Our characters hit snags in this week’s episodes– Jao is forced to reevaluate his priorities in life, Gino makes life harder for Mikay, and Kiko gets his heart broken. Also, Bianca needs to get her head on straight.
“A party?” Mikay asks. “Why me?” Gino says she was the first person he thought of. He points out that there’ll be food, and he’ll pay her. She balks at the thought of payment, saying it isn’t right for him to pay her to go to a party with him, but he says he’ll be hiring her as a sort of assistant that night. He’ll pay her P10,000, which she wouldn’t earn by just selling hotdogs (and he’ll be right, because it’s more than a month’s wages).
Meanwhile, Mom has a problem: she’ll be able to bail Dad out of jail, but by paying P40,000.
Jao tries to compose a letter to Mikay, returning the camera– his efforts start out apologetic, but then he remembers how he retrieved the camera– he went back up the mountain to get it, sliding and falling in the dark– and he doesn’t want to enlarge on how or why he retrieved it. “The important thing is that I found it, and it’s my fault that you lost it.” Then he remembers what she said to him and gets all haughty: “I’ll have you know that I deserve to be king!” He can’t settle on a final draft, and finally throws down his pen in frustration.
Mom calls around to everyone she knows, trying to borrow or beg money to get Dad out of jail, while the three girls eavesdrop. Mikay, wanting to help, tries to sell her new camera, asking only to keep the memory card, since it has her few remaining photos of Yangdon.
In Yangdon, King Anand calls out the candidates in the middle of the night, and sends them into the forest with torches. His instructions: Bring me back something that represents you– your dreams, your character, your abilities. One finds a rock, another a plant, another a firefly… Jao stops and remembers Mikay’s words that he doesn’t deserve to be king. He meets another candidate coming back, but he still hasn’t found anything.
Back with the king, the candidates start explaining their offerings– a plant that can live with little light, a hard rock– but the king sees that Jao hasn’t come back. Someone says that he was wandering as if he didn’t know what he was looking for, and the king goes after him.
He finds Jao still standing in the same spot, looking lost, and asks what happened. Jao answers that he was looking for something that would symbolize him but found nothing. He could’ve picked something, anything, that he thought would work, because he didn’t want to disappoint the king, but he can’t bring himself to lie… he’s realized that he doesn’t know what he wants that isn’t someone else’s dream. The king asks, “How can a person understand a kingdom if he doesn’t understand himself?”
The next day, Jao finds some alone time, sitting under a tree playing the flute and looking thoughtful. The king passes by and sees him, and smiles to himself.
Mikay finally accepts Gino’s offer, emphasizing that she’ll be there only as an assistant. Gino: Sure, no pressure. Pure business, no strings attached, nothing romantic. Besides, you’re not my type. They shake hands on the deal.
The king approaches Jao, and they talk. Jao tells His Majesty that he wants to back out of the competition. All his life, he’s thought that he would be a member of the drukpah, and later, he might be king. But now– he’s backing out, not that he doesn’t want it, but because he doesn’t know if he can do it. The king dryly answers that it’s not for Jao to decide, but for the king himself, “but thank you for telling me.” Jao says that he still wants to present his project at the appointed time, though, because he thinks it just might help the kingdom, and the king gives him permission.
Gino drops by the hot dog stand to bring Mikay a dress. When she gets home, though, Dindi sees it and thinks it’s tacky (and it is, all that gauze, ugh), and volunteers to let Mikay borrow one of her own dresses (since she keeps entering beauty pageants, yunno). Later, Kiko sees her and reminds her of his music recital at the church, which is this annual thing that she always attends. But it’s on the same evening as the party, and Mikay regretfully tells him that she can’t go.
Finally, it’s time for the candidates to present their project proposals. Jao meets Rio coming out of the venue, and he tells Jao that he thought the drukpah quite liked his project, and he wants to tell Jao he’s proud to have him as a competitor. Oh, and it’s Jao’s turn to go in… and he makes his pitch to the drukpah about climate change and the necessity to find a more resilient seed grain for their farmers, because they can’t stop change, they can only flow with it. I only wish I’d seen the other candidates’ projects for comparison, but Jao’s project addresses a basic concern– the food supply– and speaks of how much he does care for Yangdon.
Gino sits on a flight of stairs, waiting impatiently for Mikay to arrive. Someone in a jewel-green gown comes slowly down the steps behind him, and he looks up… to see Mikay, looking very elegant.
Mikay has to call his name several times before Gino can stop gaping. She explains that the dress he gave her doesn’t fit, and Dindi comes down the stairs to chime in that maybe Gino wanted to embarrass her older sister, and he can think again. Mikay hushes her and sends her home
Gino outlines his terms– he’ll pay P2000 up front for her showing up, P2000 after he’s introduced her to his grandfather, the next P2000 after she sits at a table with his cousins, the next P2000 after he’s danced with her, and the final P2000 after she’s stayed there for two hours. As they head for the party, he tells her to just act naturally. Methinks this is going to be a long two hours for Mikay…
Over at the church, Kiko’s mom wonders why Mikay isn’t there yet… later on, people keep asking the same thing, since she’s always been there, and Kiko gets huffy.
In Yangdon, the king announces to the drukpah that although Jao made a presentation, he is no longer on the list of candidates.
Gino and Mikay arrive at the party, and people speculate about Mikay’s identity. His dad spots him and introduces him to the stockholder who’s wanted to meet him– her daughter joins them, excited at seeing Gino again, but he makes a point of flubbing her name, calling her Ariana instead of Adriana. When she gets indignant, he points out that he forgets stuff that isn’t important to him, and calls Mikay over and introduces her as his date. After expressing their indignation at the fact that Gino brought his own date, Adriana and her mom storm off.
And it’s time for the king to announce his decision… of all the candidates, two have been chosen to continue to the next phase of their training for the throne– Rio, and another named Pema (lol, is this a reference to the last name of Bhutan’s queen?). This is news to Behati, who immediately looks at her son.
When they get home, Behati bawls Jao out for not making it to the next phase. When she learns that Jao himself withdrew his candidacy, she starts hitting him and asking why he did this to her. Jao just says sorry and leaves. Later, in her own room, she throws a huge temper tantrum.
Mikay stages her first walkout on the party, with Gino chasing after her to tell her that if she wants to quit, he’ll have her taken home. But she remembers she needs the money for her dad, and goes with him for the next installment.
Which entails him and Mikay going to the dais for VIPs at the front of the room so he can introduce her to Gramps. At first the old man is quite cordial, assuming Mikay is the daughter of another rich family, and a nosy aunt also comes over, full of compliments, but then stalks off again when Mikay innocently reveals that she’s the daughter of a van driver and a market vendor. When Mikay takes refuge in the bathroom afterwards, realizing she did something wrong, she hears other girls refer to her as a cheap golddigger.
Jao broods over the king’s words, and receives a summons to the palace.
Maddie, the leader of the rich girls, brings Bianca to the party as well, confident of acceptance since she’s part of the same social circle as Gino’s family.
Gino escorts Mikay to their appointed table, where his cousins are already seated. He tells them to look after her, but no sooner has he left than they’re all fake-nice but really insulting. One of the boys calls her a social climber in French, thinking she wouldn’t understand what he’s saying, but she calls him out sweetly on it– of course she knows French, she’s majoring in European Studies, duh.