Consider how everyone is out to get Q (Xiao Ma’s fancy code name in Sarkozy); consider again, how he escaped each and every time, it makes one wonder where the spin-off that chronicled his thrilling military adventure went. That’s a lot of excitement we’re missing out on!
In any case, Q must not have had a good rapport with his fellow Sarkozy. Upon tipping, two men rush to the “ice palace” before their Sarkozy boss. When one attempts to indoctrinate the other the various virtues of patience, the bearded man gives his partner the finger and heads directly to the “winter wonderland” with a bulky HK416(?). Aghast, the partner decides to forfeit the idea of waiting for their Boss’ order first and follows suit.
Inside the ice palace, the bearded man finds the sleeping beauty first — which is a good thing because when Xiao Ma finds her second, he is able to tackle the Sarkozy from behind.
He makes way towards her among the jagged ice, wraps her in his jacket and cradles her like a wounded kitten. Pain written all over his face as he shakes her awake and comforts, “It’s over now. I’ll get you out of here.” She opens her eyes and smiles weakly at the inviting warmth.
They escape the cold enclosure of hell just in time for the Sarkozy boss to show.
As Xiao Ma rides away on his chopper with Chen Lin’s head resting on his shoulder, the Sarkozy boss grabs a heavy machine gun and carefully aims at Xiao Ma. Having made the shot, the boss orders a few other men to finish the job.
As Xiao Ma zips through the plain into an underground parking lot, Chen Lin notices the oozing blood that’s beginning to soak his shirt. She urges him to stop but he resists, clearly aware that once a stop is made, they will lose the half mile advantage and end up either dead or captured. They pause momentarily for Xiao Ma to take a deep breath but the pursuing team is catching on fast. Not willing to give away the slim chance of survival, Xiao Ma bites his lips and speeds up.
But soon, fatigue and loss of blood cough up to Xiao Ma. He looses control for a second and sends Chen Lin and himself flying towards a pile of boxes. Gasping for air, he struggles up and asks Chen Lin to help erect the bike. From underneath the seats, he pulls out a number of weapons. They load the guns as Xiao Ma starts speaking rapidly, effusively:
“You remember me telling you about the mandatory brain lesion for Sarkozy members? The loss of sympathy and moral judgment post-surgery? There was one time when we were ordered to create an explosion… there was a girl next to the car that was supposed to explode. Her smile reminded me that I am a human being, I still have feelings, a capacity to love…
“After that experience, I can no longer betray the inner compassion in me and do as asked. In other words, when my surgery failed, I came to the realization that I cannot continue to kill. I don’t want to be like them.
“That girl, who awakened my conscience, she is in front of me right now.”
When Xiao Ma finishes the revelation with a smile, a look of surprise registers on Chen Lin’s face. “I have to tell you this now because I’m afraid that if I don’t, I may never get a chance. ” (Is that a semi-confession? 😉 )
Concerned now, Chen Lin fusses, “What do you mean you won’t get another chance? If you want to tell, I’ll always listen.” Ignoring her words of comfort, Xiao Ma musters on, “Listen, once I start shooting, you take your gun and run as fast as you can. Don’t stop, you hear me?” “Xiao Ma…” Chen Lin starts but Xiao Ma cuts her off, “Seeing you again is enough for me. Remember what I said. Don’t stop. No matter what.”
The chivalry is a fine gesture, but not needed. When Xiao Ma fires his first shot and runs across the parking structure as a decoy, Chen Lin firmly steps up and starts shooting the bad guys with him. Soon, the two tough wannabes find themselves feasts to vultures.
The busy businessman Jian Da De is paid a visit in his favorite restaurant by his least favorite people. While Zai Tian grins widely as he enjoys himself next to a bimbo with deep cleavage, Hero demands to know the connection between the dead banker Chen, accountant Wong, jeweler Kim and the businessman before them. Jian feigns innocence and denies all charges. He says that although the first two worked for him, he is not responsible for anything outside of business. Not too pleased with his smugness, Lei Mu Sha dumps a cup of wine in the bald man’s crouch and drags this eyesore to the men’s room without a second word.
