Be warned, what we have here is a loooong kdrama review, or even more accurately, a very loooong episode by episode recap of this extravaganza of a Korean Drama – think super rich kids with nothing but fake friends – and their totally dysfunctional parents, smeared over with all the kind of sly and manipulative drama that ‘Gossip Girl’ became famous for.
So strap in folks!
THE HEIRS BEGINNING.
The start of The Heirs gifts us with some fantastical Lee Min Ho english speaking, a fun fresh and over the top view of America and LA, a little bit of ridiculous comedy and quite a lot of drama.
And also surprisingly, some thoughtful gravity and endearing deepness underneath all the fluff. Which I for one wasn’t really expecting.
I really like our heroine Eun-sang so far. She is obviously being played as a total ‘candy’ of a character which of course has been done to death in every single ‘rich guy/poor girl’ drama ever, but what makes this girl different is the fact that she isn’t chirpy and upbeat about her situation.
In fact she hates it.
Eun-sang clearly detests every minute that she is forced to live in what she sees as a degrading and shameful way, and I have to say that I did feel quite empathetic towards her during the start of this episode, as she works hard whilst dreaming of this promised future when her sister will return and she can live differently.
I really liked this aspect of her character and the fact that Eun-sang isn’t completely satisfied with her lot in life, that there is this underlying sadness to her personality that always seems to be boiling just below the surface and threatening to bubble over if she doesn’t clamp it down hard enough.
She openly envies those around her that live a more privileged life, but she sticks it out anyway because she believes that she is doing the right thing for her family, even as she blames her sister and mother for the hard situation she must endure.
Now I know it seems a little uncool of Eun-sang to be blaming her family like she does (especially her poor down-trodden mum who she at times seems ashamed of) but I also think this makes her more human and relatable.
I like that she isn’t completely selfless because it makes her more real and less of a two-dimensional character with no depth or personality beyond being sweet and selfless.
I think there is a really strange moment of connection between Eun-sang and Tan when they first cross each other’s paths in LA. Like two lost damaged souls who connect straight away only because they both recognise something in the other person that they can understand and relate to.
And it is this form of hidden unhappiness that they share (but hide away below the surface) that creates a connection that I just loved, as straight away before they have even barely spoken, I can already feel something real and tangible forming between them. Even if its not much more than an affirmation of each others disconnection with the world around them, a loneliness they feel even though they are both surrounded by people.
Kind of lovely really.
I liked how Tan’s wild partying and drug taking are alluded to by the other characters, along with the idea that he is just living in reckless abandon overseas because his Hyung told him to and he has nothing better to do.
But I also really really liked that there is clearly so much more to him than just that.
Tan is a bit of a different character from your usual jerky male leads, kind of a quiet guy able to put on a bit of a show around his friends but not the normal cold Chaebol kind of character we have grown accustomed to, or even the ‘bullying because of deep emotional and family issues’ kind of young man which we can see in Kim Woobin’s character, Young-do.
I am definitely finding Tan to be very very interesting.
I loved all the deeper emotional stuff in this first episode, these glimpses we get into the main characters and the interesting currents of sadness running steadily below the surface, but the best thing is that even with all of that happening, the drama is still overall just totally plain awesome fun.
I really quite enjoyed all the english speaking (I think Lee Min Ho sounded damn good, but also kind of fantastically hilarious), terrible overacting from the American characters (stoner best friend I am soooo looking at you right now!), ridiculous bean powder drug plot line (literally snorting an unknown substance from a ripped stolen bag in the middle of a crowded beach, if that’s not hilarious I don’t even know what is), and the just general fun ridiculousness!
I will say it again…
So Much Fun!
And all of that is not even mentioning the absolute Prettiness that is present in this drama. Seriously this cast is practically a dream cast.
Park Shin-hye is so likeable and just absolutely beautiful, and both Lee Min Ho and Kim Woobin are fabulous and stupidly lovely to look at. Not to mention the added loveliness that is Choi Jin-hyuk, what a seriously gorgeous man! He is one of my actual favourite actors ever! (and sorely under-used in this though, I must say!)
But basically what I am trying to say here is…SWOON!
Not a huge amount of forward movement happens in episode 2 in regards to the overall plotting, and we mainly stay focused on little snapshots of these characters as we are further introduced to who they are and what is happening in their lives.
Not that I am complaining though, as I kind of like this slower start, like a huge introduction set up before the real action begins when our characters head back to Korea and school starts again.
It actually reminds me of the movie ‘Grease’ in that these two characters meet on the summer holidays with no one else around to judge them, they fall in love and then return to school where everything is different and more difficult. The only difference is that in ‘Heirs’ we are starting with the summer romance set up and not jumping immediately into the school stuff.
I am really liking all of Tan and Eun-sang’s interactions. There is this almost tangible thing between them already, though I do think feelings are definitely developing much faster on Tan’s side than on Eun-sang’s. And the way he looks at her! He just stares and stares, and always stands too close to her. I totally love it.
I really enjoyed watching their scenes together this episode, Eun-sang’s awkwardness at finding herself alone with Tan in his house and the way Tan reacted to her trying to leave the next morning, where he basically freaks out at the idea of her disappearing and drags her to school with him instead.
One of my favourite scenes was that drive to school in Tan’s car where Eun-sang begins to finally relax and enjoy herself, even giving him warning (incase it is embarrassing) that she will be putting her hand outside the car, her fingers running through the wind and sun.
It is a lovely moment where she begins to feel some level of happiness after all her heartache, with Tan looking on in wonderment at this person who has just dropped into his life.
Now lets talk about Kim Woobin’s Young-do. This guy totally intrigues me to the max.
He is so charismatic and charming (when he wants to be) but it is also abundantly clear that there is something wrong there. He has this underlying malice to his character that is actually kind of disturbing, so that I am never sure whether he is going to crack and start murdering everyone around him, or maybe just start crying his eyes out because of all his daddy issues and curl up into a little ball of worthlessness.
Because he is apparently the second lead in this drama and going to have some sort of loveline with Eun-sang, I am guessing it will be more of the latter storyline and we are going to find some sort of fragile and vulnerable core below all his swagger, though at this point any weakness seems a little hard to imagine.
One thing that is for sure though, he is going to be a serious heartbreaker in this drama. As in, when he doesn’t get the girl my heart is going to break.
Not that I am not already fully behind Tan and Eun-sang’s budding relationship, because I am shipping them all the way, but I do think Young-do is going to give Tan a run for his money.
He seems to have a better handle on how to switch on the charisma and charm at will, whilst Tan still seems more genuine and unable to hide his feelings quite so perfectly, and I think that talent of being able to hide what you really feel is going to be a real skill in this world of the elite and wealthy.
The other character who is clearly going to be endless trouble is Rachel.
I actually felt quite sorry for her when we see her sitting alone in her hotel room waiting for Tan to call her, but the second her phone rings and she believes it is Tan calling her back (it isn’t) the self-entitled smirk on her face was enough to warn me not to feel too bad for her.
Which was the right reaction as she had absolutely no mercy or empathy whatsoever for Eun-sang when she finds her at Tan’s house. That whole scene was quite uncomfortable to watch with Eun-sang being completely humiliated, and I can only guess that here is a hell of a lot more where that came from and Eun-sang will get a daily dose of humilation once she gets back to Korea and starts going to school with these people.
… Oh yeah, and realises her mum is a maid in her new love interest’s house…. awkward!
I really like Tan.
I like that he is reserved, covering up and keeping so much of his true self hidden, so that to Eun-sang he must seem like a bit of an enigma. I like that he doesn’t talk all the time, never revealing himself with frivolous words, yet still coming right out and saying the most important things (as in ‘I like you’ and ‘I want you to stay’). Yet it is his silences that are so genuine and moving, as if when he stares he is almost laying himself bare.
And its as if in front of Eun-sang he can’t hide that part of himself, meaning around her he is quieter and less carefree, but also more himself.
He really is such a different kind of male lead and I find that facinating.
Tan’s tentative hope at seeing his brother for the first time in three years was just heartbreaking, and the way he had to steel himself before walking into the party showed just how worried he was that hewouldn’t receive what he wanted from the meeting.
And oh the crushing heartbreak of a little boy lost when he is so cruelly rejected, though even as his Hyung’s words burn deep and bitter he still tries to be positive and find one thing that his brother might like or want about him. It is such an absolutely crushing moment of defeat for Tan and even after he has seen Eun-sang at her absolute lowest it still hurts him to have the aftermath of his meeting with Won witbessed by her.
