Monday, June 08, 2020

O-Negative (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree)

Flowers and a portrait of Prim's mom displayed in front of her casket
Episode 19 of the Thai TV show O-Negative (Episode 18) starts with a montage at Prim's darkened home. We see all the spots where we had seen Prim's mom before. Curiously, at her favorite spot on the back deck, next to her empty chair is a wine bottle, a glass partly filled with wine and a lit cigarette in the ashtray.

We cut to the second day of Prim's mom's funeral. Because Prim has no relatives, Peun's mom and dad are acting as the hosts. Prim is not at the funeral, nor was she at the funeral the previous day. Since her mother's death she has isolated herself. This has everybody concerned. Chompoo is worried that Prim might even be suicidal.

After the funeral O Group heads over to Prim's house. It is dark. Chompoo wants to just go in, but Foon stops her and says use the doorbell. They ring several times before a light finally comes on. When Prim comes out she has an odd half smile on her face. She asks them why they all came so late. They're confused by her question. Foon tells her they hadn't seen her at the temple for a few days and so they came to check up on her.

She stops smiling and just looks at them and says nothing for a long, uncomfortable pause. Finally, Art asks her what she's been doing and she says sketching. Art then asks her if she's eaten and she says she doesn't remember. Peun offers to buy food from her favorite noodle shop. Still smiling her odd smile, she says she isn't hungry.

Apparently Prim is now tuned to a different frequency
Chompoo says they'll stay with her to keep her company. Prim tells her there is no need for that, because she's with her mom. The four stand there shocked as Prim cheerfully waves bye-bye and goes back into her house. We again see a shot of Prim's mom's favorite chair, with wine and a lit cigarette on the table next to it. Whelp, it looks like Prim has stripped a couple of gears because of  her mom's death.

We cut to later that night at Go's bar. The four are all depressed by Prim's earlier lunatic behavior. Chompoo wonders out loud if Prim is insane. They debate that question, with Peun thinking she is just in denial. Foon pipes up that she understands how Prim feels, that its what happens when you love somebody so much you don't want to lose them. For that comment Peun gives her a hilarious side eyed look that's a cross between 'oh, shut up' and guilt.

They're wondering how to handle the situation. Should they tell her that her mom died or not? If your money is on Art predictably advising that they do nothing, you win. He says he thinks that Prim knows her mom is pushing up daises and she just needs time to work through it.

They decide they'll not mention her mom and they will watch her carefully, particularly on the campus where one of her classmates may touch her off by mentioning her mom's death.

Pakwan sneaks by Peun to hug Prim
The next day they go to campus early to watch for Prim. Peun is stationed at the front to intercept her as she enters so nobody gets to her and mentions her mom. Well, this is Peun we're talking about, so it takes about 10 seconds for Pakwan, who isn't exactly the most petite Thai on the show, to evade Peun's eagle eyes and go up to and hug Prim.

She asks what he is doing, and he tells her he just wanted to hug her. She's puzzled by that answer, but thanks him. Peun then comes up and she wonders why he is there in the morning when he has an afternoon class.

He's just is wondering if you still have bats in your belfry
They hook up with the rest of O Group and all escort her to the library. She goes to get a book and Peun accompanies her. Suddenly Professor Buddy pops out of the book racks and asks her how she is doing. They're all worried he'll ask her about her mom, but, luckily, since she doesn't start running around the library screaming and crying, that doesn't seem to be the case.

When she rejoins them it turns out he was only asking her about her pre-thesis. She's barely started hers and complains about all the pressure she's been under. Well Prim, being well off the deep end will do that to you.

We cut to Prim in a drawing class. She is sketching with ear buds in as she listens to music. Two girls are gossiping about Prim's reaction to her losing her mom when Art comes to the door and hears them. They notice Art is glaring at them. I imagine they thought to themselves, "crap, that's the guy who slapped around coeds in the early episodes of this show!" Whatever they thought, they quickly stop gossiping.

We then cut to a walkway where Art and Peun are wondering if they should ask her to go to the temple that night for her mom's funeral. Art says he doesn't think it is a good idea and adds that they had all agreed no to talk to Prim about her mother's death.

Peun suggests they could use and excuse to get Prim to the temple. When he asks Prim to go with them that night she asks where they are going. Before Peun can use a ruse, Art jumps in and says they are going to Go's bar. Prim declines, saying she is too busy.

Monks praying on the 3rd day of Prim's mom's funeral
At the funeral people continue to be concerned over Prim's absence. Via a conversation between Professor Buddy and the painting teacher we discover that O Group has came up with the idea of getting the entire student body and staff of the art department to play along with not mentioning her mom's death to Prim. Only Ms. Duang, who we met last episode in the yoga studio, seems to think this is a whackadoodle plan. I've got to say I'm with Ms. Duang on this one.

After the funeral Peun suggests going to Prim's house. Art disagrees, saying Prim wanted to be alone. Art lays into Peun a little and Peun asks him why he's mad. Art says he just doesn't want Peun messing things up. The girls don't know why Art is being so snappy, but we know that Art has had his fill of Peun making things worse with his social blundering.

We join Prim the next morning on the deck of her house. She's put out a cup of coffee for her mom and is starting to light a cigarette for her when her doorbell rings. It's Foon and Chompoo. They came up with the excuse that they need to work at her house because it is so quiet.

