Thursday, 3 March 2016

LOCH 1983 episode guides (ep 11-19) and interim impressions

First meeting between Yang Kang (Michael Miu) & Mu Nianci (Sharon Yang), Ep 11

Ep 11: I understand Mu Nianci. I understand why she couldn’t leave Yang Kang. His voice, the way he stared at her, the way he made her thinks that she was the queen of his world when they first met. I also recognised that voice. His voice when he was fighting a commoner on the street, even before the viewers see his face. It’s him... it’s Michael Miu’s voice as Yang Kang (Yeung Hong, Cantonese). And I was as mesmerised as Mu Nianci was when he accidentally bumped her during the fight. And I smiled a smile that cracked my face in two when he flirted with Nianci. I smiled when she blushed, for he had that effect to almost any girls... I then went “ooohhh...” as we saw Yang Kang conversing with his mother Bao Xiruo, for I was like watching Li Sai Man (The Foundation 1984) joking with his sister or an ever more spoiled Szeto Man Mo (Fearless Duo) conversing with his mother. I understand why Xiruo doted on him. I understand why Mu Nianci loved him and found it so difficult to leave him...

Sigh... it’s really the fault of the TVB producers... putting Michael Miu in the role of Yang Kang...

The doting Mother Bao and her mischievous son Yang Kang, Ep 11

But then we get the scene where we learned that Yang Kang was also the student of Mei Chaofeng who assisted her in her killing spree. Then his Szeto Man Mo traits puffed like a smoke, replaced with an expression even more cruel than Li Sai Man’s expression when he exterminated Kong Fung’s Hau Tien Mun in The Foundation 1984. Then I started wishing that I’m watching the alternate version of LOCH where Yang Kang would actually repent... but fat change...

But let’s get back a few scenes before this. Thanks to Wong Yung’s prank, Guo Jing finally realised that Mr Mu was Uncle Yang Tiexin, and that Mu Nianci was his adopted daughter. Tiexin wanted GJ to marry Nianci, but GJ liked Wong Yung and Nianci already fancied Michael, I mean Yang Kang. Then Mr Mu held a contest for Nianci where the winner got to marry the girl. Nianci prayed at the local temple, but not before meeting Yang Kang again (who then accompanied her to the local temple). Nianci was later kidnapped by Mei Chaofeng, but Wong Yung saved her. Nianci also explained to Wong Yung that Guo Jing liked Wong Yung instead of her (Nianci) and vice versa. Later, Yang Kang joined and won the marriage contest (by a simple expedient of him retrieving one of Nianci’s shoes – now a classical LOCH scene). However, due to his harsh methods, Mr Mu disapproved Nianci’s choice. Yang Kang also backed off from the marriage, saying that he was only having fun. Having felt siblinghood with Nianci, Guo Jing fought Yang Kang who embarrassed his adopted sister. When Yang Kang was about to hit Guo Jing with Mei Chaofeng’s claw technic, he was intercepted by a Taoist master.

The Contest: Yang Kang vs Mu Nianci, Ep 11 which he snatched her shoe... (Ep 11) 

Ep 12: Taoist Wang Chuji rescued Guo Jing from Yang Kang’s strike. Taoist Wang was apparently the 5th Brother of Taoist Qiu Chuji, Yang Kang’s official teacher. Taoist Wang wondered how Yang Kang learned the evil strikes. Yang Kang was visited by Taoist Qiu who asked about his progress, but then Ouyang Ke visited YK, which caused Taoist Qiu to be angry for Ouyang Ke wasn’t a good guy (the poor Taoist didn’t realise either that his disciple was up for no good either). Ouyang Ke later found that Yang Kang kept Mu Nianci’s shoe, hence he teased him about it. Wanyan Honglie returned to the Palace, greeted happily by his “son” Wanyan Kang. Honglie was disappointed that Bao Xiruo still couldn’t let go of her love with Yang Tiexin. This Jurchen/Han couple hadn’t even consummated their relationship for the last 18 years, it seemed!