But seriously his face in that moment, the obvious gut wrenching pain as he holds back his tears just standing unmoving. Frankly I am not sure how Eun-sang didn’t fall in love with him right then!
I really enjoy all the conversations between our leads too. They are usually pretty short and to the point due to Tan’s lack of words, but they also really pack a punch nonetheless, always bridging that gap between them and making them less and less just strangers.
On that note I loved the simplicity of their exchange in the almond farm, the sprinklers (yeah I know it was cheesy and over the top but also oh so romantic) raining down on an unmoving frozen Tan as Eun-sang asks him if he is alright, to which he answers immediately and with no pretence that he is not.
And when Eun-sang says she was waiting to save him and drag him away, Tan just asks her why she didn’t because he needed saving that whole time.
Tan’s silence extends to their car journey home where he tells Eun-sang to forget what happened but she just answers almost wistfully that it is what she always planned to do anyway, as it is all just like a midsummer’s night dream, none of it is real.
Things get decidedly cheesy after that, but still oh so much fun, as our leads are forced to spend a night out in the desert.
Their budding friendship/romance comes to a screeching halt though when Chan-young turns up to whisk Eun-sang away as soon as they return to the house in L.A.
I really enjoyed Tan’s attempts to get Eun-sang to stay with him, and I like that he doesn’t hide his feelings and instead remains open and honest about wanting her in his house instead of resorting to some made up story as a cover for the fact he wants her to stay because he likes her.
Also his petty jealousies are pretty damn cute!
We also gain some more insight into other characters this episode, mainly Rachel who constantly lashes out to hurt those around her in the cruelest way she can, as if she doesn’t even know how else to socially function.
Yet there is also something very brittle about her too as if she is constantly teetering on the edge and she knows it, making her very interesting. I think she is fully aware that she is alone and this has a lot to do with her bitchy personality.
Another interesting insight was into Won’s character later in the episode during the visit to his mum’s grave.
Finally we see past his cold and inscrutable exterior to find that on the inside he is a man with enormous pressure laid upon him, clearly utterly bitter over his mother’s death and the role he believes the sociecty he belongs to had in it.
Also he seems to have this ambition to be on top of everything, constantly in control and so terrified of losing that control that he would even make an enemy needlessly out of his younger hapless brother.
We also get another glance into Young-do’s life, a young man who is clearly smart and intelligent but so overpowered by his father and their stifling relationship that he seems to take his fury out on everything and everyone around him.
I get the impression he is desperate to appear in control of something within his life, hence his manipulative relationships with those around him.
I thought Rachel’s comment about Young-do continuing to do what Tan and he used to do together was also quite interesting, making me think that Tan was a bit of a bully too once before he decided to give up on everything for whatever reason, clearly some sort of dark incident involving Young-do.
Interesting ….. and also a little worrying.
I adored the whole pancake shop thing.
The way Tan was just so positive Eun-sang would be there was a lovely moment of some kind of affirming fate and the awkward scenes that followed were just a promise of the tangled web that will be coming once the drama returns to Korea.
As for Eun-sang herself, I am quite enjoying her character too. I think she is just as taken by Tan as he is with her, but whilst he believes he has found in her an escape from his numbed world, I think she has more realism to her personality.
She enjoyed her time in L.A and the fairytale-like experience she had with Tan, connecting with him and enjoying being with him, but to her it was literally a moment in time and a fantasy before she must return to the hard and gritty reality of her life.
I think she embraces her moments with Tan for what they are, nothing but a fleeting midsummer’s night dream.
Aaand the action returns to Korea.
I dunno, I was quite enjoying all the fun yet redonkulous American set stuff so I am not really experiencing any great sense of relief from this change in setting.
I love this idea that L.A was this hazy beautiful dream for Eun-sang and that now she is returning to the daily grind with her tail between her legs and all her dreams gone.
Basically she is being forced to begin again and face reality, starting at the bottom to work her way back up again. This is true fairytale fare right here, which definitely are my favourite kinds of stories.
I love that Eun-san’s meeting with Tan was clearly monumental and important for her, but that she has also neatly tucked it away inside her as a precious moment that really has no relevance in her day to day life in Korea or even with what she sees as the real world.
I also liked Eun-sang’s obvious guilt when faced with her mum upon her return and I feel that Eun-sang’s experience in America has matured her, meaning I can’t see her ever trying to take off and live worry-free again, the incident with her sister truly making her realise her own responsibilities because even though in a way she dreamed of running off into the sunset herself and leaving behind the pressures of her mothers downtrodden lifestyle, she now knows that she could never really do it.
There is nothing else out there for her and even though she has always railed against it, she knows she needs to look after her mum because the poor woman lives such a hard existence and if all her children ever dream of is leaving her behind then that is just too cruel.
Because its obvious Eun-sang’s mum understands how her daughters feel about the small amount that she has been able to provide them, a harsh truth that makes me feel so sad for her.
This episode had some nice lighter stuff too which I really enjoyed, as well as this strange dreamy atmosphere as Tan and Eun-sang circle each other in the big house, an idea that is rooted in the idea of fate.
I love Tan’s awkwardness and almost naivety in some ways, like the way he is constantly so hopeful that his family will give him the love he so craves, no matter how many times they let him down. There is a real sweetness to Tan’s character that I adore, making him a rather perfect foil to the much earthier, rawer and more realist Eun-sang.
I am always so intrigued by all of Young-do’s scenes as their is something so self-assured and magnetic about him, from the way he moves to the confident drawl he speaks with, and yet we can see that there is definitely going to be so much more to him than that.
This episode we probably saw him at his most likeable during his meeting with a very sleepy Eun-sang and the screaming kids, and I must say it all made me giggle out loud.
Yeah, I know it is ridiculous when you have every dude ever falling in love with our ‘average’ heroine at first sight, yet in the case of this drama I really feel that enough depth is being given to these characters that you can sort of understand and feel why they are connecting with each other, with Young-do clearly travelling easily down the ‘Jun Pyo’ route of ‘oh she doesn’t care about me so now I am in love with her’ trope.
And yet, it totally works and I am dying for more!
On the topic of Young-do, I am loving all these hints at a dark past he shares with a meaner version of Tan, with Rachel’s words about Young-do being nothing more than a…
‘Fox trying to be king in an absent Tiger’s cave’
…being crazy interesting. It looks like Tan was possibly pretty hardcore in his heyday, though I particularly liked Young-do’s answer…
‘maybe the tiger was only acting like a tiger, so ran away because he was scared everyone would found out’.
I also enjoyed our first glimpse of the teacher Hyun-joo and was pleasantly surprised to see that she already has history with the cold Won.
And that is exactly what this drama does so well, providing these deep histories for our characters that makes everything a mystery to unravel, with L.A providing even Eun-sang and Tan with their very own relationship set up and history, all in time for when school starts next week.
There are just so many characters in this drama that it is going to take some time to introduce them all properly but I am totally along for this ride and am quite enjoying this slower set up before school starts and we get all our characters together in one place.
Episodes 5 and 6:
Oh man, I am still really enjoying this but the Korean highschool setting has truly changed the entire vibe of the show.
Gone are the dreamy hazy romance scenes, replaced with a vicious and painfully cruel peep into a highschool that is utterly ruled by the class system and the rules and expectations that come along with it.
This sort of stuff is just very difficult for me to watch as it turns out, probably why I gave up on both ‘School 2013’ and ‘Monstar’ just because I cannot handle this level of terrifyingly intense bullying.
I hate the characters that do the bullying but possibly even more I hate those that just stand by and let it happen.
Sure, we know he has made the decision himself to be a better guy than he used to be and he no longer hurts people himself…..but he totally didn’t help the poor victim guy either in Episode 6 of this drama, making me feel….
… pretty upset actually.
Because I just like his character so so much but just standing by and letting someone else be pummeled, my gosh its just so uncool.
I really hope he redeems himself soon because doing nothing is only the tiniest step up from doing the deed and I really want to be rooting for Tan.
But the relationships between his family are just staggering in their pressured and stifling horribleness. The expectations of his mother, father, brother, everyone wants him to be and do something different, meaning he can never please everyone.
And on top of this, none of these paths that are pushed onto him seem to be what Tan might choose for himself. In fact I get the impression that he really isn’t all that ambitious at all and he would be satisfied with only their love and respect rather than leading the family company.
