Game Sanaeha – Round 1
Posted on June 25, 2018
Oh this is going to be FUN. Welcome to the world of wagers and game and strategy. We see the stakes right in the first five minutes of this show, which will leave us dying to find out how this game will play out – but it’s going to be a nice long, drawn out fight that will leave us asking to be tapped out- even before the results are in. Can you handle it? It’s a slap/kiss lakorn by THE LakornThai production who does slap/kiss tropes so well they have it for breakfast. It’s the kind of show, when done right, viewers eat this up. For starters, it is a pretty show, so easy on the eyes with James Jirayu and Taew Nataporn (who is pretty, but when did she get SO pretty?) So without further ado.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We open with a man named Luckanai (James Jirayu) walking purposefully into a labor and delivery room – with the patient’s family saying “don’t do it!” and we find out exactly what he intends to do – as the woman in question, Meunchanok (Taew Nataporn) delivers a baby boy. Luckanai doesn’t even let her see the baby that she pushed out, as he tells the nurse that only he needs to see it and that it’s HIS baby alone. Say what? She stops him and says that she’s the baby’s momma in a rhetorical way (because we all just saw her pushing a baby out), but Luckanai stares her down coldly and says, “Mom? You must have forgotten what you have said and done, Khun Meunchanok.” Then she watches him walk out of the room with her baby and cries wretchedly.
Thanks Show, I’m AWAKE now!
Rewind two years prior.
We find out the kind of stuff Meunchanok is made of (or capable of). She’s finishing up her study abroad and stops her fancy car abruptly in front of frenemy. Meunchanok demands to know if she had stolen her work, which the frenemy confirms because Meunchanok had criticized it. Frenemy relents that life isn’t always about playing by the rules, and that one may encounter minor accidents along the way. Meunchanok doesn’t appreciate the sarcastic life lesson, and she shows frenemy exactly what a minor accident looks like by reversing her Porsche into the frenemy’s car. She goes a step further by replaying the voice recording with their conversation earlier and says she’s not too worried about the case against her because she has already graduated, unlike some people who will need to explain the plagiarism. Ouch. Meunchanok admonishes that no one can take away what belongs to her.
Still feeling like she’s on a role, Meunchanok phones her parents to wish them a happy anniversary, and that she will book their special place. We see that both parents just go with it until they hang up, and we see that they are actually in the process of signing divorce papers. LOL. And let’s just be real, these parents of hers are WAY too young to be married for 25 years and have a grown ass adult. Unless of course they got married at a really young age which is feasible, but highly unlikely for such a rich family, but I digress! The parents look at each other one last time and question how their daughter would take the news – which one of them says badly – but as the official take their divorce papers away, they snag it back quickly and signed. They even found some newlyweds as witnesses to their divorce. Hahaha.
The newly divorced decide they didn’t need to sit through a dinner reservation when their daughter isn’t even here to witness it, so they opt to take a quick selfie and get the hell out of there. However, Meunchanok does the photobomb of all time and surprise/scare the heck out of her parents. She’s so excited to be crashing her parents’ anniversary dinner party that when she opens what she thinks is the menu, she’s staring at her parents’ divorce papers instead. Oh this is gold.
Angry, she rushes out of there and into a men’s bathroom stall to pout. She cries that they promised not to divorce but mom says couples divorce all the time and she shouldn’t make it seem like her world is falling apart because of it. She adds that they don’t love each other anymore so why should they be miserable. Dad tells mom to leave because she’s not helping matters and tries to talk to his daughter alone.
Dad apologizes for breaking his promise, but he says that they’ve tried to make it work. Meunchanok doesn’t understand why mom made it seem like she was so unhappy in the last 25 years. Dad reassures her that they did have some happy memories but those happy moments between mom and dad expired a long time ago. Meunchanok wonders if it is Mom’s fault and holds onto that last thread of hope to see if she could talk Mom out of it. Dad doesn’t have the guts to tell her the truth.
Mom gets picked up by Luckanai with a bouquet of flowers to honor her first day of being single again. Whoa, hottie alert. Sorry needed a moment to take in all that modern glory that is James Jirayu. Meunchanok notices that her mom got into a car with another man and starts chasing her, down the flight of stairs, into a tuktuk and then a hotel room where she manages to get the employees to tell her the room number. The minute the hotel room door opens, a man stares her in the face (and recognition dawns on him) though Meunchanok doesn’t care as she launches at him like it’s Ultimate Fighting. Lol.
