Popular Thai BL series 2gether ended last weekend and fans were feeling depressed – but not at the fact that the series have come to an end. Nope. The biggest “complaint” of all:
That complaint was legit. Even though I knew that there were only 2 scripted kiss scenes and we had already taken delivery of all kiss scenes by Ep7, my first thought when I saw that scene was: You won a bloody contest, turned around and hugged your team mates, but you hi-fived your lover? This has got to be some high level of zen love that SarawaTine has.
As much as I rolled my eyes at the hi-five, I see this outpouring of disappointment more as fans’ ways to cope with losses. This was coined by some fans as “Post Thai Series Disorder”. That being said, there were other “complaints” that I thought shouldn’t warrant such a negative backlash. Here are some of the trending complaints post-คั่นกูตอนจบ.
Why Did Ep13 Start Off Explaining Sarawat’s POV?
At the end of Ep12, viewers were left with the scene of Tine’s sobbing lingering throughout the rest of the week. #teamTine started to hate Sarawat. They were unhappy that Sarawat only pushed Pam away after he was caught by Tine – that proved he was enjoying the hug, or at least considering Pam’s suggestion to “go back to where we were”, right?
After brewing such hatred for 7 days, Sarawat haters were yanked to the ground with the point of view of Sarawat. He rejected Pam, Pam broke down and hugged Sarawat crying. When Tine ran away, Pam held on to Sarawat, which explained why he did not go and comfort Tine at the stairwell. While Sarawat haters still faulted Sarawat for being too passive, this scene removed a reason to hate Sarawat – because he was not cheating on Tine.
Someone said it was disappointing that this scene was inserted right at the start – now, how are we going to proceed with the episode, now that the main source of conflict was found to be “just a misunderstanding”?
First, the way Ep13 started was in line with the style of the series. The producers gave us a cliffhanger at the end of the previous episode, and proceeded to explain or show a twist at the start of the next episode. In Ep5, we were left with Sarawat inching forward to kiss Tine for a second time. Starting of Ep6, we found out he passed out before the “second kiss” that viewers expected.
Similarly, at the end of Ep6, we ended with Sarawat’s slip of tongue and flashbacks to the concert the year before where he first met (and fell in love with) Tine. Fans were left wondering if Sarawat would expose himself in the following episode. Episode opened with Sarawat saving himself with an impromptu excuse.
I think the best example to explain this point was the end of Ep8, when Sarawat and Tine were beaten up by a secretive group of men. Instead of giving us a dramatic fight scene or a dramatic scene of Sarawat and Tine protecting each other from the attacks, Ep9 just started with the aftermath – Sarawat tending to Tine’s wounds after the attack.
What was the intention?
Drama, catfights and tearful accusations were never the focus of this series. The producers had indicated right from the start 2gether is going to be a lighthearted, feel good show.
When it comes to the final SarawaTine conflict, instead of focusing on screaming and drama, the producers switched the audience’s mood into looking forward to see the lovebirds reconcile. Instead of inciting hatred for Sarawat, they chose the optimistic way of getting fans to hope for a happy ending.
This brings us to the next question:
Sarawat Just Sang One Song and Tine Came Crawling Back?
The answer to this question was already there from the start: Tine’s dream. That scene was not to play around with the viewer’s mood (although it did achieve the effect), but to hint at Tine’s underlying hope that this was all a misunderstanding. When he moved out of Sarawat’s room, he left everything behind, but the guitar. The guitar was the connection between them right from the start, and the fact that he couldn’t leave that behind meant Tine didn’t want to end the relationship too.
By now, it was an established fact that Tine liked to overthink. He tended to think that he did not deserve the good things that happened to him. He only lacked the push factor for him to go running back to Sarawat and let him kiss till he drops. Pam’s explanation did not work. Fong hinting that Sarawat would never love another person did not work. Only Sarawat can push Tine back. And what did Sarawat do?
Sarawat Did Nothing to Get Tine Back!
There were a lot of evidence for Sarawat’s non-action. Some fans were not happy that Sarawat was not there by Tine’s bedside in the hospital (anyone who tried visiting someone in a hospital knows very well that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find that person without knowing beforehand where that someone is). And where was Sarawat when Tine was holed up in Fong’s place?
I think Bright’s explanation in the reaction video spoke very well about why Sarawat did what he did.
Sarawat was never a loud and active person in the first place. He liked to “reveal” his thoughts only at the last minute. For example, when he asked to get his guitar back, he didn’t explain that he wanted to use it for the contest until before he left. Or when he agreed to be Tine’s pretend boyfriend back in Ep2, he also let Tine uncover for himself what his intention was. That was Sarawat – he had intentions, but his mode of delivery was just… weird.
At the same time, Sarawat also felt hurt. As explained by Bright, every time Sarawat saw Tine acting closely with another person (Note: Mil), he never blamed Tine. Instead, he always gunned for the other guy who flirted with Tine. However, when Tine saw Sarawat being hugged by another girl, Tine’s first reaction was: “You are cheating on me!” How hurtful can that be?
Things Between Mil and Phukong Escalated Quickly
Before Ep13, everyone wondered how the producers would handle ManType and MilPhukong. Especially for the latter, their relationship was literally not developed. Or did they?
Someone pointed out that in Ep7, there was already progress. Chat was teasing Mil for finally tutoring a junior in person, and that person was Phukong. However, all that was unravelled when Mil hurt Sarawat in the football match. As Sarawat’s younger brother, Phukong has to be angry with Mil already, right?
But he found out that Mil didn’t intend to hurt Sarawat and was in fact angry with his friends for beating up SarwaTine in Ep9. This left the ball back in Mil’s court – how did he suddenly turn from being infatuated with Tine in Ep11 to accepting Phukong in Ep13?
The hint lies in the start of Ep12, when Mil asked Sarawat what day it was. He then posted on Instagram that he hoped it was a good day. He was sending his blessings to Phukong, who saw that post before attending the entrance exam for Architecture.
In Ep13, Phukong lied to Mil that he passed the exams and wanted Mil to show him around the campus. Everyone was touched at the fact that even though Mil knew Phukong lied, he still accompanied Phukong. Now, how did he know Phukong was lying? He was concerned enough to go search for the results beforehand. That was something that happened off screen, but significant in pushing their storyline forward.
Things Got Boring After Ep10
In fact, this has some truth in it. The series started off with Tine asking Sarawat to be his pretend boyfriend. The draw of the series was seeing this pair of pretend boyfriends tango with each other before becoming official. Fans were chasing this series for that climax when they say yes to each other. Guess what? That happened in Ep10. The whole premise of this series was gone by Ep10. It is therefore reasonable to feel a void after Ep10.
What happened in Ep11 and Ep12 was a mystery to me. I am not sure if the producers needed to “fill in the gap” by plugging in the typical trope of other BL series – appearance of a character who opposes to the union of the BL couple, usually in the form of a parent or ex-BF/GF, and the eventual resolution of the conflict. The producers did all in Ep10 with Tine’s brother, Ep11 with Pine Spirit and Ep12 with Pam.
Series wise, I think yup, the series lost its purpose after Ep10. Storytelling wise, I think they kept up the pace and tone in Ep11 to Ep12. We got a proper explanation of Sarawat’s love for Tine since high school. Pam did not appear and just created havoc – there was a build up over EP12 to that dramatic scene.
In fact, I think Ep11 – Ep13 was just a very long summary to a series, which brings me to the topic of flashbacks.
Flashbacks Was Like 30 Minutes?!
We got flashbacks when Tine was moving out. And then we got flashbacks when Tine revisited the places that held significance for him and Sarawat. When Sarawatwas belting out his love song, we were treated to another round of flashbacks. When Tine was narrating the ending, there were more flashbacks.
Granted, the producers had a lot of grounds to cover. They had to resolve the SarawaTine conflict while tying up the storylines of ManType and MilPhukong. Therefore, many fans wondered if the air time was wasted on flashbacks instead of proper scenes… like kiss scenes.
I think this throws back to the earlier points I made.
Throughout the series, the producers had avoided the kind of drama that one would find in typical lakorns or HK family feud drama. There was none of the screaming and crying at each other. There were no catfights and pulling of hairs. One of the tricks the producers did was to show Sarawat in a good light, to replace the negativity with hopes of a happy ending. And there were no scenes of Sarawat kneeling in the rain begging for Tine’s forgiveness. Neither did Tine and gang go and whack Pam with brooms and feather duster.
In fact, the production team re-filmed the series after the first trailer was released last October, because they received feedback that the tone was too grim/harsh. The producers decided to make the series a lighthearted one, from Ep1 to Ep13. There was no over emphasis on dramatic quarrels.
With that in mind, the flashbacks was actually a good tool in providing a heartwarming summary to the whole series. At first, I thought it was cheesy. However, I realised that old school techniques still work best in recapping the good moments of the series. Viewers were reminded of the reasons why they waited for Fridays to come for 13 weeks. In fact, many of the flashbacks were scenes that fans had shared and retweeted throughout 13 weeks.
For those who were yearning for raunchy sex scenes as a finale like those found in other BL series, you would realise that you still feel kind of comforted when the ending credits appeared. There was no in-your-face stimulation of senses, and yet the finale lingers with sweet aftertaste. That is the effect of flashbacks.
2gether The Series started out and ended the same way. The story started at a Scrubb concert and ended with Scrubb’s performance. Tine narrated the start of the series and ended it with another narration that is poetic and heartwarming.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post, 2gether stood out because of its PG13 content. In a niche swamped with in-your-face raunchy sex scenes, 2gether was a breeze in the hot summer. The storytelling was mature and yet lighthearted. This was the reason why I liked the series. And I think many 2gether fans also felt the same way.
If you are new to 2gether The Series, or simply could not get over this phenomenal Thai BL, here’s the quick link to watch the series from the start!