And so... I am watching this drama too! ^^v Currently at episode 5~ And there's nothing I can conclude on so far, just that Kenneth Ma's character as Fook Chuen is not as simple as I thought.
The drama starts with Fook Chuen wanting to rebel and seize the Emperor Hong Hei (Power Chan)'s throne.
Then it dates back to many years back when the previous emperor Fook Lam (Sunny Chan) appointed young Fook Chuen to be the next emperor. Subsequently, the emperor's wife died, his heart died too and wasn't able to lead the country. He told his mother that he wishes to appoint Fook Chuen to be the new emperor, but she refuses and says that Fook Chuen is unscrupulous, while Hong Hei is kind and would be a better choice for the emperor. Fook Lam dies, Hong Hei was appointed as the new emperor, making Fook Chuen not being able to comprehend the reason, but hide his grief within himself.
Turns out that Fook Lam is not dead, but went to be a monk, and his loyal servant Kei T0-ting (Ben Wong) serves him and keeps the secrets that he knows. Before he died, he instructs Ben's character to pass a letter to the Fook Chuen, and insisting that his mother must not see the letter. Ben duplicates the letter, passes the mission to his disciple, telling him to save his son Kei Man Cheung (Chris Lai) and grandson and run as far away as possible. Then, To-ting tells the Queen mother about the letter, she burns the letter and To-ting kills himself in order to keep the secret after assuring from the queen that his family be safe. But the Queen, doesn't know that there was actually a duplicate with Man Cheung. In the process, some things happen, To-ting's grandson gets washed away by the stream and was picked up by Nip Goon-yat (Kwok Foong). Of course, Man Cheung couldn't find the kid, and instead found a piece of jade left by Goon-yat.
Man Cheung goes back alone to the palace after overhearing that if he appears, he would be able to save the life of the family. He begs To-ting's disciple to help to search for his son, and went back to the palace, lied that his son died, and after that, muted himself in order to keep the secret that Fook Chuen was meant to be the King to save his family. Then, it turns out that Dor Bo (Steven Ma) was actually part of the Kei family and he is helping Fook Chuen in the usurp of the throne as he thought that the grandmother was the one that caused the death of his family members.
Turns out that what really triggered Fook Chuen's plot to take over the throne was caused by how the grandmother treated him. The grandmother was never be able to accept Fook Chuen, and has been lecturing him on the "mistakes" he made 15 years ago.
Fook Chuen was at the restaurant where Dor Bo's family are doing their business at, a few Manchu people came and started insulting the Hans. The policy of Hong Hei is "ManHan one family", but they don't buy the idea, and a fight occurs in the restaurant. Fook Chuen couldn't take how the Manchu bully was insulting the Han, and picked a fight with him (Note that Fook Chuen is a Manchu). Fook Chuen and Dor Bo went for a drink thereafter and became friends (of which Fook Chuen hides his real status) Dor Bo starts saying that there is no fairness as long as both races around, because none of the people in the imperial bodyguard are the Han. He adds that as long as a Han gets to be an imperial bodyguard, then he would call that justice. And I would like to add that, the fighting scenes were really nicely done!
The episode ends with 3 of Dor Bo's friends getting hunged up naked in the alleys, with the tag of 'pigs of the han' on them.
I hope my summary is not too confusing, because it's a fact that this drama is really kinda complicated to explain. I like all the acting so far, and Kenneth Ma, omg is really convincing as the baddie.