Ghost mom must be having a nicotine fit
She takes them to the back deck  and, as they're admiring the view of the river, she lights the cigarette and puts it in the ash tray next to the seat her mother used to sit in. Chompoo and Foon both see this and look deeply concerned. Prim sees their looks, but just stands there saying nothing. Finally, to dispel the awkward moment Chompoo suggests they go to a new stall near her house to get some grilled chicken to eat.

We see a montage of O Group as they worry about Prim's nuttiness. Peun calls Dr. Ben the psychologist, the girls work so hard to keep Prim occupied that their shoulders get sore (thank God for Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub Boost) and Art makes offerings at the Foundation's temple.

Flowers in front of Prim's mom's casket
Prim still has not come to the temple for the final day of her mother's funeral. Ms. Duang, Prim's mom's friend from the yoga class, says she can keep Prim for 100 days. She hopes Prim will have recovered enough by then to face her mother's death.

They have a procession to carry the casket from the temple.

Later that night at Prim's house Chompoo is on the phone to her father. He's yelling at her for being gone so long. Apparently she hadn't told him she was staying with a daft friend to keep an eye on her. I don't think he would much like that idea anyway. Foon tells her to go home, that she'll stay and watch Prim. Prim has been observing this all from the shadows. Prim comes out and tells them both that they should go home. She says she'll be OK.

The next morning we see Prim eating breakfast in the school cafeteria. She is lost in thought. We she is joined by the rest of O Group they discuss their upcoming internships. Art is interning in Kwan's photo studio. Peun wants to intern with  a film company and naturally Foon wants to join him. Prim says she has an internship at her mom's friend's publishing house. Wait -- I thought she was interning with Ms. Duang, the yoga instructor? Whatever. Chompoo wants to intern with Prim.

We jump to the office of Ms. Duang where she is interviewing Prim and Chompoo for the intern positions. Huh? She's the CEO of a publishing house and not of a yoga studio? I guess I missed something. Anyway, she's telling the two she doesn't like having a pair of interns that are friends because they tend to stick together instead of blending in with the group.

Chompoo says that won't be a problem, that they're very sociable and that they even talk to crazy people. Considering the fact that she's sitting next to Prim when she says that, it might not be the best way to word things. However, for some reason that does convince Ms. Duang to hire them.

Yea, this guy is the perfect choice to supervise young female interns
Ms. Duang takes them back to meet their supervisor Kit. He's watching something on his computer and tries to cover it up when he sees Ms. Duang. However, she gets over fast enough to see that he was... ah... shall we say conducting research on adult entertainment. As she yells at him as she introduces him to Prim and Chompoo as a pervert, douche, jerk and womanizer, but she adds that he is also a genius. Sounds like just the kind of guy you want to supervising Chompoo and Prim.

When he introduces himself he tells him he's not a jerk, that he just likes flirting. Chompoo says she doesn't mind, she can fight back. Looking directly at Prim he says, "I don't like people who fight. I like the soft ones." For that he gets whacked by Ms. Duang who tells him that Prim is her niece. Niece? Now Ms. Duang is an publisher Aunt instead of a yoga teaching family friend? Oh, I give up trying to figure it out.

To that revelation he just says, "That's great! Now, it's easier for me to get promoted." The girls, and for that matter Ms. Duang, just seem amused by this. Oh Kit, you lovable scamp.

On their bus ride after meeting Ms. Duang and Kit, Chompoo is gushing on group chat about how good looking Kit was and that he obviously liked Prim. Art and Peun are reading the chat and, needless to say, both are distressed at that bit of news. This is followed by a montage of Prim, over period of a couple of days, text messaging her mom, who she continues to bring coffee to and light cigarettes for, through out the day.

Time for Prim to face reality
Later, again on group chat, Chompoo decides the need to spend some time together because they've all been busy. They all end up agreeing to meet at Prim's house at 6 a.m. the next day. When they arrive they're holding offerings for the temple. As gently as they can, they tell her 100 days is up and it is time for her to face her mother's death. Art asks her to go to the temple with them.

Prim starts to slowly disintegrate. She starts crying harder as she tells them she knew all along that her mother was dead, but she couldn't face it. She couldn't face  being left alone in the world. The kids tell her that she is not alone, that she still has them as they all hug her.

Although Prim snapping back to sanity was a bit abrupt, it was an effective scene. Earlier I've wondered about Violette Wautier's acting. She has seemed passive at times, but it is hard to say, when watching a foreign movie, how a character would act. Also, I think a fair amount of the scenes are improvisational. Regardless, Violette did a fine job in this episode. She had Prim smile only with her mouth and not her eyes which worked well. Plus she got the breathing right when she was crying. Prim's timbre changed as she gasped for breath while sobbing. Nicely done.

We next see them at the temple. Apparently this is still part of the funeral because Prim is carrying her mother's picture in the procession. They're also still hauling Prim's mom's casket around. Is her body in that or is it ceremonial?

Prim starts crying and Peun comforts her. When she says she's alone he says she has him, and he promises to always be there for her. A Peun promise -- that, and $3.25, will get you a frappuccino at Starbucks. We also find out that Foon's parents have invited Prim to stay with them. Prim and Foon with Peun hovering around? I can't imagine that causing any problems at all.

That night Prim sets her mom's portrait in her favorite chair on the deck. She pours wine into the glass and lights a cigarette. She tells her mother she'll be living at Foon's house.

[Episode 20]

What could possibly go wrong?

No comments: