In defense of Leah: My take on the final month of OTWOL

on the wings of love abs-cbnI am an avid fan of JaDine and subsequently their first teleserye, “On the Wings of Love.” As a matter of fact, I can count on one finger the number of times I have missed this soap during its six month run and even so, I have never not caught up with it on I Want TV before the day is over.

I love that this show is able to incorporate real life aspects and issues in its storytelling and for the most part, I appreciate the balance between the light and the heavy material the writers/ directors have managed to serve up til now. When I found out that the show was going to be extended from a three month run to a full seven months, I was both happy and fearful because there was definitely going to be an impact in the flow of the story for sure. After all, you can’t stretch out three months worth of material to seven months without sacrificing quality. But I had faith in the OTWOL team and so far, while I do not always agree with the storyline, they have not disappointed.

Now that the show is entering its final month, we find out that after all of the hardships that Clark and Leah had to go through to fight for their love, yet another challenge looms and whatever this is will eventually break them apart so they can be whole again in the place where it all began — in San Francisco.

I am actually fearful of the pain that this break up would cause because I love Clark and Leah so much they’re like part of my family but at the same time, I am excited over the acting challenge this would present to my OTP James Reid and Nadine Lustre, who have grown leaps and bounds acting wise while working on this soap. Besides, I want to rush to the SanFo scenes so I can start seeing them rebuild their relationship. All this singing by Erik Santos is seriously breaking my heart.

In the past weeks, I have been growing more and more frustrated by the way the story is growing. I am at the same time growing tired of people bashing Leah’s character on social media because she is focusing on work and neglecting Clark, whom the show has been steadily building up to be the perfect husband. Fans were already quite frustrated over the month-long storyline of Clark wooing Leah (she got bashed massively too, that time) when they returned to the Philippines but now that she’s not being the perfect wife as opposed to Clark being the “ideal” partner, I feel that I need to speak up for Leah.

Here are some points that I want to raise:

  1. Leah is not perfect. The good thing about OTWOL is that they have established that their characters are not perfect. Just as Leah can be quite dense and naive (to a frustrating degree, I admit), Clark has his own hangups too that are beginning to show. Leah is coming to realize her potentials as a professional. She works hard at her assignments and is a responsible team player. People shouldn’t begrudge her the fact that she is enjoying being praised by her boss for doing a good job. Speaking of dense, I too, don’t approve of her speaking so highly of Simon in front of Clark given the fact that he has expressed jealousy over the other guy but I attribute this to idolization like when a child listens more to his teacher than his mother. The oversharing about her actual relationship status too, was a WTH move so I can’t actually defend that except for saying that Leah’s character is dense.
  2. Leah has given Simon no hint that she’s into him. Everything that Leah does with Simon, she does without malice. She sees him as a mentor and a friend. She sometimes confides in him, but only because let’s face it, she wouldn’t get any decent advice from Betsy or Fifi. Whatever Simon reads into Leah’s actions is on him because it has been constantly established that Leah is loyal to Clark and has eyes only for her husband.
  3. Leah loves Clark, and only Clark. Clark’s feelings of inadequacy is a result of his own insecurities. Leah loves Clark not because of what he can provide but because of what he is. He could be cleaning toilets but Leah would still love him and respect him because she knows that he’s always doing his best to provide for his and their future family. I get that Clark wants the best for Leah, ALWAYS (see what I did there?) — the best wedding, the best house, the best everything but Leah has always been content with the simple life and she has said it over and over again. She has never compared him to Simon and because Clark is comparing himself to the latter, he sees himself as the loser and sadly, this may be the reason for the breakup.
  4. Leah is not Nanang. Sorry, but I am really irked at people saying Leah is like Nanang but I just don’t see it that way. Leah is working hard for her family, to provide medicine for Tatang, to help send Gabby to school and fulfill her promise to Manang to send her back to school too — to help with the finances for the wedding, to save for their future family. I get why Clark was affronted when Leah offered her bonus to serve as the down payment to “their house” because he wanted to make it a gift for her but I honestly believe she only offered because she saw their partnership as a team like they were in SanFo. Never has Leah once shown any indication that she is lured by luxury but rather she is more inclined towards the validation that she gets from doing good work. Nanang was lured by the good life and chose to leave her family for it, as she admitted to Tatang. Its not the same thing at all. She works hard and loves her job because it enables her to provide for her loved ones.
  5. Leah loves her job because it empowers her. I remember the time when she was left with P500 in her savings, was jobless and was forced to sell underwear just to make sure that she will be able to buy Tatang’s medicine. It pains me that some people forget that she knows the feeling of helplessness all too well and begrudge her the chance to step up professionally because they feel that she’s ignoring Clark’s needs. Like I said before, Leah is not perfect and I acknowledge that she sucks at balancing her time between work and her marriage. But I hope that people understand the motivations that compel her to value her job.

I actually applaud the writers for pursuing this storyline. I am amazed that this is polarizing viewers and really really prompting an active discussion about professional and personal relationships. It is a mark of success that the show is able to tap into reality and inject this amount of realism to Cleah’s relationship because in real life, love alone cannot sustain a relationship. Responsibilities get in the way and couples need to manage this as their relationships evolve.

These issues are happening to Clark and Leah because theirs is a young relationship. They are still in the stage of working on developing as individuals, which, if coupled with the responsibilities that comes with marriage, is taking its toll. Their take on resolving their issues can sometimes be juvenile and immature, and while these issues unfold, it makes more sense that they need to find themselves and make themselves whole first before embarking on a forever kind of relationship.

Like I said, Clark and Leah are not perfect and while they are frustrating at times, as viewers, they also give us a chance to reflect on our own imperfections. I am excited over how the show will unfold in its last four weeks.

I also know that a lot of people will not agree with me on my take but I just had to get it out. What I’m trying to say is simple. It takes two to make a marriage work and people cannot solely blame all of the fault on Leah so let’s not be too hard on the character and put our thoughts in perspective.

As for me, this show is driving me crazy, and I love every moment of it. And I’m not going to harbor any more guesses because the story seems to be changing up every night. I’m just going to wait for things to happen and enjoy the ride.

So go ahead OTWOL team, (direks Tonette Jadaone, Jojo Saguin and Dan Villegas/ head writer Benedict Mique) break my heart even more. I’m RIEDy for it.

And if your hearts aren’t bleeding enough, here’s anther taste of uncertainty.