Yang Kang later visited Mu Nianci, but Yang Tiexin refused him access. Guo Jing suggested that Yang Kang apologise to Mr Mu, in which he did, but Tiexin still couldn’t forgive him. Guo Jing helped Nianci contacting Yang Kang; she’d later meet Yang Kang in a temple and interrogated him about the contest. Yang Kang said that he actually wanted to marry her, but the 6thPrince wouldn’t like it that he marries a Han girl. Their conversation was interrupted by Yang Tiexin who found out about the rendesvouz from the innocent Guo Jing. Yang Kang was pissed off that his “date” with Nianci was interrupted again. He then ordered his men to captured father and daughter to talk to them about a secret marriage between him and Nianci; a proposal that Yang Tiexin point blank refused. Yang Kang also agreed on Ouyang Ke’s suggestion in assassinating Taoist Wang and Guo Jing in a banquet. However, the plan failed when Bao Xiruo arrived. She was very angry that YK captured a father and daughter without reasons, such that she left to visit them in the dungeon.

Ep 13: Upon arriving at the dungeon, Xiruo and Yang Kang found that the prisoners had escaped (thanks to the skilful Nianci). When they tried to leave the Palace, Yang Tiexin found the replica of the Niu Village inside the Palace. Tiexin also found the spear that looked like his old spear. However, he didn’t have the opportunity to see the lady of the house (who came into the house with Yang Kang), because the Three Ghosts of Jurchen found him and Nianci. Bao Xiruo heard the commotion outside but didn’t go out. She just asked Yang Kang to tell his men to stop the beating, in which he did. Later, Yang Tiexin and Taoist Wang recuperated in the inn while Guo Jing and Mu Nianci explored the town and the neighbouring areas for antidote of the poison Taoist Wang suffered during the fight. 

Apparently Yang Kang had ordered his men to buy all antidote ingredients so GJ and MNC couldn’t buy anything. GJ eventually received a note from Wong Yung that indicated she might be able to obtain the antidote. She didn’t; she just wanted to see GJ, hence she trapped him and had him listening to her music till late at night. Nianci managed to buy the medicine elsewhere, which was apparently a fake one, which worsened Taoist Wang’s condition. Upset, she then went to the Palace to question Yang Kang, who blatantly said that Wang was a criminal and he (Wanyan Kang) couldn’t go against his father’s words (Wanyan Honglie’s I mean). Still, Yang Kang treated Nianci so gently that I melted and cursed him for being so charming... He said that he’d rather be the son of a commoner than a royal, and he also gave Nianci his cape to protect her from cold.

Meanwhile, the smart Wong Yung actually had a plan. She’d sneak into the palace to retrieve the antidote at night and have Guo Jing sneaking into the Snake Manor to find the same antidote, just in case. Wong Yung found Mother Bao and, after temporarily held her hostage, told her about what Yang Kang did. Mother Bao was very angry and beat Yang Kang in front of his servants and Wong Yung (who obviously enjoyed the scene). Later, after receiving the antidote, Wong Yung left, but not before telling Yang Kang that he was so lucky to have such a very nice mother. By the way, this is the first MB scene where they interacted. Wong Yung actually saw Yang Kang talking to Mu Nianci, but they didn’t interact before. 

Wong Yung lecturing Yang Kang, Ep 13

Afterwards, of course Yang Kang couldn’t let go of Wong Yung just like that, so he and Ouyang Ke cornered the girl. YK then left WY with Ouyang Ke, who tried to rape her.

Meanwhile, Guo Jing was attacked by a giant snake owned by Liang something, the lord of the Snake Manor. GJ bit the snake and obtained total protection from any kind of poison. He later saved WY from OYK. GJ and WY escaped but fell into Mei Chaofeng’s cave. The smart WY made Mei Chaofeng agreed to assist them fighting Liang and Ouyang, particularly after she promised to talk to her father to forgive Mei for stealing Peach Blossom Island secret book.

After finding out that the medicine was given by the Royal Concubine, Yang Tiexin sleuthed around and found out that she was indeed from the Niu Village. Wong Yung orchestrated a way to have Yang Tiexin reunited with his wife.

