So, I’m continuing my review on this series from the eighth episode onwards, as Gene and Nubsib begin a romance that is both cute as well forbidden.
Brilliantly shot in the dark night, Nubsib resolutely answers to every accusation of his duplicity in regard to his courtship of Gene. It’s clear the series has taken off the training wheels. Kao’s solemn face evokes sad feelings, as he accepts his long year schemes to win Gene. I can’t help but applaud Kao’s portrayal of Nubsib. The younger man in the relationship is actually the more mature of the pair.
In his mind, all his lies and withholding of information was worth it and nothing anyone says will dissuade him of this path. It stuns me as a viewer that not many characters took offense on Gene’s behalf with regard to Nubsib’s actions. In a normal situation, this level of manipulation would be considered as rebelling, making him an unfit choice for Gene. But since the entire cast personally know Nubsib; no one seems to bat an eye over his possessive attitude, except for Gene.
I enjoyed his high level of astuteness, when it comes to Gene. But that’s only because his character is written in a way that creates both empathy and sympathy. It almost validates the age difference, with Nubsib being almost five years younger than Gene. Because I don’t think an empathetic person would personally manipulate another person in pursuit of what they feel solely belongs to them.
I do wish that same character development had been attributed to the other characters. From the trailers to promotions, the artwork works on the pretense that the series is solely focused on Gene. But by episode nine, the focus shifts to Nubsib. Whether he is on the screen or not, his name is uttered in almost every scene. I wonder if it was the writer’s intention to create a bubble around Gene, where Nubsib was the surface. That’s the feeling I got as their relationship is discussed by the people who know them best. It is clear that this is something that everyone knew except for Gene.
His insistent frowns and reluctance to accept Nubsib comes from a place of reason and logic. How can he trust someone who has created an illusion, that he now enjoys surreptitiously, based on false pretenses. The duality of their emotional perceptions of and ensuing arguments becomes the real conflict in this series. They aren’t in the same headspace. Their issues are clearly emphasized as Nubsib explains and re-explains his childhood trauma of abandonment, when Gene left abruptly.
But only Gene knows it wasn’t a choice he made easily. The scriptwriter’s failure to address this problem in the eighth episode is disappointing. Maybe it was to validate Nubsib’s clingy attitude. Or it was to allow Gene to be swayed by his emotions; to that he would allow Nubsib back into his life; even though Gene knows that their love life has an expiration date.
Alongside their nearly all encompassing romance, the show also focuses on Aey’s personal struggles. Major sections of the succeeding episodes focuses on this character, as his role becomes more consistent in the later portion of the series. His sister outed his sexuality to his parents and there is an underlying tension between them. But he does love his family, even if they have cruelly dismissed his personal dreams. I live for the way he is presented in small vignettes, almost always alone, highlighting his lonely persona on the social media. His beauty and sexuality doesn’t matter to those, who know him well. Bruce portrays his role perfectly as he acts spoiled and as if the fan adoration doesn’t affect him at all. None of the affection touches his heart.
It is lopsided in the portrayals of the different storylines that are unfortunately detrimental to the characters. While Aoey gets lots of screen time where his tragedy life is explored in detail. Tum and Tiffy get quite less screen time. So when their love confession scene occurs, we are at a loss of how things turned out this way. I honestly wondered about Tum’s actions that bought Tiffy to her self drawn conclusions. Because Tum’s screen time does not validate her reasoning or concerns. Moments like these could be skipped because it lessens from the aesthetic value. The same goes for Aoey and Mhok. Mhok was barely got any significant scenes in the show; to the point I didn’t even know his name. So when he delivers a heartfelt confession to Aoey, I barely felt anything.
As the show moves toward its conclusion, I can’t help but note that they projected one of the most realistic depictions of a “Coming Out Scene” in a Thai drama. Gene and Nubsib’s parents didn’t yell, but their quiet misery was well portrayed by the actors. In Thai society image and family are of equal value and though being gay may appear socially acceptable, it isn’t above reproach. “Lovely Writer” personified the ripples it causes through an entire household perfectly. The attention to the Father’s in both households is a reflection of the Thai patriarchal society. The entire family looks up to to the heads of the household for decision-making. The filming and the accompanying music for both men was so beautiful.
The ending of the series is a powerful message to fans of Boy’s Love series that shipping has consequences. Without spoiling much, Nubsib and Gene are subjected to borderline inhumane treatment by the people who claim to love them and hold them dear. I found shocking that Gene easily submitting to their whims; at the expense of Nubsib’s feelings. Well written & executed. But despite the inconsistencies galore, the final conflict left me teary eyed. With the inconsistent storyline and critical moments that most of the characters were involved in, I didn’t care much for their portions (like Tam and Tum).
The script was relatable and the actors had amazing chemistry; but due to their limited involvement in the story so far, only Nubsib and Gene’s story took precedence. It was a clear gamble to include such important characters in the finale only (or with limited screen time) and their significance made sense. But I didn’t care much for it. Tiffy and Aoey’s sweet moments in the finale episode was worth while.
The show ends on a surprising and delightful moment, that you’ll to see to believe. Overall, I enjoyed it. It did lose my interest at Episode Seven, but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. I’m really surprised me at how thought-provoking it was. Kao is the best part of this series. His acting blew me away and I swooned over Up’s grumpy portrayal of Gene. The two did a wonderful job carrying more weight than, I have ever seen a BL couple do for an entire series.
Rating- 5 out of 5