Rarely does a television drama take an expansive take on the ills of society, especially in the world of politics.
With such an ambitious attempt at depicting that telltale grit and infamy of absolute power, and how it mercilessly brings down elements that oppose it, one can fathom the utter intensity and power of how the story is told and how characters are enlivened to encapsulate the gripping message.
With its pilot episode, Wildflower delivers resoundingly in preparing the proper narrative.
While the plot is not new, the creative team and producers of the show made it sure that this fresh take on the powerful versus powerless storyline will appear as authentic and relatable as possible.
Who wouldn’t identify such a character as Governor Julio Ardiente (Tirso Cruz III) in any locality, all with that protective security detail and entourage breezing their way through. Especially in those welcoming gatherings with constituents, who see that political clan as their own even calling the patriarch as their own “Tatay” or “Papa.” They consider such elected officials as royalty, as if they exist to serve them and not the other way around.
To attain that tight hold, such qualities of strength and astuteness must be passed on to the political clan’s next generation. And, because of this, Governor Julio assumes his overbearing, fearsome control over his own family—how they perform and behave in public, and how they deal with their own struggles.
He loathes her daughter Emilia (Aiko Melendez), the current mayor of Poblacion Ardiente, for showing her weakness in dealing with her problems with husband Raul (Wendell Ramos), while he has been particularly livid at how his grandson Diego (Jesse James Ongteco) clearly breaks the family tradition of being achievers, with low grades at school. And, not only does Julio express his disappointment verbally, but physically as well with abuse.
But all is due to his impassioned bid for perpetual control, which is seen as normal in local politics, and of course a repetitive theme in politics-laced dramas throughout the spectrum.
Wildflower, however, succeeds in getting that theme as close to home.
Who could miss out that political fervor in one’s province? With each line in the script and those riveting portrayals led by Tirso Cruz III’s outstanding and monstrous portrayal of Governor Julio make people utterly reminiscent of their own local leaders.
They also identify with a young Lily (Xyriel Manabat), who was impressed with the governor’s “kindness” in having their family car fixed without anything in return as it broke down when they moved to Poblacion Ardiente. But her ill-fated parents Dante (Christian Vasquez), the new public attorney assigned to the town, and Camia (Sunshine Cruz) cautioned her about the real intentions of politicians and that the money they spend all come from the people. And of course, the tragic end of Lily’s innocence that changed her life forever, an eventuality so common with skirmishes against local kingpins and their ilk.
The show’s depiction of such a cavernous theme is laudable yet difficult. But what makes Wildflower stand out is how the characters are laid out and developed throughout its run, and how the show will further enrapture and engage its audience with gripping, real-life scenarios.
And Lily, who will become the vengeful Ivy (Maja Salvador), will have the whole nation cheering her on.
As the pilot episode aired, netizens were stunned and impressed.