Once in the restroom, she slams him against the stall wall. Tugging on his silk tie, she threatens, “I so want to put a gun in your mouth right now. But you know what that means? It means you won’t be able to talk. Now, are you ready to spill?” “Don’t think I can’t touch you because you’re a cop.” Seeing that the man isn’t taking her seriously, she leans in and says, “The two outside are cops (referring to Zai Tian and Hero), but I’m not.” With that, she stabs a pocketknife into the businessman’s gut and watches with icy indifference as the man howls and slumps to the ground.
“You are Gao Yi’s landlord; Kim died from Dreamer. What’s your relation with these two? Also, the Dreamer confiscated by Northern Branch, are they given to you by Director Lin?” She asks darkly. When he denies again, Lei Mu Sha promises more suffering. But secretly, she whispers to Jian Da De that she’s sent by the Big Boss and asks for his cooperation. Jian immediately gives in. (Oh, how naïve of him.) Satisfied, Lei Mu Sha arranges her clothes and walks away coolly. The Delightful Duo stand erect at the doorway, making way for the no-nonsense international police. Then out of curiosity, Hero gives Jian Da De’s puncture wound one last glance and grimaces at how much it must’ve hurt before heading out.
Meanwhile, in the lavish private maison, the Big Boss is throwing a tantrum. The stolen evidence box holds the key to exposing his identity as well as compromising his ambition.
The Minister of Defense holds a different belief. He thinks Kim isn’t bold enough to leave the crucial evidence laying around in broad daylight. Consequently, the most discreet hiding place for it would be inside The Heart of Troy. (Yeeeeah, the most discreet and also the most dangerous hiding place.)
Before parting, the Big Boss warns again that all their chips are on The Heart of Troy, no mistake will be tolerated.
Shutting off on the politics? Time to warm up for some male bonding.
Leaning against Hero’s car, Zai Tian and Hero watch in silence as the firecrackers shoot skyward and one by one, they explode into the night. The flames of each explosion cascade outward, formulating a spectacle of colors and shapes.
After a pregnant pause, Zai Tian starts, “Um… Thanks man, yunno, for that.” “Chen Lin already thanked me this morning,” Hero replies, not making eye contact. “Oh.” After another pause, Zai Tian finally turns to Hero and asks, “Did… the director punish you?” “Nah. Just two misconduct on the record.” Hero shrugs and says, “No big deal. … Pairing with you, I’m not delusional to think I still have a shot at getting Police of the Year.” Jokingly indignant, Zai Tian protests, “Hey, I might not work as hard as you, but I’m not that bad okay?!” Hero raises an eyebrow at Zai Tian’s shamelessness. But when they meet each other’s eye, the knowing smile breaks all ice.
The two men conceded that life is a cruel joke whose punchline embitters rather than amuses. Having reconciled with himself, Zai Tian pats Hero on the shoulder and says, “Now that I can’t do anything to her, take good care of my little sis for me.” “Wait, what did you want to do to Chen Lin?” Hero raises an eyebrow. Not answering directly, Zai Tian asks, “What about you and Lei Mu Sha? What did you do to her?” Suddenly uncomfortable, Hero clears his throat and tells Zai Tian not to be nosy.
After much prompting, Hero gives in, annoyingly clarifies, “Mu Sha and I… We used to have something. But it ended before we got a chance to start.”
Watching Mu Sha talking on the phone, Hero continues,
“It was about five years ago. I went to New York for an international police training camp. Every day for two weeks, Mu Sha and I, we would go down to the local bar for a drink after class… The last time we saw each other was at the Kennedy airport in NY. I had to come back and she had to stay… I never thought we would ever see each other again.”
By way of consoling, Zai Tian makes up a wild conjecture, which ironically, hits the mark. He says jokingly, “Who knows if she’s been taken under the wings of some dark society to be their secret agent. You know, for a female agent, there’s something strange about her…” Hero laughs it off as Zai Tian’s usual silliness and gives it no second thought.
Yelling Chen Lin’s name, Xiao Ma wakes up. He’s naked, save for the bandage that wraps around his bullet wound. Chen Lin was looking at him intently while he was unconscious; seeing that he’s finally waken up, she notions for the San Lian Hui doctor to leave them alone. Once alone, Xiao Ma thanks Chen Lin for saving his life. But she smiles and thanks him for saving her life so she can save him today. (Confused yet?) “I didn’t mean to be the reason you were shunned from Sarkozy, but I’m sincerely happy to have you as my friend.”
