OTWOL: How Simon-Leah Makes Sense and Doesn't Make Sense At The Same Time

(Edit: I added my thoughts on the possible direction OTWOL will take based on the previews they've teased during last night's episode [episode 120])

With the introduction of Paulo Avelino as Sir Simon aka “Mr. Hitler” on On The Wings Of Love, it seems that the writers are setting-up a possible third-party to go in-between the already solid relationship of Clark and Leah. And they have not been subtle with this idea, giving hints in episodes that Simon will eventually form some kind of affection towards Leah. With the proliferation and oversaturation of kabitseryes not so long ago, some people are understandably not chill with this idea. At a character standpoint, is it inevitable that Leah will also develop feelings for Simon? Let's try to figure this out by examining her current men, Jigs and Clark. Similarities between the two may point out what Leah looks for in her man that could help in understanding her set-up with Simon. But before that, let’s establish first what we know about Leah.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT LEAH

So we know that she’s determined and family-oriented. She went out of her way to pursue a visa and work in the United States just so she can send money to her family.  We also know that she’s generally a warm and caring person to everyone, hence she's well-loved at Tenement 1.

When she arrived back in the Philippines and got a job as a copywriter, we saw that she’s also career-driven, willing to pour in the hours and tolerate Simon’s strictness to create the best ideas for her firm.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HER MEN

So how do these traits affect her type? Let’s see how Jigs and Clark stack-up:

Leah's Guys JIGS and CLARK table
Leah's Guys JIGS and CLARK table

We can see some similarities between Jigs and Clark:

  • She likes her men physically fit. Like six-pack abs fit.
  • It seems that she prefers men who had a difficult childhood. Men, who to some extent, didn’t experience the same warmth and love she received from Tatang Sol. Like she wants to make-up for that lost love via her warm personality. Surprisingly, Jigs and Clark react positively to Leah's warmth. It probably compensates for the lack of affection from a mother figure they experienced as kids.
  • She somehow gravitates to men who’re emotionally distant or cold. I guess she finds it a challenge to find a way to get through to these guys.
  • Most importantly, she’s attracted to men who share her dreams. While they were still together, Jigs and Leah both dreamed of going to America. With Clark now, they both dream of being successful in their own endeavors; Clark as a furniture-making dude, while her as a copywriter.

So let’s add Simon to the picture. Let’s see if these things still ring true:

Leah's Guys SIMON table
Leah's Guys SIMON table
  • Physically fit? CHECK!
  • Didn’t have a warm childhood? CHECK!
  • Emotionally-distant? Called Mr. Hitler? OF COURSE CHECK!
  • Has the same dreams? HELL YEAH CHECK. He’s at the top of his game right now. He has successfully lifted himself from the streets of Cebu to the board rooms of Makati. It seemed obvious that Leah would gravitate towards him because she can learn a thing or two in achieving her copywriter dreams (she literally said this on episode 119). Papunta pa lang si Leah, pabalik na si Simon.

In general, it seems that Leah’s new man is always more successful than the last. Clark’s more successful than Jigs while Simon’s more successful than Clark. And it’s funny how the last man can always sense that Leah’s unconsciously crushing on a new guy. I’d guess that Jigs was insecure of Clark because Clark was a better version of Jigs.  Clark already lived and worked in America plus he got to spend time with Tita Jack, Jigs’s mom. Clark’s currently insecure of Simon, because Simon’s a better version Clark. Clark feels he could also have been like Simon if his parents didn’t leave him and had the same educational opportunities as Simon had. He knows if he had the same opportunities and upbringing, he and Leah could have been better fit.

So yes, at a character level, it makes sense that Leah will develop feelings for Simon. It’s not just some absurd ploy by the writers to introduce a third-party to extend the story. If Thursday’s preview was any indication, Leah just realized that she might have more than just professional admiration towards Simon.

(Does this make Leah tanga or kereng-keng? Not really. This makes her character more believable and human. It’s normal for you to admire someone other than your partner. It’s harmless unless you reciprocate.)

