I watched UWMA Episode 7, multiple times to improve my understanding of the nuances and the limitations of the subtitling, and just to take in all that’s going on.
This is the best episode of the series so far. Maybe not from a perspective of “drama” per se, but certainly of acting, directing, and overall execution – a “tour de force” if you will.
The episode starts literally with a “slap”, in an argument between Intouch (“Earth” Katsamonnat Namwirote, at his best), and his father (here played by veteran Thai actor/jazz musician Paibuljkiat Kheokao), over his relationship with Korn (“Nine” Nopparat Phatthanakun). The tension in the scene is palpable with these two great actors – the entire set must have been on edge during filming. That’s how far the Director P’New pushes these actors to get what he wants.
(At this point, we the audience are aware of enough that’s going on that past and present scenes can be interchanged without the need for visuals or sound-effects)
We start in the present day, at the restaurant dinner scene after Dean and Pharm experienced the same flashback of “promises made”. Afterwards, Dean is dropping Pharm off at home, and their exchange is a sweet moment talking about things and Pharm’s “daydreams” concerning issues and events that will become apparent later on.
Once again after a bold romantic move by Dean, Pharm is a bit reticent to just…..feel. He gets out of the car. He stops in front to look at Dean, and during this moment of their mutual stares of excitement and affection, Dean’s vision of Pharm changes to In, and back to Pharm. In a quick sequence, Pharm then walks back up to the driver’s window where he initiates an intimate “goodbye”, and departs.
Still reeling from the visualization of the past, Dean does an Internet search on that past….
After break, we’re back with Korn and In (wearing THE shirt), in a restaurant setting, enjoying actually “good” food, and it is In’s birthday. We have a heartwarming 5 minutes of Korn and In, continuing to plan their lives being together, and a birthday wish. They already have a place, and even some furniture. Korn excuses himself for a brief moment, comes back, and what follows simply just hurts to watch.
With a subtle cut, we’re in Pharm’s apartment, him asleep in bed, having a nightmare of what we assume is of the previous scene. His face is tear-stained, and he’s giving voice to his internal monologue.
Speaking of which, the vocalization of characters’ internal monologues is common in the BL shows I’ve been watching the past year or so. There’s nothing wrong with it, as it avoids re-recording in post. It’s definitely different from western shows.
The scene in Sin’s apartment is mostly for exposition, where we see more about who Sin is, his friends (real cuties), some of whom surprise, surprise – we know already, and how he is related to Dean/Pharm et al. Some coincidences stretch credibility, but hey, who’s complaining – certainly not me.
I do however have a minor issue with a “production” element in this scene. Someone please fix that wig the actor playing Sin is wearing. I know it fits his character, but if the goal here was to make his hair look like straw dyed-black that is used by a cat as a scratching post, the hair and makeup department have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. 😀
Next, Pharm’s apartment is where some of this series best scenes were completed (so far as we’ve seen).
It’s an emotional roller-coaster, with gorgeous and generous close-ups, and of the acting chops of “Fluke” Natouch Siripongthon as Pharm, and “Ohm” Thitiwat Ritprasert as Dean. I fully understand why some elements from this scene were used in the UWMA Teaser with so much success. Tender romance at its best.
Know that it is a difficult task for a director to achieve this unified a level of emotion on set; it takes a lot out of the actors and crew. Dir P’New’s skills are on display here as well, shooting these precious moments with more than one camera for the characters on the couch, and getting those takes successfully in what looks like a day’s shooting, with a couple of pick-ups later.
I can still say that even after watching this scene over and over, I still feel emotions welling up inside.
We pick up an indeterminate time later at the study table with Del (Pineare Pannin Charnmanoon), Maneow (Samantha Melanie Coates), Team (Warut Chawalitrujiwong), and Win (“Boun” Noppanut Guntachai). It’s Team’s problems with math that seem to be the main topic of conversation. The next second, we see an arm go over Pharm’s shoulder that doesn’t belong to Dean.
Ultimately in this scene, the actual facts involving where Pharm places his allegiance to a boyfriend are fully explained.
Later that evening, Pharm is at home alone, and is living his life on the whims of the Internet again, watching his and Dean’s privacy go up in smoke. The phone rings, and it’s Del with exciting information and a request that brightens Pharm’s mood to the point where his reaction just absolutely surprises the heck out of me. I can feel his emotions too!
I’ve poked fun at product placement in these shows, but ya gotta pay the bills, and hopefully the young actors their fair share.
Plus, this 2-minute commercial for potato chips (a US company, selling its poison in Thailand) gives us an insight into an otherwise unknown, budding relationship in development at this point in the show as well. In fact, there have been several allusions to this relationship in previous episodes that I’ve never mentioned. If I had, those writings would be more “recaps” instead of “reviews”.
Speaking again of the successful UWMA teaser, this episode’s final scene is where we see the precursor scene to one in the teaser regarding a request to Sin to get answers on the story of what happened with Korn and Intouch. This information for characters in the show who don’t know the full story.
This is the closing scene to this episode, and foretells what’s coming.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars [See our Review Guide]
Publisher Note: Steve (The_FNG) takes over the review of Until We Meet Again, starting in Episode 5.