Falling in love for the first time is a life-changing moment that is hard to forget; it’s pure and innocent, making it more special than the following experience. At that moment, we are blinded by the happy feelings that grow inside our hearts, and we are willing to do almost anything for the one we love. A bit foolish, if I may say so myself, but that’s the uniqueness of first love. Because we pour our hearts out to the relationship – hoping to make it last forever – we feel utterly heartbroken when it ends. And to make it worse, it takes a lot of time and effort to heal from it, which makes us think that we’d rather die than living in such pain.
—Edited by TheFNGee
In line with that premise, In Between (Sa Pagitan ng Kamusta at Paalam) offers a raw portrayal of a bittersweet first-love story of two childhood best friends, Taurus Noble and Joseph Malaya. Throughout the series, viewers are invited to take a closer look at the dynamics of Tau and Tep’s love life, which is far from perfect. But in Love, perfection is a vague concept that won’t guarantee any happiness. What matters most is both parties’ ability to accept each other as they are, with all the good traits and imperfections that make them human. Until we can fully embrace them, we might not find the pure joy of loving.
Taurus ‘Tau’ Noble
Migs Villasis plays Tau, the closeted boyfriend of Tep. Despite his fondness for Tep, Tau doubts his feelings and the budding romantic relationship with his childhood friend. He tries to ignore it, but he fails. Aiming to have a piece of mind, Tau breaks his relationship with Tep, leaving the latter in despair. However, a sudden reunion with Tep brings back the good old memories. What will be Tau’s decision this time?
Joseph ‘Tep’ Malaya
The protagonist of the story, Tep, portrayed by Genesis Redido, develops a crush on his childhood friend, Tau. Afraid of losing his best friend, Tep chooses to hide his feelings, until one day, he couldn’t hide it any longer and decided to confess his love for Tau. To his surprise, Tau accepts his confession, making him the happiest person on earth. But what will he do when Tau suddenly ends their relationship? Can he easily forget his love for Tau?
Boom Harot Squad
Meet the ‘three musketeers’ who fill Tau and Tep’s love story with their silly quarreling twenty-four-seven. The first one is Nics (Shiara Lagman), the glue that holds the Boom Harot Squad together. She is the one that you seek when you need a reality check or a comforting word. The clueless with a heart made of gold, Bianx (Lara Fortuna) is the light of the group who unknowingly always brings a smile to the whole squad. And last but not least, we have Nin (Renshi De Guzman), who has a secret of his own but is willing to protect his friends at all costs. Despite their foolish acts, the three of them are always ready to help their friends whenever needed. Indeed, true friends are hard to find.
Besides the Boom Harot Squad, the series also introduces two other characters who later on join the team. The love interest of Nin, Makisig (Lance Carr), who is currently working in another city, and Tau’s work colleague, Orion (Kimson Tan), who instantly becomes Tep’s rival in the series.
In Between the Series tells a story of two childhood best friends, Tau and Tep, who have developed feelings for one another over time. They keep their feelings a secret as not to ruin their friendship. One day, Tep decides to confess his love for Tau and ask him to be his boyfriend. The latter accepts Tep’s proposal on one condition: no one should know about their relationship. Being a devoted lover, or simply not knowing any better, Tep agrees to the terms. For him, it doesn’t matter if the world knows about them or not because the most important thing is Tau loves him. However, their happiness doesn’t last long. Suddenly, Tau breaks his promise to remain committed to Tep; he chooses doubts over love. Trying to mend his broken heart, Tep moves to Los Angeles, leaving all the memories behind. A year passes since the emotional breakup, now both Tau and Tep have ‘moved on’ with their lives. However, an unexpected reunion has once more ignited the flames of love between the two ex-lovers. As the ‘good old memories’ keep rushing in, Tau and Tep are trapped between two possibilities, either rekindling their relationship or cutting all ties with each other.
