Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Episodic summary for ep 1 with screencaps and videos

While waiting for epi 2 to download, I took the time to recap epi 1 for those who have not watched it yet and for those who want to review. So SPOILER ALERT!!

First off, must praise the theme song, very suited to SIAC and to Steven’s deep and sonorous voice. 2 thumbs up!

The episode begins with a distance view of an advancing Japanese army seen through a pair of binoculars. The invading enemies have finally arrived at long last to cross the bridge over to the Yunnan village. The defending Chinese soldiers at the set up barricade instantly start furiously firing at their enemies, which the latter return in kind. Bugle blares; the rest of the army rushes out from hiding. With their more efficient bigger guns the Japanese army quickly overwhelmed their enemies. To stop them crossing the bridge, as the last resort a dying Chinese soldier pushes down the detonator to set off the bomb rigged on the bridge to destroy it. Unfortunately the village is invaded by the Japanese anyway, residents run for their lives; the defending Chinese army engaged with the Japanese in gun fights. And in the midst of this confusing and violent situation, army medic captain Poon Ka Yeung leads his troop to attend to the wounded. Inside a temporary medical shelter, Ka Yeung is attending to a wounded, bloodied ‘Chinese’ soldier, who unexpectedly takes hold of Pa Yeung’s wrist to prevent the latter from examining his wounds but relents. Upon examining him, Ka Yeung sees signs that indicate the patient is not a Chinese but a Japanese spy. Uncovered, the patient gets up and tries to escape; Ka Yeung notices a family photo falls off the spy. Spy is captured by the attending soldiers but Ka Yeung, suddenly feeling with homesickness for his own family back home, in a weak moment of sentimental softness devises a plan to let the enemy spy escape.

But the weak Chinese defense is no match for the strong massive Japanese invading army, the number of increasing wounded soldiers quickly accumulated in alarmingly high numbers. Ka Yeung tends to both the dying and the wounded alike, and closing the blank eyes of countless dead. But those pesky, ubiquitous Japanese soldiers just won't let up forcing Ka Yeung to engage in gun fights with them to defend himself. During his breaks, Ka Yeung seeking solitude plays his a melancholy tune on his handy harmonica. War is not a glorious thing but a thing of violent, ugly death. Ka Yeung is filled with despair! He is homesick having been away from home for five years now, recalling his village including his family business, Wing Tai Lung, will be celebrating the annual Silkworm Goddess Festival soon - an important momentous event for the villages since the very survival of the village depends greatly on the silk production industry.

Back home
A panoramic scenic shot of the outlying mountains and the big green expense of the mulberry plantation -- Mr. Poon (KA's father) is doing an inspection tour there. Upon seeing the white bloom within the green leaves, his complacent smile instantly changes to displeasure: "Where's the oldest young master?"

When Mr. Poon finds Ka Hin, he berates the latter for being careless unlike his competent younger sister, Hau Yee. Meanwhile Hau Yee as the organizer of the Silkworm Goddess Festival is inspecting the silk offerings to the Goddess. She is displeased upon seeing a flaw in the silk thread bundle, Rebuking the head of the female employees (Sin Bik Wan) for her supervising negligence; in a move to put her in her place, she orders Tong Bing Bing to do the replacement. Bik Wan's suggestion to Hau Yee to let her also do another replacement as a backup to Bing Bing's is crossly shot down by latter. And just like that, the two factions are born. However, despite Bing Bing's unequivocal order, Bik Wan went ahead and made a silk thread bundle anyway, of superior quality. Hau Yee is not impressed, however, severely reprimanding Bik Wan for disobeying her very explicit order yesterday. She latter explains her reason to Bing Bing for her harshness towards Bik Wan.

The day of the Silk Goddess Festival arrives. Ka Hin, and his wife, (Yeung Yim Tou), and the youngest son, Ka Seng, came to the reception room to pay their respects to their parents. Mr. Poon is displeased with his rebellious youngest son's interest on the stage opera. Mr. Poon's younger brother (Poon Wing Cheung) and his family, and also the second brother's wife's nephew (Pang Kok Leong) all came together to pay their respect to the Poon elders on this auspicious day.

The Poon family and relatives arrived at the event venue, and as luck would have it, so did their arch business rival,  Cheng Cheong of  Gai Hin Seng, and of course, there is the obligatory scene of this tension between the two arch business rivals. The festival commences with the twin dragons dance led by Bing Bing and Bik Wan.  But before the dragon dance, Mrs. Poon is supposed to paint the dots on the two dragons' eyes to symbolize the awakening of the dragons. But Mrs. Poon did not feel well so Hau Yee took over that responsibility.  Because the Poon family are inside the canopied tent hidden from the view of the guests, the latter taught that Hau Yee dotting the lions' eyes symbolized the passing of power to her.

But the highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the snatching of the floral cannonball among the 5 prominent silk company groups in the province. The person who catches the cannonball, and with it in his hand, hits the gong first will win the grand prize.  So the melee begins, with much blatant cheating and fighting.

And yep, you guess it.  Poon sam siu yeh to the rescue, and with a debonair and athletic flair I might add.  So handsome! A happy reunion with his siblings and an emotional mother, but the father needs more persuading to show his happiness towards his wayward son. The latter is not too concern, he knows his father just needs a sincere apology from him for leaving home against his wishes. Fireworks are played in broad daylight, and a scrumptious feast for all.

After a five-year absence, Ka Yeung takes a boat ride with his siblings for a river tour of his hometown, reminiscing of their past. The siblings got talking. Ka Seng leaves in a huff when Hau Yee lectures him on his inappropriate interest on stage opera. Then Ka Yeung poses a sensitive question to Hau Yee on why her husband was absent on such an important occasion. Soon Ka Hin and Hau Yee have to leave but Ka Yeung stays behind.  On top of village bridge he plays the harmonica (a Steven fan that was there during this take said Steven actually played the harmonica himself.) Looking down from his vantage point on the bridge, Ka Yeung smiles to see the village kids by the river bank energetically throwing rocks into the river making big and loud splashes on the water.  And suddenly without warning, the splashes trigger memories of a deadly war in his mind.

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