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|Written by||Ng Kah Huay (黄佳华)|
|Directed by||Chia Mien Yang (谢敏洋)
Loo Yin Kam (卢燕金)
Wong Foon Hwee (黄芬菲)
Tay Ping Hui
|Opening theme||寂寞光年 by Liu Liyang 刘力扬|
|Ending theme||不死心还在 by Power Station 动力火车|
|Country of origin||Singapore|
|No. of episodes||30 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Chia Mien Yang (谢敏洋)|
|Running time||approx. 45 minutes per episode|
|Original network||MediaCorp Channel 8|
|Original release||27 May – 7 July 2009|
|Preceded by||My School Daze|
|Followed by||My Buddy|
|Related shows||The Golden Pillow (1995-1996)
Secret of the Heart (1998)
The Unforgettable Memory (2004-2006)
The Golden Path (2007)
The Ultimatum (simplified Chinese: 双子星) is a Singaporean Chinese drama which was telecasted on Singapore's free-to-air channel, MediaCorp Channel 8. It made its debut on 27 May 2009 and ended on the date 7 July 2009. This drama serial consists of 30 episodes, and was screened on every weekday night at 9:00 pm.
Being the mid-year Channel 8 blockbuster of 2009, it was the first Channel 8 drama to be fully filmed in HD. This is the first series to have no commentaries for News 8 at 10, due to the promotion of services by SingTel, the presenter of the series.
Despite being touted as the 2009 blockbuster of the year and featuring many established actors and actresses like Zoe Tay, Li Nanxing and Fann Wong (often referred to in the press as a "Two Queen and One King" billing), the show's reception was lukewarm at best. Many viewers faulted the serial for improbable casting (Lin Meijiao was cast as Tay's mother, despite being only five years older than Tay in real life and especially when Tay is more wrinkle looking than Lin. Furthermore, the two had acted as sisters before in My Mighty-in-Laws.) and for a lack of originality in certain parts of the scripting. The series also came under harsh criticism for being overly melodramatic. However, the performance of newcomers such as Jerry Yeo, who played an antagonist for the first time, were widely praised.
Meaning of title
The Chinese title of The Ultimatum means Gemini. It is a reference to the two female lead's astrological sign, both being born on the same day.
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|Zoe Tay 郑惠玉||叶予晨 Ye Yuchen|
|Fann Wong 范文芳||方宋乔 Fang Songqiao|
|Li Nanxing 李南星||章风 Zhang Feng / 周志达 Zhou Zhida|
|Tay Ping Hui 郑斌辉||孙捷 Sun Jie|
|Felicia Chin 陈靓瑄||孙敏 Sun Min|
|Elvin Ng 黄俊雄||Ye Renyi 叶仁义|
|Chen Shucheng 陈澍承||Ye Songnian 叶松年|
|Jerry Yeo 杨伟烈||Ye Rende 叶仁德|
|Zhang Zhenhuan 张振寰||Fang Songqing 方宋青|
|Hong Huifang 洪慧芳||Zheng Wenyu 郑文玉|
|Cynthia Koh 许美珍||Chen Xiaobao 陈晓宝|
|Lynn Poh 傅方玲||Yuki|
|Lin Meijiao 林梅娇||Shen Suzhen 沈素贞|
|Constance Song 宋怡霏||Jiang Ruolin 蒋若琳|
|Benedict Goh 吴伟杰||Ye Renxiao 叶仁孝|
|Terence Cao 曹国辉||He Chaoqun 何超群|
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The beginning was seen to be the ending of the drama, where Ye Yuchen was kidnapping Zhou Zhida, and Fang Songqiao received a call from her to meet at a dilapidated field. Sun Jie was to accompany her. She arrived not knowing that she wanted revenge for her family. Songqiao assured her that she was not the murderer. Not listening to her explanation, Yuchen fires from her gun.
But this is just the beginning...
Years ago, Ye Songnian (Chen Shucheng), the boss of Phoenix Corporation, raped his employee, Zheng Wenyu (Hong Huifang), who was already pregnant with her husband's child at that time. Months later, both Wenyu and Songnian's second wife, Suzhen (Lin Meijiao), give birth to daughters in the same hospital and due to the nurses' negligence, the identities of the baby girls were swapped. Wenyu discovers that her biological daughter suffers from congenital heart disease. Out of a mother's desire for her child to receive the best medical care coupled with hatred towards Songnian, she decided to capitalize on the situation by perpetuating the mistake. Thus, Ye Yuchen (Zoe Tay) and Fang Songqiao (Fann Wong), whose identities were swapped, grew up in two disparate environments.
In his old age, Songnian goes into semi-retirement, having handed the running of his company to his god-sister (Jiang Ruolin) and sons (Renxiao and Renyi). Ruolin's son, Rende, works in Songnian's company. Yuchen also holds the position of an AVP. On the surface, the family seems to be a harmonious. However, beneath this facade, everyone is eying Songnian's position, clamouring to gain Songnian's favour so that they might be entrusted with an important role in the company. Having grown up in such a scheming and manipulative environment, Yuchen's survival instincts are honed.
Songqiao's childhood, on the other hand was filled with unhappiness. Wen Yu vents her hatred towards Songnian on her. She was often scolded and beaten for every little mistakes she made. Songqiao bears with it in silence and grows up to be a lawyer. When Songqiao was young, she had an extraordinary encounter with a boy, Sun Jie (Tay Ping Hui). Sun Jie's father, Sun Nanhai, had been a conman and was made a scapegoat in a kidnap. The young Sun Jie resorted to theft to support his younger sister, Sun Min, until he became Songnian's foster son. He and Yuchen get along very well.
Over 20 years later, the girls, whose identities had been swapped at birth, get acquainted through a molest case.
