Things are suddenly getting interesting. We have severe turning points in the story, and our characters, namely Mee and Suntih go through a wonderful arc. A very sad, tear-jerking episode, but progressive and worthwhile nonetheless- and Sarawat Heran is the person behind it all. I’m glad I stuck around. He really is quite fabulous.
Episode 5 Recap
Mee wants to apologize to Suntih but discovers him missing from his bedroom, his clothes gone.
She rushes to the market where she asks the merchant auntie if she’s seen Suntih. This reminds the auntie that she’s been meaning to tell Mee not to have Suntih hang out with the market kids because they are trouble, they might be into drugs too. More bad news. He’s gone with those kids.
Mee searches the city for Suntih but to no avail. She unceremoniously finds herself standing before the police station and having to report his disappearance. The police surmises that he may have returned home by now, but she doesn’t think so, they had a blowout argument and he’s packed his clothes. Furthermore, he doesn’t know anyone in Bangkok and he doesn’t have enough money to go to the country. The officer drives her around in his motorcycle, searching the city for Suntih.
He finally drops her off at home giving her fruitless comfort words that kids these days can take care of themselves or he’s gone with a friend outside of the city (which isn’t comforting to Mee at all, so thanks for nothing Mr. Officer.)
Mee is preoccupied with worry about Suntih that she fell asleep on the couch, forgetting to lock her front doors. She phones her mom the next day as she continues her search for Suntih, and feeling extra guilty because Suntih had called his grannie the other day asking to come home. Grannie had told him no, until he finished school for the year. She also told Suntih to listen to his auntie and don’t give her a hard time. Lol, keep piling it on mom! Mee’s voice starts to shake but she tells mom that there is nothing to worry about, she’s got it under control.
It’s quite easy to understand why Mee hates her family in the country, but dutiful enough to still support them. They think that perhaps she’s vindictive towards them and takes it out on Suntih, and maybe he has ran away (they are quite astute.) Mom questions her son on why he begged for Mee to sponsor Suntih’s education in BKK if he feels that way, ha. The stepdad orders mom to get Mee to buy them a cellphone so they can communicate with Suntih without having to go to the food stall. Pfft.
That evening Mee worries herself by the phone, waiting for some news on Suntih. It’s Sarawat, who has pulled over by her house and calls her.
“I thought you wouldn’t pick up my phone call,” he says with a smile, “I’m in the area so I wanted to invite you to have noodles with me.”
Mee loses it, the tears falling.
“Are you crying?” he asks, concerned. “What’s the matter?”
She can’t stop crying, so he decides to go to her. Aw.
He finds her waiting for him on her front porch. She explains that she can have her weaker moments too (lol).
“I’m happy then, to see that side of you,” he says as he takes a seat next to her. “Tell me, what’s the matter.”
“Suntih- he’s ran away since yesterday. There’s still no trace of him,” she tears up.
“And why didn’t you reach out to me?” he asks, mystified.
“I don’t want to burden you.”
“Khun Mee- you have a friend who’s a cop. But you go to another cop first- shouldn’t I be offended?”
She doesn’t answer, thinking it rhetorical.
“You ought to think of me before anyone else,” he says.
“Are you done grumbling yet?” she asks.
He smiles, “I’ll bring this up again after we find Suntih.” He inches a little closer to her, “you’re a reporter, Khun Mee, have you thought about publishing a missing child announcement?”
“I can’t, if the household finds out, it’ll turn into a huge problem,” she says, and takes a deep breath. “I’m really stumped on what to do now. I thought to rest for a bit and go back out to search for him.”
Sarawat asks for a picture of Suntih, and utilizes social media to help spread his picture. Sarawat wonders if she’s going to tell her friends about her missing nephew, but being a private person, Mee never feels the need to share, even if it’s to her two best friends. This should tell us that she’s making an exception for him!
Immediately they get a message that someone has last seen Suntih passing by. As they prepare to go, Sarawat asks her permission to include Muat Dao, because she might be able to help them (which is so sweet that he asks for permission.) Mee shares with him why she’s reluctant in involving more cops because Suntih’s mom as well as aunts is all involved in prostitution. Sarawat is starting to glean more of Mee’s sketchy family life and painful past. He tells her that she doesn’t need to feel ashamed to have relatives with that profession, he says, (literal translations) “your relatives are your relatives, and you are you.” Meaning, they don’t define who you are.
“You don’t get it,” she says, looking away.
