My thoughts on ‘Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles’


One of the two TVB anniversary dramas of the year, ‘Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles’ ended its 40-episode long series yesterday. The drama begins airing at the time when I have no other interested series to catch up with, and so I have chosen to watch it. The drama is set in Hong Kong on 1930s and revolves around a prominent family of Chung led by an influential barrister who had four wives. The setting of the story allows for different social issues to be raised which is in accordance to the historical context at that time in Hong Kong when it was under British rule. Those issues like laws involving promoting servants to be changed to maids for better treatment, effects of law that enables men to marry more than one women, and etc are interestingly developed in the drama.

Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles

From that point, the drama already has its certain interesting depth explored. Then, there comes another issue within the family itself when a man has too many wives. That issue is not about quarreling between each wives, but are conflicts with their shared husband. ‘When you own more, you actually lose more.’ This is the message brought up by the end of the series that I find it quite meaningful. Chung Cheuk Man (Damian Lau) thought earlier in the drama that having many wives would be good to all parties especially to himself, but then only to realize that it is actually not good to all his wives. He only had feeling of respect to his first wife (Mary Hon) that manages the family well and had one son and daughter for him. Later, his first wife had stroke and died. He had true love to his second wife (Idy Chan) but isolated her later as being blinded by jealousy over his second wife’s relationship with her ex. Luckily, he realized the damage he had done to her and let her leave the family. He married his third wife (Elena Kong) not because he loved her, but because she is pregnant. So, she experienced loneliness and loss of care and love from his husband especially when the fourth wife came in. Fortunately, she gets to bring her two children and leave the family in the end. Chung married fourth wife (Tavia Yeung) due to unreasonable urge and to get his second wife angry for his personal sake. He did love his fourth wife but finds her uncontrolled and too arrogant on her principles and divorced her. And then, that is not the end when Chung search for happiness with a young girl who he had given his own chalet for her to stay.

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If all that are not enough, we see also issues involving Chung’s children. His eldest son (Kenneth Ma) is involved in love triangle with Rebecca Zhu and Ron Ng eventhough Kenneth had already married Rebecca. His second son (Vincent Wong) always did things extremely wrong. His eldest daughter (Sire Ma) is his most loved but she decided to marry a man that has earlier conflict with the family. And next, we see some other characters interfering and making Chung’s life much more difficult in business and politics with objective of ruining his positive image and popularity.

The first few episodes of the drama are quite interesting when the audiences are first introduced to the story, characters and setting on which we already expected many issues would be raised up. Then, I find the story runs very slow especially when the emphasis goes away to Rebecca Zhu. I dislike her voice which I find it quite annoying but then her performance is satisfying overall as this is her first acting since joining TVB. The story then goes very draggy and boring. It would be much better if the drama is shortened to 30 episodes long as there are too many unnecessary dialogues and scenes.

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All the casts performed very well on this drama. Everyone has their parts and they delivered absolutely solid performance especially by the veteran artists like Damian Lau and Mary Hon. It is quite unbelievable that Mary Hon who did exceptionally good in this drama particularly in the last part when she got stroke (I feel sad for her) did not get any nomination in the upcoming TVB awards. This shows that the TVB executives didn’t create a good and fair nomination list. Since everyone had quite a major role respectively, I find Tavia Yeung isn’t really leading the drama in female section. This would be bad on her running for the best actress award represented by her character in this drama. She performed well, but there isn’t any breakthrough from her in this drama, unlike Kate Tsui who received critical acclaim for her portrayal as a drug queen in ‘Highs and Lows’.

I watched the two-episode ending yesterday and I’m very satisfied. The ending is not meant to be something exciting or intense, but I feel the conclusion is the best to the story. It’s a neat and simple ending yet so meaningful and impacting. Chung is now left with one and only wife, while Kenneth, Ron and Rebecca goes separated on their own way. Chung’s former wives found their true happiness, and it is revealed that their doings have helped to change certain social-based laws in the country as wished for. Some re-cap scenes shown are also good to tell us that we have gone that far (after watching 40 episodes of this drama) and finally this is the end. It’s really a very meaningful and good conclusion to the drama. It’s quite emotional on that scene when Chung’s first wife passed away at the time when Chung brought her to see sunset which is her first wish when she gets married to him but never get fulfilled until that day. Overall, this drama had very good substance with solid performance from the casts, but then runs unnecessarily long in certain things that gets me bored some of the time. The theme song for this drama by Fiona Sit is a nice song which I only found out when the drama almost ends. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles’ a total of 7.0, thanks to the much better ending.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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