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Written by Funn Lim





"It is like an 82 storey building but the elevator just goes from 1 to 10 and back to 5 to 1 to 8 to 3 to 10 to ... never beyond 10 and to its highest potential"





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SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS


Title Discussed
I am always confused whether the's a THE or no THE but a quick check on Wikipedia, there's a THE. Chinese title is "Chu Kong Bou Hei". I will not pretend to know what it all means so I will not discuss it.

Released in
2009

Episodes
An epic staggering humongous OMG WHAT?! 82 episodes.

Cast-Character
Taken from this review, also posted in this website

Hong Family
Maggie Shiu – Sylvia Hong Nga Yin
Gigi Lai – Constance Hong Nga Tung
Ada Choi – Jessica Hong Nga Sze
John Chiang – Hong Ching Yeung
Louise Lee – Hong Bak Siu Yau

Maggie is the eldest, Gigi the second and Ada the youngest children of gem dealer John and socialite Louise. All 3 daughters were married at the start of the series and all 3 will divorce within the next few episodes.

Ho Family
Elliot Yue (Ngok Wah) – Martin Ho Fung
Moses Chan – Terrence Ho Jit Lam

Moses is the only son of Elliot whose wife died a long time ago. He later will marry Ada and have one son, Soon.

Shek Family
Wong He – Shek Tai Wo
Bosco Wong – Will Shek Tai Chuen

Wong He is the older brother of Bosco. Parents died long time ago and Bosco raised by Wong He who in turn works for John since very young so John treats him like a son. Wong He is in love with Ada since he was a teenager and is close to all 3 sisters.

Sung Family
Chan Hung Lit – Philip Sung Sai Man
Helen Ma – Margaret Sung Kwok Yuen Yee
Linda Chung – Elise Sung Chi Ling
Queenie Chu – Mandy Man Wai
Queena Chan Dan Dan – Charlie Cheuk Yi

Helen is the 1st wife, Queenie the so called wife but rather is a mistress as well as Queena, to Chan Hung Lit. He has a son whom he does not respect and a granddaughter Linda whom he dotes on. Mother of Linda died when she was little in an apparent suicide. Linda later falls for Wong He but realised in the end she loves Bosco whom she cruelly ditches at the start.

Others
Bowie Lam – Calvin Ko Cheung Sing
Kenny Wong – Sunny Yau Yat Tung
Eddie Kwan – Derek Chan Kai Fat
Rebecca Chan – Melissa Yan Wai Ting
Florence Kwok – Catherine Shum Ji Tang
Lau Dan – Suen Wai Tak
Lai Suen - Madam Ko

Bowie is the only son of Madam Ko who worked as a prostitute to raise Bowie. Kenny is Bowie's best friend whom he met when they were training to be a chef many years before and met again when Kenny was the leader of Moses' yacht team. Eddie is the only son of a gem dealer who died many years before who was a partner in business with Lau Dan. Lau Dan is the boss of David and Wong He and a successful gem dealer. Florence is the only sister of a very rich Vietnamese man with chains of supermarket who died from kidney failure. She will later marry Bowie and give birth to his child. Rebecca is a highly successful and rich widow of a rich man who died many years before. She has her own company and is best friends with Elliot and is in fact in love with him and has known him even before he was rich. She will later die of an illness and her entire business given to Bosco.

Summary
Too lazy to write it all out so you can refer here. But my comments will contain huge spoilers and some discussion, well actually a lot of discussion on the plot.

My Comments
When this series was about to be broadcast like some 82 days ago, I wrote I wanted to do an Episode Thoughts. Many discouraged me and after 82 days (minus maybe 20 days or so) spent devoting my life to this series, I have to say a big thank you to those who discouraged me. I feel your love, you won't want me to suffer and in return my review is written with you the viewer who maybe has seen, seeing, has not seen or plan to re-watch this series in mind.

Just a summary before I go into the details. Go on, ask me, ask me "Funn, how was it?".

You want to know the truth? Truth is and I shall admit it I was entertained. There are some series you just hate and yet will watch and those you love and rewatch again. This series is in between; I don't think I wasted my 82 days (minus that said 20 days or so) or that my 82 days were the most glorious days of my life. Maybe I never quite paid attention as I was either busy eating, talking, doing my miniature stuff whenever I was watching this series. Being so preoccupied with something else makes me not hate this series in general. Doesn't mean it is a total waste of breath to watch because truth is there are good parts, some bad parts, and after a while when you have spent time watching 20 episodes you feel like well, 62 more, and then 40 episodes and you go "but it's only 42 more!" and when you reached 60th episode it is like this kiasu feeling "Eh! Watched so many already, might as well just finish it!". I couldn't bring myself to stop watching, not because it is so darn good, but because I have invested such a long time and to just abandon it halfway through will be like wasting my previous days. So my point is either you don't start with this series but if you started, better just go on and finish it. It does have gem moments so to speak but I can't pinpoint where since it is 82 episodes you know.

Ok, now to my review proper. There are 3 things to this series you can look at;

1. the story
2. the characters
3. the performances

I will go with the story first.

Like I said, I did plan to write the episode thoughts and as some pointed out to me it will be huge commitment. But on hindsight it might be easy to do since it will be like this;

"The sisters are great together"

"Nope, fighting"

"Good again"

"All hell just broke loose, they're fighting again!"

The men?

"Fighting"
"Fighting"
"Fighting"
"Fighting"
"Fighting"
"Eh, they're scared!! Stopped fighting already" (Last episode)

That's the entire series. They make up, they fight, make up, fight, fight, fight. They fight always because of business.

And to tell you the truth after 82 episodes I still didn't get what sort of business they're doing. All I know is Gigi married someone not rich but later married very rich. Maggie married comfortable as she is successful herself but got involved with someone really rich. Ada was rich as she married someone rich but later remarried mega rich. Bowie is super rich. Rebecca Chan is mega rich. Moses is super mega rich. Elliot is super duper mega rich. Chan Hung Lit (RIP) is the richest of the richest of them all!

It is like a show on I am rich, but he is richer but you know what, that guy over there, richest!

