First Aired: 30 August 2016
Running Time: 27 minutes
Review In A Nutshell:
What was wonderful about this episode is that it was a well-wrapped gift in the sense that a typical conflict, often a source of long-drawn melodramas in Filipino teleseryes, was resolved by the end of it and in the most mature way possible.
As this episode was aired prior to this review, I re-watched this thru IWantTV. Currently, IWantTV subscribers on free plan can re-watch select Till I Met You episodes sans the 3-day limit for the whole month of September 2016, thanks to Ponds wherein Nadine Lustre is one of its latest endorsers.
If you want to read why I wanted to pursue this episode review challenge, please click here. Also, if you haven’t started watching this series yet (and why not), be prepared for spoilers. A whole load of it.
Friends In Love continues the journey with Iris expressing her sadness over Ali entering the PMA to her mother, Cassandra. As they were talking, Zoe came down and said the she wasn’t feeling well. It was eventually learned that Zoe had diabetes and she needed regular insulin injections to avoid further complications. Being the reliable sister, Iris focused her energies into helping her mother’s business, making ends meet, providing for her younger sister’s medication and going to college.
During a typical school day, a schoolmate asked Iris out on a date for a Gary V concert, which she refused because she didn’t have time and she was missing/still pining for Ali. As she was leaving the school premises, Iris got a surprise call from Ali. She learned that Ali left the PMA and he was there on campus. The best friends got reunited and started to ponder on how to tell Ali’s dad, Greggy, that he left the PMA. Iris encouraged Ali to face his father because she was confident Ninong Greggy loves him and would understand him. Iris offered her support by saying that she will join Ali when he meets his father.
To Ali and Iris’ shock, Greggy didn’t take the news very well and scolded Ali for bringing shame to the family’s name. In typical Filipino melodrama, Greggy didn’t want to see Ali’s face and was asked to leave the Nicolas’ household after the latter disappointed him. This forced Ali to seek refuge under Cassandra’s care where he was welcomed with open arms. Agnes then visited Cassandra’s place and spoke with Ali, giving her son her understanding and support of his dream to become a chef.
While generally scared of the path he’s forging for himself, Ali sent a thank-you message to the person who inspired him to live his life and pursue his dreams: Basti — a half-Filipino/half-Greek, happy-go-lucky, adventurous guy who was seen in the previous episode to be part of the online James Dean Fan Club. Both guys exchanged messages and got to learn that they had a lot of things in common, one of which is having issues with their dads. From this point, it would suggest that the two, Ali and Basti, become good friends.
Meanwhile, confident in his innate talent, Iris offered to help Ali secure a scholarship grant in the school she was studying. With Iris’ help, Ali did what he could to secure the grant and he got it. The best friends were happy with Ali’s achievement as a scholar. This news reached Agnes and she expressed how proud she was of her son. Noticing that he overheard the conversation, Agnes reminded Greggy of his own struggles with his father, that he pursued his own dream of being a soldier against his father’s wishes that he became a doctor. This struck a chord in Greggy and he decided to mend his relationship with Ali and support his dreams of becoming a chef. The Nicolas family was reunited.
Through all the good and bad times in their lives, Ali realized how Iris has been there to support him. It was then where Ali told Iris that he loved her and she said the same. As the scene fades away with Ali and Iris holding each other, it finally made sense to me why the episode was given that title.
Following the trend of the first episode, Friends In Love covered a lot of ground, this time regarding Ali’s exit from the PMA, his discovery of his real passion (cooking) and his burgeoning friends-to-lovers relationship with Iris. What was wonderful about this episode is that it was a well-wrapped gift in the sense that the father-son conflict, somewhat typical and often a source of long-drawn melodramas in Filipino teleseryes, was resolved by the end of it and in the most mature way possible. It made me absolutely happy because it made the episode thoroughly relatable and promoted the idea that families can have an open discussion about things that matter most. Sure, disappointments happen but if these were discussed openly, families can find their way to love and not hate. This episode struck a nerve in me and made me say a prayer for a schoolmate who left this world too soon.
When I was in college, I encountered Jim (not his real name) in one of my GE subjects during start of freshman year. He was studying to be a doctor and he knew some of my course mates back in high school. He had an openness and joy in him that couldn’t be contained. In my brief encounters with him, I liked his personality; he never failed to make me laugh and my course mates as well. He was undeniably intelligent and had a sharp wit. However, I didn’t know that he was using it as a veil for his sadness. You see, Jim is gay. He never hid it from us, even his schoolmates from high school knew it. However, his dad, who held a high-ranking position in the armed forces, didn’t know. To him, Jim was a manly guy who was going to make his family proud by being a doctor. When he’s in school, Jim was the fun, lovable gay guy. When he’s at home, Jim put on the “kuya”, strong man front with his dad. There were moments where I noticed him talking to my course mates, in tears, perhaps expressing his struggles of keeping with two personalities. When I could, I would give Jim a shoulder squeeze or a pat on the back; he would smile in return.
During second semester, one Monday morning, as I was about to return a borrowed book to the library, I noticed some of my course mates crying, along with their fellow schoolmates in high school. It was then I learned that over the weekend, Jim committed suicide by shooting himself using his father’s gun. When his siblings found him, they thought that Jim was playing a prank because he did the same thing before (i.e. pretending to be dead). Upon learning that news, I found myself grabbing onto anything that could hold me. Having experienced a death in the family less than six months, it was too much especially when I learned the reason. He fell in love and he wanted to come clean with his dad. His fears of his dad not accepting him became too much to bear that he killed himself. I didn’t go to his wake; I couldn’t bring myself to because I didn’t want to remember him that way. Also, I didn’t want to see his dad and mentally blame him for Jim’s death. I said a prayer for him and for his family to find strength and peace despite the loss.
Jim’s death opened a number of if-onlys and what-ifs in me, even some existential questions too. With his death, I came to pray for a time when members of the LGBT community will be accepted as part of the society, no longer discriminated or forced to portray stereotypes often associated with them. Years have passed since then, yet I live in a world that still struggles with the LGBT community.
Aside from the reasons I previously stated, Till I Met You is giving me hope that there’s light in the struggle, that acceptance is possible. It has clearly laid the path of Ali’s character in the series, even before it started, that he will learn to discover who he really is. I hope that in the process of his self-discovery, Ali will not be another Jim in this world, that when he comes out to the people he cares the most, in due time, he will be met with all the understanding and love that he deserves.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
JC Santos and Nadine Lustre (because their chemistry is amazing)
Greggy, muling nakipag-ayos sa kanyang anak na si Ali
Iris, sinuportahan si Ali sa kanyang pagbabalik eskwela
“Don’t let other people tell you what to do. Live your life!” – Basti Valderrama
Fun Stuff: Episode 2 Outtakes
THROWBACK: When I tweeted about #TIMYFriendsInLove…
All images featured in this blog post can be seen on Till I Met You’s official and show websites, and Facebook page. Some are screencaps from clips and outtakes uploaded in ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel.