06 February 2015

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Ngao Jai (Shadows of the Heart) - Episode 1 (A ScruffCap)

Posted by becca_boo on February 06, 2015
Shuk: Hello everyone!! Even at my age, I can be sucked in by a pretty face. In this case it's Toomtam Yuttana Puangklang, who entranced me with his performance in the revenge lakorn "Sud Sai Paan / End Of The String" His leading lady, View Wannarot Sontichai played good and evil twins in that drama.
becca: Shuk drew me into the land of lakorns with SSP. I came for craziness; I stayed for that gorgeous Toomtam smile.

Shuk: The two again star together in a new lakorn, "Ngao Jai / Shadows Of The Heart". And this time it's Toomtam playing twins. Can two of him be too much of a good thing? Nahhh. And blessed be, my lovely dongsaeng becca-boo has agreed to do the bulk of the work until I can finish my own recap of "La Ruk Sut Kop Fah".
becca: Yep, that's me! The crazy person. Oh, the things I do for unnies and Toomtam.
Rut pointing out the many ways he is going to make us squee.

Episode 1

We open at a large house in Chiangmai, where a middle-aged man waits impatiently for his son. Said son is in the piano room, staring at picture of a girl - okay, make that two pictures. We don't see his face until his nurse/companion, Naree (Due Arisara), comes looking for him, per dad's request - it's Toomtam! Er, I mean, it's Watit, and oookay, he's whiny right from the start.
I already feel like shaking some sense into him.
Apparently he's sulking because his brother Koon has gone off to see Watit's lady love, and so refuses to go… wherever they're going. But Dad cajoles a little bit. Ah, are they going to a temple to pray for him to do well on a test or something? Is this what's happening, Shuk? Anyway, Wheeze reluctantly goes along with dad.
They are making merit. Essentially, doing actions to apply positive energy or force to their lives. It's a particularly Thai Buddhist staple.  For a more thorough (and admittedly drier) explanation, try here. In this case, I think Dad hopes to gain a little luck for his son, for both his health, and his happiness. But, like most things, it doesn't really count if you have to be forced. 

Elsewhere, in Mea Haung Saun, we get our first (technically second?) look at the real hero of this show - it's Toomtam again! But this version, Rut, is scruffy and rides a motorcycle. We only get a short look, but we like him immediately.
Yes, we do. Very much.
Oh, and then we're back in Chiangmai, at a flower shop. This is where our heroine and Wheeze's longtime crush, May (View) works. (This is where kakashi pops in to say that she's watched the first episode and is very much impressed with View's beauty!!) She's running late because she stopped to fill an order for a regular customer (because we need to see right away how nice she is), and she leaves her younger brother Mai in charge of the shop.
At the temple, Wheeze can barely sit still during the prayer and excuses himself as soon as possible. Outside, he stands clutching his hanky and moping again, so Dad asks What's-her-name what's up, and she tells him that Koon has gone to help May arrange flowers at the Royal Park Rajapreuk event.
Naree, is the daughter of a family friend who was asked to be Wheeze's companion. Clearly, she thinks he's a brat as well, but she has some sympathy for him.
I think she's just tired of listening to him whine about it.

Speaking of May, she runs into problems at the Royal Park when the event coordinator throws a fit because the spider flowers that May promised aren't here. May apologizes and explains that the delivery truck was involved in an accident, but the coordinator still insists that they need the flowers.
The coordinator should use her supposed expertise to help, not just bark at them for an unexpected event.

The best spider flowers are apparently all the way in Mea Haung Saun, though, so Koon (Tar Navin Yavapolkul) offers to take May there to pick them up. However, May knows that he has a meeting to attend later and turns him down. Coordinator says that as long as May gets the flowers, she can take care of transportation.
Mea Haung Saun is on the border of Burma, so it's about as north and west as you can go in Thailand. It borders Chiangmai but is completely mountainous. So it's no doubt a logistical nightmare to get there.

