Warning: Contains Spoilers
TVB The Confidant

The Confidant was a series I had anticipated after knowing Wayne Lai and Michelle Yim were going to be the leads in it. Their performance did not disappoint and the drama explored many interesting themes. I felt the story was very well crafted and I could foresee a lot of character development and changes (mostly characters turning bad) as the story progressed.

However, there was something about it that never got me hooked.  I enjoyed the beginning, but then soon after I felt the story got quite slow and dragged on in some areas (mostly characters I didn’t care for as much e.g Aimee Chan (Princess Wo-shek). I became quiet bored of the drama but continued to watch on for the story to pick up and while I waited for more episodes of Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles. The Confidant has a grand feel to the series- the cast, genre and opening themesong. When I started watching it, I didn’t have any background knowledge on the historical context it was based on, nor who the historical figures were. After doing a bit of reading, I was interested to see TVB’s adaption/interpretation of history. Not bad indeed.

What kind of disturbed me about this series is how it seems to promote doing bad deeds, especially towards the end of the series. Those who are kind-hearted and forgive are portrayed to be the ‘dumb’ ones as bad things always happen to the good people. It makes you wonder if there really is karma. This is re-enforced over and over in the drama; the countless times Wayne has let people off in hope they’ll change for the good or because of previous friendships.  They were not grateful for it either and only used it as another opportunity for them to seek revenge.

Michelle Yim as Empress Dowager Cixi

TVB The Confidant

A very powerful woman who ‘rules’ China. Often misunderstood for her misuse and desire to stay in power, her character constantly has to resolve issues and protect her kingdom. She has quite good chemistry with Wayne Lai and it is comforting to know she has Wayne by her side to support her. While she may seem ruthless, I enjoyed watching her love for her son (played by Oscar Leung). While it may have seemed heartless for her to never trust Maggie Shiu ever since she found out she tried to poison her- that action appeared justified and correct when we find out Maggie’s true intentions and also her alarming warnings against Natalie Tong (Oscar’s wife) in the finale. Overall I think Michelle did a very good good portraying Cixi

Maggie Shiu as Empress Dowager Ci’an

TVB The Confidant

The evil villain of the series, supported by Ngo Wah (Head Eunch). She seemed quite friendly at the start but turns out she is a devil on the inside. She turns quite crazy towards the end and did so many unforgivable things. I thought her character was quite inconsistent throughout the series. I thought she cared about Aimee Chan; I thought she cared about the emperor- Was it really because of how Michelle Yim kept ignoring her and unwilling to forgive her which turned her so evil or was she always like that anyway?

The Eunuch: The 5 “brothers”

TVB The Confidant

Wayne Lai as  Lei Lin-ying

TVB The Confidant

I admired his character for his loyalty- to his friends and masters (Selena Li (Concubine Yuen), then later Michelle Yim (Empress Dowager Cixi) and Oscar Leung (Tung-chi Emperor). He was a good character, very intelligent but deliberately buried his talents at the beginning. He didn’t have the urge for power, knowing “Servant are always a servant” and just wanted to live peacefully and not get into other’s business. I think this role is actually pretty hard to play as his character transits to a commanding, powerful Eunuch by Michelle’s side.  Although I classified his character as good, his character is still very much human with flaws. For example to protect his friend Nancy- he let her violent/ scumbag husband to die although he could have saved him). In the final episode, we finally see a more ruthless side to his character, after all the traumatic things that happened in his life where his morals around being a good person becomes questionable and his actions can’t be justified. I watched the alternate ending where he actually planned to betray Michelle Yim for self protection, but later changed his mind after realising how much she cared for him. That was kind of creepy to be honest, although given the changing circumstances, its quite a human natural instinct to want to protect oneself. I prefer the original ending where he remained loyal the entire time, although he was at a point in time where he almost gave up hope in humanity (after Raymond Cho and Nancys death)

Raymond Cho as On Tak-ho

TVB The Confidant

I was quite surprised by Raymond Cho’s character development. Based on his overly ambitious desire for power and how well he was good at sucking up to Michelle Yim- I thought he would eventually turn corrupted or turn to Maggie Shiu’s side, with Ngo Wah. His character was a huge contrast to Wayne Lai’s, although they followed the same master (Chung King-fai ). I thought he would ultimately turn out to be the evil guy due to jealousy of Wayne Lai for being Michelle Yim’s favourite. Instead however, he remained loyal to Michelle Yim the entire time and treated Wayne as his own brother.

