When you go from watching nothing, to binging somethings, I can’t imagine a more fun endeavor than a time traveling premise. This topic has always been a favorite of mine, ever since Tawee Pope 1994, which is a lakorn that made sense of a woman who steps into the past through a mirror portal, where she finds her soulmate and saves the world. It’s been a story that many cannot hold a candle to, despite its best efforts and remakes. The two time travel lakorns that I’m watching simultaneously are Buppae Sunniwas (starring Pope Thanawat and Bella Ranee) and Buang Banjathorn (starring Mario Maurer and Mai Davika). My first impressions specifically speaks to two key components: does the time travel portal front make sense, and whether the storytelling captivates an audience (as subjective as that may be).
Plotwise, Buang Banjathorn is very similar to Tawee Pope, with a modern twist. Our heroine, Praenuan (Mai Davika), is married but her husband’s infidelity has finally broke the camel’s back. Within that two years of marriage, he has cheated on her countless times, while promising never to do it again. Despite his cheating ways, Praenuan forgives him because she believes that he’s her one true love. But she can’t make any more excuses for turning a blind eye, seeing that she saw his cheating ways with her own two eyes. Once she determined that a divorce is the only recourse, Praenuan hightailed out of the city for an R&R in Chiang Rai, to a property that she inherited from her father. Once there, things take on an interesting turn for her.
Praenuan starts hearing the voice of a man calling her name as she walks around the premises. She then finds a hundred year old bed in the storage and decides to dust it off and put it to use in the master bedroom. Little did she know that it’s enchanted. As she takes a nap from her grueling heartbreak, the bed activates and creates a portal to another time, taking her to World War 2 era. The plumeria flowers essentially picks her up off the bed and deposits her on the ground of a castle ground where she meets the hero, Prince Laoperng (Mario Maurer), who is immediately struck with shock as her face is the same face as the woman in his dreams! Quite literally! We see paintings of her face all over his room, like the non-stalker, doting hero that he is. They meet for a second, as he demands to know who she is, while she suddenly feels a headache coming, since in present time, someone is waking her up. She gets transported back to her sleeping body in present time. So this begs the question, is her soul traveling back in time while her body stays in the present? How is this going to work out when she decides to live in the past and be with her love, is she even an entity?
In Tawee Pope, Manee Jan travels through the mirror and into the past, every time she steps into the past, the mirror starts to crack, where eventually, it shatters into pieces when Manee Jan decides which world she wants to live in. During this traveling back and forth, she knows to return to the present time at the sound of a bell ringing, alerting her that someone is coming to her room. This makes sense, since everything is tied to the mirror portal. She could hear Khun Luang’s voice calling her through it, and eventually her life revolves around it, prompting the outside present world to take an intervention because it’s not normal for someone to be in their room so much. But the mirror portal acts as a very intimate connection between the two, since the two way mirror exists only in their rooms. This sets up a wonderful first meeting when Manee Jan steps into Khun Luang’s private chambers, which prompts him to easily believe that she is a person from the future, and they have to team up to make everyone in the past believe that she’s a person of their time. While Praenuan will have a harder time convincing Prince Laoperng since she appeared right in the thick of things, they have a kidnapper on the loose and he questions whether she’s a spy. Granted, Prince Laoperng is a gentle fella and could not believe that a woman of and in his dreams would ever do any harm.
To be honest, at first I wasn’t captivated by the story, because Praenuan seems like a very lost person, in the opening sequence, she narrates that her second year wedding anniversary with her husband, made her feel like a princess, the girl who has everything. Yet we later find out that during those two years, he’s been cheating on her left and right, and she knows it too! But as realistic and misleading as her situation may be, it doesn’t make for a strong heroine. Until of course she decides she can’t take it anymore and is angry at herself for believing in him, for believing that she has only one chance at love. And at a time she’s at a lost for love, she finds it, what is presumably a love beyond her time. Meanwhile, Prince Laopreng is practically betrothed since birth, yet he is in love with the woman in his dreams. Talk about a love with strings attached, in more ways than one. Battle of the second leads.
