Part 2 Review of “Sampatan Huajai”: City Dwelling – its Complicated
Posted on January 15, 2019
The second half of the story follows Rattawan, as she steels her spine to determine who wants her dead. She doesn’t have a lot of enemies so the likeliest culprit is her husband, though Nai Hua – whom we will now call Naboon since we’re in the city – encourages her not to make any false accusations without proper evidence. Naboon assigns his trusted friend, and Navy Captain, along with his watchmen to oversee her safety. Captain Patai signed up because he believes that her husband is responsible for his sister’s disappearance, since she was one of his mistresses. Meanwhile Naboon sets out to play Phuket’s bad boy to lure the human traffickers and those associated with Rattawan’s attempted murder to the forefront. It is like we are starting a new story, now with Naboon and Rattawan pretending to be mere business acquaintances, and not doe eyed lovers. Island life is definitely a thing of the past.
Naturally, what comes with tourism city life is complication. We already know that these two are not very successful in their past marriages. Naboon was head over heels for a woman who cannot endure having a mogul as a husband, so he ends up divorced and heartbroken, licking his wounds on the cave island. Rattawan on the other hand married for convenience because her parents wanted her to, and because Paramet was well matched. She thought maybe she could come to love him or at least be a respected wife. Unfortunately not even long after they marry, Paramet showed his true colors and changed mistresses as often as he changed boxers. The two end up estranged after their child, Manpoo, was born and never shared the same bed ever since. So Naboon and Rattawan have a lot of baggage as they go into a potential relationship together, and now that they’re in the tourism cities (going between Phuket and Hatyai), dirty laundry always finds its way out: the ex wife who wants to get back together, the husband who refuses to divorce, the mistress who will cut you, and all the push and pull between each other over misunderstandings that culminates to a frustrated tension. When we see Naboon with Rattawan, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. They are so simmering hot together; you just want to lock them in a boat and have them work it out.
What I liked from the get go about this lakorn is the mature storyline. Rattawan is a calm, strong woman who already has a child (and still married), and her greatest desire is to be free. While Naboon is one of those quiet rich guys, but is a conservationist at heart: he would rather spend his time bird watching. He thinks that by running a bird’s nest trade, he could minimize some of the exploitation to these birds. However as we see the dangers of this trade (shoot or be shot at), continuing down the same path would only bring unhappiness (not to mention death). These are the core issues that I wished Show would focus more on – because then we would have had a well-rounded story.
Case in point, Rattawan, who found a way to get Paramet to sign the divorce papers. When that was accomplished, she should have gotten a standing ovation, or maybe an announcement through the intercom so that it reaches Naboon, the stupid jealous man who keeps thinking that Rattawan WANTS to stay married to Paramet. Show did not make Naboon aware that Rattawan successfully organized this whole divorce proceeding; in fact, Naboon hardly gets privy to all of Rattawan’s badass moments. But Rattawan singlehandedly found evidence to put Paramet in a corner, forcing him to sign the papers. It would be nice to have a scene where Naboon finds out after the fact and feels a little foolish. But Show opted to play more mind games with our characters, and have Rattawan pretend that she’s still married to the douche and make Naboon crazy jealous all over again. Rattawan finally gets her freedom, but she can’t even celebrate it.
As for Naboon, we’ve seen in the first half of the show that bird’s nest trading is a dangerous field. So he decided to give it up and turn his island into a bird’s conservation tourism spot. Now he could actually wile away his time with his birds, while his sister brings tourists aboard and show what was once a bird’s nest cave. The danger has gone down significantly and we can see how much the career change has made him happy. We get these resolutions, but it feels like almost as an afterthought.
What Show focused on instead is their overall storyline: that harming others for your own greed, whether for financial or personal gain, will make you lose everything. We see this play out in Paramet, who belatedly realizes that his greatest treasure is his son, not the insatiable money he’s constantly after and his willingness to do whatever it took to get it. He never appreciated being a dad, when Mr. Lee, the Human Trafficker, is kidnapping women and trying to impregnate them so he could have an heir. This human trafficking plot brings us to Naboon pretending to be the baddie by dating Taksina (former mistress of Paramet) so he could find out who the big bad is. Sure, he’s a former soldier and wants to speed up the investigation, but as the ending last ditch drama indicated, the government had already placed a spy in the human trafficking ring, so if you ask for my opinion, we should have let that play itself out.
But if anything – and perhaps I am grasping at straws – the showcase of jealousy and withholding truths, may very well be the whole argument of the show. In that Happily Ever After doesn’t exist in the real world. There will always be trouble in paradise, there will be fights and arguments between loved ones, and the road ahead is long. But if two people work together to take care of each other’s hearts, they can be happy and free. Because even as we watch Nai Hua (they’re back on the island!) lifting Rattawan and spinning her around because he’s going to be a father, we know they’re going to probably argue on what to name the baby or whether he/she could go swimming next. Show has proven, throughout the course of this lakorn, that in spite of those bickering, Nai Hua and Rattawan are going to be just fine. They’ll fight and make up, but they will always find their way back to each other.
It is not a perfect show, but these two are perfect together. I know I will think about Nai Hua and Khun Nai, and miss them dearly. This show (and channel 7) truly excel in bringing us the life of our leading hero and heroine, we’re not given sweeping generalizations or leave us to the imagination, we actually see the nooks and crannies, the beautiful and the ugly, the funny and the sad, the kisses and the ahem shirtless scenes, the excitement and the disappointment, that is the world of Sampatan Huajai. This one will occupy my heart for a good, long while.
Remember you can watch this with English subtitles at Thippy’s fan sub.