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Once upon a time, in a monsoon-laden land, there lived a doe-eyed little deer quite happy to stay in her calm and placid world. To the animals in this kingdom, the little deer represents all that is good in the world: righteous, dignified, sympathetic. But out of nowhere, the temperature drop and the wind increase: the monsoon storm is brewing. The little deer is forced into the woods where she runs headlong into a scary tiger. What becomes of the little deer? Can she befriend and tame the tiger or get eaten alive in the natural order of Hunter-Prey world? Can the little deer keep the boat afloat in the midst of the storm, or get shattered into smithereens in the wake of it?

In this lakorn world – Morrassoom Sawat (Monsoon of Passion) by Mum Mai Production – Kumarika “Kwang” (Preaw Tasaneeya), is the little deer that meets the scary hunter/tiger, Sayomphu “Nai Noi” (Weir Sukollowat). What makes their story different and more interesting is the angle: Show projects from the scary tiger’s perspective. What if, in the eyes of the scary tiger, he sees the little deer as a door to a new world? The scary tiger does not want to hunt anymore; he is tired of killing little innocent deer. But he is afraid that after giving his trust and friendship to the little deer, he will get betrayed. You can take the tiger out of the woods but can you take the wild out of the tiger? Will the tiger succumb to its natural instincts and kill the deer, or can the deer win over his scary, cold heart?

The story starts with Sayomphu being a young CEO who is trying to clean his mafia image. Although he inherited the gang from his father at a young age, he worked hard to build his construction business –Sayomphu Group – from the ground up and wash his hands of any illegal or thug like tendencies. When we meet him, he runs a successful business but struggles with other’s perception of him and his lackeys. From the top of his head to the tip of his toes, Sayomphu looks like the walking, talking mafia, thus people coin him the Concrete Mafia. When negotiations don’t work themselves out, Sayomphu takes measures behind the scene to ultimately win them.

But in one particular art gallery purchase and sale, Sayomphu meets Kumarika, a senior in high school, who makes him question his whole existence, and brings about a desire that he kept buried deep in his heart. Without knowing that he is the firm who purchased the art gallery, Kumarika approaches Sayomphu to ask for his donation to keep the gallery afloat. Her idealistic views, innocent perception of the world, and giving people the benefit of the doubt, speaks to his desire to be good and do good. He had divulged to a friend that his type in a woman is someone who can make him forget the world.

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Sayomphu has a painful past, which causes him to have severe distrust in woman and believes that every woman has a price; he just needs to name it. His own mother abandoned him and his dad to be with her lover, then returned sometime later to betray his father, which ultimately triggered his father’s death. As he gets to know Kumarika, he falls more in love with her and decides to initiate a scheme that he believes will bring her to him: he drives her father to get entangled in debt and he comes to the rescue, to the point that the amount of his contribution can never be paid back with money alone. But his plan backfires. What he doesn’t realize is that their relationship development is already so natural and she sees him as a hero in her eyes, that none of the schemes would have been necessary.

Kumarika is a sheltered, kindhearted girl; she raises animals and saves street dogs. She has a tendency to place other’s needs before her own – whether it came to her immediate family or her neighbor friend Akkarapol “P’Pon”or the tiger himself. Everyone coins her as Miss Good Samaritan, she is the epitome of an angel. Kumarika wants nothing more than to continue living a straight and narrow life. Although she may come off as being naïve, she is merely principled and mature. Though everyone thinks her as young and inexperience, her words cut deep. She constantly proves Sayomphu wrong, and gives him a run for his money.

Sayomphu does not become a successful businessman without making a few enemies. He welcomes them because at the end of the day, he always comes out on top. Or will he? His biggest rival is Boss Opat, his father’s former left hand man, who betrayed him and created his own gang. Boss Opat constantly creates misunderstanding between the public and Sayomphu Group, pitting any wrongdoings on Sayomphu Group. In the midst of Sayomphu’s scheme, where Sayomphu becomes Kumarika’s dad’s business partner, Kumarika is led to believe that Sayomphu sabotaged her father’s business. Due to the massive debt and business failures, her father flees, leaving all of the responsibility to her, which includes the livelihood of her stepmom and four siblings. In a matter of minutes, the storm hit and upturned her life inside out and upside down. She not only lost her father (who fled), but everything to their name. She went from riches to rags, all thanks to Sayomphu, or so she believed.

