Yeahhhhhh! TVB has finally got a drama out this year that has hit the bulls’ eye! If this TVB continues with this it will really be on a roll! This is the only TVB drama this year that has left me wondering how the ending will turn out to be like until the very last 10 minutes. It was a very adventurous watch indeed! Furthermore, it was also very well written. I loved the news snippet as well as the shocker introduction. That was a really nice kick-start to the drama. However, it wasn’t until about 20 eps in that the drama really started to pick up with speed and momentum. The first 20 eps stood as the filler and the basis for what was to come. It was here that we got to really see the background behind each of the characters to make them who they are. The details which are important for characters’ development were very neatly unfolded here, allowing for a very smooth transition in the time-scope.
This came as a pleasant surprise. I was neither looking forward to this nor did I even had even a remote curiosity about it. However, it caught me by surprise but I can’t say that I loved it entirely. It had some obvious flaws but pushing that aside, this I can safely say that this is the best TVB drama of the 2013 year. It is quite different from the genre that TVB usually pushes out. I mean, there were the family problems, relationship woes and the self-identity questions but this was portrayed in a very different way to what I am used to. I thoroughly enjoyed the time shift from the 1980’s to 2013 because it really helped to drive the development of the characters as well as the plot. Furthermore, it really helped to enforce the showcase that every steps that they have all taken. It allowed for us to go through the journey with them. I think the contrast of the different lifestyles between the two brothers who lived at different places was a very nice way to show of how they both grew up.
Kiu Tin Sung/Sam (Ruco Chan) was the sole reason that the drama worked out to be such a surprise hit for me. Ruco has also been a great actor and he proved so in The Other Truth but seeing him here, he has really raised his acting up a number of notches. He easily stood out amongst his co-stars and really sold his character. His acting really allowed you to experience through the pain and choices that he made. It broke my heart to see Tin Sung break down and it crushed my heart some more to see the effect that his break-up with Cheuk Jing/Rachel (Linda Chung). Ruco was very persuasive and powerful with his acting. I really enjoyed watching him because he delivered an outstanding performance as Tin Sung. We really got to see the unravelling of Sam through Ruco’s portrayal. No one could have played Sam as well as Ruco did. He was the reason that made me feel so much for Sam.
Sam was a very well written character, I cannot deny this. He spent his childhood in Hong Kong, alone and away from his parents. He had no one who he could depend on but himself. Sam’s unravelling was very cleverly developed. It started off with his determination to offer Rachel the best that he can but then it slowly became more than that. He wanted power and authority. He wanted to prove to Rachel’s family that he was a capable man. This was not prevalent throughout the drama, but part of his drive for this was so that he can prove to his father that he is independent and was well off without him. There were so many factors which attributed to his downfall and regardless of what they were, in the end he was the drive of why he fell. Those factors influenced him but he was the one who made the decisions he made. No one forced him into it so he was really the downfall of himself. He took the wrong step once but that one step was one that he could not go back and change. Once he took he set foot on a permanent one-way path. In the end he tried to make amends for his mistakes but it didn’t matter with how much he tried to fix it, the mistake is always going to be there.
Ruco and Linda’s chemistry is sizzling hot! I really enjoyed watching their scenes because they delivered a convincing and sweet relationship. They were a pairing that I never saw coming (if fact, a lot of aspects from the drama I did not see coming) but they really delivered! It was just so sweet watching them together. I really love the way that Sam and Rachel treated each other. Sam was very tentative and caring towards Rachel; he would constantly do things to make her happy. Rachel was very supportive of Sam standing by his side regardless of his decision. One of my favourite scenes of theirs is their very first date. That was a really cute and adorable scene. I really enjoyed watching the shyness that Sam and Rachel had around each other. It just helped to give off a realistic atmosphere to their relationship. Sam is just very very sweet towards Rachel. He loves her very much. He might have made the wrong decisions during their relationship but he did this all because he wants to bring happiness towards her. He worked tirelessly to earn enough money for her to open up her clothing store as well as provide for her. He wanted to prove to her parents that he is worthy of making Rachel happy. He is the only man to make Rachel’s heart jump like it does, but sadly his decisions put an end to their sweet relationship.