Poor guy. I can understand now why he said it would take courage to return to Korea.
And with Eun-sang its even worse.
Tan has this naive sweetness about him that when he approaches her again in Korea he tries so hard to impress by pulling out all the stops for his big romantic gesture entrance back into her life, complete with shiny car, sunglasses and screaming fangirls.
It’s utterly ridiculous of course, but what is even more ridiculous is that he thinks it will work. Like he has been watching waaay too many dramas and thinks this is how he is meant to go about wooing the woman of his dreams, by being too cool for school.
Which is pretty funny because obviously this kind of stuff isn’t really going to impress Eun-sang, and also, even more importantly, it really isn’t Tan’s true nature either. Because this boy is at his best when he is being sincere and sweet…… and staring at Eun-sang like she is the most astounding thing he has ever seen in his life.
That is when Eun-sang can’t ignore what she feels for him. Because that is when he is being genuinely himself.
Something I worry will be far and in-between now the show has moved back to Korea and the fake game-playing of the elite society has begun for real.
And around now in the show I feel like for the first time Eun-sang is able to admit to herself that she wished her time in America was more than just a dream, that she did like Tan and that’s why she can’t get him out of her mind. And that is why when he does finally reveal himself to be the second son of the house it absolutely breaks her heart.
She is so ashamed and horrified at this truth because it just hits home how truly unattainable Tan really is and it turns her dreams into a cruel reality that is just too hard to face.
Part of me hates how ashamed Eun-sang is of her hardworking mother and hard living situation, though another part can understand that when you are that young age and only surrounded by rich idiots who treat you like crap then it could be difficult to remain strong and confident. But nonetheless it makes me sad to see.
Now, back to the bullying.
Young-do is such an obnoxious jerk that I am constantly wanting to punch him in his smarmy face. He just waltzes into Eun-sang’s life, expecting her to immediately worship him (or at least cower before him) and I can’t tell if he likes her or just wants to break her.
He is a truly terrifying guy who seemingly has no understanding of that line and when he shouldn’t cross it, probably because he truly is rich enough that he thinks he rules the world. Or at least the world he lives within.
And yet, as I am sure everyone has noticed, this guy is charismatic and gorgeous and sexy as hell. Which pisses me off because I want to hate him. He is so confident of himself and his place in school that he just overflows with this menacing energy that would make me want to run in the opposite direction of him at all times.
And I really can’t figure out what has caused this sudden interest he has in Eun-sang. He is as horrible and menacing to her as he is to his other victims and he tells her that she belongs to him, but definitely not in the romantic way.
Does he want to be involved with her just because it is clear that Tan is in love with her?
But he was already somewhat intrigued in her the very first time he met her right? He even mentioned his heart….. yet now he acts like he wants to bully her and hurt her, or is that just his twisted version of affection?
And then to confuse things further, at the end of episode 6 he asks Eun-sang why she always falls asleep in public places…. he says it makes him want to protect her.
I cannot even imagine how freaked out Eun-sang must have felt upon hearing him say those words….. this guy’s attention, either romantically or otherwise, seems to me to be a thing best avoided at all possible cost.
Yet Young-do is certainly intriguing, I will give him that.
Empire High is so hardcore with all the vicious student politics being introduced. It was actually a bit of a downer of an episode really, with practically no romance and just heaps of cruelty and bitchiness instead.
And this really killed all the dreaminess of Tan and Eun-sang’s budding friendship / romance because now Tan is just spending most of his time trying to protect Eun-sang from the scary people at school (by lying that she is ‘new money’ which I just know is going to come back and bite them in the arse) which she believes is just causing her more trouble. Which is sort of correct…..
Frankly its all pretty dark and depressing and I am not sure how I feel about it.
Episodes 7 and 8:
This drama did not in fact dissolve into a totally depressing study on bullying like I had initially feared. In fact, Kim Tan came to the rescue and saved me from the relentless bullying in a truly awesome scene which completely redeemed his lack of action from last week.
I really loved this episode. It brought back a lot of the original charm and sweet romance which was absent from episode 6 and also brought Tan and Eun-sang’s slow building relationship back to front of stage, just where I like it to be.
It seems like Tan is finally starting to take action where Eun-sang is concerned, waking up early to escort her to school and even luring her to the wine cellar for…..a really nice serious heart to heart.
I really enjoy how this main couple interact when they are alone. Its like when all the outside pressures fall away they can at least be real with eachother.
I also liked the scene in the car when Tan leans his head on Eun-sang’s shoulder, mainly because of her reaction. It seems to me she thinks she should be constantly fending him off, hence her rejections and attempts at running away from him, but at the same time, its clearly not what she really wants. It is pretty clear from this scene that she likes him too, though is still battling with herself about what she should or shouldn’t be doing about it, whilst Tan thinks the answer is as clear as day.
But even with all her struggling, Eun-sang is still unable to wipe the smile off her face at his sweetness. And the way Tan stares at her, I am not surprised it is hard to resist him. He always looks at her like he has found something truly precious, something he will never let go of no matter what, because it is something that is apart from all the horrors and pressures of his family, something he has discovered for himself.
And one of the best things about the way he stares is that Tan never ever tries to hide it from Eun-sang either, he is totally open about how he feels and he wears it on his face not afraid of what she will think. I really like that about Tan, that he is never afraid of showing his jealousy or interest, concern or love. He doesn’t play games and I really appreciate that.
Meanwhile at school, Young-do is getting rather (more) terrifying.
This boy is just so hardcore and horrible, but there is still something about him that makes it hard to tear your eyes away whenever he is on screen.
I kind of imagined that the revealing of Young-do and Tan’s backstory would somehow shed some light on why this guy is so damn mean and maybe even make his character a little more sympathetic, but nope, it did the complete opposite.
Seeing Young-do at his lowest and most vulnerable (seemingly having both witnessed Young-do’s dad having an affair) Tan tries to help his friend by also revealing something shameful and secret about himself, in the hopes that his sharing in Young-do’s embarrassment will help his friend.
But it seems Young-do was malicious even then, and instead of being grateful of Tan’s caring gesture, he immediately lashes out at his friend using this new information (about Tan’s real mother) as ammunition.
And that right there is the real difference between these two boys. Whilst Young-do protects himself by hurting other people and being the most powerful and feared person in the room, Tan feels true empathy for other people, even when everyone around him in his life keeps telling him not to. And that is why I like him so much. He may always say he is too lazy to really care about anything but its not really true, evident of his protecting the victim kid this episode from Young-do’s excessive cruelty.
I absolutely loved that scene, one of the main reasons being that Tan walks forward to protect that kid because he knows it is the right thing to do and not just as a gesture to impress anyone else there.
I adore that he didn’t notice Eun-sang watching the bullying, that he didn’t only stand up for that victim kid because she was there and he wanted to look good in front of her. He did it because he cared, because he knew he was the only one who could.
Obviously it didn’t really go all that well for him, but it still made me cheer that he stood up to Young-do and I think it made a difference.
Still on the subject of Young-do I think I am finally starting to sort of figure him out, though he is still such an enigma of a character considering how so often his actions are at odds with the words he says, so that you never really understand what he actually wants.
Take for instance that scene with Eun-sang and Bo Na (that girl is growing on me more and more all the time despite her ridiculousness) where he upended their bags onto the classroom floor in an attempt to prove that Eun-sang isn’t ‘new money’ and embarrass her.
But then after being just so unbelievably cruel, he asks her why she has so many knights looking after her (because Chan-young came running to the rescue) and then says, in front of everyone like it isn’t a big deal, that seeing that makes him want to compete with them.
And then the next second he is inviting her around to his house to eat dinner with him, but the way he asks her, threatening her with someone else’s humiliation and destruction if she doesn’t come, is just so totally twisted.
And yet, when she leaves his face says something different, only for a split second but it was there. Like maybe he wasn’t really too pleased at how he handled that situation, like maybe he really does wish he knew how to make someone like him and not just be afraid of him in the way Eun-sang so clearly is.
But one moment of regret or disappointment at his lack of ability to interact like a normal person, a sympathetic or likable character does not make. Intriguing yes, he certainly has that covered, but definitely not likable.
Yet I must admit I am very interested in the direction that Young-do will take in this story.
Lastly for this episode, I will just say that there are almost too many characters in this drama for its own good. It doesn’t really matter to me or anything just because the characters that I really care about are getting plenty of screen time, but I have to wonder why they even bothered to have quite so many side characters played by rather big name actors.
