UWMA? Why are we talking about Until We Meet Again weeks after the Finale was broadcast? Because I need to finish what I started. A multitude of reasons, actually. Mainly because I effectively trashed some aspects of Episode 16, and discovered later I was dead-ass wrong. I was also tired of letting myself be overwhelmed with emotion. Now that’s passed, and I want to put down what my thoughts are regarding this series ebullient finish.
Edited by The_FNGee
We ended Episode 16 on what was a pretty significant cliffhanger. The Finale starts with a scene that we’ve seen in the series of teasers and trailers for what seemed like years – the funeral for the two lovers, Korn and Intouch. The fact that they are side-by-side in this sad ceremony conveys to me that the two families have come together since the tragic and unnecessary deaths, and accepted Korn and Intouch as a couple, though too late. There are two grieving fathers who are laboring to create the namesake of the original book, the link of the red thread between the two deceased lovers, tying them together forever. One of the shots that got to me the most was that of youngest brother Kard grieving. Onscreen for 10 seconds, it conveyed the most to me as far as the cost of Korn’s actions. Seconds later, the scene shows the character of the younger Krit (again played by Title Kirati Puangmalee, from “Love By Chance,”) pulls the candied toy out of the fridge, complete with flashbacks to happier times. Title’s performance here is heart-wrenching and would give Fluke some competition at expressing grief.
After the credits, we’re in the condo when Dean opens the door and runs into the room to comfort who he sees as his love Pharm. Dean talks to Pharm to soothe Pharm’s ragged emotions, with endearments, expressions of love, and suggestions that they go home. Unbeknownst to Dean, however, and through quick intercuts, we see that Pharm’s persona is suppressed, with Intouch’s personality entirely in charge. Intouch assails Dean with curses, and insults, flailing and striking Dean over and over in a fit of hysterics. Dean is stunned and continues to take the abuse, maybe as a fitting punishment for Korn’s mistakes. For a brief moment, Pharm appears to return with an embrace between the two of them.
Seconds later, we see that Intouch isn’t finished. Another outburst and he strikes Dean across the face, with Dean acknowledging the guilt he feels by doing nothing.
“You said you’d never leave me!”
“Why did you do this to me?”
Performances by the two actors Ohm and Fluke are incredibly powerful and in perfect sync here. What’s taken me a minute to describe, these two convey as devastating emotions in mere seconds. Their performances continue in what I see as the best exchange in the series. Fluke as Intouch/Pharm, furious and out of control, with Ohm as Dean/Korn, helpless, and accepting the blame absolutely and completely. At a crucial moment, Intouch picks up the gun and defiantly tells Dean/Korn (I’ll) “leave you first!”
As a member of the audience, I quickly feel the terrifying prospect of what could happen. At his best moment in the scene, Ohm shows his character in a completely helpless situation, literally begging Intouch:
“In, don’t do this! Don’t take him away from me!”
“Please, don’t do this.”
In a desperate move, Dean attempts talking directly to Pharm, consoling him, telling him not to be afraid:
“I’m your Dean. It’s okay.”
“It’s okay now. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” and Dean pulls him into a powerful embrace.
Fluke’s superb character fusing of Intouch/Pharm collapses emotionally, and while still in the middle of this tight embrace with Dean, continues to strike ineffectively at Dean with his smaller fists for just a moment, and then the violent emotions settle down briefly.
Sin, Krit, and Grandpa enter the condo. P’New uses a slow in-focus on the character “Grandpa,” to show us Korn’s point of view, at the same time his persona is rising in Dean, and he utters “Dad.” Fluke’s Intouch/Pharm character reacts, and in a quick-cut flashback, we hear Korn’s dad yelling his name and brutally pulling him away from Intouch and his father, berating his own son for the situation, again. Quickly back to the present-day condo, we see in Pharm/Intouch the realization also of who this old man is and what he helped perpetrate on the young couple.
