[Review] “All That is Bitter is Sweet” (By Funn)

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

Producer: Tsui Chin Hong
Genre: Period Drama
Number of Episodes: 30

Previously posted at http://point2e-reviews.blogspot.com/2015/01/r-all-that-is-bitter-is-sweet-tvb2014.html

The shorter version is she (Linda Chung) never seem comfortable in this role.

This is formerly known as Big Apothecary! Better change the name, since most can’t pronounce the name anyway. Apo what? Apo then carry what?

All names in Mandarin/Cantonese or if standalone, in Cantonese.

Du Yan Ge as Du Shen / Dou Sam
Linda Chung as Du Jia Qi/Dou Kai Kei
Pierre Ngo as Du Rong/Dou Yung
Shirley Yeung as Feng Yu Qin/Yuk Kam
Raymond Wong as Zhuang Ji Zu /Chong Kai Cho and Zhuang Ji Zong/Chong Kai Chung
Natalie Tong as Xu Jun Yue/Hui Kwan Yuek
Pat Poon as Zhuang Dun Ru/Chong Duen Yu
Susan Tse as Wei Qiu Qing
Ruco Chan as Ding Yi Yuan/Ting Yat Yuen
Sammy Sum as Wei Jun/Wai Chun
Samantha Ko as Pian Pian
Elliot Yue as The General Hui Shung Ming
Alex/Jazz Lam
Ching Hor Wai
Choi Kwok Hing
Bak Yan
Choi Kwok Hing as Dr Sheung

Synopsis and Episodic Thoughts
I wrote detailed episodic thoughts until episode 11 (http://bigapothecary.blogspot.com/). Then I switch to opinion and summaries in my blog until the last episode (http://www.point2e.com/2014/09/o-all-that-is-bitter-is-sweet-2014tvb.html).

At the time of writing this review I was pretty sure who is Kai Cho and who is Kai Chung. Now that my memory fades a little, I am not so sure so any mistake, I! AM! SORRY!!!! in my Linda Chung voice.

I am gonna talk about this series on the 4 aspects;

1. Story and Characters
2. The stuff I absolutely hated
3. The stuff I absolutely liked
4. The performances

And I am gonna talk about this series from the perspective of a fan of Ruco Chan and Linda Chung.

If you are ready to take out that champagne for Linda because I am not ashamed to admit I am a Linda Chung fan and seen a lot of her series, do keep that champagne in the fridge. You should bring out the plates you do not ever want to see anymore, a nice cosy corner with a broom ready because if it was me, I would be throwing those plates on the floor screaming “Why? WHYYYYYYYYYYYY? LINDA! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?” in that “Linda Chung’s Dramatically Betrayed By A Person You Trust And Feeling So Hurt That The World And All Worlds In All Dimensions Simultaneously Come Crashing Down And You Don’t Have Your Helmet On Voice” which should have its own entry in the dictionary as a verb; like I just gave that traitor a piece of my mind with my Linda Chung Voice.

This title is so aptly named in English if you look at the title the opposite way. All that is bitter is sweet will eventually become bitter. That’s how I feel with the ending. It is not the stupidest ending, that belonged exclusively to Bottled Passion. I mean in recent memory there are a lot of stupid endings so frankly ATIBIS is not THE worst. But it is one of the worst. It is not a genuinely happy ending unless you just want a happy ending for the sake of a happy ending. It continues the run where TVB simply refuses to invest in a good wedding scene which actually completes and ends with a happy couple. But then when I first watched this series, I could have guessed it isn’t all rosy and in some ways I got some things right but in many ways, this series really defied my expectations.

The story is cut into 3 segments.

1. Kai Kei and her struggles. This is where the main story is.
2. Kwan Yeuk and her struggles.
3. Pin Pin and her struggles.

The men are complimentary to these 3 segments. Yat Yuen for Kai Kei and Pin Pin, Kai Cho for Kwan Yeuk and Kai Kei, 2nd Uncle and frankly can’t remember who and Ngai Chun for first 3 but it all leads back to these 4 eventually.

