So far? I’m…loving it. Completely. It has such a hold on me, I’m spending way too much thinking about it, watching it, reading about it. I’ll be a complete wreck when it ends, however it goes.
Yikes, this got long.
I know there were a lot of comparisons (including by me) to IMAY when it started, but it’s gone so far beyond that. Everyone keeps saying it’s like fanfic and it is! We’ve never seen f/f treated like this in mainstream media, only in things we write for ourselves. Like if you’ve followed me at all, you know how closely I follow f/f things, I may not watch or reblog, but I know what’s out there. NOTHING like this has ever been done before. And it’s being done well! When I was first recommending it to friends, and saw others do the same, it was always with a caveat, it’s a soap, it’s cheesy, and I’m realizing that’s the same almost apologetic warning I used to give for Bollywood films, like, yeah, it’s good, relatively, but whatever, own it. It’s good by itself! Sure, it follows its own cultural themes and tropes, but that doesn’t make it lesser.
Personally, I do love slow burns and I wish we’d been able to bask in the earlier moments for longer, but I’m not going to blame the show
for not catering to my exact tastes. It’s going to be sooo difficult to go back to other shows that sparingly parcel out maintext, often only coyly hinting at something, and almost never giving us more than a few minutes per episode. Here, not only does the relationship take up most of the show, but all the other characters’ stories come back to them. And the writing and acting is really effective in showing that these two women are head over heels for each other, there’s no ambiguity or holding back. At its heart the show is a romance, and the romance is true and epic.
The background characters are great too. I love that Althea actually has queer friends, as you’d expect in real life, and Batchi and Wila are just kickass on their own (except the slapping…that’s probably my biggest wtf, really, the slapping…people should stop slapping Jade). And of course by having multiple queer characters, there is the luxury in telling different stories. The show’s explicitly brought up stereotypes and misconceptions to clear them up, too. It’s trying really hard.
The Tanchingco sibling and family dynamics are excellent too. They’re close to each other but it’s clear where the priorities lie. And the Paul-Jade rift is presented fairly openly, in that even while Paul is sarcastic and cutting, there’s so much narrative sympathy for him and it’s clear that Jade was the one who messed up.
The acting! I have no doubt that if it had remained Marian as Jade, she’d have brought a different dynamic and chemistry to the role, but holy crap, Rhian Ramos. She completely inhabits Jade Tanchingco as a character, she’s gorgeous, sure, but she’s also sweet and funny and wryly pragmatic at times. She loves her family dearly and is loved in return and is completely (and maybe wrongly so) confident in her position as the favored baby of the family. Her family’s expectations have always aligned with her own so far, so she doesn’t realize how much of her easy obedience hinged on that, and when things start to unravel, she displays her surprised hurt with such vulnerability. The Jade we see is perfect (in a likable way), so it’s all the more chilling when her family’s willing to sacrifice this bright, open, lovely girl for what others think of them. It’s good that Rhian, and actually, Glaiza, are so excellent at the cry
acting, with the wavering voices and trembling lips and all, because
they’re called on to do it so often.
I remember this review pointing out that Althea’s the kind of dashing, charismatic love interest that’s always popular but that it’s her earnest openness that really wins over Jade, and that’s so true. Glaiza de Castro (who by the way, for a rock goddess has an amazingly gentle voice) does this great job having Althea straddle the line as the archetypal love interest people watching m/f romances are used to, but without ever forgetting that she is not the “male” love interest here. She’s not the pursuer, in fact, there is no pursuer here, this is a mutual thing where they can’t help but gravitate to each other. There are so many fun tropes present, but it’s actually really encouraging how it’s always clear that this is a lesbian romance. It’s pressing the soulmate thing so hard, a lot of the chemistry is physical, long gazes, touches lingering a little too long, but it’s the emotional connection that’s so overwhelming. We’re so used to the angst of coming to terms with sexuality and the the getting together part, it’s a bit more unusual to see them practically hop over that and into the being together part.
As for the no kiss thing…whatever. I’d take a good storyline over a meaningless kiss any day.
And thank you! Hope you’re having a lovely day too. 🙂