" I read the synopsis, call it hype but when I read Fann Wong was playing dual role, and a person with split personality disorder bent on revenge, I was interested...However if you really watch this series, and I don't mind telling you the spoiler of this series, there exists a 3rd personality."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
In Mandarin it is Jin Zhong Ren. I read it translates as The Person In The Mirror which pretty much sums up the plot of this series I suppose. I do like the English title though which again pretty much sums up the character(s) played by Fann Wong, both beautiful as in physically and the representation of her characters. In fact very good English title.
No. Of Episodes
20. I was quite surprised. So short for a series heavy with many issues but luckily it was 20 because if not it would be repetetive. I think the plot pretty much exhausts itself by the 15th episodes and the rest of the 5 episodes I guess pretty much sums up the entire reason for this series and therefore the last 5 episodes or so were slow in its pace in some ways.
Most I do not recognise but are famous in Singapore.
Fann Wong .... Wang Yixin, Joe Ann
Thomas Ong .... Zhou Jiansheng
Qi Yuwu .... Zhou Jianwei
Yvonne Lim .... Lu Xiaofen
Lin Liyun .... Esther Wong
Nick Shen .... Wang Yifan
Yan Bingliang .... Lu Qinghua
Lan Qinxi .... Bai Cai
Joey Ng .... Tracy
Unknown - Daxiong
Unknowns - Mr & Mrs Lu
That's about it. So few people come to think of it.
Taken from official website at MediaCorp. You can alos view the episodes guide over there, not much spoiler.
Zhou Jiansheng and Zhou Jianwei are brothers separated since young. Years later, the grown-up Jiansheng (Thomas Ong) has been to jail and back, and now works as a small chef. He meets a comic illustrator, Wang Yixin (Fann Wong) and slowly falls for her, oblivious to the affections of his childhood friend Xiaofen (Yvonne Lim). Jianwei (Qi Yuwu) has led a very privileged life and is now the General Manager and heir of Prometix Corporation. The rich sheltered playboy finds himself utterly drawn to the charismatic and beautiful Joe Ann (Fann Wong), a sassy flight stewardess. Soon, Xiaofen senses something out of the ordinary about Yixin and Joe Ann. At this point, Xiaofen faces inexplicable and life-threatening accidents. Can she find out the truth in time to save Jiansheng and Jianwei?
Zhou Jiansheng (Thomas Ong) had a difficult childhood. His father was a compulsive alcoholic who lashed out on his wife and children whenever he was on the booze. His mother, Esther wanted to take Jiansheng with her on the day of her escape. However, her husband found out her plan and threatened her with Jiansheng’s life. Esther had no other choice but to just take her younger son Jianwei (Qi Yuwu) with her. Upon her departure, she promised Jiansheng that she would be back for him.
Jiansheng waited for Esther in vain; he now believes that Esther had truly deserted him. What he didn’t know is Esther had tried to look for him, but his father had hindered her plans. One day, out of desperation, Jiansheng agreed to kill a man, in exchange for his father’s medical expenses.
Jiansheng is released after 15 years of imprisonment. On his first day of freedom, he meets comic illustrator Wang Yixin (Fann Wong), a compassionate and warm-hearted girl who, like Jiansheng, had an unfortunate childhood. Yixin’s father passed away when she was only 7 years old. Her mother suffered from a mental breakdown as a result of her husband’s sudden death. The two lonely souls find comfort in each other’s company, and love soon blooms.
Jiansheng is also reunited with a childhood friend, Lu Xiaofen (Yvonne Lim). Xiaofen not only solves Jiansheng’s lodging problems, she also helps him to set up his own restaurant. Jiansheng is grateful to Xiaofen for being such a wonderful friend, but is oblivious that Xiaofen’s childhood infatuation has grown into love.
Jiansheng’s mother, Esther has since re-married, and is now the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. For years, she tries to locate the whereabouts of Jiansheng, including putting advertisements in newspapers. As Jiansheng was in jail all these years, he did not come across the ad till he was released. He refuses to get in touch with Esther, never giving her a chance to redeem herself.
Jianwei was lucky to escape from his father’s clutches. While Jiansheng had to make ends meet, Jianwei was pampered with luxuries and attention. One day, Jianwei chanced upon a fiery girl, Joe-Ann (Fann Wong in a dual role). Spellbound by her mysterious air and captivating looks, he soon ditches his fiancé to be with Joe-Ann.
The bizarre thing about the two brothers’ new found romance is that both their girlfriends have a strikingly similar physical appearance. No matter how the brothers try to get their girlfriends to meet each other, it would always be in vain. But as Xiaofen soon realizes, the truth is deathlier than it seems…
A note on the Summary
Like all summaries in MediaCorp website, it is after viewing the series that some facts were wrong or misleading. I am not sure if it's true or not but nowhere in the series have I heard that Esther Wong remarried. The rest are pretty accurate with a few dramatic sentences thrown in.
Funn's summary on the plot
WARNING : MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Yixin was 8 when she saw her father being stabbed to death by a 15 year old Jiansheng. Jiansheng was put behind bars for 17 years, during which time Yixin and her baby brother Yifan grew up living with her aunt, seeing her mother went crazy with grief and having to live a hard life so as to see her brother through university. You can imagine how hard life was when in a moment of utter and complete unexplainable madness, her life crashed. She lived her life filled with hatred and for 17 years she tracked down Jiansheng's every movement (this I gather since to know when he was released from jail and how was Jianwei there must be a lot of detective work on her part) and she created in her mind a full proof plan not really to kill Jiansheng but to make him feel how she felt all these years when she had nothing but her brother; she wanted Jiansheng to suffer when death would be more preferable than living. She was lucky she was pretty and she used it to her advantage. So she executed her plans the moment Jiansheng was released, befriending him and became his good friend who was not prejudiced towards his past and who could love him for all that he was. Jiansheng was naturally smitten but he required a bit of persuasion since Jiansheng had a deep inferiority complex and she made sure she helped him to gain confidence and naturally he fell for her.