It just sort of seems redundant really….. but oh well.
Tan tries so hard to do the right thing all the time, to say the right things to Eun-sang to make her like him and be comfortable, but he still comes across as kind of unsure and awkward which I quite enjoy.
At the beginning of this episode we see his confession to Eun-sang which he does in the middle of yelling at her about Young-do (though I don’t blame him for getting worked up over Young-do’s involvement with Eun-sang).
I guess the whole conversation is a little possessive but I do think Tan does need to be proactive when it comes to wooing Eun-sang because otherwise I don’t think anything would happen ever.
Eun-sang just can’t handle it though, so in moments she is crying and uncomfortable, just totally unable to even understand how she wants to respond.
The poor girl has so many pressures on her at home with Tan’s mum and everyone else always telling her exactly what her place is, so I can definitely understand her fear and confusion when Tan insists that it doesn’t matter.
Frankly the poor girl looks so incredibly lost and stressed out I think a hug from Tan is exactly what she needed. I like the way that she sort of gave in at this point and just cried into his shoulder and let herself be comforted.
She does like him, but really has no idea what she wants or thinks about him or the crazy new situation she has found herself in at Empire High.
I really loved that moment when Tan’s mother calls Eun-sang, just highlighting that utter divide between them even further. But then Tan answers her phone himself as a way to show he doesn’t care what other people think, which is such a lovely gesture and is so well meaning, but just as punching Young-do and protecting the victim kid had uncool repercussions, this also backfires and just results in Eun-sang being lectured again about her unworthiness.
There are some great moments in this episode as we see our couple get their vibe back, engage in lovely easy banter and basically have a little fun together.
I like seeing Eun-sang relaxed with Tan, it makes such a difference to her stressed out crying and goes to show the way he is truly becoming someone she can talk to and relate to. Someone she can be friends with.
She even begins to think about him when he is not there. It makes me think she is not going to be able to fight her feelings for too much longer.
So who else hated Tan’s crazy checkered shirt with a passion?
Why oh why do these stylists insist on turning a man as good looking as Lee Min-ho into some sort of chessboard fashionista? It makes no sense to me.
But the scenes where he was wearing it are all pretty memorable.
First we get Young-do in the coffee shop telling Eun-sang that he came to be with her because he felt lonely. And it seems to me he is telling the truth considering he just came directly from being humiliated and totally choked by his arsehole father.
Eun-sang seems to think he is being genuine as well but then Tan turns up and shuts down any conversation that might have taken place. (I feel like outside school Young-do always seems so much less threatening and so much more vulnerable or something, like his power just ebbs away a tiny little bit). Eun-sang splits whilst the boys argue which is totally hilarious and Tan just warns Young-do not to touch her.
And then later at home Tan gets up the guts to go see Eun-sang in her room only for the two of them to end up hiding in the pantry from his mother, all close and quiet in the darkness.
They stay like that, with Tan pressing Eun-sang against the shelves and their faces so close until they are alone again. And then Tan begins to lean in closer with his hand holding her wrist. (Her Wrist!! Ha!)
It is such a charged moment but Eun-sang has no idea what she wants and she just looks terrified and so just before he kisses her Tan slowly pulls away. I really love him for this. I love that he clocked her reaction and didn’t want to scare her no matter how badly he wanted to kiss her.
You go Tan!
(But seriously this drama had better deliver on some exciting kisses to make up for this later!).
And then instead of Eun-sang running away in terror she and Tan spend the evening together doing homework, just being normal and having fun.
And even more awesomely, the next day Eun-sang accidentally brings up the almost-kiss in conversation and Tan answers all innocent eyes and a cheeky grin, ‘oh so we are talking about that now are we?’ Too cute!
Aaaaand then it is back to the schoolyard where Young-do is basically extremely terrifying constantly and scares Eun-sang to death every chance he possibly can.
He does like her I am now sure of that but he is so utterly twisted that he expresses this in a totally terrifying way.
But even though he is now realising his interest in her is of the romantic sense, I still don’t know if he exactly wants to date her or anything. He seems more interested in tormenting her, like a slightly more highschool bully version of pulling the girl you like’s pigtails in the playground or something. Except way more dangerous.
That scene in the canteen where Young-do forces Eun-sang to sit in the victim kid’s old seat is so hardcore because you really have no idea whether he actually wants to eat with her or if he has a much more sinister agenda, he is just so confusing that sometimes I wonder if he even knows what he really wants himself.
It is like all he knows is how to make people unhappy, uncomfortable and down right terrified. He seems to have no clue whatsoever how to interact in any other way.
What games is he playing?
Is this really just his way of expressing his interest?
And to make me even more confused as to his motives, I swear his face does fall when he realises how badly he did with Eun-sang after the cafeteria incident. He doesn’t exactly look happy that all he is ever capable of is scaring her. But it still never deters him from being even crueler the next time they meet.
Lastly there is the Tan forced kiss which closes the episode, which I guess kind of destroys all his earlier good work of making Eun-sang feel safe with him.
I am pretty keen for kisses at all times in dramas so I am not going to complain, though I do definitely prefer a mutual real kiss for a story then the forced kind which is just not all that romantic.
Hopefully though, since this is happening so early in the drama it just means that there will be many more extra romantic ones to look forward to.
Episodes 9 and 10:
Well I really enjoyed this week’s offering of Heirs, even if it was basically just a big lesson in what not to do when wooing the girl of your dreams, hosted for us by the shining examples of cluelessness, Tan and Young-do.
So enjoy, as these two idiotic boys crash their way blindly through teen romance.
This episode was very interesting, peppered with romance, hilarious yet awesome mothers, terrible (terrible terrible) fashion, and actual genuine feelings….. all starring two boys who couldn’t act any dumber if they tried!
So we begin with the forced kiss and I feel that Lee Min-ho was having trouble with the frozen peck idea because the whole thing looked rather awkward, like if he had his way he would prefer to be moving his mouth like a normal person.
And I am pretty sure Eun-sang (and every other viewer out there ever) would also have preferred to see him moving his mouth….. but alas it was just not to be.
I can only hope a frozen kiss this early on in the narrative will open the doors for a few steamy ones later. (Shh, don’t burst my bubble).
So anyway back to the kiss. It was forced and not exactly done for any romantic reason. And to be honest I don’t think even Tan looked all that pleased or satisfied with it himself.
I feel like he is trying so hard to do the right thing and that he does know somewhere inside that forced kisses and shouty orders aren’t really the correct way to go about expressing his feelings, but I also feel that he is sort of in way over his head with this stuff and can’t manage to stop himself from doing them anyway.
When you think about it, it’s not like he has any great examples to follow in the relationship department and even though he is quite a caring and sensitive guy it still doesn’t automatically mean he knows how to go about expressing his love in a normal way.
Basically he is blazing this trail himself with no one around him sane enough to ask for advice or to lead by example. So when you think about it that way, I can find the sweetness and tenderness and well meaning intentions behind his shouty declarations and physical grabbyhands.
Because seriously, this boy has no idea what he is doing, but no one can deny that he isn’t trying hard!
And, it seems Eun-sang understands this too because for the first time (well at least the first time in front of Tan) we see her resolve finally falter.
Even during that less than romantic forced kiss we see her drop her phone and relax her hands, and it didn’t look to me like it was because she was shocked or surprised. More like because she was moved, affected by his proximity and his mouth against hers.
I feel like this is a bit of a turning point for Eun-sang as finally she admits to herself that yes she does have feelings for Tan, yes she does like him. Not that it makes any real difference to her situation of course but realistically it is true that accepting how she feels won’t make her life any easier, and this is the exact reason she has indeed fought it for so long.
And that is another refreshing thing about this drama, the characters have this amazing capacity to be honest which I just so hugely appreciate.
Tan immediately recognises how he feels about Eun-sang and he tells her outright. And now that Eun-sang has also admitted her feelings to herself she is totally upfront about it to Tan as well.
No stupid unnecessary misunderstandings for this couple, just cold hard reality. Because these two have enough obstacles in their path to happiness without also adding themselves to the list.
So after the forced kiss, Eun-sang runs away in a tizzy leaving Tan alone to answer Young-do’s phone call.
And now we get around to confused and totally clueless bachelor number two. I really started to see some sort of hint at vulnerability in Young-do last week, but the whole ‘tripping Eun-sang in the lunch room’ thing really made me lose any sympathy I had going until…. this episode.
