A bittersweet, no rocks left unturned finale- Hong Sabat Lai truly does not disappoint. From the onset of this drama, it is a mature story about revenge, political maneuvers and a love triangle. But what is even more apparent is that justice and karma catches up to you sooner or later. Each character has learned a lesson that changes them completely from the people they used to be and for that, we have a poignant story with such emotional investment and a worthwhile, touching journey to the end.


Episode 13 Finale Recap

There is a depressing tone in the beginning of this episode; the score is sad and poignant. Aor and Don mourn the loss of their father, a man who raised them with warmth and love. Devastated, Aor regrets lying to her dad. It is moments like these when you wish you had a better farewell to someone who passed away. Don promises to take care of Aor and that she is the most important thing to him now. Aww.

The rising of a new day indicates justice prevailing.

Nay is found resting her head by Rabin’s bed. She has not left his side since the shooting the night before. She had Kwan and her family, take care of Uncle Kamtiang’s funeral.

Rabin finally wakes and reaches out to touch her head but she stirs before he could touch her.

“You’re awake,” she says. “You’re safe now; did you know I was so worried about you?”

He has cuts and marks on his face.

“You’ve been waiting up for me all night?” he asks.

“Because I’ve been worried about you..”

“Thank you very much.. boss.”

The title is haunting her.

“How can I not be worried about you? You’ve risked your life to save mine, I am indebted to you. Thank you.”

“That’s enough. You can stop thanking me. Do you remember when I promised to protect your life?” he laughs, not that it was funny to him, “that I will take you to your destination safely?” Nay’s tears roll down her face as he continues, “I’m happy that I’ve fulfilled my duty to protect you.”

Nay begins to cry a little harder because his words (even to my ears) sound so final.

He looks away from her teary face.

Ponglert is taken to trial but he denies every case that is pitted against him.

Tamrong is still trying to control Siwat, he tells him to pay no mind to Nay’s parent’s case anymore because he has other (better) things to worry about. Besides, he needed to prepare for his wedding to Tee. Dang, Tamrong is moving fast!

Kwan, Wichate, Don and Aor came to visit Rabin at the hospital. Kwan surmises that it appears Nay has made up her mind and congratulations are in order. But Nay doesn’t look too convinced as she explains to Kwan that there are things she can’t put into words so she would like to focus on the immediate problem at hand- ensuring that Ponglert meets his karma. Nay says she could not be too certain that the law would see to him because he is fighting the trial as if he has something concrete to protect him.

The trial commences with the play of the audio tape that her father recorded prior to being murdered. Ponglert is arrogantly sniggering from the side, as if the evidence couldn’t possible incriminate him. His defense attorney says that the tape could not prove that it is his client’s voice and that the plaintiff could have used any means of technology to create the recording and accuse his client. The camera aims on Nay’s face as she could not object to that rebuttal. And that’s it. This case goes to Ponglert. Golly this court trial makes me shake my head.

But the message here is that, even if you could best the system, karma will come back to bite you. In Ponglert’s case, Chulongorn was after him. As he merrily walks back to his car, she approaches him and shoots him point blank in the heart. Everyone stands around watching Ponglert breathe his last breath. Chulongorn pays for the price as she gets put behind bars.

Now the case is over.

Nay and Don can breathe a sigh of relief. They stood before their parent’s grave and report that they are back home [ew, why would you want to live there again? Demolish the home and rebuild!] and that even though things are not what they used to be, she promises to take care of Don. Don thanks their parents for sacrificing their life to save their children. Don promises to spend the rest of his life doing only good things.

“So it’s the end now.”

“Who says?” Don replies. “It’s just the beginning. Now you can lead the rest of your life with confidence and without fear. As for me, I can be Yusawee again.”

“So you don’t want to be Don, a brother to a certain someone?” Nay teases him.

Don laughs. “I’m still too young to be thinking about stuff like that.”

“To love is not wrong, it will occur on its own appropriate time. I’m happy that you respect those that you love, not treating it so carelessly. Love that is secure and assured is a love that will withstand (time.)”

Don tells her not to worry about him, she should focus on her problem.

“Don’t you feel sorry for yourself?” he asks her, “I get it that you didn’t want to clear (the love problem) earlier because there were problems to resolve. But now everything has been cleared. It’s time that you focus on your heart. I want to see my sister being happy. Choose the type of love that you need.. whether that is from a man who has not only kept you safe but protected you and took care of you in every way.”

Wise beyond his years.

“And I believe that our parents would like that as well,” he finishes.

Tamrong is satisfied that Ponglert is out of the picture (completely) because no one will stand in their way now. But Siwat, experiencing a revelation, says that they needed to focus on straightening out all of the corruptions and remaining allies that aligned themselves with Ponglert. Siwat’s political views have been solidified and changed once he realized how much the people needed a “clean” leader. For the longest time, Siwat’s biggest flaw is allowing his father to rule his life, but he learns that the people’s needs are more important than to condone his father’s actions. He has truly found his calling. Siwat stands up to his father, albeit with respect, as he tells him plain and clear that the only person he loves and will marry is Nay.

