Immortal beings live among us. At least that’s what HBO Asia’s Halfworlds has been suggesting to viewers for the past year.
Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, Halfworlds S2 takes us to Bangkok in Thailand, where a different breed of immortals called the “peesaj” live in a secluded street created especially for their kind. Unlike the Indonesian demit in Jakarta (from Halfworlds S1) who hide in plain sight among mortals, the peesaj try not to communicate with those who live outside of Soi P, a dark, dank street built centuries ago that is well hidden from humans.
Soi P and its peesaj inhabitants have been kept safe from prying eyes for many years by a rich and powerful mortal family; in this current decade, that family is headed by the strong-headed Warin (Nicole Theriault). However, the peesaj community itself is led by owner Charlie (David Asavanond), who runs a weekly fight club match at his Amata Bar where competitors fight to the death.
The story in Halfworlds 2 so far seems to revolve around a human named Juliet (Tia Tavee), who goes snooping around in Bangkok trying to finish a research on immortal beings her late father started many years ago. Her investigation somehow leads her to Charlie’s right hand man Fyter (Peem Jaiyen), and The Citadel, another hidden location where the more dangerous peesaj folk live but is not controlled by Warin and her family.
Instead, The Citadel is ruled by Kaprey (Jake Macapagal), a cruel, scary peesaj who shares a past with Barata (Arifin Putra) aka the hooded halfbreed from Halfworlds S1.
Yes, Barata makes a few appearances in this season’s show but his intentions are not clear yet. Also making a “comeback” is the demit Tony (Reza Rahadian), one half of The Lovers from Halfworlds S1. This time around, Tony’s story is a lot more intriguing – he has lost his lover Roz and the only way he can find her is to fight his way through Charlie’s deadly matches for an audience with his sister Wish (Myra Molloy), a seer.
Although the audience has been introduced to several subplots within the show, the overall plotline has not been made clear yet. Or perhaps I missed it while trying to navigate through the mini stories, background tales and flashbacks that have been crammed into the first four episodes. I assume that the series will somehow end with a sort of showdown between Soi P and The Citadel residents but I could be wrong.
Fortunately, the characters and subplots in Halfworlds S2 are interesting enough for me to keep watching the show. The storytelling is also a lot more seamless this season; scenes may jump from one extreme to another but you are not easily distracted by the changes. However, you might get a little confused by the female characters at first as they all seem to look alike!
Also starring in the show are Emma Emika Grant (as Pym), Charlie Ruedpokanon (Mick), Jeeja Yanin (Thip) and Teresa Daley (Yao).
The show is already halfway through the season so if you have missed the first few episodes, it may be a little difficult to understand what’s going on. You can re-watch episodes you’ve missed on the Astro On The Go app, although you do need to pay for them (Ep.1 is free, though).
Halfworlds S2 plays on Sundays at 9pm, on HBO (Astro Ch 411/HD 426). The next repeat of Ep.4 is on Feb 8 at 9pm. For details, head to the HBO Asia website.