As we approach the end of Only Friends, everything is starting to get a little muddled. And it absolutely has everything to do with Top and Sand’s mutual ex, Boeing, throwing a wrench in the works.
I was never very sure of the timeline of this show, and after Episodes 10 and 11, I’m even more confused. Mew’s moms are decorating for Christmas, but it feels like it was just Halloween. And I remember Boston telling Nick that Mew and Top had been dating for several months, yet now Top is admitting that they hadn’t made it three months yet. What is happening?
Also, does no one talk to each other? I can’t believe Top’s ex showed up and Mew didn’t seem to tell anyone other than his mothers, especially considering this is the ex that cheated on Sand. He literally showed up in order to break up every couple on this show and no one is giving anyone else a heads-up. Rude.
Because I have the tendency to ramble about this show, and since I’m covering two episodes, I’m going to go by pairing. This is still obviously going to be way too long, but I’m not sorry! I have opinions.
Top & Mew (& Boeing)
Despite being ready and willing to give Top a second chance at the end of Episode 9, Mew cools off relatively quickly upon learning that Top’s ex, Boeing, has been staying with him. Top insists that nothing untoward is going on, but Mew is understandably suspicious. They have an awkward dinner, followed a day or so later by an awkward night of trivia, before Boeing tries to befriend Mew.
Props to Mond Tanutchai (Boeing) for his portrayal, because I fully believe there is nothing genuine about this man. It seems that he and Top agreed to stay friends, but it doesn’t look like Boeing ever truly got over Top dumping him after three months. He wants to get closer to Mew because he knows that it bugs Top, not because he has any real desire to be friends with Mew.
Mew does eventually cotton on to the fact that Boeing isn’t genuine about wanting to be friends and calls him out on it. But not before he briefly teams up with Boeing to make Top suffer. This doesn’t last long and hopefully marks the end of the game-playing on Mew’s end.
On the subject of Mew and Top, they ran hot and cold over both Episode 10 and Episode 11. With no real sense of timeline, we can only guess how long it’s been since a) Top and Boston hooked up and b) Mew found out. One can hardly fault Mew for still being angry about the situation, even though Top does seem to be actively trying to make amends. But Mew keeps going back and forth on whether or not to give Top a second chance. Finally Top tells Mew that he either forgives him or he doesn’t, and if he doesn’t, then they should just break up.
I never thought that Top would be the most mature, sensible person on this show, but here you go. (I guess they have to make up for not giving him a personality. He only exists to be in love with Mew at this point.) He knows he made a mistake and he wants to work through it, but he doesn’t want Mew to keep throwing it back in his face. It’s a fair request; Mew shouldn’t say that he forgives Top if he doesn’t. If the trust is no longer there, then they shouldn’t get back together. Otherwise, they’ll just grow to resent each other.
Top and Mew spend the night at Mew’s moms’ house and have a sort-of honest conversation about the future of their relationship. But it’s hardly a reassuring chat; Mew admits that he may never get over what Top did, but that it’s a problem for the future. No, sweetie, no it isn’t. Talk through the issue now, before it festers!
And then, in a move that makes no sense, Top asks Mew to move in with him. I have no idea why Mew’s mothers would sell an apartment that their son can live in to get a jump start in life, but regardless, he has to move out after graduation. So naturally Top offers his penthouse. I take back what I said about him being sensible – this is just a dumb move no matter how you slice it. Mew isn’t even sure if he trusts Top, and you want to move in together? That’s a recipe for disaster.
Nonetheless, Top and Mew end Episode 11 in a relatively good place, back together and – for the moment – happy.
Nick & Boston (& Atom & Cheum & Dan)
In the latest issue of Boston being forced to deal with the consequences of his actions, Atom lies to Cheum about what happened, causing Cheum to round up the posse (Ray and Mew) and storm the castle (Boston’s house). Atom has told Cheum that Boston forced him and is now blackmailing him, and I certainly can’t fault Cheum for believing her younger brother. And when she busts in on Boston, she finds him photographing yet another shirtless man, which only seems to lend credence to Atom’s story.
But that gets much too close to victim blaming. We know that it was Atom who came on to Boston – repeatedly – and that he is only framing their encounter as nonconsensual because he’s angry that Boston doesn’t return his feelings. Cheum is angry and not thinking clearly, because while Boston can be callous, he’s always been pretty open and honest about his intentions. I do think he should have thought twice about sleeping with his friend’s younger brother, but I can’t exactly say that he brought it on himself. It’s not like he knew that would happen; he was pretty upfront with Atom.
What is really frustrating about that whole situation is that when Atom finally admits to Cheum that he lied, Cheum is just like, “It’s fine.” I think in that situation, she is saying that it’s fine that he likes guys, because the rest of the conversation is about being true to yourself. But that means that Atom gets away with his cruel and vindictive behavior. If my younger sibling admitted to me that they’d falsely accused someone of assault, I would see red. Cheum just lets it go, after having laid into both Boston and Ray (in Episode 8).
(Also, I’m sorry, but you’re just going to drop the info that Atom has an alternate social media that he was using to ‘expose’ Boston and do absolutely nothing with it? When you’ve been laying the groundwork for Boston somehow causing problems for his father’s campaign since the first episode?)
However, everything that Boston goes through does bring him back to Nick, in a moment of what I consider to be true growth. If I didn’t know that Boston has spent time staring at Nick’s picture in previous episodes, I would have thought his letting Nick see his lock screen (Nick’s bed photo) was meant to be manipulative. As it is, Boston is finally willing to admit that he has feelings for Nick.