Nianci meeting her future mother in law for the first time, Ep 13

Ep 14: Yang Tiexin and Bao Xiruo met each other again in a temple. She told him that their son was well and he was 18 years old now. YTX quickly deducted that Wanyan Kang was his son after all. 

Mrs Yang met Mr Yang again after 18 years, Ep 14

Yang Kang was temporarily distracted by Nianci who requested a conversation with him. However, Nianci couldn’t hold YK too long, hence GJ and WY had to warn YTX to leave his wife. Xiruo promised to return to YTX in 10 days, bringing Yang Kang with her. 

Yang Kang/Yeung Hong got the shock of his life, Ep 14

Later in the Niu house replica inside the Palace, Mother Bao told Yang Kang the truth. Poor YK couldn’t take it; for it wasn’t only that Wanyan Honglie wasn’t his real father, but he (YK) was a Song citizen as well, instead of a Jurchen. YK went straight to ask Wanyan Honglie about the truth. When Honglie denied the truth, YK dashed off for a “vacation”. Xiruo confronted Honglie about his 18 years of lies, but Honglie easily lied that it was one of his generals who told him that Yang Tiexin was already dead. Xiruo still wanted to leave, hence 6thPrince finally let him go. However, Wanyan Honglie secretly asked his men to attack the town and kill everyone (cos his men didn’t know what YTX looked like). To make matters worse, Guo Jing had left to find his teachers, and Wong Yung later followed suit despite GJ’s request to guard YTX and Nianci.

Yang Kang himself didn’t take a vacation. He went to the Niu Village dressed in tatters and asked around about Yang Tiexin and Bao Xiruo. He received enough information to realise that his mother didn’t lie; that he was indeed the son of Yang Tiexin and Bao Xiruo. He returned to the Jin capital broken hearted. He originally headed back to the Zhao Palace, but he hesitated upon arriving at the gate. He then spent the night outside an inn in town. In the morning, he met some Jin soldiers who mocked him when he said that he was the Young Prince of Jin. The mock went so deep into his psyche that he let the soldiers beat him. That night, Yang Kang spent the night in a shack. He then found his royal seal, which he almost threw away, but didn’t.

Yang Kang being bullied by his own soldiers, Ep 14

In the morning, the soldiers attacked the village and killed many people. Yang Kang beat up some soldiers and prevented his men from pursuing Yang Tiexin (he hadn’t realised that Tiexin was his dad) and Mu Nianci. However, his men didn’t heed to his warning and kept searching for YTX (to no avail at least). Mother Bao saw the bloodshed and fainted in her son’s embrace (she also whispered Tiexin’s name and YK heard it). YK and WYHL brought Mother Bao back to the Palace. YK confronted WYHL about the truth. YK told his “dad” that he’d been to Niu Village and he knew the truth. WYHL still tried to persuade YK with wealth and power, but YK said those were not his fortune (good boy!). Honglie then locked YK in the Niu House.

However, the Jin Emperor (Wanyan Honglie’s father, Yang Kang’s “grandfather”) came and wanted to see YK. Honglie lied that YK wanted to marry a woman of pleasure. Grandfather then told YK that he had to realise his status, that he’d be the Emperor one day. YK had a flashback of the Jin soldiers beating him, and then changed his stance. He greeted the Jin Emperor and went to the hall with him.

And this is where I said “Noooooooo!!!” cos this is like watching Lex Luthor in Smallville trying to be good, but then still crossed to the Dark Side.... Or watching Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. 