He’s just trying to defend himself until she falls on top of him and their lips meet. Rawr.
She of course thinks it’s the grossest thing ever and hits him again, though he finally gets her attention by calling her name and reminding her who he is by pinching her cheeks. Hahaha. She flashes back to the little boy she grew up with – whom she called “Lucky” (omg what a cute pet name) – and his identity finally registers. Meunchanok delivers a swift kick to his shins and searches around the room for her mom. Khun Nai (I guess this is what we’ll call the grown Mr. Luckanai, though I’d prefer Lucky..) wagers a bet with her, if Mom is in the room, he would standstill and let her kill him. However if Mom isn’t here, then Meunchanok will apologize by saying “I’m sorry ka.”
Meunchanok doesn’t find her mom and the only way to get her whereabouts is to apologize. So she says “Sorry.” Khun Nai prompts her to add “Ka” which is a polite article. Haha. So he takes her to Mom, who is having the best divorce party ever, there’s even a name for it “Single Again.” She’s got all of the event’s bells and whistles.. flashy dresses, semi naked guys, friends.. and the buzzkill of the year, her own daughter. But Mom isn’t about to go down as the worse parent, because it takes two to tango when it comes to getting a divorce and Dad won’t get out of this the innocent one. So Mom says that even though she’s selfish and likes to have fun with her friends, she never strayed. Mom admits that Dad is the person who wants the divorce so he could marry the Pageant Queen his daughter’s age. Oh snap.
Meunchanok doesn’t want to hear anymore so she runs out of there as per her usual coping mechanism. Khun Nai follows her, telling Mom and Dad that he’s got this.
He finds her running away (girl must be putting more than 10K steps a day) and tries to stop her. Meunchanok says it has nothing to do with an outsider like him but he relents that her parents still love her like before. She argues that an orphan like him wouldn’t know, yikes, and someone who’s just residing at her house shouldn’t meddle. But Khun Nai continues that her parents raised him and he knows a thing or two about being grateful. Meunchanok surmises that he’s calling her ungrateful, but that’s not what he’s trying to say. Khun Nai reasons that her parents have been doing everything for her, why can’t they do something for themselves now? He calls her selfish and loves only herself. Them fighting words.
Meunchanok slaps him and says he shouldn’t try to compare to her, he’s just an orphan wishing to be a rich man’s kid. Like that’s a bad thing? She gives him a scathing look and rushes out of there, only to trip on a manhole and falls. A car flashes its lights in front of her but Khun Nai rushes in time to save her, as they roll away, just like the time they were little. In that moment of panic, Meunchanok calls out his childhood name. Betcha Lucky has been saving Miss Snottyface Nok since they were little. She walks away awkwardly and without a thank you. Khun Nai follows her a few steps behind, as she meanders listlessly through the brightly lit city, looking sad and lost, but not alone.
Her high heel gets caught on a corner and he help her out. He says that if it makes her feel better, she can continue to walk aimlessly. Meunchanok relents that nothing could possibly make her feel better right now. Khun Nai seems to know and has a running list in his head about how to cheer Miss Snottyface Nok up and starts making rock skip on the river. When they were little, Lucky had told her to put all of her worry and sadness in the rock and throw it away. It seems to work on Meunchanok as she let’s go of her tears. Khun Nai covers her shaking shoulders with his jacket and just lets her cry it out. Ah, so sweet Khun Nai.
The next morning Meunchanok wakes up with a start, she had had a nightmare that when her parents were reading her a bedtime story, they were reading her their divorce papers. Lol. She has no idea how she got home, much less in bed. She asks the housekeeper, who lies that Khun Nai just brought her home and she walked up to her bedroom herself. But we see that in the housekeeper’s flashback, Khun Nai totally carried her all the way to bed. The housekeeper knows better than to say anything. Hahaha.