But what exactly do they do?

Business. I know Rebecca has a PR company. Ok... Elliot is ermm, not sure, Moses is always playing with his yacht so he must be filthy rich, Maggie is PR, Bowie is well...I don't know. Because after a while everybody does everything. It's like as if in HK whenever the Chinese government announces one project, be they telecommunication, construction or picking up sewage, whatever these people just fight each other for the contract. I had to really laugh when Rebecca was introduced as super duper mega rich and she has a PR company. Has there ever been a blue chip multi billion dollar company a PR company? Florence is owner of highly successful supermarket chains and from the way Elliot goes to her, she is richer and may I stress Elliot is already super rich? But Wal-Mart I can understand. PR company? Why not TVB? Why not OSK? Why not some handphone company, or ACER or something?? And joke is they even want to get into production of cars which is you and I both know is pretty exclusive club! You don't make computer and then suddenly go to make cars? Do you?

Everytime they sit down plotting, be they Ada and her minions, Maggie and Bowie, Moses and his subordinates, or even Bosco later on, I can never understand a word they're saying. They say things like "This project is very important. Go get it done!" or "I will ask so and so to start the work now". Yeahhh but what work? This series never actually show them doing any work. They walk left, walk right, discuss, meetings, coffee, eat, chat, play ball, and the usual chaufferred around in a nice car. But signing agreements, consulting, etc, either just a scene or 2 or none at all. For so bloody rich sort of companies, the staff are so few and more importantly, they seem to do no work at all.

So if you want the business aspect in this series to be realistic, it is not. It can't be. No one company can be so diverse and do so many things. Like I said, you don't go from planting trees to making guns.

I just don't get the business part. But interestingly everybody cheats. The last 2 episodes shows everybody lies to everybody and cheats on everything to get the business or project and my family and I was joking all of them will be going to jail for a variety of reason and they will have a reunion in the prison! Even Gigi's character will go to jail, why? She kept important information from ICAC and that is perverting justice. Of course her defense will be "But your honour, I was trying to save my sister and my ex husband!". Point is girl, it may be a white collar crime, but it is still a crime nonetheless.

So what is the focus of this series? At the start and the end it is the 3 sisters. Yes I get that but in the middle, the focus went everywhere and seem to focus on business. In fact in the last episode the richest of them all turns out to be Bosco as he got the biggest project in the end. But he wasn't happy. It is like as if this series is trying to show it is lonely to be at the top when you have sacrificed so much, done so many deeds and you ask yourself is it worth it? But the series never focus on that. I would love it if it focusses on business and the effect of all these mind playing and plotting on the souls of each individual characters instead of focussing on the 3 incredibly stupid sisters.

In a sense there is not much intelligence in the script.

For one, the sisters. The eldest Maggie is supposed to be headstrong. Gigi the second is the go between, the kind nice one who thinks of family first. Ada the youngest is the spoilt one, always getting what she wants and put her own interest above her own family. In fact she put her husbands' interests above her own family. If her husband is successful she will be so in the end her own interest above all else.

And for 82 episodes, the characters remain practically the same except Maggie shifted gears to become incredibly despicable and suddenly so selfish as her man comes first but in actual fact there is an indication of that earlier on. So really, not much change. I will get to that in a little while. The characters exhibit no major personality change. It is just from happy to unhappy. Characterisation wise, it is pretty stagnant throughout. Even if Ada became super rich and runs the company, she is still that same Ada from episode 1. Gigi never changes, even when she threatens Ada to save her and Moses, she is still the same from episode 1. Maggie even if she seems to exhibit the most change is actually the same person albeit from a different perspective. After so many things happening, son died, husband died, lover planning to frame you, lover telling you he stood by and let your ex lover die, etc etc etc, not much emotional or personality change at all. Sometimes Ada for instance became sullen but then next minute neurotic like she was in the beginning when her first husband left he with a bunch of debts.

The men fared a bit better in the sense there is some change. Moses became more sullen in the end. Bowie became desperate and in the end at peace with himself. Bosco the same actually. Wong He is pretty much the same throughout since his character is only 1 track mind that is love Ada. Some men have personality, some their personality derive from the female characters, such as Wong He. Bosco I would say has not much personality. He can stand there and hold a billion dollar in cash and still I won't believe he runs a huge successful company. Not to say his acting is terrible but the personafication, I don't see him as a businessman, more so a successful one.

The older characters fared much better. Elliot exhibited probably one of the biggest change, from humble to in your face to mad. But very believable changes. The other is of course Chan Hung Lit who started off incredibly in your face and arrogant and then desperate and cruel and finally pitiful and somewhat pleasant as he realised what he had done was wrong. Rebecca may just stand and cross her hands to indicate a highly successful career woman (do high successful career woman stand with their hands crossed all the time?) but she has some changes too but since her character is minor, you probably won't care.

The biggest change would be 2 characters; Louise who changed because of her illness, from glamarous highly made up and quite arrogant look to in the end humbled, less make up and quite pitiful look. Then there's Linda; really big change from spoilt arrogant selfish bitch to the end a mature understanding quiet lady. I find Linda the biggest change. Her character isn't the biggest one, it is in fact quite a small character but her character exhibits the biggest change, more than those 3 sisters combined.

The rest are just stuck there in a time warp.

And that is the problem with being 82 episodes long. Some series is given 20 episodes or 30 episodes and an epic is born. Some series like the one I am watching now called Ryoma-Den from Japan is given 48 episodes I think to tell the life story of a samurai and I even think it is not long enough. TVB gives this long winded series 82 episodes and for 82 episodes, it just went by without any big change or movement. It is as if the story has just started, not quite properly ended and the middle part are just screwed up. And it moves at a frantic pace too, so how come it took 82 episodes to tell a non-moving repetetive story?

Many episodes were devoted to boasting the budget I think. The cars, the planes, the yachts, the games, drinking, talking, driving, discussions in alien language that TVB calls business talk, etc. Too many characters going in and out of camera. In the end the focus is not there, it is touch and go for most things. I think all those in itself adds up to 20 episodes worth.