So May and her friend Tippy (who's been helping out for the day), go off in plane, and as they ride, Tippy (Gam Wichayanee Pearklin) asks why things are taking so long between May and Koon. He's been courting her for ages already, and May still hasn't given in. May makes the excuse that she's too busy taking care of the shop and her brother and mom.
Mea Haung Saun is hard to reach, unless you happen to have a Cessna at your disposal. Okay, I changed my mind; the coordinator is cool after all.

Down below, Scruff is loading freshly harvested vegetables onto the bed of his truck, and he and his friend, Wat (Freud Nattapong Chartpong), pause to watch as the plane makes its descent. And from the plane, May is watching him, too. Yep, it'd be hard to miss that. Ahem.
Bestie Wat wonders why there's a plane so early in the morning when it's a holiday, and Scruff scoffs that it must be some rich person, using their money to open up the airport just because they want to. Conflict #1 has been established! He doesn't like them!
Seems to be a spurious reason, but what the heck. I mean, if you are in the retail business near a small airport, I would think it's a good thing to have customers fly in.  Then again, I'm not in retail.

May and Tippy arrive at Rut's house, where his mom Raem (Penpak Sirikul) and little sister, Warin (Cherreen Nachjaree), confirm that Rut is the owner of the spider flower field. Mom seems reluctant when she hears May wants to buy the flowers, but after some imploring, she agrees to go ask Scruff for them.
Who can say no to that cute, earnest face?

Out in the field, Mom tracks down Scruff and tells him the girls want to buy the flowers to decorate at an event. He barely glances at May's card before refusing to sell, and even though Mom tries to convince him, he stands firm, not even wanting to meet May to talk about it.
You grouchy gorgeous guy, you.  Still, it's a business, and flowers will die anyway.  I love Mom's explanation, too. "She came from so far away. Plus, she's well-spoken and pretty. So why not meet her?" Nicely subtle, Mom.

This is when a loud, nosey woman appears, looking like she should be in Grease instead of a vegetable field. Anyway, this Bood woman (Aom Sakaojai Poolsawad) has been chasing after Scruff for a while, and she volunteers to go run off the girls in his stead. Mom's not a fan of the idea, but Scruff gives her permission to take care of it.
"Grease 3: Poodle Skirts and Cabbages". Honestly I really hate the Clingy Jealous Female whenever she shows up, and I definitely took a dislike to Boobs here right from the start. Please let Scruff be smart enough to know why she dresses like this. On the other hand, letting her do the dirty work? Maybe he's not so smart after all.

Meanwhile, the girls are being shown the spider flowers by Little Sis, who explains that her brother really cherishes these flowers, and even though he's had several offers, he's refused to sell them. Bood appears again, insisting that she's Scruff's girlfriend, and they absolutely won't sell, so they should scram. May wants to talk to Scruff personally, and Bood accuses her of actually being her to steal "her" man. Pfft. Delulu, this one (and seriously condescending!). May thinks so, too, and leaves - but not before suggesting that Bood is so obsessed with love affairs that she's gone cuckoo. May is certain that she isn't actually dating Scruff, which is why she's circling around him like a dog and barking. Zing!
Bood throws a fit, but Little Sis is just like, "Who'd be nice to you when you're this evil?" Hahaha!
I love the little sister, and I look forward to her running interference for our OTP. Hit that one on the mark!
Yep, I love her, too!
Bood's ego
So May and Tippy leave, convinced that Scruff is the jerkiest of jerks, since he wouldn't even turn them down in person. She vows to remember his name and hate him forever. Regardless, they're now stuck without the flowers, which won't go over well with the client.

Scruff goes up for some brooding among the spider flowers, and via flashback, we get a crash course in why he won't sell them. Here's how it breaks down: ex-girlfriend loved spider flowers, Scruff planted this garden for her and asked her to wait a little longer for him to propose and they'll live here happily ever after, but some time later, Girlfriend broke up with him and announced that she was marrying some other guy and moving overseas. And the time it took you to read that is approximately the time it takes to watch it. I'm not even kidding.

Back in the present, Scruff finally rips up the wedding invitation and throws away the pictures of her that he'd kept.
The ex-girlfriend is being played by Jane Janesuda Parnto, who I first learned to hate in "Full House Thai", but have since discovered (and hated) her in other similar roles in other lakorns. And since she's really good at this kind of character, no doubt we will see more of her.
Ah, so THIS is MinTramp! I heard she was in it, but I never watch FHT, so I didn't know who she was.