Slightly abashed, Xiao Ma asks, “Chen Lin, do we… is there a possibility for us to develop to be more than just friends?” (YOU GO BOY! On with the confession!) Caught off guard but flattered, Chen Lin smiles and replies regretfully, “Although I don’t know how things will turn out in the future, as of now, my feeling towards a particular someone hasn’t changed.” (Aww, poor Xiao Ma) Understandingly, Xiao Ma gives Chen Lin an encouraging smile and mentions the subject no more. (Gee, where can you find another exciting AND considerate man to second that? Oh wait, girls don’t dig good guys.)
Putting on a serious face again, Xiao Ma reminds Chen Lin that the reason they’re still alive is luck. If she were unfortunate enough to be Sarkozy’s target again, she must not try to take them out. Run, run for her life.
New developments in the police station!
- Development #1: After Director Lin’s car accident the Southern branch folks went and searched her house but it has already been searched by something else. (Yunno what’s interesting? The branch that’s most impacted by Lin’s death remains passive — at least to us viewers — while the Southern branch jump in on the investigation, because why? Jurisdiction? The Northern branch’s made up of a bunch of idiots? Or just plot contrivance?)
- Development #2: Director Lin’s son and dead daughter each have an account with Chang Fu Bank — the one that was robbed by Sarkozy. It’s been three years since the accounts were set up and there’s been continuous cash flow into the account from two foreign banks.
Judging from the aforementioned developments, Team leader Chen has reason to believe that the deceased Director Lin was bought to leak police information. Perhaps her daughter Lin Ke Le found out about the shady deal and was killed before she had a chance to report her mother. (What a fine martyr that makes Lin Ke Le. A little character breaking, don’t you think?)
Frowning heavily, the Southern branch director tells the ostentatious Team Leader to keep his yakking trap shut about the case (in nicer terms of course) and be extra careful because the traitor is still lurking in the dark.
While checking Lei Mu Sha’s international police records (for kicks), Hulk and Zai Tian stumble upon a third development:
- Development #3: Lei Mu Sha does have an impressive record, however her last name is not listed under L on the main web page where all the other international police are listed. Unless her bio page is a fake, this kind of mistaken shouldn’t happen.
Aside: Hulk is on the same HP computer as our genius hacker Fujimaru from Bloody Monday.
No, we’re not through with the developments.
A new one pops up when Hero and Mu Sha make way to a bar called Natasha. They speak to the hostess and ask her help to identify a girl in the picture. Using poor picture quality as an excuse, the cunning hostess denies recognition. Unconvinced, Hero tells her, “We are currently investigating jeweler Kim’s sudden death. The last call he made was to a man named David. The said guy supposedly hooked Kim up with an escort, which is the girl in the picture. And she happened to work for you at this bar. Do you recognize her now?” Aha!
The hostess retracts, “Now that you mentioned it, she does kinda look like someone who works here. But she hasn’t show up for work in days.” When Hero makes clear that he isn’t here for the illegal prostitution business — his laborious days at the Societal Ethics squad is a thing of the past — the hostess’ attitude softens and promises to deliver the message.
After a day of work, Hero walks Mu Sha to her hotel room. “Do you…” they both start at the same time, then smile embarrassingly to let the other speak first. It’s Mu Sha who takes the initiative to invite Hero in. He refuses, saying that he should probably head back. As if guessing the reason for his hesitancy, she asks, “That girl from the other day, you like her a lot?” His silence speaks louder than words. “She only treats me as a normal friend.” “How far on the friendship meter is she? 500 yards or is it 1,000?” Chuckling lightly, Hero jokes, “800 yards.” “Then what about me?” Taking a step closer, Mu Sha asks again, “Between you and me, are we inside the 800 yard line, or are we outside of it?” Not breaking eye contact, she takes another step closer, “Do you remember what you owed me at the Kennedy airport?”
They lean in to kiss but Lei Mu Sha’s phone breaks them up. Taking the chance to leave, Hero bids her goodnight and heads to the elevator.
The night’s still young, and already they’re turning their backs on a night of contradictions — sensuousness and the impatience to resume what was once a missed chance; desire and the fear for recklessness? Of course not.
She comes back, jumping into his arms, letting the burning passion consume them both — after she picked up her phone. (The way this scene was cut, it almost looked like she was instructed to seduce. Maybe she is.)