But when the series picks up pace, it is fast. Every character hitting on the other, plotting on the other, arguing, pushing, crying, etc. When the series slows down, you can basically just not watch it at all. This is one series you can afford to miss 10 episodes and still not miss a thing. Maybe you will miss the catfights and all but in the end when they're sour, you know they're fighting about business, when they're happy they patched things up. Like I said, the script isn't very intelligent at all, nor engaging the whole time.

So for 82 episodes, it doesn't really grab your attention for all 82 episodes. To be fair when it grabs your attention you won't want to look away. But when you let go, you can.

So it just translates to the story and the pacing being mediocre at best with some really good moments but not enough. I certainly wouldn't rush to rent this one based on the storyline.

The characters are strange.

For the life of me I can't understand why 3 smart intelligent human beings would want to plot, cheat, lie and sacrifice themselves for one man that is Bowie. Bowie, the character I mean is not likeable. He can be rude, unfeeling but he does love his mother very much. The only time he exhibited gentleness and true happiness was the earlier episodes where he was starting a relationship with Maggie. After that it was plotting after plotting. When his business suddenly was on the brink of ruin, out of nowhere if I may add Maggie and Kenny decided to get married so that he would forget about Maggie and then marry Florence who will help him with his business. So very K-drama don't you think? Later when he realised the truth he left his wife despite her pregnancy and began on a journey of self hate and later chanelled all that hatred to Kenny and Maggie who both felt like they owed him and Maggie especially decided to do all she can to help him, including framing her sisters and going to jail. She did so because she felt she owed him for what she did to him. Granted, when Bowie first found out the truth he did ask I think Florence "Why do you think I will choose the company? You never gave me that choice!" and true, maybe he would have chosen Maggie and face financial ruin. But he is also an incredibly driven man, ambitious due to his inferiority over his childhood so maybe he would have chosen marrying Florence and saving the company? Anyway my point is I don't get the storyline on Maggie and Kenny both feeling they owed him. They didn't point a gun at him to marry Florence. He did it voluntarily, so why must they be his dog and do his bidding? I believe the truth is as stated by Maggie at the end when she said "I must help this man! I can't let him fall! I have done so many things, sacrificed so many for him, it is far too late for me to just let him be! I can't!". So, it is because she is a kiasu. Despicable woman though, the way she used her sisters and all.

Moses is also a strange one but with an even stranger predicament. I kinda pity him in the end. He is said to be arrogant and flaunts his money, as said by Bowie. I find that inaccurate. Ok, so he is a playboy, who isn't. He is one guy who always plotting to get something, but always falls flat on his face doing it. I have never seen any of his business coups, etc ever succeed. He is in fact a rather bad businessman, because he got conned, got lied to, threatened, investigated, etc. The joke is which I find incredibly funny is towards the end everybody is against him and accuses him of all sorts of things like

- kidnapping his father
- causing the death of his brother
- badmouthing Eddie to the point Eddie lost his career

none of the above is true. This is one character who is constantly being accused of something and when he was accused of deliberately causing his brother's death, my immediate reaction is NO WAY! And when he was accused of badmouthing Eddie, I was like NOT HIS STYLE. He is the sort that couldn't hide things well. He hates, you can see his hate. He loves, you can see his love. Very transparent sort of man so when he wants to plot against someone, he will walk right up, insult that person and do the plotting. Unlike Bowie who is far more secretive, Moses' Terence is an open book. So there he was accused of so many things, and none of it was true. And the one thing no one accuses him of, that is he stood by and looked at Eddie being burnt to death, that is true. And when people like Lau Dan who by then sees Eddie as his successor and Gigi Eddie's one time girlfriend found out how Eddie could have been saved but wasn't, they end up not hating him. Lau Dan still can't forgive him but Gigi who said "I knew he stood by and let Ah Fatt die. I knew he didn't help Ah Fatt and I know that is despicable. But why am I still doing so much for him? Why did I just threaten my sister to save Terrence?" did and Lau Dan reasoned "Yes, Terrence may have stood by and let Ah Fatt die but the fact that he confessed to you and me, that was incredibly brave of him. That took courage and that would mean he has fully repented. If this is the case, Constance, your choice to forgive him isn't wrong". I kinda agree. There is no crime for not saving someone, just so you know. Which is why if Terrence is going to jail it ain't for this. Anyway he didn't go to jail for anything. In fact life goes on for him. His last scene with Gigi was pretty moving in the sense they start anew. She dropped her ring into the sewer and here was 2 beautifully dressed individual kneeling with their butt up high looking for the ring. She hugged him when he found it and he hugged her back. A clear indication there is hope for this pair. Earlier to give credit to Moses that is Terrence, he felt so guilty over abandoning Ah Fatt he refused to see Gigi and to give him more credit he confessed to Lau Dan who punched him (rightly so!)  who raged "Why did you choose to tell me this now? WHY?! Is it because everybody thinks I Mr Suen is the nicest person on earth and so will most likely forgive you?! Is that it? Let me tell you this! I will never forgive you! Ah Fatt could have been saved! He could have been saved!!" and Terrence quietly said "I didn't expect you to forgive me". I find that scene one of the best , very emotional as well.