Meanwhile, she executed the other plan. She posed as Joeann, an air stewardess (which is clever since air stewardess are not always there and so that explains her absence in the mind of Dave), someone who is hard to get and she successfully made Dave, a hard core playboy to fall for her. In fact as Joeann she was quite interestingly annoying, and dressed her part, short skirt and skimpy top.
Her plans were almost perfect but she did not count on human emotions.
For one, Jiansheng refused to forgive his mother, Esther despite all her persuasions at first. Why? You see Jiansheng had a very bad childhood. His father, after losing his business became a drunkard and would often vent his furstration on Jiansheng and his mother Esther. In order to protect hid baby brother, Dave from being beaten, Jiansheng often stood in front of his brother and let his father beat him senseless. On day Esther couldn't take it anymore. Jiansheng begged her to take them away and she quickly packed. But as she grabbed Dave and stood on the hallway, the father grabbed Jiansheng and put a knife to his throat. Jiansheng cried for his mother to help him but Esther who was torn with staying or leaving promised to come back for him and ran with Dave. Jiansheng saw that as a betrayal. Esther did come back for him but his father told a white lie; that he was sold off to Thailand. Since Esther couldn't see Jiansheng, she believed it and went away broken hearted. From that day on, Jiansheng's abuse was getting worse and worse. His only comfort was a childhod friend, Xiaofen. When he was 15 he joined a gang much to Xiaofen's disappointment. Not long after he found out his father was very sick and needed money for surgery. Instead of abandoning his father, he was manipulated to take some money and to kill a man. The man he recklessly stabbed was Yixin's father. He got punished for it and he regretted his actions ever since. His father died. Meanwhile unbeknownst to him, Esther was looking for him everywhere, convinced that he was still alive and thinking perhaps her husband had lied to her. Dave grew tired of the looking and often asked his mother to give up but Esther refused. She continued with her ads in the papers and Jiansheng saw them but refused to do anything about it. Esther even bumped into Jiansheng, Dave even complained about Jiansheng who was working as a chef in Xiaofen's restaurant (whom he met again by accident and recognised her by the pen he gave her when he was 15). It was a bad start. When Esther found out he was her Jiansheng after some investigating of her own and with the help of Xiaofen, Esther wanted to help Jiansheng but Jiansheng was consumed with hatred for her. His reason was both complicated and yet simple; Esther abandoned her. Despite the fact she did look for him, he equated Esther as the memory of a horrible past. He blamed her for all the beatings, the anger, the jail, everything. When he saw Esther he was reminded that he was an ex prisoner, someone with a bad past and he felt like second class. That was why he refused to acknowledge Esther. Yixin of course tried and tried and failed miserably to unite the two. Even Xiaofen couldn't do it. Xiaofen even secretly took the money by Esther and invested it in a restaurant for Jiansheng and when he found out, he pulled out. When he saw Xiaofen refusing to give up the shop, he came back but he secretly borrowed money from loan sharks to repay Esther. That broke Esther's heart and she met with an accident shortly. Yixin used this to soften Jiansheng's heart and you may ask, what is the purpose for her to do that? She wanted to make sure Jiansheng still cared for his mom. So she did the unthinkable; she paid someone to kidnap Esther and I don't think she ever had the intention to let her live. Jiansheng during that period of time was torn with guilt and he confessed to Yixin that he actually forgave his mother long time ago. Yixin asked "So you have forgiven your mother?" and he said "Yes, if anything bad happens to her, I will never forgive myself". That was Yixin's keyword; she wanted him to lose Esther so that he would suffer. Yixin did not call the kidnappers for days and then the kidnappers grew restless ... Esther's body was found a few days later, Yixin was satisfied with Jiansheng's response and yet she felt that it wasn't a victory at all ...