I'll make one Yang Kang meme one day. For now, this will do

Ep 15:  Back as the Prince, Yang Kang met Nianci who told YK where they were staying. Yk promised Nianci that he’d bring his mother to meet Yang Tiexin soon. Later, YK asked his mother to write a letter to YTX. But then YK falsified the letter such that it read that Bao Xiruo saying goodbye to Tiexin. YK then delivered the false letter to his real father. YTX didn’t believe that the letter was from Xiruo. YK said cruel things to his real dad, including how he and his mother would practically be beggars if they returned to YTX. He then told his real dad to just think that he never had a son like him. Tiexin slapped Yang Kang, serves that boy right. After glaring at his dad, YK kneeled and wished his dad all the best. Outside the temple, Nianci asked why he was so cruel. YK said he couldn’t be so ungrateful to Wanyan Honglie (and YK decided he didn’t like poverty). He then asked for a memento that belonged to Yang Tiexin; Nianci finally gave him a jade Tiexin gave her the previous year. Yang Kang said goodbye to Nianci, saying that they might not see each other again.

But the jade played a role in the next scenario; Yang Kang pretended to burn paper money and prayers for Tiexin, such that Bao Xiruo lost all hopes. YK helped his mother to conduct a proper funeral for Tiexin. When Xiruo packed her things and asked him to leave the Palace with her, like a little child, YK begged his mother to stay, cos he wanted to stay and serve his foster dad. I see here that YK was just a child who didn’t want to have his family (artificial family, but still...) separated. He did it for an understandable reason, but he used the totally wrong ways to express his goals. Yet, when Wanyan Honglie laughed at the way Yang Kang performed the whole thing, YK did look pensive.

Wong Yung met the Six Freaky Teachers and made a bad impression of herself. When the teachers learned that WY’s dad was Huang Yaoshi, they forbade Guo Jing to have a relationship with WY. They even found Yang Tiexin and suggested that Mu Nianci was married to Guo Jing instead. WY of course was angry. She ran away; GJ chased her; she took refuge for a few minutes inside Ouyang Ke’s boat. Ouyang Ke then tried to court her, but she ditched him. After a very interesting fight; Mei Chaofeng appeared to assist Wong Yung against Ouyang Ke. Later, WY asked Chaofeng to deal and defeat with the Seven Freaks, just to make GJ admit defeat.

Ep 16: Nianci went into the Zhao Palace and met Xiruo, who finally realised that her son had lied to her. Nianci left the Palace after Xiruo asked her to tell Yang Tiexin that she’d find him somehow. Outside the Palace, Nianci then met Yang Kang, who concocted the nth lie by saying that he was an undercover at the Palace because he wanted to destroy Wanyan Honglie’s ambition to conquer the Central Plains. Nianci of course took the story just like that. After Yang Kang asked Nianci to return to Yang Tiexin to take care of dad for him, Nianci went back to her foster dad, but she didn’t tell this poor man that his wife was actually still in love with him.

Meanwhile, Bao Xiruo interrogated her son about his motive. Yang Kang said he lied to protect Yang Tiexin from Wanyan Honglie. But then he also was blatantly honest when he said he liked the wealth and status he enjoyed at the Zhao Palace. Poor Mother Bao was so broken hearted to learn what her son had become. She cried. Yang Kang said, despite his lust for wealth, he actually also wanted his mum to be happy.

Yeah but that’s not how you do thaaaat!!! Bastard!!

On the Guo Jing/Wong Yung part, they were having “fun” with Mei Chaofeng who almost killed Guo Jing over the rift that happened years ago.

Back to Yang Tiexin; I’d marry this man anytime... he was so romantic and so lovely... and couldn’t forget his wife. Broken hearted, Nianci finally told him the truth, that Yang Kang falsified the letter. Seriously man, poor Nianci, she was too good for Yang Kang...and seeing Mr Yang crying like that, it really just broke my heart...

Anyway, Wong Yung finally devised a plan to have Yang Tiexin meeting Mrs Yang (Bao Xiruo) again. They sent Nianci to distract Yang Kang, which she did very well. She talked with him over wine and then got drunk. She even lay on his bed. Yang Kang almost kissed her, but he then changed his mind and covered her with the blanket instead. I think he didn't want to take advantage of her (how sweet...), but he might also sense something was amiss. That Nianci wouldn't just get drunk for him.

Yang Kang did not take advantage of the drunken Nianci, Ep 16

Outside, WY, GJ and YTX tried to enter the Palace secretly.

