Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Election Episode 15 Recap [END]

Politics is like the entertainment circle, where politicians are the actors, each playing out their character's personality, image, background and motto. The television debate is a stage for them to perform. Every word or action can influence the voters. In the 1992 U.S. presidential election, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had equal performances during the debate, but in the end, a simple action by Bush changed the voters' impression of him – he checked his watch.

The Chief Executive debate is about to start, yet Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) is nowhere to be found. The debate begins without her. Gei Man Wai (Isabel Chan) and Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) take turns criticizing her no-show. Meanwhile, Yip Ching is rushing out of the venue to see the tape of her husband's car crash. She hears Song's speech in the background. Suddenly, she stops and turns back.

Song's speech outlines his political experience and ability to maintain Hong Kong's stability. As he finishes speaking, Yip Ching walks in. She takes her spot on the stage and explains that she was late because she had just discovered that her late husband had left something behind. But she ultimately realized that he would have rather she accomplish what he could not finish.

Yip Ching proceeds to give her speech:
"Fairness" is my campaign slogan and at the centre of my platform. Some people may think this word is very simple or even vague, but it is most directly related to today's societal issues. The business sector might think that if I become Chief Executive, for me to create fairness, I will do anything it takes to close the wealth gap. But let me clarify, I am no Robin Hood. I talk about fairness because in the last 20 years, our society has become increasingly twisted and in need of change. There have been well-known people who have urged our youth to protest less and work harder and they will be able to change their living standards one day. It sounds reasonable, but when I pass by construction sites and see the workers working hard every day, I ask myself how many of them can actually afford to buy the homes that they are constructing? When I visit low-income families, the parents tell me that there are many extra-curricular activities for their kids at school, but they cannot even afford to pay the basic registration fees. In a city where people's livelihoods only get harder, where most people do not share in the fruits of prosperity, where even the most prepared people are deprived of opportunities because of the established beneficial relationships between politics and business. These are like ticking bombs, and regardless of the efforts of those in power, even if they resort to violence, they cannot maintain true stability. 
I am a political rookie. I do not know how to use political tactics or spin my words. But let me ask you, do you really need this kind of Chief Executive? You should still remember the empty promises from past Chief Executives. Is that the kind of Chief Executive you need? To me, the most important thing for a Chief Executive is to put the interests of all 8 million Hong Kong citizens as their first priority, to give each and every hard-working citizen the chance that they deserve. This is the fairness that I am talking about. This idea does not come from me, it comes from my late husband Wai Man Hin. Five years ago, Hong Kong had the opportunity for change, but unfortunately, a tragedy forced us to remain in the same place. I really hope everyone can cherish the next opportunity for change. 

Song blasts Yip Ching for using Wai Man Hin's name while allegedly being involved in a relationship with Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong). He says that someone with such a devious character is not suitable to be Chief Executive.

Cheung suddenly appears from the back. He poses a question to Song: Can someone with a mental illness be suitable for Chief Executive? He tells the audience that he has a video clip that will explain the relevance of this question. Gei is pressured by the media members in the audience to allow Cheung to play the clip.

The clip shows Song throwing things at "Luk Wai To". Song claims that the clip is fake, but Cheung argues that everyone can clearly see that it is Song in the video. However, he acknowledges the video is fake, and if he can create such a sophisticated video of Song, then how easy is it for someone to create a fake audio clip of him and Yip Ching?

After the debate, Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li) is furious at her staff for allowing Cheung to play the video and speak for so long. She is informed about the post-debate polling results: 70% of people thought Yip Ching did better. However, she directs her staff to report on the news that 70% of people thought Song did better instead.

Cheung waits for Sum outside HKMG. He advises her not to place all her bets on Song given the latest polls. If Yip Ching manages to pull off a win, then her son will face extradition. But Cheung offers her a reprieve: if HKMG can report neutrally for the remainder of the campaign and Yip Ching does end up victorious, he promises to convince her to help Sum's son. It is a win-win situation for Sum since her son will be saved no matter who wins.

