The Ice Princess
Episode 1 of Gap The Series starts with Mon getting ready to go to a concert with her friend Yuki to see her idol and role model – Lady Sam. While watching her perform, she fantasizes that Sam calls her on stage and as they dance together, the two almost kiss. The spell is broken when Mon realises that she has been called on stage by the two hosts (cameo by Billy and Seng of War Of Y fame) for a prize that she won.
Yuki pouts that she didn’t get to meet Billy and Seng and chases Mon in her room but as they play around, she drops a box full of Sam’s photos. While going through the photos, Mon remembers when she first met Sam, 13 years ago. Baby Mon is playing with a puppy on a street when a car almost runs her over. But Sam comes in time and stops the car. It turns out the puppy is Sam’s but she is not allowed to take it home. Mon decides to adopt it and call it Sua.
Yuki is impressed and praises her dedication as the viewers find out that out of adoration, Mon went to the same college as Sam and will start a new job at Sam’s company. Mon is excited to meet her for the first time after so many years but both she and Yuki wonder if Sam will remember her.
On the first day of work, everyone is nervous to meet Mon as they think she is British and are worried that they will have to talk in English. But she assures them that she is half-Thai and not a foreigner. They get her settled by playing pranks on her and making her comfortable. She attributes it to Sam’s kindness but her co-workers look at her with disbelief. They share that they have to call her Lady Boss and that Sam is actually very cold.
Our Sam just may be the very definition of ‘gaslight gatekeep girlboss’ as she starts ordering the employees from the very first moment she appears and firing a couple as office romance is not allowed, a rule that will surely come back to bite her in the ass. Mon’s co-workers assure her that Sam isn’t always so ruthless and that she is just worried because the company hasn’t reached its profit goals. Mon isn’t deterred and also offers to help the resident cleaner, Aunty Mee who asks her to take a box upstairs.
While leaving, Mon bumps into Sam and is affected by the close proximity. While it looks like Sam is also checking her out, she immediately gets annoyed when her bracelet gets stuck in Mon’s hair. Uncaring, she decides to cut off Mon’s hair who panics and removes her hair just in time. She is unnerved when Sam worries about her bracelet rather than Mon whose head hurt because of all the pulling.
While returning home, Mon sees Nop, the neighbour boy waiting for her. He brings her a drink and a mini-fan. He suggests that he would continue to take care of her if they dated. She says no but Nop is not disheartened and simply asks her to lunch. At home, Mon confesses to her parents that she does not like that Sam has changed from the kind girl she knew 13 years ago to a cruel person.
Her mom suggests bringing along Sua’s baby, Singha so that Sam will remember and be nice to her but her stepfather is skeptical. Mon is ready to give up and go to England where she can also spend time with her birth father. Her mother is upset by this and Mon assures her that she won’t run away and work hard with Sam.
Sam on the other hand is nervous as her grandmother calls her home. The old matriarch picks at her posture as well as her company. She reveals that while they had a deal of 5 years, Sam can go ahead and close the company since it has not reached the goal they had decided. Set in her old ways, she asks why Sam is busy with a company when she will have to give it up to get married and focus on her children.
She uses Sam’s sisters who disappointed her to emotionally blackmail her and brings in Sam’s fiance, Kirk. Grandmother starts planning their wedding and while Kirk tries to stop her she doesn’t listen as her granddaughter will turn 30 next year. Sam tries one last time and says that she only has one year left in their deal and that if she is not successful she will marry Kirk.
As the engaged couple leave, it is revealed that they are business partners and have to bring 50 million baht in a year to stop the marriage and keep the company afloat. Kirk suggests a new tactic and she takes it up with her employees. Mon comes up with an idea for the new project ‘Diversity Pop’ that has Sam amazed. Mon is asked to take the lead but is given the unrealistic goal of getting 500k followers in a month for the platform.
Sam is back to her indifferent self at the company dinner and Mon is confused by her hot and cold behaviour. She is further disheartened when she finds out that Kirk is Sam’s fiance. The rest of the employees also find it unfair that Sam can date Kirk who is part of the company but has banned office romance for the rest of them. However, Mon still defends her, calling her kind-hearted and a dog lover. But she cannot help but think about the new Sam who is always rude to her and in a daze, she walks in front of a car. Sam comes just in time and rescues her.
The Episode Review
Along with the rising power of BL (boy love) dramas, Thai GL (girl love) dramas are also becoming a thing with Gap: The Series going mainstream. And the premiere does not disappoint. Sure, we do have the usual clichés of typical Thai dramas like the clumsy and nosy side characters, the naïve and starry-eyed paired with a cold-hearted person, and an overbearing family head.
But it’s refreshing to see female characters not adhering to the usual gender roles while still facing the very relatable problems of being a woman in a man’s world. It also does away with the otherwise problematic tropes in BLs like assigning a husband and a wife’s roles to a queer couple or denying one’s sexuality and being homophobic until they suddenly meet their one true love.
The first episode of Gap The Series gives us a quick glimpse of Sam and Mon’s world, setting up obstacles and red herrings for future plot twists and an exciting journey as we wait to see how our two heroines will overcome them and get together.