Hot damn. Those are two words to describe the first episode of Likit Rak aka The Crown Princess. As many of you know, I am a pretty hardcore Yadech fan as any, but to be honest, I was a bit gun shy about having any expectations for their current collaboration, Likit Rak, I learned that it’s always best to go in with zero expectations these days. And I’m sure glad I did, because I like what I’m seeing already. I’ll keep hopeful optimism that it stays good, since this is brought to us by director Ampaiporn and the producer Anne Thongprasom. It’s shot like a movie with stunning cinematography, excellent score, and seriously such eye candy I can’t look away. Simply put, it’s beautiful. I’m picking this one up as my next recapping project, I will preface that turnaround time will be snail paced, because yunno, I don’t decide my time anymore, but I know you guys like to read and share your thoughts even after watching. And so, here we are. #happybelatedmothersday
EPISODE 1 RECAP: Fire, Feud, Fury
We open with the D-team (which we will call Dream team moving forward, because they just are) escorting a very important person. Immediately they are attacked and the team skillfully take down the perpetrators, with their commander single handedly striking down opponents. This is Lieutenant Commander Dawin (Nadech Kugimiya), who after successfully completing this mission, relents that he can finally take his much needed vacation.
Meanwhile in Hrysos, another action packed sequence has Princess Alice (Yaya Urassaya) alone and defending herself from hired hands. This is not your dainty princess though, as she capably kicks ass and takes name, sustaining only a minor injury to her shoulder. However she doesn’t seem surprised as to who could be behind this latest assassination endeavor. Princess Alice storms the palace belonging to her uncle and former stepmom/current aunt named Princess Mona (Cindy Winsiri) and calls her out on it (“evil stepmom and backstabbing bitch” hahaha). Princess Mona demands evidence of the accusation, because hate isn’t a valid evidence, since everyone in the royal family apparently hates her. Mona claims that no one feels that she’s qualified to lead the country: she’s cold, inexperienced, and unworthy. Alice doesn’t back down as she retorts that she is a much better fit than a cheater who had an affair with the younger bro.
This is when her uncle Prince Andre steps in and prompts her to take her word back. Alice argues that she speaks the truth, Mona and her uncle’s affair caused her father to die, which is why the king rescinded the uncle’s succession to the throne. She adds that it serves them right since they put themselves in this situation and only in death can they stop her. The only person she seems to soften towards is Princess Kate (Sara Legge), her cousin.
King Henry (Ning Sirijanya) blusters at the attempt on his granddaughter’s life when she hasn’t even gone through the coronation yet. He implores that she ends her tendency to visit outside of palace grounds but Alice states that she needs personal space. King Henry continues that he will have to sever all appointments after the coronation, but Alice argues that the Thailand trip must be exempted because it’s a matter of their country’s trading future. The King is concerned of future retaliation because not everyone agrees with the succession. He claims that she is the only solution that will fix everything in their country.
Meanwhile Prince Aaron (Indy Intad) throws bottles of booze angrily at his cousin’s picture. She also has a soft spot for this younger cousin as well because she grew up with him and Princess Kate. She tells him that if she could choose, she would rather be a granddaughter and his older cousin. Aaron tells her to prove it by rescinding the throne, because if she doesn’t, she’ll end up living alone like this, with everybody hating her.
It’s a moot point because the coronation ceremony is upon us, as Princess Alice becomes Hrysos’ Crown Princess. It’s a breathtaking walk to accept the crown, but it’s also lonely at the top, with nary a person happy to see her leading the country.
Commander Dawin shrugs off his uniform for that of a leather jacket as he spends time in Hrysos on vacation. But it isn’t merely for pleasure as we see him visiting a cemetery: his father’s grave. Alice is also at the same cemetery as she is in disguise to visit her mother’s grave. Dawin says that his dad has been his greatest inspiration, while Alice tells her mom that she understands why she wants to be a normal person. Even though she is alone right now, Alice knows that her parents are always with her.
In a random scene, as Dawin is taking in the beautiful scenery that Hrysos has to offer, a fortune teller on the bench approaches him with some random advice: that he is going to meet whatever he is looking for soon, and it’s going to be a huge responsibility. Two lives are involved, one is of high stature but that they are destined to meet one another. Dawin retorts in disbelief that he’s not looking for anything, really. As fate would have it, when you’re not looking for something… it kinda falls on your lap anyway.
We see Alice and Dawin waiting at a train station. A man approaches Alice quietly and as he pulls out a knife to stab her, Dawin blocks it in time. He kicks a few more men down and grabs her hand to flee. Alice doesn’t even bat an eye as the stranger helps her, running through the train cars and even pretending to kiss in order to evade the hired hands. Once free of the men, Dawin turns and says that she’s safe now, and questions whether she knows who they are. Alice cuts him off with a simple “thank you” and high tails out of there. Leaving Dawin speechless that someone could be so rude. Ha. His wtf face is awesome.