Ep 17: Wong Yung and Guo Jing distracted the Jin soldiers to give Yang Tiexin time to meet his wife. Yang Kang arrived just “in time” before Tiexin departed with Xiruo. After a heated exchange, Yang Kang took them away from the Palace from a secret passage, away into a river, but he didn’t join his mother. He blatantly said he liked wealth, but he also let his mother go. He gave a sword to his real dad for protection. As the boat left, he kneeled down in front of his parents. 

Mr and Mrs Yang escaping the Palace (Ep 17)...
... as their son knelt before them (Ep 17)

Yang Kang later told Wanyan Honglie to stop chasing his mother, for he’d definitely drive her to grave if that continued. Honglie slapped his foster son, but he then apologised, of sort. YK said he realised now if he loved someone, he had to love that person’s relatives as well. He then said he was going to leave the Palace as well. Honglie asked him not to go, for he’d have nothing left if Yang Kang also left. YK replied sarcastically that Wanyan Honglie had money, power and position, and that it was he (YK) who had nothing. Honglie replied that as long as YK was his son, all his wealth and status would be his. Yang Kang was silent, for he was tempted, yet again.

Yang Kang told foster dad Wanyan Honglie to let go, Ep 17

Meanwhile, the new Yang family (Tiexin, Xiruo and Nianci) lived some peaceful days with Guo Jing and Wong Yung. I love the Yang couple; they’re so lovely together. 

When WY got bored with vegetarian food and the new no-killing, no violence policy, she and GJ left for the nearest city where they met Taoist Qiu Chuji who had the traitor Duan Tiande in his possession. Duan Tiande eventually told the truth in front of the Yang couple, that the mastermind behind the destruction of the Guo and Yang families was Wanyan Honglie, who was rescued by Mrs Yang 19 years ago. Xiruo was so shocked to learn that her kindness had caused the destruction of the Guo-Yang families. Taoist Qiu didn’t help the matter either for he kept blaming Xiruo. The family plus Taoist Qiu minus Mrs Yang then planned to kill Wanyang Honglie during his birthday celebration, but the plan failed.

Ep 18: Mrs Yang was missing... Actually, she came to the Zhao Palace, decked to the nines (how did she enter the Palace?), trying to assassinate Wanyang Honglie for what he did to the Guo-Yang families. Of course she failed. Honglie gave her the Yang Family spear to kill him, but when Xiruo wanted to stab him, Yang Kang came in. He asked why mum wanted to kill dad, and when she didn’t reply, he asked her to kill himself too. Mrs Yang then left the Palace crying. She wanted to commit suicide but some Taoist nuns saved her and took her to their nunnery. Yang Tiexin decided to leave for Niu Village. Taoist Qiu kidnapped Yang Kang to force him to apologise to his father. Yang Kang was broken hearted to hear his mother had left, but he still didn’t want to go back to Niu with Yang Tiexin. Taoist Qiu chained his own student, but Nianci later freed him. Yang Kang originally didn’t want to take Nianci with him, but they eventually ran away together. Taoist Qiu caught up with them and almost injured him but Nianci put herself as a human shield between them. Qiu still chased YK back to the house, where YK hid behind his dad for protection (I have to admit it’s a bit funny; he was such a kid. A very annoying and idiotic kid!!). After being beaten to a pulp, YK finally agreed to leave with Dad to Niu Village. He was also reunited with Nianci who took the sword for him. However, as they left the Jin capital, YK left claw marks everywhere for Wanyan Honglie et al to find him.

After they arrived in the Song area, GJ and WY left for the Peach Blossom Island. En route, they met Mei Chaofeng who told them that she found trails of Baiguo claws that were not made by her. When Wong Yung learned that YK knew this style, she realised that they had been tricked.

YTX et al arrived at a temple where they found Mrs Yang about to become a nun. Xiruo finally agreed to abort her intention to be a nun. Just at the same time, Wanyan Honglie et al arrived to get YK back. A fight ensued.