Chan Hung Lit's Sung Sai Man is strange. He loves his granddaughter very much because since she was born he was always lucky. He was very arrogant, flamboyant and had many wives/mistresses. At the start he was the richest but later after his downfall thanks to decades of planning by Elliot (don't ask me how he brought Chan down! The series skipped that and just said decades of planning), he didn't become destitute. He was still rich but not THAT rich and certainly his ego bruised. Here is one character like a Korean character. He always, ALWAYS pronounces his name in FULL, other pronounces his name in full AND HE HIMSELF calls himself SUNG SAI MAN. One name you will never forget because he appears and he goes "I, SUNG SAI MAN!!!!" and other appears and will say "THAT SUNG SAI MAN!!!". My sister said not quite Korean because must add "CHAIRMAN SUNG SAI MAN!!!!". In fact everybody else also got their names in full such as "HONG NGA SI!!!!!!!!!!!". Anyway, Chan suffered I can't remember how many heart attacks and survived them all. Funny was his main enemy Elliot died way before him! He was so vengeful, he wanted not just to regain his wealth but hurt others by demanding Linda to sleep with Bosco to get his wealth to challenge Ada! Linda by that time was in love with Wong He and was shocked and said "How can you ask me to do that grandpa? How can you ask your own granddaughter to become a whore?" and Chan angrily said "You slept around before!" and Linda said "Yes I did but that was me long ago. This is me now and I am not that sort of person anymore!" and grandpa raged "I don't care! You will do as you're told!" and Linda cried when he slapped her and said "I will not grandpa! I thought you have let go! You lied! I swore to myself I will never hurt the Shek brothers anymore! I will not!" and later not really because of her, grandpa suffered yet another heart attack. This heated exchange between these 2 were one of the best in this series and truly showed Elise maturing. I was afraid Elise will then do as she was told afer grandpa's heart attack but thankfully the story never went that way. Elise is a nice girl now and I like that side of her. Later Chan will have more emotionally heart wrenching scenes, such as the one where he was slowly pushing Soon, Ada's young son onto a highway full of speeding cars!! He really wanted to do it but was weak so he was doing slowly when a woman stopped him and she turns out to be Charlie who betrayed him (she was a mole sent by Elliot to seduce him) and Charlie was pregnant then and emotionally said "Please stop! Please don't hurt this innocent child. I have always wanted to see you, to seek your forgiveness of what I did. I had no choice, my mother (I think she said that) was sick and I needed the money and Mr Ho offered me the money. I needed it but I felt terrible to have caused you so much pain. I am sorry! But please don't take it out on a child. This is Mr Ho's son right?! You must stop! Mr Ho is dead! Stop the fighting! Please! You have been through heart attacks, and survived. Can't you see? Even the heavens is giving you a chance to repent. I guarantee you, if you do this, even your own granddaughter will not look to you anymore and you will never be able to hold your head up high! Stop with the madness and just enjoy whatever time you have with you wife and grandchild!" and he cried. She was right. Great dialogue but horrible acting by the actress. Later when he tried to confess to a mad Ada about what he had done, and Ada was so convinced it was Moses who caused her son's death, he cried and pleaded "I don't want to leave this earth carrying this guilt! It was I! I caused Soon Soon's death! It was never Terrence! I bought him some snacks, I didn't know that will kill him! I did it!" but Ada refused to listen. Again one of the best scene.

There are gems of interaction in here and one of the best was when Bosco confronted Ada to ask her to not chase Sung Sai Man for his debt as he lies in the hospital bed (this was after Chan slapped Linda earlier) and Ada said "Elise asks you to do this?" and Bosco said "No, I am doing this for my brother" and Ada shrugged "Why are you 2 brothers always cheated by this Elise? Can't you see she is using you both?!" and Bosco said "The only one who has lied, cheated, manipulated and using my brother is YOU! Because of you, he is going blind! Yes, it was because yof your husband who sent those guys to beat him up and you didn't stop them! I don't want my brother to be disappointed by your false promises again!" and Ada was shocked to hear that. Great exhange there.

Then there's the one moment which also showcases probably the best acting moment in this series.

It was at the end, last episode, a more relaxed Ada visits Wong He who gave her I suppose her lost brooch and she asked him to wear it for her and he fumbled and suddenly Ada looked closely and said "What's wrong with your eyesight?! I thought it was under control? You didn't damage your eyes further to make this brooch for me? Why are you so foolish!" and Wong He said sadly "Let me be foolish one last time. It really doesn't matter anymore. I just had to do this ... Ah Si, gems, there are gems which are rough and then polished to become a gem. But when a gem is polished again and again, however much it is a gem, the constant polishing will degrade the quality. Do you understand me Ah Si?" and Ada was crying and nodded and Wong He continued as he cried "I will be fine! I may not be able to see you clearly now, I want to Ah Si, I hope to see your face again but I know I have you in my memories. I can still see your young face, I can still see that face I just saw when you said you have let go and I know you meant it because that was the face of Hong Nga Si I knew, I will remember all these faces and see them often. I will be fine" as he cried and so did she. Why I said it was best acting moment was because of Wong He. As he said "I will be fine" to Ada, he didn't look it. He was shaking and crying, you knew his Ah Wor is afraid of going blind, he is afraid of not ever seeing her face again but he pretended to be brave for her own good but he grabbed her arms as she grabbed his. Before that when Ada was sitting and he was walking over, notice how his hands was lightly touching the chair, the table, as if feeling the place, finding his sit. His eyes may look at Ada but they're unfocused, or slighly askew. I excitedly told my sister "Sis! Sis! Did you see that? That is supreme acting I tell you!" and she agreed. Only 2 times I was very excited at this series and this was the second time. Wong He really showed us all the meaning of subtlety and fans of good acting and Wong He will appreciate his small touches to his character, that blink, that wayward eye, that moving hands, that fear in his eyes, this man in this one scene alone acted with his body and his face! I was so excited! What I don't get though is I thought he was going blind in one eye, ended up now 2 eyes! I think. I must add another great acting moment was when Ah Wor told Elise Ah Si will let her grandfather go but Elise was sceptical but Ah Wor was so convinced Ah Si will do as he asked. Wong He delivered his lines with such earnestness I kinda believed his Ah Wor too.

The other time was when Moses was carrying the boy and running to the hospital and at the top of the escalator he fell hard whilst holding the boy. I was screaming! I actually thought he fell! I actually imagined the boy flying up in the air as Moses fell! Truly scary moment!

Other performances didn't fare as well. I mean most are good but saddled with poorly written characters but none so mind bogglingly good as did Wong He and that small scene. May I add, Wong He can really really cry but at least I can still understand him.