General Sakchai (Ton Jakkrit) of Thailand gets a call informing him of Princess Alice’s arrival. There’s a whole army of protection, but Alice orders him to stand down because she needs the freedom to do her research in Thailand, and to not report back to The King. The General wants to gather his Dream Team to protect the princess.
Unfortunately the Commander is currently on holiday, running shirtless on the beach, doing a workout circuit, you know, his definition of “holiday”, but I’m grateful? Before Alice could even breathe the word “freedom” as she prepares for a welcoming party that night, a group of masked men infiltrates her room and takes down her bodyguards with a knockout gas. She was already gone by the time her bodyguards came to, and they move to Plan B as instructed by Alice – in the event she goes missing, they needed to make the public believe that all is well. So they faked a stand in, and made someone up to look just like Princess Alice. Her head of security then traces her path alone, attempting to find her princess without anyone noticing.
As Alice comes to, she’s tied to a chair and the hired hands are about to shoot her. She entices the leader to let her go and she would pay him double. As he falls for her beauty, Alice skillfully takes them one by one, even with her hands tied. She manages to make her way out of the room and realizes she’s on a boat. She jumps into the sea as they shoot at her, one bullet grazes the back of her shoulder, and her body sinks into the sea.
Dawin is on the same island as he cliff dives into the sea, you know, for fun. As he surfaces, a body floats against him. He shakes the beautiful woman a few times, but her body is limp and she remains unconscious. He circles his arms around her and carries her to shore. She sputters water but as she opens her eyes, he looks eerily similar to her captors, so she threw a punch and jumps him. Dawin wrestles her to stop the attack but she’s relentless and strong. He ends up tearing her dress, revealing long, shapely legs, but that earns him a kick to the head. Lol. She makes a dash for it, but ends up running into his chest instead. He maneuvers quickly to submit her, tying her arms behind her back, but that doesn’t stop her so he hoists her on his shoulder and carries her off. Wow, that was sexy.
Meanwhile The General notices something off about the Princess and her bodyguards. He instructs the remainder of his dream team look into her whereabouts and they come to their own, accurate conclusion.
Back on the island, Dawin demands to know who she is, but she evades the question and orders him to release her. She realizes he won’t release her without answers, so she tells him that she’s just a regular person. Dawin scoffs and says that if she was, she’d say that from the getgo, which only means that she’s not a regular person. Alice refuses to answer and tells him that he could just leave her like this. After a beat, he ends up releasing her and warning that they are the only two people on the island, if she doesn’t confess her identity then she’s on her own. Alice promises not to cause him any trouble and mirroring her comment in Hrysos, Alice bids him a “thank you” and dashes away. Dawin is left wondering why that felt familiar. Lol.
Prince Andre and wife make their appearance at the event and are even fooled that the real Alice has attended the event. They received word that she wouldn’t make an appearance, but clamors that those hired hands better fix their mistakes pronto. They also thought it doubly weird that the Princess is hightailing back to the country when the king is arriving to Thailand.
Alice treks through the island but becomes weak from the gunshot wound. The hired hands are closing in on her as she falls into a faint. This is how Dawin finds her. As he carries her away, she comes to and fights him the whole way. He tries to force water and food in her mouth knowing how stubborn she is, constantly refusing help. He scolds her for saying that she can manage, while she can barely move. Alice forces herself to eat for strength. She spots one of the hired hands and Dawin decides it isn’t safe to stay there so he grabs her hand and they run. She stumbles on him and laments that those men are after her, not him, so he ought to escape on his own. Dawin scolds her for being so proud, and says the only thing they need to do right now is run.
They arrive at a large tree where he has stored a knife, he tells her to hide there while he take on the men. But Alice is not one to stand around doing nothing, so as she watches from the tree and sees that Dawin is about to be attacked from behind, she threw the knife right into the perpetrator’s hand. He skillfully shoot at them even when they outnumber him. He takes the opportunity to ask who the “girl” is when asked for her whereabouts. But the hired hand says it’s none of his business, which resulted in Davin overtaking the gun in his hands and sending them all away. But they noticed the princess’ stripped fabric floating in the water and will be back to find her.
The Dream Team did their homework and confronted the Princess’ head guard that they can help her. They outlined their findings and inevitably won over the head guard. The two team work together to search for the Princess, while one of the lieutenants is instructed to bring the commander back from his holiday.
Our commander and princess bicker again as Dawin asks if she knows the identity of those hired hands and Alice answers no every time. He’s convinced that she knows who they are but is hiding everything. He’s suspicious of her ever since he helped her in Hrysos, and questions if she’s a spy or a killer for people to come after her like this. Alice laments that she had never asked him personal questions to which Dawin says that it’s not like he really wants to know, it’s just that they are the only two people on the island, and that complicates things. Alice repeats that she doesn’t need his help and Dawin reminds her that she would have died without his help. But she’s not afraid of dying and tells him exactly that. Dawin retorts that since they’re the only two on the island, he’ll become the murder suspect, so if she could help it, she ought to avoid dying. Lol these two, I could watch them bicker all day.