Rin wonders that he hasn't forgotten Praewa the Ex yet, and Mom explains that when you love someone that much, you don't forget: you just learn to stop hurting yourself with the memory. Wat, who lives with them, chimes in that not only has Scruff not forgotten, but he's still beating himself up over it. Mom admits that she's worried about Scruff because he's a person who loves deeply and hates deeply. She's afraid that he'll drown in his pain over the Ex.
So both twins are emotionally sensitive in their own ways. Scruff internalizes. Wheeze strikes out at anyone and anything.  Maybe they both need a spanking?

Up among the flowers again, Scruff does some more brooding as he plays guitar by a campfire. That is one gorgeous view (Scruff included, naturally)!

Meanwhile, Wheeze is playing an instrument, too - the piano. At least he isn't slamming it this time! Let me just pause here to say that before this show came along, I never would have thought that Toomtam could be SO unattractive, but Wheeze is very unsexy, and it's mostly in the way he behaves and carries himself. So yay for acting, I guess! At least we have Scruff to look at.
I am always amazed when an actor can pull off multiple people / personalities, and make me as a viewer care and recognize each distinct individual. He is dong a good job so far.  That having been said, Wheeze is just a holy terror, isn't he?

Oh, wait, I paused for that short tangent and ended up speaking to soon - Wheeze IS banging on the piano in a fit again. Tsk tsk tsk. The maids are watching from the sidelines as he pouts, and Nursey gets the scoop: Wheeze sent for Koon, but Koon hasn't come yet, so he's upset. One of the maids voices disapproval - he's pining for his brother's girl, after all, but Naree gets an idea.
If you look at the above screencap (where he is actually playing the piano), you see he has surrounded himself with photos of May at varying ages.  So this has been going on for a lonnnnnng time.  And is kind of creepy, too.
Naree goes in and tells Wheeze to man up. If he wants the girl he should stop moping around the house and at least try to win her. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

The Scruff Family+1 sit down to a meal, and while Scruff is cheerful enough, everyone else is giving him the silent treatment (Bestie Wat even scrapes his food back into the dish and tells him to serve himself, ha!). He catches on right away that it's because he wouldn't sell the flowers. Apparently Rin told them all about Bood pretending to be his girlfriend and kicking out the girls, and Mom breaks her silence to say "I told you so."
Clearly the squabbling is just one facet of their interaction together, and I love that the one gesture of refusing Rice Service, and he already knows what's happening. A warm, crazy, extended family is a beautiful thing, and probably one of the reasons this twin seems so much more stable than the other.
All that brooding and invitation-ripping must have done something, though, because Scruff gives in and says okay - he'll sell the flowers, which delights them all. But! Little Sis and Bestie will have to get up and help him load the flowers at 3 AM if they're going to get them to Chiangmai on time tomorrow. Ha! And suddenly Rin is singing a different tune and ready to take Scruff's side.
I'm happy he changed his mind.  Now go to Chiang Mai and meet the girl, darn it!

But it's too late, and so they all end up loading flowers in the middle of the night, with Bestie and Rin yawning and complaining all the while. Mom finally goes off to bed, and they try to follow, but Scruff's having none of that. They're in this together! Besides, they're going to Chiangmai with him. They wouldn't make him drive allll the way there and back by his lonesome, would they? Yes. Rin pretends to agree with him, then makes a mad dash for the house, and when Bestie tries to follow, Scruff drags him back, kicking and screaming.
As I have already said; I really enjoy the interaction between the members of the Flower Family! It almost makes me feel a tiny tiny bit sad for Wheeze.
They arrive at the Royal Park bright and early in the morning, with two truckloads of flowers, and Scruff sends Bestie off to finish the transaction on his own. He's not ready to give away the flowers himself. (Because heartbreaaak.)