Cheung leaves instructions for the team to continue campaigning while he goes away for a few days. Yip Ching is worried about Cheung and goes to his house. She sees him struggling to pick up something from the ground and confronts him about his eyesight. He finally admits that his vision was damaged by the car crash. However, he refuses to rest because he needs to go to Taiwan to find Song's doctor.

Song tells his team that they must grab as many votes as they can now. Kong Yat Dong (Samson Yeung) interrupts the meeting with a message from Mr. Wong. Mr. Wong has said that with the threat of Song's illness hanging over their heads, he will arrange for Song to step down in a respectable fashion and have someone else take his place. This does not sit well with Song, who grabs Kong by his genitals and tells him to let Mr. Wong know that he is perfectly healthy.

A second debate between the candidates is set to occur. Supporters from both sides protest loudly in the audience. In Yip Ching's speech, she says that the true spirit of democracy is to promote one's views through peaceful and rational means while respecting other people's views.

Next, it is Song's turn to speak. In the middle of his speech, he feels very sick and rushes off the stage. Later on, he spins it to say that it was because he was extremely saddened to see the supporters from both sides fighting against each other.

Kong visits the Labour Association with a suitcase of cash. He pays them $1000 per guaranteed vote, but tells them to say that the money came from Yip Ching. Afterwards, Yip Ching is investigated by the ICAC on allegations of vote-buying. She tells the media that her financial records will show that she cannot afford to buy any votes.

Cheung calls Yip Ching from Taiwan. He has good news as he has found Song's doctor and is confident that he can persuade the doctor to talk about Song's illness. The doorbell rings in his hotel room. He opens the door to a man who asks if he is Cheung Kwai Lung. Cheung senses something is wrong and immediately tries to close to door, but the man forces his way in. Yip Ching hears the commotion on the other end of phone.

The next day, Yip Ching storms into Song's office, demanding to know where Cheung is. Song denies having knowledge of Cheung's whereabouts, but says that there is a price to pay for becoming Chief Executive. Yip Ching vows to have Song investigated for the disappearance of Cheung.

With two days left until the election, a heavy storm hits Hong Kong. Yip Ching is invited to meet with the outgoing Chief Executive, Kwok Yat Choi (Leung Kin Pin). It turns out that prior to going to Taiwan, Cheung had asked Kwok to find out about the video of Wai Man Hin's car crash. In the clip, a sound resembling a gunshot can be heard moments before the car crashed. Kwok admits that the government had deliberately kept this fact from the public to maintain the political stability of Hong Kong.

On election day, the voter turnout reaches 80%. The votes are being tabulated at the convention centre, though neither candidate has arrived yet. Song is shown struggling to get up from the floor of his bathroom with a pool of blood underneath him. Yip Ching is giving a final speech on the radio. She promises to commence a new round of political reforms if elected. It will include a open nomination process for Chief Executive so that every single person, rich or poor, will have an equal opportunity to choose their own future.

With only one more region to account for, Song leads by about 3000 votes. An election official announces that the final votes have been counted. Outside, a few homeless people gather by the radio to listen to the final results. The official declares that by a margin of 2200 votes, the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong is... (static).


  1. Argh! I was so ticked at the ending! I couldn't believe that they left us hanging like that! I mean, ok, I get that they were probably following the format of American series by ending with a cliffhanger and continuing next season -- normally, I wouldn't have a problem with it...but knowing that HKTV's future hangs in the balance and there might not even be a second season, that's the part that ticks me off the most, since that means we will be left hanging indefinitely...

    Aside from the ending, the rest of the episode was good. And as I've said earlier, despite its flaws, this series overall was still excellent -- one of the best HK drama series I've seen in a long time!

    1. I'm typically not a fan of open-endings, but I think this one was fitting in some ways. Yip Ching mentioned that every HK citizen deserves the right to pick the Chief Executive that they want. And with this ending, each and every audience member does have the chance to make that choice.