Third-year emergency medicine resident Tin has to cope with a deluge of different patients every day. Up until the eighteenth, that is. Tin's life is transformed when university student Tol's car is overturned, and he's rushed to the emergency room in serious condition. That night doesn't end when Tin fails to save Tol's life, though. When Tin next wakes, he finds himself in a time loop, a loop he won't be able to leave until he's altered Tol's fate. (Source: Thai = AIS Play || Translation = MyDramaList) ~~ Adapted from the web novel "Triage" (ทริอาช) by Sammon_Scene. Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
AMAZING'Triage' is amazing.
Every single episode is a ten out of ten. The plot is absolutely fantastic and well executed. It keeps you on the edge of the seat all the time (non-stop) and the BL touch is the icing on the cake. I just love Tae and Tee together. They both are fantastic actors and their chemistry is *chef's kiss*. I am really proud of not only the cast but of all the people that work behind the scenes and that made 'Triage' what it is. They should be very proud.
I did not want this series to end.
THE BEST ASIAN BL EVER MADETHE GODS THEMSELVES BLESSED HER. F*CKKKK, WHO TAUGHT SAMMON (writer of Triage) HOW TO WRITE.
Triage absolutely caught me unawares. Now, I have watched BLs for 8 years (since 2014) and in that period I have watched over 370+ BLs, BLs from every area of life, from different countries and genres. I can proudly say that Triage is my best BL ever made or released (followed closely by The Untamed at number 2).
I was not ready for the phenomenon that is Triage, like I started this series and it was kind of slow in episode 1 and 2 but I am not the type of person that usually drops a show if I don't like the first few episodes and I can say that was the best decision of my life with regards to BLs, I absolutely love how well knit this series is and how realistic it is, the social issues that it handles and addresses and how it does this without being cliche or boring.
But what amazes me the most is how this woman managed to tie the entirety of Triage to Manner of Death, like her brilliance in all of this, I don't know how I will ever lower my standards for Thai BLs. THIS SERIES WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED IN THAILAND
Anyways, let me get to the review proper.
If you have read my reviews in the past, I review series in 8 standard areas/categories.
2. General Review, Themes and Specific Issues
3. Story Arc and Storylines
4. Characters and Casting
8. Rewatch Value
In summary, this series is more about how interconnected the lives of different characters in the series can be without them knowing, it is about an abuse of a position of power and trust, it is about the complexities of love, it is about the desperations of life and how life can hand us such a bad set of cards, it is about the weaponization of poor disparity to keep the oppressed in an oppressed position. Along the line of all these things, we get to witness two men fall in love, in what might be one of the purest forms of love, a love that nurtures and guides, a love that doesn't judge, a love that grows us and develops us.
If I say this series took me by surprise which was what made it all that more pleasant to watch because I had ZERO expectations from it, but it absolutely SMASHED!!!! every possible barrier. Like when this series was being made, all the gods of earth were in the room with them because that is the only thing that can explain the execution I got from this series. I saw one of the videos on twitter, they literally had doctors on set with them to teach them what certain procedures should look like, the precise places to perform a surgery etc and I had a medical student as well as a doctor who watched the series who said their medical procedures were really spot on.
The series was so mature in how they handled their storylines, their concepts and issues, they did not make caricatures of any characters, they did not attempt to villainize any of the characters out of stereotypes (I was particularly worried they would do that to Mai, but the mature way the addressed Mai, Heart and Tol's relationship in the series).
LIKE FUCKKKKKKKK, these people really gave me such a good time in the series, that just thinking about it makes me smile like a child and giggle. I am almost tempted to say this series had no flaws but I won't lie the slow start in episode 1 and 2 is kind of a flaw because it may dissuade the impatient viewer from continuing with the show and making them miss the gem that they will get in the rest of the series.
Alright I know I am sounding like a broken record, so it's time for me to move to the next segment.
General Review, Themes and Specific Issues
For a general review, Triage is a sleeper hit, because Triage was such a refreshing breath to me, I had intended to give up watching BLs in October of 2022 (I don't know why I had a specific date) but the series just had the IT FACTOR, it was refreshing to see detail in that sense, as well as the amount of detail paid to medical terms, autopsy, surgery etc.
I was pleased with the level of suspense they left us with after each episode, like they dropped tidbits of knowledge that make you eager to learn more by the next week, and there was a certain level of complexity with the amount of attention devoted to the mystery. Knowing each character's driving forces and having the utmost suspicion for each one
I loved the series for so many things, they always made me laugh and roll over with laughter with how in love Tol was with Tin, how much of a bxtch Tin was to Tol, sadness with Rit when he discovered his information, sadness for Tin when Tol and Fukfang both died. This series made me feel all the emotions possible, joy, happiness, sadness, rage etc.