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But she wouldn’t be completely incorrect. Sayomphu loves fiercely, but he also hates even more fiercely. His romantic rival is Akkarapol, Kumarika’s neighbor who loves Kumarika unrequitedly. However, he believes that Kumarika has feelings for him because she’s always nice to him. The two are similar in that they crave independence, and bond through the appreciation for art, but Kumarika only sees him as a big brother. Akkarapol hates Sayomphu because he’s a romantic threat, but also because Sayomphu can see right through him. He’s a lying liar face. Akkarapol is an intern at Sayomphu Group and Sayomphu discovers that Akkarapol actually copied someone else’s architecture design. Although Sayomphu doesn’t reveal it to the public, he does make digs to Akkarapol about it. Akkarapol proceeds to do anything to beat Sayomphu, whether that is making Kumarika his or taking Sayomphu Group down.

At any rate, due to the heartbreak that Kumarika inflicted on Sayomphu, he seizes her home and all of her father’s assets. Kumarika, along with her siblings and stepmom, are forced on the streets. Sayomphu goes on a long business trip to China, thinking that Kumarika had followed Akkarpol and her sister abroad. Little did Sayomphu know that Kumarika and her remaining family have to live in a dilapidated farm home, surviving off rice and water. Another conflict lies in his mistress, Wantanee and his left hand woman, Vi, who both don’t like that he’s head over heels for Kumarika. The scariest rival is actually Vi, because Sayomphu has no idea that she loved him for a long time, and that she could betray him by preying on anyone who could give her an advantage. If she were an animal, she would be a snake.

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Fast-forward 5 years. Kumarika is an adult, supporting her ungrateful stepmom who gambles, and her four young siblings. One sibling in particular is like her very own daughter, since she raised her the minute she was born. Sayomphu returns to Thailand and discovers the reality of Kumarika’s situation and feels tremendous guilt and anguish. He sets out to make things right without telling her that it was him, which includes getting her a job at his company, making sure she eats, and sneaking behind her back to support her stepmom and siblings. The years have made Kumarika realize that she must live in the present and stay in the reality. Gone is the innocent girl, but she is still steadfast in her principles of pride. She believes that even if you lose everything, you have to maintain your pride. In spite of the struggles and situation she endured, Kumarika always stays within her character and holds on to her beliefs.

Her character constantly challenges Sayomphu’s character and if Show does a good job, we will find out who wins, who changes, and whether the initial argument gets proven in the end: can this scary tiger be a good tiger?

The tone and plot for this show reminds me a lot of old school Channel 7 lakorns, the 10-year age difference, typical lakorn characterization – the hot headed tough hero and the angelic heroine who gets bullied and needs rescuing- also tropes of jealous second leads, and misunderstandings as plot devices. There’s so much going on, Show takes you on a crazy ride.

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What I like and appreciated about this show though, is the amount of screen time dedicated to our leads – after all, the main storyline centers on them. Either they are together, or they’re in scenes with other character’s subplots. The same cannot be said for many lakorns out there. Because of their thorough screen time, it serves to show us the romance between Sayomphu and Kumarika. In other lakorns, the two just fall in love and we’re supposed to believe it, but Morrasoom Sawat ensures we SEE how these two fall in love. From the very beginning, Kumarika makes Sayomphu want to be a better person – so he sets out to try to be a better person. He throws caution to the wind and gives Akkarapol another chance at his firm, and then he saves a dog on the street for her, rescues her in everyway that he can, and romances the crap out of their moments together. The smitten Sayomphu is simply adorable and swoon worthy. The way he looks at her, I die. This makes me root for the two because their love is believable and I want to see them survive the relationship fallout. And epic fallout it was.

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In spite of their misunderstandings though, Sayomphu and Kumarika always end up doing what their heart tells them, and finding their way back to each other. They hate each other at times, but they can’t deny how much they love and are attracted to each other. The chemistry is off the charts. When I watch this show, I see only Sayomphu and Kumarika, these two sold their relationship very well. Weir is an astounding actor, he really gets into his characters, and I don’t even know why I ever forget how amazing he is. There is a reason why he has won so many best actor awards. Side note – I thought Sayomphu looked much more devilishly handsome after he took off the hideous mafia patterned shirt. I also love that there are two original OSTs that are sung by both actors, it sets the mood and makes the show even more engaging.