Sexy song for a sexy scene: Joanna Wang — Now [download]
— Waiiiiiit, hold that zesty tongue action of yours… Would you happen to have done a DNA testing? You know, just in case this turns into another “Woe is I” kind of incestuous tomfoolery. — Ok, don’t mind me, it’s just paranoia speaking.
*mocks enthusiasm:* Plow away Hero!
He kisses the tender bones of her collar hungrily, forcing her head back in an orgasmic manner. They fumbled clumsily until he’s half undressed. And as they kiss, she tugs on his hair, enveloping him in her embrace, inviting him in, and in…
After a night of hardcore banging passionate love-making, Hero falls fast asleep. Lei Mu Sha remains awake. She traces a finger across Hero’s back and kisses it twice. Then getting up, she wraps a towel around his gun and slips it away.
Now dressed in black, Mu Sha returns to Natasha and holds the hostess at gun point, “I’ll give you three seconds. Tell me where she is!”
When Hero stirs, it’s already day time. He bolts upright after finding Mu Sha no longer beside him. Groggily, he reaches for his pants and realizes, to his horror, his gun is gone. So astonished at the now apparent betrayal, Hero is rendered speechless until he hears about the murder at Natasha from the radio.
On the other hand, after a night of rifling through paper work, Hulk and Zai Tian find out — almost the same time Hero does — that Lei Mu Sha isn’t who she appears to be.
But it comes too late. Lei Mu Sha has just killed the hooker, taken back The Heart of Troy and head off.
Bad news seems to be working on a schedule. After one, comes another. Team leader Chen receives a call from a terrible, TERRIBLE(!) actor who self-proclaims to be working for the Department of Defense. He wants to arrange a private meeting with Chen to discuss the extended Dreamer case as well as claim ownership of the evidences Chen has collected thus far. The worst part is, Chen suspected nothing. Nada. Rien.
As promised, Chen shows up on time. He approaches the designated staircase but finds it locked. Heading back, the peculiarity of the situation starts to creep on him. He keeps walking but the eeriness only grows thicker. Turning suddenly and without a gun in hand, he finds himself the target of another. Faster than his reflex is a bullet that penetrated his chest mercilessly. Then a second, a third…
In the police station, Hulk gets a call from the main branch, warning him to check on the activity of one particular computer in the station. This computer is said to have accessed a huge amount of data in a very limited time span — an action worthy of suspicion. Using the identification number of the said computer, Hulk is able to trace to the computer user. But the truth unnerves him.
He would have never guessed, not Xiao Lu, his jolly girlfriend. But there she is, typing away intently.
Following the address scribbled on a notepad in Lei Mu Sha’s hotel room, Hero arrives at the same white corridor as the late Team leader Chen. He finds his gun abandoned on the side and picks it up. Hero continues forward until he find Team leader Chen’s cold, dead body.
With the murder victim lying motionlessly in his arms, the murder weapon in one hand, and blood spattered all around him, Hero is caught red handed for murder.
For a post one-night stand parting gift, this one sure is big.
Good acting has a resonating effect that allows the viewers to connect to the characters. Strong acting can sometimes make up for the otherwise uninteresting storyline. On the contrary, bad acting takes away from the emotional build up and disrupts the flow of action.
This episode is sprinkled with bits and pieces of bad acting. Case in point, the scene where Chen gets shot and sets a series of events in motion for the episodes to come.
You know, I can be forgiving of Xiao Mei the hamburger girl’s unnatural acting and I can overlook Lei Mu Sha’s slight over acting. Heck, I can even tolerate Xiao Ma and Chen Lin’s mispronunciation from time to time. After all, that’s the risk you run when you cast amateur actors. But this?
What is with the wild twitching, the arms throwing, and the gaping mouth topped by a delayed squeal? Are we getting shot here or are we getting electrocuted?
This cold-blooded killing is supposed to be frustrating and malicious — even if Chen isn’t exactly an amiable character. Frustrating because 1) Chen’s death is foreseeable yet inevitable and 2) the trouble this meticulously framed homicide will surly have Hero in. But with the ridiculously rendered acting, this scene becomes laughable and loses its originally intended gravity.
To end this recap on a positive note, here’s a HOT shot for ya’ll. 😀