Of all the male characters, Ngai Chun had the most to do. Yat Yuen at the end of the day is quite simply the hero and nothing more. Kai Chung is the short tempered rebel with a heart of gold and nothing more. Ngai Chun is the villain, the antagonist to all characters, the go-to evil guy. In fact if there is any compliment to be given to this series, the deaths are very dramatic and probably the highlights of this series. I am sure many of you will clap happily when Ngai Chun died and I was happy for the way he died.

Before I venture further, I just wanna ask, why the name Kai Kei when everyone struggles to pronounce it? Most sounded like Ka Kei!

Ok, continue.

All That is Bitter is Sweet Linda Chung 4The story is standard stuff, even if it is supposedly about a strong female character against insurmountable challenges in life to become a success. Ahhh you must have noticed even my short description is inaccurate, that is because this series became different somewhere at the beginning of the series. The trailers, everything misled me to think this is a story about poor little rich Mary Sue who had to learn the hard knocks in life and lead her family to glory again whilst falling for our dashing hero who is dying of a heart disease who she will in the end marry and save. For a series supposedly about the main girl that is To Kai Kei, you know something is gonna go wrong when even the cast sometimes got her name wrong; it is often sort of Ka Kei instead of Kai Kei. For such a series to work, it must wholly be on the main girl and she must be thrown into such situations that we either like her and cheer for her or like her but wonder maybe someone else can do better than her. Problem is I never liked Kai Kei because she was never proactive. She was always the damsel in distress. At the beginning she can’t even speak in a timely manner and in the end she can’t even count properly. All I can remember of the last scene she saw Yat Yuen and he told her to close her eyes to count to 3, by the time she actually started counting after breathing deep and hard, I have counted to 20. Let’s just say Kai Kei redefines ladylike in the annoying slow mo way. Slow mo doesn’t mean ladylike by the way. The main problem is that the story is so familiar. Someone did it first and did it better, like Jewel In The Palace which centres on the female lead. In ATISBIS, you get the idea Kai Kei is more of an observer rather than in the centre of it all. It also doesn’t work as well because she is not a very interesting heroine. Her situation is dire and interesting but how she goes about it is not. She doesn’t have one exceptional moment and towards the end when this series is so saturated with so many characters, our Kai Kei sort of got pushed into the corner and forgotten. There are other more memorable characters in this series and that is why Kai Kei never really fit in. The story does try to show her uniting her family, saving her father, saving people, saving our hero, saving everyone but it never really properly show it all. The limelight should be on her and her actions but the story was too busy with everyone else that there isn’t enough focus on her. And I never liked her at all. She seems so weak, so whiny, too gentle and always the cause of everyone’s problem that I didn’t feel for her at all. And when Kwan Yeuk appears I feel less. When Pin Pin appeared, all my sympathies go to Pin Pin. Like what I wrote in my blog post, like every woman in this series, I detest Kai Kei because she is a non entity in a world where she is supposed to be the supreme entity.

The story is not standard stuff when it is about Kwan Yeuk. Half the time I was wondering is she nice or is she a bitch in sheep clothing. Well, she is an elegant, educated, practical woman who sees things as they are and a problem solver. She is not Kai Kei, she is who Kai Kei should be. I like Kwan Yeuk even if she was always miserable. Twice falling in love with 2 men who are brothers who both love the same woman that is not her. In the end I was never convinced Kai Chung loved Kwan Yeuk but anyway, she got her happy ending and that’s pretty awesome. I like how she ended Ngai Chun’s life.