I felt sorry for him when he did so much for his “wife” when she truly didn’t deserve it. He was blinded by his love for her. She constantly had affairs with other men and even when he knew, he was in denial and pretended he didn’t see and forced himself to be oblivious. He felt he owed her because he wasn’t a true man which left him vulnerable to the evil Ngo Wah (Chan Fuk)  who schemed to trick him into there was a cure to his loss of man-hood (if there’s a better word for this lol) His sacrifice for Michelle was quite sad…after all that he’s done- he died with no respect- hung outside naked, and only shamed.. It was Dowager Cixi’s ways to rid the rumours of her having an affair with him. I thought that was a good way of TVB’s interpretation of putting in historical context given that there were rumours of this happening. Only his death were they able to get rid of the rumours although the Emperor (Oscar) still did not believe his mother.

 Power Chan as Pang Sam-shun

TVB The Confidant

I wish Power Chan got Best Supporting Actor- he is extremely adorable in the Confidant and is my favourite character in the entire series. While most characters change from good to bad, his character gradually changes from “bad” to good. One of my favourite episodes was when Wayne and Power had to work together to find the missing emperor and where their friendship started building. Previously he was almost like a big bully who goes on about how he doesn’t need friends, spoilt by his evil uncle Ngo Wah. He beat up and locked up Raymond Wong and didn’t let him see his mother for the last time and made Nancy lose her unborn baby..however, we later see the goodness in him, and how he changes and finally values his friendships. His character is pretty much the only one who remains so pure until the end. Even when Wayne turned his back on Michelle Yim after Raymond Cho’s death to start a new life with Nancy, or when Wayne told Power he is going to betray Michelle and work for Natalie Tong (Empress Ka-shun)  and Maggie Shiu  (Empress Dowager Ci’an) Power remained loyal to the Emperor and refused to leave him not matter what. I’m so happy for him when he joined the group with Wayne and when the emperor valued him so much. He learned to forgive, even Raymond Wong who killed his own uncle . I’m glad his character lives at the end :)

 Raymond Wong as  Yiu Sheung-hei

TVB The Confidant

Raymond Wong’s character development was interesting too. At the start, he plays his  typical good-guy role where his ambition is to become a medical practitioner. Somehow I’m not that convinced he is as good they make him out to be though- I mean really? He becomes the head in a palace? I liked his character nevertheless :) As a eunuch, he surely doesn’t act much like a girl. We don’t see much of his feminine side either (unless that’s just the stereotype?) He is very much a man, with emotions and feelings for a woman and he and the princess eventually fall in love.  Is that even possible for an eunuch and a princess? In The Confidant – yes.  Raymond Wong’s character is pretty much a man which I find quite odd, but interesting at the same time. I didn’t find Raymond Wong and Aimee Chan that cute as a couple…Actually I think it was more Aimee’s character which I did not like ( Nominated for Best Supporting Actress-you gotta be kidding right?) It was also a bit annoying watching Aimee sick all the time (almost like her role in The Last Steep Ascents) and her extremely animated personality made her seem so modern and out of place.