Then there was the problem of brotherly love. Granted Dave was super arrogant and Jiansheng was heartbroken when Dave talked to him but refused to look at his eyes when talking and Jiansheng felt like a pariah. Dave was angry that Jiansheng was treating his mom that way. Then his mom told him how when he was little and too young to remember, his father often beat him and if it wasn't for Jiansheng who took the beating for him, Dave would have died many times. Dave was moved by this story and realised Jiansheng loved him very much. He went to his brother, apologised and accepted Jiansheng as his brother despite how Jiansheng felt about Esther. Esther was happy of course. Yixin knew all this, she was glad this happened because the closer the brothers were, the bigger the rift when they found out they fell for the same girl with split personality disorder. Xiaofen found out first and told Jiansheng. Dave found out later. Both knew they were dating a girl who looked like the other but didn't suspect a thing. When Jiansheng found out, he decided to pull out. That was a problem for Yixin. She didn't want him to pull out and so she feigned suicide. Dave by then knew about the problem but was convinced his brother would pull out. It didn't help that as Joeann, Dave heard how Joeann loved him and couldn't be without him and that Jiansheng was hiding her away from him. When Jiansheng decided he couldn't abandon Yixin whom he believed to have a major mental problem and even Yifan the brother played his part in persuading Jiansheng not to do it, Jiansheng took a gamble and decided to confront Dave and tell him he loved Yixin and Yixin loved him. They came to a big blow and Dave even wanted to strangle Jiansheng but Jiansheng pushed him away and Dave knocked his head, went to hospital and woke up with amnesia. The irony was Jiansheng and Xiaofen asked Yixin to dress up as Joeann to jolt his memory and there she was laughing at their stupidity when they suspected nothing. Then Dave remembered, he found out his mother was dead and blamed Jiansheng for not telling him so that he could pay his last respect and Joeann poked fire by saying Jiansheng pushed Esther into an oncoming car, hence the accident that nearly killed her and that he refused to pay ransom to the kidnappers. When Dave found out Esther gave half of her estate to Jiansheng, Dave was furious. When Jiansheng refused the money, Dave called him a hypocrit with conscience. No matter what Jiansheng say or do, Dave could not listen to him. Worse still was Dave kinda forced his way with Joeann and was going to take her away when she went running to Jiansheng as Yixin and begged Jiansheng to will marry her. He took her to Sentosa and spent a few care free days with her, then left to confront Dave again. Nearly came to blows which involved a knife when suddenly sense came to Dave when Jiansheng said Esther would be heart broken to see them that way. Dave suddenly snapped back to reality and realised he had become crazy for a woman he can't have since Joeann was just an alter ego of Yixin and if Yixin was cured, Joeann would vanish (they still didn't know that it was all an act). Dave gave up and promised to let Joeann go and to return to the states. When Yixin saw how happy Jiansheng was, she didin't quite like that and tried to call Dave as Joeann. Dave ignored her phone calls and was ready to leave Singapore. He felt all that he did wasn't worth it, Jiansheng was his brother.
Which comes to the next problem in Yixin's perfect plan. A nosy Xiaofen who was more impartial and could figure things out quite clearly. She was the first to find out Yixin and Joeann were the same persons with split personality disorder, then she found out it was just an act, she found out why Yixin did what she did. In fact she knew so much and yet Jiansheng didn't believe her, most of the time until Xioafen threw a big tantrum and Jiansheng would quietly figure out what Xiaofen told him. So when Xiaofen wanted to tell him about Yixin putting on an act, Jiansheng was beyond listening because that time Esther died and there was the problem with Dave. So Xiaofen confronted the demure Yixin and in a way Yixin admitted the truth by not denying the allegations. Xiaofen was very emotional and she sworn to tell Jiansheng the truth. She left Yixin's apartment and next thing Jiansheng found out Xiaofen allegedly commited suicide by jumping to her death. That was a very shocking part. Jiansheng wasn't convinced and he was devastated. Then he listened to the last voice message sent by Xiaofen and found out the truth about Yixin. He went to dinner at her place, Yixin now knowing a thing, said he wanted to drink beer and off she went and then he went to check her drawers and found a sketching of himself stabbing a man and he knew what Xiaofen said was true. Yixin came home and he quickly left. He was torn. He didn't know what to do and he suspected Esther and Xiaofen's death may have something to do with Yixin. Yixin knew he knew because her file in the drawer was not in the right place. She knew this truth would torture Jiansheng and she knew she had to confront him. The problem, the ultimate problem was something she hadn't expected. Like Yifan said, "Sis, why are you always living in hate? This is the time to let go of the hate. Father is dead. Sheng ge is not a bad man and you obviously cared about him. Sis, why don't you let go and just be with Sheng ge?". But to Yixin eventhough she knew she had fallen for him despite everything, she knew it was too late. She dressed as Joeann and confronted Jiansheng, and Dave was there too. She told Jiansheng everything, she blamed him for her misery, she denied killing Esther but blamed her death on him. Dave became very emotional, always strangled her to death, then ran off and in a moment of the saying losing everything, they both heard a loud crash. Jiansheng ran out and saw his brother in a car accident and Jiansheng tearfully tried to help Dave (we found out Dave died in the crash)/ Yixin did not feel joy in Jiansheng's pain. She quietly walked away and returned to her home, only to find her brother being arrested by police. She panicked, didn't know what was going on and she met with Yifan later in the police station and her brother confessed that he actually wanted to save Esther but ended up stabbing the kidnapper (his girlfriend's useless brother) to death and in a moment of panic, covered his hands over Esther's mouth and nose and suffocated her. But Xiaofen's death was intentional. He knew Xiaofen was going to tell Jiansheng everything, he followed her, knocked her cold and when she woke up, as she struggled, he carried her to the edge of a building and threw her out of the building. Yixin asked "Why? Why did you do that? Didn't I tell you not to interfere?" and Yifan said "I was scared that she will tell Sheng ge, then sis, your chance at happiness will be gone. Now there's still time, Sheng ge loves you, he will forgive you. Sis, since father died we only had each other, I couldn't let you suffer, you deserve your chance at happiness .." and of course Yixin tearfully said "No, you deny everything, say I did it, I planned it, I killed them, don't confess ..." and Yifan said "Sis, I did kill them. I should be punished if not I can't live with my own conscience". Yifan was sentenced to death for 2 murders. Yixin knew she had lost everything and she had lost. But she went to Jiansheng, hoping for something, but Jiansheng refused to talk to her and when she pleaded, Jiansheng tearfully screamed "Isn't this what you wanted?! You have won! I have lost everything, you have achieved what you started out doing, I have nothing left and for me living is worse than death!". Yixin was dejected. Jiansheng met with Yifan, refusing to forgive him and Yifan said "Please forgive my sister, she loves you. You can hate me, I deserve that but my sister deserves her chance at happiness. Please forgive her, let this be my last wish, will you grant it?" but Jiansheng said "No".