Talking about strong women, Pin Pin is one tough cookie. Her background is not as innocent and protected as Kai Kei or as rich and educated as Kwan Yeuk but she is one street smart girl. Her only flaw is she fell for a guy who refuses to commit but at least in her own tragic way, she got her happy ending. After such cold deaths in Line Walker which I felt nothing, when Pin Pin died and it was a long death scene, it brought tears to my eyes. Could such a giving person ever exist? Someone who so understand how to love and is so unselfish in the sense dying for the man she loved is worth more than living for nothing? She is to me a perfect character or near perfect. Kwan Yeuk had long bouts of jealousy and insane expectations for Kai Chung who never really promised her anything. Kai Kei’s head is forever in the clouds that she is so unbelievable as a person. Pin Pin had her faults too but once she think things through, she would gather her wits, come to a correct conclusion and do the right thing, even if it meant her life. For that I like Pin Pin the most even if her character appeared late into the series and died too soon.

Shirley Yeung’s character is not worth to talk about much except she is naive. Not naive smart like Kai Kei but so seriously naive you will wonder how she can survive all these years. I never got the impression she ever loved the 2nd Uncle but her ending is good. She smartened up after a lifetime of stupidity.

Let’s talk about the men who are complimentary to the women.

We have Kai Cho, the calm beloved first born of Chong family and the lookalike (not twin) Kai Chung, the rebel of the family. Kai Cho is quite a charmer. His death scene which was the 1st major death scene was horrific and major and very upsetting because he is such a nice guy. Everyone likes him and he is Kwan Yeuk’s adonis as much as Kai Kei is his goddess. However he appeared briefly and died and then came same actor, different character, Kai Chung who is the annoying righteous guy who is the Incredible Hulk of this series; he is perpetually angry. When he is not perpetually angry, he is suddenly as meek as a mouse, especially when it comes to women. He is the rebel but with a conscience and a heart. But I never really liked him much and sometimes he disappears from the series and from Kai Kei’s life.

All That is Bitter is Sweet Ruco Chan 1Then there’s Ting Yat Yuen, the hero of our series, literally. He saves lives, he is a nice guy, he trades with a conscience and a heart. He believes he will die before he is 35 and so he lives as he says;

“..I live my life calculating the risks because I will soon die when I reach 35 and I don’t want to waste my time and risk whatever time I have”

Interesting. Usually when people know they’re dying, the story is almost always how they live life without calculating the risk and to the fullest since calculating time and risks would be too much of wasting whatever precious time he has. Anyway that is why he doesn’t want to commit because he can drop dead anytime soon. At the very start I know he won’t die because that will be contrary to the purpose of Kai Kei. I was right except Kai Kei did not save him. I suppose he had time to spare after the age of 35 by the fact that perhaps the disease skip a generation perhaps? I do not know. I consider this a plot hole.

This is one character that is as helpful as he is noble. He is a bit like Kai Chung except with a cooler head. He is more like Kai Cho minus the wealth and education but he isn’t stupid. He is a very appealing character, probably will be popular with viewers, except his only problem is he has no purpose. The fact that he will die when he is 35 is just a motivator. His entire singular purpose in this series is to help and assist Kai Kei. There is no Yat Yuen without Kai Kei. When Pin Pin appears, at least there is some individuality for Yat Yuen but again he is there to save and help Pin Pin. There isn’t much dilemma when there should be since he chose Kai Kei over Pin Pin, even if he never really did promise Pin Pin anything. So Pin Pin had no just cause to be butthurt by Yat Yuen’s refusal. I just feel at times Yat Yuen is the overhelpful pedesterian who has no legitimate story in this series. Quite a waste of a good character.

Then there’s Ngai Chun, who is rather intriguing. The villains are rather intriguing. What is intriguing is he is a competent police but dirty corrupted and sadistic. But he is also defined by his worshipping of Kwan Yeuk as his goddess and admirably so. He is gentle, caring, attentive and sort of speak the truth when he is with her. He never really take advantage of her, never tried to kiss her, the only intimate thing he did was to gently wipe the tears from her face. And I so want to like him, and I do and of course that is wrong because he is supposed to be the villain and so he has to do villain stuff. He is always that sort of guy who has a sadistic cruel streak but I thought maybe Pin Pin is there for a reason. Well, not quite. Maybe Kwan Yeuk will change him but not quite. Since Kwan Yeuk is deadset on Kai Chung who has no other woman for him, Ngai Chun will be the “sacrificial lamb”. Oh towards the end he is evil and his ending justified. But I just wished why can’t black isn’t always black, white isn’t always white? I find him having more character than that annoying Kai Chung!