Yuchen's god-brother, Rende (Jerry Yeo), molests an employee, Anqi. The righteous Songqiao takes Rende to court. Ruolin is worried that Songnian might learn about the case. Yuchen volunteers to resolve the issue. Yuchen initiates an out-of-court settlement and demands a huge compensation but Songqiao is persistent on hauling Rende to court. Though on opposing ends, the girls could not help but admire the other's strength and character.
Phoenix Corporation has grown into a conglomerate over the years; its business includes overseas casinos and luxurious cruise. The aged Songnian is undecided who should be his successor. Songnian's oldest son had been killed in a botched-up kidnap years ago (unknown to all, this has been Ruolin's doing). Second son, Renxiao, is secretly obsessed with Ruolin and blindly supports everything she does, pushing for Rende's succession of Songnian's empire and treating his own wife, Yuki, coldly. Su Zhen's son with Songnian, Renyi, is ambitious but incapable, often messing up what he sets out to achieve. Fortunately for him, Yuchen is always at hand to help clear his mess.
Yuchen grew up in an environment of distrust and she is constantly embroiled in vicious struggles with Ruolin's clique. Due to her ability to keep her cool and turn situations around, she finally gains her father's trust and becomes the CEO of Phoenix Corporation.
Yuchen had had an unforgettable relationship. Three years ago, she met the famous Zhang Feng (Li Nanxing), dubbed as God of Gamblers, in Macau and had planned to marry him. However, he vanished on the eve of their wedding, and was never seen again. Rumour has it that he has been killed by his enemies. Yuchen refuses to believe those rumours and she continues to harbour the hope of his return. She meets Zhou Zhida (Li Nanxing), who bears an uncanny resemblance to Zhang Feng (though the two are polar opposites in all other areas), and is convinced that the two are the same person.
Da is a bona fide gambling addict who is skilled in all forms of the vice and has problems keeping a job. Helpless, his wife (Bao) recommends him for the job of a cleaner at the café where she works. Yuchen is convinced that A-Da is Zhang Feng, who might have suffered from amnesia due to some accident, but the latter does not even know her.
Sun Min (Felicia Chin) is Sun Jie's younger sister, and has been a fan of the art of gambling since she was young. She had aspired to learn from the God of Gamblers and upon a chance encounter with Da, becomes obstinately convinced (like Yuchen) that A-Da is the God of Gamblers. To her, this is God-sent and knowing that the God of Gamblers does not accept female disciples, she hits upon the crazy idea of male impersonation, entering the cafés' service disguised as a man hoping to learn gambling from Da.
The master baker at the café is Fang Songqing (Zhang Zhenhuan), Songqiao's younger brother, who has been nicknamed Prince Cake because of his strapping good looks. “Infiltrating” the café as a guy, Sun Min thinks otherwise. To her, he is no more than a simple and honest guy whose world revolves around cakes. Unknowingly, they start to develop feelings for each other. As Songqing has yet to realize Sun Min's gender, hilarious situations occur. After he had found Sun Min's real gender, he fall in love with her. But, just as they started accepting each other, Rende "kidnapped" Sun Min and torture her, causing her to be depressed and lose her sanity. She even beats Songqing up.
Da starts to become confused. He's been directionless all his life, and due to Yuchen and Sun Min's persistence that he is the God of Gambler, he begins to question his own identity. He starts to believe he might be the God of Gamblers, and that he had suffered from amnesia due to an accident and that Bao had rescued him and brought him to Singapore to escape the feud in Macau. He subconsciously eases into the role of the God of Gamblers. Not known to all, Da is not Zhang Feng and the real Zhang Feng later came back.
Songqiao meets Sun Jie again and the latter falls in love with her. Songqiao is unaware that Sun Jie is a prodigious thief until the appearance of the Interpol, He Chaoqun (Terence Cao). He Chaoqun is seemingly interested in Songqiao, and is determined to nab Sun Jie. Songqiao makes the painful decision of ending her budding relationship with Sun Jie upon realization of his identity. Sun Jie loses his “gift for theft” to a hand injury during an accident, plunging him into the abyss of despair.
After exchanging her daughter for Songnian's all those years back, Wen Yu has been secretly concerned about her daughter. She tries to get close to Yuchen. Unable to contain her emotions any longer, she finally blurts out Yuchen's real identity, much to Yuchen's shock. After regaining her composure, Yuchen is thrust into an emotional turmoil. For the power and status that she has fought so hard to gain, she cannot reveal her real identity, especially to the Ye family. She schemes to prevent Wen Yu from divulging the secret and at the same time, fends against Songqiao, trying to obviate her contact with Songnian to prevent her from knowing the truth. She even causes Wen Yu's death accidentally in her attempt to stop the latter from telling the truth. Hence, her life starts to go into turmoil. But, little does she know that the recorded video is saved inside a handphone which is seen by Songnian, Renyi, Suzhen and Zhida.
In the course of Chaoqun's investigation into Wenyu's death leads to the unraveling of her rape by Songnian. Songqiao vows to bring Songnian to justice, but stumbles upon the shocking revelation of her true parentage and is confused. Yuchen's true colours are revealed and this kindles Songqiao's suspicion that the former had been behind the deaths of Wen Yu and Renyi.
Da cannot bear to see Yuchen isolated and steeped in her criminal ways. Thus, he chooses to stay guard by her side though deep inside, he knows that Yuchen would ultimately trudge upon the path of no return...
|Best Actor||Tay Ping Hui||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Jerry Yeo||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Constance Song||Won|
|Best Drama Theme Song||《寂寞光年》 by Jade Liu||Nominated|
- "Jerry Yeo, the not-bad looking villain". xin.msn.com. 18 April 2010.