Here we see Young-do display all his usual vileness, yet it is easy to spot something else also simmering below the surface.
Basically this dude has ‘little lost boy’ syndrome and no matter how much I want to keep hating him I can already feel myself caving, because what could be more effective than taking a boy who is so completely menacingly confident of himself and his attitude and then turning him upside down and inside out.
When Eun-sang runs down the stairs to get away from Tan after their kiss, Young-do tries to physically grab her but she is seriously having none of it. She gives him this really intense angry/hurt stare before walking away and leaving him literally lost for words.
I think that in this moment, for the very first time in his entire life, Young-do actually cares that someone hates him.
Now this doesn’t automatically make him a better person or nicer, but it is an important moment nonetheless, and when we hear his friend ask him why he tripped Eun-sang on purpose (interestingly he apparently doesn’t normally pick on girls) he answers in a quiet almost shocked voice that he was curious as to what he would feel if he did it.
And sucked in, you giant douchebag! You feel terrible!
And that my friends is a welcome start in Young-do’s quest to become a real boy!
But of course then all his personal growth is quickly nipped in the bud, because suddenly some pretty manly epic guitar shredding begins and Tan turns up with a totally not-subtle flykick to Young-do’s chest, sending him flying.
So….. who ever knew watching two hot dudes bash each other up could be so damn fun? I certainly didn’t! They literally roll around on the floor until both have bloody faces and Eun-sang comes running to the rescue (as well as Tan’s fake mum) meaning all too soon the guitar shredding/floor wrestling is all over.
Eun-sang doesn’t turn up to school the next day and her absence is felt by everyone, even Young-do. But it is Tan who goes to find her and this is when the story takes another surprising step forward, because right to Tan’s face Eun-sang admits she likes him.
Tan doesn’t say a word, and initially I thought it was because he was so floored by her confession. But he just continues to silently listen to her as she tells him that it doesn’t matter what she feels, it changes nothing.
Eun-sang begins to cry and then Tan just walks away without a single word…..
But I guess he just isn’t ready to hear all the reasons they can’t be together from her as well as everyone else, so I think this reaction stems from hurt more than anything else.
So the next day when she is being harassed by some nasty girls who don’t believe she is really ‘new money’ Tan actually does what she asks and stays out of her business. ….
… for like two minutes until the girls start going too far and he opens his mouth to say protect her only to be cut to the chase by Young-do!
I am quite liking this reversal in Young-do and thought the scene where he turns up to ‘save’ Eun-sang from some overly handsy school boys in the coffee shop was great fun, ranging from hilariously embarrassing to kind of genuinely affecting.
HILARIOUS – ‘the police are here!’, unnecessary flykick to the head.
AFFECTING – ‘I like you. But you don’t like me’, quietly and awkwardly said by a Young-do unable to look Eun-sang in the eyes.
All very interesting developments.
I might also mention quickly Tan’s mum who I am beginning to love, and also her weird relationship with Eun-sang’s mother.
These two make such a great pair and I have got to say I was alternatively laughing and cheering throughout all the scenes at the parent teacher meeting. Truly awesome stuff!
And lastly for this episode, how much does Won totally deserve a smack upside the head from his pink fuzzy sweater wearing, affectionate sweetie of a younger brother?
I feel that he still thinks the world revolves entirely around him, even if he does still spend all his time being bitter because he doesn’t get everything he wants. All he cares about is himself and how hard his life is, never even thinking that perhaps it isn’t easy for Tan in that huge suffocating house either. That maybe Tan also doesn’t have the best relationship with their dad. That actually Tan could be struggling just as badly as him.
What a selfish bratface!
Seriously, he wasn’t being played by the wonderful marvellous lovely incredible Choi Jin-hyuk (one of my top 3 favourite actors ever!) then I think I might even like to give him a little slap!
So basically Young-do turns up at Tan’s house to stir trouble by using Tan’s family and his knowledge of Tan’s biological mum as his trump card.
Nice. He’s really growing as a person.
It is a pretty low move because it involves humiliating the Madame just to show he can.
Young-do is presumably spurred on by Tan daring him last episode to just go ahead and try using his knowledge about Tan’s mum to his advantage and that it wouldn’t work. But when on top of everything else, Eun-sang also turns up to create more Young-do awkwardness and mindgames, Tan finally cracks.
So what does he do?
He marches right into Young-do’s father’s office and pleasantly apologises for smacking Young-do in the face….. twice. And then he swaggers right back out of there with a smirk on his face, having totally dominated Young-do into submission so that he will never try involving their families in this private feud again.
Oh Kim Woobin! You and your excellent eyebrows have been foiled again!
But despite me obviously cheering Tan on for winning one over his totally backstabbing former friend, I still can’t help but be devastated for Young-do at the results of Tan’s meddling.
His father is a terrifying man, and despite his short stature compared to his son who towers over him, it is completely clear who holds all the power in this relationship.
There is no concern from Young-do’s father about his son being involved in a fight, there is only a terrible and dangerous anger that Young-do didn’t win. How could he be so weak as to let himself be bested by Tan twice? And this is not just disappointment over a son’s silly mistake, this is absolute pure disgust that his son is not, in his eyes, as strong as he perceives himself to be.
I don’t enjoy Young-do’s bullying ways and I certainly feel that he has some large lessons to live through and learn from, but seriously it is hard not to empathise with him when he walks away from his father blinking back tears, both at the conversation they shared and also the memories flooding his mind of the way his father treated his mother, someone who it seems has long since abandoned them both.
Tan meanwhile runs off to find Eun-sang to get their story right about them dating so as to throw Young-do off the scent that Eun-sang is actually living at his house.
Which basically translates into him asking her to date for real (or more accurately telling her…sigh). But Eun-sang isn’t having any of it.
Doesn’t he understand what that means for her if they date? That her and her mum will be thrown out on the street if Tan’s mum finds out? That when Tan gets too tired from all the trouble she will bring to his life and dumps her, he can return to his perfect life and forget about her but she will be left all alone with nothing?
She has a very real point here, and I totally understand what she is worried about, because if they do date it is Tan that will have the power.
He will be the one to dictate how long they go out, he is the one who will need to protect her and make a place for her in his world, not the other way around, meaning that Eun-sang agreeing to date him is basically putting her entire future into Tan’s hands.
She would be relying on him to an extreme level, which is a pretty scary thing to do. It means she would be leaping into a total unknown just for love.
But Tan is only hurt by her fear and her reservations, which his following words reflect;
‘I showed courage for you. But you have done nothing for me.
I thought you were a good dream, Cha Eun-sang. But you were only a bad one.’
And when he walks away, Eun-sang begins to cry because despite her words, Tan leaving her is perhaps not really exactly what she wants.
I actually felt a little bit annoyed at Eun-sang this episode, even though I do understand how terrifying it is for a girl with such a hard and realistic view of the world to make a life choice based only on love.
Eun-sang just has this capacity to be an awesome heroine, seen from her easy handling of the handsy school boys hitting on her in the coffee shop and also the way she began to stand up to Young-do at camp, but in regards to the romance I think things can get a little too stagnant and repetitive on her side.
So basically Eun-sang admitted straight out to Tan that she liked him, but also that she wanted him to leave her alone because it will never be possible for them to be together anyway.
But when he does exactly what she says, it is immediately clear that she is having second thoughts. Tan stops following her around, he stops listening to her and liking her unconditionally and basically doing everything he can to make her happy.
And this, as it turns out, doesn’t make her any happier.
Now this part I liked!
Eun-sang doesn’t let Tan ignore her.
She follows him up the staircase into the area of the house clearly not meant to be visited by people as lowly as she, and then she pauses right outside his door, warring with herself whether she is really ready to take that last step.
It seems to me that her walking into his room, her following him and chasing him, is really just her deciding to forget about the consequences that their romance might create, and instead to just follow her heart.
An idea I really enjoy.
Tan hasn’t the patience to wait for Eun-sang to enter his room though, and he caves first in their little game of reversals, returning back to his old possessive self.
At which point Eun-sang also immediately reverts back into her former mind-set, namely she starts harping on about how there are certain doors in this world that she just cannot ever cross, like for instance his bedroom door….
which she just crossed two seconds ago….
But still, I loved seeing that more proactive, more courageous and braver side of Eun-sang. I loved seeing her decide for herself what she wanted and going for it directly and making it happen for herself.
Basically though, they both revert back (at least for now) into the same groove we have been watching for quite a few episodes already now, with Tan being the chaser and Eun-sang the chased.
