Theatmosphereatthattable turns decidedly awkward.
Behati broods in front of her mirror, and in a flashback we see why she’s so fixated on her revenge. As a young girl (is it so weird to see Gretchen Barretto playing a teenager?) she’d run out of her room in the middle of the night to tell her father she’d had a bad dream where something happened to him. She’d found the household in turmoil, because the King’s soldiers were coming to arrest him on suspicion of treason. Her father saw her, and hid her in a closet while he went out to meet the king and plead his innocence. Her father told the king, Anand’s father, that he doesn’t want the throne back (oh, so apparently he’s a deposed king), that he only wants peace, that the enemies of the kingdom are also his enemies. Including your rebel relatives? The king asks pointedly. Behati’s father has no answer to this, and leaves, turning his back on the king, who promptly shoots him in the back. By the time Behati emerges and finds him, he’s dying, but he has time to tell her that she has to live and not forget who she is, in order to get back the power they once had, and that she should take the medallion he’s wearing around his neck. The next thing we know, a man walking in the forest carrying a torch (the mysterious Priam, played by Christian Bautista) comes upon Behati lying on the ground unconscious.
Behati tells herself in the mirror that Jao doesn’t understand that she has to get back the power their house once had, that she has to ensure “they” will go to the bottom while she goes to the top.
The king tells Jao that he actually got the highest points among the candidates for his project, so if he hadn’t withdrawn, he’d have been at the top of the list. However, in light of what Jao had told him, he’s giving the boy the freedom to choose what he wants for himself. He advises Jao that two choices determine his future: the work he chooses and the person he loves and wants to be with for the rest of his life, commenting that Jao is lucky, because Anand himself never got to choose. Jao says humbly that he only wants to serve Yangdon, and the king perforce says he’s sending Jao to the Philippines, where there’s a school that does the kind of research needed to help their farmers.
Very nice– it all jives neatly. Jao’s seemingly simple project was reasonably conceived– he knows food is a prime concern for the kingdom, so he talks to the farmers and finds out what they need, but it turns out that what they need is in the Philippines, where Jao has a friend (Gino) and where Mikay also lives. And lest you ask why the Philippines particularly, remember that the major international agricultural research center IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) is based in Los Banos, Laguna.
Gino gets cornered by Gramps and Auntie, who ream him out for bringing Mikay to the party. Auntie is particularly vituperative– she insults Gino’s mom and calls him a disgrace, saying if he wants to play with the hired help, he should do so on his own time and not embarrass the whole family at the company party.
He finds Mikay outside and suggests they go back in. Mikay, who has been getting more and more miserable as the night goes on, asks sarcastically if they need something to laugh at– is that why he brought her? “But I don’t care, I’m just doing this for Dad– they don’t know me and I’m not ashamed of who I am.” Gino: If that’s the case, then go in.
Jao gets home and tells Mom that the king is sending him to the Philippines.
Gino and Mikay dance, although from the look on Mikay’s face, she doesn’t like it one bit. Gino tells her that this is the last, anyway. She asks why he’s doing all this, and he replies that everyone doesn’t like him and he doesn’t like them either. Mikay: You know why? Because of your behavior. At that moment, Maddie and Bianca walk in and see them– Bianca freezes, then walks out.
Mikay walks out again, taking off her shoes– she’s done what he wanted, so she’s now leaving. Gino chases after her again, saying he was just beginning to enjoy the night. Mikay: “If you wanted to shame yourself, do it alone.” Gino: “I’ve been doing it for a long time, I thought it would be more fun with you.”
Back to the bathroom for Mikay, only she comes face to face with Bianca, who reams her out for taking Gino from her (uh, was he even yours in the first place?). Mikay tries to justify herself, saying Gino was going to pay her– and nosy Auntie comes in and hears this part and calls her a prostitute, shame on her when she’s so young. Bianca smirks and leaves, and Mikay breaks down crying.