Dawin starts packing his bag and ready to leave her alone, but his years of protective instincts could not be discarded and he finds his feet coming back to her. He tells her that his friend will pick him up tomorrow morning and she could tag along if she wanted to, there is also a safe place to spend the night on the island. Dawin offers the tent for her but she declines, stating that just because she’s a woman she does not need the tent and could easily sleep outside. Dawin ponders to himself that she is a strange one. Haha. Alice takes a refreshing dip in the stream and as she tries to unzip her dress (but struggles), Dawin quickly assists and balks that she’s good at everything except for undressing herself. Alice defends that she never had to bother, there’s always someone dressing her, but caught herself from saying anything further. She practically barks her thank you which doesn’t please Dawin, and he laments that she should speak more softly when thanking someone, otherwise no one is going to want to help her in the future. Princess retorts that she didn’t ask for any help, to which Dawin scolds her for acting so high and mighty when she needs help. It shouldn’t be so hard to accept someone’s help, while Princess argues that it shouldn’t be so hard to help someone sincerely. I think we might be at an impasse.
Dream Team discovers Dawin’s shirt strewn about on the island and wonders if something might have happened. They decide to return again tomorrow on their scheduled pick up date.
That night Dawin compliments Alice for being able to wear his clothes and which makes her seem nicer, lol this guy. She doesn’t bicker with him though when he picks on her, because he is sharing his clothes, shoes and food, so. Pick your battles, lol.
Alice offers her diamond earrings to Dawin as a token of her appreciation for saving her life several times. She relents that he could give it to a loved one or sell it, but Dawin says he doesn’t need money and he has no lover. He suggests that instead of offering her diamond earrings to him, she ought to lower that wall of hers and act more naturally with him like a normal person that she claims to be. He adds that he would be more comfortable whenever she could lower that wall of hers, since he is on vacation, he would like to remain comfortable. He then officially introduces himself as Lieutenant Commander Dawin Samuthyakorn, but Alice doesn’t make his acquaintance, she just leaves him hanging.
She does however offer him a blanket later that night and tells him that when they’re back on the mainland, she will tell him who she is, since he wouldn’t believe it even if she told him right now. When referring to herself, she uses “rao” which means “we/us” but also used by someone who is superior.
The following morning, Dawin wakes her with a cherry attitude that he’ll finally get to know who she really is. He gives her one of his half tilted smile, which makes her smile back. Ugh, so cute.
Meanwhile back in the city the royal family apparently have all arrived, Mona inquires with her step daughter Kate on whether the picture of Alice in the news is actually a fake Alice. Kate confirms it.
Back on the island, the duo gets accosted by the hired hands again. They work together to fend off the men, while skillfully shooting back at them. The action sequences are fantastic. The Dream Team are right on their tail though and help the commander eliminate the remaining villains. The four members of the team are happy to see their commander safe and sound and questions who the baddies were after. Alice surfaces from the hill and as she stands atop the hill, the four stare up at her with recognition. Dawin is about to introduce her, but they all bow their heads and greet her as the Princess.
Dawin’s head swerves back at her and he flashes back to their moments together as reality of her identity dawns on him.
That was a great end to the first episode, with Dawin realizing how high and mighty she really is. He is shooketh, and well, so am I. It was an action packed episode, well-paced and choreographed. I was giddy when I saw them together, it’s like they’re finally grownups to me (after so many lakorns together) and they are so perfectly in tuned with each other. The way that they can exchange their bantering, the way that they fit so well with each other during those more intimate scenes, and just the way that they peer at each other. Nadech’s expression during fight scenes is finally natural, which is awesome, because now he’s really just fighting because it is part of who he is, not because he can. Yaya playing the headstrong Princess who cannot trust even her own family is spot on, I liked that Dawin could see right through her. I don’t know how many more close calls she’s going to have to endure, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a good thing the princess is tough and determined to carry out her duty.
Even with the fight for the throne premise, I appreciate that this show focuses on the main leads being together. At the end of the day it is a love story – and a fated one at that – let’s hope that fate will keep them together and not apart. Right now the story is stimulating, the filming is gorgeous, and all the elements of a crack show has begun to form. It also doesn’t hurt that when Nadech and Yaya are on screen together, their chemistry just sizzles, crackles and pops.
P.S. Situation with screenshots – I am so, very out of media storage on this blog- so pictures are credit to Twitter. I’m also limited on time, so I won’t be able to feature many pictures in these recaps. Thanks for your understanding!