Twdrama Review: Pi Li MIT
English title: Mysterious Incredible Terminator
The Clue Collector
Broadcast network: FTV / GTV
Broadcast dates: 7 Nov 2008 – 20 Feb 2009
8 Nov 2008 – 21 Feb 2009
Cast: Aaron Yan, Gui Gui, Lu Ting Wei, Huang Hong Sheng, Christine Fan, Tian Li, Zhang Shan Jie, Honduras
Opening theme: “動脈 (Dong Mai / Artery)” by Fahrenheit
Ending theme: “熱血精神 (Re Xue Jing Shen / Red-blooded Spirit)” by Christine Fan
Synopsis: Teacher Cherry resurrects the defunct student group Pi Li MIT using blacklisted students to solve crimes and mysteries surrounding the illustrious school Sheng Yin University.
At Sheng Yin University, there is a group of blacklisted students who go around solving cases and acting as the school’s conscience. This group is known as Pi Li MIT. It had been disbanded some years ago, but Teacher Cherry (Christine Fan) resurrects it after getting a mysterious email saying that Teacher Angel’s (Tian Li) elite education plan will destroy the school.
And thus the game begins.
And what exactly is the game? That is unknown. All MIT knows is that there is a game disk given to people with information on how to enact their revenge. The members of MIT then go about trying to solve the clues and stop the crimes from happening, also while trying to figure out who the mysterious mastermind is and just what goal does this person have.
- Blue tooth headset – These headsets are walkie talkies that allow the members of MIT to stay in contact with each other and also act as location devices
- MIT necklace – This item is shown in multiple episodes and holds a secret to 187’s past
- Fortune cookies – Tian Mo Xing’s secret weapon. She uses fortune cookies to help solve MIT’s cases (seriously)
- Yellow candy container – 007 never goes anywhere without his candy. In every episode, he is always playing with this while thinking
- Puzzle boxes – These contain clues to the true purpose behind the mastermind’s game
- “Baby” (pronounced bah-bay) – 187 calls his multiple girlfriends this, so you hear it in every episode
- “I’ll crush them to death with my King Kong legs” – 747’s catch phrase, has many variations, but his legs are strong and he is fast and that is his main contribution to MIT (besides super hearing)
This is a heavier drama. Yes, there are many comedic moments, but this is really meant to be a more serious, action-driven, psychological drama. Serious, yes. Full of action, definitely. It was a nice break from the love stories and melodramas. I admit to being a fan of action and I have always loved whodunits and mystery stories, so this was a great drama to me as you are never quite sure what is going to happen next.
All the episodes revolve around secrets. Secrets that involve Sheng Yin University, Teacher Angel, and one or more members of Pi Li MIT. The MIT members and the other students involved in these incidents are forced to confront their pasts, their sins, and reality in general.
The show begins when Zhan Shi De shows up at Sheng Yin. He is cold, arrogant and has a killer poker face. Seriously, I think throughout this entire series, Aaron Yan does a great job at a cold, expressionless face. Teacher Cherry immediately drafts him to join MIT as he is a reported “genius” and his father is the famous Dr. James. He wants nothing to do with Pi Li MIT consisting of Teacher Cherry, 747 (Huang Hui Hong), and 187 (Qian Fu Hao). Nor does he want anything to do with the hapless (and at times dimwitted, accident-prone) Li Xiao Xing (who later joins MIT and become Tian Mo Xing “Lucifer”). However, with each episode, his character warms up and he begins to become friends with the MIT members. Tian Mo Xing especially begins to grow on him, although he refuses to admit it.
This series kept me interested with its diverse mysteries. You never knew quite what to expect. Who was the victim, who was the “killer”? The line between victim and mastermind is blurred in every episode and you are never quite sure who to trust. I liked that about the show. Not every episode was that complex, some had plots and bad guys that were easily predicted, but that wasn’t too bad. Situational irony has its uses.
My main complaint about the drama (as mentioned in an earlier post) was 007 refusing to confess to Tian Mo Xing. It took him until almost the end of the series to officially confess, and when he did, he used a fortune cookie. Nothing says “I love you” like a fortune cookie whose fortune reads “You are my chocolate.” How sweet, literally. And after the main couple finally manages to get together, Tian Mo Xing’s secret is exposed and she runs from 007. Argh, how annoying. Another complaint would have to be Lu Ke Ying’s character (played by Zhang Shan Jie). Zhang Shan Jie’s acting was incredible. He did a good job of playing tormented puppy Ke Ying, I just couldn’t like the character. He was too childlike and annoying for my tastes, but it was well played. Ke Ying’s real personality was also well played. It is hard to display the childlike innocence in one moment and in the next a psychotic mastermind, but Zhang did a wonderful job. His evil face was good and I liked that side of him more than the side he showed everyone else.
Truthfully, without peeking at the ending, I already had a good idea who the mastermind was. I was surprised by Tian Mo Xing’s secret, though. Out of everything that happened, it’s something you don’t suspect and that’s part of what makes this drama so good. That and Aaron Yan, my second favorite in Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit.
I like how each of the characters grow. Although, the one who changes the most would have to be 007 who begins to open up to people. You really love it when he shows genuine feelings – like when he smiles happily (not cockily like he is prone to do when he knows something you don’t). Even though 187 is still obsessed with girls, he matures even more and begins to step away from being nothing but a total playboy. Tian Mo Xing stops being the happy-go-lucky dimwit and becomes more mature and serious, although she stays a crybaby, which can get old. Teacher Cherry mends the fences with her father, and 747. . . well, he doesn’t really change. He is still slow (in the mental processes) and prone to hit first and ask questions later, but at least he takes the high road and gives up on his love for Tian Mo Xing, though he is always protecting and believing in her.
I must say, if I was choosing schools, I definitely would not choose Sheng Yin University. Even though it is elite, Teacher Angel and the cutthroat competition is ridiculous. There is healthy competition and then there is absurd, unhealthy competition. Guess which one the university actually promotes? Tian Li did a good job of portraying the heartless Angel. Her obsession yet negligence of her son is interesting. And I must admit, no matter how the show ends, her character is not clear to me. Is she really doing everything out of a weird sense of love? Or is she really the backstabbing, power-hungry teacher? Hard to say and I don’t think the ending clarifies it well at all.
This is definitely a must-see for those who love mystery, action, romance, and surprises. With all the twists and turns and seemingly random cases, you have to wonder how the pieces all fit together. Watch, find out, and fall in love with the characters as they overcome the obstacles in their lives and grow closer to each other.