Fluke’s character(s) lose control and start another hysterical tirade with Dean/Korn, yelling and screaming, now mostly directed at the character of Korn’s father, the cause of all this. Fluke, embodying the character Intouch altogether now, screams “No!” and writhes in emotional agony, crying in despair, reliving the night of Korn’s and his suicide. He looks at Dean, calling him “Korn,” and collapses, and Dean hurriedly moves in to embrace him, repeating his name “Pharm” over and over. Unexpectedly, Pharm’s mom and brother Phoom rush in, determined to provide aid for her son Pharm. She is stopped by Krit, who tells her he’ll handle this situation.
What follows is a lengthy expose on the anger, suicide, hurt, regret, and depression that members of this group of characters have felt over the past 30 years or so. The actor, playing the role of Krit, starts a dialogue of what has transpired over the years in the house of Ariyasakul.
He addresses the pair of young men sitting on the couch in a tight embrace but is speaking to both couples present, Dean and Pharm, and Korn and Intouch. He starts with, “No one is going to separate you two.” The pair of young men look up at him, at each other, and stand up, facing Krit, waiting with expectation. Krit speaks to Intouch, telling him of the pain that Intouch’s parents went through for decades. Krit tells him that the condo, no, the entire building was purchased posthumously for him and Korn by Korn’s father, “Grandpa” in this scene. Krit states further that this site will always remain as it was as a tribute to them (and an acceptance of their love for one another). Krit continues that his dad kept the scarred-up box for Korn and In. Saved it as a reminder of his love for his son, and of his own regret, and that he weeps every time he gazes on it.
(Couple points. This dialog also revealed to me, as the reviewer, that I was wrong in the previous episode’s review, about why the area still looked untouched over the decades passed. The following is lengthy, continuing with Krit’s dialog. I do this because I’m always so moved by the excellent performances coming out of the entire cast in this scene.)
Krit goes on speaking directly to Intouch and Korn, telling Intouch that Intouch’s dad was also very sad, and cried continuously at the loss of this son. And that his world came crashing down on him because of Intouch’s suicide. Fluke’s masterful rendering of his Intouch character is now hit with the realization of his own guilt, the role he himself played in this tragedy, and the heartache he caused his family as well. Ohm’s Korn character is even more racked with guilt, as he believes that all of this is his fault – that he set in motion the horrific events of that night. He apologizes to his father, who is overcome.
Krit continues, speaking again of the bond that now exists between the two families, forged after Korn and In’s funeral, and the promise Grandpa made to Intouch’s dad before he died. That Grandpa would always do his best to take care of everything for both families, including Pharm’s condo.
Tom Phollawat Manuprasert’s moving performance as the character Krit pleads with Intouch not to be angry at Grandpa anymore, or the Ariyasakul family either, as they’ve all been in pain long enough – because of his and Korn’s actions. Addressing Korn, Krit tells them that the youngest brother Kard, Pharm’s dad, never forgave his father, and wouldn’t even see him when Kard was hospitalized, near his own death. Kard passed away, estranged from his father forever. Korn continues with self-recrimination, calling himself stupid, selfish, and declares his love for all of his family, and especially for Intouch. He then apologizes to Intouch multiple times.
Fluke’s combined role of Intouch and Pharm stares around the room, and then as Pharm, he states:
“Intouch. He thought he was strong,” (maybe not the most accurate translation of the original Thai dialog)
…with a scene from the past of Intouch’s assertiveness concerning which umbrella to use inserted here.
At this point in the scene, we have an unclear bit of translation here, and in my role as the reviewer, I must conjecture (based on the view that follows) that Intouch was just superbly pissed at Korn. To that end, and as an alternate to the scene’s present reality, the actors’ Nine and Earth as Korn and Intouch replace Dean and Pharm in the room now, to begin a conversation of forgiveness to each other.
The acting by this quad of young male actors, Fluke, Ohm, Nine, and Earth here is especially moving, imbuing all four of their characters with a sense of real sadness, albeit with the beginnings of forgiveness. (The editor cuts back and forth between the two couples in the same posed positions a few times, showing the unity of resolve.)
We’re given a break now.
When significant conflict like this comes to an end, there can be those who choose for their time in this world to come to an end as well. After being blessed with some redemption, Grandpa lies on his deathbed. The family gathers around his bed, including Dean, who, at this point, appears to be more Korn than Dean. Pharm, his mom, and brother Phoom enter the room in time to hear Grandpa make a single request of both couples present. He asks Dean/Korn to take care of Pharm/Intouch, which Dean acknowledges that he will indeed. The mood is somber, but totally unlike the emotional hysteria from the previous scene. All actors involved do their roles well and with dignity as that of a grieving family.
