“Till the World Ends” Series Review (Ep.1 to 10)

“Thus with a kiss I die.” – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Sometimes, something that you were not expecting to transform you, does in a most gut-wrenching way. Personally, I was so deeply and profoundly touched by this BL series in ways I have not been in a very long time. It moved me to strong emotions, perhaps because of its simple basic message. While the story is not new and ‘end of world’ series can almost become trite, this one is warm, soft, relatable, and touching that I cried unexpectedly in a lot of different scenes throughout. Why? Because needing to say good-bye to so many beloved and basically good people is one of life’s most basic, yet emotionally agonizing and jarring, challenges humans must endure. Keep the quotation above in mind when you watch this stunning and brilliant BL series.

Golf (Best Charttong) is a pre-med student at a university who, despite knowing about people, does not know himself. He becomes anxious and violent when he finds out his girlfriend is ‘seeing’ another guy. What he witnesses is her talking to another guy, Art (Art Juanchainat), and in a fit of impulsive anger, hits Art over the head with his guitar. Suddenly, there is an announcement that everyone must leave for their designated bunkers as the moon will shortly be crashing into the earth. Before Golf can leave, he hears Art say weakly, “Help”. What does he do?

We see them a few days later, with Golf tending to and nursing Art back to health. Both have missed their opportunity to enter a bunker. With only a few days remaining, Art is only able to gain fuzzing images of what may have happened. Golf chooses to remain silent, knowing this is wrong, and feeds him a false narrative. But in the interim, they begin to get closer to each other and something sparks between the two of them that triggers a feeling that is more than friendship. My only criticism of this series is, given that the world is eminently ending, that the writers would have fostered a quicker connection to romance and a more powerful drive to intimacy sooner.

In the meantime, however, there are some unsavory characters that quickly become unbalanced and therefore sociopathic. As a result, they lose their tether to any sort of reality and begin to kill people left behind for the sheer pleasure of doing so, while reverting to cannibalism as a further depravity to complete derangement. They discover Golf and Art but before they can end their lives, Golf manages to kill one of them. The others, then, become fixated on destroying Golf and Art and anyone who comes into contact with them.

As Art begins to recover from his head trauma, they meet another individual left behind named Mam (Pong Teppharak). She is a lonely older woman who begins to act like a grandmother to these two, sensing and seeing that their relationship is more than friends. She also helps Art to put things into perspective when he finds out that his head wound was caused by Golf’s anger. The interchanges between these three characters are worthy of praise as they are done so with all the warmth, care, and sincerity of people who feel and act as if they are close relatives and have been living together for a long time. In a sense, they become family almost immediately. Their bond is genuine and real.

Gus (Michael Vatanavitsakul), Golf’s brother, is released from jail as a political prisoner and manages to get to Golf’s dwelling where the two are reunited again. Gus knows of a place near the Laos border that might be taking in refugees before the world end. And so the plan is for all of them to travel there. As they discuss their plans, Mam says she is not going. She does not want to ‘leave’ her husband in case he should return from the dead and therefore will remain where she is – alone and dying on her own terms. Their last meal together was such a special occasion, filled with so many wonderfully sincere and heartfelt good-byes, I began to reflect on my own life and the people left behind, weeping along with them.

This series is filled with so many of those heartwarming exchanges with people. They did them with such care in mind and made them all feel as if it was part of a final journey of discovery. It is an astonishing and brilliant screenplay and direction.

Along the way, I wish I could say it was a happy journey, but it is not. There are so many memories, so many sad good-byes, yet through it all, the one constant is the love that was deeply felt along the way and the sustainability of that love right up to the end. I cried with them. I felt their end as well. It was dramatic, sad, and so intensely moving and yet beautiful in its simplicity and grace. They died in each other’s arms, holding onto each other. Perhaps there is no better way to die.

This was a phenomenally well-acted BL. All are so deservedly of this honor but who stole my heart was Mam played by Pong Teppharak. She was exactly what this story needed to move it along its journey to love without making it too maudlin. When she ‘married’ them, I quite literally sobbed with joy. It felt so real and so honest, yet you knew it was not; it just seemed like it was. She provided the glue to mending the love connection, to giving these three guys the strength to go on, and finally she gave us the dignity and strength to face our own mortality. Just an astonishing performance that made life feel so worth living. Her reflections on her life were captivating and almost poetic. Soft, simple, reflective, and yet painful. It was completely mesmerizing. She was not the only minor character who impacted this story. The ‘uncle’ they meet along the way later, is one more person that creates yet another dimension to this series. Each of these characters adds to the love between Art and Golf, with a certain synergy that brings all their endings to such a level of emotions that you feel the finality to life before it even happens. Yet you are not frightened; merely accepting the inevitability of it was grace, love, and sublimeness.

While the roles of the three remaining sociopathic individuals were despicable, one could not help but feel a certain sympathy for them. This series created in them a human side that we tend to not sense perhaps with individuals who are evil. Yet, the story brought the basic concept of humanity even to them. They felt pain, loss, and love even if not by our standards. The uniqueness of these characters is that two of them were in a loving gay relationship which was presented with such depthness, that had they not been despicable creatures, would have been worthy of their own BL story. Their relationship, ironically, was intense and in every sense of the word, passionate. Additionally, the two actors had such solid screen chemistry together, that you, dare I say, feel the love between them. This series forces you to see people, not merely in black or white or good and evil, but in the totality of who and what they are.

I cannot begin to tell you the internal impact this series had on me. It presented people with all their flaws and foibles. Yet, their worthiness is the kindness and gentleness that showed to each other. It presented the sacrifice that others make for the love of others. It presented life in all its real forms – Good. Bad, Beautiful. Ugly. Connected. Detached. Loved. Abandoned. And everything in between. Through all of it, we get to ride along the route to the end of life that we know is coming. And how Art and Golf handled this knowledge is so captivating and almost Shakespearean. As they face their mortality, Golf says to Art, “My meaning of love means YOU”. This encapsulates the essence of what true love is. Love is learning to face reality together. They did. They did indeed.

This is a phenomenal BL and has to be ranked one of the best BLs in 2023. It is an emotional experience.

Rating- 4 out of 5

Streaming on- WeTV & Commetive YouTube Channel

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