Nay came to visit Rabin at the hospital. He is looking at her as if to remember her face, she says exactly that.

“You didn’t visit me for several days,” he explains.

Nay smiles, “I had a lot of things to clear away. But I’m here now.”

Siwat walks into the room and sees them smiling at each other. The atmosphere is awkward.

He asks to speak with Nay.

“You should go,” Rabin encourages her. Nay looks like she is steeling herself for the conversation.

They stood before each other in the hallway.

“I’m sorry,” Siwat says, reaching out for her hand. Is he apologizing for everything that had happened throughout the lakorn?

“P’Siwat..” Nay utters and removes her hand.

“Tomorrow I’ll be leaving town (for business) and I’d like you to join me.” He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out his itinerary. “You don’t have to say anything right now or decline it right now. I want you to decide carefully. Ask yourself. For me, no matter what you decide, I will always love you. That will never change.”

He takes a step closer but she looks hesitant so he moves away.

Aww.. who will you choose, Nay?

The love triangle.. no matter who she picks, someone will end up getting hurt. We get a flashback of the three’s time together as we too have to decide who she should go with.[ I am reminded yet again how compatible Art and Janie look together. I don’t mind seeing them in another lakorn where he’s the leading guy. And I love the song that explains their situation perfectly!]

Siwat is redeeming himself before our eyes. Tamrong is relentless and tells him he needed to marry Tee. Siwat made it very clear with his father. He respectfully bows and tells him that no one will create a path for him to walk anymore. His father is doubtful that he could achieve anything on his own. But moving forward, Siwat swears that he will be the PM that the people want him to be. He hugs his father as he cries. He tells him that he loves him and that nothing could ever take away their father-son bond. And finally, he says the most poignant thing: he just wants to do what is best for the country. His father finally understands how much he has changed and how much the role means to him. What a touching scene!

Alone in the office, Tamrong is reduced to tears.

Siwat waits for Nay at the airport as his departure time draws near.

Meanwhile, the crew at home commentates about Nay’s situation. Don says that she will be gone for awhile because the last thing she needed to focus and resolve is the present situation- her heart. Aor says that if she were in Nay’s shoes, she would have a hard time deciding too: one man is suitable and the other is brave and kind. Kwan speaks from the heart when she says that she is sure that love will prove itself.

And speaking of the devil, her own love appears at the doorstep. The rest of the crew suddenly found things they needed to see to, leaving the two alone.

Siwat soon learns that Nay has made her decision when she does not appear. And he has made his. He sacrifices his love for a bigger ideal: his duty as the PM. Renewed, energized with a glint in his eyes, Siwat walks down the runway and aboard his flight- a great symbolism of his new dedication, and a final farewell to the relationship he once had with Nay. And for that, Siwat, you are so hot! [Can we have a spinoff please? Who wouldn’t like to see Siwat and a new love interest? Ooh..]

Upon visiting Rabin’s hospital room, Nay finds it vacant. She makes her way to his farm home, thinking he would be there. Nay continues on her journey to find her bodyguard as she mutters to herself, “I’ve already chosen you, Rabin, why can’t you wait for me?” She gets a slice of how Siwat feels, lol.

In the old office room, Nay contemplates if she would ever see Rabin again, she misses him. She decides she will live abroad for a bit to forget everything and start fresh. She makes her farewell to the family. What she said to Wichate was pretty funny, she told Wichate to not just invite Kwan to plant, hee, meaning that he should also do “other” things with Kwan. Nay also tells Aor and Don to study their French because once she returns, she will send them both to continue their higher education in France. Don and Nay look painfully into each other’s eyes. When things are finally well, she’s going to take off again? Leaving Don? So sad.

Wichate and Kwan are so cute, the normal couple amidst their once crazy world. Don and Aor glances at each other with new meaning.

And like Rabin once said to Nay, two people who are meant to be, no matter how much they try to stay away, are inevitably pulled together again. Such is the case for Rabin, he finds himself in Paris of all places. We circle back to the place where they first met and both reminisce. They don’t even know this, but they are both going to the same places.

By the beach where the seagulls cry, Rabin and Nay stood distance apart (without seeing each other). We are reminded of their sweet scenes together. I am simmering in my seat, waiting for them to make new sweet scenes together.

Until finally, at that same beach, Nay wanders atop the cliff- where they used to take pictures. She recalls the time where she wanted to take lots of photos so she could remember her time in Paris. Rabin had told her that he may leave a trail (picture) somewhere so when she returns she might find it. Funny thing is, by the telescope, she sees a photo. As she flips it, the note is addressed to her, from him.

“Khun Nay.. No, I should probably call you boss to be correct. (Still being a smart alec on paper!) During the time that I’ve had the opportunity to oversee your safety, this bodyguard wanted to tell you that he was truly happy. Today I returned back to this place again, to relive the good times we had together. Thank you for everything you have done and especially for making this man so happy (beyond words.) I will remember your voice, your laughter. Because today, tomorrow or any other day to come, I will no longer have the good fortune to protect you again. I just want to tell you a short sentence that is in my heart and that I didn’t have the opportunity to say it to you: this bodyguard wants to take care of you- not only your body, but your heart also, forever. Forever in his lifetime. I miss you.. –Rabin.”

