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Encantadia: What they did right, and what they did wrong

The right things:

  1. Worldbuilding. Encantadia is arguably one of Philippine TV’s most imaginative show. The sheer brilliance of its worldbuilding, a perfect mix of fantasy and native mythology, is the core strength of this show. The amount of imagination and research, and the way these ideas are brought to life is what made this show so compelling for its viewers. I love that in this remake, they expanded the world of Encantadia and included new lores and myths that enhance our understanding of its characters.
  2. Lira and Mira. Fated rivals turned into each others ride or die. I am living. This kind of friendship is so beautiful to watch because the actors’ (Mikee and Kate) natural charisma and skillful acting brought these characters to life. Lira and Mira were relatable. They made mistakes, but they learned from it. They were funny, but they were also serious when needed. They fought fiercely, but they also showed softness. Oftentimes we see friendships portrayed in Philippine television as lopsided – there always one in a friendship that is perceived as the ‘sidekick’, but Lira and Mira were equals. They both blossomed and were each other’s support system. 
  3. Ybramihan. This is a controversial call because of the proverbial Alebarro pairing in the original series. But somehow, this remake just made this paring work. Ruru and Kylie’s chemistry is explosive and the more I watched them, the more I wanted Ybramihan to be endgame. Their love story was written poignantly, and with such subtlety that is very refreshing to see on Philippine television.
  4. Cassiopea and Ether. Solenn was born to play this role. The way she portrayed Cassiopea as this complicated hero reminded me of a Greek myth. There is something very Greecian about her and the Bathalas and Bathalumans. The way they mold in, and actively take part in the shaping of the world of Encantadia is reminiscent of the way the Greek gods and goddesses interfere with the lives of the mortal heroes simply because they can and they want to. I live for that because they showed these divine beings as infallible and human.
  5. The villains (well, most of them anyway). As I always said, any good vs bad story requires an amazing villain. Hagorn was the perfect antithesis to the Sang’gres. He was cunning, brutal, but also complex. He reminded me so much of Snape; a good character, but a bad person. Asval too was the quintessential villain – backstabbing, dishonest, and self-serving. Andorra and Agane too were exceptionally loathsome villains. 

The wrong things:

  1. The format. Encantadia should have been a weekly series. The pressure to produce and episode 5 times a week is huge, and it showed in the show. Changing the format would have allowed them to refine certain plot points and edit the script, and also more time to prepare for it. The filler episodes (which is like every episode from Tuesday to Thursday tbh) were mostly bad, with a few exceptions. 
  2. Etheria. The Etheria arc ruined this show, period. Avria was a poorly-written villain. The time travel thing did not fit into the narrative of the story. There was no reason for Etheria to have been resurrected. The plotholes were too obvious and it seemed like everything were written haphazardly, with no clear direction.
  3. Ariana and the sarkosi. Again, why was this on the show? It was literally pointless, narrative-wise. Ariana as a character was bland and one-dimensional, and the sarkosi bit was not explored enough.
  4. Too many extra characters. They were obviously plot fillers and only existed out of convenience. The show could have exerted more effort in developing characters already there (Aquil, Muros, WANTUK, Wahid to name a few) instead of introducing us to characters that, like Ariana, did not enhance the narrative. Examples are Deshna, Amarro, Gilas, Azulan, Manik, and a whole lot more I could care less about.
  5. Too much focus on moving the plot. Plot is important, I know, but if I were to choose between a good plot and good characters, I’d choose the latter. A good character in a badly written plot is still more watchable than a story with a good premise but botched characterization. The overall lack of character development for most characters made the show difficult to watch at times. 
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4R’s: Encantadia Season 2 (April 10, 2017 episode review)

Iris-message: As announced by GMA Encantadia on Twitter, we’re only going to have three episodes this week, so the week-ender episode will definitely be on Wednesday, as you all know it’s lenten, and Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday will be our time to reflect and re-connect with our own Emre, our beloved God. Fam bam and I are prolly gonna do the usual stuff, Visita Iglesia, Station of the cross, the usual stuff, and I would most probably re-watch the Ten Commandments because I love that movie so much or the Prince of Egypt maybe. So in advance, may our long weekend be a meaningful one!

Episode 191

Recap:

How to fake it

Ybrahim started to throw a shade at Avria, Hagorn and Asval, but before this turns into a nasty, deadly match, Alena “humbled” herself and apologized on Ybrahim’s behalf. The peace talk continued, with Danaya trying to convince Avria that they have really come for peace. To be able to do that, Avria demanded to surrender all of the gems in their possession to her. Danaya assured that they aren’t going to use the gems against them, but Avria did not believe, she is fully aware that the diwatas do not trust her and vice versa. Avria ended the talk and told them to meet her in the battle field but Danaya stopped her and finally gave her what she wanted—the brilyante ng lupa. Ybrahim strongly opposed but Danaya stood firm on her decision and handed the gem over to Avria, but the latter also demanded for the remaining gems, Alena was ready to surrender hers if Avria vows not to hurt any encantado, and stop their evil schemes against Lireo in general, Avria told her she will think it over and did not get the water gem, at this point, Avria was convinced that Danaya was “sincere” of her desire for peace, the talk ended successfully.