In a compelling dream sequence between Dean and Pharm, complete with an actual red thread tied between the two of them, we watch the character Dean, walking away from the bed, holding up a pair of scissors, cutting the thread, and severing the “link” between him and Pharm. Fluke is in his emotional Pharm character, but Ohm manages to portray Dean with the absolute coldest look and heartless eyes, we’ve seen the character express, along with the dead-flat monotone delivery of lines telling Pharm that they only loved each other because of the red thread and that they’re both free now.
Here the dream serves as a plot device pushing the nagging thought, “Do we truly love each other?” which forces its way into Fluke’s thoughts, fostering doubt as if Pharm had not evolved more self-confidence in previous episodes. It’s a valid point. Both characters Dean and Pharm are driven relentlessly throughout their childhood into adulthood by memories that didn’t belong to them. Did the driving power behind these memories that drew them together all those years ever hint they could be damaging? No.
Regarding the subject of reincarnation, you won’t find very many published “rules.” Maybe situations like this are one of the reasons there aren’t. Are those reincarnated made up of two disparate entities, the past, and present, as they were at times in UWMA? Or are they a combined unit? Is each supposed to be aware of the other? What if the dreams and goals of the two entities differ radically? Or is reincarnation so enveloping that the newly-born entity is pre-destined so as to not develop their own wants and desires? The series chooses wisely not to go into these philosophical questions and leaves the question of love by itself, and if it exists between Dean and Pharm.
Life appears to return to normal. We get to see an oft-repeated view of Pharm, in a somber mood, bringing freshly prepared goodies to his chums, Manaow, and Team. There’s the obligatory scene of Dean meeting Pharm after class and going home. In Pharm’s condo, the staging of the couple sitting on the floor leaning against the bed is telling. Compared to before, here they are widely separated, as if they’re merely acquaintances. The shot of Pharm’s hand hesitantly reaching for Dean’s, and then standing fast reveals all. At this point, they go without even talking to each other for literally minutes, other than the occasional look at each other, finally ending the period with a slow and tentative kiss. It’s the perfect setup for Fluke’s character Pharm to state: “I think…..”, a large inhale, “We should stay apart for a while.” Talking about it now as the plot is easy, but on my first, second, et al. viewing, when I saw the look on the face of Ohm’s Dean, I lost it, so soon after the scene in the condo. Ohm is a treasure here, and tearful exchange between the two actors seems entirely real.
After the break, we’re shown a banner “3 months later.” Really? I don’t think it would take nearly that long to realize whether or not you truly love someone, but it is what it is. We’re shown life as it is now for Pharm, similar to the pre-Dean times. On the other side, we’re primarily shown the same thing for Dean’s life as it was, pre-Pharm. There’s also a brief interaction between the two lovers when Pharm and Dean see each other at a swimming competition.
But, there are some other new events. Manaow’s film won the competition! Remember that? 😊 Then we see Pharm in the classroom, and his gray-haired classmate Dej, played by Best Vittawin Veeravidhayanant, inquires about him and Dean’s relationship. Surprisingly, after a short reminiscence, Pharm tells Dej that they never actually broke up and leaves it at that. Within seconds, Pharm is in a text conversation with Dean. Just as quickly, it just so happens, that Dej also has a note for Pharm from someone who loves Pharm’s desserts. Pharm looks at the note; it’s in Dean’s handwriting. The subs here don’t reveal what it says, but it got Fluke’s tear-factory for Pharm going again. I captured the image, scanned it, and asked Google. The note says, “Never forget.”
Oh lordy! Do I get a sense of the ol’ proverbial ball rolling? I am not laughing or poking fun. I’m just excited, seriously! C’mon you two!! Enough dilly-dallying! There’s been enough hurt already!
Before we get Dean and Pharm back together, we also spend a little time with Win and Team. Win is teaching Team how to order a drink correctly for Win. It’s cute, and the two actors are obviously comfortable with each other. Hopefully, we’ll see much more of them when more of the original book’s sections are produced for TV.