I’m not quite sold regarding the time travel portal for this story, because it allows for too many loopholes and no sense of desperation. However, I will say, once Praenuan meets Laoperng, you couldn’t peel me away if you wanted to. Perhaps the biggest success is the unconventional romance between the two. And Mario, always Mario who seals the deal for me. It’s one of those shows where you watch for the love story and turn your brain off.
Buppae Sunniwas on the other hand, encompasses a story that takes place in the past, about a scorned woman named Karakate (Bella Ranee) and her fiancé Muen (Pope Thanawat). They were betrothed since birth because their fathers are best friends/sworn brothers. When her family died, Muen’s dad moved her to their home with the anticipation that one day she will wed his son. That one day stretches to years and Karakate turns more and more into an evil, conniving woman. When we meet her, she’s already in the deep end, plotting her competitor’s demise. Muen’s dad is determined to see the marriage through because he made a promise, and because he thinks his son’s procrastination has turned Karakate into a scorned woman. Muen on the other hand, hates her guts. He absolutely despises the ground she walks on and vows to prolong this engagement until the end of time (not very heroic of you my dear Pope). An opportunity to show Karakate’s true colors to his dad arises when a servant died on behalf of a gentlewoman named Mae Ying. He strongly believes that Karakate is responsible and prompts his father to perform a ritual to unveil the true killer, barring that if Karakate isn’t responsible, it shouldn’t affect her. This ritual will either kill the person or turn them mad. So the two sets out to perform this ritual and the spine tingling, absolutely sad and horrifying event takes place where we witness Karakate getting burned under her skin until her eyes almost roll to the back of her head, and the fricking devil at her feet.
Her poor servants are sobbing and telling her to pray as they pushed open the window where a golden temple comes into view. She manages to clasp her palms together, crying to her servants for help and that she is so very afraid. I still have goosebumps from this scene, and may even cried for this villain. Karakate die.. her body unmoving and cold. Her soul finds itself in a temple, the very same temple that her doppelganger of the future time (future for her and present for us) currently resides, only drabbier and much rounder. The doppelganger is Katesurang who has been working on the temple with her best friend, Rueng, when they meet the scary ghost of Karakate and gets into a tragic accident. Both Kate of present and past meets in the nonliving world where hades chase at their feet. Karakate with a final, desperate plea asks Katesurang to redeem her in everyone’s eyes. Make them believe that Karakate isn’t as evil or unworthy. We can hypothesize that both Kates were supposed to die but Karakate’s desperation prompts her to send her doppelganger in her place, while she rots in hell. Even at death, with the devil at your heels, Karakate is determined to win her man. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
We don’t know what happens to Katesurang’s body yet, whether she’s in a coma or actually dies, but the Katesurang in Karakate’s body is one to behold. She is all of us – marveling at how skinny she is, how beautiful she is, and the many metas that run through her head while she wraps her head around the fact that she just time traveled. I LOL’d so hard. There were references to Tawee Pope (though my dear, I don’t think you’re meant to be going back and forth like Manee jan), the writing is just on point! Hats off to Bella who can go from being truly evil, to truly pitiful and then so dang funny. The potential for this story is huge, we’ve got a great setup and a strong start, because the most interesting thing that will come of this is how Katesurang will redeem Karakate, and eventually make Muen fall in love with the woman he vows to hate. There is nothing like proving a serious hero wrong, I love nothing more than a serious hero who can go from being a mean face to melting into a puddle at the heroine’s feet ala Padiwarada. I’m already looking forward to Muen and Kate’s interaction. But first, we’re going to be given the 101 reasons why he hates Karakate, because at the end of the day, Karakate is evil and abusive, and at a certain point, you gotta stop blaming others for your problems. Perhaps sending her doppelganger is Karakate’s way in taking responsibility.
Poor Katesurang is sent through hell’s door and thinks that if she redeems Karakate, she would be allowed to go back to her time and her body. But how and when is that decided? And then what happens if, let’s say, she doesn’t want to go back? I hope we are given a time limit and some sort of challenge to make it more desperate, and that loving someone in someone else’s body is a struggle. What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment. But this is the type of show I didn’t know I needed. Bring on the fun! And if Show makes it just as good as it started, it can have all of my tears.