MANILA — After a seemingly uphill climb to both find justice and prove her story to a fickle public swayed by social media, the rape survivor and her family at the center of the ABS-CBN drama-thriller series “Viral Scandal” finally attains closure.
In the show’s finale aired on Friday, Rica Sicat (Charlie Dizon) wins a court case against her rapist Jigs Ramones (Markus Paterson) over a year since he took advantage of her and illicitly recorded a video of their encounter.
Rica’s rape complaint had at last been heard in court after the original sex video had been recovered and Jigs’s other victims came out to support Rica.
Yet the final turn of the case came from the disgraced councilor’s own admission of guilt on the witness stand.
It was a personal reckoning for Jigs, who until that point tried to maintain his innocence in the affair to clear his name for a return to politics.
His 180-degree-turn, however, resulted in Jigs’s grandfather, patriarch Alberto Ramones (Jong Cuenco) suffering a heart attack and ending up disabled.
Most of the tension and threads of the series’s other subplots had already been resolved in the penultimate episode of the teleserye.
In the pre-finale, antagonist Bobby Ramones (Gian Magdangal) fell to his death during a confrontation with his adopted brother and Rica’s birth father Troy (Jake Cuenca) and Rica’s lover Kyle Constantino (Joshua Garcia), while a past abuser’s attempt to kidnap Rica’s mother Karla Sicat (Dimples Romana) was foiled.
The coast is clear for Rica’s 2 family circles to move forward with their lives away from the gaze of social media, which had upended their careers and relationships.
Troy, who resigned the mayorship, evolved into a hotel magnate and philanthropist who chose to end the cycle of abuse in his family by taking care of his paraplegic father.
The series’s end also gives a glimpse into the beginnings of new love and friendships.
While Troy still divorced his wife Audrey (Maxene Magalona), his friendship with long-time ally and lawyer Laura Dizon (Ria Atayde) enters a different level.
Karla Sicat, once Troy’s mistress, makes peace with Audrey, who decided to study fashion design in Paris.
There are stirrings of a romance between Rica’s half-sister Raven (Kaila Estrada) and Rica’s former suitor Axel (Jameson Blake).
The show concludes by reaffirming the love stories that stood the test of the scandals throughout its run: teens Bea (Karina Bautista) and Pogs (Aljon Mendoza), parents Karla and Dan (Miko Raval), and series leads Rica and Kyle.
Back at the rooftop where their paths crossed during Rica’s lowest moment, she reflects with Kyle on the love and support from family and friends that never left her side.
Originally titled “Viral”, the series produced by ABS-CBN’s RCD Narratives unit and helmed by Dado Lumibao and Froy Allan Leonardo ran for 6 months.
It was a localized take on the global #MeToo movement that also looped in the impact of disinformation and social media in both building and destroying reputations and lives.
While its plot already touches on power dynamics in local politics with the powerful Ramones clan, “Viral Scandal” also made direct commentary via its dialogue on injustice, the war on drugs, and other sociopolitical issues in the Philippines.
Viewers also noted the show’s attempts to educate its audience about female empowerment and recovery from rape and trauma.
It also used its screen to explain the processes of the legal system and even the meaning of online shorthand and terminologies.
“Viral Scandal” will be succeeded in “Primetime Bida” on May 16 with the Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla reunion offering “2 Good 2 Be True”.