It was a suspenseful conclusion to quite an interesting narrative that gripped us for the past few months. And more than the story, Sino Ang Maysala? Mea Culpa truly became a career highlight for one otherwise underrated but extremely talented actress.
We’ve always known Bela Padilla as one leading lady material ever since she first stepped in the showbiz industry. And she did capture our imagination in a lot of TV shows and films, yet as an actress there was no vehicle for her to shine.
As the deranged Juris, she effectively and conscientiously brought out in the open the much-troubled character, not only with what the script tells her to do, but with her own deeply-rooted, credible, and powerful take on the character.
To illustrate it, you would notice in the riveting finale of the teleserye on Friday, August 9, that you could not recognize Bela at all. It was as if she was possessed not by evil beings (I hope not!) but by her incredible thespic craft. She made us see all what Juris went through in that mere twitch of the eye and that horrifying look that surely haunted the viewers who witnessed it.
While the “Huling Hatol” episode was quite expected, as Juris continued her unhinged wrath towards Fina (Jodi Sta. Maria), whom she blames for all her misfortunes and losses, especially taking away her precious Leyna (Iyannah Sumalpong), given that she is back in her real mother’s arms. She would try to take Leyna once more even as she is gravely ill at a hospital needing a bone marrow transplant and waylay her adversary.
WATCH: Fina, ipinain ang sarili sa plano ni Juris
Even as throngs of NBI agents swarmed the hospital, Juris would slyly avoid suspicion dressed as a nurse to complete her heinous plan. But as she reached the room, Leyna wasn’t there, as Fina had her transferred to another room, setting her up for her arrest. But Juris won’t back down, and with a gun on her hand, she took Fina hostage.
And when the climactic struggle led them to an area under construction, Juris and Fina would slug it out, with the former being too powerful for the latter, triggered by her unstable state of mind. An already jailed Drei (Tony Labrusca) was brought to the scene to plead to his wife Juris to surrender. She would not give up even asking him to have a getaway vehicle ready, which he said was impossible. Juris would then try to end it all by dousing Fina with a combustible thinner and preparing to raze her with a matchstick on her hand.
But as this was happening Leyna was being rushed to the operating room needing that urgent transplant to survive. Being the real biological mother, Fina was the only one who could save Leyna. Drei went on pleading Juris to spare Fina’s life, telling her of Leyna’s dire condition and the importance of having Fina alive.
Even as her mental state would make her excruciate on what to do, Juris would finally give up realizing with just a flicker in her mind and in her heart that Leyna’s welfare is all that matters.
WATCH: Juris, tuluyan nang sumuko para kay Leyna
After Leyna would get that successful transplant and Fina would receive compensation from Drei for the trouble they have caused, all the remaining “Tropang Malakas” got the justice they deserved. Drei, Greco (Kit Thompson) and Gaylord (Sandino Martin) will serve prison sentences and disbarred from the law profession for their criminal actions. Drei’s mom Matilda (Ayen Munji-Laurel) would also face a lengthy jail term for the murder of Fina’s mom Amor (Janice de Belen).
And Juris, who was behind the killing of Bogs (Ketchup Eusebio) and Lolita (Ivana Alawi), would not be locked up in prison but in a mental hospital to serve her sentence.
This is where the most touching scene transpired when Fina allowed Leyna, whom she really named Joy at birth, to visit and hug her surrogate mom. As Juris appeared unresponsive as Fina was telling her that she has forgiven her, and even thanked her for taking care of the child when she was almost left to die by the Baguio roadside when the accident that started it all happened. As Fina and Leyna were about to leave, Juris suddenly responded by waving her hand and say one word that brought them to tears- “Sorry.”
WATCH: How did it end for Fina and Juris
Here, Bela’s depiction was solid and piercing, and even with just a word uttered, and seemingly not in touch with reality, the message she was trying to convey—her affinity with the child so dear to her and regret over the horrific actions she did to express it—was very heartbreakingly clear. And that is one hallmark of a great actress.
Jodi was also exceptional with her moving portrayal of a mom vindicated yet forgiving, impressing us with how she handled the difficult scenes so well.
Yet, we are most impressed with the story telling, and how the tale culminated in this suspenseful, gripping finale that viewers won’t forget for a long time.