Hearing the news about Alena, Danaya and Ybrahim going to Etheria to bargain made Pao Pao, Muyak and Ariana worried. Pao Pao knew Avria won’t settle for peace unless the sang’gres hand over the gems to her. The monarchs returned to Lireo, everyone was waiting for Danaya to spread the news. Rehav Manik assured that the Punjabwes are going to fight on their side, but Danaya told everyone that no war is going to take place, for she has surrendered the earth gem to Avria and this made the Etherian queen agree for a ceasefire. Though the talk was a success, Ybrahim was still worried, everyone knows that Etherians will never keep their promise and feared for that day when they will all be mercilessly killed. This had everyone worried as well, Alena shut Ybrahim and everyone up and asked the rest except the monarchs to leave them for awhile. Now that only Danaya, Alena, Imaw and Ybrahim were left, it was now time to tell the truth, Alena made a shield out of her water gem to make sure no one else will hear, Danaya revealed that she created an exact replica of her earth gem and the fake one was handed over to Avria, she also made sure that the replica works just like the real earth gem to make Avria believe that it is really Danaya’s brilyante. Ybrahim apologized and commended Danaya for coming up with that scheme, but he knew Avria is going to discover the truth eventually, Danaya could only hope by the time it happens, Emre and Cassiopeia has already succeeded with their mission.

To make him smile again

Ybrahim was studying the map of Encantadia, apparently he still wanted to seek revenge on Etheria, Ariana found him and told him how relieved she was that he made it back safely, Ybrahim asked her why, Ariana bluffed and told him that she doesn’t want him to get hurt but it only made Ybrahim ask more questions, Ariana and Ybrahim would have been placed in another awkward moment if Alena didn’t come, Ybrahim excused himself and told Ariana to call it a night. Alena had the chance to talk to Ariana, she had been listening to her conversation with Ybrahim and decided to confront the Punjabwe-a, Alena asked Ariana if she was in-love with Ybrahim, and although Ariana gave her an indirect answer, Alena knew she harbors feelings for the king. Alena is the most sensitive and observant among the sisters thus she knew that Ariana feels something for Ybrahim from the way she looks at him, to the way she acts towards him. Ariana apologized and made it clear that she doesn’t have any plans on stealing him from Alena, but Alena told her that everything between her and Ybrahim has long been ended, and all she ever wants is for him to be happy, thus Alena asked Ariana to make him fall in-love with her, Ybrahim has been through so much pain and Alena wants to see the man she once loved smile again, and the key she believes is Ariana.

The golden hourglass

Amarro and Lila Sari did not hesitate to reveal where Avria got her powers from, but Pirena already knew that and wanted to know where her army came from instead. Amarro and Lila Sari told her about the golden hourglass that Avria used along with the gems to help Etherians travel to the present time. The hourglass is a powerful tool that makes anyone travel from one timeline to another (or turn back time), Pirena became interested at this in hopes to turn back to the time when Mira needed her help the most, unfortunately, only Avria knows where it is. Pirena immediately came up with a plan but before leaving, she told Lila Sari and Amarro that Deshna is in Adjantao, a place Hagorn chose to hide the child. It was a lie, and Pirena had to do it because she’s still going to use her sister against Hagorn.

Meanwhile in Etheria, Hagorn suspected something about Danaya surrendering the earth gem wasn’t right, Asval set those thoughts aside but Hagorn has a point, the sang’gres aren’t stupid to hand over the gems without coming up with a plan. Asval’s suspicions rose, a Hathor came and whispered something to Hagorn, he left Asval who was still pondering over Hagorn’s words. Asval went to Avria and told her his doubts, to be able to confirm, Avria tested the gem out, it unleashed power, something that fake ones can’t. Avria was very certain she has the real earth gem.

The former king of Hathoria found out that Pirena was outside the Etherian palace, Pirena immediately asked Hagorn a favor to help her, Pirena wanted to enter the palace without anyone noticing. At first, Hagorn did not want to but Pirena threatened to tell Lila Sari where Deshna is which forced Hagorn to grant her request. Pirena made it inside, Hagorn warned her that he will be the one to punish her in case she gets caught. Pirena thanked her father and proceeded with her plan.