Yixin prepared to move away with her senile mother. Then she found out she was pregnant with Jiansheng's child. She couldn't tell him, watching from afar as he continued living and running his restaurant. She left.
6 years later, a little girl walked into the restaurant and asked to see her father, Zhou Jiansheng. Jiansheng saw her, and knew who she was instinctively. Yixin was far away, looking on and quietly she left. The daughter gave Jiansheng a letter and Yixin wrote to Jiansheng how she discovered she was sorry for what she did that she knew he could never forgive her and they could never be together. But she couldn't abort the baby, because it was his. And so she said "I wrestled with this decision for a very long time. But I decided to give birth to her because she is your child... I had her with me for all these years but now I return her to you to keep you company for the rest of your life. I know you will take very good care of her and wherever I may be, I will be praying for the both of you." The little girl asked where her mother was and Jiansheng after reading the letter promised his daugther that he will find her mother no matter where she would be to bring her back and be together as family.
Questions Asked And Answered
Did Jiansheng ever loved Xiaofen?
I have a feeling when he was younger he had a crush on her, hence the pen. Or maybe it was because she was his only friend and who comforted him when his father abused him, that he treated her like a little sister, caring for her and didn't stop himself from scolding her or giving her the cold shoulder because the closer you are the more you walk all over someone I suppose. In a way he loved her, but not as lovers or lifelong companion but as a confidante and the best of friends.
Why did Xiaofen did all she have done for Jiansheng when her love was unreciprocrated?
For one she truly cared about him. She knew he wasn't a bad man. But like most foolish woman, she did all she have done because she loved him and never expected him to return her love and even encouraged him to pursue Yixin.
Did Yixin loved Dave at all?
I doubt it. She used him. She felt nothing for him. I believe with her complicated family background she may be looking for someone less showy, someones less of a playboy and more stable and could take care of her mother and brother and herself. These are the qualities that Jiansheng has, unfortunately he was her father's murderer and she wanted revenge. If not she would have been very happy with Jiansheng.
Why Jiansheng should be forgiven for what he did? After all it was a horrible thing to do.
This I agree. I disagree that just because he was manipulated as a kid or that he had gone to jail all these years that these meant he paid his dues. I don't think so. But sometimes forgiveness has to start somewhere if not hatred alone can't give much meaning to an already too short a life. I believe Yixin understood that towards the end, that the past can't be changed, Jiansheng actually strive to become a better man and he did regretted what he did although he may have blamed his mother but really he hated what he did and yet can't come to terms with what he did, so he blamed his mom,the easiest target. I find this part a bit of a plot hole, but the fact that he actually killed someone to save his father who abused him everyday showed this boy is capable of goodness in a twisted kind of way. It is not a matter for everyone to judge him but the person who has every right to judge him was Yifan (who forgave Jiansheng a long time ago) and more importantly Yixin. And these are the 2 who can forgive him. But they did so much wrong in the end the hatred dissipated when each action by each party cancelled each other out.
Was what Yixin did wrong?
The entire theme of this series is revenge and in the end forgiveness. They skipped the redemption part because I didn't see Jiansheng doing anything to redeem himself such as looking up for the man's family and trying to make up for what he did in the past. Strictly in that sense. I would say what she did was wrong and malicious because she used others to hurt Jiansheng. She used love to hurt Jiansheng. First she made him love her. Then when he patch things up with Jianwei, she used that brotherly love against him. Then when she found out he cared about Esther, she used that too. Whilst killing someone is easy, but ultimately the greatest revenge is to take it out on the people he cared about and that is a fate far worse than death; guilt. I think this series addressed this well in the last episode.
How can Jiansheng never questioned the nature of Xiaofen's death?
He did, in passing. A plot hole in my opinion.
In the end Jiansheng forgave Yixin?
Quite obviously a happy ending. Yixin couldn't bring herself to face him anymore because of shame and guilt and so she gave to him her most precious memory of him; their daughter. Jiansheng upon seeing what Yixin had done, finally forgave her and promised to bring Yixin back. So if there is a sequel, it would be how Jiansheng would go in search of Yixin (whom I suspect was in Malaysia all along, I mean where could she have gone?) and work things out with her. I think the ending itself is lovely.
Do you think a person like Yixin could have fallen for a person like Jiansheng no matter how good a man he may be?
Losing a parent is bad enough, witnessing his horrible death is really awful. And knowing this man killed the man you love, I mean maybe fall in love reluctantly yes but be together and forget the past? Forgiveness is possible but I doubt such a person would or could bring himself or herself to be with the murderer of someone he or she cared about for the rest of his or her life. I don't think that is possible, except there is amnesia or life threatening disease or situation.
How old is Yixin and gang?
Jiansheng : 15 went to jail for 17 years = 32 at the start and in the end 38 or 39.
Yixin : 8 plus 17 years = 25 at the start and in the end 31 or 32.
Dave : tricky since I didn't quite catch his age at the start of the series. Let's assume he was maybe 6 when his mother took him away, plus a few years plus 17 years = probably 28 or 29? Couldn't be same age as Yixin.
Xiaofen : definitely older than Yixin at the start since she was close to Jiansheng's age. One scene said she was nearly 30. I assume she is same age as Dave.