The housekeeper says that it is her fault for not preparing Meunchanok about the pending divorce, but that her parents are ready to talk about it with her and are waiting downstairs. Meunchanok says that her dad (who’s now the target of her anger) was determined to keep it from her so there’s nothing anyone can do. Meanwhile dad is talking to his new love over the phone since he will miss the opening event for her company “Beauty Forever”. He says he’ll make it up to her and celebrate privately, just the two of them. Mom of course overhears this as she stands right behind him, spectating. Then the funny part is when she starts tagging items that she wants with a pink sticky, she even tags his jacket, lamenting she’ll take back what she bought. Mom’s pettiness is hilarious.
Khun Nai is the only one at the dining table, apparently having breakfast, watching the circus unfold before him. Meunchanok comes downstairs to ask her bickering parents about where she ought to live now that they’re no longer together. She says that when she was younger, Mom always went out so she always thought that Mom would be responsible for breaking up their family, but Dad had been the one to promise that they will stay together, but in turn he had been the one to destroy their family, not Mom. Mom smiles and says she’ll take it as a compliment, to which Khun Nai warns her with a simple warning ‘Auntie..’ Ha. Meunchanok tells him to stay out of her family affair. Her mom tells her to quit picking on Khun Nai whenever she doesn’t get things her way. Oh is that what it is? Little Miss Snottyface Nok hasn’t quite grown up yet?
Khun Nai tries to excuse himself but even Dad defends him, not that that matters to Meunchanok since she says Dad never considers her anyway. But Mom seems to be enjoying all of the anger thrown at Dad.
Meunchanok gets a bright idea on what she’ll do next, as she googles the name of her dad’s new love. Mom decides she won’t move her things out today since she’s no longer in the mood, but they notice Meunchanok taking out a car and the housekeeper saying that she’s going to pay a respect to someone. Knowing Meunchanok’s line of thought so well, Khun Nai knows exactly who she’s after and makes chase.
Meunchanok goes to see her dad’s new love, Pimunkae, with an angry glint in her eyes. She waits until the media starts asking “Kae” to confirm her new man, but Pimunkae doesn’t divulge any personal answers, until Meunchanok insinuates that she’s a mistress. Pimunkae calmly says that the man she’s seeing used to be married, but now he’s divorced. Meunchanok argues that there’s no way her dad would leave the family to pursue a woman like her, which is exactly why Pimunkae says it’s mutual love and that is why their pending nuptial have made its round. Angry, Meunchanok tosses a vase filled with water at her, but Khun Nai steps in front of Pimunkae in time to get a nice douse. Khun Nai’s eyes meet with Pimunkae, as if he’s not too happy about seeing her either. Hm. He asks Meunchanok nicely to leave with him because she can’t force her dad either way, and when she refuses, Khun Nai princess carries her out of there.
Meunchanok fights to get out of his hold until they both fall into the water fountain. Haha.
He questions whether she wants to fight until everyone can see her bra, which of course gets her crossing her arms across her chest. Khun Nai sacrifices his jacket again and when they reach his car, he tells her that this is not the best method to gain her father back, it would do the opposite by pushing him away. Meunchanok believes her father loves her very much and would do anything for her. But Khun Nai says obviously not everything because he wouldn’t stop the divorce, and it’s because he loves the Beauty Queen. That gets Meunchanok listening, especially to the fact that things are not the same anymore, and she cannot continue acting like the spoiled girl that she is. Yeah, listen to him. He even buckles her in the car nicely.
Pimunkae’s mom does damage control over the apparent misconception that Pimunkae’s someone’s mistress. She says she doesn’t care how precious Meunchanok is, but Dad will have to pay for the damages to their store’s sale.
Meunchanok gets out of the car and huffs that she won’t be thanking him because he’s only out to protect his future boss (who is replacing her mom), and in essence protecting his own hide. And it looks like we know where Miss Snottyface Nok got her thinking from – grandma – who shares the same sentiment when it comes to Khun Nai. Mom and grandma sees Meunchanok on the news, with Khun Nai carrying her out, and this pisses off grandma to no end. She goes off on how he’s so lowly and should not be seen with them. Mom tries to defend Khun Nai, that he’s “family”, but grandma doesn’t honor it. Which is super awkward because Khun Nai hears all of this as he came to see Mom. He relents that he knows his place, but grandma hears all of the rumors about him and her daughter and thinks he’s conniving.
