One of the most powerful episodes of 2022 happened during Love in The Air. The series started high octane, with a rom-com feel to the narrative, except for Sky’s story. There was always something more going on than Rain’s attempt to turn Payu into a human pogo stick.
There was the darkness that surrounded Sky’s nightmares, his resistance to getting involved with Prapai, and that first sex scene between them. There was no affection or lust, Sky (Peat Wasuthorn) was aggressive and angry. Almost mechanical like a bucking bronco machine. Basically, saying you want my ass, well have it, but you don’t get my heart.
While Prapai (Fort Thitipong) is a party boy with no strong attachments to anyone apart from his family and his friendship with Payu (Boss Chaikamon). He doesn’t appear to have had any setbacks or personal challenges in life. He clicks his heels together and gets whatever he desires until Sky appears in his periphery. He grows into a better version of himself when he experiences a not-so-privileged world through Sky’s eyes.
Love in the Air: Trailer
This leads us to episode 13, one of the best episodes of 2022, providing insight into how this bright and self-assured guy could be drawn into such a toxic relationship. It is not usual for a BL to show such horrendous acts but is so necessary to understand Sky’s trauma.
Sky was young and impressionable when he first met Gun who was brimming over with charisma. Gosh, even a staunch evangelical minister would have wilted before that man. The asshole was hot which is a great lure. He dangled his worm and Sky took the bait.
Sky became so besotted with Gun (Dunk Patak) willing to do anything to please him even if it caused pain and suffering. Yet, deep down, he did know what was happening wasn’t right which fueled that inner saboteur called shame. So, he began to make excuses for his friends. He even started to believe that he deserved to be treated that way. After all, now, who else would love him?
What stung the most during the flashback, was when Gun gave his reason for letting his friends rape him, “I’m Bored” As if, Sky was his toy. Not a human being. He discarded him so easily because Sky meant nothing more. And he did it because he could. His good looks and charisma gave him this inflated ego. He became untouchable in his eyes.
What I found so moving, was the music that underplayed the moment Sky woke from his flashback. It sounded like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. So lyrical. As if, at that moment, Sky wanted so badly to retreat into the innocence of childhood far away from his trauma. Childhood was a safe place where bad things didn’t happen.
By this point, Prapai had become Sky’s safe place. He had grown to trust someone again. To open his heart to this man. He wasn’t aggressive or robotic in those intimate moments. There was a tenderness between them. An intimate connection that had restored Sky’s positive relationship with sex. Once, it was this dirty, shame-filled experience, now there was pleasure and enjoyment. It wasn’t a task on his To Do list like at the beginning of their relationship.
Now we’re getting to the part that made my blood boil the most. Gun, and his mates, use someone else’s apartment to ambush Sky, at a vulnerable moment, to traumatize the man even further. The audacity of them to have such disregard for anyone else but their own twisted needs. Gun deserved far more than just a busted-up face.
Those scenes did show how ingrained the impact of abuse can be. You can have everything going right, and it takes just a couple of triggering words to unsettle a person. To make them question and doubt which wakes up that inner saboteur.
You know, what was so powerful about those scenes in the condo? Finally, someone came to Sky’s rescue. Prapai saved him from a living nightmare. No one was there for him before. No one cared enough to stop the assholes. Now, things were different for Sky. Someone thought he was worth saving.
Prapai is so gentle and respectful giving Sky the time he needed to tell his story even though he wanted to save him from those painful memories. He allowed him to speak his truth which released all those bottled-up emotions. It was so damn hard to hear someone call themselves, “I’m trash” and “I’m damaged goods”, because that is what abusers what them to feel.
This episode may not be grandiose as some, or as shock value as others but provides depth and complexity. The subject matter seemed to push the genre into unchartered waters and touched the audience with such nuanced performances. That is why this episode is so important to highlight from the countless others from last year.
Love in the Air deserves recognition for daring to tackle such a subject. I would love to see the BL world duck dive even deeper into other relevant topics because that is when real gutsy storytelling can change minds and raise awareness. Stories don’t always have to be sweet and light. They can be much more complex that reflects the world of same-sex relationships.
And, who knows, these stories just may help someone facing a similar situation. Knowledge is power even if it comes wrapped up in a BL series. Remember, you’re not trash. You’re never damaged goods. Don’t let anyone erode your unique spirit.
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Daz James is an undiscovered writer living in Australia who is an advocate for LGBTIQA+ representation in media. He has come to love BL serials in recent years having been bewitched by the genre through Innocence – Bangkok Love Stories and Together With Me series. He provides commentary on all things not just BL serials on Twitter and Instagram.