I was desperate to watch this series and I often lamented the fact that
1. I am not living in JB
2. I am not living in Singapore
3. ASTRO is never going to show this series in AEC channel and probably may show it in Shuangxin which I'll have to pay additional costs
4. Can't buy this series as can't find it
You may think I am crazy to be so desperate for a Singapore MediaCorp series, as desperate as I was during Yi Xin Ren's run which I will never get to watch and I console my broken heart by "watching" the screencaps done by Wuchang instead. You know, the world of TV series does not consist only of TVB or ATV or Korean dramas or Japanese dramas. Granted, Singaporean series never did achieve the crazed following that followed some country's productions, like Japan, now Korea and always TVB. TVB's motto is of course wherever there's Chinese people, there is TVB because Chinese watch TVB. Quite simple really. Of course I think many Singaporeans are complaining MediaCorp seems to only produce family drama. One family drama after another. If not family comedies. If not family sitcoms. Rarely branching out except for big time co-production of some wuxia series, but we don't always get to see all Singaporean actors in such series that are often muddled adaptation that frankly I do not wish to see. Not all Singaporean actors are good too. In fact not all actors in Singapore's MediaCorp are actually from Singapore. Quite a number of them who made it to the positions of Ah Jie and Ah Ge like those in TVB fame structure are from Malaysia and even China. For instance, Qi Yu Wu in this series, I am sure he is from China. Christopher Lee, Fann Wong's boyfriend is from Malaysia. I do think the actors who play Baicai and Esther Wong are from China because of their accent. The authentic ones I believe are Fann Wong and Thomas Ong. There doesn't seem to exist any prejudice and as long as you have the talent, you can rise to the top, often by way of talent search which TVB should adopt as an annual competition instead of the meaningless Miss HK if they are very keen of finding new talent. So what is so great about this series that I was desperate to watch?
I read the synopsis, call it hype but when I read Fann Wong was playing dual role, and a person with split personality disorder bent on revenge, I was interested. Because for once she is not some helpless pretty thing, or nice pretty girl who is in some family drama, like the one she was in in Women Of Times. Apart from Yue Ling, I love to watch Fann Wong act. In fact you can say she is my most favourite actress and I love looking at her because I feel she is very beautiful plus she is a fantastic actor. I was interested in how she is going to approach the role. Without watching the series I kinda guessed her character's motive and though I knew the series will be flawed, I wanted to know whether she will do both roles justice. I mean I read she was going to play a character that is trademark Fann Wong character, nice and demure and the other a wild malicious character. Recently TVB released a series where Charmaine Sheh and others played several different characters from different times in the same series. How she and others will pull it off I will reserve my judgment. But I guess you understand what I mean, different characters in one series would mean different personas, different personalities and etc. There must be something distinguishable even if the same actress play them all.
That was why I was desperate. And I got my lucky break, got my hands on the series and I waited for quite a while before watching.
For Fann Wong alone, I was not disappointed. This is not just a comment by a fan, but this is a comment by a person who appreciates the effort she puts into each role. There was never a moment of doubt her so called 2 personalities. It was helped by the fact that in one character she lets her hair down, the other she ties it up. But in a few scenes she was in moments of changing between the characters and these were amazing moments because you see the difference. However if you really watch this series, and I don't mind telling you the spoiler of this series, there exists a 3rd personality. Yixin the demure is an act perhaps. Joeann the aggressive may be an act perhaps. But the 3rd personality, the real Yixin is as she herself said "Joeann and Yixin is my altar ego". I am not sure whether she meant that as exposing herself that Yixin and Joeann is one and the same of that really Yixin's real persona is Joeann. I think it is the latter. So we have actually one person, 3 personalities and yet there was never a time there was any confusion. The success of Fann Wong's performance lies in the fact that she uses her voice (as Joeann she talks faster and looks everywhere when talking, like she didn't give a damn to anything, as Yixin she talked slowly and gently, always making eye contact whilst as the real her her voice was full of bitterness, pain and anger, her face suddenly contorted with hate), her mannerism and even her hair would do a bit of acting. I love her performance although I hated her characters.
What could have brought down this series
Unfortunately the plot was predictable in the sense I knew there was revenge, I knew it was all a set up, but I didn't know the series simply refuse to end until every major character except the 2 is killed. Which is very shocking , sad and at times ridiculous. But let's talk about the plot.
On paper, the story is great. In fact reading my own plot summary I felt like a tear or two coming down my cheeks as I read the ending, which can be said to be a happy ending as Jiansheng finally forgave Yixin and Yixin forgave Jiansheng. But I made it sound interesting and consistent when the execution was not quite as such. I am not talking about one moment Yixin had a bag and next scene the bag was gone, or the dress was different in a scene that is supposedly one long sequence, and etc. Those are technical stuff. I am not even talking about how the heck she knew when he was coming out of prison, how she knew knocking him down wouldn't really kill him, the disappearing friends at the office and also why Yixin didn't just become an air stewardess or model or even ac actress with Mediacorp to earn more money. What about the X-Files moments like how she who could barely afford her brother's fees at university could buy those branded dress than Joeann wore, the cool bike she had and that huge apartment supposedly rented by Joeann? In fact, what happened to Yifan's girlfriend in the end and who was that old man that Dave saw in Joeann's apartment?
