Incurable Traits

Reviewed by: hkopinions

December 31, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

Lam Man Lung as Wah To
Felix Wong as Cao Cao
Wan Yeung Ming as Kwan Yin
Ng Wing Mei as Cheung Miu Sum
Chung Lai Kai as Wah Yuk


"Incurable Traits" is a historical adaptation of a legendary healer named Wah To, who supposedly can cure any ailments and revive the dead. The time period is during the Three Kingdoms Era and also the end of the Han dynasty. Wah To is played by Lam Man Lung who accidentally gets acquainted with Cao Cao (Felix Wong). Cao Cao places a puppet ruler, Emperor Ling, on the throne. Cao Cao dies of a brain tumor but lays the foundation for his son to establish the Wei dynasty. Wah To is very compassionate and his goal is to get rid of all diseases in the world. He befriends Kwan Yu, a general for the Shu Empire, but unintentionally angers Cao Cao. In the end, Wah To dies by the hands of Cao Cao.

What about the story (Spoilers!)

The story begins with Wah To sitting in prison and writing his life's work. Wah To then spits out blood and dies. After his death, Cao Cao burns Wah To's work and he also dies because no one can cure his headaches except Wah To. There is a flashback and now Wah To, his family, and Kwan Yin are trying to escape the war. Wah To loves to study medicine but his dad disallows it. While in the camp, a girl is accused of adultery and his dad confirms it. Wah To disagrees with his dad but his dad is angered. Wah To follows the girl to town and sees that a famous doctor named Cheung, also says that she is not pregnant. From that day on, Wah To was determined to become Cheung's student. Wah To applies to be a cook at doctor Cheung's house but Cheung Miu Sum, doctor Cheung's eldest daughter, forces Wah To to leave.

During the struggle, Wah To drops a piece of jade. Cheung Miu Sum grabs it and says it belongs to her. After this confusion, Wah To discovers that she is his arranged wife. Wah To is allowed to stay but can't reveal the secrets about the marriage. Wah To treated Kwan Yin's friend and they became close friends. Later, Wah To is given three tests and he passed all three, so Doctor Cheung accepted him as his student. Now Doctor Cheung learns of the marriage. Wah To's dad refuses to let Wah To study medicine and we learn why. Wah To's dad was a very famous doctor under the Han emperor. Doctor Lee Mun and Wah were best friends. Doctor Wah finds a cure and saves the empress's life but she commits suicide later on. Lee Mun accuses Wah of killing the empress and so Wah was to be executed. Cao Cao helps spare Wah's life by being hit 30 times. Lee Mun becomes the royal doctor and Wah becomes a peasant. Cao Cao establishes a school of medicine in Xuchang. Wah To is finally allowed to study medicine. His first task is a plague but Cheung says its nothing.

Excellency Wong shows up and asks for the cause and Wah To tells him. Cheung accuses Wah To of trouble. Chueng Miu Sum pretends to contract the disease and her father reveals that it is a plague. Wah To was released to find a cure with Ng Po, a con artist. Excellency Wong's father contracts the plague. He orders a cure within four days. Wah To and Kwan Yin search for a rare flower for the cure. Wong's father dies and decides to kill Chueng. Cheung flees and meets Ng Po. They decide to scam the villagers by creating a cult that would heal and protect people from illnesses. Now no one wants to be cured by Wah To. Kwan Yu captures Ng Po and makes him look like he had contracted the plagued. Ng Po asked Wah To to cure him and Ng Po told the truth about the cult. Now everyone asks to be cured by Wah To. Doctor Cheung is humiliated and leaves for Xuchang. Coincidentally, Wah's family leaves for Xuchang also because Wah To wants to study medicine there. Ng Po travels with Wah To because no one cared for him. The two families bump into each other in Xuchang. The Cheung family stays with a rich man, who is in love with Cheung Miu Sum. The Wah family stays at an old house.