Ada Choi is well.. ok. I hate her character. In fact I hate all the female character for many reasons but Ada's Ah Si is one selfish woman right up until the end. She uses Ah Wor, she lies to her family all for her own good. Later on she went mad a bit and that's when all those overacting come into the picture. That one scene which shows Wong He's greatness also unfortunately highlights her inadequacy as an actress. I find her acting or rather body language very stiff and where Ah Si should exhibit regret and remorse, after all it was because of her he was going blind, her body language was suprisingly not there. Oh she was crying and all, but I don't feel that sincerity from her. I hate it when Ada goes insane or cries as she talks, as I can never understand a single word she is saying. Her character is also badly developed so to Ada's credit she had to do what she is given, that is flesh out Hong Nga Si but would you believe me if I say I find her Ah Si one dimensional? Like I said, hardly changes. I feel this is a competent performance of a badly written character (and funnily this is one of the more fleshed out ones) but I wasn't wowed by her performance. At times I thought she was shrieking and I find her annoying.

Linda Chung had to deal with a bad girl character that is beyond redemption and have you believe that. She was rude I tell you and Linda went all out with Elise. But when the series changed it tones and believably Elise changed when she met Ah Wor, I believe in her change and felt what she did later was for her grandfather. But when her grandfather told her to do what he asked her to do, her tears, her total disbelief, etc was convincing. I don't know about you but I always find there is some sincerity in Linda's performances, that makes you believe this is one person who can be redeemed no matter what she did. As Elise, I believed that and I was as disgusted as she was with her grandpa's suggestion. Her sudden quietness shows a more mellowed down Elise and I welcome that. There is a contrast, a before and after and whilst Elise started off as my most hated character, in the end she has more integrity than those sisters combined. She sees the difference between right and wrong, she fully repents her past. I must give credit to Linda Chung for giving life to Elise which should have been a caricature, which should have been cardboard character and yet given the limited time she was given, everytime her Elise comes on screen, it is quite a watch. It was a bit slow between Elise and Bosco's character, at times rather boring but I like the later Elise. The writing may not be adequate but Linda gave Elise a sense of integrity, and never once did I find her Elise annoying, just incredibly rude at first.

Maggie Siu has a tough time. I think even she herself isn't convinced with her character, Sylvia who from strong headed woman to someone else. But truth is when her husband left her, her Sylvia actually turned to the supernatural to bring back her husband. So that shows when driven to desperation, this woman is capable of anything. I never liked Sylvia, I find her judgemental (even if she was often right about her mother and Ah Si) and at times arrogant. But I don't see why she should feel she owes Calvin anything. Towards the end I hated her. I find her such a stupid woman who mistakes giving all to your man and hurting your family to being giving. That's not giving, that's stupid. Her character just became worse and worse. Maggie is a great actress so tha fault lies with the stupid writing. I don't even care about her ending with Calvin. In fact I care more for Terrence than Sylvia! By the way maybe Maggie should take English lessons. There is a character named Catherine in here and it took me some time to realise it is Catherine because Sylvia kept saying Caffeine. I was thinking where's Tea then? Yes, throughout, Caffeine this Caffein that until one episode towards the end she said Catherine and then back to Caffeine. I know it's a small issue but you know you don't want people to laugh at you for pronouncing something as simple as Cat-te-rin as Caffeine. And with 82 episodes (maybe minus 30 or so), someone should have told her "excuse me Maggie, it is Catherine, not Caffeine". I mean Bowie who knows English should have told her rather than have her being humiliated by this one mistake. And to me it is a huge mistake. You're an actor paid to act and deliver your lines accurately. And there is a big difference between Catherine and Caffeine. They should have just named her Cat. Even other cast members mispronounce Sylvia as Silfia. Why not just call her Sophia?

Bowie as Calvin at first was like a welcomed relief. Not everybody rich has to be standing with hands crossed over the chest or in pockets to look rich. His Calvin is unabashedly unpolished and I love that. Love his first scene on how he greeted Terrence. Of course the way he does business, always going after Terrence is suicidal. And then he showed his softer side, as he cooks, and all. And as suddenly towards the end his character turned despicable, willing to frame all crimes on Sylvia for self preservation and the way he treated his best friend Sunny when in one of the best scene where he scolded Sunny "I know you're trying to do me in because you want Sylvia for yourself! That's what you want isn't it?!" and Sunny sadly said "It is you I love Calvin!" and suddenly Calvin's face turned to shock as Sunny held on to him and said "It is you I love! Calvin, please stop this madness!" and Calvin pushed Sunny who fell and had such a huge concussion he lies in coma. Last scene was Calvin going to jail soon and he said goodbye to Sunny cheerily as he said "I won't be visiting you for some time my friend but I hope when I do get out, I will be seeing you again" and one single tear dropped from Sunny's closed eyes. Before I go on, I really don't care whether Sylvia gets back with Calvin (yes) or whether she will wait for him (yes) or how many years Calvin gets (never told) but rather WILL SUNNY WAKE UP?! That I will never know but crying is a good sign, right? Anyway, Calvin is not a great character as it goes on but Bowie Lam is a great actor. He did what he could with a crappy character so for that kudos. Also that scene where Sunny confesses, his look of utter shock and disgust and fear and realisation was very well done!

Gigi Lai acts as a saint in here. Again not much change. If Sylvia is headstrong, Ah Si driven, then her Constance is an idiot. I don't know, I find her Constance rather empty up there but as the series went on, her Constance has more integrity than the other 2 combined and yet is still sort of spineless as she said to Mr Suen "I may have threatened Ah Si with this evidence but I know I can never take this to ICAC. What if she knows I am just bluffing?" Oh come on, have a bit of a spine, report that insane woman! She wanted you kidnapped! Anyway Gigi's Constance is incredibly patient person and really does not know her priority. I applaud the fact that to her family comes first. But when she found out what Terrence didn't do for Ah Fatt, incredibly no screaming, crying, breathless speech about how hurt she is but rather she forgave him. Why not just say it out; "Ah Fatt is nobody! I forgive you Terrence because I love you most!" And when she cries, OMG, all the breathing and asthma attack is on. And why when she was younger her hair is always down but when she went around Tibet some 2 years later her hair is always tied up? How come she can have money to go to Tibet? Dad gives? Does she even work? And I was so disgusted when she aspired to become a gem designer and her mother wanted her to marry someone rich and rather she works as a secretary rather than a designer. This is like one clingy woman, and for me rather lazy. After a while, no news anymore on her ambition. At least she had something to do when she was appointed co-trustee to the company by Martin in his will but then, give the company management to this airhead? That's the end of the company as she will always side with her sister. Earlier in the series, she confronted Ah Si then still married to her first husband and in a wedding shop, in full view of everybody cried loudly "HOW CAN YOU LIE TO OUR PARENTS? HOW YOU CAN KEEP UP THESE PRETENSES?!". Whilst I disagree with Ah Si's actions, exposing her in public like that will not only humiliate her but further push the company into trouble with truth about their wealth! An idiot! Acting wise, Gigi is ok. Just don't get her crying and talking at the same time but other than that she is tolerable. Some people just mistakes being an idiot as innocence. Maybe the character isn't written that way and Gigi's inadequacy made it that way. All I know is Constance annoys me.