Though when Eun-sang goes off to school camp things change again because when she has to deal with all the stupid idiots that she attends school with alone, she begins to miss Tan (just as he planned).
But Young-do isn’t going to make anything easy for them, claiming Eun-sang as his own and alternating between tormenting her and sending her these long lingering sad glances so that I just cannot comprehend what he is about at all.
And so I guess Eun-sang is finally driven to make her decision and she calls Tan….. which of course ends in another stand off between our two main boys. Not that I am complaining.
So…. I think in some ways the story has gone a little downhill since we got into all the bullying and school stuff, though in other ways I am so completely loving it I couldn’t care less. I think all it means is that ‘Heirs’ isn’t going to be one of the most fantastic dramas of all time, but rather a total guilty pleasure, filled with gorgeous actors and actresses and enough fun, emotion and romance to get me completely hooked and obsessed!
Episodes 11 and 12:
A little bit of forward motion and a lot of circling around is what we get this week, but as always Heirs still delivers enough sweetness and intriguing characters to keep me interested and involved.
Okay so basically I guess what we get here is a huge plot arc that circles back around to exactly where it started and yet…. its all about the journey right?
Well it is for me anyway.
Which is freaking lucky, because we don’t get a huge amount of forward movement in this episode but there is definitely enough here to keep me happy.
We begin again with Young-do grabbing Eun-sang in for a forced hug for Tan’s benefit, which of course leaves Tan totally pissy. Young-do reiterates again that he likes Eun-sang in a genuine way, saying that Tan should tell her because she doesn’t seem to believe anything he says (well of course she doesn’t, you complete nong!).
This time though Young-do’s words do seem to penetrate and Eun-sang is left flabbergasted and staring after him as he walks away, perhaps for the first time registering that his attentions and torment do actually stem from real feelings.
Which just makes Tan even more pissy and he basically asks if she is having a moment, hoping to snap her out of her Young-do stupor.
Tan spends a hell of a lot of this episode being shouty actually, enough to make me miss the quiet contemplation of his America days where it seems to me he would rather say nothing at all if he didn’t have anything relevant to say.
Personally I think that being back in Korea and faced with all these things he hates; his family structure and pressure, his arranged engagement (oh yeah, did I mention he is engaged?), Young-do being crazy, all of them standing in the way of his hopes for a future with Eun-sang, well I kind of think they bring out the absolute worst in him.
And just like he acted so shocked and surprised when Eun-sang actually agreed to hang out with him that night at camp after all his shouty forcing and dragging to make her stay, I also get the impression that a lot of the time he doesn’t even expect that his actions will work.
But he certainly keeps trying and shouting all day anyway because…. what else does Tan have in his life other than Eun-sang? She is probably the realest thing he has, and I know he is not trying to be controlling of her (as seen by his rather more eloquent decision in the USA to just ask her to stay beside him etc which shows that he can be gentlemanly if given the chance) so all I can conclude is that he is still only 18 and an idiot who has absolutely no idea what he is doing, that all he knows is that he is not going to let Eun-sang go by any means.
Eun-sang on the other hand is still likeable and awesome, though sometimes drives me completely crazy too.
I liked how forward she was with (a rather shocked) Tan when they hung out all night in the woods during her camp, but I also don’t like that she told him it was a one night only deal.
Obviously that is totally not going to work, you can’t just turn this stuff on and off, girl!
Though sometimes personally I feel like they should try dating but also keeping it totally secret and avoiding repercussions until they leave highschool or something. There is so much pressure for Eun-sang to choose either way so that it ends up feeling like she is choosing between love and her family’s welfare. She is totally lured by Tan and likes him deeply but ultimately how can she choose anything but looking after her mum?
Though it seems maybe this dynamic of housekeeper’s daughter and young master might hopefully soon shift with Eun-sang planning on moving out of the house after being discovered by the Madame. T
his would be a welcome change if it happens and give our OTP something new to argue about, because if Eun-sang’s mum’s welfare doesn’t rely so heavily on the Jeguk Group then that frees our young couple up to make their own choices quite a bit.
Young-do in this episode was just as unpredictable as ever, even though little by little he is softening up (to the point where we even see him feeling guilt and regret over his lost friendship with Tan).
Yet he is still utterly crazy too, nicely highlighted by the way he actually threw Eun-sang in the pool!!
And apparently it was because he wanted to teach her a lesson about not dating Tan. Wait…. does he expect her to find this stuff attractive and start dating him instead? This boy has absolutely no sense of reality. Crazy.
Eun-sang is very rightly pissed and tells him she will get revenge….. but instead she ends up feeling sorry for him when the whole school finds out about his (and Rachel’s) family issues.
So while everyone is asking Rachel if she is okay and she is off crying into Tan’s shoulder (I actually kind of hate her but didn’t feel like Tan needed to explain his actions in comforting her… it was so obviously an awkward and not at all romantic situation), Eun-sang is the single only person in school who even seems to realise that Young-do has been affected too.
So he swaggers up to her all confidence in order to play some nasty mindgames and try and throw her off balance with his barbed words, only instead Eun-sang asks him quietly and sincerely if he is okay.
Young-do just stares at her in absolute wordless shock, for the first time losing all his savvy ability to talk and turn any situation to his favour.
And for the first time it is Eun-sang that walks away first, leaving Young-do standing frozen and staring after her for a change, not knowing what even just happened to him.
So I do feel for Young-do here as clearly it is the nicest anybody has ever been to him (and yes I know this is because he was psycho, but this boy is my guilty pleasure in this drama and my heart is totally going to bleed for him if it wants to) but it also seems to me that Eun-sang finally won a round.
She can’t beat him at his own game of being a scary manipulative douchey guy but she can sure as hell stop him in his tracks with her words of kindness. And if that isn’t showing her to have some sort of power in their weird twisted relationship then I don’t know what is.
Kill em with kindness! Yes!
So this episode Eun-sang finally seems to get more insight into Young-do and just because she is the kind of girl to be understanding of a persons difficult situation and not solely judge on their (dumb arse) actions, she begins to realise that he is lonely.
And when all the crazy shit hits the fan at Tan’s house with the Madame, she even uses him as a sort of shield against Tan.
Aaaand we basically end exactly where we started with with Young-do holding Eun-sang close to get one over on Tan…..
But it totally doesn’t work, because as Tan and Eun-sang have yet another serious debate about their lack of a future, Young-do might as well have been invisible for all the notice they take of him and his random interjections of words.
Eun-sang yet again rejects Tan which leaves him lost and upset, and in serious need of a grand gesture to make sure that Eun-sang knows he is serious about her…. but more on that later.
Young-do uses this as a chance to try and get closer to Eun-sang but like always he only ends up forcing his attentions on her which just isn’t going to ever work, and today at least Eun-sang just doesn’t have any time for him.
After harrassing her for a couple more days though he just happens to get clued in on the true identity of Eun-sang’s mother, and Eun-sang rushes back to the intersection where they were meant to meet to find him still waiting for her.
She immediately begins to accuse him of planning to tell everyone her secret and he yells back at her that he never said he would.
I quite liked this scene and although Young-do is hurt and yelling, he is not yelling at Eun-sang, which is a nice change from Tan’s shouty ordering. I thought Young-do seemed more angry at himself and worked up because he is just unable to get what he wants from this relationship and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
Obviously though if you are usually horrible to someone, you can’t just turn around and be nice and expect them to trust you suddenly…..
Yet it seems this is exactly what Young-do sincerely hoped would happen.
In saying that though, I also get the impression that he can fully understand that this situation is his problem and his fault, and that he is trying desperately to figure out how to fix it.
You can’t dude. Just leave it alone….. (or you know don’t, and let me stare at you for the rest of this drama. That is fine too)
Young-do and Tan as normal share plenty of tense (yet ultimately circling and redundant) conversations in this episode, where they threaten each other a lot and about the only interesting development that occurs is that we do start seeing a darker side to Tan at the Golf Club which makes it easier for me to imagine how much of a scary dude he was back in his heyday.
When he threatens Young-do with reverting back to that old self in order to destroy him, you can actually believe that Tan could, though Tan also makes it clear that it is not something that he wants.
In fact, by the end of their conversation it seems Tan is almost pleading with Young-do in a genuine way for his old friend to settle their fight because Tan is getting ready for a much larger and more important one.
I think Tan is over Young-do and their ridiculous fight, I think he just wants to walk away and live quietly.