This is a moment of real vulnerability, and Boston doesn’t get many of those. As the list of people who care about him rapidly dwindles, he’s desperate to cling on to the last person he has. I don’t think that makes his feelings any less real, though; I think he’s just finally admitting to himself what’s been there for a while.
Of course, he still doesn’t want to enter into a long-term relationship, primarily because he still plans on going to New York after he graduates. He offers Nick the chance to be exclusive for the few months he remains in Thailand, which Nick does not agree to. I think Nick doesn’t want to settle for being a “boyfriend” only for a little bit, even after his tearful confession to Boston in Episode 10 and their tender reunion.
Nick is, after all, currently fending off the attentions of not only Boston but also Dan. I’m not a huge fan of that situation, mostly because of the boss-subordinate dynamic (sex at work! How unprofessional). And actually, after Nick seduces Atom to put him in a position for Boston to get proof that he’s gay, I think that Dan is, like, too nice? Nick even tells Boston that they deserve each other because Nick has done some shady things as well.
Nick and Boston end Episode 11 in relationship purgatory. They’ve reinstated their friends with benefits arrangement, but Nick has not agreed to Boston’s suggestion that they become temporary boyfriends. But they both seem happy in limbo.
Ray & Sand (& Boeing)
After the bliss of their tryst in the camper, Sand is doing his level best to get Ray to go to rehab. Ray, unfortunately, still refuses to admit that he has a problem, even as he agrees to go to rehab to placate Sand. I’ve seen some people concerned that Ray is going to rehab “for the wrong reasons”, but honestly, whatever makes someone want to get help is a good thing. A lot of people give up drugs or alcohol for their loved ones, and I don’t believe Ray is any different.
However, because he still won’t admit that he has a problem (and because he has way more issues than one therapy session can delve into), Ray’s insecurities get the better of him.
First, however, I want to address the scene with Sand’s father. (By the way, I’m a little bummed that he isn’t secretly related to one of the other characters. I had good money on Top and Sand actually being half-brothers. But I digress.) Initially, Ray only agrees to go to rehab if Sand introduces himself to his father. I think he made this deal because he didn’t think Sand would go through with it and was looking for an excuse. But when he saw that Sand intended to follow through, Ray intervened, saying that it should be his decision when or if he tells his father the truth.
Sometimes you can see the glimmers of what Ray must have been like before the drinking problem. He can be genuinely sweet, he just masks it in selfishness.
Another piece of evidence that Ray is looking for an excuse is how he gets rid of the booze in his room. He puts the bottles in the trash – still full, easily retrievable – instead of pouring them down the sink. He’s making an effort, but it’s a half-assed one. He doesn’t really want to go to rehab. So when he discovers that his father paid Sand to get him into rehab, he latches on and digs in, turning downright mean.
And while Ray was horrible to Sand, he does kind of have a point. Sand is adamant that Ray goes to rehab, yet they still go out drinking. Sand keeps making and selling alcohol, stashing it all over his apartment. How can Ray sober up if he’s constantly surrounded by substances?
There’s no excuse for Ray’s behavior; at this point, Sand has given him something like eight chances and Ray keeps letting his insecurities dictate his actions. You have to remember that Ray is an addict, and not only that, but he has some serious abandonment issues. I also believe that he truly thinks that the only thing he’s good for is his money, which is why he’s always throwing that in Sand’s face.
Episode 10 was absolutely owned by First and Khaotung. These two just completely delivered; their fight scene was difficult to watch.
Ray’s breakthrough in therapy is everything, and my only issue with it is that it’s not to Sand. Ray does apologize to Sand in Episode 11, but just with a simple, “I’m sorry.” If he tells Sand any of the stuff he told his counselor, we don’t get to see it. And as much as I love the tub scene, I don’t like Sand making light of the bruises he got during their fight. I do think that Ray seems to be taking things more seriously than he was before, because I do think he’s scared that he’ll finally do something that makes Sand leave him for good.
But of course, they can’t be happy, because now that Boeing has struck out with whatever the hell he was doing with Top and Mew, he’s decided to move on to Sand. I like the comparisons between Ray as a boyfriend (it’s cute how many times he keeps saying it now that they’re official) and Boeing as a boyfriend. Ray gifts Sand with the exact guitar he was looking at in Episode 4, while Boeing can’t even remember the name of the band they saw in concert.
Sand is honest with Ray about Boeing coming to see him, and while Ray at first is like, “You told me there’s nothing to be jealous of, so I’m not,” we all know he is very possessive of Sand. And honestly, Sand does act kind of shady around Boeing. I don’t think that’s because of any lingering feelings; I think it’s because Sand can’t say no to anyone. He does not act interested in Boeing at all, but he’s also not very forceful about pushing him away.
In the end, Ray’s possessiveness wins out, and he and Boeing have a silent competition to see who can make Sand more uncomfortable, and they’re both winning. (And honestly, I still think this ties into Ray’s belief that he’s only good for his money, hence why he keeps offering to buy Sand things.)
Episode 11 ends with a tease of a possible threesome, but I think we all know that Ray has no intention of actually sharing Sand.
With only one episode left, anything could happen. I firmly believe that Sand is going to tell Boeing off, because I’m fairly positive that he and Ray are endgame. I think Nick will decline to be Boston’s temporary boyfriend, but I also expect a time skip where they end up together after Boston comes back to Thailand. And Mew and Top can’t seem to talk about anything important, so I don’t think they’ll last. But who knows?
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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