GMA Network’s Magandang Dilag is the only Filipino teleserye my family is watching right now. And it’s for a few simple reasons that are perfectly encapsulated in Wednesday, October 4th’s Episode 72.
The climactic episode featured the series’ heroine Gigi Robles (played by Herlene Budol) finally reveal herself in order to expose the evils of the Elite Squad.
The previous 71 episodes have been a brisk, fast-paced journey chronicling Gigi’s fight for revenge against the Elite Squad for the suffering they’ve inflicted on her and her mother. Not to mention the numerous other evils and crimes they’ve committed against others, including murder.
Unlike most other Filipino teleseryes, Magandang Dilag did not waste any time with unnecessary sidetrips or irrelevant subplots. It’s been a straightforward road for Gigi. Scoring wins with her intricate plan to hit every single member of the Elite Squad, while overcoming any hurdles that she may come across. Of course, with the help of her family and friends too.
Her journey to this point was not without struggles of course. But the way the series unfolded those struggles and frequently doled out wins in the form of delicious karma toward the Elite Squad, this climactic Episode 72 was all the more satisfying.
At the heart of the episode is Gigi’s, essentially, 15-minute monologue exposing the Elite Squad by listing each of their crimes and misdeeds, reading them to filth and unleashing her rage and anger from what she has experienced firsthand because of them.
Bringing that to life was Herlene Budol’s emotionally affecting performance. It’s hard not to get drawn into her performance in this episode. You can’t help but feel that rage and anger she expresses as Gigi. You can feel her emotions as she explodes at the evil people who have wronged her and her loved ones. You get absorbed into that moment and enthralled by the intensity.
While I won’t go so far as some people saying she is on some kind of high level comparable to some of the Philippines’ most legendary actresses, it’s hard to deny that she delivered an incredibly captivating performance in this episode. Especially when for most of the episode, it is Herlene delivering lines on her own while everyone watches and listens. Both on the show and those of us at home.
Like I mentioned in my First Impression Review, Herlene has actually shown a lot of great, raw talent in her acting projects so far. Most of which have been on GMA’s Magpakailanman which made great use of her knack for comedy and infusing it with the requisite drama for the story.
She takes that to the next level in this episode. And that’s where the writing and directing come in.
Some nice, creative direction choices and clever writing allowed for the climactic events to hit hard. The kind of satisfying moments where you cheer on the downfall of people who deserve all the karma and punishment that’s coming to them.
And you were definitely cheering for Gigi. Witty one-liners and Herlene’s real-life personality helped to accentuate the legitimately dramatic and affecting monologue she delivers with the kind of energy and gusto you don’t normally see on a Filipino teleserye. Gigi’s lines also felt more real and less contrived than other shows. Shows that try to seem far more intelligent than they really are. Whereas here on Magandang Dilag, what some might call “squammy” is actually how most normal, everyday people might act in the same situation.
Saying the same biting words and lines in those moments where you just can’t hold it in any longer. Rather than contrived, forced lines that are obviously meant to go viral on social media. Lines that sound and feel “elite” (imagine that!), but in reality are awkward, stereotypical and sometimes laughable.
That’s not the case here. There are so many amazing lines that you’d be shocked to here on a Filipino teleserye. But delivered so well by Herlene.
And that final slap!
You definitely felt that slap through the screen!
The scenes were big and maybe slightly over the top, but only in the best way possible. Many times teleseryes wait until their final week for scenes or moments like this. Or, they’ve gone in circles so much that when moments like this finally happen, it means nothing any longer.
Magandang Dilag‘s steady pace, familiar story, but refreshing attack all came together to set the stage for Herlene Budol’s moment to shine. And she absolutely grabbed that opportunity for a performance everyone should experience.
There’s still plenty of show left. Definitely a couple of weeks, at least, since GMA Network has already begun promoting the show that will take over its timeslot in November. The series experienced high ratings early on and has been a consistent ratings and online streaming winner since its premiere. So of course, you know the network would want to extend the series as much as possible.
But the series had already wrapped up production. And any added content would most likely be a week or two, at most. And that’s because the series appears to have had a solid, clear cut outline for what it wanted to do and how to execute it. No unnecessary extensions that end up harming its quality.
Having that clear direction in story is what has made Magandang Dilag a must-watch every day. Or at the very least, a must-binge every week. Every episode has offered up something to enjoy and be entertained by. And when all those things come together, moments like Episode 72 are all the more satisfying and compelling.
Bravo to Herlene Budol! And bravo to the cast and crew of Magandang Dilag! Here’s to the continued success in the coming weeks!
Watch the full episode here on GMA Network’s YouTube Channel:
Sadly, it is geoblocked in the United States and Canada.