Nay is crying as she looks around for him. She hugs the picture to her chest.

Soon after, Rabin appears and asks her who she was looking for.

“Rabin!” she runs to him but stops as she faces him.

He takes off his sunglasses. “Were you looking for me, boss?”

“No,” she denies, “I wasn’t looking for you.”

“Well then, that’s ok.” He starts to walk away.

“Hold on!” she calls out.

“Can I say something first?” he asks. “I love you, boss.”

Nay bursts into tears, “I love you too, Rabin.”

And she runs into his arms.

Finally, the love confession after all of the reading between the lines and unspoken emotions. Rabin’s arms slowly came to wrap around her, returning her embrace. They stare into each other’s eyes, with the wind in their hairs and the beautiful blue sea as the backdrop. He pushes her hair out of her face and they hold each other.

Walking hand in hand along the shore, they embrace tightly and have their happily ever after.

Review & Analysis:

Hong Sabat Lai

Sigh. (The happy variety.) For an action drama mixed with political agenda, Hong Sabat Lai turns out to be a satisfying, unique romance story.

The question of, will proximity encourage love, is tested throughout this lakorn. And the answer to that isn’t always set in stone. When you surround yourself day in and day out with someone, you learn their every nuance. Coupled with a troubled relationship, where one person is ready to console another, you have a love triangle in the making. But that itself doesn’t spur love.

So I like that the lakorn takes its time in telling us how their love is spurred. The relationship of Nay and Rabin starts very innocently (don’t they all) and it blossoms into love not merely due to proximity, but from the friendship and kindred spirit that grew over time. They both changed by meeting each other. Nay had always relied on others to wreak her vengeance (even if she is a strong character) but upon meeting Rabin, she’s not that rational person so much anymore. She’s fearless, independent and a bit of a nuisance with him. The person you love can bring the best and the worst in you. While Rabin on the other hand, fakes a happy go lucky exterior to hide the pain deep inside. But when he meets Nay and spends time with her, she is able to make him truly happy. To the point where he realizes that he too can heal from the pain and grow to love another.

The key characters are well developed and had their own arch. I can appreciate the details and process that they each go through to change for the better. Kwan came out of her shell, her mother learned to trust again and her father gained hope for a better future. But the person with the biggest change is Siwat, maybe because he started so weak and has the most to gain and lose. He’s a good guy but daddy’s boy. Until he loses the one thing that matters to him the most- Nay. But more so than that, I think through his seat as the PM, he starts to learn to think and speak for himself. He fleshed out to be a capable PM, something that he had only intended to do for his beloved. He met his calling and it’s a pleasure to see him committing himself wholeheartedly to it. Spinoff please!

The weakness in this lakorn unfortunately is the villains. They weren’t created with any dimension. But despite that, I know where the directors are coming from or what they are trying to instill. I read an article regarding some of the social challenges that are recurring in Thailand- that snobby socialites are taking advantage of the system because of “their daddy.” Ittiharn on several occasions would always ask the authority upon doing something outlandishly stupid (and would get him arrested in the U.S.) things- do you know who my daddy is? The lakorn seems to parlay the message that if you are rich and influential you can and most of the time get away with it. So Ittiharn is showcased with no motive- aside from doing whatever the hell he wants to in order to wreak havoc- just to showcase that rich people can do what they want. However, there is a hope that even though the justice system may fail the people, karma will catch up with them eventually. It doesn’t make the reality any better, but in this lakorn world, at least the bad guys are punished. With that being said, they could have still worked a little harder in creating three dimensional villains.

The action sequences are pretty believable and I liked how the director/writer makes our female lead strong and can hold her own.

I also appreciated the sub romance stories of Wichate&Kwan, as well as Don&Aor! Unfortunately we don’t get much screen time and development. It’s like an interlude and we get teased with additional romance stories but received no payoff. Wichate and Kwan have the reserved but great chemistry. I like the idea of Don and Aor growing up together and are made for each other, but doesn’t that scream a little incest? Ha, I mean, would you fall in love with your adopted brother? I would love it even more if they could develop this relationship so we can believe that it is true love and not brotherly love. For instance, wouldn’t it be great if they can make Aor a little rebellious and tired of Don watching over her all the time? But through some realization sequence, she does care about what he thinks of her and learns that she’s in love with him and irritated by his brotherly love. Well one can only dream!

What this lakorn does so well is creating a genuine story. Nay doesn’t want to avenge her parent’s death by killing Ponglert. She wants to unveil his true colors because killing him doesn’t make her parents come back, but it would save the entire country from an evil and selfish politician. She also doesn’t want to fall out of love with her boyfriend per say, but another comes along and simply changes her for the better. In a way, Nay’s decision to choose Rabin over Siwat allows Siwat to go after his calling- something he is meant to do. Rabin actually becomes a lively person (inside and outside) again. So in the end, everything worked out the way that it should and that finally, justice prevails.

Thanks for joining me on this journey of a hong (swan) who sabat (flings) from the lai (pattern). Hats off to the amazing cast!

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