Wah To and Cheung Miu Sum fall in love but Doctor Cheung disapproves of it. Wah To agrees to work for Doctor Cheung for three years in return for study and marriage. Time progresses. Kwan Yu, Chang Fei, and Lau Bei swear an oath to be brothers to form the Shu empire, while Cao Cao made the emperor a puppet ruler. Wah To sneaks near the school of Xuchang to look inside. Coincidentally, Cao Cao and Emperor Ling are there. Wah To was seized when he noticed there was something strange about Cao Cao. Cao Cao released Wah To when he learned he was a student studying to become a doctor. One night, Cao Cao has a horrible dream and wakes up with a horrible headache. His doctor could not cure him and Cao Cao tried to kill him. The doctor flees. Cao Cao tries to excuse himself and meets Wah To.

Wah To informs Cao Cao that he could cure the headaches but Cheung shows up and says that Wah to is only a laborer. Now Cao Cao despises Wah To. Wah To is angry and leaves the Cheung's house. He opens his own medical school. Cheung Miu Sum asks the rich man who is in love with her for money. She helps Wah To open the school. When the school opened, profits dropped because Wah To was too kind and offered free treatments and gave money away. Cheung Miu Sum is very angry.

Doctor Cheung tells the rich man about Wah To and so Wah To has three weeks to repay the money. Wah To decides to cure without a store and leaves to find patients. When he was gone, Lan Ting, Cao Cao's foster daughter, shows up to the store with Cao Cao's third son, Cao Chung. Ng Po tries to con them but Lan Ting finds out and agrees that Wah To is also a con artist when Wah to returns. Wah To follows them and sees Cao Chung answer a puzzle raised by people from a different empire. Cho Chung measures the weight of an elephant by using water and weights. Lan Ting and Cho Chung are taken back by some officials. Cao Cao learns of his son's cleverness and is proud. His son however, has a heart ailment that keeps him from being active. No one can cure him. Wah To goes and works for a prostitute place and cures prostitutes.

Cheung Miu Sum mistaken that Wah To is around enjoying himself. Meanwhile, Cheung Miu Sum is forced to marry but Wah To rescues her. Cheung Miu Sum was forced to end her relationship with her family to marry Wah To. They marry at Wah To's house while it was raining. Even their bed was wet. Wah To becomes a street doctor with the help of Ng Po and Ah Orr. Cheung Miu Sum asks her mother for help but her dad takes the money back. Now Wah To is determined to get into the school. Wah To required a recommendation from an official but he wanted a bribe. Cheung Miu Sum decides to help but Wah To insults the official. Meanwhile, Cao Chung's ailments get worse and Cao Cao opens up the school to find a cure. Wah To meets Kwan Yu who offers him a job serving the Shu empire. Wah To turns him down because he wants to study in Cao Cao's school. Wah To decide to find a cure for Cao Chung. He heard rumors of a man who had the same ailments and got cured. Coincidentally, Lan Ting and Cao Chung also are on this same clue. Wah To runs into Lan Ting and Cao Chung but they have a misunderstanding, when the three find out that they are on a false lead. Cao Chung and Lan Ting fall into a pit.

Wah To jumps in to help them as the villagers went for help. In the pit, they find the body of the old man and Wah To finds some clues. As they are being lifted out, the overhead collapses and Lan Ting stops breathing. Everyone confirms that Lan Ting is dead but Wah To manages to revive her. All the villagers give him the nickname of "Wah To the Medicine God." Lan Ting finds out Wah To's purpose on the journey and is impressed. She learns of his goals to attend the school and wishes him good luck. They depart. Cheung Miu Sum works at a prostitute parlor to earn money for Wah To. Wah To and Cheung Miu Sum are embarrassed at her father's birthday. They are ordered to eat in the kitchen. Lee Mun arrives to hand an invite to the school. Cheung thought it was for him but learns that it was for Wah To. Cheung eagerly says that Wah To is his son-in-law. Wah To arrives at the school and learns the identity of Lan Ting and Cao Chung. Wah To opens up the old man's body and points to a hole in the heart and says that Cao Chung suffers from the same problems. Cao Cao promises Wah To that he could attend the school. Lee Mun is worried about his position. Wah To is given special treatment and given a very big place to stay. Lan Ting visits him regularly to help find a cure.