There’s To Yung, the 2nd uncle. I thought maybe he has hope to be a better person, like how it was in Safe Guards but nope, in the end still rotten to the core. You can’t say he is evil but he is definitely a selfish bad man who prioritises his own interest over another. Whatever he does, his first question is “What do I gain from this?”. His ending is proper although he disappeared from the screen many times.

And finally the old ones. Plenty of old people in here with many scenes that overshadow the younger cast and obviously Kai Kei. They’re the fathers and mothers.

There’s General Hui Shung Ming who is quite a revelation. Like Ngai Chun (before his downfall at the end) he is intriguing. I so want to hate him but I end up emphatising with him. There is no doubt General Hui is a harsh cruel man who is as arrogant as he is brash. But he also loves his daughter very very much. Even his daughter is exasperated by his constant meddling in her love life but in the end it was all for good intentions. Any father who thinks the world of his daughter will do the same thing he did, minus the whole gun pointed to the head thing. He is also working in a highly pressurised work. But I can’t understand if he is so rich, why not just cut the bs and just retire? Because he loves power too much? But he loves his daughter more! In the end he is ready to confess his sin and frankly he died a decent man at the hands of the dastardly Ngai Chun. A good ending in my opinion.

There’s To Sum, Kai Kei’s dad. For me To Sum is on the same page with General Hui, both as arrogant, as self centred, as self assured, as perfectionist. The only difference is To Sum has tact whilst General Hui lives in a world wen he doesn’t need to be tactful. Both are good fathers, raising decent daughters. Both love their daughters very very much and think the world of them. However To Sum has the disadvantage if thinking his medical knowledge was complete, and nothing can harm him. In the end he was absolved from the death of Kai Cho who he thought he dramatically killed due to medical negligence. He didn’t know the lingchi was poisoned by General Hui’s biochemical factory. However I still think he was right to be imprisoned. Part of the reason why Kai Cho died was because To Sum was too arrogant to accept there may be flaws with his pills and his diagnosis. In some ways his diagnoses was flawed because he didn’t pay enough attention to the symptoms, such as blackened fingernails. He was so confident that he didn’t observe the basics of medicine; observe and diagnose. He jumped straight to medicine. He felt he deserved to be jailed which was great but how he accepted that fate was done in a very profunctory nature. I wanted to see how he finally accepted his part of the blame but the process was too short. And he has the shortest greatest dilemma ever; wife pregnant with his brother’s son and all solved in the space of 5 minutes. No great dilemma for him. I do like his ending though; simpler clothings, back to being the physician rather than the businessman.

There’s the mayor and his wife, who both are more accepting of a girl whose father pulled a gun and tried to kill their youngest son (and not to mention also a possible terrorist and homocidal maniac) rather than a girl whose father negligently killed their beloved older son. The father is meek who is lucky to have married a smarter more capable wife, much like how in the end Kai Chung the not so smart guy marrying Kwan Yeuk who is obviously the smarter one. They are major players in the story and I enjoyed their dilemma and interactions but I never quite warm up to the cowardly mayor and his smart wife who unfairly blamed Kai Kei for every jinx coming their way.

Finally, the supporting of the supporting. If Kai Kei is lead, Yat Yuen is supporting, then whoever next to Yat Yuen is supporting him and frankly I really like the silly tastefully comedic trio whose name I never quite catch. I know the actors, well 2 of them at least but did not catch their characters’ names. They were witty and funny without sounding inappropriate. No silly cute music at the worst possible timing. Their comedy is subtle and I find them cute and did their job well in supporting the main cast. I don’t feel they’re time wasters.