Now to the themes and issues addressed, there were so many real-life issues addressed in the show that if I decided to touch on everyone, I would exhaust my word limit on the review, because Sammon is just that good of a writer, she knows how to handle issues, but here are a few that I have identified and picked out:
1. Medical Malpractice and Organ Harvesting - Seeing a BL cover an issue as serious as this and as underrepresented in mainstream media was so exciting because this is a real-life issue we battle in the real world. From the improper administration of drugs to patients to the illegal removal of patient's organs, the series touched on an epidemic that has plagued the lives of so many persons who have had a need to use health facilities especially where the person cannot afford the most expensive of facilities. People don't understand the pain that comes with having your organ stolen but the series handles this pain so beautifully it could not have been better.
2. Relationships that build each other - I think in Thai media and media at large, we have been exposed so much to a love that is always toxic and destructive, that we have started to adapt to this as a form of "healthy" relationship. One thing I loved in the series was the fact that Tin never once judged Tol for his actions, instead he worked with him to try and do better, which is more important than most in a relationship that you are developing each other. Another angle in which I saw this was with Tol to Mai, we can all clearly see that Tol loved Mai in the previous loops (else why would he always die because of her), but I love how much when he found out about the reason why she was dating him, he didn't become bitter or vow to destroy her, no he understood why she did what she did and helped to ensure her mother got the appropriate care she needed, this is what I mean by having relationships when you edify each other.
3. The Effect of each of our actions: This is best portrayed in Tin and Tol and the drunk guy that was saved in the last episode. The effect of choices, every decision we make, no matter how remote or isolated it is, has an adverse effect on tons of lives, take an example, Tol saving that man's life now, impacts not just the man, but his family as well, who only God knows might be the sole bread winner of the family.
Tol said that is in-line with this -"Because someone doesn't love his life, doesn't mean there aren't those they love and that love them back. Saving a guy's life can make a lot of people happy "
It goes to the fact Tin was so blinded in rage about his sister that he forgot one of his core oaths as a doctor, DO NO HARM, his actions hurt someone, whether or not he sees them or not. Tol just talks about making them happy but me, my thoughts take it farther, not just their happiness but the overall impacts on their life
4. Wealth Gap and Oppression of the Poor - One of the most important themes of this series is how the voice of the poor is often robbed from them, we see Rit who initially commits suicide is led to those actions because his rich and more powerful friends' asides treating him like shit, steal his ideas and get away with it because the society is built to favour the rich and powerful. We also get this in Mai, who basically forced to enter a relationship she does not want to be in because it can pay her mother's bills, again portraying how expensive the health system is but also how it oppresses the poor from getting vital healthcare.
5. Mental Health: I felt almost foolish at the finale for hating Doi all through the series, the way she handled Doi's mental health, she didn't do something that writers and the world likes to do often and that is treating mental health as a crime. I always asked myself what Doi's motivators were and I wouldn't lie, I hated him for his interference in the series but I must say, when it was unveiled that he has mental health issues with him in the psych ward, damn, I was so happy with the writer becasue she shows often times, what these people need is the appropriate help not hatred
6. Senseless Injustices - Another prevalent issue or theme in this is the uncontrollable nature of injustice, asides Rit and Mai whom I have spoken about in number 4, we see uncontrollable injustice with Tin's sister and I think this specific theme is important because I understand how bad it can get when some of these injustices happens.
7. Forgiveness because there was a lot of forgiveness going around, from Tol towards Mai, Rit to Tol etc.
8. Bribery and Corruption - Honestly on this theme, I don't think I will go so much into it
So that is everything on general review, themes and specific issues.
Characters/Story Arc and Storyline
1. Tin, for Tin we see Tin have to come out of his shell, his dislike for humans and his judgemental high grounds to actually develop a conscience, fall in love and try saving people. At the start of the series, we meet an already broken person in Tin without realizing that he is broken, although we get a first hint of this where he is being kinda bitchy about treating a drunk person but the story arc of Tin has him maturing, seeing that life is not always what it seems to be especially with him discovering that Tol was not actually drunk and he had judged him too much. From his attempt to save Tol, we see Tin slowly change as a person on a whole he becomes softer not to only Tol, but those around him as well. His character development was really great to see. Seeing the efforts Tin put in on his side to being there for Tol broke me????, man legit studied a course he has no background in, just to stop Tol from cheating.... This is why I always say, it's the tiny things that matter.... This is such a positive example of passing across what a healthy relationship should look like.... Working to build each other up.
Also Tin being an ER doctor makes sense, when you explain it like this, he is an ER doctor, prolong their lives long enough to see other doctors. Because his personality doesn't mix well with other humans, and as an ER doctor, most patients are not in a state to be able to talk.
2. Tol is a rich boy, who it pretty and has always gotten what he wants, this of course makes him a spoilt brat who doesn't appreciate anything beside him. It makes him ruin his friendships with people without realizing that he is doing so, it makes him lazy and naive (the attempt to cheat in the anti-fraud exam.... the irony of cheating on anti-fraud). I mentioned it earlier but I love how his dynamic with Tin through the series, why did I particularly love this because Tin corrected Tol with love rather than judgement, he took his time to teach and explain why each of the imperfections and flaws. I think we get to see Tol develop from this immature self to ultimately being the one that has to save everyone in this final loop. If that is not character development, I don't know what is.
