The Ultimatum

Reviewed by: XWingSuki

September 03, 2009

Rating: two-point-five

The thirty-episode drama centers on the lives of two women, Ye Yuchen (Zoe Tay), and Fang Songqiao (Fann Wong) swapped at birth, due to an unexpected ‘accident' at the hospital where the infants' name tags were exchanged unintentionally by the nurses. This idea seems copied from 'Endless Love', though.

There is not much to comment about this series, other than Mediacorp's favoritism to Zoe Tay and Fann Wong, Li Nan Xing and TPH. In short, other than Constance Song's evil character Jiang Ruolin, the other characters are mere extras, as their role in the drama does not even affect the plot much, but are just placed there for the sake of a 'golden' cast!

The drama is all about rivalry. When Yuchen realizes she is not the rightful heiress of Phoenix, and her brother Ye Renyi (Elvin Ng), who she has been helping to get out of trouble every time, blackmails her with proof she is not a Ye, to step down from her position and hand it down to him. She retaliates by sending killers after him, but he escapes every time and dies being knocked down by a vehicle. Renyi's
character proved to be super annoying and a headache, and the way he bares his teeth in trying to act big really puts me off. He did better in his first drama (A life of hope), what has happened to his acting to make him intolerable here?

The third couple, Sun Min (TPH's sister) and Fang Songqing (Fann's brother), though a favorite among young watchers, were not relevant in the story's plot, though Sun Min's role could have been expanded further, the exact fault of the scriptwriters. Also, with the experience of Zoe and Fann, they could have come up with a better script.

Ye Yuchen
An excellent portrayal by Zoe, she played both sides of her character, the good and bad, perfectly. Also, she made her character very extreme when she knew it was time to let go, in the final episode.

Zhang Feng/Zhou Zhida
Li Nan Xing played two characters, Zoe's fiancé Zhang Feng and look-alike Zhou Zhida. Zhang Feng is king of gamblers, and everyone mistakes Zhou Zhida for him, messing up Zhou's relationship with his wife (Cynthia Koh) when he falls for Zoe.

Fang Songqiao
Fann has the 'legal' aura similar to Flora Chan that gives her the lawyer feeling. However, what viewers dislike about Songqiao is how she treated TPH over a minor accident whereas he had sacrificed a lot for her sake. (TPH is a master thief)

What I liked best
Fann and TPH. They look good on-screen, and also their love story has an interesting edge, especially the part with the kaya bread and the two of them sneaking into someone's house, Songqiao not realizing what was exactly happening! Their scenes are incredibly romantic, the sad part was that Songqiao chose the other guy because she pitied him.

Loopholes and Confusions
Some episodes were wasted on Ye Rende and Sun Min's plot. Did he like her? It's all up to the mind of the watcher. He didn't rape her, and yet during the last few episodes he seemed like he wanted to “up” her when he found her drunk and French kissed her. So, does he like her? Then what was the significance of him beating her up over a few words she said to him when he peeked at her changing? What was the significance of their "relationship" in terms of the whole.

Ultimatum plot?
The final episode when Zhang Feng meets Ye Yuchen is also another loophole. It wasn't explained clearly, but in a mere few sentences why Zhang Feng never returned despite how much he loved Yuchen. After Yuchen died, he just disappeared.

In my views, the script could have improved by simply increasing the number of episodes of Zhang Feng's character, as the "lao wan tong" gambler Zhou Zhida is simply boring. Sun Min and Rende's characters could also be given a larger role. Perhaps Sun Min is actually engaged to Rende, but they never get along etc. and Rende is a womanizer, and blabla.. Songqing's character could be removed as his role is rather insignificant! He is a baker in a drama about gambling and casinos, and some more people have said he and Sun Min are like characters in the Korean drama 'Coffee Prince', only that the coffee prince is a girl disguised as a guy, and Sun Min is the girl disguised as the guy, and Songqing is the coffee prince.

The final episode was a let-down, and the question was unanswered as to who actually killed Ye Songnian (Ye Yuchen's father, Songqiao's biological father).

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