As we progress through this, the “finale” episode of UWMA, we’re treated to scenes that are effectively ‘catching up’ on all of the other plotlines that have been running throughout the series with a ‘current status.’ However, through most of them, there is a ‘touch’ or minor reference to Dean and Pharm, showing an ever-increasing amount of communication between the two of them. I’m not minimizing the other plots, quite the contrary. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the previous week’s “Special Episode,” I love interviews with actors outside the character they play. However, I would have instead had P’New and crew spend more time on giving us a more complete finish or even continuation of the secondary plots. What about having more with Manaow and her new boyfriend? What about Mom’s and Phoom’s visit? What about more detail on Win and Team?
The series runners proceeded with the show as they saw fit. Again, is what it is, but I’m still grateful for it. After the break, the scene opens and we’re present in Pharm’s bedroom. Pharm is asleep, and he hears the voices of Earth’s and Nine’s characters, Intouch and Korn. This is distinctly different from the “dreams” he’s experienced, as here he’s forced to sit up in bed before being shown what he is to see. The characters of Intouch and Korn are having a discussion on what Korn refers to as “nonsense” – not much change there, eh? With Pharm watching them, Intouch, with a single turn of his head and a single “Thank you” with a smile directed at Pharm, is telling Pharm that ‘we have each other, you and your Dean have each other. We’re happy. You be happy and get on with your life.’
Korn and Intouch leave the vision. Pharm is vividly emotional; he then looks up with a look of recognition on his face. Immediately they cut to a shot of Ohm, as Dean, in the most breathtakingly attractive and welcoming pose producers could achieve, complete with a body-hugging pullover. With Korn and In absent from the picture, it’s so apparent here that Dean and Pharm really do love each other.
Pharm acknowledges Dean with his trademark “P’Dean,” and we cut back to Pharm sitting up again in bed. He’s crying, and he holds up the dog tag that Dean gave him with the engraving “Where can I go? I belong to you.” He shoves the tag back under his shirt and suddenly he jumps up and heads for his front door. There is no audio cue, so the viewer can only assume he’s driven by what? Instinct. He opens the door and there, standing in front of him, is Dean. It’s as if at that very moment, the two of them were preordained to meet again right here after months. I’m watching this scene at this very moment to keep me on track, and it’s still hard not to react emotionally to this reunion. Dean tells Pharm that he saw the same vision of Korn and Intouch. Welcome humor takes over when Dean picks up Pharm in his arms and ‘carries him over the threshold’ telling Pharm that they are going to make up for the lost time. They exchange many words of apology, real love, and the scene is wonderfully fulfilling.
(This is supposed to be a review, but I find myself lost to the real world, where I’m sitting at the keyboard, discussing the performances by these two actors. But instead, I’m oblivious to reality, and am totally swept up in how these two fictional characters are celebrating their renewed relationship)
Dean has another surprise. In the act of what must have been heartfelt contrition, Dean has changed his surname to that of Chatphokin as a tribute, and an apology to Intouch and to Intouch’s dad. He then asks Pharm to grab his wallet from the nightstand. He tells Pharm to open it, where Pharm sees the now-wrinkled note that he left on Dean’s school paperwork so long ago. He looks at Dean questioningly, “You knew it was me?” Dean replies, “Of course.” Their ongoing conversation reveals a ring. In this case, the Chatphokin family ring, Intouch’s ring. This ring is to be handed down to a Chatphokin son, and as Dean is now a son of the Chatphokin family, he’s the one.
It’s what he does next, that has me yelling at the screen to Pharm, telling him how lucky he is! Dean tells Pharm that this ring is the most precious thing to him. He then proceeds to take Pharm’s left hand and places the ring on his forefinger. Dean then affectionately and with sincerity the viewer can feel, kisses Pharm’s hand, all while Fluke’s talent of having Pharm crying his eyes out is in full force, along with the chorus singing 2-part counterpoint with 4-part harmony!
While the background music continues to proclaim joy to the heavens, Dean and Pharm spend the final moments of the scene making plans for life, a life that they both have been through hell and back to realize.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]