Khun Nai reports what happened earlier and Mom was glad that he intervened. He says that Pimunkae isn’t a terrible person based on what he has known – since they went to school together – but he laments that they are only acquaintances. Mom questions whether the other party – Kae – feels the same way about it. Mom warns him two things: 1) don’t fight over a girl with her ex 2) don’t ever let Meunchanok find out that he is an acquaintance with Pimunkae or else his life will be more of a living hell (like it isn’t already). Look at this foreshadow, guys!
Penny pretends to be a rich girl as she posts a live feed on her social media. The embarrassing part is when Meunchanok catches her in the act, Penny says she did it to be funny. But Meunchanok isn’t laughing and tells her not to do it again. Penny’s mom (the housekeeper) rushes over to scold her daughter, but Penny says she’s nobody’s maid, she made a life of her own now and she’s only here to congratulate Meunchanok’s perfectly broken family now. Meunchanok burns her back by saying that even though she may not look the same, what with all of her “improvements,” but her thinking is still the same.
Penny tries to get her mom to move to the condo with her, claiming that if anyone knows her mom is a maid, she’d lose face. But mom refuses to move, and suggests she just tell the media that her mom is dead. Penny feels that everything she has done doesn’t make mom proud one bit, compared to Meunchanok. As she leaves the mansion empty handed, she questions between Meunchanok and her, who would be better off in the long run.
Dad hears good feedback about Khun Nai’s quality of work and is so proud, he even says “that’s my nephew!” News about his daughter’s behavior earlier that day made it to him (via news clip from an employee’s phone) and he spends the evening trying to make it up to his girlfriend who says they can postpone their wedding date. He reassures her that they will marry next month. Meunchanok discovers that her dad isn’t overcome with concern about her, in fact he’s with his girlfriend right now. Also, all of the old family portraits are kept in the storage room now, which is the last straw for her. Meunchanok vows to bring her family back together again.
She attempts by talking up Mom first, that she shouldn’t give up and to fight for her place by Dad’s side. Mom questions what will happen if mom says no, and Meunchanok says that means no one needs her anymore and she’ll go her own way. Which freaks mom out to no end and mom calls Khun Nai that she fears Meunchanok would do something stupid. Oh and she puts on a show, she even texts her dad goodbye. Khun Nai spots one of the maids acting shifty and carrying a black bag out of the house. Sure enough, the maid is bringing her boss a pair of shoes. Khun Nai calls her out on this and demands that she comes home with him, only she pushes him away and makes a beeline for the road. Only she almost gets hit by a cab, and this is how Khun Nai finds her, unconscious on the ground. Though we all know she’s pretending to faint. Khun Nai reviews the security footage at the police station.
She’s rushed to the hospital where everyone is super worried about her, then Khun Nai walks in, who knows her game. He urges her parents to go and get a bite to eat and he’ll be sure to call them the minute Meunchanok comes to. Once they leave, Khun Nai starts tickling her feet to wake her. Hahaha. The housekeeper is all, what are you doing?! Khun Nai says he’s just waking a little trickster who’s seeking attention. He wonders if he ought to send her to the police for causing trouble on others – poor cab driver who must defend his case. She throws a box of tissues at him, but nearly lands on her mom instead. But mom knows her game too since she has seen the security footage but pretends not to know as only dad is in the dark. He promises never to make her sad again, and mom says she’ll move back in with them. Say what? Is she just trying to make Dad miserable? On the elevator, Mom tells Khun Nai that she just doesn’t want to give up her throne that easily.
Meunchanok pays Pimunkae a visit to share “good news” with her, she says that her mom is moving back in. This doesn’t faze Pimunkae who says that even if she doesn’t have a wedding, she still has Dad. Meunchanok vows that her parents will be together foreverrrr so Pimunkae should set her cap on someone else, which does bother Pimunkae as she tries not to show her reaction.
Mom asks Khun Nai to move back into Dad’s house with her, and Dad agrees (so that his girlfriend doesn’t misunderstand). When begging doesn’t work, both parents order Khun Nai to move in with them.