VALID BUT IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE

Even though this is the very first piece I’ve written about OTWOL, I’ve admired the show’s writers’ room for a long time. They have been more progressive in handling OTWOL's story compared to its contemporaries. I won't drop names, gerahin pa ako. But here's a list of things that they've done better than other teleseryes:

  1. Has multiple plots (i.e. A plot: Clark and Leah, B plot: Leah and family, C plot:Tiffany and Tolayts, etc.)
  2. A diverse cast of characters that fleshed out the show’s universe
  3. A good mix of drama and comedy, or a good sense when to lighten or intensify the mood
  4. A neatly developed love story (hindi love at first sight)
  5. Yes it’s marketed as a love story, but it’s basically a show about the Olivar family
  6. Good portrayal of a healthy relationship (I’ve mentioned in our podcast that Clark and Leah are the #relationshipgoals couple and not Popoy and Basha)
  7. Has a spoken word artist recite poetry regularly in mainstream television

Now after establishing these points, I find it hard to believe that they’ll anchor the current Clark and Leah story arc to a third-party issue.It just doesn’t fit this progressive direction OTWOL has in storytelling; especially when they had already used it to develop the Clark and Leah pairing at the start of the series. Do remember that Clark was the third-party between Leah and Jigs. Moreover, the show has already explored the possible effects and fallout from this kind of set-up (remember that episode when Jigs cried?). What else do we need to explore?

Yes, I know that in the end it will still be Clark and Leah. However, if they’re planning to break-off their most awaited church wedding just because ABS-CBN asked for more episodes and Paulo Avelino needed a new project, then they’re betraying the story and series that they’ve presented and developed. And at a story level, breaking-off the wedding because of an unwanted guest betrays the growth that Clark and Leah’s relationship has already gone through.

I don't know who suggested this detour in storytelling but an intensified Simon-Leah pairing could possibly be detrimental to the brand and to the caliber of storytelling they've already reached.

A POSSIBLE STORY FLOW

The writers don’t need to break-off the wedding if the point of introducing Simon is to prove that Clark and Leah’s love will prevail forever and ever. I know I’m not in the position to suggest what the writers should do, but I’m just a concerned fan as any. So here's a possible story flow:

  • Simon will make moves on Leah. That beso on Leah's birthday is one.
  • Deadma si Leah. She knows that her relationship with Clark weighs more than whatever admiration she has for Simon.
  • Clark will take notice of Simon’s moves, would feel insecure and confronts Leah
  • Leah will assure Clark that she only admires Simon because of his success. Simon may be successful but Clark is far warmer and family-oriented than Simon—you know the traits of the perfect hubby.
  • No big fight whatsoever.
  • TULOY ANG WEDDING.
  • TULOY ANG NEXT STORY ARC OR THE END NA.

SAN FRANCISCO PREVIEW REACTION: DO WE REALLY NEED CLARK AND LEAH TO BREAK-UP?

No. I know it adds nostalgia because they're going back to where they first met and an additional layer of romanticism because of the "pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon, sa simbahan pa rin ang tuloy" saying. But my question here is, at a story and character standpoint, DO CLARK AND LEAH NEED TO BREAK UP? I don't know how it has come to this. Is it because of pressure from the execs to extended the story? I've already expressed my reverence to the writers in this piece, that I cannot believe that this is the ending they wanted. It just doesn't make sense. TANAW NA NATIN YUNG SIMBAHAN, BAKIT KAILANGANG LUMIKO PA?

We don't know the reason why they'll break-up but here are possible guesses and my arguments why each guess doesn't hold up.

  • "Tanga si Leah kasi pipiliin niya si Simon pero iiwanan rin siya sa huli": I've already stated my case that it goes against the storytelling and the quality of OTWOL's writing.
  • "Pipiliin ni Leah ang career niya kaysa kay Clark": Why do we need to tackle this theme? A woman needs to decide whether or not to pursue her career or to pursue the man she loves? Why must Leah choose between career and love?  Clark's fine balancing his budding furniture business and his relationship with Leah, but Leah can't? That's unfair to Leah's character.
    • And if they do want to discuss this theme, they could use Simon to explain to Leah the loneliness of choosing career over love. Simon may be successful but he sure isn't happy with the unconditional positive regard he doesn't receives. No need for additional drama.
    • "Baka naman dream sequence lang": I believe in the writers so much that I don't think they'll use a cheap tactic to play with the emotions of the audience.

FUN FACT: 120 episodes na ang OTWOL as of Jan 22. If you watched all episodes, you've spent 60hrs watching the series. With that much time invested as a viewer watching Clark and Leah form their relationship, do you still want them to have that break-up?