vent your frustration instead of accepting rubbish as art.

      And what slow mo romance? No romance at all, more so slow mo.

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      • buzz replied:

        Will it make any difference? As I said before one man’s meat is another’s poison. No need to lose sleep over it. There are some sweet moments too, just not enough for your liking. Im fine with it and lots of viewers are too.

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      • buzz replied:

        Who said anything about accepting this drama or heck, anything from tvb as art? That’s just absurd.

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      • Bubblez replied:

        There has been other Asian series which had slow mo romance and ended abruptly.

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