Some are performance based, some are writing based.

I absolutely hated the way there is ordinary people slow mo and then there’s Kai Kei slow mo. Even in emergencies, she doesn’t break away when someone is holding her back. Instead she will stand still and finish whatever line when at the back of your mind you’re thinking “Kai Kei, Kai Cho is dying! Hurry for god’s sake!”. Her interpretation of time is 10 seconds slower than we are and whilst it is not fatal, but 10 seconds is enough for a dying weakened body man to run away from her and into nowhere. And she never stood up to run and find him. Even when our hero is beaten to a pulp, it took her 10 seconds to register any reaction such as like you know, saving him? When she is walking she tends to trip a lot because you know, she is a gentle soul living in the protective coccoon of her father’s love that she has never climbed onto planks and into boats without wobbling. She can’t even carry anything without wobbling. She can’t even fret at a shorter time. Her fretting is 10 seconds. The way she was there to warn anyone of any danger, when she faced some difficulty, she actually walks away when she should be pushing, running, panicking. She is hardly hard pressed for time. That is what I absolutely hate. The Kai Kei Time Factor. By the time she is done fretting, I could have finished half the pack of popcorns.

I absolutely hated the illogical story abot Kai Kei insisting the herbs in her foreclosed Sheung Chun Toong to remain exactly where they are. In the end it was Yat Yuen who moved them to a secure location which Kai Kei should have thought that in the first place.

I absolutely hated Kwan Yeuk’s condition for a while. Was she a vegetable? Was she immobile? Was she crazy? Or was she just too traumatised for anything? Which is which?

I absolutely hated the notion chinese medicine can cure everything with 1 dosage, 1 acupuncture exercise, etc.

I absolutely hated the ending. So did Yat Yuen die? When he disappeared before her eyes, I thought she was imagining things and I was like “Oh dear, Ruco dying, YET AGAIN”. And then I heard he actually DID disappear before her eyes. So the poison nearly killed him, right? Whilst he got rid of the poison his exertion shortened his already short lifespan because he tried to help the jinx called Kai Kei. So that should mean he should be dying soon. And yet had the energy to disappear, much like how Kobe did to hilarious effect in Line Walker. It was not figuratively; we are talking literally. And in the end Kai Kei climbs a hill in Yunnan and from afar she sees a guy and she smiled widely. Of course that’s Yat Yuen although we are not shown Yat Yuen, probably because Ruco wasn’t available for filming. It was just a silly end. Eithe he dies (and all pronogsis was telling us the viewers that) or show Kai Kei actually CURING him as promised. Nope. What we got was like perhaps 5 years later, pharmacy reopened, became a success, Kai Kei a successful doctor, likes picking herbs herself and climbs up mountain and sees Yat Yuen. Or maybe she was falling from some cliff and was imagining things and that was her personal heaven where the dead Yat Yuen was waiting for her. I find the latter a better ending than the crap I saw on TV. It does not justify at all that Kai Kei is a great doctor. DaeJanggeum, THIS IS NOT!
The underwater kiss. TVB, there are kisses and there are CPR. Which is which? And it is so funny Kai Kei is saved by the kiss of life and next thing it was Yat Yuen who was sinking to the bottom of the lake and so she had to drag him up for another session of… you guessed it! Kissing.. CPR I mean.

I absolutely hated the inconsistency in the Chong family’s hate towards Kai Kei. Sometimes they do, and with such venom that they declare Kai Kei as a jinx (well, me too) and sometimes they don’t, and could even emphatise with them. It disrupts the flow of the story for me.

I absolutely hate the following items;

1. Yat Yuen’s hat! Get rid of the hat!

2. Kwan Yeuk outer mini top, she is forever in one.

3. Those silly pants of those GROs in Pin Pin’s bar. Ugliest pants ever.

4. The short period of time from no remorse to deep remorse by To Sum.

5. But the most important one that I hated the most was Kai Kei’s neck scarf, perpetually on her neck save for 3 or 4 occasions. It is like winter is always there, she is perpetually cold. Or maybe she is hiding the stranglings marks of fellow viewers who hated her. I wanted to rip off that scarf from her neck. I wanted to shred it to pieces. I don’t get why her costume is so uninspired and worse, is is THAT cold all the time?