So Bestie Wat calls May, and Bestie Tippy picks up and is thrilled that they're getting the flowers after all. What follows is a humorous scene in which the Besties try to find each other in a crowd. Wat sees her first and makes her do all kinds of crazy things so that "he can find her" until she gets fed up. Needless to say, they start off on the wrong foot.
The ultimate phone tag! What happens to me in this situation is that I as the other party gets closer, I start hearing an echo between the ear on the phone and the ear in the air, complements of the cell-tower repeater delay. So I know they are nearby.  I think that's a good time for a primal scream, myself.
Scruff has gone off to explore the gardens and take pictures. He sees May walking around and snaps a few pictures of her as she inspects the flowers. Slightly creepy, but whatever, they're cute. Now, I just need these two within kissing distance…. Oops, did I say that out loud?
LOL.  I didn't see it as creepy, but perhaps he normally takes pictures of people when he goes to areas with crowds of people. He just took a heck of a lot more of one person.  That's my rationale, anyway.
May meets Tippy back at the booth, still upset about the spider flowers… until Tippy announces that they've been delivered! Wheeeee happy times! May is shocked that that jerk Rut actually came, but Tippy's like "No, no, it was some horrible guy name Wat instead." And then she calls Scruff psychotic. Ha! But what matters: they have the flowers!

The boys meet back up at the truck, and when Bestie offers him the money, Scruff tells him that he and Rin should split it between the two of him. He can't accept money for those flowers.

He's still there at the truck, looking over the photos he took, when who should drive up but Wheeze and his entourage of caretakers! Faaaaaate!
…. But they miss each other when Scruff gets into his truck.

Ms. Coordinator is pleased with the flowers and announces that May will be hired again next year, so the girls are on cloud nine when Wheeze and Naree show up. Needless to say, it's a bit awkward: Wheeze is overly enthusiastic, and May isn't interested. Then, as if it's wasn't awkward enough, Koon (hereafter referred to as Goon) shows up and makes a point of showing just how closely he's been working with May. Reeeeaal classy, dude.
I'm assuming since they all grew up together that there is probably some long-standing grudges and such. Goon seems to be an underground bully, needling Watit when Uncle isn't around to see. Blech

The party is broken up when Wheeze has a sneezing-wheezing fit, courtesy of all the flowers. He wants to stay with May, but they all urge him to go home and rest - some with more genuine concern than others. Listen, I'm no fan of Wheeze, but Goon is rather unnecessarily antagonistic, don'tcha think? There's history here, and it goes beyond just fighting over a girl. He sends Wheeze home, making sure to drop the tidbit that he'll be having dinner at May's house.

At home, Wheeze gets dosed up with medicine and is feeling pretty blue about failing so quickly. Naree reminds him that this is just the beginning, so he shouldn't give up yet. His determination to win against Goon is renewed. Yay. Or, whatever.
He does seem kind of pathetic at this particular juncture.

Meanwhile, at May's house: Goon and May's mom have a little confab, in which she says that she'll support his marriage with her daughter, so he should be sure to convince May. Nooo, Ma! Someone better will come along soon! Seriously, Goon and Wheeze are not the only two guys in the world.
Agreed. Chiang Mai is not a tiny village, so it's strange that this group of friends are so intertwined in each other's business.  May The Orchid can do better than either of these blooming idiots, and Mom shouldn't be holding hands with Goon unless she plans on marrying him.

They all gather for lunch, and it's clear that everyone considers Goon and May's marriage to be a done deal. She hasn't agreed, but I notice she isn't really protesting much, either. She even smiles a bit. Hm….

Wheeze is waiting for Goon when he gets home. Wheeze whines that he and May have loved each other since they were kids (oh really? that's not quite the way I heard it), so since Goon came along later, he should stay out of their way. Goon says they should let May decide, which is actually pretty reasonable. But then he drops the bomb about asking May's mom for her daughter's hand in marriage. Dude, he even as the invitations already printed up! WTH!
Again, he just wants to spin up the weaker guy.  Dirty cricket, Goon, dirty cricket.

He seems to take a sick pleasure in seeing Wheeze's distress, as Wheeze cries and shouts before falling to the ground, struggling to breathe. And the bastard smiles.

