The series follows a group of friends, Tong Fah, Paper, and Chris. Chris is the more outgoing of the 3. He plays the drums, practices Muay Thai, and is just a general cool guy. Tong Fah is the quieter of the 3. He plays basketball with his friends, seems to be very emotional and is definitely not the leader of the group, but is popular and well known in his school. Paper is the student council president, the leader of his group and pretty nerdy. Turns out, Thong Fah and Paper have a close relationship, which becomes stranded when one of them comes out to the other.
Coming from a recent breakup, Jeno is wanting to change things up in his life. He takes Muay Thai classes and meets Chris. Jeno had been watching Chris music videos on YouTube, but he acts like he doesn’t know him. Chris quickly becomes infatuated with Jeno, but Jeno rejects his advances.
Tragedy eventually strikes, sort of, and Tong Fah and Paper must face their feelings for each other. A third couple, which is a lot less interesting, is also introduced in the first or second episode. Near (who is Jeno’s brother) and M, a manager at a coffee shop. The story is so boring and unimportant, I won’t waste time here telling you about them.
Analysis [SPOILERS BELOW]
The title of the series is Second Chance. The Thai subtitle can be translated as love’s rhythm. Clearly, second chance refers to the opportunity to be with someone you love, after having missed that opportunity. There are two main themes that run through the plot of this series: bullying and second chances [at love]. Jeno is bullied by his ex-boyfriend Arthur, who is physically violent and abusive towards Jeno. In the very last episode, Arthur asks Jeno to give him a second chance, but Jeno tells him that he can’t do that. The most he can do is forgive him. Arthur cries inconsolably and confesses to his friends that he too has been bullied by his father. Throughout the show, we see posters on the wall that say (in English), “Stop bullying”.
I should say that many people seem to confuse Near and Jeno. They are real-life brothers. Near is the guy who works at the coffee shop. We see a lot less of him. Jeno goes to the same school as the main trio. He has a hint of blonde in his hair and is a bit more masculine looking and older than Near. I hope this helps you identify who is who. I won’t talk about Near’s story arc here because it is boring and I was frustrated by Near’s lack of emotion.
This series is among the few Thai BL series that tackles the issue of toxic lovers. TharnType has a lot of toxicity and so does 2Gether The Series, Theory of Love, and Fish Upon The Sky. Despite the popularity of these series, they never tackle the toxicity of the Semes. Among the few that tackles toxicity, in Tonhon Chonlatee the characters are aware of the toxicity of the Seme, but there is no retribution handed to the toxic character (Tonhon). At least here we get to see Arthur break down in tears and accept that he is lonely and miserable. Arthur is the only character here that does not get a second chance.
By the way, the reason that Jeno was getting harassed by Arthur was that someone started the rumor that Arthur had cheated on a test. Interestingly, this same plot line was used in the last episode of the 7 Project Anthology (the one with Peak and Boom). We never get to know who started that rumor, as Jeno claimed he didn’t do it and I think we should believe he didn’t.
Paper rejects Thong Fah at first. This happens when they are drunk and one of them tries to kiss the other. This scene is one of the best in the series and the best one for the couple. Paper, played by Tong Thanayut (of TharnType fame) is a decent actor. This scene is meant to show us internalized homophobia and its consequences. Paper’s reaction is pretty realistic. He walks out after the kiss and leaves Tong Fah crying. This ties with the cold open of the series, in which Tong Fah pursues Paper at the swimming pool and falls into the pool. We see him sink, an image that is repeated in the ending credits of all the episodes. I think this image represents his loneliness. Eventually, Paper gives Tong Fah a second chance, and they they become a couple. In the last scene in the last episode, we see Paper swim towards him and join him in the pool. This symbolizes the fact that Tong Fah doesn’t feel alone anymore.
One of my few complains is that I wish they didn’t use fake slobber (you will understand if you watch). Tong is a great guy who gives me strong gay vibes. He is not married, but has an adopted son and he writes BL novels. If that doesn’t ring your gaydar, I don’t know what does.
