Oh, how delighted I am that Quaranthings the Series episode two is instantly relatable right from the start. My feelings for Judah have certainly changed, and it’s evident in the first minute. In episode one, he didn’t leave the best impression on me until the end. But, in Episode 2, I feel like my grasp on him as a character has grown.
—Edited by TheFNGee
This episode opens with Judah questioning himself, transforming from the confident, arrogant guy we met in episode one to someone who needs to know why he isn’t worthy enough to be selected as the business econ candidate. He’s put a lot of work, time, and effort into obtaining this role, and I relate to that. It’s hard when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something you are passionate about achieving, leaving you confident you’ll obtain that role only to have it snatched away.
The camaraderie between the main leads is growing, too. Thankful for the quarantine pass, Rocky is helpful and friendly, and his interactions with Judah gives both characters a deeper, more three-dimensional feel. Add in the difficulties the pandemic is causing—the loss of available jobs, the fear of getting sick, etc. Suddenly, we have two leads who are dealing with each other and their problems. This opens up a whole slew of exciting storytelling possibilities.
The little details, however, are what captured my soul, such as seeing the expression on Judah’s face while looking at his family’s social media posts. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught me, it’s the fact that, as a society, we spend so much time being busy that we don’t often spend enough time inside our own heads, until now. With the pandemic, there’s too much time inside our own heads, leaving us emotionally exposed to the stuff we used to block out. We’ve gone from one extreme to the other. While we should certainly face ourselves more, the pandemic has accelerated that process. It isn’t healthy.
The only true downside to the storytelling in this episode is Glenn. He felt unnecessary and had me doing some serious eye-rolling. Winning the candidacy for the role the person you like happens to covet is not the way to catch your crush’s attention. And if French kissing someone means a person is in love, I’ve got a complicated romantic history – just saying. However, Judah made up for it when he says he can’t like Glenn because the two of them are too much alike. I haven’t decided if Judah’s “There’s no way I’d ever like me” is a sign that he has some serious self-love issues or that he just realizes he isn’t that easy to get along with. It’s ironic that Judah wouldn’t be attracted to someone like himself while I find myself liking his character more with each passing episode. Maybe, in retrospect, that is the role Glenn plays in this. His conversation with Judah helps us understand Judah even more.
Cue the emotional stuff, which is right up my alley. I love anything that makes me feel things. Whether it’s tears, laughter, anger, frustration, or other complicated human emotions, I am all about being taken on a roller coaster ride of feelings, and Judah and Rocky deliver. Through a tipsy game of Truth or Dare, the viewer is invited into secrets that have only been hinted at until now—complicated family dynamics, the multitude of jobs Rocky has, and the need for what both of them currently lack affection. And with it ending on a hug that made my heart go “awwwww,” but Rocky’s face go “um, oh okay,” this episode left me in a much better place than the first one did.
However, most notable about this episode, the key point that has completely sold me on this series, is Rocky’s line: “I hate people who sexually harass others.” Oh, the way I wanted to stand up and cheer when those words passed through his beautiful lips. Thank you, Quaranthing the Series, thank you. I think it’s brave for a show to showcase sexual harassment in a negative light, no matter where it happens and by whom. Quaranthings the Series did not hold back. Using the sexual harassment Rocky put up with at the gay bar where he works, the show also opened up the all-important question Judah needed an answer to, “Are you homophobic?”
The emotional struggles are real, and I am impressed by the storytelling.
My expectations are rising. I love that the posters in Judah’s room are a nod to other BL series and stay away from some of the more toxic tropes. So far, at least. Time and future episodes will tell.
I will note that there are times when the lighting in the production quality seems brighter than others, creating a disconnect. The background music was also too loud during the dinner scene, taking away from what could have been a more heartfelt delivery of the dialogue. As for the actors, Royce is by far the biggest reason for my investment in this drama, his acting completely enthralling me. Kyo grows stronger in his role with each new episode, although his interactions with his friend Besh came across as slightly awkward for me.
All in all, if the first two episodes are any indication, this series is definitely going to leave a big impression.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]