Nope forget about this nickpicking questions. Go for the real ones like how come she slept with Dave first and yet fell for Jiansheng the person who killed her father? Or how come Yifan became such a maniac when he was such an understanding stable young man? Why Yifan looked like a maniac even during normal days? How come everyone is shouting their lines 80% of the time with the exception of Yvonne Lim, as Xiaofen who was shouting her lines 100% of the time? And though Fann Wong looks young, but can she actually be younger looking than Yvonne Lim who plays an older girl by at least 5 to 6 years? Can she? And why on earth when Xiaofen died, Baicai was so cool and calm when throughout the series he harboured a crush on her and even confronted Jiansheng several times for hurting Xiaofen and Xiaofen was very much alive and yet when she died, he was like no feelings? And why kill off Daveeeeee? Must everyone dieeeee? Why is this series so sadisticcccccc?????
Ok maybe I am being petty. The entire premise is to end up with both parties at a losing end and losing end means everybody but them dying. So that's like poetic justice or poetic revenge or poetic plot or poetic nonsense. I didn't like the plot towards the end, too dramatic. A legitimate complaint. A few in fact.
The fact that Dave was very much involved in the storyline and wham! Suddenly he had amnesia and for a few episodes he was nowhere to be seen, suddenly not so involved in the storyline. Xiaofen too. Whilst her death was meant to shock, but the explanation on how she died was just pure drama without any sense of decent closure. She was such an involved character and suddenly towards the end the entire 3 episodes exist only for Jiansheng and Yixin, the rest can go and bloody die of they want. I find several characters have been treated unfairly and should have been giving a better storyline even if they ended up dead.
Then there's the problem with repetition. Whilst I applaud Fann Wong's performance, I didn't like seeing her doing the same thing as Joeann or as Yixin. After a while the whole idea of revenge was boring because how she executed her plans were repetetive.
I also question the plot of Dave and Yixin and Joeann issue. A bit illogical that Dave kept saying "I want to sure her! I want to cure her!" when if cured, Yixin is Yixin and Joeann is nothing anymore. So how then Dave would expect Yixin to marry him anyway?
But the biggest problem is the final confrontation scene between Yixin, Jiansheng and Dave. Of course there were tears and shouting and stuff. I wanted to see more of the battle for conscience in Yixin, I wanted to see Jiansheng feeling like he owed Yixin something. I mean the entire ending is like Yixin was wrong for what she did. Sure she was. But Jiansheng started it first. He did something horrible but this series towards the end was like some public service announcement for law and order in Singapore, that "Ah Sheng has paid for his crime, he went to jail for 17 years!". Right. But that didn't negate the fact he destroyed someone else's life just like that. I wanted to see more of Jiansheng battling it out with his conscience, that he hated Yixin for what she did and yet couldn't hate her because he knew it was because of him. Not because he loved her, but because of what he did. Surely his past should still be looming large in the later episodes, because it all started from there. But the fact he stabbed her father was more for drama and not for this grappling of conscience. It could have been so much more.
And the fact that this series started with that stabbing and then we know Fann Wong is Yixin kinda killed the suspense. A few questions arises ...
- Are we supposed to know that she was that little girl? If yes, failure 1. So we know she has an agenda.
- Are we supposed to know Jiansheng is that kid who stabbed the father? If yes, failure 2. We knew Yixin approaching Jiansheng must be for some purpose.
- Are we supposed to know Yixin knew Jiansheng was that kid? I don't think so but in the middle as she suddenly in all seriousness spoke to her brother about Jiansheng and how she managed to make him fall for her, well by that time we all knew. That is then failure 3. Why? Too early too soon and therefore too repetetive and pacing very bad because no more suspense, the rest is to see how she played them both.
- Are we supposed to know Joeann knew Dave is Jiansheng's brother? I doubt it. But when early in the episode we see her changing her clothes to Yixin, come on ... I don't know much about Split Personality Disorder but someone with such serious mental issue would carry her alter ego's dress everywhere and change it in time to when she she changed personality? Failure 4. Too obvious, suspense gone.
- Why is the ending so rushed? Everything seems to unravel in the last 15 minutes of the series, one thing after another happened so fast there was no time to digest and quite as sudden, it was the end.
What made this series watchable
Lots of failures but that doesn't mean this series isn't good. When the plot fails, I tend to look for something else. Like Fann Wong's hair as Joeann, I want that. Kidding! What I like is the implied. What implied you ask?
That Yixin let Jiansheng know more of the real her without knowing. I mean she introduced him to her brother and senile mother and even told him about how her father was stabbed to death. These are the real facts of Yixin's life. He knew more than Dave did. Joeann's background is a total falacy and so what Dave knew were all made up.
That Yixin allowed Jiansheng into her life, her routine, her place and finally and naturally her heart. It is not inconceivable that she could fall for the murderer of her father. It is true what he did was the past, he changed, he was coerced then, he showed himself to be a good man now like Yifan said. Yixin unknowingly saw those qualities and everytime Yifan faced some problems, she didn't have to but naturally she called Jiansheng to help her. I mean if she hated him so, she wouldn't need to expose that part of her life to him but she did. It was like a natural thing to do and it wasn't very surprising she fell for him. This was why she didn't love Dave. Dave was never involved in her real life.
