Hometown's Embrace Summary
Around 4 hours
Dramatic and intense
Around 25 to 30 minutes
Than grew up in a small rural village with his mother. He leaves the village to pursue his university studies in the city. To pay for his tuition, his mom sells most of the farmland in their home. Unfortunately, she dies in a car accident, leaving Than as an orphan.
After graduating, Than doesn't stay in the city like many had expected. Instead, he returns to the village, hoping to impart his knowledge to better the lives of the local community. When one of his neighbours gets harassed by gangsters, Than steps in and intervenes. During the encounter, he meets one of the gangsters named Din, who seems to be guided by his moral conscience.
Than follows Din to his home, discovering that he lives nearby with his grandmother. Din is super close with his grandma and hasn't told her about his real profession. Feeling intrigued, Than insists on getting to know Din better, much to his dismay. Than's do-gooder personality eventually rubs off on Din, who feels conflicted about his line of work.
Meanwhile, Than's friend Kon works at a school, which is run by his parents. Kon is in charge of welcoming a new teacher, Mek, who recently arrived to teach at this rural school. A city slicker, it takes Mek a while to get adjusted to his new environment. However, Mek's gentle personality makes a good impression on his students, and Kon warms to the new schoolteacher as well.
Than's other friend Dan is the son of a local politician. Recently, his parents were gunned down by gangsters, who wanted to get rid of a political opponent. Dan is rescued by a stranger named Khet during the assassination attempt. Khet's mom was also brutally murdered by the same gang. Both Khet and Dan swear to get their revenge, as they work together to bring justice against the evil gangsters.
Hometown's Embrace Trailer
Hometown's Embrace Cast
Than Pond Kumpanat Kulthai (ปอนด์ กัมปนาท กุลไทย) Pond Instagram
Than is a recent university graduate who returns to his hometown after his mom got killed in a car accident. An idealistic man, Than believes that he can make a positive change to his local community. He has a strong sense of justice and will stand up for what is right. Than is childhood friends with Jidlid.
Din Kawaii San (คาวาอี้ คมชาญ ศรีหริ่ง) Kawaii Instagram
Din works as a subordinate for a criminal gang. He hates his brutal and violent job, but needs the money from work. Din lives with his grandmother and the two of them are incredibly close. His mother ran away long ago, abandoning Din and his grandmother all by themselves.
Mek Andew Kittikorn Inkaew (นายกิตติกร อิ่นแก้ว) Andrew Instagram
Mek is the new volunteer teacher who arrives to teach at a small rural school. He is an excellent student and graduated with top marks. Friendly and polite, Mek makes a good impression on everybody he meets at the school. His students adore their teacher, and they seem quite curious about Mek's love life.
Kon Notto Teerawit Udomphokasub (น๊อตโตะ ธีรวิทย์ อุดมโภคาทรัพย์) Notto Instagram
Kon helps out his parents at the local school. Despite being a little cheeky with his family, he is close with them. Kon has poor grades in school, but prides himself in having a lot of street smarts. Jam is his ex-girlfriend, but Kon has no interest in getting back together with her.
Dan X Teerapat Somchaiya (ธีรภัทร์ สมชัยยา) X Instagram
Dan is a visual arts student. He is the son of a restaurant owner and local politician. Born into a life of privilege, Dan lived an idyllic life until gunmen murdered his parents right in front of him. Since their assassination, Dan has sworn revenge against the men who killed his parents.
Khet Nott Jirayu Duangan (จิรายุ ดวงอัน) Nott Instagram
Khet is a former drug addict. He comes from a poor family and used to beg in the streets with his mother. Khet works for Sia's gang as one of his subordinates, but is secretly plotting his downfall. His mother was killed by one of Sia's henchmen, fueling Khet's desire for revenge.
- The actor who portrays Dan (X Teerapat Somchaiya) appeared in another low-budget Thai BL series The Cupid Coach.
Hometown's Embrace Review
Drama Review Score: 5.0
My first impression of Hometown's Embrace is that I'm watching the discount version of A Tale of Thousand Stars. Imagine if somebody took the acclaimed BL drama and made a low-budget parody out of it. Both series share a similar plot in a rural setting, except Hometown's Embrace lacks a polished story, an intricate romance, and any experienced acting. Strip away everything you love about A Tale of Thousand Stars and you get this campy counterfeit instead.
