Although Khun Chai Ratchanon, part four of the Gentlemen Series is fast paced and has a relatively good plot, I don’t find it resonating with me on the level that the second and third part did. Allow me to explain why.
The stakes are definitely higher, the plot thicker, but character development or even relationship development is surface level, lacking depth. We know Khun Chai Lek is adorable, playful and doesn’t take many things seriously- in exception to when he was forced to be engaged to a woman he hardly knew, and he hightailed out of town- but character wise, we haven’t gotten to the flesh and bones of his character. His relevance in this story is a catalyst to meeting our heroine, the Warrior Princess Soifah who lived in hiding from the Wieng Phu Kam soldiers with her village, and must find a way back to their home country. In order to resurrect the throne, Soifah must find the Crown Prince in Bangkok. And in order to keep her relatively safe, her father (who is the King and is withholding her princess status from her) marries her off to Chai Lek due to her “compromising” state with the nobleman. Stone, meet three birds.
Obviously, if Chai Lek doesn’t want to be married to Soifah, he would find a way out, the same way he had done with Nuch. So clearly, he’s going in this matrimony with eyes wide open. Soifah on the other hand, is using this (well, after much hemming and hawing) to her advantage. She would marry him- but makes it clear that she would not be his wife- so she could pursue the Crown Prince while her father and village elders, plot a way to enter Wieng Phu Kam. Forced marriage is not my most favorite plot to bring two people together, because I liked that Chai Ruj and Chai Pat treat their matrimony prospects as serious endeavor, that they would only marry someone they love and will have a future with. As oppose to someone trying to eventually weasel their way out.
Granted, Chai Lek and Soifah may be soul mates and will inevitably fall in love and live happily ever after. But it would be nice to witness it. Thus far, I don’t feel the emotional impact or the pairing’s relationship development. They like to tease each other and they’ve been through tough times together, but I’m missing the romance. Part of the problem in this lakorn is the excess use of unnecessary characters. I agree with the director P’Off, he wonders why he has to incorporate the grandmas’ scenes, the so many Khunchais’ scenes when they are not central to the story (not to mention the ever annoying mother-daughter Nuch.) I love the brothers, don’t get me wrong, but if I were to choose more main character scenes, I’d go with the latter.
Take for instance, Chai Pat. He may not be the central story- because the plot focuses on Krong Kaew surviving her Miss Siam debacle- but Chai Pat is the driving force behind it all. We fall in love with this stoic doctor because through love, he becomes more passionate, protecting, ever loving. There is a character arc. Even Chai Ruj has so much character depth. His inferiority complex, his internal struggles. These are factors that prompted major fangirling and thus, I become emotionally connected with the characters.
I like that Chai Lek is a gentleman, that he balances Soifah in her intensity by being carefree, but is there more to him? We are starting to see his jealous side, because Soifah has bonded with Chatchavee (whom we surmise as being the missing prince and her brother), but Chai Lek fears that she would like Chat more than him in a romantic sense (heh.) I want to see more of the emotional side of him, that someone matters to him, I want to see him fight for his love. After all, this is the Gents Series, and if you’ve followed me long enough, you know I watch lakorns or any drama series for that matter, for the leading man. And so far, Chai Lek, a hyperventilating fangirl, he makes me not.
They are returning to Bangkok, where Chai Lek asks Soifah and her cohorts not to tell anyone that they are married. He wants to wait for the right moment to tell Grandma. So, that alone should be interesting. He will fight for his love, right? And erm, we still have until June 15th until the show draws to a close. So, he can still impress me, right? *Fingers crossed.*