“No- you don’t get it. Do you remember what the father said at the hospital? If a parent is in jail, that doesn’t mean the child is bad. And just because your household have that kind of a job, it doesn’t bring you or Suntih’s worth down.” Aw, Sarawat!
“You and the father have a good understanding of the world- but other people-“
“Other people are not as important as you. I think that you look down on your own worth.” Truer words. It’s hitting her squarely on the chest. “You have given it fear. Muat Dao’s volunteering to help find Suntih- she’s doing that with her heart. She doesn’t care where he’s from, who his parents are. She only cares about how we are going to find him.”
“How disgraceful (of me),” she finally says, realizing her mistake. “Listening to you has allowed me to take a good look at myself. I’m just like an outsider, reporting the news to the public, but when it comes to my own nephew, I can’t even fix the problem.” Yes, this is what I wanted her to admit, what I wanted her to understand. “Deep down I have insulted everyone (her family), to the point of insulting myself too. I came from the same place, even my own dad is no better than my stepdad. In my life, I’ve only met men who take advantage of women.”
Sarawat Heran reaches his hand across the table to cover hers. “But men who are not like your stepdad or your dad, are plenty available.”
She peers into his eyes.
Muat Dao suddenly arrives and apologizes for her bad timing. They decide to ride together and seek Suntih at a restaurant that someone has reported seeing him. I love how Sarawat is allowing Muat Dao to take charge, quite secure with his own masculinity and trusts her specialty in this area.
They encounter some young thugs under the bridge, who are trying to sell him drugs. They apprehend one of them to use as bait to chat with the leader, threatening to catch them all for real if they don’t cooperate. Mee asks the kid if he has seen Suntih before, but he tells them that they’ve seen so many kids everyday who inevitably gets sold or dies. We have a sad state of affairs.
The other boy that they released runs to their leader (who happens to be the director of this show, lol, couldn’t help but laugh at this one), the man agrees to answer their questions in exchange for freedom. The thug admits that they are capturing Suntih for sex slavery. Omg. A nasty dude happens to select Suntih as his next boytoy.
We get a better understanding of the solutions surrounding kids who get sold off or thugs who are the pimps: Muat Dao explains to Mee that if they arrest the leader, someone else will step into his shoes tomorrow. They can’t force all of the kids who have gone into sex slavery to remain in a social working environment, but there is a solution in finding voluntary teachers who will educate and mentor these kids on how to protect themselves, as well as health evaluations. Sarawat admits that it doesn’t solve all of the problems for all of the kids, but at least they can help some of them. They can’t pull them off the streets, it is best they come on their own. Mee finds it a good plan and offers to help.
Meanwhile the nasty man is luring Suntih with money, that if he wants some, he needs to do as he says. Oh gawd.
Mee says she would never forgive herself if anything horrible happens to Suntih, as they are still unsuccessful in finding him.
Sarawat spots a man walking with a boy and makes his way towards that pub. Someone asks if he wants a boy, one of them gives him the eyes but the other, which is Suntih, is sitting shell-shocked. Oh no. The moment Sarawat says that he’s a cop, everyone scrambles, except for Suntih. His face has some markings on them.
Sarawat approaches him slowly, “Are you ok?”
But Suntih is silent.
Mee finally catches up to Sarawat and sees her nephew. Hesitantly, with tears in her eyes, she kneels next to him, “Tih, I’m sorry..” and her face crumbles as she pulls the boy into her arms. “Let’s go home, Tih.”
My heart, it literally breaks.
Sarawat walks Tih to the car and asks if he’s hungry. The boy is silent. Muat Dao offers a nugget of wisdom to Mee, that kids need to be nurtured and that she should let him know that she cares. Muat says that she’s speaking from experience. Mee nods her agreement and promises to do her best to forget Suntih’s past.
Sarawat invites them to eat at his house since they’re all hungry, but Mee doesn’t want to intrude. Too late, he has already placed an order with his mom.
On the car ride, Suntih flashes back to the moment with the nasty old man. He fought him off in time and the pimps took him back to the front of the restaurant, warning not to send him out if he’s not “ready.” Whew, I thought he had to do the unthinkable. But the experience has numbed him nonetheless, and a close call is still traumatizing.
Mee turns in her seat to look at Suntih and she tries to say something but Sarawat halts her. Let the boy be.
By the time they reach his home, Suntih is full on crying, the shock receding, leaving only fear. Mee apologizes to his parents for bugging them so late at night. Heran’s mom takes a good look at Suntih and offers him her grannie love. I think the sympathy does him in and he loses it. Mee watches on, somewhat seeing how an elder should treat a child. Heran’s mom says that he is forgiven this time (for running away) but he shouldn’t do it again, it’s not good for him or his auntie who is worried about him and loves him. Suntih cries and hugs the grannie, he says he misses his own grannie. Aww.