My favorite couple is Chris and Jeno. Chris is the typical Seme who constantly pursues the Uke. Jeno is not the typical Uke, except in that he rejects Chris advances. Otherwise, Jeno could be a Seme or Uke. Frankly, I see the actor as possibly being top or bottom. I know that’s hard to know, but sometimes you get BDE and sometimes you get this feeling a guy can be either. He definitely doesn’t come off as your typical Uke and I don’t get a strong bottom energy from the actor. LOL
In the first episode, Jeno reveals to his sister that he wants to take up Muay Thai in order to reinvent himself, as he has just broken up with Arthur. Later, when Jeno walks into the Muay Thai gym, Chris gets knocked out by his fighting partner. This happens because he turns around and stares at Jeno for what seems like a long time. This is a clear indication that Chris likes Jeno. It is later revealed that they knew each other since they were kids. They meet at the school library. Chris, who is older, takes Jeno home. In return, Jeno gives Chris a chocolate bar. Chris keeps it and we see him return it to Jeno just before they kiss (This is something you probably won’t get unless you watched it 2x like me. Thank me later.). I am guessing this is his way to say thank you for helping him or something.
Speaking of Ukes and Semes, I stop keeping track of all the tropes, but it was like they made a list and went through all of them: the fall and catch, the boo-boo, feeding the uke, riding together on a motorcycle, the car accident, etc. I literally lost count. Interestingly, I didn’t think it was clear if Paper or Thong Fah was the Seme. Of course, this is not important unless you are a hard-core fujoshi, but I always think its interesting to discover who plays which role. Is it subtle or is it obvious? Here, its definitely subtle but the cues are there.
Things I didn’t like
*They look too old to be in HS. This is especially true of Paper who is played by 29 year old, DILF Tong Thanayut. Oh, what a nice looking hot DILF he is.
*Games, who plays Near, is an awful actor. The only reason he got a role here is because he is the real-life brother of Run (Jeno) who is a great actor. Games is handsome but his good looks can’t make up for his terrible lack of emoting. He spits out his lines, is too stiff to look alive, and generally annoyed the heck out of me whenever he was on screen. If you want to see bad, awkward blocking, watch the very last episode in which he ruin one of the scenes by walking into it and looking as stiff as a rock. He is just bad.
*The Main Couple story: It was boring. The only good moment they had was when they got drunk and kissed. Both actors are decent actors so it helped a lot that they perform well.
*Tropes! This was so full of tropes that I stop counting!
*The accident is never explained. What happened and how did it happened? How did the box survive without any damage?
*I can’t with the fake injuries to the head that end in random bandages and loss of consciousness without any external injury (scratches at least?!).
Things I liked
*The OST theme song is catchy and soothing. I wish I knew what the name of the OST is.
*Run, who plays Jeno. He is a hottie.
*Mawin. He is in my humble opinion, the best actor in this series and someone who has a lot of potential. I hope he gets found by a bigger production company like GMMTV.
*ChrisJeno. They were the best part of the series. They had a simple but interesting story arc. And that KISS at the end!!! OMG Mawin sticks his tongue out and caresses Run’s lips. Run goes with the flow but when they pull back, both of them just giggle like teen boys. Its cute, and I have a very strong feeling that there was something going on between them. This is definitely one of the best kissing scenes I have seen in a Thai BL.
*Arthur, played by Nice Pitayut, is another unsung hero in this series. The character is interesting, different than what we are use to as the typical “bad guy”, and the actor imbues this character with humanity, which is especially evident in the end when he breaks down and cries as he realizes he is alone.
*I haven’t said much about Tong Fah, played by Fluke Chinnathan, but he is also a decent actor who is not given the best script but makes the best of it. The scene in which he kisses Paper is great. Finally two actors who can play drunk.
*Speaking of that scene, both actors look super hot. I don’t know if it’s the shorts they are wearing, the color of their shirts, the fact they are dancing like crazy or how vulnerable they become as the scene unfolds. And the kiss is so sensual. And Tong is sweaty, salty and wet.😊 Yummy deliciousness. Oh Tong, you are the perfect DILF.
*The cinematography here is great, with rich colors and beautiful long shots.
*No toxic female characters!
Should you watch?
This is a series with high production values, good cinematography, overall decent acting, and a great secondary couple (ChrisJeno). It is only six episodes long. I think this is worth your time. You should watch it, even if its only to see Jeno and Chris kiss, which is one of the best kisses in Thai BL, and that hot kissing scene between Paper and Tong Fah that happens early in the series. I do have a weird predilection for wet and salty Thai men, so maybe that’s why I found that scene between Paper and Tong Fah so erotic, but maybe you will like it too! In any event, this series has a great message about taking advantage of second chances at love. Perhaps the “rhythm” part in the title refers to the ebbs and flows of love, and how it is not unusual to find love only after a second chance.
Finally, I want to add that I suspect most of the cast in this series is queer and I think we should support queer productions like this one.
Solid 4/5 stars. Go watch!