The last person to know is Meunchanok, who tells him to go eat in the kitchen and that this is family time. Gosh, she is so mean. But I LURVE that he doesn’t give in to her. She decides to toss all of the things that she finds not valuable in the house since she’s “redecorating”, and all of the things happen to be Khun Nai’s clothing. Khun Nai rushes upstairs and starts pulling the rest of his clothes to help speed up the process, since she’s being childish. Meunchanok says she’s not being childish, she’s getting rid of the problem. Khun Nai gets the last word though, he says he’s a business man and when he catches wind that someone is causing him money – hence his things getting thrown out – then he’s gonna stay as long as he deems it worth all that loss. HAHAHA. Then mom adds that she won’t move back in if Khun Nai doesn’t move in, since she’s not coming back as a wife, she’s coming back as a mom and it would look badly to live just the three of them. Dad also says that Khun Nai has helped their business progress forward and he wants him around so they could work together more easily. Like you need 101 reasons to convince Meunchanok, Little Miss Snottyface Nok.
Kae gets word that her boyfriend’s ex wife has moved back into his house and she reassures her mom that she’s got this. She won’t act like his ex wife because that will result in a divorce, but she is not one to give up easily either.
Khun Nai has a feeling that Meunchanok won’t give up easily so he asks Dad if he could stay in the condo. But Dad is adamant that Khun Nai move back in because he likes that Khun Nai is trying to get through to his daughter (teach her some things) and he wants him to continue. Lol, is he doing your job? Discipline her AND make money for the family?
But Khun Nai knows her too well, she goes to grandma for reinforcement. The old woman warns her to never give in because Luckanai has bad blood in him, but she doesn’t divulge what she’s referring to. Meunchanok says she will never weaken her resolve. Grandma suggests she start at the root of the problem, her mom and dad. So after a battle of back and forth arguing, Meunchanok asks Dad pointblank whom he chooses, Pimunkae or his daughter? (Meunchanok had asked Dad to delay the wedding date, then Pimunkae faked a faint.) Poor Dad, he’s got two conniving women in his life.
Pimunkae waits by the door for her boyfriend but he sends Khun Nai there instead. Pimunkae’s mom gets one look at Khun Nai and says that they have ended things and Khun Nai should not be trying to see her behind her boyfriend’s back. Khun Nai relents that the old Luckanai is dead. He gives her a piece of advice that if she wants to win his uncle, then she needs to love whoever he loves, because he’s not the type to abandon his family in favor for his own happiness.
And we get to see how cute the three of them are, mom, dad and daughter. I like that as exes, the parents can still have a good time with their daughter. Khun Nai sees this and smiles, the housekeeper says that Meunchanok doesn’t want to be angry at everybody, she just wants to be with her parents. Khun Nai says that he knows, at the end of the day, she just wants to be loved and cared for.
First episodes are always important to draw us in and paint the conflict and story that Show will attempt to tell for the remainder of the show. I think it was a strong first episode. Meunchanok is like a 20 something going on 12. I know divorce is hard on the kids, even as grown kids, but to be at her level is astonishingly dramatic. But it’s not surprising that she did turn out this way because she’s been babied all her life by her parents, grandma and even the housekeeper. The only person who doesn’t give in is Luckanai, which of course makes him top target to Meunchanok’s wrath. She expects people to bend to her will, especially people whom she considers beneath her, like Luckanai. Deep down it probably bugs her that he came from nothing but made something of himself – heck he made her family even richer – and she’s threatened by his success and her parents’ love for him. But most of all, she’s probably hasn’t even realized how attracted she is to him HAHAHA.
These types of plot with a spoilt nang’ek is a bit overused, however, what is fresh about this lakorn is that he finds her cute. He sees her for exactly who she is: she can be demeaning, and tough on the outside, but he knows deep down (even if she doesn’t like to show him) that she’s just a girl who wants her family back. It’s tough to watch a show when two people fight all the time, because the romance arc is how they come to love each other in the end – but when you have a relationship fraught on by people who grew up with each other and know each other’s game, then the eventual romance will be believable. And especially even after Khun Nai knows her game and he still finds her cute, I find that cute.
But I’m a bit afraid as to what went wrong to lead us to that scary, first 5 minutes of the show. Because you can endure and you can love.. but there comes a time even in a marriage, where there’s a line you don’t cross, and there’s never going back. The reassuring thing though, is that LakornThai never disappoints in bringing back the story full circle and creating a satisfying resolution, even if the guy has to bend on his knees in the rain and beg and cry his manchild cry (whoops that’s Kawee!) So I’m gonna hold onto that thread to see me through this show. It’s gonna be a ride, you guys. Better strap those boots on tight.