Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams – Episode 3 Recap & Review

Poems and Pain

Episode 3 of Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams titled “Poems and Pain” starts in the year 2015 when Rania Dewi, an author hosts the book signing event for her new novel titled ‘Period’. At the event, which turns out to be a failure, Rania discovers that her novel is not getting the same love that her earlier work ‘Poems and Pain’ got.

Rania’s publisher – Hendra asks Rania to write a sequel to ‘Poems and Pain’ if she wants to make money as her new release isn’t getting any favourable reviews. After much prodding, Rania agrees to write a sequel to ‘Poems and Pain and goes through the old videos she recorded while writing the novel.

In the videos, Rania mentions how she suddenly felt like she was the main character and adds that she experienced everything that the story’s main character went through. Since ‘Poems and Pain’ was a story about a woman suffering from domestic violence at the hands of her partner, Rania mentions how she would wake up with bruises similar to the main character of the novel.

Rania gets down to writing a sequel to the novel but cannot think of anything new to write about the main character. The next day, she noticed a huge bruise on her back while showering. She goes down to her desk and finds that she had written 30 pages the night before which included details about the main character having a bruise on her back.

Rania meets Hendra and tells him that she will not be writing the novel. Hendra tells Rania that he read the 30 pages she had already written on the document they shared and adds that he already loves where the story was going. Rania tells Hendra that she does not want to romanticize domestic violence but Hendra convinces her to write further.

That night, Hendra sets up a camera on her desk and asks Hendra to observe her as she writes. She asks Hendra to call her if she ends up doing something out of the ordinary. All of a sudden, Hendra looks upwards as if she were possessed and starts writing the novel. Hendra’s call distracts her and she tries to come back to her senses.

However, Rania envisions herself as the main character Laras being choked by her husband. Hendra shows up at her house and brings Rania back to her senses as the two notice that Rania has written 11 more pages to the novel. Hendra is worried about Rania when he notices the choking marks on her neck. He wonders what will happen if things get much worse but Rania claims that she needs to help Laras if she exists in the real world.

That night, Rania goes back to writing and is taken back to Laras’ world where she is sitting with her daughter – Asti. Asti asks Laras about the ring that her father gave her. Laras notices that she has lost the ring and panics. Laras’ husband comes home that night and gets furious when he does not find the ring. He beats Laras up and Rania from the real world urges Laras to fight back.

Laras stabs her husband with a pencil but ends up injuring his hand. The man gets even more furious and brutally assaults Laras. The next morning, Rania wakes up to chronic injuries and Hendra takes her to the hospital. The doctor asks Rania to report the crime but she asks him to give her medication to stop the pain.

Hendra tells Rania that she needs to stop trying to get herself killed but she insists on continuing. Rania tells Hendra that she wants to see what Laras looks like. That night, Hendra observes Rania writing and she asks him to intervene only when she is in real danger. Once she starts writing, Rania finds herself in Laras’ world with Asti lying on her lap. Rania tries to talk to Laras and asks her to look in a mirror.

Laras finds a mirror and to Rania’s surprise, she looks just like Rania. Rania is pulled back to the real world and she asks Hendra to drive her to her parents’ house. On the drive there, Rania tells Hendra that she last saw her parents 12 years ago when she accidentally killed her older brother while driving her friend’s car.

Rania learns from her parents that she has a twin sister who was put up for adoption because her family could not afford to raise 3 kids. She also learns how her parents tried to look for her twin sister but never found her. Rania’s mother apologises to Rania for not treating her right. Hendra drives Rania home and she decides to continue writing so she can find her twin.

Rania starts writing and learns that Asti is sick. Laras begs her husband, asking him to take Asti to the hospital. The man refuses to take Asti out of the room because she is undocumented. Rania urges Laras to fight back and she agrees. The man threatens to kill Laras but Rania tries to get Laras to attack him.

Suddenly, Laras’ husband leaves the room and Laras ends up picking a locket with the name of the company he works for. Rania is brought back to the real world. She searches the name of the company Laras’ husband works for and finds his address. Hendra drives Rania there but since the location is a 30-minute drive away, Rania gets back to writing so that she can stall Laras’ husband – Adrian.

She uses Laras to call him by name and distracts him. Hendra wakes Rania up once they arrive at Adrian’s house. Hendra threatens to shoot Adrian while Rania goes looking for the room that Laras is hidden in. Rania finds Laras who was attacked by Adrian. Laras is bleeding profusely and dies in Rania’s arms after thanking her for saving her life.

Rania takes Asti with her and warns Adrian, stating he will pay for what he has done. Rania tells Hendra that she will be starting a new life with Asti. The episode ends with Rania learning that the cops were not able to find Laras’ dead body or Adrian and his family at the address she had mentioned.

The Episode Review

This episode is quite intriguing and it is such a fun idea for authors to find themselves as characters in the novels that they are writing. However, this has me confused about how this episode ended. It is clear that there is some connection between Rania’s story and that of Panji from Episode 1.

When Rania momentarily entered Adrian’s body, she could see the creatures that sucked the youth out of a child to put it inside the parent’s body. However, I am more confused about the fact that Adrian and his family vanished with no trace of the underground room that Laras was hidden in. One could say that Asti had always been Rania’s daughter and that she was imagining Laras’ kidnapping and the visit to Adrian’s house that night.

With that being said, Hendra had accompanied Rania that night which means that he too had seen Adrian and his family. I hope we find some resolution to these plot holes in the episodes to come if there even is a connection between these stories.

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2 thoughts on “Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams – Episode 3 Recap & Review”

  1. Just a little correction, since I noticed that the english sub does a poor job explaining Adrian’s workplace: it’s not a company. He works as a special staff at the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises, and I think it’s to highlight his smug point later when he said that “your laws don’t apply to me”, as we Indonesians often experienced daily. :’)

    Later in episode 7 (SPOILER ALERT), set two years later, Adrian is referred to as the Minister himself. He successfully climbed up, it seems.

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