Sarawat looks over at Mee, who is quietly crying, and wiping her own tears. He reaches for her hand and squeezes it, offering his support. Sarawat!!! *sobs*
I thought I was fresh out of tears from Khun Chai Ronnapee. Dammit.
They have a nice meal that night and the mood lighten. The new grannie tends to Suntih. Wan, Sarawat’s sister meanders down the stairs and meets the infamous Mee. She says that she’s so much prettier in person. Heeh. Before she could say anything else, Sarawat tells her to go study, because he’s worried that if she opens her mouth too much, all of her knowledge would flow out. LOL. I love this sibling. His mom jumps in and says that Sarawat is only saying this because he’s blushing- ha- and mom-daughter hi-fives for ganging up on him. He didn’t want Mee to know that he was looking at her pictures. He dismisses himself to go talk to his dad instead.
He has such a warm, beautiful family. Mee could only observe quietly with a small smile.
Sarawat leaves her with a few words of encouragement, for her to be patient, be cool when raising a kid. He’s available 24/7 to help. Mee thanks him again for helping her and for finding Suntih, especially for making her see herself more clearly. Sarawat tells her that he’s eager to help, if he had things his way, he would bring both auntie and nephew to stay at his house. Haha.
In the house, Mee approaches Suntih.
“I’m sorry Tih. I should have trusted you. I admit that I was too prejudiced. Can we make peace and start over?” she asks.
Suntih walks to his room without a word.
Rome was not built in a day.
Suntih brings his comforter downstairs that night, he intends on sleeping in the smaller room now, she can have her bedroom back. He explains that he originally wanted the bigger room because he wanted to take it away from her, to compete with her. But since they are starting over, he thinks he should stay in the room that she intended for him. Aw.
This brings tears to Mee’s eyes. She helps him set up his room.
The next day, Mee tries to take Suntih to the hospital for precautionary check up, but Tih refuses and claims that he knew auntie wouldn’t believe him. He didn’t let that nasty man touch him. Mee says that she believes him, and she pulls out a chair. She tells him that she will let the running away from home go, but there is one thing she needed to talk to him- and she will only say it once.
When someone is forced to have sex with another without love and consent, it is not a fun thing. It’s a hurtful and shameful act. Many women who are sex slaves get hurt by the guests too- and he may think it’s ok because his household has done it and they are fine- but there are people who does it against their will. Mee tells him that she’s a reporter, she’s seen it plenty.
In a regretful, somber tone, Suntih admits that his mom didn’t want to do it. His grandpa told her to because they won’t have anything to eat. The grandpa further says that she’s already doing it everyday so why not make money off of it to support her family? That man needs to be whipped! Unfortunately, many men in that village think the same way. Suntih says that his mom cried all night, he doesn’t want her to go either. Auntie smiles because she’s happy to see that Tih loves his mother and grandmother. She tells him to write a letter to his mom and tell her to stop that kind of work and go home.
I love this beautiful understanding between auntie and nephew.
Gawd, Sarawat is so cute. He uses his mom as an excuse to see her again. He says that he doesn’t want to bug her so early in the morning, but his mom made him- she made them soup. She wonders why he didn’t just call then? Knowing his intentions, she tells him (sarcastically) to check on Suntih so he can report to his mother. Hah, she knows your game dude!
Tih doesn’t want to do laundry because he thinks it’s a woman’s work. (You can take the boy out of the ghetto.. ) So Sarawat shares that he too has to do housework. It’s nice to have a normal man around to show Tih what is acceptable behavior. But Sarawat feels that this is going to be a long battle. He explains that men and women are equal (while Mee is standing by the flowers, listening to his mentoring skills. She smiles in secret.)
Sarawat asks if she’s interesting in joining him in Chiang Mai to do a more subtle case (then what she’s used to.) The editor is on board (is Sarawat paying him, lol.) He thinks they should have all aspect of news: the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s time to do something softer.
Mee is unsure about leaving Suntih with the principal again, he got in a fight earlier with one of the kids and not sure if they’ve gotten over that yet. Sarawat offers his mother’s hospitality (and Muat is in the background, muttering in Sarawat’s voice, ‘I like kids too.’ Oh I love Muat, she’s an awesome sidekick.) When he hangs up the phone, Muat asks if he’s serious about this one. Sarawat says that a better question is whether Mee is going to take him. Hah.