Despite them wanting to elope, Raymond Wong eventually rejects the Princess and lets her marry another man knowing he cannot ever give her the happiness she desires. In exchange to stay away from the princess, Empress Dowager granted him the title of head of the medical department. Years pass but Raymond has never been able to stop thinking about the Princess. I liked how realistic they made the storyline where the Princess actually moved on to love her husband and has put the past with Raymond behind her. Raymond’s love for the princess made him extremely vulnerable to the evil Maggie Shiu and Ngo Wah, who misleads and uses him in thinking the Princess still loved him and wanted to elope with him. They then capture the princess and in exchange for her life, he turned his back on his morals, the brotherhood/friendships he had and loyalty towards Michelle Yim- by betraying Raymond Cho and accusing Raymond Cho and Michelle Yim to have an affair. This eventually causes the death of Raymond Cho and turned Oscar (Emperor) against his own mother (Michelle Yim).

Raymond was so devastated to find out Aimee no longer loved him and had no intentions of being with him. Raymond’s love turned into hate. He hated her so much he left her to die. True human nature? Possible. I knew from that point, Raymond’s character had changed. He no longer believed in goodness and only sought revenge. He kills Ngo Wah but fail to kill off Maggie Shui despite his attempts. To reach his goals he was willing to poison the palace and kill the emperor to take revenge on Maggie. From a doctor whose motto and value were always to save those no matter what, he turned blinded by revenge. In the end, Wayne and Power let Raymond off..not sure if that was a wise decision…

 Edwin Siu as Ling Tim Sau

TVB The Confidant

I disliked his character from the beginning. He was foolish and always appeared evil to me, despite being Wayne’s apprentice. And yes, as expected, he betrays Wayne and the gang and worked for Ngo Wah and Maggie Shiu for nothing other than power. He became one of the most evil characters in the series; and I hated him to the bones: he brought in prostitutes for the emperor which eventually caused his death, caused the death of Raymond Cho, sold drugs to Maggie (which I won’t mind to much haha) and in the end, kills Nancy Wu (Sin-yun) when Wayne let him stay with them. He was so annoying to watch that I don’t even want to talk about him haha. He was ungrateful and never learned from his mistakes…Seriously– evil til the end!!

 

Nancy Wu as Sin-Yun :

Nancy plays a palace maid who was one of Wayne’s closest friends and later becomes his lover, after she is finally freed from her husband (played by Eric Li) who is a total drug addict. She was tortured so badly that it became quite realistic whenshe wanted to die with him because he was a living nightmare. I liked the scene where Wayne was there to help her rid her smoking addiction- reminded me of Sheren Tang and Wayne Lai in “No Regrets” xD I’m still not sure whether Wayne loved Nancy the way she loved him since he was quite hesitant about his feelings near the middle of the series and he felt more like family with her.

I think her death was quite sad. It was sad because Wayne, Nancy and their new adopted baby boy would have been such a happy family..if only!! In the alternate ending, Nancy does not die but remains unconscious (Note: there were no scarring left on her face despite the stabbing!) and at the end- wakes up. In short, alternate ending was too unrealisc…but I will let that slip by..

TVB The Confidant

 

What are your overall thoughts on “The Confidant”? I know I haven’t really spoken about some of the other characters. These were just the main ones I wanted to talk about…

The ratings seemed pretty good and was nominated in top 3 best series for 2012 – have you seen it?


21 Responses to “[The Confidant] Overall Thoughts”

  • JacJac says:

    Nice overview of the series.

  • JacJac says:

    I haven’t watched this series and I’m behind on Silver Spoons.

  • Chibi says:

    ooo..very nice write up! Considering I haven’t watched a single episode of The Confidant, I felt like the review was a nice insight into the story and characters :)

    • KTVB says:

      Thanks chibi!

      Initally I was going to do episodic thoughts on The Confidant, but after a few episodes, I didn’t feel the urge to and decided to hold off until i completed the entire series

  • christine says:

    I like your write up because I had the exact same thoughts as you did! ^^

    same as you, I wished power chan got best supporting actor too! I was surprised Sam Shun stood out so much and he quickly became my favorite in the drama, so adorable & loyal! his character was annoying at the beginning but Power delivered it well! and I feel that his chemistry with Wayne Lai was really great too!