Hometown's Embrace features three separate storylines, which loosely come together towards the end. All the plots are quite one-dimensional, playing out in a laughably cliché manner. In particular, the story about Dan and Khet avenging their parents' deaths is diabolically bad. The events escalate to such an extreme that it's impossible to take what happens too seriously. Not that the storylines with the schoolteacher or the village saviour are much better, and nearly every scene feels so generic.
The rudimentary storytelling is made worse by the dreadful acting. All these actors are good-looking studs, but they cannot emote convincingly. Oh my goodness, those scenes where they have to cry on cue are humiliating. I don't know where the blame falls. Is the writing so bad that the actors can't immerse themselves into the roles, or do their acting limitations hold back the story from reaching its full potential? The one exception is the actress playing Din's grandmother. She is outstanding and the only one with gravitas in her performance.
In terms of the romances, my review isn't entirely negative. Although the relationships are depicted shallowly, all three pairings meet the bare minimum of BL standards. There are some long amorous gazes, handholding, and suggestive scenes in the shower. However, none of the couples kiss each other, and the closest resemblance to intimacy is a light peck on the cheek. Physical affection isn't a prerequisite of an enjoyable BL romance, but Hometown's Embrace could've benefited from more passion to compensate for the bad acting and storytelling.
The one saving grace in Hometown's Embrace is its campiness. Inexplicably, this series is so bad that it circles back to being good. Some scenes are outrageous and illogical to the extent that my first reaction is laughter. Even at its lowest point, I'm entertained by the ridiculous scenarios, hammy characters & shameless product placements. There're boring BL dramas so awful that they feel unwatchable, but I don't have this problem with Hometown's Embrace. As long as you embrace its many faults, you may get a few hours of mindless fun from the A Tale of Thousand Stars knockoff.
The storylines in Hometown's Embrace are a mess. It actually doesn't bother me too much that they lifted the plots from A Tale of Thousand Stars. The interpretation is going to be different, which could still be interesting to watch. Unfortunately, Hometown's Embrace is missing the nuances that make these stories so enjoyable in A Tale of Thousand Stars. It's like they copied all the basic elements, but lack the substance, the character development, and the emotional impact.
For the village saviour storyline, the plot rehashes everything I've already seen in A Tale of Thousand Stars. Than is like a very pale imitation of Tian's character, but with a lot less personality. Although Than talks a big game, he doesn't really do anything groundbreaking to help his village. His heart is in the right place, but I don't think his contributions are all that substantial.
As for the schoolteacher storyline, I found all the events to be really banal. Nothing substantial happened throughout the eight episodes, other than some annoying relationship drama with Kon's ex-girlfriend and the other teacher. All the scenes in this plot are as generic as they come.
None of the three main storylines are particularly good, but at least the schoolteacher and village saviour plots seem grounded in reality. The same cannot be said about the revenge plot, which is simply outrageous and absurd.
The plot is too much, going overboard in its brutality and severity. The story begins with the protagonist's parents getting assassinated, which is supposed to be traumatic, but I just found the death scenes really campy instead. One moment, the mom is having a pleasant conversation with her son. In the next second, she's spitting out blood and dies right on the spot. I feel dumbfounded, unsure whether I should go WTF or LOL.
I'm perplexed by how these evil gunmen are murdering people in broad daylight without any consequences. Their homicidal rage seems so arbitrary. Every time someone does anything slightly disagreeable, the gangsters just pull out their guns and shoot the victims dead.
It's also confusing that they must blur out beer cans and cigarettes, yet all the graphic displays of violence are shown in their entirety. Help me understand the logic behind the censorship please. 😓
Normally, I wouldn't consider the product placement as part of the story. However, the marketing in Hometown's Embrace is so aggressive that it cannot be ignored. They find a way to advertise the soap, the pills, and the hot sauce in almost every episode. It's a really, really hard sell even for a BL series. If I was the advertiser, I would be overjoyed with how much visibility my products are getting.