Kenny Wong surprisingly has a big role in this series, he is in almost every scene for the entire series. I didn't need a big guess to correctly guess his issue with Sylvia and Calvin being together and not understanding what is so damn special about Calvin to have this wonderful man loving him until he is willing to do so many things for him, but not the illegal stuff of course. When he fell and hit his head and went into a coma, I was hoping the ending would be him waking up. I mean he is a good guy, one of the nicest in this series but I just hated the ending with single tear drop. What does that mean? He wakes up? He hears but he can't wake up? Good but guys devoted to love will either end up blind or in coma? Anyway Kenny looks very good with his very nice body, severely gelled up hair (as in gelled down) and his well, I have issues with his porn-star moustache but other than that he looks good. I like his Sunny but unfortunately this actor does not show any emotion as in muscle movement on his face. His face seems frozen in time, and he looks worried and more worried or even more worried but nothing else. No flirtatiousness or anything. With a physique like his, he should make Sunny a very desirable and sexy man who unfortunately has his eyes on an unattainable man and if you want my honest opinion, a man undeserving of him. Anyway I didn't feel anything for his performance really. He is just so wooden. His acting is the same here as in Storm Warriors or whatever series or movies he was ever in and may I be honest with you? He was thoroughly boring despite looking so good.

Eddie Kwan surprised me. First of, he hardly ages, this man looks even better now than he did back then when he first appeared, looking very effiminate. He has beautiful features I can tell you. I loathed his Derek in the beginning. What a disgusting man, so hung up over perfect Constance who was rightly pissed off with him for lying to her, even if I had to endure her ashmatic crying scenes as she broke off with him. The way he treated his girlfriend (I am sure the actress is probably 2 decades younger than Eddie! her character by the way conveniently killed herself when her new boyfriend dumped her) was terrible and the way he stalked Constance and burned Elise's case was crazy. And then he went to jail. His entire story about how he feels about Lau Dan's Mr Suen got tired after a while and you wonder is this series about the 3 sisters or about every other man in the series? He disappeared and suddenly reappeared a gentler nicer guy and that's when I like his Ah Fatt, who knew he had zero chance with Constance. His death scene was sad of course, you could blame Terrence for his death but the truth is whether he could be saved or not is debatable and isn't quite the issue but rather Terrence did nothing to save his life. And so he died. Not that big a spoiler because if he doesn't die, Terrence and Constance can't get back together. And when I start to like him, boom! He's gone. As a testament to his acting abilities, Eddie disgusted me in the beginning and in the end made me like him. So I suppose you can say he gave a great performance even if half the time I can't stand his earlier scenes with perfect Constance or rather goddess Constance.

Moses Chan is always and will always be cast as the playboy even if I should petition TVB to stop doing that. He is not convincing as a playboy at all. I find nothing sexy nor flirtatious nor romantic about him. In a comedy he excels as he can play goofball strange characters and he seems to be more relaxed in a comedy but somehow TVB just insists on putting him in serious and ultra serious big budgetted dramas such as this series. It doesn't help that Moses doesn't look rich. His suits hung so loosely on his thin frame, his face registers perhaps one expression. If Kenny Wong's face is froze, Moses' face is probably paralyzed. There is no hope and yet that same face can make all sort of silly faces in a comedy or at least in Moonlight Resonance but in here it seems his entire personality has been sucked out. Even when he was revealing what he didn't do for Derek to Mr Suen, even when Mr Suen punched him and he knew he was guilty and totally deserved that, his face was one unchanging paralyzed look of nothingness with a huge pout as his lips. His eyes registers neither pain nor anger nor guilt nor anything. Compare him with Wong Hei, whose eyes registers warmth everytime he sees Ada, brotherly love and concern everytime he sees Bosco or anguish everytime he sees Elise. They should just switch roles. I don't care if Wong He is believable as a playboy, who knows maybe Wong He can be sexy. But Moses, oh Moses, what on earth was going through his mind during those pivotal scenes? Was he counting when he should stand up or sit down? The only scenes I see any resemblence of a personality is when he is fighting with Ada, there seems to be some attitude there but most of the time, everytime he appears with Goddess Constance and that to hell with it French music comes on, I tuned off. I didn't care of they got back together. They deserve each other anyway, one an idiot, the other a fool, you decide which is which. And yet his Terrence is a very interesting character, a failure each and every time, bailed by daddy, then by wifey, what a lucky guy and is blamed for everything catastrophic that happened and yet he did none of the things he was accused of. But why oh why Moses didn't give this role justice? What a blank performance if you know what I mean and this series further reinforces my belief that Moses Chan can't carry a series on his own. In a drama he has zero charisma. He should do more comedy or lighthearted series. TVB, enough already trying to push down our throats that ...

a. Moses can play playboys
b. Moses can play mega rich people
c. Moses can act in dramas
d. Moses can be sexy
e. Moses can kiss

He can't kiss. He doesn't even kiss beautifully. The one that convinces me there is any intimacy in their relationship was Gigi Lai's very intimate embraces of Moses. She did all the affectionate kissing whilst he seems like a waxed statue of himself. Awkward scenes!