Of all my hates, the scarf is my number 1 hate.

The deaths. Fantastic.

Kai Cho was poisoned to death, accelerated by negligence by To Sum. His death scene was so sad, so poignant, t sets the tone for the grief to follow. Everything was perfectly set up.

General Hui was shot point blank on his temple by Ngai Chun. You know Ngai Chun will kill him but how? Using the general’s favourite golden gun and without any time to prepare. Blood splurting, perfect set up and perfect execution, pun intended.

To Yung’s death was well deserved and was glad he suffered. He was shot in the back by Ngai Chun anyway, so he was probably dying but in his dying moments he punch a hole or something onto the cylinder with the biochem warfare in it and some splurted on his face and it basically acted like acid. Not a good looking death. But I was glad he died.

Ngai Chun’s death was as sudden as General Hui, except this time it was Kwan Yeuk who shot him on the temple with her father’s golden gun. Great death!

Pin Pin’s death was the saddest. Knocked from her bicycle and even slapped by Ngai Chun, she basically succumb to her injuries but she died a very very happy woman.
I absolutely loved Pin Pin for her generosity and Kwan Yeuk for her classiness. These 2 girls defined this series for me.

But I absolutely loved that one scene where Ngai Chun was arrested for act of terrorism so to speak. First he taunted Yat Yuen about Pin Pin’s death and so Yat Yuen basically beat the crap out of him. Then he made Kai Chung very angry who ended up punching and beating him. In the space of a few minutes, he taunted the Minister Wong who was always the cool headed one but he got so angry this time he kung fu kicked the table which hit Ngai Chun so hard he flew back. Oh what a satisfying scene!!


The Good

Ruco Chan is good in a role that is like sleepwalking for him because he has done the cheeky nice fella so many many many times. Whilst his role is not well defined, his performance is good enough for me. Won’t win him the TV King but sure to garner a few female fans and will please many hard core Ruco fans who love his brand of acting where his eyes speak volume. He does make a convincing sick dying man. Since when he was filming this series he was reportedly sick, I guess it wasn’t much of a method acting for him. I just feel that since I have seen this performance before, I wasn’t thrilled by it as much as I should be.

Pierre Ngo is in the obligatory jerk role and frankly, seen him in such roles before except this time his To Yung doesn’t repent. I like his performance and he was effective even if pointless in the grander scheme of things.

All That is Bitter is Sweet Raymond Wong 2Raymond Wong successfully pulls off 2 characters with distinct personality but separated by just 1 eyeglass. I know which is Kai Cho and which is Kai Chung. I liked him more as Kai Cho. As Kai Chung, you have seen that performance elsewhere, where he is mostly very expressive with his eyes.

Samantha Ko has improved a lot in her acting. She is convincing as the unselfish giving Pin Pin and her death scene is as epic as it is sad.

Poon Chi Man is someone I haven’t seen for a long time. He was good as the pressured cowardly mayor who we know is a decent man but isn’t always standing to what’s right.

Du Yange is not that believable as the much feared To Sum but at the end when he is humbled, I think that’s where he is at his best.

Susan Tse was sublime as the intelligent Mrs Chong.

The Great

Jazz Lam is the perfect sidekick in a role only he can give justice to.

Wai Ka Hung is the perfect sidekick in a role he perfectly blends between witty lines, serious moments and sad times.

Bak Yan was amazing as the vile small minded grandma who became a better person in the end.

Elliot Ngok was wonderful as General Hui. I couldn’t get his performance at first but as the series got on, I began to appreciate his interpretation of the scary brash General Hui. Love his chemistry with Natalie.