At home, Suntih tells his auntie to be happy if she has a cop for a hubby, which shocks Mee who tells him to be polite because she and the inspector are only acquaintances. But even the kid can see past her denial.
We are at Chiang Mai once again! No police chases this time around, they are here to train.. dogs? Lol. That is a softer case! But yunno, it’s only an excuse to give them some heart to heart time. (Muat had advised him to confess his love- he thinks it’s too soon- but she says it’s better than being too late.)
The dogs are so cute! One by one, we get to watch them walk through hoops, hop on hind legs. They ask for a volunteer to be the victim of a purse snatch, so the dogs can practice chasing the bad guys. Muat tries to put in a good word for Sarawat, that he’s a real nice guy, he may appear to be easy with the girls, but he really doesn’t know how to court one ha, and that she’s noticed Mee is the only one he’s interested in.
Let’s see if he can make his move! Can he confess his love?
They stand at the edge of a pond dock where she thanks him for taking her here, she hasn’t done a nice case like this before. He’s glad that she’s happy.
“Inspector.. why me?” she finally opens up about their situation. “A man like you can meet with so many women- a woman that is not withdrawn or have family baggage like me. Why do you-“
“Why do I like you? Secretly court you and send you flowers?”
“I know that my appearance is acceptable to bring to the temple but you have the opportunity to meet other prettier women,” she comments. “Like Muat Dao. Pretty and talented.”
“Muat Dao is not the one you need to worry about,” he says. “We are only coworkers.”
“I’m not worried about her, just using her as an example. But I feel that I don’t have anything to offer you, I have issues, my nephew has issues, my whole family has issues.”
“Khun Mee, no one is perfect in this world. You may not see your strengths, but I see them, and I’m certain I’m right about you. You are sweet and soft on the outside, but strong and tough on the inside.”
Isn’t it strange to meet someone you haven’t met too long ago, but who can see you through who you are? Understand the very essence of you? That is Sarawat, he is like a mirror to her, showing her the other half she can’t see.
He likes a sweet woman, but a woman strong enough to face problems with him. In his profession, it’s a risky job, so he wants the future mother of his children to take care of them when he’s no longer around.
Mee tells him that he’s looking at her way too nicely. He thinks she thinks too lowly of herself.
“You are the strongest woman I know,” he says.
“You are the best man I’ve ever met,” she admits. “I’m happy to know you.” She looks away though. “We should go back.”
“I can wait for you,” he says, after a beat. “I know you’re afraid to open the feelings that’s been closed up inside,” he touches her arm, “but I will wait for you. I won’t go anywhere until you’re ready to accept me.”
She walks away, leaving him to ponder alone.
What happens next is quite beautiful.
They reach her house that night, and he asks to have dinner with her tomorrow.
She doesn’t answer.
“If you’re uncomfortable, it’s ok,” he turns around, excusing himself.
“Suntih would be happy..” Mee’s voice trails off.
Sarawat offers to have dinner with them everyday then, but Mee tells him that they need to get Suntih used to things first. In order to change Suntih, they need to give him understanding and time.
Sarawat relents, saying that he’s willing to do anything, because he’s already in love with Suntih. Oh my. Suddenly, I don’t think they are talking about Suntih anymore. *blushes*
It must be possible to cry then smile in this episode.
The reality of sex slaves and human trafficking in Thailand is so prominent, but people seem to be so accepting of it that it’s disturbing to watch- but this show is bringing it to the limelight and showing society that something better needs to be done about this. But politics and the law is so blurry and confusing- which this show only reiterates- that the problems and ignorance can be passed down from generation to generation. This will not be fixed overnight, but it needs to be addressed.
I like where this conflict is taking us though, that Mee is constantly punishing herself, removing herself from a love life because she looks down on herself, thinking that she doesn’t deserve a good man. She came from a bad place so therefore she doesn’t want to take him down with her. Yet she’s slowly realizing that Sarawat Heran is making her a better person, reminding her that she doesn’t have to pay for her parent’s follies. And it starts with forgiving herself.
Both Suntih and Mee are being shown what a good life looks like- if they can move pass their painful past. Didn’t she say that she and Suntih would start over? I’m glad Sarawat has the patience and virtue to get on this ship. And I’m glad I’ve the insistence (from you of course) to persevere with this show.
Perhaps it’s not all about the glitz and glam, but certainly it makes you feel. And isn’t that all that matters while watching a show?
How does it make you feel?