Wheeze is rushed to the hospital, unconscious, where he's stabilized and hooked up to an oxygen tank. When Dad arrives, Goon says he doesn't know why Wheeze collapsed - they were just talking! HA.
Innocent as a baby - rat that is.
When Wheeze wakes up, Dad is fussing over him while Goon glares menacingly in the background. He's forced to leave, though, when Wheeze asks to talk to Dad alone.
He must hope that if Wheeze is permanently incapacitated, then he gets all of Uncle's love and money. And the girl. 

Later, back at the house, Dad calls in Goon and, ohhh, he is not happy with him. He accuses him of wanting his younger brother to die and slaps him hard. He reminds him that Wheeze has always loved May, and if Goon marries her, it will be the same as killing him. Goon gets mad, too - because of his heart disease, Wheeze can't even be a proper husband, so why should he step aside? No. He's going to marry May and leave this house.
I was waiting for Goon to stamp his foot and yell "So there!" The slap was harsh, though, Uncle. No doubt he has been giving into his younger weaksauce cousin for years, so there is a lot of buried resentment. And the older man should be sensitive to the other members of his family.
I really, really dislike the old guy.

He rides his motorcycle out to a secluded spot and seethes that that non-biological brother has taken everything from him, but he won't get May, too.
But you know, Caveman Goon, you can't really bop a woman on the head and drag her off to your cave. And possessive jealousy seems to be a trait for both cousins, and equally a turn-off, in my book.

Once they're back home, Bestie Wat finds Scruff looking through the photos on his camera, and he guesses that Scruff's found a new girl. Scruff denies it - he's too afraid to love someone again. Wat points out that not every woman is like Prae the Ex, and Scruff asks if he has evidence to back up that claim. He points out that Wat is living with them because he was dumped, too. Bestie says his case it totally different - at least he's never pushed people away. Then he fusses when Scruff walks away while he's still talking. I like these two.
Wat is going to be his voice of reason, and help his buddy when Rut makes a boneheaded decision. Because you know he's going to need that with all the craziness on the horizon.
May knows that Mom and Goon have discussed her marriage and tells her that she hasn't accepted his proposal yet. It's not him, it's her - she's not sure if she loves him. Mom says, in that case, she should think about it a little longer, since it's an important decision. But! Don't think too long, or she might lose him and regret it. May sees no problem with that - she'll just stay with Mom and sleep with her every night!
I think she said that just to needle her.  I don't think May sees a problem with marrying Koon, even though the feelings are lukewarm at best.  I think there's a level of comfort with him that makes her more complacent than she ought to be, considering marriage is a life-changing lifetime event.
That night, Naree's father scolds her for being at home when she should be with Wheeze, earning some points. Looks like he's the one who made her leave her job at the hospital to be Wheeze's full time nurse, hoping that something "more" would happen. She's not keen on marrying Wheeze, but he doesn't care. Apparently he used to (and maybe still does?) work for Dad, but long ago, Dad refused to sell him back some valuable stocks at their original price. Even now, he still feels entitled to the wealth Dad gained from it and wants to get it all back through his daughter. We have another winner here, people!
Blech. And shame on you for selling using your daughter to gain financial advantages. When I watched the flashback, I thought the Naree's dad wasn't willing to be more than an employee back then, but wanted founder's money when it surprised him and took off. 

Later, in her room, we see that Naree keeps a picture of Goon on her bedside table. She tells his picture that he's the only reason she's willing to go to that house. Yep, I foresee some complications down the road.
She can have him, as far as I'm concerned.  Little toad in black leather.

In the morning, Rin asks Scruff to take her to the market to buy flowers to present to her teachers during a school ceremony. So they ride his motorcycle to the market (in Chiangmai again?), where they meet her friends, who immediately start batting their lashes at Scruff. Heh.
At first I wondered why a plane was needed previously for what appears to be an easy morning's commute. Then I realized that the flower show was at a completely different location. But if they were farm neighbors, why didn't they know about the other? Or the twins somehow come into contact sooner?  Ach, well, it's fictional, right.