The Bearable

Shirley Yeung is not the best actress but surprisingly she is watchable in here as the naive simplistic “brain not all there” Mrs To. Stil can’t stand the way she talks.

The Best

Natalie Tong has my vote as the best female performance in this series. Whilst I may dislike her clothing or her helmet hair, or the fact that she hardly smiles at all, I find her less dramatic than she was sayyyyy in A Fistful Of Stances. She was graceful, elegant, sophisticated, intelligent, not that nice but isn’t a bad person and she is absolutely believeable as Kwan Yeuk. I love her earlier scenes where she was pining for Kai Cho, later on I love her tender moments with General Hui. She shares great chemistry with Elliot Ngok and balances well with his brashness and her gracefulness. Natalie has finally come of age as an actress.

All That is Bitter is Sweet Sammy SumSammy Shum has my vote as the best male performance in this series, and it is of no disrespect to Ruco. Ruco was wonderful but the character was hardly a stretch for him. Sammy is in a role that I have never seen him in before. He has big expressive eyes and he used it to great effect in here. He was whiny and clingy and overall inadequate acting in Line Walker which will win him TVB’s Most Improved but frankly if he does win for Line Walker, I will interprete it to include his fine performance in this series. His Ngai Chun is a complex character and he carried the role and around veterans with panache, gung ho and a certain sense of style. As handsome he is to look at, his character was ugly to behold and yet infused with the right amount of romanticism when he is with his goddess and sadism when he is cruel and in the end manic insanity that had almost every male character punching him. He was a revelation and even if he looked young to be the corrupt chief of police, his success was he was believable. Line Walker may gain him his legions of fans but it is in this series where his growth of an actor is reaching a point where I can say, he is almost there as the lead actor kind. I have always said he is one actor where he has the charisma and the looks and the ability to mold his face to any role but the talent is catching up, slowly. Now, it is catching up much faster. He still needs some more “baking” time in the oven called the actor rite of passage but I do believe we are seeing a potentially good actor with star quality in the making. If he has Vincent Wong’s acting abilities with Vincent’s body and his own looks, that would be deadly and the metamorphosis complete. Right now, not quite yet but on the correct trajectory.

The Worst

Linda Chung. She is by no means a bad actress. She is often better at roles that are opposite of her public image. This role however is sorta like her public image; nice sweet helpful girl. The problem is as highlighted above. The shorter version is she never seem comfortable in this role. The way she delivered her lines is too fact, like she is hurrying to finish the lines so she doesn’t need to speak those lines, like she is afraid of them. She is a naturally gentle feminine girl (however much she may like to stress she is a tomboy, etc, don’t be fooled) and she didn’t need to put on those gentle movements but here it felt timed, calculated and nothing natural. She speaks with a naturaly higher pitch tone, almost lazy and very feminine girl voice but her, she somehow ramped up the girlish tone and coupled with deliberate heavy sighs,it felt like she is always burdened with something. It doesn’t help that her character doesn’t change much, not in personality, not in clothes. Linda herself did nothing to show that aspect of change. For someone who is well liked in the industry, I somehow hated her Kai Kei. I just felt something is way off with her performance and in the end my conclusion is she is having a bad day in the office. She never felt comfortable in this role; she looked like she’d rather be elsewhere. Not even her favourite costar Ruco can make her feel otherwise. Of course this is just my personal opinion but I thought her best costar was always Steven Ma who is every girl’s best costar these days! I lament the fact that Linda is now becoming Myolie; everything she does is poison. Myolie never got out of that, and that is because somehow I feel she lost her enthusiasm for acting. For Linda, maybe it is nerves but she has been in more difficult roles in the past. So maybe Linda has lost her temporary touch. The writing isn’t top notch either so that contributes to her failure in this role but at the end of the day, I just feel Linda was the main reason.


Good for an afternoon watch if you have no great expectations. You will be surprised how much you will like the supporting cast and some aspects of this character. Watch it for Ruco but seriously, watch it for Sammy Shum and Natalie Tong who are the stars in this series. I won’t say this is a must watch but to those who enjoys such genre, this is a good choice but just don’t expect great stuff.

