Main > Week 2: Episodes 5-8
(5), shown 6/12/1999
- Well I have to say that this episode lacked the gratuitous goof-ups and embarrassments which were ever-so dominant in the previous 4. Maybe it's because it's only a quarter of the show is over, and you just can't have too many twists and turns in the plot, or displays of Chen Hanwei's hacking prowess :-)
- Still Chen Hanwei's picture beneath the 'mathematical puzzle,' which was solved by James Lye after a few seconds of looking at it and typing a few keys (at least they made him type something), was quite disappointing. It had potential and they could have done much more with it except as a vehicle for James Lye's superhuman intuitive abilities. I mean, even if it's a genius kid, this is quite too much.
- I thought the scriptwriter made bad moves on 2 parts:
- By revealing that the Yue father-and-son team, plus some chums, are actually responsible for CYH, so fast. The 'why' is not explained in detail: credit? They keep their role secret. Good of the company? Hmmm, how can they be doing this without any benefit for themselves? Moreover, they show that Zhu Houren and Chen Hanwei (another father-and-son pair) are not in the know, which means...what? Sigh, & the young Yue seemed so docile just a while before :-)
- By showing too much of James Lye's subconscious recollection. Together with Zoe Tay's mother's confession, I can already tell that somehow after the 8-year-old (remember?) was caught Zoe Tay's mother took him into her custody and was in the end killed because of him, before she tells James Lye to protect her daughter Sijie. Well, it's rare for TCS to show their hand so early in the show.
Now that we can guesstimate 90% of the 2 main threads of the show, it only remains to see if TCS plans to connect them in some meaningful way. No, I'm not referring to a last-gasp, save-the-world way! A meaningful, logically coherent way. Well, let's hope.
ADDENDUM: So why did the elder Yue choose to dissipate the virus from work, where it is easily traceable to the company, instead of a safer, more neutral place? I don't know, TCS saving money on sets?
- In order to keep up with the Joneses, it seems that everything in this show must have something to do with computers, including a mother's confession. & that appears only after the daughter completes the game. Sigh. This is quite sad, even for someone like me.
- So we see that the computer in question is a Macintosh Classic. However, my sources tell me it was released in 1990. Quite a far way from 1979, huh? Argh, TCS makes such mistakes all the time I've got used to it. & look, I'm not some Apple fanatic, I just address what is being shown.
- The nerdy image by Yue Qin was, well, a bit exaggerated, don't you think?
- I find it uncomfortable that the morality of every character is black or white, differentiated very clearly. This is not very convincing when here we are portraying the up-and-coming computer industry, and hacking. I would so like some ambiguity!! But that's only me, the rest of the audience would probably find it just fine.
(6), shown 7/12/1999
- Well, the storyline these days seems to be returning to the conventional TCS relationships-drama, which I am not at hand to comment about. So just some minor gripes here for this episode.
- If only there was lesser light pollution and we actually could see as many stars as Zoe Tay & her father did by lying down in their backyard...
- I thought it should be safe to leave your account logged in and leave your desk (portrayed in a TV advisory), if no unauthorised people were allowed in the office? Never mind, let's cut some slack with TCS, as usual.
- Another sign of James Lye's computing genius surfaces!: absorbing a book which ostensibly takes normal mortals 6 months to read, in one night. Never mind, I've gotten so used to this that next, TCS could say that he wrote an OS in an hour from scratch and I wouldn't even bat an eyelid, sigh.
- The storyline about what actually happened to Alpha and Zoe Tay's mother gets clearer, while Yue Zhida is portrayed as even MORE evil than we thought. Somehow, though there is nothing seriously wrong with it, I STILL find the crystal-clear moral divide between good and bad a tad uncomfortable. There simply is no 100% Mr. Evil or 100% Mr. Good (Chen Hanwei?) in the real world.
(7), shown 8/12/1999
- The episode where Chen Hanwei and Yue Qin are in the washroom, Yue Qin's suit is wet and unpresentable, and presumably they buy a new suit from a stranger, sounds uncannily like what I read in a review of "Pirates of Silicon Valley" (just that the 2 characters in the toilet were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates). Hmmm, I think I'll confirm that after watching that movie.
- I still find it weird that there are 2 sides to Yue Qin that are so distinct.
(8), shown 9/12/1999
The truly TXGF horrible flaws are getting rarer because, I guess, of the need for more in-depth development. Well, at least the story is moving along, instead of having more silly Y2K/virus incidents.
- Oh yes, this is really when the EVIL of the Yue father-and-son start showing. They discover that James Lye, after joining Millennium House, has managed to hack into Yue Zhida's account and discover his secret cache of viruses, so they sabotage him by releasing the virus within the company 'central network' and implicate him.
- Plus, for Yue Qin, I predict that Shuqi will take a liking to Chen Hanwei and make him even more jealous at the Zhuangs (Hanwei & his father Zhu Houren). The seeds of revenge are being planted...Sigh, he was such a good nerd at first.
- This genius thing about James Lye is REALLY starting to get on my nerves. Yes it only gets worse, in this episode he has managed to cure CYH (remember) in half an hour, whereas it took the rest of the team, including our ex-king-of-the-world-in-hackers Chen Hanwei, like, half a day. I mean, this is only fodder for people to accuse him of being the virus writer, what with so much familiarity with the virus, down to giving suggestions for improvement :-)
- I know that TCS is trying to give an idiot savant image to James Lye - good at complicated computer stuff but lousy in the basics - but let's face it, it's quite implausible that one can skip over the basics and be good in the complex stuff.
- Even though it was a bad move to log on to Alpha's account from the office, James Lye still remains cautious enough not to give out too many details. Still he was caught, and 'sabo-ed.'
- Why can you check on the location of a person through Telnet when he is on the island (same country, presumably), but NOT when he is overseas? Is Kehui Island the ONLY island to have such nice IP-connected maps?
- I still find it quite uncanny of Yue Zhida to conduct his virus activities within his company network, because that would yield itself to discovery by his colleagues quite easily, right? & this is proven with James Lye. I don't know, he finds his home network too insecure? Or does he not have a home? Haha.
& the highlight of the episode, the juxtapositioning of 2 related incidents.
- 386 conning ignorant people, saying that his (pirated) antivirus software can cure all viruses come 10 April, which is supposed to be the heyday of viruses because it's the 9,999'th day in the Julian calendar. Now THIS is a very bad touch the scriptwriter got from the papers.
- 386's mother is conned by some chap which claims his 'magic stone' can cure the millennium bug ('qian nian chong'). Of course his mother is so ignorant that she doesn't even know what the Millennium bug is, & loses $600 for that ignorance.
Although some of my friends who watched the thing too ('ahem') found this part downright stupid, I think it was the scriptwriter trying to inject some intelligence in the show (for once). Trying to imply that the Julian calendar risk was as much hype as the conman's 'magic stone.' However, if the meaning is taken more widely, it could be that he's trying to say: 'DON'T listen to everything you hear, especially from so-called computer professionals about viruses and millennium bugs.' Well, this would not be very good advice, wouldn't it? Antivirus software is a necessary evil, and there's no use denying that.
An additional theme has been developed over this week's episode, IMHO: distrust of computer professionals. Seems to make most of the industry look like crooks, taking advantage of people's ignorance to make a bundle. Is this realistic? Is it fair to the real computer industry? You judge for yourself.
Main > Week 2: Episodes 5-8