Yang Kang blocked Ouyang Ke's attack for Yang Tiexin, Ep 19

Ep 19: Ouyang Ke attacked Mr Yang, but Yang Kang blocked the attack, for “he’s my birth father after all”. Later, YK kowtowed in front of mum to say goodbye for he was going to return to the Palace with Wanyan Honglie. Yet Honglie didn’t let the Yangs go, such that Yang Tiexin finally committed suicide. He asked his wife to return to Honglie and take care of Yang Kang. Mother Bao asked the stunned Yang Kang to come to her. She gave him parting advices and took his knife, killing herself. Yang Kang was torn asunder. When Taoist Qiu opened attack to Wanyan Honglie, Yang Kang harshly and tearfully reminded his former teacher that his mother just died. Any scores could be settled later. Yang Kang then left carrying his mother’s body. He later buried both his parents together.

Yang Kang was definitely not happy with Wanyan Honglie's order
... and YK was totally shocked to see...
...that his dad Yang Tiexin killed himself...
Yang Kang apologised to Mother Bao...
...then he was shattered as Mrs Yang killed herself
Tearfully, he stopped Taoist Qiu from settling a score due to his mother's death

He then somehow managed to bury his parents side by side

Later, Nianci visited Yang Kang, asking him again whether he really couldn’t leave the riches and go with her. He didn’t budge. She then left him after saying that Guo Jing wanted to talk to him. Yang Kang then had a heated conversation with Guo Jing for GJ et al wanted to kill 6th Prince, but YK just couldn’t let that happen. They then settled it with a duel between YK and GJ. If GJ wins, he could kill 6th Prince. 

Mu Nianci bode Yang Kang goodbye
The negotiation between Yang Kang, Guo Jing & Wong Yung
Yang Kang's conflict resolution proposal

With Taoist Qiu’s instruction, GJ won the duel against YK (oh what a beautiful fight it was!! A beautiful few minutes of fight, NO CGI at all! I don’t think they even used suspension cables!! Truly the good old school fight!). Yang Kang told Guo Jing to just kill him so he could die in place of his foster dad. Guo Jing spared his life and even prevented the whole gang to attack Wanyan Honglie. He said, YK already took the blow in place of Honglie, hence any personal enmities should stop here. Yet he also aptly said that he wouldn’t forget to revenge his country (the Song kingdom), and he’d taken Honglie’s head in a battle one day.

Yang Kang and his spear (reminiscing the Yang Family Spear...)

vs Guo Jing and his sword (the late Mr Guo also used a sword)
...and Yang Kang lost!

The Song group then celebrated the victory. Taoist Qiu et al wanted to have Guo Jing marrying Mu Nianci, but both parties disagreed. After a lovely sisterly talk with the stubborn Wong Yung in which she asked the younger girl to thank GJ for sparring YK’s life, Nianci then departed somewhere. Taoist Qiu wanted Guo Jing to be a Taoist priest, and originally GJ wanted too, even if just to spare a headache. But then during the ceremony, Mei Chaofeng and Wong Yung barged in. WY took Guo Jing away (and half his teachers actually signed him to follow her). Mei Chaofeng told Taoist Qiu that he’d never understand love (I start to like this scary character Mei). WY and GJ visited the Yang graves before departing elsewhere (“Where the condors fly freely”, said Wong Yung). End of LOCH Part I.

Interim impression:

I like the series. Many fans said that LOCH 1982 is a classic, and they’re so right. Because I’m bias (like a broken LP I’ve said this many times), I wasn’t interested in ep 2-8 where we didn’t have Wong Yung yet. Felix Wong is a great Guo Jing; and his character is such a noble character. Take notes kid: be Guo Jing, not Yang Kang. However, I find GJ a bit boring, and Barbara’s presence as WY was the only reason I find GJ/WY an interesting couple. I do have to say that I find GJ/WY lacking chemistry that so many people talk about, and again, this could be because I’m biased towards MB. However, I hereby dispute myself because I like the Yang Kang/Mu Nianci pairing, and that means Michael and Sharon Yang Pan Pan pairing. I think there are some reasons to this: first is that YK/MNC pairing was doomed from the start, and tragic pairing could be more enticing than non-tragic pairing. YK/MNC was also built at a slower pace. Not slow in terms of their affinity to each other; slow in terms of that they’d be together. YK fancied Nianci from the start, and vice versa, but because of his choices, he wasn’t able to be with her. In contrast, I find watching GJ/WY interactions like watching kids having plays, or watching best friends having a great time. Funny and entertaining, but lacking that butterfly feelings I have when I root so much for a couple. Sure, GJ’s teachers disapproved his relationship with WY because the girl was the daughter of Huang Yaoshi, but there’s not enough drama to capture me.