The drama was very male-driven with the females standing on the sideline. Linda is the female lead here but I highly debate this. She had really limited screen time. It wasn’t until the later half of the drama that she started to get more screen time but it just only a little bit more. I found her performance as Rachel only mediocre at best. IMO, it is not worthy of a best actress award because she has done better in the past and she can do better than this. It also doesn’t help that Rachel was a very one-dimensional character. It’s not that she was not well developed but rather she had no room for development. Her only purpose was to be Sam’s love interest. If Sam wasn’t her counterpart, her role probably would not have had the development that it had. Sam was what was keeping Rachel standing up; without Sam she would have went back to being a weak girl under the guidance of her parents. Sam allowed her to become a strong and independent woman.
Sam’s younger half-brother, Law Wai Shun (Edwin Siu) lived in Macau with his mother and very controlling father. His father even deprived him from education. However, he was able to push through his father’s control to pursue his dream of making peanut candy. He lived a much better life than Sam did. He might have lacked the education but he had his family beside him. He received lots of love and compassion. He was not alone and he had people who he could depend on. I liked him but like all of the other characters, he was merely there as an obstacle for Sam to face; every character assisted Sam in his growth process. I really like that he had a goal and was able to chase after his. He pursued and allowed his business to grow. He persisted to help and protect the ones that he loves. I was not a fan of he handled his relationship with Yiu Man Ying (Kristal Tin). He just lead her on for the ten years of their relationship! He didn’t love her but he didn’t deal with it and instead just made her lost ten precious years. He should have just told her the truth instead of leading her on. You can say that he is shallow for doing so but I just saw it selfish. It wasn’t like he didn’t know of his feelings, he just didn’t know how to deal with it.
Oh Man Ying! Poor you for having been lead on for so long only to find out that Ah Shun never loved you in all these years. She put in a lot of dedication to help him but she did not get what she wanted out of it. She continually stood by his side and supported his decision. She also went of her way to help acheive his dreams while he never once asked for what she really wanted. I really enjoyed watching Kristal’s performance as Ah Ying. I enjoyed it much more than I did with Linda’s. She was very engaging and moving with her acting. I loved her performance when Ah Ying broke up with Ah Shun. That just broke so much to know that he never loved her. But she stood strong and allowed herself to stand up again. She wasn’t going to allow this be her downfall. She moved on and became an even stronger woman.
I am actually quite content with the ending and I don’t have I have felt this way once this year. It didn’t feel rushed and most of the questions were answered. I am so glad that Sam didn’t die. He didn’t have to die. Having him make up for his past mistakes was enough. There was no way that Sam and Rachel could end up together again after all that angst that has been between them and nor would it be right for Ah Shun and Rachel to end up together. I didn’t need Rachel and Sam to end up together because that just would not have been right. I loved that in the end Sam was able to repent and make up for his past mistakes. Rachel forgave him but still loved him. It was satisfying for Sam to leave and start anew on a foreign country. I really enjoyed how it ended with Ah Shun and Rachel stood and watched the sunset together while speaking of Sam. It was very symbolic to see Rachel wear the bracelet that Sam gave her, indicating that he is still of a very important place in her heart. It was also nice to see that Ah Ying found Lung Fei (Louis Yuen) who loves her back. At least someone treasures her.
I enjoyed the drama quite a lot actually. It is very different to what I am used to but it worked well for me. The storyline moulded quite well together and the characters really helped to drive the story home. More than that, it was the character of Sam who made the drama such a nice watch. The drama is in no way perfect but it is very close to being so. Well, the one thing that TVB managed to perfect in the drama is the science behind staying youthful. After the many decades that the characters has been through, they are still very youthful. You only need a haircut and a change of clothes to indicate time has moved on.
[Credits: Pictures from http://programme.tvb.com/drama/brotherskeeper]