He was obviously hurt and angered badly by his ex friend in the past but I also think he is over that as well and no longer cares one iota whether he ever sees Young-do again or not (the long as Young-do agrees to back off Eun-sang of course). It was Young-do’s decision to end their friendship and his choice to feud with Tan for all these years, and I get the impression Tan is pretty over it all.
Young-do on the other hand does still seem to harbour some sort of lingering feelings of regret and lost friendship towards Tan even though he does his best to antagonise him every chance he gets.
I think that Young-do knows he screwed up and knows he is the one ultimately paying for that loss of friendship and trust, but even so he has come waaay too far to back down now.
All in all a messy relationship between two boys who have way too much time on their hands and who should go study instead.
I don’t write much about Won usually, only because he doesn’t seem to have a lot going on besides being a cold bad tempered rich guy (who is very pretty!) who thinks the world is evil and totally against him.
This episode though we saw a bit of a (tiny) thaw in him for which I was grateful, as after being cold as hell like usual when he sees Tan outside the house, he then bothers to warn his little brother that their dad is meddling and to be careful to not get caught.
Its not much right, but still he didn’t have to say it, he didn’t have to try and help his brother out, and that was a slight change I really appreciated.
These two boys are so alone in their problems, problems that are so bloody similar, that it just kills me that they are fighting each other rather then their true enemy, their domineering dad.
Later we also find out from Won’s totally underused tutor girlfriend (I love this actress but she is hardcore being wasted here) that Won has often spoken about Tan to her, which leaves Tan feeling all gooey inside just to know that his brother does care.
I really adore Tan (most of the time) so I feel really happy that he heard these words, though I would definitely have preferred they came directly from Won (followed by an apology and some grovelling preferably).
So it does look as if Eun-sang and her mum are going to be leaving Tan’s home soon, which I think is a smart move to shake the drama up a bit and give us something new, but I also wonder if the Madame will let it happen?
I find myself warming to Tan’s mum more and more all the time, no matter how mean she is to Eun-sang, because seriously the poor woman is just so isolated and alone and I feel like her relationship with Eun-sang’s mum is actually really important to her.
Like a weird kind of symbiotic partnership where they do actually care about each other and rely on each other.
Odd, yet also kind of sweet.
And then we get to the end of the episode and Tan’s Big Plan, which I have got to say was something I agreed with him about wholeheartedly.
I guess I didn’t like the situation he put his mother in, getting humiliated and all that, but seriously something in that household had to give and I am glad he made his move now to break the engagement and shake things up.
That last scene outside Eun-sang’s workplace was quite lovely too.
Eun-sang has spent her entire shift flustered because of Tan’s mini kiss attacks earlier on (which weren’t passionate but were still sweet in a nice and non-threatening way) and so freezes when she sees him standing waiting for her again in the dark.
(At first I thought it would be Young-do waiting for her for some reason and the relief that it was in fact Tan just goes to show I am still shipping the right couple n this drama). This little scene was a nice throwback to the early days of their romance where they had these moments of connection through wordless stares and exchanges, something that felt quite meaningful and moving compared to all their more recent bickering back and forth.
This was a low moment for Tan. He has just done something huge that he could never have dreamed of before he met Eun-sang and he has no idea what is going to happen next.
FURTHER THAN THE MIDDLE
Episodes 13 and 14:
Oooh, lots of changes this week as our characters learn a little and grow a little and even more importantly, make some real decisions!
Bring it on I say!
Oh what a totally fun episode! We get so many reversals to both characters and story this week that it really freshens things up.
Starting with Eun-sang’s hug.
Her decision, her choice, her move. Perfect.
So it turns out that after spending so many episodes trying so hard to win Eun-sang over, all Tan really had to do was appeal to her compassionate side. Stop telling her why she should be with him and just show her. As in turn up outside her workplace with a gut wrenchingly heartbroken expression on his pretty face and watch her resolve to keep away from him just crumble away.
After all the problem was never whether she liked Tan or not, it was about what she was willing to endure to be with him, so half the battle was always already won.
And it turns out that reminding Eun-sang of her true feelings by making her realise just how much she cares for Tan and wants to protect him from ever again feeling as hurt and sad as he clearly did right moment, was just the key to getting Eun-sang to admit to herself that she does really want him.
Now Eun-sang is such a cool heroine when she is making her own choices and taking initiative herself. That is why this hug really speaks volumes to me, because it lays bare her true feelings for Tan and gives her control of the situation by providing him with comfort for a change.
The moment is really quite lovely as at first he reels with shock before lowering his head into her neck and soaking up the fact that she really does care whether he is happy or not. She cares about him, and only him. Not his future in the business, not his money or his good family or society blood.
She wants him to be okay and that is all.
I can’t even imagine how shocking it would be for someone like Kim Tan to come across a person who cares for him in the way that Eun-sang does, sincerely and with no agendas. I doubt he has ever even witnessed anything like that in his life, let alone experienced it. And that is why this moment is so special. Because it signifies the moment when Tan and Eun-sang are meeting half way, finally on the same page so they can fight these battles together, supporting each other.
So the first big change of this episode is without a doubt Eun-sang.
She fully makes the choice to be with Tan and she finally recognises how much she cares for him. It is a scary decision to make of course but boy am I glad she did, not only for the sweet romance and hijinks that come next, but also because it seems to mark the return of spunky Eun-sang. Gone is the moping and sadness, to make way for a stronger feisty girl who can not only take care of herself but Tan as well.
Or at least not take any crap from him which is just as good.
It turns out that all Eun-sang needed to become the awesome heroine we always knew was in there, was the chance to finally decide what she wanted.
Tan I guess already began his big turn around last episode with his decision to stop procrastinating and just go for it in regards to the engagement.
He is a brave guy, especially when we begin to see the true fallout of his choice, with Tan getting kicked out of the house. (Leading to a fun scene where Eun-sang smacks him for taking a taxi even though he has no money. I feel he still has a little to learn…).
He only furthers this though when he attempts to abolish the whole ‘social welfare seat’ bullying tactic at school. Apparently he created this awful tradition so he can sure as hell break it too and I just love watching the social ‘rules’ at the school get turned topside as everyone gets all worked up about what Tan is or isn’t allowed to do.
This school seriously needed a shakeup and I am so proud of Tan for being the one brave enough to do it. To stand up for the weak and the lowest in the hierarchy even if those victims aren’t always that nice either.
It’s this understanding that things need to change that I love so much about him, and now he has started moving forward and being courageous he seems to feel the need to keep moving and keep pushing the boundaries as much as possible. Which is awesome!
As a random aside, this episode we got a little peek through the cracks into what is happening inside of Hyo Shin. Normally such an inscrutable and flippant character, I must say that what we saw was a bit scary. He is totally not okay.
‘How far will you go? Do I really need to die?’
His scary Mother;
‘You still think your bluff with your life will work? I will never let you give up on yourself. Never’.
We know from his earlier conversations with the other students that he is planning something, and although I know he told Tan he wouldn’t I actually feel quite horrified that he still might kill himself, because that body outline at the school which was hovering around in the background of that scene where Tan calls Hyo Shin all worried about him, well it can’t mean anything good.
It was interesting seeing another side to Hyo Shin this episode, the true side of him that is slowly ripping apart at the seams. He is clearly not going to be able to hold on for much longer.
Which seriously scares me.
Now finally we come to Young-do.
You know at the beginning of this episode I was thinking that Young-do isn’t actually so bad anymore. He is learning, trying harder to do the right thing etc etc.
And for awhile I felt it was true. At the start of the episode he seemed to be hanging back and I thought it was almost as if he was studying Tan, trying to understand him and figure out why he had made the decision he did about revealing his parentage. Almost like it fascinated Young-do but was too far beyond him to make heads or tales of it.
And then he even seemed to lose a bit of his bite, becoming less all-terrifying and even a little bit toothless. When he showed up to torment Tan he was just easily brushed aside and dismissed, his threats empty and non substantial. (Like for instance the hotel drawing he did of Tan to stop him getting a room, which by the way was redonkulously hilarious! Ha! Amazing!)
So basically what happened was I got lulled into believing our raging bully had been turned into a cute little puppy….which was obviously a totally stupid thing to think.
Because Young-do got worse.
So it starts at the coffee shop where he pays (ahem…so uncool) to get a date with an unwilling Eun-sang. But then he goes from annoying and cocky to completely awkward and embarrassing, until Eun-sang does the mature thing and tells him (not unkindly) that she must reject him.