That she had planned to let Jiansheng and Dave know about her two personalities. To cause more problem. It shows her as someone very calculative. The fact that she showed little emotion when Esther and even Xiaofen died showed they did not matter to her even if she didn't kill them nor did she cared who killed them as long as they died and Jiansheng suffers. But towards the end when she saw Dave die, I doubt she felt sad because she was once with Dave but she felt shocked and utter dismay that her plans failed not because Jiansheng wasn't suffering but because she didn't feel happy that Jiansheng was suffering. The effect of Dave's death on Jiansheng had an effect on her. Ok she was heartless. She was with Dave for so long but she never loved him and yet the way she looked at Jiansheng when he was crying and trying to help Dave was total blankness and defeat. She lost. He lost. Both lost. She gained nothing, she lost everything.
Which leads to best scenes.
- One of the many was the last scene where she discovered her brother was arrested. She panicked. No doubt she loved her brother more than anything else and her brother would do anything for her. It is very sad that in the end her need for revenge caused the death of her brother, indirectly. Very sad indeed.
- The scenes where Jiansheng and Dave fighting over Yixin/Joeann. Love those scenes, very realistic the way they came to blows and were arguing.
- Xiaofen's relationship with Jiansheng which was touching and in the end sad because her love was unrequited.
- The earlier scenes of the younger Jiansheng and his abusive father. Very sad and poor kid too.
- Yixin and Jiansheng's scenes, despite being repetetive, they were very good scenes because of the chemistry and their almost love story.
- The scene where Esther found out Jiansheng borrowed from loansharks to pay her back and she confronted him and he rudely showed his back to her and she tearfully said "Do you hate me that much that you can't accept my money? I have done what I could do to make it up to you but what more could I have done? What more then?" and she tearfully and dejectedly left the restaurant whilst Jiansheng looked at her way, with tears in his eyes and his stubborness stopping him from running after her.
- The scene where Xiaofen sat and chatted with Jiansheng, and she nonchalantly said "I never thought about having a relationship, settling down because I didn't think they were important. I realise then that the truth is I fell in love with a boy I knew in my childhood and I am waiting for him, eventhough when I know all of the waiting will come to nothing", Jiansheng knew she was talking about him and he was silent.
- Last but not least, the relationship between Jiansheng and Dave, from total disdain to in the end brotherly love. Sad that Dave had to die after blaming Jiansheng for Esther's death.
- Any scene of Joeann, not because I like her person but I love her makeup and her hair.
I don't like 715 so when he is alone in a scene or with Joeann looking happy or looking sad or worried, I got bored.
Ultimate worst scene
Fann Wong in swimsuit scene as Joeann. No, not really the swimsuit being the problem (which by the way was rather too conservative for someone like Joeann, should have been a 3 piece bikini) but rather when she was swimming, her hair and face were wet but her face, ghostly pale. You see you will get that effect when you put too much powder and foundation on your face and jump into the swimming pool with your make up on. Her face was frightening.
Ultimate best scene
The scene where Jiansheng was little, held by his crazy father with a knife on his neck and his mother, holding an even younger Jianwei with tears in her eyes as she did not know what to do when Jiansheng screamed "Mother! Mother! Don't leave me! Don't leave me here! Save me! Save me!!!" and the father with menace threatened "If you leave I will kill him! I swear!!" and Esther was torn and after some time desperately she said "Ah Sheng, mama will come back for you! Mama promise! Ah Sheng, he won't hurt you, I will come back for you!!" and she ran off and the boy looking terrified and shocked kept screaming "Mother! Mother! Don't leave meeeeeee!!!!!" and then that dejected look. No wonder Jiansheng grew up hating his mother although he must have later understood she did what she had to do. Poor boy.
Apart from everything other than the worst aspect, I would have to say Fann Wong's transformation as Joeann; those lucsious coloured hair, the eyeliner, the nude lip gloss, the short mini skirts, the bangles and stuff on her slim fair skinned wrist.
To me it had to be the interior design of the restaurant ran by Xiaofen and Jiansheng. The electric blue, the tables, all reminded me of some cheesy looking restaurant that felt stuffy, oily and dirty. Can't MediaCorp have done better? I mean even after SIX YEARS HAS PASSED the same blue, same stuffy looking place. I mean 2 years maybe same but 6 years? No renovation at all? Business didn't expand? And how come after six years everybody has the same hairstyle. It doesn't seem time has passed at all.
All about chemistry
The best chemistry is of course Thomas Ong and no no not Fann Wong but Yvonne Lim. I find him teasing her and she scolding him very good watch and though Thomas indeed have chemistry with Fann Wong, I do prefer Yvonne Lim. In fact Xiaofen is my most favourite character in this series. I find her intelligent, vivacious, she knew when right is right and wrong is wrong, she has the patience of a saint with Jiansheng (because she loved him I suppose) and she is jovial and outgoing. Xiaofen to me is a great character and sad that she wasn't given a decent ending.
The worst is Fann Wong and 715. Sorry to say like baby brother with big sister. Make that fried looking baby brother and snowy big sister. But surprisingly, their kissing scenes were more natural. When Fann was kissing Thomas, she seems to be very reluctant, avoiding his lips a bit even when her character actually kissed him first. When she was kissing 715, more natural. In fact the kissing scenes were quite badly done. Quite is my way of trying not to sound like a pervert, hoping for passionate kisses that actually looked and feel passionate because for one both women (whether Joeann or Yixin) are passionate and both men are passionate about her. I didn't feel that passion.
An evaluation of the performances
As for performances, the general feeling is above average.
