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TV REVIEW: ‘Walang Hanggang Paalam’ mysterious drama with promising plot

Walang Hanggang Paalam, is a promising pilot that is intriguing enough to warrant another showing.

KAPAMILYA CHANNEL
ACTORS: Angelica Panganiban, Paulo Avelino, Zanjoe Marudo, Jake Cuenca, Arci Muñoz, Tonton Gutierrez, Ronnie Lazaro, Lotlot de Leon, Cherry Pie Picache, JC Santos, McCoy de Leon, Mary Joy Apostol, Victor Silayan, Sherry Lara, Javi Benitez
FORMAT: Teleserye
PREMISE: Two estranged parents are forced to reunite and work together to retrieve their son who went missing
TIME SLOT: Weeknights, 9:20 pm

WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT

The Kapamilya Network offers Walang Hanggang Paalam, its second fully digital teleserye, the first being ‘Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin’, featuring top-notch performances from its lead actors, in an incredibly moving story of family, romance, tragedy, and revenge

The first three minutes of Walang Hanggang Paalam is marked by growing tension and suspense, the ominous music played signaling the arrival of an imminent tragedy, waiting ahead. What comes next is chaos - gun pointing, car chases, bloody fistfights, with Emman (Paulo Avelino) and Ethan (Jake Cuenca) as primary players. The grappling and further chases on-foot end up with Ethan escaping, and Emman getting apprehended by the police.

Ethan (Cuenca) and Emman (Avelino) engage in an intense brawl in ‘Walang Hanggang Paalam’ (ABS-CBN)

The scene then moves to three years later, with Emman already out of prison and working in a resort hotel. He’s been waiting for his child with Celine (Angelica Panganiban) to come and celebrate the kid’s birthday. In the flashback, it is revealed that Emman’s being jailed ultimately cost him his relationship with Celine- whom he promised to marry-and Robbie (Robbie Wachtel), the fruit of their love for each other. Celine’s new love, and now fiancé, Anton (Zanjoe Marudo) is also introduced, his distaste for Emman made apparent by his hesitance to let Celine and Robbie celebrate the kid’s birthday with his biological father.

One would think that had Anton tried harder to convince Celine to postpone her meeting with Robbie’s dad, the tragedy that would befall to them afterward would have been prevented - Robbie gets kidnapped by a group of armed men, whose leader is revealed to be Ethan, who is apparently trying to exact revenge against Emman.

Separated parents, Emman and Celine, try to bury the hatchet for their child’s sake (ABS-CBN)

For a pilot episode, a lot happens this early in Walang Hanggang Paalam. There is no way the audience can be totally confident about where this all this is headed, but the already inviting pace and intensity of the plot seem enough to make them stick around and see if their hunches are true or not. It’s not entirely clear why Ethan has to go this far and to know what the extent of his seemingly dreadful plans are, is both exciting and terrifying.

‘Walang Hanggang Paalam’ keeps ABS-CBN’s cinematic trademark with sweeping drone shots (ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN is known for giving cinematic treatment to their teleseryes and with the current pandemic, and the restrictions imposed in its wake, and the whole franchise dilemma the network went through, one wouldn’t think the network can easily pull a TV series whose quality is on a par with its previous productions. Walang Hanggang Paalam is a screaming testament it still can.

Scenes with Robbie, is made possible via green screen treatment (ABS-CBN)

Save for the child inserted to scenes via green screen (which, in all fairness, is almost seamless) everything in Walang Hanggang Paalam seems pretty normal, if not great. Sweeping drone and zoom shots are a trademark in ABS-CBN TV series, but here, its primary use is to enforce the suspense and add heat to the already building tension. That long scene in the opening, with Avelino and Cuenca engaged in a bloody cat-and-mouse chase, is a rare find in any local series. There is a palpable tension in every punch thrown, their body movements beautifully choreographed as they wrestle with each other.

But then again, given that this is a show with familial themes, its inherently sentimental tone remains tangible. In this aspect, Panganiban easily shines both as someone who is trying to navigate a new relationship after a failed one and as a parent trying to keep a connection with her kid’s father. She is faultlessly brilliant, effectively articulating her struggle as a parent. The ensuing events following her son being kidnapped will only show Panganiban’s dramatic capability.

Ethan (Cuenca) heads the team that abducts Robbie (ABS-CBN)

There is a tense vibe set in the minute of Ethan being revealed as the culprit, which may only grow into something more chaotic as more secrets get unfold. Audiences, who haven’t seen the advanced episodes already made available to the standard and premium users of ABS-CBN’s streaming service, iWantTFC, are yet to see the roles Arci Muñoz, Tonton Gutierrez, Cherry Pie Picache, Lotlot de Leon, and other big names, will play. But this early, given the developments of events, viewers can already tell how much relevance they hold, as far as making the already potent plot, even more enticing.

Ronnie Lazaro, JC Santos, and McCoy de Leon play supporting roles in ‘Walang Hanggang Paalam’ (ABS-CBN)

Overall, Walang Hanggang Paalam, is a promising pilot that is intriguing enough to warrant another showing. There is an invitingly mysterious tone lurking in its familial and revenge-themed plot that audiences can easily fall for. This strategy isn’t new, but for ABS-CBN whose reach has been greatly reduced by its lost broadcast franchise, giving what its audiences root for, seems to be the best way to keep its presence in the competition alive.

WATCH THE FULL TRAILER OF ‘WALANG HANGGANG PAALAM’ BELOW:



WALANG HANGGANG PAALAM airs over PRIMETIME BIDA on KAPAMILYA CHANNEL, JEEPNEY TV and KAPAMILYA ONLINE LIVE. Replay episodes are also available on iWantTFC and ABS-CBN Entertainment official Youtube account.

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