Oh, look, it’s me hooked on the love story between two stubborn AF men both wallowing at the lowest point of their lives. The first episode of Last Twilight introduces us to Day and Mhok (no one can seem to settle on a spelling, I’m going with what the subtitles gave us), and invites you to care about them, and dammit, I do.
Day (Sea Tawinan) is a nationally-ranked badminton player whose deteriorating vision has left him nearly blind. Mhok (Jimmy Jitaraphol) can’t seem to get his life back on track after spending six months in prison. While taking an odd job at the Center for the Blind, Mhok hears about a wealthy chef who is looking for a caretaker for her son and, thinking it will be easy money, Mhok decides to go for an interview. Day’s attitude initially turns him off the job, but after a few serendipitous meetings (naturally), when Day offers him the position, Mhok accepts.
As a setup, this first episode does pretty well. It introduces us to all the major characters and gives us enough of an overview of the situation that you can more or less tell where everyone stands. We spend an equal amount of time with both Day and Mhok, and we get a few glimpses of their relationships with the people closest to them.
Day loses his eyesight even before the opening titles, which has both pros and cons. It’s good that we didn’t get a drawn-out sequence of it happening, but at the same time, we have no clue what Day was like prior to the vision loss, so it’s hard to judge his behavior. I can assume that the brattish way that Day behaves throughout this episode is grief and frustration at his situation, and not the way he normally is, but to be honest, we don’t know enough about him pre-accident yet.
It’s clear during the entire interview sequence – and based on his reaction to Mhok in general – that he is tired of being coddled and pitied. The men who interview for the caretaker position either don’t address him directly (though, technically, it is Day’s mother who is doing the hiring), or treat him with kid gloves. One man even claims that being Day’s caretaker would give his life meaning, and I think we all felt Day’s scoff at that.
Mhok, however, treats him like a person. I’m sure we all wish we could barge into an interview and get the job by being rude, but it’s not because Mhok was rude, it’s because he was normal. Day obviously wants to be around people who treat him like a person and not a disability.
(I’m not even going to touch the subject of a non-disabled actor playing a disabled character. I don’t know what the acting pool is like in Thailand. And it’s not my voice people should be listening to anyway.)
Where I wish we had more backstory (which we will hopefully get at some point) is in the scene with Day and his brother, Night, in the car. Day accuses Night of trying to become the golden child at Day’s expense, and Night lashes out that it isn’t easy taking care of him. We have no idea if there’s any truth to Day’s accusation, or if he’s just hurt and angry and aiming for the jugular.
Meanwhile, with Mhok I feel like we have a good idea that he’s probably always been like this. I mean, this is a man who casually breaks a bottle before charging into a melee. But now he doesn’t have his sister for support, and this has clearly thrown him. Right away, he declares to his ex-girlfriend that he doesn’t feel guilty his sister took her own life, but I think that he does. And I think he worries that he’s letting her down if he continues the pattern of behavior that got him arrested in the first place. I think this is a big reason why he takes the job with Day.
I wonder if his penchant for gambling is going to be a reoccurring thing, or if he and his friends betting on sports was just an excuse for them to watch Day’s badminton match.
Of course, I do think that Mhok’s tough-as-nails exterior is just a front. After all, “bad boy with a heart of gold” is a tried and true trope for a reason, and Mhok is exhibiting all the classic signs. His willingness to race into battle for a friend of his (who was clearly in the wrong), still being on friendly terms with his ex, his attachment to his sister’s car, and the selfless way he saved Day when he stupidly walked into traffic. Mhok is a protector, and we’re going to see more and more of that come out.
One thing that a lot of Thai dramas have done lately is have a fair bit of social commentary. Shows like Moonlight Chicken, Not Me, and Midnight Motel have touched on class differences as well as the LGBTQ+ community, government corruption, and the plight of sex workers. With Last Twilight, I think we’ll get a fair bit about how difficult it is for ex-cons to reintegrate into society in addition to the obvious dive into disabilities.
I have high hopes for Last Twilight because director Aof Noppharnach has directed quite a few of the BLs that I’ve recommended this year. And there were a lot of moments in this first episode that prove that faith is not misplaced. The opening sequence, with Mhok’s fight at the garage intercut with Day losing his eyesight, was extremely well done, showing both characters experiencing the same transition in their lives. I also loved the scene where Day gets out of the car and storms into traffic; you can feel his disorientation and desperation.
Also, can we talk about that scene where Day asks Mhok to read from any book, and not only does Mhok pick The Little Prince, but he happens to flip to a random page that just so happens to mirror his and Day’s situation? “Come and play with me, I am so unhappy.” Day is the Little Prince, alone in the universe and stumbling his way through it. While Mhok is the fox – “You cannot play with me. I am not tamed.”
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ”
That scene and that exchange in the book is surely going to define this series. It’s why we sometimes get a look at the world that Day sees now. In this first episode, he is clearly banking on a cornea transplant so that he can return to his old life. His brother tells him that it could be years before he gets a donor; for a professional athlete, that may as well be a death sentence. But obviously, through his relationship with Mhok, Day is going to learn that not everything important in life requires seeing.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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