    It was a nice drama while it lasted, I initially thought it would be boring but I ended up chasing the drama every single day during the broadcast period!

    • KTVB says:

      So far I haven’t heard a single comment about anyone disliking Power Chan in The Confidant- <3 There’s a high likely chance of them filming The Confidant 2- hopefully Power will get the chance to take home the award next year!

  • kiko says:

    ehh? there was an alternate ending? where where where!!!!

  • haiziwang says:

    I think you pretty much summed up my feelings about The Confidant too. Overall it was a nice show, but it just wasn’t as addictive or impactful as Rosy Business or No Regrets.

    Power’s Pang Sum Shun was the greatest surprise in the show, though both Wayne and Michelle (and Maggie) gave consistent performance. Perhaps it was because the whole show was slightly heavy, so Sum Shun’s simple ways became something like sunshine which broke through all the clouds. With him on screen, the scene would somehow feel lighter. Also helps that his character is very likeable.

    Ever since the start of the series, Tim Sau was very irritating and I have to admit as each episode went by, I was thinking “he’s not dead yet?” or when Tak Hoi tried to kill him “omg why did Lin Ying stop him?” etc etc.

    I didn’t like Sheung Hei much too. In the beginning he was annoyingly nonchalant about everything except the princess and his medical stuff. Didn’t help that I didn’t like his partner (Wo-shek) too much either. I felt the story could have carried on without him and Wo-shek. Couldn’t connect to him throughout the show.

    My favourite scene of Wayne would be the one in jail after Sin Yung was killed. Its not over-the-top, but I really could feel his anguish about being good but always getting stabbed in the back by those he let off.

    • KTVB says:

      My favourite scene of Wayne would be the one in jail after Sin Yung was killed. Its not over-the-top, but I really could feel his anguish about being good but always getting stabbed in the back by those he let off.

      Did you watch the alternate ending? (where Nancy does not die) The jail scene was cut out, and instead, his speech was spoken to the unconscious Sin Yung instead.

      • haiziwang says:

        Yea, watched that too.

        Same speech (reckon they wouldn’t waste such a nice bit of script huh? lol), but I think it has a greater impact in the original ending where Sin Yung dies.
        Also, in the alternate ending, I felt the degree of emotions conveyed was also slightly different. While I could still feel slices of regret, it felt more intimate and less intimidating than in the original ending.

        Anyway, I just realised that Maggie is quite a poor thing in TC. She actually played her part pretty well, but nobody seems to be focusing on her? We either talk about Wayne, Michelle, Power or even Raymond but everyone seems to just skim around Maggie. Talk about overshadow lol.

        • KTVB says:

          I agree about what you said regarding the type of emotions conveyed. The original was a lot better- I prefer it more intimidating rather than some inimate confession to his loved one.

          During the “special” where the cast were watching the ending with the audience, Maggie made a comment about herself not doing her role as well etc

  • Cammie says:

    I agree with most of the things you said :) To me, this was one my favorite series this year. However, the sudden changes in personality among the characters made it not as good as I hoped it would be.

    Michelle Yim portrayed Empress Dowager Cixi as a mean, fierce, but also a loving character at the same time. She wanted the best for her son and the empire. Michelle had great chemistry with Wayne even thought they were not involved romantically. The bicycle-riding scene really showed her childish side and was fun to watch :)

    Wayne Lai’s Lei Lin-ying was not a perfect and kind character, but that’s what made it realistic. The scenes were he would kneel down in front of people that had authority over him really showed his fear. I was so glad he left Eric Li behind to die because that guy did not deserve to live. However, I wished he wasn’t so nice to Edwin near the end when he saw that Edwin had become a beggar and had to fight for food. Giving him money, a home, and a job was being just too nice. However Sin-yung’s death scene wasn’t as convincing, which made her death seem unnecessary even though it was supposed to be a moment of awakening for Wayne. It was like everybody totally forgot she died.

