First Impression Review: A Lot of Potential in GMA’s “Rhodora X”

Basic first week spoilers.

Genuinely fresh and groundbreaking stories are hard to come by on Philippine television. But one of GMA Network’s newest dramas hopes to be one of those rarities.

Rhodora X starring Jennylyn Mercado aims to tell the story of the title character who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known previously and maybe more commonly as Multiple Personality Disorder.

Now this is definitely not the first time a Filipino soap opera has a medical condition at the center of its premise. And the dramas that have tackled such medical-related stories have been on both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. ABS-CBN’s Budoy about a young man with Angelman syndrome was well-intentioned on paper, but was instead pretentious and heavy handed. TV5’s Positive about a man diagnosed with AIDS balanced typical Pinoy suds with a daring and unflinching look at the effects of the disease on the main character and the people around him.

Rhodora X appears to be following more in Positive‘s footsteps by exploring the disorder and its effects in a suspense-thriller setting. At least, that’s the impression you get from the first week and the pre-show teasers.

As a child, Rhodora is kidnapped and goes through a traumatic experience before eventually being presumed dead. She grows up in an orphanage and now that she’s a young woman, catches the eye of the horny farm hand who tries to have his way with her (of course). When she refuses, the manyak uses a weeder to slash her chest with an “X.” Experiencing another traumatic experience , Rhodora is increasingly missing chunks of time from her memory while those around her notice her acting differently from time to time.

While she and a kind doctor try to figure out what is wrong with her, she has an unexpected reunion with her family, including her younger sister (who had felt guilty for losing her sister at the park the day she was kidnapped) who is about to marry into a rich shipping family.

So far there is a good mix between the focus on Rhodora’s manifesting disorder with the typical soap triangle/quadrangle set-up.

Because Rhodora suffers from this specific disorder, the full effects of which we haven’t seen in the first six episodes, it lends itself to more mysterious and maybe ominous proceedings. If the series is able to balance the suspenseful suds with a sincere look at the disorder, then Rhrodora X will be an achievement. Even if relatively speaking to the rest of the uninspiring Philippine primetime.

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