But can we take a moment to acknowledge how cursed Tol is with love, I mean my guy, women are using him for his money and the man is cursed to either watch him die or he watches the man die, like my dude should just give it up. But Tol was so in love
3. Jinta, our ultimate hookup master, lol, this man needs to be taught what privacy laws, because the way he just drops in it is funny, Tol trying to cover his eyes from seeing him and Tin do the deed got me. Jinta's hookup service is extreme because it is literally do or die, either you get him to be with you or he dies and you never get him back, the terms of his deal are simple, which is hillarious to see him stress Tol like that
4. Heart and Mai, surprisingly, I did not hate Heart and Mai, I love the clarity that the series gave to them both, Heart was not made to be some deadbeat guy who was using his girlfriend to defraud someone, instead you could see him actively trying to be better and available for her and Mai couldn't be blamed either, society put her in the position of having to trick Tol for the sake of her mother's life.
5. Gap and Sing were just adorable, watching Gap get jealous all the time was so funny to see because he was sulky about it. I liked how in this current loop; they are already together.
6. I hated Sak and his Lackey
Now on a general, I love how they tied their stories together and created parallels
1. If you followed the memories carefully, you would notice that the Tol and Mai fight, where he throws her and she gets cut, it's a replica of Heart and Mai fight, so since in the previous loop, he is in the knowledge of everything and he is already with Tin, balance is struck by having Heart and Mai have the fight instead.
2. Similar to how Tin also died at 10:55pm July 18th similar to Tol's time of death in the loop. Notice the cause of death is always linked to a party? Since the first cause of death was him chasing after Mai at the party, he threw to appease her, Tin's death was at Tol's party for his accomplishment because in this loop, Mai's party couldn't exist and be the cause of death... So now it's Tol's party that has replaced it and is the cause of death
3. The crossing of the loop with Tol seeing the memories, thus why Tol was physical in one of Tin's loops just made so much fucking sense, because in Tol's view, he is seeing how far Tin went for him, literally battling days of no sleep, just to have a way to save him and if you link if to the previous episode 4, it is shown to be a driving motivation for Tin... if you go back to episode 4 where the OG Tin seeing Tol scene happened, the music is the same as the music in episode 11, the conversations are also the same... Word for word.... The scene also makes sense now, on why Tol was so intimate with him in the scene when they didn't have a relationship yet.... Also, if you noticed, Tin "woke up" in episode 4, right when Jinta switched the memories in episode 11... LIKE THE FUCKING ATTENTION TO DETAILS!!!!!!!!!!!
4. Using their parents to get to each other
5. There was no scene that was left unexplained, every part was carried fully
Casting and Acting.
1. Tee Thanapon Jarujitranon is a FUCKING ACTOR!!!!!! The way he portrayed one important factor in his search for Jinta, so he can bring back Tin.... It's very important because Tin has had a cool and measured approach because he started trying to save Tol when he had no feelings for Tol, but subsequently those feelings developed and that's why his death in episode 6 pained him more.... But with Tol, we see that he is already in love with Tin when Tin dies, so the way they portrayed his anxiety to get his lover back is so great and realistic...... Like the utter desperation he displayed to Jinta as well as when he was still in his ghost form at the beginning of the memories and Tin was trying to save his life.... His reactions ????, when he is back to the past, we can see the desperation with which he tries to reunite with Tin, including faking the medical emergency (to a literal doctor), Tee is able to embody all of this, including the great love for Tin, which is beautiful
2. Tae was absolutely awesome as well as Dr. Tin, he gave the sassy and bitchy vibes completely well, his sequence in episode 6 after the deaths of Tol and Fang was so painful to watch, the tears and all. His gentle smile when he sees Tin. He absolutely delivered his scenes as well. His struggle to save Tol was palatable to me, I felt his frustrations in episode 1 and 2, I felt every disappointment of his because he was communicating it so well. I love how he characterizes Tin as a flawed human who was also in need of fixing.
3. The entire burial scene of Tin was really good acting from the cast, it felt like someone really died, the tears and crying didn't seem forced
Misses (There are none to me, so here are funny bits instead)
1. Tol assaulting Tin in his sleep (joking), so he can get him to remember him
2. Tol trying to block Jinta's eyes from him and Tin
3. Tin saying Nosy/Rosy
4. Tol trying to fake drowning (a medical incident to a doctor)
5. Gap thinking sing wanted to have sex in the medical room
On production this series definitely put total thought into all aspects that they needed to make sure they are a 100% and they did their assignment on that, from the medical scenes to the acting etc. Like the open heart surgery, it was way too real, the irony of that scene was that right before they showed it, I was dragging them that they won't show it, they would just skip the scene and show us hours later, next thing I saw a blade cutting someone's skin and blood gushing out and I was like "alright, too realistic for me" but yes, scenes like that accentuated the series for me.
Heck I am rewatching this show this night
Again, I must say I absolutely love this show. It is the Best Thai BL ever