Lau Dan is my favourite character in this series because his character is the only one that is

a. supremely decent throughout
b. really nice person
c. isn't a fool

His best scene was punching Moses' Terrence and in that one moment you will see his Mr Suen is no fool and yet is so kind that he didn't tell Constance what Terrence told him. What an understanding man. I love Mr Suen. From beginning till the end, he made the series bearable because he is decent when everybody else is either stupid, foolish or downright ugly. Long live Mr Suen! Yes I was very afraid in the middle he might be killed off and I was like "NOOOOOOOO" and luckily to show Derek's humanity and Mr Suen was right to help Derek, Mr Suen lives! And he lives even in the end! As for Lau Dan, ok so he looks worried half the time because Mr Suen has a lot of problems but Lau Dan really brought out the decency in this character despite the porn-stach so to speak! But he has always has that moustach anyway. Where was I? Ah yes, Lau Dan. A magnificent performance. It is very hard to play a decent nice character without audiences feeling disgusted with how bloody nice he is but Lau Dan managed it well and to me he is the best.

David Chiang was annoying in the beginning as the employee of Mr Suen as he was always criticising and in a way mocking Mr Suen. When he went to Eddie's Derek to offer help and all I was totally disgusted with his behaviour because I was on Mr Suen's camp all the way! Anyway when he realised his mistake, his tone changed and towards the end his character turned out rather strong even if he had very little say in how his daughters live their lives. In fact he hardly said anything much and towards the end he gave up trying to say anything at all, being very disappointed with his daughters' constant fighting as well as facing his wife's impending alzheimer. I thought David played the dutiful husband and loving father very well even if let's face it, David Chiang is an iconic actor during his younger years but he is not that great an actor. But for all his limitations, his performance is still way ahead than some of the younger ones in here.

Louisa So was spectacular as the manipulative mother who was humbled by her illness. Her looks in the beginning contrasted with her looks in the end was quite a transformation. I was however very annoyed with her performance towards the end, not really her fault but rather the script's fault which forces us to listen to her calling her 3 daughters for dinner and one scene at a time, and the dialogue was like the same repeated 3 times and she was talking very slowly. I was thinking luckily for us she didn't have 10 daughters or this scene would take forever. Anyhow, a great performance nonetheless even if I couldn't understand why a woman so intent on her daughters marrying rich men would herself not having married one? She has a maid who raised her and who followed her into the marriage, so that shows in her younger years her character must have been from a well to do family. Her husband was in the end a jeweler, neither supremely rich or poor but it was surprising she seems happy with her husband when she seems so hung up over money and status for her daughters. I suppose a mother wants what's best for her daughters.

Florence Kwok's character is strange. Totally useless in the beginning, manipulative in the middle and at least got her dignity back in the end. Calvin is such a bastard because his wife was pregnant and he still left her, and agreed to have no part to play in the child's life at all. And here is this woman who was willing to defy her brother, her company, her common sense for him, to do everything for him, he should be so lucky to have her and he never quite appreciated that fact. Anyway her character is like I said strange quite simply because she came out of nowhere and in the end went away just like that. Performance wise I have no complaints. Florence can act, as always.

Chan Hung Lit (RIP) gave a fantastic performance of a one dimensional character. He looked so convincing as a man who had a stroke and survived it. In real life he didn't survive his stroke. What a pity! That is all I want to say.

Rebecca Chan, not much to do. No comment.

Bosco Wong at times just seem like a lost young man amongst the seas of veteran. He didn't held his own, nor did he create anything great with his performance. In fact after he became rich he just seems smug and yet doesn't convince me he is a rich man who won the war of richness and became the richest of them all. He just doesn't seem conniving or manipulative enough and he doesn't look like a businessman. But I must say I can't read his expression and at times his eyes seem to register "You want me to believe THAT?!" sort of look which is very appropriate. But in business he looks like a young kid, not like a seasoned pro. His best moments are not with Linda Chung but with Wong Hei. But even then, I thought his performance was inadequate at times because I can't understand why the series shifted the focus to him. That is the writer's fault but like I said, Bosco didn't do anything earth shattering with his character. He looks more like a young exec than a CEO. He doesn't exude authority at the end. He should have but he didn't. I like Bosco but until todate I have yet to see him shine in a performance. He is an adequate actor but still much too green.

Elliot Yue is one actor that commands respect when he walks in even if his character was a mouse in the beginning and revealed himself as the lion in the middle but the writers deem fit to kill off his character in such an undignified way. His Martin exudes more charm and grace than Moses' character and I find Martin very desirable and I understood perfectly why Ah Si fell hard for him, of course the fact that he was so bloody rich is not really the bonus. No! His richness was the main point, his good looks and gentlemanly ways a bonus. Anyway I hated how his character ended. Martin being the ultimate villain deserves more screentime and a better death.

And since we are on the subject on how strangely certain characters ended, I must comment on why this series failed big time for me.

The first half, can't remember how many episodes were like bullet train, more so when Martin revealed as the ultimate villain. Terrence realised he should be very afraid of his father, Ah Si proud to have such a conniving husband, Mrs Hong happy that she has such a fantastically rich son in law, Constance leaving Terrence to find herself so to speak, Sylvia settled down with Sunny, Calvin somewhat happy with Catherine who was beaming, Elise humbled and Sung Sai Man destroyed. And suddenly, just suddenly, the series skipped forward to if I remember correctly 2 or 3 years later. Why? I was enjoying the entire change. And even if this series intends to skip, at least show us the kidnapping of Martin. That was told off camera. Suddenly Ah Si was running the business, Terrence being pushed out and accused of kidnapping his father and I suppose Martin believed the rumour. So many exciting things happened out of camera. I would love to see Terrence's face when being pushed out by Martin, Ah Si's reluctance to take over the job, etc etc but the series just changed gears, maybe realising they were going in one big circle by that time and should have ended the series then. But it was a huge mistake to jump and missed out on the better drama than what we got to see. And there were many unanswered questions by then. I would love to see Derek changing instead of changed, I would love to see Terrence shut out instead of being shut out already, one of the better aspect of this series was Terrence with Martin and I love to see their interaction but that was cut out. Show us how Will tookover the company from his dead mentor, how he struggled. I can't believe it was all smooth ride, there must be some objections. Also perhaps Ah Wo objecting to his brother taking over the business? Or how Elise coped? None whatsoever. To see Ah Si suddenly looking slick and running the business threw me off the series. She could run the business? Obviously as the series unintentionally painstakingly tell us she is terrible at running the company. So will be Terrence. And then the whole will by Martin appointing Constance as the 3rd trustee to the company was just pure drama. Did Martin predicted this long before his death? Did he think Constance was an important decisibe figure between the fighting Terrence and Ah Si? Since he suspected Ah Si of having an affair with Ah Wo, but that was later on and for just a few episodes, definitely not enough time between that and his death for him to change his will. Everything happened so suddenly and unexpectedly, the series can be viewed in 2 segments independent of each other. The continuity is terrible and I thought the better story lies in what happened in those missing  years than in the  later segment.

