FIrstly, I have no idea why this is titled "Relic Of An Emissary". There is no emissary and no relic. The Chinese title "Hung Mo 32" is more appropriate, as this show is on how the future Ming Emperor Yongle (aka Prince Yin, played by Joe Ma) got threatend by his nephew's (Emperor Jianwen, played by Joel Chan) policies and decided to overthrow him and usurp the throne. Hence, he refused to recognise Emperor Jianwen's 4 years on the throne, instead recognising Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's rule instead, thus Emperor Hung Mo's 32nd year.
The show is pretty ok, at an ok pace. It is not fantastic, just an average show. Even though there is Michael Tse and Joe Ma, but their acting is nothing to shout about in this show. Michael Tse as usual has his Laughing Sir remnants in his undercover role here, as a mole planted by Prince Yin to spy on Emperor Jianwen. Unfortunately he lost his memory and became the close confidant to Emperor Jianwen, before he realised his real mission was that of Prince Yin's spy.
Joe Ma as Prince Yin did well, but nothing outstanding. Even though there was a period where he had to feign mental illness so the Emperor would not kill him, but it was very obvious he was feigning. In this scene, Joe Ma really acted like he was acting to be mad, instead of playing a convincing role to make people convinced that he is mad. Get this part?
What is memorable though is Sammul Chan's role as the young Cheng Ho. His conflict when he realised he loved the Princess but couldn't be with her, and that the Mongolian girl Sharen Gaowa liked him but again he couldn't lead her on. Even though there is no obvious showing of his conflict, but he played a convincing role of being Prince Yin's right hand man, yet at the same time he knows his own status as an eunuch. The part where he scrubbed Joe Ma's back is a bit too much in my opinion, that was too "gay" for my liking.
A pity Sammul left TVB after that as I think he always seems to be overlooked. But I really wish he can come back as I would like to see him in TVB dramas again!
Despite being a period drama, this show has quite a few intimate scenes between Michael and Kate, Michael and Jess, even Michael and Sire, as well as Joe and Kate. The "twins" played by Kate Tsui is also confusing. I think the "twins" part can be cut completely and Kate Tsui should just play as one character throughout because her one character is not even fully developed when the "twin" part came in, leading to more complications and confusion of both characters.
Another thing, what is it about Michael's character that almost every one of the females fall for him? Chor Chor (the good twin played by Kate Tsui), the Princess, Siu Kiu (played by Sire Ma), Jess Shum's character whom I cannot recall the name, and even the female assassin played by Grace Wong. Yet he kept wavering between them until right at the end when he finally made his choice with the Princess.
Elanne Kong as the Princess is cute, but I do not like the way she speaks. Her voice sounds too squeaky and high pitched. But she played the spoilt yet kind-hearted princess very well, even giving up her royalty to be with Michael in the end.
This show is average at best. Worth watching? It is a good plot on the happenings of the transition of the early Ming Dynasty, and how the Yongle Emperor seized the throne, who later became one of the best (if not the best) Emperors of the Ming Dynasty, as well as how Cheng Ho started on his voyages to the seas. But the overall plot is not that captivating. Watch it for a history lesson if you wish, but there are many parts that you can actually skip over.