Spoiler Alert! Please don't read until after you're done with the series since I don't want to ruin anything and I think this is THE series to watch.
E.U. is not only the best series of the year so far, it is also now one of my favorite series ever. It had a strong beginning, middle and end and captured my attention that made me excited to watch every episode. It had a nice even pace in which it rarely got boring, unlike other series where it can have a slow buildup or where only certain episodes were good. Not only did it have a memorable storyline, it had interesting characters that I cared about with a lot of good character development which made it easier to relate to the different people. I would have to say that this is the best one of The Academy series and one of my favorite series ever. I have to commend the whole production from the cast to the crew who did a wonderful job with the cinematography, to the consistency of the storyline where every scene makes sense and plays into the overall storyline.
I think they could have easily made this movie to be like Infernal Affairs, but you could tell that they worked hard to make this story different with its own twists.
Ron Ng: His character is still the same guy who reacts without thinking but you can still see that he has matured. I've never had a problem with his acting in which others considered it too wooden, but I thought he did a really good job this time, especially his crying scene while holding Michael Tse and the ending when he was reading Elanne's last message to him. I think his romance with Elanne was very sweet, but I was actually happy that they didn't end up together at the end. I don't think I had high hopes for this couple only because I knew that it would never work out with all the lies that were told. It didn't leave a deep impression to me, but maybe I'm still holding on to the hope that he gets back together with Tavia! ha! I love his bromance with Sammul the best only because you can see how much their friendship has grown and gotten closer over the years. Even though they are polar opposites, they reminded me of an old married couple who still loves each other even when they fight. I like the development of their friendship from the first one where they didn't like each other in the beginning, to the second one where their friendship was more fragile and easily broken because of jealousy and petty fights, to this one where there friendship is strong. When Ron had to break off his friendships, I'm glad that Sammul still believed in him because he knew who the real Ron was.
Sammul Chan- He kept his straight-laced demeanor while also loosening up because he is now able to get along with his coworkers and was even able to break a rule, when before he would do everything by the book. I think his character is more boring compared to the other characters because of how he is, but the last half of the series gave more time for Sammul to shine. I liked when his character toughens up instead of just being a goody-goody since it adds more to the role. I think one of my favorite scenes of his is when he calls Joel Chan's bluff about having a bomb in the bowling bag because that was the turning point in which I got more invested in his character. His romance with Kaki Leung was just okay since anyone is going to take a backseat for his love for Ron. I kid.. =). At least Sammul has a "type" that he looks for in girls- weak ones who needs his help. I think the reason he fell for her is because she reminds him of Fiona Sit's character in which she looked up to him and needed his help to improve her skills to become a police officer. Even though their romance moved too quickly, it also makes sense because he longs for a family, which would be the only thing missing in his life.
The Love Interests: Elanne Kong vs Kaki Leung
Who did a better job? It would have to be Elanne by a mile, but it's also due to the fact that she had a more interesting character. Elanne was surprisingly good for her debut TVB series since it was very natural for the most part and she's very cute. Kaki had the more annoying role because she's so boring and weak, but she did an okay job with it. I've never heard of her before so I don't know how she got such a plum role, but I kinda wish it was another actress because I think someone with better acting skills could have brought more to the role and add to the chemistry with Sammul. In my head, Leila Tong would have been perfect for this role, but even Kaki could not make me think anything less of this series. Before this series, there was a lot of negative rumors around Elanne, but most of it has been erased with this role. Now, I see her on a ton of magazine covers and I could tell her popularity has grown.
The New Veterans:
Michael Miu- I think he was perfect for this role. I didn't mind at all that they put him back after dying in the first series because they did explain him as a brand new character. I liked how they introduced him because they made you think he might be a good guy, along with the fact that he "looks like" Sammul's dad from the first series, make you automatically like him. It was good that it showed the audience throughout the series why he is the way he ends up because he doesn't end up being just the villian that everyone hates. Even through all the bad deeds, I couldn't help but still like him and feel sorry for him. Also, I love Michael's cool look and thinks he is still so handsome!
Kathy Chow- This is her first series since returning to TVB and I thought she did a great job! Other TVB returns that were highly touted were Ida Chan and Anita Yuen, but both their debuts were really disappointing because honestly, their acting was not that great. Kathy did a fantastic job, even though some of her crying was a little weird to me but that's just my opinion. Her death was especially sad since she gave up everything to follow her heart. She forgave Michael for killing her first husband, for not trusting her, and even him killing her due to his mistrust. Even though she knew she was foolish for going back to him, she didn't regret it because at least she can die knowing that the man she loves also loves her back.