Lee Mun is also trying to find a cure. He wants to use an artificial method to cure Cao Chung. On the other hand, Wah To wants to use pig skin to patch up the hole and use a pain killer from Ma Fu Tong. Cheung Miu Sum is worried because he spends too much time with Lan Ting. The flower Ma Fu Tong can only be found in Shu territory. Wah To and Lan Ting go in search for the flower and are captured by a cult. They are rescued by Kwan Yu who takes them back to his camp. A spy in the camp report to Lee Mun about Wah To. Lee Mun accuses Wah To of treason to Cao Cao. Wah To's family is imprisoned along with the Cheung family. Wah To wishes to return home but Kwan Yu's generals won't allow it. Lan Ting steals Kwan Yu's seal and crossed but are captured. Later, Lan Ting convinces Kwan Yu to release them. Wah To and Lan Ting arrived home to find that Lee Mun is making preparations to heal Cao Chung by the artificial method. Wah To reveals that the method would poison Cao Chung's blood and later kill him. Cao Cao is angry at Lee Mun but still orders for Wah To and his family to be executed.

Wah To tells Cao Cao that he can cure Cao Chung. Cao Cao delays the execution for three hours. Wah To operated on Cao Chung by inserting pig meat and used the flower as painkiller. After the operation, Cao Chung still did not wake up. Wah To understood the reason and ordered some noodles to be brought to Cao Chung. Cao Chung smelled the noodles and woke up. Wah to explained that the effects of the flower had worn off already but Cao Chung fell asleep. He woke up because he was hungry. Cao Cao awarded Wah To the position of royal doctor and demoted Lee Mun. Wah To wanted to find a cure for Cao Cao but Cao Cao refused and said he was not sick. There was a huge battle to be fought but Cao Cao fell ill with headaches. Wah To gave him some sleeping potion and when Cao Cao woke up he was angry. However, he found out that the battle was won because the other side wanted to anger Cao Cao into attacking without preparations. Cao Cao invites Wah To and his wife to attend a party with the emperor. Cheung Miu Sum gets embarrassed at the party because all the other ladies had fine jewels and a big house.

Cao Cao visits Wah To's house to find it old and unsuitable for living. Cao Cao sat on a chair, named by Ng Po. Wah To showed him some exercises but Cao Cao fell asleep because the movements were very slow. Cao Cao gave the family a huge house to live in the next day. Cao Cao takes Lan Ting and Wah To to battle with him. The battle was between Cao Cao and Kwan Yu. Wah To learns of Cao Cao's ruthlessness. When Wah To returned home, he finds that his wife had changed. She only cared for riches. One day, Cao Cao had a headache and ordered Wah To to come. Wah To was busy with another patient so sent his student. Cao Cao was angered but Wah To eventually came. From that day on, Cao Cao restricted Wah To to the school. Lee Mun comes up with an idea to poison the waters of the enemies. He convinces Cao Cao to order Wah To to come up with the poison. Wah To refuses and is ordered to be executed. Lan Ting comes up with a plan.

She promises the poison but delays it. Kwan Yu helps by not wedding his daughter so there is no war to be fought. Cheung Miu Sum notices a change in Wah To. He was leaving early and coming home late. She also found a hairpin in Wah To's bed. One day she saw Lan Ting with Wah To. They were practicing exercises. She accuses Wah To of having an affair. Cao Cao hears of this and asks Lan Ting if she had feelings for Wah To. Lan Ting says yes because she wants to protect Wah To. Lan Ting does have strong feelings for Wah To but knows that he only loves his wife. Cao Cao orders Lan Ting and Wah To to be married because he wants Wah To to be in his family. From then on, Wah To had to follow Cao Cao's orders. After the marriage, Cao Cao promoted Wah to to be general so Wah To had to develop the poison. Lan Ting comes up with a plan and embarrasses Wah To in front of Cao Cao's generals. The generals protest and Wah To does not have to go to battle. Cao Cao ordered Wah To to make the poison within ten days or his family will die. Wah To and Lan Ting ask for Kuan Yu's help.

