One’s mental health is precious and we would do anything to address any serious issue affecting our loved ones who are facing such torment. Yet, we tend to forget ourselves in the process, making us exposed to its dangers as well. As such, we should also focus on our wellness, loving ourselves primarily and carefully caring and addressing our own needs before we extend that love to others.
We learned that important lesson in Maalaala Mo Kaya’s final episode for the love month, “Lie Detector” on February 27. Tina (Nathalie Hart) has always been there for Roanne (Jane Oineza), caring for her beloved girlfriend, who had been suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety attacks.
They fought and asserted their queer love against all odds from the time they met at a restaurant, when Tina kissed her as part of a dare with friends to actually leaving home to stay with her girlfriend so she could help her face her demons. More so, they both faced the prospect of being shunned by their families over their gender identity.
But despite this, they stuck with each other as Tina took that burdensome yet endearing responsibility of not only loving Roanne truly but also pushing herself to the limit in looking after her girlfriend’s mental welfare. Tina would time and again take Roanne to the hospital when an anxiety attack made her overdose on medication, and offer her a loving, warm shoulder when she was depressed. Tina would also urge Roanne to faithfully take her prescribed medications and undergo therapy.
Yet despite Tina’s efforts, Roanne would take her to an emotional rollercoaster because of her condition. At times, they would celebrate and enjoy each other’s company and have moments wherein Tina would take that unenviable task of having to appease Roanne at her most troubled state just to keep her stable. She would drop everything just to race to Roanne’s side when she cries over the phone. And, when one such incident transpired, when Roanne became uncontrollably depressed and left their shared unit without a word, Tina would wander around just to search for her after receiving an instant message thanking her for all the love she had given her, fearing the worst was about to happen.
But fortunately, Roanne did turn somber and messaged Tina again that she was staying at an inn, holing herself up for a drinking spree. Tina rushed to her side again, making Roanne feel protected and not alone in her times of need. Tina would also cheer on Roanne, when she fearlessly outed to her family about her gender preference, which her sister and fatherly lovingly accepted—something that Tina thinks won’t happen if she did it herself.
All these, however, put incredible stress and pressure on Tina, who also had to juggle her work at a company and her Masteral studies. This led to her to become emotionally weary and frazzled. All came to a head when Tina anxiously crammed for a group presentation in her class. Roanne would incessantly try to call her and even message her several times about an out-of-town trip but Tina would give her a cold shoulder. They then got into a heated exchange, with Tina letting all her frustrations out. She told Roanne that it should not be all about her, and that she too has a life to lead and personal matters to attend to, such as a class presentation that she needed to focus on. That led to Roanne furiously bolting out once more from their love nest, and quite decisively, from Tina’s life as well.
Their separation, however, proved to be a blessing in disguise. With Tina also having fearlessly outed her gender identity to her friends and family through a viral social media post, which her father detested. Despite this, she was now putting herself above anything, including the judgment and acceptance of her own family. And for Roanne, it became quite an even better opportunity to improve her condition. She had continued her healing, now faithfully following consultation schedules and therapy sessions, until she eventually completed them. Roanne’s mental health had turned for the better.
While they were still on separate ways, an unlikely “plot twist” came into their lives. A casting call for a drinking video challenge among exes was posted online. When Roanne saw the ad, a friend encouraged her to join and contact Tina if she would be interested, too. And she agreed. Their participation was the chance both were looking for—having to reconcile at a time when they were now better off.
The actual video of their drinking challenge still proved their compatibility, intimacy, and of course by the end—when Tina, whose hand was placed on a toy lie detector, was asked if she still loved Roanne, and she said yes eliciting a truth alert from the device—the love they continued to share. After the video was shot and posted, Tina and Roanne talked things over and both expressed their regrets and apologized for the way they handled their relationship. Roanne admitted she was only thinking of herself and was totally dependent on Tina for her sanity, making her an “emotional dumpster” without considering the latter’s needs. Tina, for her part, confessed her own shortcomings, not opening up on her own travails, such as her own stress, emotional fatigue, and even depression about the journey they’ve been through, and realized that before she took care of Roanne wholeheartedly, she must have loved herself first and foremost. As the dust cleared, they would soon pick up the pieces and start anew with their reinvigorated love based on selflessness and respect, and thinking about their own welfare, both mentally and emotionally.
What really helped their second chance at love was having both their families behind them giving their full support to their relationship, as Tina’s dad accepted Roanne as her girlfriend in the end.
Surely a profound, uncompromising take on issues concerning mental health and lesbian relationships. MMK “Lie Detector” hits the issue on the right spot, with Raz dela Torre’s brilliant direction not allowing any stereotypical dramatic element that would make viewers cast it off as a typical you-and-me-against-the-world-type of LGBTQIA romance. It takes us deeper into the frailties of genuine love, queer or not, and how we can overcome them by being better versions of ourselves.
But we are most impressed is the way Jane Oineza and Nathalie Hart exceptionally took on their difficult roles. Personifying the perilous personal journeys both characters went through requires superb intensity, depth and talent in bringing out a true picture for viewers to appreciate. And they succeeded.
Obviously, Nathalie went out of her dramatic comfort zone to deliver a very believable and moving portrayal, with a rousing depiction of how a love can truly make you bend over backwards for the sake of your partner, and leave you frail and vulnerable in the end. She could branch out from her less typical alluring roles into a wider range of characters.
Jane is certainly the actor of note in this episode, showing thespic might she always brought forth in her previous dramatic performances. But this performance is something different—going that extra mile to accurately transform into the actual person she portrayed. You could not even recognize Jane at all—only the Roanne she portrayed, complete with the curly long hair that matches the real person’s own. And, it is not just the looks—but also the way she utters lines, moves about, and expresses her joy and frustration. But the best part of her performance is the appropriate amount of thespic genius in delivering the character to utmost effectivity in the viewer’s eyes, especially in showing a detailed and accurate representation of a person who goes through such horrific mental health issues.