The Great Ones
I have said what I said about Fann Wong and I watched this series for her and she did not disappoint. Even with the shouting. In fact never heard her shout so much. But I must say, Fann Wong is really very beautiful in here although some scenes she looked very pale, too much powder, too little red powder. But she does look at least 5 years younger than her age but as perhaps 25 like Yixin's age is, maybe a bit of a stretch. Anyway Fann Wong deserves an award. I now want to see her in more of these kind of manipulative roles. Play 10 characters in a series also can. Anything Fann I will watch. Reaffirmed my belief that she is one of a kind actress when given a challenging role, she will rise to the occasion and the more I look at her, the more beautiful she is even if her features aren't perfect.
Yvonne Lim was a great watch. Ok, she shouts all the time, my ears hurt listening to her speak but she is consistent throughout and I love her character. Her every expression, her pain, her sorrow, her joy, all expressed very well. I also like the scenes how she fussed over the pen that Jiansheng gave her, some were sad and some were very funny to watch. I think she is very pretty and a pretty good actress too.
The Good Ones
Thomas Ong was really good. What a tall guy, what deep voice. The inner turmoil, the pain, the anger, the gentleness when with Yixin, his playfullness with Xiaofen and his confusion and low self esteem. He did it all and without much words too. His crying seem a bit forced though, like he is not used to crying but other than that, I think he did give a very good performance.
The Average Ones
715 was better than I expected but the thing about him as handsome playboy was a far stretch. I saw an interview of him with Fann and Thomas, he seems so soft spoken, so not a celebrity, so not a playboy and so uncomfortable. Anyway, I meant far stretch is the part that he is handsome. I always thought he looked like an Ah Piao, because of his lips. He just has this kampung boy look no matter how hip his hair may be or how tanned he may be. In fact he looked overtanned, looked fried, looked like he is in need of loads of bleaching because he is simply too tanned. He screams a lot in here but thankfully it was necessary to scream. Imagine your girlfriend is mental, your mother died because of what your bro did in the past .. I will scream too. I think he gave a very good performance, especially in scenes where he vent his frustration at his brother played by Thomas Ong and how he dragged Fann Wong as Yixin who didn't want to go with him, dramatic stuff but alas, I still do not fancy him.
The actress as Esther was quite ok. Gloomy looking all the time, she does and sound like a Mandarin language teacher with her prim and proper accent and pronunciation.
The actor who played Baicai was funny at times, for comical relief and he could have been under The Good Ones if not for his non-emotional outburst when Xiaofen died. I was shocked he wasn't shocked.
I don't know what to say Peformance
Nick Shen looked like a psycho and always talking in such calm voice with psycho eyes. He should play a psycho. He was in fact somewhat of a psycho in this series towards the end. A decent psycho-ish performance but could have been better. He is probably the character with most dialogue, because everytime he appears he is talking to Fann Wong in long sentences even if repetetive like "Sis, you still have a chance at happiness", "Sis, I have had enough", "Sis, I can't handle the pressure anymore", "Sis, pursue your happiness with Sheng ge", "Sis, Sheng ge is a good man, forget the past" and always the sis' reply is "Don't get involved in my affairs. Study hard, the entire family depends on you". Always. Anyway what is it with actors looking overtanned nowadays? Like fried already. Anyway why not so much opinion to offer on my part? Because if not I wouldn't have kept saying psycho performance. Can't really figure out anything cogent to say about him.
In light of just a few scenes but big impact, it had to be the child actor who played Jiansheng when he was young, I think 10 or 12 perhaps? Not the 15 year old one, the younger one screaming for his mother to not leave him. That boy was great, really such a sad scene.
I shouldn't highlight her performance since it was just 2 scenes or so but that little girl who played Jiansheng and Yixin's 5 year old daughter was truly horrible. Not even cute. Chubby yes but not cute at all and non-existence in terms of acting. Not too much to ask because I have seen other child actors in MediaCorp series who did better than most adults. This girl simply didn't make the cut.
The rest are competent performances, the only difference is in the accent only.
A must see for all Fann Wong's fans and a definite must see for those who likes this sort of series and are fans of MediaCorp series, family drama or otherwise. But if you don't like inconsistencies or series that has major plot holes some time or the other, still I will recommend this series. The pacing may have gone downhill towards the end, or the ending a bit too rushed or even silly in fact that so many people died just so to show how pathetic these two lead characters look, but in the end the story is pretty interesting and the performances are all good. But for me Fann Wong alone was reason enough for my eyes to be glued on the telly but the fact that she did both characters justice irrespective of the nagging questions of the plot, this itself if a good reason to watch this series.
You can't buy this series as it is not available for sale. Fann Wong is famous enough to merit a distribution of this series for sale or rental maybe later on but for now you can actually download this series at some Chinese Bittorrent sites. Quality is TV quality which means it is good and the fan who recorded this series even throw in some Fann Wong commercials and the previews at the end of each episode.
Fann Wong I read was nominated for Best Actress at the annual Singapore Mediacorp's TV awards. She didn't win it seems when I think she should have because this role is challenging and she did it amazingly well. Not sure if the rest were nominated or the series won or not.
Some complained that this series did not distinguish between schizophrenia and split personality disorder, or better known as Disassociative Identity Disorder even if Yixin faked it. But I do remember reading the translation as split personality although the Chinese term may be more schizophrenia? I didn't know there was a difference. Read here to know more about the differences.
Interesting Videos at Youtube.com
The direct links if here at youtube.com
The direct links if here at youtube.com
The following is a fanmade MV with clips from the series found at youtube.com. I am sure you're hearing Fann Wong herself.
Interview/promo of the series
With the 3 main stars, 715, Fann and Thomas Ong.