Kuan Yu helps the family escape but Cheung wanted to stay for the riches. Kuan Yu forces them to board but Cao Cao orders troops to stop the escape. Lan Ting saves Wah To and she is captured. Lan Ting is put in prison and Cao Cao attacks Kuan Yu's camp to capture Wah To. Wah To helps heal the soldiers and ignores Cheung Miu Sum because he blames her for Lan Ting's capture. Kwan Yu is hit by a poison arrow and Wah To saves his life. Cao Cao goes crazy and kills many students at the school. Lee Mun escapes and informs Wah To. Wah To returns to heal Cao Cao and rescue Lan Ting. Before he leaves, Wah To tells Cheung Miu Sum that he loves her. Wah To returns and agrees to heal Cao Cao under three conditions: restore the school, Wah To wanted to write a book of his life's work, and thirdly the release of Lan Ting. Cao Cao agrees. Lee Mun wants to keep the book of Wah To for himself because Wah To wanted to redistribute it to everyone.

The surgery is being prepared and Kwan Yu is slain. Cao Cao orders a celebration for Kwan Yu. Wah To grieves for his death. On the day of the surgery, Wah To wore a headband to remember Kwan Yu. Cao Cao was angered and ordered Wah to to be locked up. He also burned all his books. Cao Cao allowed Wah To to rewrite the book. When it was almost finished, Wah To told his wife to retrieve the final pages in his room. Lee Mun tricked Cheung Miu Sum and took the copy. It accidentally got burned except several pages. Chueng Miu Sum took these pages away. In his cell, Wah To tried desperately to rewrite his book. Wah To coughed out blood and died. Cao Cao died shortly because he knew no one could heal him again. After this, the Cheung and Wah family open up a doctor office and completed Wah To's dream. The last pages of his book was given to all students. In another part of China, Lan Ting is teaching people how to do exercises. She reveals the method of the mythical doctor Wah To.

What about the cast

Felix Wong played a very good Cao Cao. He is such a good actor that it makes this series worth watching. Felix also appears in many series like "Legend of the Condor Heroes 1982" and the "Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils". Lam Man Lung as Wah To also did a good job. He appears in series like "A Colorful Life" and "Witness to a Prosecution".

Best supporting actor

Wan Yeung Ming as Kuan Yin

Best supporting actress

? as Lan Ting

Best villain portrayal

Felix Wong as Cao Cao

Worst character portrayal

Chung Lai Kai as Wah Yuk

A little history

The legend of Wah To is very famous. He was rumored to have lived around 145 AD to 265 AD. According to the series, Wah To was much younger than Cao Cao and Cao Cao dies in 220 AD shortly after Wah To's death. Wah To then was probably born around 185 to 190 AD. The series starts with the formation of the Three Kingdoms of Wei, Shu, and Wu. Towards the end of the Han dynasty in 220 AD, China was demoralized and plagued by natural disasters and corruption within the government. Cao Cao rose from the son of a palace eunuch into a very powerful general. He controlled the emperor and the palace. Cao Cao also successful placed his son on throne. After Cao Cao's death in 220 AD, his son became emperor and established the Wei dynasty (220-265). The Wei dynasty was the all-powerful kingdom and conquered Shu in 263 and Wu in 280 AD. Cao Cao was probably born in 155 AD. He suppressed the Yellow Scarves Rebellion in 184 AD and became even more powerful. Emperor Ling was forced to seek his protection but Cao Cao placed the emperor as a puppet. Cao Cao had locked Wah To in prison because he was very paranoid. He didn't refused for Wah To to operate on his head. Wah To died in prison and all his works were burned.

Watch it or forget it

I disliked the ending because in the beginning, the viewers already know what happened. It ruins the story. There were many scenes that were boring. The love story between Wah To and Cheung Miu Sum was also boring. I wanted Wah To to leave her and run away with Lan Ting. The cast is what makes this series worth watching not the story. There is another TVB adaptation to the character of Cao Cao called "Where the Legend Begins".

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