Bittersweet Beauty

Trust is a beautiful but precarious thing. It’s not easily earned or kept, but it’s powerful when given.

And it’s devastating when shaken.

Episode 8 of the Thai BL KinnPorsche opens on the beautiful but newly built trust between our main leads and ends on the bittersweet cusp of challenging the strength of that same trust.

Beautiful and bittersweet is the perfect way to describe Kinn and Porsche. They’re the “I’m sorry” couple in this series, the couple constantly in a ‘do I trust you’ conflict with one another. Not only do they come from two different economic backgrounds and family traumas, they’re coming into their new relationship from two very different romantic foundations. Porsche has never been in love before. It’s his first time feeling this way and his first time dating. In comparison, Kinn is moving on with someone else after a bitter betrayal.

And there is no greater obstacle in a relationship, no bigger test, than coming face-to-face with a lover’s unresolved issues.

Episode 8 is the calm before the storm, the subtle hints and nods at the cracks in each character’s relationships leading up to the obstacles that will test how strong their foundations are.

From Tem’s drunken posture at the bar to Kim avoiding Chay to Kinn’s swift reaction over Tawan’s reappearance, the stage has been set.

It takes a lot of strength to open up about one’s past with someone else, especially when that same past hurts you deeply. The intimate heart-to-heart conversation between Kinn and Porsche before Kinn crumples Tawan’s picture is a massive moment for Kinn. He takes a tentative step forward, entrusting his damaged heart to a man he never expected to be attracted to.

But he also looks at the crumpled photograph where it lands on the floor and says, “I’ll take that out later.”

Deep down, what happened between Kinn and Tawan is still there, and Kinn hasn’t gotten to the ‘throw it away’ part yet. He’s simply moving into a new safe place with Porsche, a place where he will feel comfortable finally letting go of the Tawan hurt.

But the keyword is ‘later.’

Anytime a person starts a new relationship after ending one that shakes up their trust and feelings, there are steps to letting that type of hurt go even once they’re involved with someone better. Kinn is entering that step-by-step process only to have the man he’s beginning to work toward letting go suddenly show up. That not only forces Kinn to confront his past suddenly rather than gradually, it will test Porsche’s resolve and his ‘first time being in love’ fears because love batters a person’s self-confidence.

As beautiful as love is, as beautiful as Episode 8 shows us it can be, love is also one of the fiercest human emotions a person can feel. And it makes us question everything about ourselves. Love is inviting someone else into your personal space and giving them a home there. After falling in love, looking in the mirror feels different. It feels happier, but it also feels interrogative. A lot of internal personal questions start barraging you.

“Why does this person love me? What does this person see in me? Do they love me as much as I love them?”

The questions keep coming, and they don’t always have answers. But we ask them anyway. Even the most confident person in the world finds themselves asking these questions, and it’s evident from Porsche’s facial expressions, his subtle moments of falling quiet, that he’s there in that headspace. Actor Apo Nattawin does a fantastic job of giving us both sides of Porsche, the outwardly positive and energetic man the audience can’t help being drawn to and the thoughtful man whose face says more than his lips ever could.

The same goes for actor Mile Phakphum and his portrayal of Kinn. Kinn’s actions and words don’t always match up, and that’s deliberate. He’ll be angrily lashing out at Porsche from fear and jealousy while murmuring “I’m sorry” in a desperate, begging “please don’t leave me” kind of way. Kinn has been emotionally brutalized in the past by his family and love, and he doesn’t know where to safely put all his feelings. Mile captures this perfectly.

But Episode 8 didn’t just give us Kinn and Porsche.

Although our main leads got most of the screen time in romantic, fun, and profound moments that set us up for the storm to come, we also got glimpses into two other relationships.