But in case you're one of those who debated what and what, perhaps let me offer my opinion on several issues:-

1. Who kidnapped Martin?
Not Ah Si who worships her husband. Not Terrence who wouldn't do such a thing. He does love his father. So it was just a routine kidnapping by a third party.

2. Who spread the rumour that Terrence was the mastermind of Martin's kidnapping?
The series seems to first suggest Ah Si. But why would Ah Si in that 2 years do that? She has always wished for peace between herself and Terrence for the sake of Martin so I don't think it was her. Her desire was never to run the company but rather to be the wife of a very rich man. I would think Sung Sai Man in trying to avenge his loss of fortune, trying to create a discord between father and son and hopefully takeover the company in some way, I don't know how. In TVB world, business talk is gibberish talk. Maybe Calvin but I doubt that.

3. Did Ah Si kill Martin or let him die or did he really told Ah Si not to call the ambulance after his stroke?
I believe Ah Si. For one Ah Si's entire existence at that point is to do as Martin says and not to upset him. We know she loves him very much and would do anything for him. So if Martin told her not to call the ambulance, she won't. She opposed Constance's appointment as the 3rd trustee simply because she was pissed Martin didn't believe her. However all these are speculation as the series didn't even show any flashback of Martin telling Ah Si not to call police. But I believe Ah Si's version of events.

4. Did Ah Si ever loved Martin?
Yes. Even if the series tried to create some horror moments when suddenly Martin would rise up from the bed, or slowly tip toeing to her with a pillow in hand, seeming to suggest he wanted to suffocate her. Why such moments I can never understand. I just laughed out loud, such stupid scenes but anyway yes she loved Martin very very much.

5. Did she ever loved Ah Wo?
No. She loved him as a friend, used him as a friend, probably felt guilty but she never loved him in the way she loved Martin, or herself.

6. Who Elise loves, Will or Ah Wo?
This is where TVB chickened out. I would love to see Ah Wo with Elise, they will make quite a pair. The series seem to suggest that too until suddenly 360 degree turn and Ah Wo said to Will Elise was actually in love with Will. So I don't know. I think by that time even the writer was confused.

7. So the mother regains her memory in the end?
Alzheimer doesn't improve, it deproves. It is just a moment of clarity.


8. Why suddenly everybody stopped fighting?
Because 82 episodes is enough already! For the men, they didn't stopped, they just give up, mostly because they were in danger of being imprisoned, all of them. Yes, the men stopped because everybody was discovered having cheated and committed some white collar crime. So quite suddenly they were disrupted in their plans. Sometime later they just didn't continue the fight. The women stopped because of their mother. Specifically, Ah Si stopped because she felt lonely, she remembered her family when she was having dinners alone in her big mansion and also she stopped being so hung up and paranoid over her position in the company. Constance stopped because Ah Si stopped. She always wanted to stop anyway. Sylvia stopped because of Sunny. She finally sees sense when Sunny went into a deep coma.


9. Happy ending?
For me, since Sunny never woke up, it is sad ending. Since all 3 women still alive in the end, super sad ending. Since Elise suddenly didn't love Ah Wor anymore, a tragedy.

109. Is Ah Wor going blind?
Yes but I am confused, blind as to one eye or both eye? The way he goes it is like 2 eyes.

Verdict
You will watch it no matter what I say. Whatever ratings it received, I suppose I should applaud it for managing to stretch to 82 episodes and still manage to maintain the non moving story. It is like an 82 storey building but the elevator just goes from 1 to 10 and back to 5 to 1 to 8 to 3 to 10 to ... never beyond 10 and to its highest potential. The problem with this series is not the actors. I may complain about some but in the end the story is the problem. It just doesn't know what it wants to be. It tries to draw pararrels with other characters but it is so disjointed it is like it's own story thus making the story even more disjointed. It tries to connect the dots but unlike JK Rowling who actually connects the dots of minor facts in earlier books to major facts in later books, the writers in this series is exactly that; as if 10 people writing independently. Consistency is a problem when showing the show as a whole. Being 82 episodes long, none of the major characters are compelling enough or convincing enough. Some characters just stop growing, others grow off tangent. The length is the problem. This series will work best at half the length but even then will be terribly boring because the story isn't well formed nor well written. I find it amateurish at times especially the depiction of rich people. The worst was the business side. Until the end I still don't get what they do, I just know they're super rich businessmen and therefore must compete with other super rich businessmen for every single project announced in HK and China. The ending was terrible. I kinda understood they all stopped fighting because of their mother and also because after awhile you just can't remember why you fight in the first place. But I mean the ending's ending with the 3 women hugging each other and their mother. That works if I still care about those 3 and the mother. I didn't quite care anymore at that point. I would have love to see the ending with the mother dying. Nothing unites a family more than a wedding or a funeral. Since they have lost their mother, they can't lose each other. I would find that poignant, sad but apt. With such supposedly happy ending, hugs and all I find myself being very detached.

For a big budgeted series with somewhat famous cast, whether their acting is up to par or not is debatable but they're all famous for sure, the series is pulled down by the shoddy and amateurish writing. And it really doesn't help when things became interesting the entire series went 3 years later.

Unless you're their biggest fan, don't waste your money on this half hearted series. Find something worthy.








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