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Both of these characters have their flaws and desirable traits. I don’t necessarily want to date Sayomphu or even be Kumarika per se, but I can understand why they are attracted to each other and can fall in love. They are opposites and can offer different things to the relationship, but the thing they have in common really, really makes it a frustrating watch: lack of communication and trust. Sayomphu prefers to be in pain and hurt than to come clean, leading her to misunderstand his true character. He believes what people tell him of Kumarika because he doesn’t trust her. While Kumarika keeps thinking that it’s best if she stays in the reality, which means he’s just her benefactor. Every time she tries to help, she makes matters worse. Sometimes I wish Show would just lock them in a room together and throw away the keys, they need to just talk things out. The weakest part I see about their relationship is that they are so ready to give up on each other. We know they make each other better, but I wish they fought for each other more than to choose so much noble idiocies.

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Ah, and the third parties. I will say that I wanted to punch Akkarapol SO MANY TIMES. He makes my blood boil. As the story progressed, he does make a pretty scary rival, because even though he wants the girl and will do anything to have her, he wants the hero to fail more. Which is good for conflict in the business and romantic department, but not good for my heart. I must say that I should take my hats off to Vi who is a smart villain. She’s the one manipulating all of the puppets. She think she was ok with the idea of just being Sayomphu’s left hand woman, and doesn’t care that he has mistress or is a player. But she cannot accept the fact that he has fallen in love. Since she can’t have her love reciprocated, she opts for money instead. She thinks the best way to punish a man for his love is to make him destitute. Little did she know that Sayomphu doesn’t care about his fortune, if it means losing his lady.

Show has satisfied my bloodthirsty needs – the conclusion for the baddies are done well – people I wanted to die, died, and those like Vi, gets poetic justice. She chose money and in the end, loses that most precious thing to her. It’s so great. I love Sayomphu’s loyal guard, and was sad to see King go. It’s unfortunate Sayomphu who is so smart, but couldn’t see past her straight faced lies, making it necessary that King dies in order to reveal her true colors.

The most touching character development for me is Kumarika’s family: her stepmom Sa-ar, brother Nop and sister Wor. Sa-ar is a shameless and selfish woman but through the difficult times, she starts to change. She learns that marrying a rich man could also mean you can get oppressed. She really stepped up being a mom for both Kumarika and Wor. Nop realizes that he can make something of himself and although his family aren’t his blood related family, they are still family. While Wor’s learning curve mirrors Sa-ar, in that she shouldn’t have married a man just because he’s rich, she understands that she should get to know his personality first.

I think the most useless and horrible character in this show is their dad. This man left them for 5-6 years, not a peep from him throughout those years, and he reappears in the ending and they all forgive him? I would believe that he tried to contact them or whatever IF we’ve seen this throughout the show, but it is only shown in the last few minutes. At least he sticks to character and has another wife and two kids while he’s away. Geez Louise this man is virile. It’s interesting to see the family returning to where they first started, but now are very different people.

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I really liked how Sayomphu’s character and profession takes an active role in the plot. His profession isn’t just a means to an end, but the end all. The relationship development and their love story were done well, but the two still end up making the same mistakes and pushing each other away until the very end. Haven’t they learned anything from their experiences? When Sayomphu finds out the truth about his mother – in that she didn’t runaway with a lover and wasn’t responsible for his father’s death – I wished it played out differently. Perhaps if Sayomphu realizes his love and faith in Kumarika first, and is willing to forgive his mother, then when he finds out that it was a misunderstanding all along, it would be a better character development moment for our hero.

At the end of the day, Kumarika remains steadfast and Sayomphu changes. He opts to never touch a gun again and when he decides to spare Akkarapol’s life, we understand he has achieved what he really wants to be: a good tiger. But being a good tiger, doesn’t necessarily mean no more pranking or tricking, Sayomphu is still the conniving, devilish man that he is, he just doesn’t use violence anymore. And yay to that.

The metaphors are grand in this lakorn, and it comes back full circle in the end, as Sayomphu wraps his wife in his arms and wishes that it won’t rain, because bad things always happen to him when it rains. But Kumarika says with a smile that he’ll be all right if it rains. She realizes that he’s not a bad monsoon, but he’s like a beacon of light that helps her navigate the rain and avoid the storm. And they finally admit that they love each other from the beginning, and all along, sealing it with a kiss.. and then some. Swoon. Their chemistry has always been electric and the romance has always been sweeping, because it took a whopping five plus years to reconcile all misunderstandings and finally be together in peace. I could use a more condensed version, with duplicate misunderstandings deleted, preferably.

All in all I enjoyed it, it wasn’t the crack show I was looking for – since it took me over a month to finish it – but there were many aspects that I liked, the family reconciliation, the central plot about our leads, the fantastic screen time, and lastly, the sweet, sweet romance between Sayomphu and Kumarika.

Because we know that the next time there is a storm, the two won’t be waiting for it to pass, but they will have learned to dance in the rain.

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