Most notable are Kim and Chay. There isn’t a single member of the Theerapanyakul family that isn’t emotionally scarred by their upbringing, and Kim is a perfect example of that. Like Kinn, he questions everyone and everything. For the Theerapanyakuls, everyone must have a motive for being involved with them. This is precisely why Kim is so paranoid about Kinn’s new bodyguard being the possible mole inside his father’s home. But Kim never expected to come face-to-face with someone as innocently naive and openly honest as Porsche’s brother, Chay.

In KinnPorsche, Chay represents what it means to grow up unencumbered by the same emotional weights the rest of the characters bear. Although Chay has watched his brother struggle and experienced that same struggle with Porsche, he’s also been protected by Porsche. Porsche has stood between life and Chay, softening the blows his younger brother could have received from the ugliness. And that has given us a character who only knows how to love, cherish, and trust in a way the other characters don’t.

And it’s playing with Kim’s heart. The guilt-ridden tug of war on Kim’s face speaks volumes. He’s never dealt with someone like Chay before, and it’s starting to break down the suspicious walls Kim has used to fortify his heart. He’s on the verge of letting Chay into his personal space.

While we’ve felt a lot of pain and fun in this series, we’ve yet to feel the kind of pain seeing Chay hurt will give us. We’ve yet to experience the type of pain seeing a character unsullied by ugliness being thrust into a world filled with it. And it’s going to be painful for Kim and us, and especially for Chay. The production could not have done a better job casting Chay. A rookie actor, Barcode is as young and beautifully new to life and love as Chay is, and that kind of youthful newness is refreshingly portrayed on screen. As viewers, we’ve already gotten a glimpse into what Barcode can give us emotionally in a scene, especially the moments he shares with Apo’s Porsche. It’s building a lot of anticipation for what he’s going to give us later when things between him and Kim come head-to-head, when the lies are thrown away for hard truths both of them have to come to terms with.

Although I don’t delve much into my family in my write-ups, focusing instead on my writing experience and bisexuality, I am the mother of a 14-year-old child actor. I’ve sat behind the scenes as they’ve worked on multiple television and movie projects over the last six years, including two seasons of an emotional primetime drama. I’ve watched many actors do their jobs and the dedication it takes to do it. And I’ve observed projects where my child is the only minor main cast pushing themself to be as perfect as they can be. They are following their dream, and I’m just there while they do it until they decide they want to follow a different dream or try something else. But I’ve noticed that my child pushes themself more than anyone else ever could. Anytime someone has a dream, they want to make it happen with a ferocity that can emotionally affect them. I’ve been there. I remember the tears I shed over my first unpublished book. Twenty-three published books later, I’m still there.

So, I want to take a moment to applaud Barcode for his work in KinnPorsche as the youngest cast member. He’s stepping up to the plate, and I hope he knows it’s not going unnoticed.

This brings me to Tem. In a brief bar scene between Porsche, Yok, and Jom, Tem is drunkenly passed out; his cheeks flushed and his heart broken. Although Jom only briefly touches on why Tem is drunk, those who have read the book already know why he’s broken. I don’t want to delve too deeply into the Time/Tay/Tem story for spoiler reasons until they happen on screen, but I admit I am soft for Tem’s character. And I know that may give me a lot of heat. Most dramas, books, and films strip the humanity out of the “other person” in a cheating relationship. They tend to tell a story from the person being cheated on and their partner’s POV while avoiding the other person’s POV. This is often intentional. Many authors don’t want to humanize their antagonists too profoundly. What I like about KinnPorsche, which I also strive to do in my work, is that Tem is humanized. In the bar scene, he’s broken. Most viewers don’t know why yet, but he’s there, foreshadowing a much deeper storyline.

And that’s where KinnPorsche’s brilliance lies. Episode 8 may have delivered a light and fun breath of fresh air, but it also included the darker, subtle moments that make this show strong.

Take a deep breath, viewers. The ride is about to get a little bumpy. And hang in there, VegasPete fans, they happen after Tawan appears.

For a drama you do not want to miss, a drama that shatters expectations, check out KinnPorsche on iQiyi.


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