Proving to be one of the most powerful and stirring conclusions of a primetime drama, A Soldier’s Heart made a piercing impact on the hearts of viewers, yet rightfully so in emphasizing the sacrifices and hurtful dilemmas military men face in their gruesome battles.
Nothing could be more heart-rending in the penultimate final episode, “The Final Breath” than the unfortunate confrontation of blood brothers PFC Alex Marasigan or Hakeem Alhuraji (Gerald Anderson) and Muslim separatist Saal Alhuraji (Sid Lucero).
Before their encounter, Alex and brother Elmer (Vin Abrenica) would bury the hatchet and join hands to bring Saal and his terror group to justice over the death of their father Dante (Rommel Padilla). With the help of fellow troopers Michael (Nash Aguas), Phil (Jerome Ponce), Abe (Carlo Aquino), Jethro (Elmo Magalona), and Lourd (Sue Ramirez), Alex and Saal would face-off with guns trained on each other.
Overcome by his love for family and his intention of trying to change the ways of his brother, Alex would plead Saal to surrender. He even laid down his arms to show his intention of not harming his brother. But as Elmer emerged from nowhere to save Alex from impending gunfire from one of Saal’s men, Saal would try to shoot down Elmer, but Alex shielded his brother and was the one shot. Realizing he had gunned down his brother, Saal would become remorseful and called out Alex’s real Muslim name Hakeem before he too was felled by the troopers’ bullets.
And in one heartbreaking moment, the brothers clasped their hands before heaving their final breath, while the rest of the troopers were devastated and shocked by tragic turn of events.
The tragedy had brought immense grief and desolation to Alex’s loving surrogate mom Minda, who had already lost her husband Dante to another slaying by the rebel group.
The same sorrow befell Alex’s real mother Yasmin (Irma Adlawan), who would mourn the death of her two sons, to whom she deeply thanked yet apologized to for the conflict that claimed their brotherhood.
But the loss was unspeakable for Alex’s fellow soldiers, who all remembered the precious moments and words of wisdom from their “buddy,” who would encourage and inspire them to be the best they can be.
The scene of Minda seeing the bodies of both Alex and Dante on a simultaneous wake was deeply affectual, moreso the sight of soldiers breaking down as they make their final salute to their fallen comrade.
Yet the most touching part of the last episode, “The Final Salute,” was when Minda and Yasmin would meet at the penitentiary where the latter was held. Both would admit their initial aggression towards each other, given the situation that led to their respective families’ ruin and how Alex and Saal ended up in opposite sides of the law. But any further anger would be worthless, they agreed, as this won’t bring their children back to life. Yasmin would thank Minda for taking care of Alex and being a loving, dedicated mother, while Minda would express her sympathies to Yasmin over her loss of Saal. But she would emphasize that both of them are sharing the same hurt, losing both a husband and a son to a continuing bitter conflict that seems to see no end. She said she hopes there would come a time peace is achieved for all. Minda would then express her desire to make peace with Yasmin, who said Alex would be very happy if he was alive to see this.
Since then the military was able to clamp down on the Muslim separatist group, thwarting their plans to bomb key installations in the country. Yasmin would eventually be freed in exchange for acting as state witness against Colonel Fontiveros (Nor Domingo).
Elmer would vow on Alex’s grave that he will take care of Minda whatever it takes, while Michael would pledge his unending love for Isabel (Charlie Dizon). Jethro and Lourd, on the other hand, would become closer associates at headquarters, and Phil and Benjie would cherish their friendship even more, as Abe would vow being a dedicated husband to Aaliyah (Elora Espano), and father to their soon to be born baby.
Yet amidst all the wonderful developments that has happened in their personal lives, they would always remain on duty, with whatever mission that headquarters gives them. And they won’t stop all for the sake of country, fellow Filipinos, and for their buddy Alex, who they would dedicate their battles from thereon.
With an effective script, riveting action scenes, deeply moving dramatic scenes, and brilliant performances from its ensemble cast, A Soldier’s Heart shows it is one of the most significant, outstanding TV dramas to air, given the production challenges it faced.
Directors Richard V. Somes, Raz dela Torre, and Mervyn Brondial overcame the daunting challenge of a war-themed drama to come up with a stirring product worthy of acclaim, from the acting performances to the intricate creative elements—from lighting and sound design to the musical score.
The ensemble cast of top actors truly made the drama a dizzying treat of thespic wizardry—from Nash Aguas, Carlo Aquino, and Jerome Ponce to Vin Abrenica, Elmo Magalona, Yves Flores, and Sue Ramirez—all gave their impeccable best in giving out unforgettable performances throughout the drama’s run.
But what made the drama truly amazing were the remarkable performances of its supporting cast, most notably the ever acclaimed Irma Adlawan, the striking Mon Confiado, and the revelation Mickey Ferriols, who gave a deeply felt portrayal of Minda.
However, the series was really carried quite mightily by the two top actors—Gerald Anderson and Sid Lucero—who brought their characters to unchartered heights, with epic performances that will surely be etched in the minds and hearts of viewers for a long time.