    Power Chan’s Sam Shun was my favorite character in the whole series and I was hoping that he wouldn’t die since TVB likes to kill off the comedic-relief most of the time. He definitely redeemed himself and was very loyal, especially to the king. But I was surprised he let Raymond off so easily after he killed his uncle. Still, Power was adorable and one of the reasons why I wanted to continue watching.

    Raymond and Aimee was honestly a bore. I was surprised that they fell in love so easily. The Princess seemed too ‘fake’ and ‘happy’ in a place like this. At first, Aimee wanted to be with Raymond no matter what. Suddenly after returning, she then tells Raymond she has stopped loving him and loves her husband whole-heartedly instead. That just made me hate her character even more. I wished she died right away instead of letting Raymond spend all his time trying to cure her. Raymond’s character near the end made me hate him so much. Why continue to love someone who no longer has feelings for you even after all the things you’ve done for her? Killing all those innocent eunuchs and maids to avenge Aimee was despicable. He was probably the most inconsistent character out of all. He deserved a darker and sadder ending than the one he got.

    Edwin Siu and Oscar Leung really looked their part. I actually felt bad for Edwin when he was calling Wayne’s name while being beat up. He had that innocent, young, and lost look whenever he’s done something wrong. I know he was greedy and evil but killing Sin-Yung was out of his character. He never actually killed anybody before and stabbing her face so many times was too ruthless. Oscar was cute as the king. He does look like a teenager and did well with the role. However, he had no chemistry with Natalie. I felt she was more like his older sister than wife. And the way they fell in love was too quick.

    Selena Li did a great job despite appearing only in a few episodes. Her cries and screams felt so real. She’s also one of those few actresses who look great in Qing dynasty clothing. Nancy Wu was good, nothing spectacular. I wonder why she always ends up dying in the end :/ Raymond Cho did a fantastic job acting-wise but I wasn’t much into his character so nothing to say there. Maggie Shiu looked beautiful but her relationship with Prince Gong could’ve developed further to create more drama (even though it might contradict history a bit).

    Overall, great series, casts, costumes. Just most of the important characters were very inconsistent which kind of ruins some parts. 4/5

    • KTVB says:

      I agree with your comments! :) Probably everything except being “one of my favourite series for the year” lols haha

      I actually thought Michelle’s character would be more evil…I guess we’ll see that in the sequel!

  • may says:

    Can I ask whats the main thing that was different in the alternate ending?

    • KTVB says:

      In the Alternate Ending:
      1. Nancy does not die after the stabbing and remains unconscious. Wayne makes his speech to the unconscious Nancy rather than in the jail cell to his Master
      2. Wayne’s actual intention was to betray Michelle and work for Maggie Shiu and Natalie Tong, but after realising Michelle cared about him, he admitted his change of heart, and then came up with the idea of poisoning the emperor and revealing Maggie and Natalie’s evil doings. In the original ending, Wayne was ‘good’ the whole time. He pretended to work for Maggie and Natalie, but was working for Michelle- it was all part of his plan.
      3. Nancy wakes up in the end

  • alibb says:

    Well, I am probably late … I just finished the drama and I was like “…” It could be better.

    Maybe I expected too much, because it was quite heavily advertised here …

    I was dreading at some point too. (Maybe I didn’t like Raymond Wong and his character (don’t hate him though) and I think a few of the character’s personalities are not that consistent. I feel some of them just turn bad so suddenly (maybe I don’t find the triggers realistic enough? I don’t know.) Or maybe I just can’t connect with most of them.

    And I think Raymond (Wong) character needs to be punished rather than allow to go. At least put him in jail or something, he killed and poisoned so many people.

    Overall, I am disappointed. Maybe because I’ve guessed that Wayne will not work with Maggie and Natalie and he would help Cixi in the end … so the ending is just so expected.

    • KTVB says:

      hehe I agree with you on the “sudden turned bad’ aspect which seems a bti unbelievable…

      Can’t believe Raymond Wong’s character was just left off like that after he did so many bad things! He still seemed pretty bad in the end..lol

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