And it doesn’t have to be a tragic story either to cause the butterflies in my stomach. Many of us love the love story between Chor Lau Heung and Song Siu Ching, and there was hardly anything tragic there; other than some problems due to CLH’s aversion towards the Royal life, and SSC’s original inability to truly let go of that life. CLH/SSC just has that butterfly feelings on me, while GJ/WY has the fun effect, but not the butterfly feelings. And again, it’s just me; a total minority.

In terms of character, LOCH is really about Guo Jing vs Yang Kang... with GJ as the protagonist and YK as the antagonist. However, Yang Kang is a tragic antagonist. At times, I see him more as an anti-hero than an antagonist. Wanyan Honglie is definitely an antagonist there; he orchestrated the destruction of the Guo/Yang families just so he could get Mrs Yang. Ouyang Ke was definitely evil; he’d do anything for power and money (and pretty women). However, Yang Kang wasn’t a total evil. His story is more about nature vs nurture. He was the son of a noble swordsman, yet he was raised by a coward and a liar, hence he adopted many of the latter’s “values”. Yang Kang did order the demise of the Niu villagers just because they knew the real story of his family. I couldn’t defend him for that; it was definitely an evil thing to do. Yet, he looked remorseful when he realised how many people Mei Chaofeng had to kill to obtain her goal (eh, A Hong, one is already too many!). 

Yang Kang totally loved his mother (he'd escort her to the temple and get injured animals for her to take care of, cos he knew she had a soft spot for injured animals). Despite his initial disapproval, Yang Kang eventually let his mother go to join his birth father. He even protected Yang Tiexin from Ouyang Ke’s strike, for Tiexin was his birth dad anyway. Yang Kang admitted his lust for wealth and power, and that’s really his downfall. Yet he also stayed at the Zhao Palace to serve and repay the kindness of Wanyan Honglie, for the latter indeed doted him like father doting a son (so Yang Kang did have that trait of parental filial, it's just not acceptable for a Han son to love his Jin father, particularly one with abominable characters like Wanyan Honglie). Yang Kang loved his mother so much; in fact, he only had three people he loved in his lifetime: his mother, his foster dad Wanyan Honglie, and Mu Nianci. It broke my heart when Mr and Mrs Yang committed suicide, for there was no one else but Mu Nianci who Yang Kang actually listened to right now.

In short, Yang Kang is a lonely, complex and ultimately tragic antagonist. A classical example of nature vs nurture. I have started reading the translation of the LOCH book version from Wuxia Society; it’s a really nice read. I now want to finish reading the book because I want to know whether the original (book ver) YK was also as the LOCH 1982 Yang Kang. One thing is for sure: tho I haven’t seen other versions of Yang Kang/Yeung Hong, Michael Miu definitely sold this character for me. The way he alternated between the cheerful and mischievous Yang Kang, to the romantic YK, to the calculating and cruel YK, the way his eyes moved slightly or expressively when he talked to someone... I just don’t think this interpretation of Yang Kang could be surpassed by others.

By the way, the actress who played Mother Bao Xiruo was also in Chor Lau Heung 1984, portraying Tung Sam Leung, a peasant girl who was rescued by Fell Cut. She later saved Chor Lau Heung from his demise inside the Bat's quick sand pool (CLH ep 30). I didn't realise it until I watched LOCH, but the scene where Yang Kang held his mother was mirrored in the scene where Chor Lau Heung held Miss Tung, tho Chor hardly knew this girl.