“Because the most important part of a relationship is not hello or goodbye, but in between!” (Direk Briliant Juan)
My Thoughts of The Series
In Between the Series offers an interesting premise different from the other popular Pinoy BL series, such as Gameboys and Hello Stranger. Instead of portraying the budding relationship between two strangers, the series reveals the other side of love, which often bewilders many people; love between best friends. In my opinion, it’s a smart move taken by the production team to win the heart of BL viewers. The story being offered is closely related to our everyday life. Viewers can feel more connected to it, creating bonding that will turn them into devoted fans of the series. For that, I salute the team!
However, after watching the whole series, I think the storyline can still be improved to make it more captivating because there are times when the story seemed to drag. Moreover, some of the episodes feel like a filler episode, which doesn’t really add additional value or nuance to the whole story. For example, in my opinion, the second episode can be shortened to give room for more background story for Tau and Tep’s earlier relationship troubles. How about Episode 8 that shows Tau and Tep’s life after they moved in together? That episode can be shortened and combined with Episode 9 because it doesn’t offer much story either; without that episode, viewers can still understand the whole story.
Honestly, for me, the series should’ve ended after Tau and Tep rekindle their relationship because that’s the biggest question that needed to be answered by the series, aside from why they broke up. That’s why I’m quite surprised that the conclusion of their love story happens as early as episode five. Yes, I am aware that Tep has already gotten the idea of why Tau is living with him but shouldn’t they have more discussion about it before deciding to get back as a couple? It’s too much of a rush to get them back together in such an early stage of the series. Because after those machinations, the story starts to go downhill. Even though they try to make it more interesting by introducing new characters like Nin’s boyfriend, Makisig, it doesn’t help elevate the entire series. Not even Orion’s existence can help to make the story better. It’s unfortunate because the premise has so much potential to be developed into a more meaningful story.
Despite my dissatisfaction with the plot, I’m enjoying the aesthetic offered by the series. They have lots of beautiful shots that are a feast for the eyes. On the other hand, their zoom angle shot is to die for; it’s beyond beautiful, if I may say. For example, Tep’s personal scene in Episode 5 is where he cries while remembering his broken relationships with Tau. That’s one particular scene giving me chills because I can feel Tep’s sadness and frustration. Great camera work! Another scene that I love is, of course, the ending scene, which I think was beautifully shot. The flashbacks scenes of Tau and Tep added at that special moment are on point as it helps to build the romantic yet heartwarming atmosphere. Altogether, the aesthetic and camera work are some strengths of this series.
Another thing that I love about this series is the acting by the main leads. Knowing that both Migs and Genesis are athletes without prior experiences in acting, I think they have done a decent job in portraying their characters. Their expressions are spot on, and their chemistry is convincing. Therefore, congratulations to both main leads for the remarkable achievement on their first-ever series! Besides the leads, I also love the Boom Harot Squad interaction, which is fun and entertaining to watch. I equally love Nics, Bianx, and Nin, as they are also an important part of the story, making the story more profound. And I believe their friendship has inspired many of their viewers to become a more supportive ally for their friends in real life.
All things considered, I had quite some fun watching In Between the Series. There is still room for improvement that they can work on for a second season, especially related to the storyline. I’m suggesting to make the story more concise by deciding which part of the story is important and must be seen by viewers. Moreover, to add more depth, they can explore some related topics that would be interesting to discuss between Tau and Tep as they embark on their new journey as a couple. I would love to see more from the Boom Harot Squad. Giving Nics a love interest would be interesting, while Bianx can begin a self-discovery process after her breakup and more development of Nin and Makisig’s love story. By doing so, the second season will become more compelling and enjoyable to watch.
Nevertheless, I believe that the story of Tau and Tep in the first season has touched many viewers’ hearts as well as giving them hope in finding true love in this chaotic world that we live in. And for that, I would love to congratulate In Between the Series team. Because in the end, what matters is how the story can touch people’s lives and inspire them to become better individuals.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]