Since a soap brand is one of the product placements, this leads to many gratuitous shirtless scenes with the actors taking various showers. It doesn't matter if the shower scenes have zero relevance to the plot, as long as they get an opportunity to plug the sponsored products! With that said, I'm not complaining at all. In fact, these shower scenes might be one of the highlights in Hometown's Embrace. Go ahead and lather yourselves up with the soap, guys! The actual plot can wait~
The romances in Hometown's Embrace feel shallow. Most of their relationship scenes are either product placement plugs or cliché BL tropes. Even though the characters often make googly eyes at each other, I don't sense any romantic spark between the pairings. There's a lack of passion in all three romances.
The lack of physical intimacy is also a letdown. I'd like to see the couples show more affection than just holding hands. Kon pecks Mek on the cheek for a split second, but that's pretty much the only amorous interaction in the entire series. Even if you don't want to show kissing, at least have them embrace each other in the final episode.
I feel like Kon's ex-girlfriend, constantly asking to see the relationship receipts. Are you guys really a couple? Because I wanna see more!
Than and Din
Out of the three couples, I actually like Than and Din the most as characters. I also appreciate that their relationship seems more dynamic, so they don't fall in love right away like the other two pairs. There's more of a journey with their romantic arc as Din slowly warms up to Than.
However, Than and Din have the weakest romance in the series. Simply, they just don't have enough romantic moments together. Since the two of them were introduced first, you'd assume they would be the main couple of the series, but that's not really the case. In the end, Than and Din got the least development out of all three pairs, and their romance barely progressed. It's a shame because I think there's an interesting dynamic between them, but the potential is underrealized.
Kon and Mek
Kon and Mek come the closest to being a real couple. We see an attraction developing between the two characters, so it makes sense when they get together in the end. My problem is that I find all their relationship scenes so generic. Their entire romance is like a sequence of overplayed BL tropes. I don't feel excited when I'm watching them.
Kon's ex-girlfriend and that other teacher are also unnecessary distractions, adding a complicated love triangle that nobody wants to see. These two characters don't add much to the plot, but they take away valuable time that could be used to focus more on this couple.
Dan and Khet
Based on looks alone, Dan and Khet might be the hottest couple in Hometown's Embrace. These two actors have a raw masculinity that makes them quite physically appealing. Unfortunately, their storyline is so bad that it brings down my investment in their romance. It's hard to think about BL when the characters' parents are getting shot dead left and right.
On paper, I do think this couple has potential. Two guys from different walks of life come together to avenge their parents' deaths. Their relationship dynamic sounds interesting, but the romance doesn't feel compelling due to the poor execution. Their scenes are too disjointed, not getting enough focus and development because they have to share screentime with two other pairs. With better writing and stronger actors, this couple could've been a hit.
The acting in Hometown's Embrace is weak. There's a good looking cast, but they are inexperienced and it shows on screen. Worst of all, the script highlights their weaknesses. Why are there so many crying scenes when the actors aren't capable of pulling off these emotions?
The best performance comes from the actress playing Din's grandmother. It's impressive the way her eyes filled with tears as she talked about her grandson. She's definitely one of the best characters in Hometown's Embrace, elevating the storyline with Din and Than.
All the main characters band together to fight the bad guys in Episode 7, where good triumphs over evil in the end. The final showdown is a hilarious farce, and Jidlid takes down an entire crime syndicate with an online live stream. Yes, the evil gangster boss is defeated by the power of an Instagram story. No, I'm not making this up. 😅
After the evil gang is taken down, the three couples end up together more or less. Only Kon and Mek seem to be in a committed relationship, with Kon's parents giving their blessing in a sweet moment. The other two pairings go largely undefined, but we assume they're staying together at least for the short term. Overall, it's a happy generic ending for everyone involved.
Hometown's Embrace Episodes
Hometown's Embrace has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 25 to 30 minutes long. The last episode is around 30 minutes long. This is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 4 hours. Hometown's Embrace aired its first episode on June 18, 2021 and ended on August 6, 2021.
⭐ Best episode
By Episode 7, Hometown's Embrace stops pretending to take the plot seriously and goes full-on camp. The campiest moment happens right before the final showdown against the evil gangster boss, as each character strikes a cheesy pose in front of the camera. I'm laughing out of embarrassment. 😂
Although the episode is totally ridiculous, it's actually not half-bad. I'm inclined to think the series might be better received if it was a straightforward comedy from the start.