When she goes out, still tearful, vowing to not get embarrassed again, Gino chases after her once more, offering to take her home, since he was the one who brought her there in the first place. She tells him to bring her to the church instead…
…where Kiko is preparing to sing his solo about falling in love with a friend. Finally, we hear Khalil sing! Mikay comes in just after he’s begun, so he’s essentially singing to her… and then Gino comes in and pauses in the aisle behind her, so people turn to see what Kiko’s looking at. The two find seats, and Kiko goes on singing with tears in his eyes. I liked Khalil’s facial expressions here, as he lets the song express what he’s feeling.
Matagal ko nang itinatago
Mga ngiti sa munti kong puso
Batid kong alam mo nang umiibig sa ‘yo.
Bakit hindi mo pansin itong aking pagtingin
Ba’t di mo ramdam ang tibok nitong dibdib
Kaibigan lang pala ang tingin mo sa akin.
Kung ako ba siya, mapapansin mo?
Kung ako ba siya, mamahalin mo?
Ano bang mayro’n siya na wala ako?
Kung ako ba siya, iibigin mo?
Masakit ko mang isipin
Mahirap mang tanggapin sa damdamin
Pag-ibig mo pala’y hindi sa akin.
Ngunit anong gagawin ng puso
Sa ‘yo lang ibinigay ang pangako
Patuloy nga namang aasa sa ‘yo, sinta..
Ikaw lamang ang inibig nang ganito
Sabihin mo kung paano lalayo sa ‘yo.
* * *
I have long been hiding
These smiles in my little heart
I know you know I love you
Why don’t you notice my feelings
Why don’t you feel my heartbeat
It turns out you see me only as a friend
If I were him, would you notice me?
If I were him, would you love me?
What does he have that I don’t have?
If I were him, would you fall for me?
Although it hurts when I think about it
Although it’s hard to accept
That your love turns out to be not for me
But what could my heart do
I gave my promise only to you
Thus, I’ll just go on hoping for you, love.
You’re the only one I’ve loved like this
Tell me how to go away from you.
Jao packs for his trip– looks like all his clothes are Yangdonese– and looks at a photo of his family.
Mikay congratulates Kiko on his performance, and he asks why she’s with Gino– wasn’t she supposed to be working? He ends up confessing that he’s jealous of Gino because he loves her.
Now that she’s just been dealt a rapid one-two punch, Mikay runs outside and waits for a jeep home. Gino drives up in his little yellow car and offers her a ride, but she refuses to go with him. So he just thanks her and drives on, but hangs around watching her in his side mirror until she does get on a jeep.
As if the successive hits from Gino and Kiko weren’t enough, Mikay arrives home to find Mom waiting for her with a resounding slap, while Bianca smirks contentedly. Mom yells that she’s shameful, what did people say about her, didn’t Mom bring her up right? Mikay tries to say that she did it for Dad, but Mom warns her never to tell Dad or he might get sick again.
Gino gets home, and his own mom asks him what happened to get his dad so mad. Even if she and his dad are always fighting, at least he and dad should get along together. Why did he grow up that way? Gino: You don’t know, Ma? That’s your problem. How would you know, half the time you’re fighting. You’re so good at noticing stuff, but you don’t see yourself.
I didn’t mention this before, but Kiko keeps a diary of sorts– made up of index cards filed away in a box. Now, thinking back over his ill-timed confession, he writes “End of friendship” on a card and takes off his friendship bracelet, crying. When he goes out of the house, however, Mikay steps out of her own door, also crying, sees him, and calls his name. He stops for a long moment– then continues walking without looking back.
Mom finds Jao packing and asks why he didn’t let a maid do it for him. Jao answers that when he’s in the Philippines, he has to learn to take care of himself. Mom wants to send a whole retinue with him– maids, bodyguards, chauffeurs, but he declines. She begs him to changehismind,sinceshe’s