While Little Sis is off shopping with her friends, Scruff wanders around with his camera again and sees May delivering flowers. She stops to chat with some kids, which makes him smile. Aww.
She is just a happy, sunny little thing. Why in the world would she want Goon?
I have no idea. I'm just sitting here shouting at her to turn around because the right guy is RIGHT behind her!!

He's about to approach her when suddenly Goon pops up (along with dramatic music). He's been helping with deliveries, and one of the vendors asks when they're going to pass out the wedding invitations. Goon doesn't give May the opportunity to correct him, though, and promises that it will be soon. Scruff scolds himself for almost hitting on someone else's girlfriend. :(
Come baaackkkk!  Save herrrrr! Drat.

Mai is here delivering flowers, too, and as he rushes about, he collides with Rin, sending them both crashing to the ground. She scolds him for not watching where he's going, and it quickly devolves into a fight, complete with childish name-calling. We do discover, though, go to the same college and even have the same major - Ornamental Horticulture. Another couple starting off on the wrong foot.
Secondary Love Couple!  Yay!  Plus they are really cute.
I luff them.
May is still upset with Goon, and he tells her that he only spoke like that because he's confident that she will marry him. Which is a lame excuse, if you ask me. If the girl hasn't said yes, she hasn't said yes, and you should respect that, dude. She accepts his lame apology, though, and it looks like they're okay again. But then she looks past him and sees Scruff turn and walk away. Gasp! He looks just like Wheeze!
Gasp! Wheeze! hee hee hee

Koon says she must have seen wrong. After all, Wheeze is resting at the hos- er, at home, of course. She reminds herself that Wheeze couldn't come here anyway because of his allergies and let's the matter go, to Koon's relief.
Yeah, Goon definitely doesn't want her feeling even a smidgen of sympathy for his asthmatic love rival.
At the hospital, the doctor tells Dad that Wheeze is okay now, thanks to the medicine, but it would be best if they could resolve whatever problem caused him to go into shock. If this happens again, Doc isn't sure if they'll be able to save Wheeze. Dundunduuuuun.

Dad pleads with Wheeze to focus on regaining his health, but Wheeze doesn't care if he dies here or at home. He says he hates himself for being so weak - he should have died when he was born instead of living as a burden to his father. He can't even live as a normal person, or love the person he loves.
Blah blah blah, grumble grumble. I think Dad needs him to spend a month in a rehab hospital and maybe see how other people code with debilitating illnesses. But he would probably just throw a tantrum, and Dad The Enabler would just fetch him back.
Dad swears that he won't let him die. He'll do anything - he'll ask for May's hand in marriage for him!
See?

FINAL THOUGHTS

So we petty much have the principles established. Sickly Twin raised by rich guy who can take care of him while Strong Twin goes off to live their original fated life of hanging out with plants in the countryside and riding motorcycles.  I might throw a tantrum too!
Life is so unfair. We might explode if we had TWO Scruffs, though, so maybe it's better for us this way.
Wheeze, however, is way past "like" for May and firmly living in ObsessionVille. And he clearly has the Money Rulz attitude and has no idea his very behavior is the reason no one wants be within a three-meter radius of his spoiled little butt.  And he knows how to manipulate people using his illness. And I am so ready to hate him.
Right now, he defines himself by two things: his illness and his love (such as it is) for May. That's a pretty miserable way to live your life. I do have a teeny twinge of sympathy for him because his life is pretty pathetic - but then I remember that a lot of that is a result of his own bad attitude, and I'm not so sympathetic. He doesn't even try to make the best of things.
I'm curious how everything will happen with Koon. He's angry at his family for forcing him away from May, but does he ever notice that she's not exactly giving him the hearts and flowers look?  Or is the land of Delusional Males where assuming is a national passtime? Wheeze thinks he can get what he wants, Koon thinks May is already in the bag, and Scruff thinks May's already taken. Wat's the only clearheaded one so far.
I do wonder, though. If it weren't for the awkward situation with Wheeze, would May want to marry Goon? I get the feeling that she'd be open to the idea because she isn't actually that firm about the "just friends" thing. That said, he's still overbearing, and like you said, Wat is the best. I'm thinking it's going to be a very good thing that Scruff has him at his side.
Photog and Sidekick, in all their glory.

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