The actress who played Mother Bao saved CLH in CLH 1984
Here's Yang Kang and his beloved mother again... (sad...)

Edit 15 March 2016:
It seems I was wrong. The actress who played Mother Bao was Louis Lee, whereas the actress who played Tung Sam Leung was Koo Miu See. Sorry about this glitch; they looked very much alike! But I'll just leave the two shots and the paragraph above so that you know why I thought the two women were played by the same actress...

Regarding Wong Yung; this girl started to mature during her adventures with Guo Jing. She started to hold her tongue; she started to think for other people as well, and not just for herself. The last scene she had in Ep 19 with Mu Nianci was rather adorable. Wong Yung was definitely a clever and skilful girl; Barbara Yung definitely delivered this character for me. I still feel that I like Song Siu Ching (Chor Lau Heung 1984) better despite SC’s lower martial art level; just because Siu Ching had more consciousness compared to Wong Yung, at least during the first 15 episodes of LOCH. It’s interesting to see how her enmity with Yang Kang later developed. I think Wong Yung never thought highly of YK in the first place; and Yang Kang wasn’t terribly impressed that she reported his misconduct to Mother Bao. As the result, perhaps LOCH isn’t just about Guo Jing vs Yang Kang, it might have been more about Wong Yung vs Yang Kang, for GJ was more readily forgiving towards his sworn brother.

(In the Return of Condor Heroes, Wong Yung was actually suspicious of Yang Guo, the son of Yang Kang and Mu Nianci, for WY feared that Yang Guo would turn into Yang Kang. On the other hand, Guo Jing more readily trusted Yang Guo).

The summary of later episodes will be posted in due time. I hope I don’t binge over this series; it will cost me a lot of time and energy... Everything in moderation, Miss...


Anonymous :] said...

That was probably one of the hardest parts of watching this series. Having to witness YK decide good vs bad, and dealing with the conflict of being a Song citizen or Jurchen citizen.

I also think later on you'll see WY dealing with the same type of conflicts, because of her father being penned as "evil." So she has to defend their family honor by convincing others her family isn't evil, as well as herself to the 7 freaks and Taoists.

I hope you continue and finish watching all 3 parts!

Have a great day

Tamuyen Truong said...

I definitely would agree that that would happen to Wong Yung and Guo Ching. I will not spoil anything but this is a great series. It was really sad to see Yang Kang so sad and depressed once his father and mother passed away. The part where Yang Kang's dad passed away, everyone was crying like WY, GC, MNC. That scene made me tear up....

Icha said...

Thanks a lot, Anon for your comments! I hope you receive this reply, cos if you're not a Blogger or using any account, most likely you won't realise I've replied... :-(

Anyway, yeah, sad to see my favourite character crossing to the dark side... (I've put the Darth Vader meme up in this post just now for a bit of fun...)

I think I'm so Yang Kang-biased... I so want him to be good, but he's not. He's crossing to the dark side... and paraphrasing Padme Amidala when Anakin turned bad, "it's the place we cannot follow..."

Icha said...

Thank you so much, Tammy for the comment!

The scene where Mr and Mrs Yang died was definitely a tearjerker scene. Yang Kang definitely looked like a kite without the strings to hold him in those scenes... he totally lost it. He needed Nianci more now because he'd lost his parents (he definitely needed Mr Yang's tough love, but he didn't realise it, stupid boy!), but his own choices made Nianci left...

Anonymous :] said...

I think that's my name set on Google when I made my account a long time ago.

Yes. YK is very much like Anakin Skywalker!!! Plus he's so dreamy. Lol. ๐Ÿ˜ I loved him, even he was so hateable until the end.

Icha said...

Hahaha, okay Anon :] - as long as you receive this reply, all's good! ^_^

Yeah, I think we're doomed with our inclinations to Yang Kang and Anakin... I also wanted Anakin to be good... but fat chance...

palm/face... it's like trying to defend Li Sai Man's action towards Sik Sik in The Foundation 1984... but there's nothing defendable in that respect...

So doomed... (palm/face)