Rave/s:

💚 YES ALENA! Out of everything she has done, I think that one thing that makes me really proud of her character is that she has finally moved on (take note of the word, “MINSAN”) she has been through a lot of pain, she made mistakes in the past but in the end, she did not let her anger take control of her, she has grown so much from being a pabebe sang’gre, to a vengeful mother, to a confidently beautiful woman with a heart, and I couldn’t be more proud as an encantadik, I think she has the most beautiful character transition out of all other characters, her heart was once her Achilles’ heel, but look at her now! And I love how Gabbi is portraying the character these past few weeks, although it took a really long time, but I really have to say that she succeeded on merging her own personality with Alena’s. She has finally connected with her character, she herself witnessed everything Alena went through and this led her to finally understand and dig deeper into the character, and for that I am truly, genuinely proud of Gabbi. If I could hug Alena right now I swear I will do it and I’ll tell her how she makes me proud every single day, I hope everyone feels the same, every Alena fan, every AleBarro/YbraLena fan, every GabRu fan, let Alena be, because nothing is more satisfying than knowing your self-worth. Nothing is more awesome than to finally tell yourself that, “Finally, it’s over.” She chose to be free and she got it, now all I want is for her to find that true happiness and get that one precious thing she always wanted, someone who can give her the love she has been searching. Kebs na kung beauty and the Beast ang peg, let’s give AleMemfes a chance. Let’s give Gabbi a chance to prove that she is the next ultimate leading lady! Wish you luck Gab and Lance!

💛 DAYUM DANAYA YOU DA QUEEN! I love how this show redeemed itself from their “unacceptable” episodes for the past two weeks, the battle of who’s smarter, who’s better is definitely on! Love you queen, this show is finally telling everyone that it is not only Pirena who knows how to think.

🌷 Because I love this week-starter in general, I’m not gonna rant about anything. Y’all probably know that I’m still gonna shoot fires at Arra’s performance, BUT, I decided not to do that because I don’t wanna break my own bubble and lash out at Arra [again], I felt like I’m already getting used to her shitty performance, or maybe I’m not in the mood? Whatever!  Acting-wise I am still uncertain and unconvinced that Arra deserves the role, but narrative-wise this is how it should be. Set aside all of your anger towards Ariana and focus on the story itself, remember Amihan’s sarkosi is inside Ariana’s body so technically Ariana is still Amihan, although her characterization is inconsistent as fuck, I would still go for this route but I do NOT agree with the making Ybrahim fall for Ariana part, I mean sure they feel some sort of connection with each other, but I would rather let them discover and realize their feelings for each other in a slow-burn kind of way than “forcing themselves to each other,” god! Amihan will never do such thing even if she loves her man so much. Duh. So you know, I’ve been really, really ranting about Arra and Ariana lately, and it’s no surprise to you guys, but you see, I’m already fed up at making the same old comments all over again, I feel like it’s pathetic how I’m stressing myself over an actress whom I’m not sure if she can really act. I had the chance to go over my previous reviews from last week and last, last week, and I just realized that rooting for Arra is just…pointless, and me ranting endlessly about her wouldn’t change the fact that they chose her to play the character, I mean they already chose her so they gotta stand up on their decision, panindigan nila ‘yan. Now before you react, let me just make myself clear, I’M TIRED AT HATING ON ARIANA, I’m sick at blabbing shits about Arra, and I’m so done at lambasting her story, telling everyone her story should be like this and that. I’VE HAD ENOUGH OKAY? I wanna stop because I have to, I hate being stressed, and Arra is my source of stress, so I have to get her out of my nerves dude, it’s bad for my health! I have come to this point where I am already starting to “accept” that Ruru’s going to do all the hard work for the rest of this whole Ybriana “romance”, and the only thing that’s gonna save Arra’s face in the show is the Amihan/Kylie flash backs, okay, noted. I’m just going to give all the hopeless chances on her, and take note, I repeat, those are “HOPELESS chances,” that means I no longer care, let her do her thing, I’m not expecting anything, period. If she does impress, good, I’ll rave about her, and if not, then I guess I’m just gonna sarcastically thank her forever for annihilating what would have been Amihan’s second shot at life, and until Arra proves me wrong, I am not going to see Ariana and Amihan as one character.

Rant/s:

No rants so far.

I’m really happy at Alena and Danaya’s progresses and I’m not gonna let a few minutes of crap ruin it! Nuh-uh.

Best performer/s for this episode:
Gabbi Garcia 🌊

Rating: 9 out of 10💎s

Photo credits:
From Twitter:
@GMAEncantadia (Encantadia 2016-2017 official twitter acct)
@gmanetwork (GMA Network); official website: gmanetwork.com
@GMADrama (GMA Drama)

From Facebook: Encantadia 2016; official website: encantadia.com.ph

Video credits: GMA Network via YouTube & dailymotion