Only Friends 1×04 Review: Episode 4

I have got to learn to stop putting so much stock in episode previews. I should know by now that they can often be intentionally misleading. Case in point, a few of the things that I was based on the promo for Only Friends Episode 4 ended up happening in a completely different context. Also, I’m continually waffling back and forth as to what I think about certain characters and situations. This show is doing a really good job of not making things predictable.

One of the things I cannot get a read on is Top. I read a really good meta post on Tumblr about how it looks like Top disassociates during sex, which is something I had lowkey picked up on in Episode 2 but couldn’t really put a name to. In Episode 4, he greets Mew as though nothing is amiss and doesn’t ask about the missed call. Later, when Boston accosts him in the elevator, Top pushes him away and declares that their tryst in Episode 3 was a mistake, and reiterates his feelings for Mew.

I’ve mentioned before that I do believe that Top’s feelings for Mew are genuine, but I guess I just don’t know what that means for Top. He seems to engage in sex for the human contact and either doesn’t know how else to get it or doesn’t believe that people would be interested in him as a person. When they’re in the shower, Top mentions that he never cared about the other person’s pleasure before, but he does with Mew. But that’s still related to sex; it’s not really about emotions.

He’s insecure about the possibility that Ray might have feelings for Mew, and while I think Mew is telling the truth about what happened between him and Ray, I don’t know that Top does. We never get to see the video that Boston has, and we only have Mew’s perspective of what happened. I do think it’s the truth, but that makes it even worse that Top apparently just saw them kissing and that was enough.

But the flashbacks in Episode 4 really put Mew and Ray’s relationship in perspective. Mew has been there for Ray in some very dark times, and I think Ray’s feelings may be a little bit of hero worship in that sense. Mew has likely put up boundaries but was hesitant to be too harsh with Ray while he’s still so vulnerable. I was really proud of him for the ultimatum that he gave Ray. This also explains why Ray was so willing to drop everything and rush to Mew’s aid, even though it meant flaking on Sand. (Side note: Khaotung killed it in this episode. What’s Thailand’s equivalent to an Emmy? Give it to him.)

One thing I like about Only Friends is that people get called out on their behavior – at least some of the time. Mew scolded Top for asking him out publicly, thereby forcing his acceptance. And Mew again lambasts Ray for kissing him while he was asleep. I think a lot of characters believe Mew to be naïve because he’s inexperienced, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Also, this is the episode that has convinced me that Mew is not manipulative.

When Mew recommends that Top stop taking drugs (by the way, that puts their interaction with Beam in Episode 3 in a totally different context), Top asks what he’ll give him if he does. Mew says that he should quit because it’s better for his health, not due to any reward he might get. That said, Mew does preemptively reward him. I highly doubt Mew would do that just to reward Top, and it’s clear that he’s still not ready to be fully intimate. But this does go back to what I mentioned last week about how you can be intimate without having sex.

Basically, I’m just extremely confused about this entire dynamic. I don’t really know what either of them sees in each other. And as someone pointed out on Reddit, those photobooth pictures were super bland and uninspired. I don’t want to read too much into what I think was supposed to be a silly, fluffy moment, but that has to be some sort of metaphor.

Now, do we think that Top was telling the truth about the B on the plane standing for another ex, or do we think that it’s definitely a gift from Boston?

What is wrong with Boston, by the way? What made him such a depraved individual? I am saying again, that the fact that he has that video of Mew and Ray at all is creepy, the fact he’s had it for two years is extra creepy. Does he have a tracker on Top or something? How is he always able to track him down? Not to mention, the fact that Top turns him down, so Boston almost immediately runs to Nick, like a consolation prize. Gross, dude. (By the way, have you seen this tweet from director/writer Jojo Tichakorn? Sums up Boston perfectly.)

And, Nick, sweetie, you have got to stop torturing yourself listening to that recording. His confronting Top with that reminded me of a chihuahua trying to bargain with a bear. No, honey, you’re going to get smushed. But at the same time, you have to wonder if this is just how Nick is. I know how easily obsession can grip you and make you act unreasonably. At least he acknowledges to Sand that he knows that he’ll get in trouble if it gets out that he bugged Boston’s car.

Honestly, the fact that multiple people have warned Nick of Boston, and Nick has seen for himself what kind of a guy Boston is, and he’s still interested in him? I can’t believe anyone is just that good in bed.

Yeah, the fact that Boston’s father is a politician running for office is absolutely going to come up later.

Ok, ok, ok, now we’re moving on to my precious babies. Seriously, I know this show is messy and everyone is unlikely to get a happy ending, but I just want really good things for Sand and Ray because they deserve it. I don’t care what else they may have done.

You can see how hard Sand is fighting his growing attraction to Ray. It was obvious in the car scene in Episode 3 that he was super upset when Ray cut their evening short to go pick up Mew. But I like that he’s honest with Ray about it, how he can’t just come to him when he’s lonely and then drop him when he gets a better offer. I do think Ray took his words to heart. I also think that Sand will cave the minute Ray flashes his puppy dog eyes at him. (You know it’s true, it’s already happened twice.)

I really want to believe that Ray isn’t just pursuing Sand because Mew turned him down; they do seem to like spending time together. In fact, aside from Cheum and April (who are apparently just never going to be in this ever), these two may have the most functional relationship. And they’re not even officially together. But it’s clear that Ray has some deeper issues, feelings of inadequacy, and thinking that everyone would be better off without him. Those won’t be easy to overcome.

But I do think Sand will be good for Ray. They don’t have the baggage that Ray has with his other friends. Sand is fully aware of the type of person Ray is and likes spending time with him anyway. I know that when you’ve been friends for a long time, sometimes hanging out feels like an obligation. But I get the sense that Ray knows that Sand actually wants to. I think there’s a lot to be said for choosing someone because they’re choosing you in return. He knows that he’s not going to be Mew’s first choice anymore, and he’s not wrong for deciding to prioritize the person who’ll put him first.

And I’m sorry, but that moment in the last scene, where they’re listening to music and their hands just start slowly moving together until they’re holding hands? I got goosebumps, y’all. Goosebumps. These boys are going to ruin me and I will thank them for the privilege. I love that in a show where so much is messy, it still has sweet moments like this.

I was actually thinking that the confrontation between Sand and Top would have something to do with Ray, especially since Top is still so focused on that during Episode 4. But it’s not related at all; Top accidentally hits Sand when he’s backing out of a parking spot, and Sand, being Sand, immediately goes after him. It was still extremely satisfying to see Sand punch him, though, and I really hope Ray finds out it was him, because I kind of want Ray to buy him a trophy for that.

We finally got confirmation that Top did indeed steal Sand’s ex, and that’s why he doesn’t like him. Kick his ass, baby, I got your flower.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is how much I’m digging this soundtrack, particularly, like, every song in a SandRay scene. I watch these with Shazam open so I can add these songs to my Spotify.

I am totally not sorry for the length of these reviews, by the way. I have opinions. Anyway, Episode 4 was much more, I guess, chill than the first three. I don’t believe for a moment that this show is mellowing, but it is nice to be able to almost relax while watching. You know things are just going to get worse.

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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