The title of this show, Sky’s Only Land or Fah Piang Din, speaks to the sentiment of this story quite beautifully. There is a scene in the intro with a child who marvels at the beautiful sun. But her father, the general who has officially been given permission to return home, laments that although the sun is beautiful, at the end of the day it eventually sets back to earth. The same can be said about people, no matter how high and mighty we are, we ultimately return to dirt. That is such a humbling point, one we see the story continues to make as it progresses.
This story is based on a romance novel and has been adapted to the small screen once before in 2001. The male lead in the 2001 show, Captain Phutanate, returns as Uncle Pitak in this show. I am a fan of dramas based on books because the story tends to be more fleshed out and we can see the characters come to life. Prang enraptures as the strong and beautiful Chompoo/Salika, but more importantly, she plays as the part time brat tamer to a tee. With the brat being Thewarat, because according to him, he could do no wrong because he is the sole heir of Sarayutapichai.
Let us begin with our duo, Chompoo and Thewarat, who were raised as brother and sister. They are not related, Thewarat doesn’t know this, but his father is actually Pitak, the brother-in-law of the general, but since the general did not have a son/heir at the time, he adopts Thewarat as his own. Then eventually Chompoo was introduced to this world and the two kids love each other dearly. Unfortunately, Pitak is a greedy monster and plots the general and Chompoo’s demise by hiring henchmen to take them out on their way to the capital. Realizing who the culprit is, the general tattoos his signature on his daughter’s body to ensure that evidence of her birthright remains, as well as entrusting her to the village head to be raised. He instructs that only after 17 years could they return to the capital, present the new will, and take back her rightful place.
Meanwhile Thewarat is raised by the greedy and vicious uncle Pitak and spends most of his days in a boarding school, playing king. Slowly the kind and adorable boy sheds from Thewarat, as the cocky man emerges. He was taught to be number one and that anything can be won over by money. Besides, everything belongs to him and since he cannot take it to the grave with him, his motto in life is to spend every penny before the others can. LOL. This is exactly what the uncle taught him. And so, we naturally see Thewarat throwing money to solve his problems. Granted, the general’s will could not be read until 17 years later, but since Thewarat is the only surviving heir, he gets to spend the interest. And he has a lot of fun doing it.
Chompoo on the other hand is raised in a humble village on the range. I love how the villagers come together to protect their own, and Chompoo has become one of theirs. When referring every female child as Chompoo no longer works, the village head, Bunthong, decides to name her “Salika” which is the name of a lullaby that the general had sung before he was killed. Dad Bunthong raised Salika as his own and she grew up on the range, adept at all things cowgirls, but also retained her classy upbringing. Prang is especially gorgeous in this show, but the greatest strength is in the dialogues and her logical character.
Salika has been waiting for her P’Thewarat since their promise years ago, but when she finally meets him again (though he does not know who she is), it is all wrong. He is all wrong. What happened to the nicest bro in the world? The man she meets, nearly head on, is not even a semblance of the boy he once was. Ah, that was an electric first encounter, Thewarat nearly running her goats over with his jeep. Instead of apologizing, cos Thewarat doesn’t apologize, he offers money. No one dares to challenge him, but Salika (literally on her high horse) turns her nose at him and sets him straight. Like a peacock, Thewarat’s feathers are ruffled, and they continue to be off on the wrong foot at every consecutive meeting. I love how Salika DOES NOT back down, and it’s not even in a stubborn way in how she challenges him, because you can be both feminine and strong, but she uses her words and makes him feel foolish. I love how he gets SO mad that his face ticks, but it seems to cannot decide whether he’d throttle her or kiss her. AHAHAHA. She befuddles him. And the only payment she is willing to receive? A few delicious slaps to his face.
This show is so satisfying in the aftermath of the fight scenes. But before we all wonder how Thewarat could be so unlikable, Film Thanapat plays that boyish charm so well. This boy is asking for attention in the most obvious ways, but all he gets in return are fake people, fake connections, and fake love. You have to wonder if he’s destined to be alone with that temper of his, but even a hidden boy can be found, and we can see that the boy is still inside. He remembers the general and his sister fondly, and he tries to honor his promises (building a ranch so they could play) as best he can, while living up to the expectations of being the sole heir, in the best way he understands. But what’s heartbreaking for him is all of the truths he would have to face when shit hits the fan. None of it is his fault, but at the end of the day, we still make daily choices that we should be responsible for. It is just his upbringing is causing that to blur, Salika is the only one who makes him see his actions for what they are and holds him accountable.
Wait until he finds out that Salika is Chompoo, his beloved sister, but also not his sister, and that his whole life is a sham. That is some serious trauma, and I am waiting with popcorn to watch how it all unfolds. I am sure we will get more brat taming scenes (they’re so entertaining) as we watch Thewarat’s world collapse.. and there is amazing chemistry and romance on the range! And what happens when they start calling each other P’Thewarat and N’Chompoo again? I die, that’s what.