Michael Tse- I am saving the best for last. Michael Tse used his terrific acting skills to breathe life into his Laughing character to leave a deep impression on all the viewers. Everything about this was perfect, or at least for me it was. Laughing is like a clown because he laughs on the outside, but he has to mask his sadness and his real self ever since having to go undercover. From the moment he walked in, he was a scene stealer. Like Kathy, he had to give up everything in his life for one goal, which also led to his tragic death. Everything about him was so mysterious and I was always feeling like I had to question his motives. For instance, I could never tell if his feelings for Kathy was true or not. His intentions seemed real because of the looks he would give her and everything he did for her, but I realize he probably was only using her to get close to Michael Miu. In the end, he was relieved to finally be able to be with Aimee Chan in heaven since his feelings for her never disappeared.
In that sense, he was a much better undercover than Ron Ng because he didn't let his emotions get in the way of doing his job. Even when Ron thought that he figured out his identity, he didn't give himself away. When Ron followed him to the pier, Michael figures out his undercover status and beats him up. It would have been easy to admit to him that they are really working together, but by beating him up instead, it was his way of warning him that there is nothing glamorous about being an undercover and that he has to work harder at covering up his identity because if it was someone else, Ron would have been dead by now.
His death was very emotional and one of the best part of the series. No, of course I didn't want Laughing to die, but I think the way they did it was really good because it involved the characters we cared about and it moved the story along. I found other recent TVB deaths to be quite pointless other than to try and make it sad, but this one was sad because it pulled at the heartstrings. I loved the fact that they showed that Laughing was almost able to become a cop again, but he likes to leave things up to fate and his lucky coin which decided for him that he should go back undercover. The proud look on his face with his uniform on made it even more heartbreaking to know that he was so close to being recognized as a police officer but eventually died for the cause instead.
It doesn't matter if his death was real or not to me because the emotional impact was there. I'm also glad that the new TVB clip they filmed of Laughing left it up to the viewers whether they believed he was dead or alive instead of saying one or the other. If they had definitely said that he lives (which is what I think will happen if they film a 4th part), I think it would have made the series seem a little incomplete since I would have wanted to see some reactions to knowing that he's alive. I'm just happy that they didn't pull a "D.I.E." change in ending which was to make it totally ridiculous just to bring someone back to life.
Moments I Loved:
The ending- I was so excited throughout the whole series and the only thing that could have made me change my mind was the ending, and it did not disappoint. I liked how they brought everything full circle, from the way Michael Miu tried to dare Sammul to shoot him since killing him would be like killing his dad, to how Michael got run over. The reason he got captured was due to the drugs the kids were on, which is most likely ones that his triads sold them. I also like the very end where it shows that Ron and Sammul are back to working together again- it gave me a happy feeling.
The fun banter between Sammul and Ron in the first episode- they act like an old married couple.
I was glad that it only took a few episodes for Sammul to realize that Ron is an undercover but still believed in him before he did. I would have hated if there was enough trust between them now and let this tear up their friendship.
Ron never wavered between right and wrong and what his mission as an undercover was. It was due to the strong police training he had and the influence of Michael Tse and Lei Sir. He realized that his mentors had sacrificed their lives for what is right and he should follow in their example. His moral compass never wavered because of the strong influence they had on his life.
The love triangle between Michael Miu, Kathy Chow, and Michael Tse- At one point, Tse flipped a coin and left it to fate to show Kathy who she should choose. The winner of the coin toss would have been Tse, except that Kathy followed her heart and chose Miu instead. Because of this, she lost her life for the man she loved.
Things I Disliked:
There weren't that many, but there were a few characters that got annoying. To me, the ones I didn't like was Kaki Leung and the older officer who she looked up to. I get that it's supposed to represent the dynamics in the first series with how Michael Miu (as Sammul's dad) gave tough love to Ron and Sammul, but they just ended up bugging me instead. Other than that, there were a few minor things that I didn't like as well, but none of it mattered since the overall story was so good!
There are so many great moments to this series but if I listed it all, I would have basically retold the whole storyline. I really loved this whole series and I recommend this to everyone, especially those who might have given up on TVB series since a lot of them have been a let-down. The bad news is that this series was so good to me that the newer ones don't seem to live up to what a great series E.U. was.