This review is written by Funn Lim, a Contributor at JayneStars.com and was originally posted at www.point2e.com.

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  1. So, do you think Linda has lost her touch for acting? I don’t know what happened to her. She was terrible in TC2. I guess she’s not comfortable trying out new roles, which doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. I think Linda is a decent actress. But thing is, I’m just tired of seeing her playing the same “goody good” role. Her acting to me is quite nice but sometimes it’s like, oh she’s playing that innocent girl role again. Oh wait, I think I know what character she’s going to play next. etc etc.

      1. For anyone who is still thinking that Linda can shine, if only she is not playing the same sweet innocent role, please think of TC2. She was so horrible in it.
        She has lost touch for acting or is just not interested anymore.

        She has made All That is Bitter is Sweet to be TVB worst series in 2014.

  2. Agree with Sammy Shum. This guy has talent. He’s not overly amazing…but you can tell he has potential. I liked him after his role in Line Walker playing the “good” cop. Which is funny ’cause in this drama he’s a “bad” cop. But he was able to portray both role well. Hope TVB will give him the opportunity to shine. He has potential.

  3. Oh how I wish Linda will get a full on villain role like Tavia in BTROC. She can do cold but now I wanna see if she can do full on cold-blooded.

    1. She cant do it. She has been given chances, she cannot do it.

      The 4 new girls in “Raising the Bar” are better than her.

    2. Cold as in Tiger Club 2? House of Harmony and Vengeance was her villain role…failed. While she is not a bad actress, I don’t have her very versatile

      1. Like I wanna see a role where she cannot have a conscience, the roles in TCII and House of Harmony, she’s innately good, I wanna see her to go full psycho maybe a murderer or mistress that wants to ruin families.

  4. I think Linda is going through a phase where she is popular but unsure. Like she has hit a acting wall, and she doesn’t know how to overcome it. And the less recognition she gets the more insecure she feels and that reflects in her performance. She desperately wants to win the awards and by not winning it is killing her confidence and her ability to act a character. She needs new challenge in a new environment.

  5. So do u still like Linda or will u give up on her? Just from the last 2 years you complain about Linda so much I thought u will just give up already! I believe she will bounce back up in her acting. I’ll still continue to watch her.

  6. This review is dead accurate on Linda Chung. She spoiled the entire drama. Had it not been for her, it was quite watchable as the other actors. both lead and supporting did a credible job. TVB should just drop Linda. She’s really the worst actor there now. Anyone who disputes this, go watch her in TC2. It was a nightmare.

  7. I still have hopes for Linda >________< Yes, her performances in the recent years have disappointed many fans so many times but I'm biased and my favourite female role of all times was KaKa in 'A Journey Called Life'.

    If TVB wants to keep her in their so-called A-list line of actresses…they need to produce a decent drama with her and Steven Ma in it.

  8. I agree…linda tend to perform well if she is surrounded by people familiar to her like steven ma…fala chen..and tavia yeung..i wonder if steven ma was in this drama..how would she perform as he as big brother tend to encourage her….even when she has insomnia in ghost writer..she perform better there than this drama

  9. Honestly, I have never really liked any of Linda’s roles. The only one that really stood out to me is A Journey Called Life and that drama is AGES AGO. I’m sometimes sick of her during interviews when she thinks she is absolutely capable of the best actress award. I think even actresses like Natalie, Nancy and Kate are ten times better than her in the acting department….Linda needs to re-think her priorities and goals in life.

    1. I agreed, after watching TGC2, I do not watch her series again. She thought she did well in the drama, I am wondering if she has read any comments about her performance in TGC2

  10. I loved this show especially of ruco and Linda’s journey together! But just want to confirm, what does everyone think of ruco at the end of the drama – did he really live?

    1. Yes, the ending eluded to her running into him up in the mountains.

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