She tells him she is sorry and I believe she means it. But Young-do immediately turns into a petulant hurt child again, saying he can’t bully her anymore because it will break his heart but that he will bully everyone else instead!
And then we get the closing scene. I am not sure what his agenda here is, I really don’t know.
Is it to get time alone with Eun-sang? Is it for his last chance to be close to her?
Is it just another game he wants to win against Tan?
Is it really, like he says, a way to hurt both himself and Tan? What does that even mean?
Is it that he wants to punish Tan for getting the girl by making Tan afraid of losing her and thus forcing his ex-friend to hurt Young-do as a result? Because Young-do wants to be punished? Or because he hopes to turn Tan back into the monster he used to be as a final revenge, the monster that Young-do knows he himself became in Tan’s absence…?
I have no fucking idea so I give up.
So I think this is the episode where Young-do finally breaks. And it all starts with this scene.
This plan is Young-do’s last ditch effort to lash out and cause true pain. Eun-sang’s rejection has hurt him so indescribably and left him with nowhere else to turn.
He can’t get revenge on her because she wasn’t cruel, she was honest and genuinely apologetic to him, which only makes it worse. Young-do is really such a mess, so hurt, so angry and frustrated that he just wants to create more pain to make this terrible true feeling go away.
So he scares Tan into thinking he will really hurt Eun-sang so that Tan will hurt Young-do as revenge, hurt him badly.
It is what Young-do wants, to feel real pain because anything would be better than the slow feeling of awareness that he has caused this whole situation himself. Tan hates him because Young-do let him down, and Eun-sang likes someone else and not Young-do because Young-do was indescribably cruel to her. And Young-do knows it.
And so as a last ditch effort to create mayhem and to cause hurt to himself and Tan, just enough to dull all the other emotions he feels, Young-do makes Tan so angry that I actually thought Tan would kill him.
But Eun-sang holds him back thankfully and we get this charged moment where Tan is standing frozen holding the chair he was about to smash down onto Young-do’s head, staring in fury but slowly registering Eun-sang’s reasoning, whilst Young-do just stares at her in shock that even after everything he has done she still wants to save him, and knowing she is only getting further and further away from him.
Now this is a true love triangle moment if ever I saw one!
After Eun-sang leaves, Tan and Young-do share a conversation that really effects Young-do and I think this is the moment he gives up and gives in.
I think it is over.
He is filled with so much rage and hate for everyone around him but his actions are his own and there is no one else to blame. He is just totally messed up inside.
It is actually quite sad.
This episode also features the unfortunate development of boring evil and irredeemable (at least in my opinion) Rachel finding out the truth about Eun-sang and using it to scheme and plot and humiliate.
She has the gall to tell Eun-sang that if she herself cannot have Kim Tan then no one can and she will destroy him too, only to then turn around and look shocked and hurt when Tan tells her he is done with her and that she is no longer his friend. It is like she honestly expects Tan to witness Eun-sang’s humiliation and then suddenly wake up and see her the way Rachel does, that Eun-sang is below him and just a classless poverty-stricken silly girl.
Which is crazy!
She honestly honestly believes that her actions will lead Tan back to her, which in a way makes her the worst of the bunch because at least Young-do has always somewhere deep inside understood that he was fucked up, but Rachel believes truly that she is justified in her actions, that she is doing the right thing.
She doesn’t learn and she doesn’t change. I kind of really hate her a lot… (and also can I just point out how totally awesome it was to see Eun-sang giving Rachel a well deserved slap and refusing to be reduced to a wimpy charity case in front of her. Very cool!)
I really loved the climax of this episode, it had so many elements to it that really worked.
I liked the way Eun-sang uses Rachel’s plotting to her own advantage, by finally revealing her true origins herself. I think it was definitely the best possible way to stop these people from constantly threatening her with the truth, just reveal it herself.
And I liked what she said to Tan about it too, that she was never once ashamed of her origins, or been at all embarrassed of her poverty, only the fact that she lied. It is so true that being honest about herself was the best decision she could make to undermine Rachel. Because it changes nothing. Tan still loves her.
The people that matter to her like Bo Na and Chan-young (whom I both adore by the way) still care either way. Her life might be harder in some ways at school but I don’t think Eun-sang cares. In her own way she destroys Rachel by taking away her power and showing Rachel that Tan doesn’t care what Eun-sang has or doesn’t have, he only cares about her.
What a blow!
That moment that Tan and Eun-sang share at the end of the episode was so lovely. He just stares at her in that serious piercing way that he has, like she is the most beautiful precious thing he has ever seen, right in front of the whole class, and he doesn’t care one bit what anyone else thinks. What could possibly be more romantic than that?
Meanwhile back to Young-do, I think by the end of this episode he has come completely undone. Gone is the confidence and bravado, he is drained and empty and actually quite pitiful.
Which kind of breaks my heart.
Especially that scene where he offers to help Eun-sang if she needs him to, only to get the reply that she already has enough black knights. Eun-sang is never cruel when she dismisses him but nonetheless she is telling him that she doesn’t need him. Because she has Tan.
And then at the party Young-do watches from the darkness as Tan basically lays himself on the line for Eun-sang in front of the whole school, as they share this deep moment of swoony connection where the whole world ceases to exist for them, and it breaks Young-do’s heart.
It actually kind of killed me a little.
Episodes 15 and 16:
The cuteness overload we get from the Eun-sang / Tan / Young-do threesome is impossibly charming and quite hilarious too! Basically we get one light episode, filled with funny sweet moments and an adorable Young-do and then one heavier episode where things really start to come to a head in regards to the whole family drama.
Tan is a proactive decision maker this week in regards to his future.
He isn’t planning on just sitting idle whilst his dad pulls all the strings for him (if only Won was as smart). He is still an utter romantic bleeding heart though despite this new found strength which I just adore about him, his hope that no matter what hurtful things Won says, his brother will still one day love him just breaks my heart. Even the way he is so forgiving of Young-do shows that really all Tan wants is for everyone to get along.
Which is a pretty damn cool thing to want really.
He sees everyone’s games and manipulative machinations and doesn’t understand the point. He really truly can’t understand why everyone can’t just get along.
What a guy!
We start again with Tan and Eun-sang’s rather romantic forehead kiss, all lit up as the centre of attention like some kind of prom king and queen.
Furious and totally foiled, Rachel runs off and finds Hyo Shin to plant a big wet one on him in front of the class. I think she is tying to ruin Tan’s friendship with Hyo Shin by causing trouble between the two boys, but she really is sadly unaware of her own significance as neither really care at all.
Hyo Shin does use the opportunity to try and make his tutor love jealous though, and when she turns up to see him and Rachel kissing he stares at her really awkwardly with one eyeball whilst locking lips with Rachel, which is totally not obvious or embarrassing at all…. I think he and Rachel are actually going to get together right? Weird.
Hyo Shin it turns out, never did his big exam, a fact his parents seem oddly creepily okay with as they play happy understanding parents, but the noose just gets tighter when his dad says he can just go to law school next year…
And Hyo Shin cracks a little further.
Meanwhile Eun-sang and Tan are having a grand old time, basically acting like loved up happy teenagers, which is a nice development because that is exactly what they are.
I am loving the cuteness and the bantering we get with this pair because it reminds you why they are together in the face of all this trauma. They really genuinely like eachother and both are happier and more content with their difficult lives when spending time together.
This cuteness also extends to Young-do who, excepting one single moment where he tries to remind Eun-sang that he isn’t her friend to just chat with about Kim Tan and that he isn’t on Tan’s side, he spends most of the episode doing exactly that; being Eun-sang’s friend and helping Tan.
Which was kind of fantastic.
My favourite scene would most definitely have been the coffee shop study session where Eun-sang is getting up both boys for somehow all ending up on the same team for their school project. It is absolutely hilarious the way she parks them down with juices to watch a movie (she doesn’t think they are capable of reading the book) but they spend the entire time just staring at her instead. Both of them.
It was hysterical to see her shooting eye daggers at them when they both jump up to protect her from a sassy customer and the whole scene gave us a fantastical introduction to these three as tentative slightly uncomfortable friends rather than raging enemies.
And I liked it! Hardcore!
One thing I liked about Young-do in this episode was that you can really see that he and Tan are close friends at the heart of it. They understand eachother and would work so well as allies if they would allow it. And when it comes down to it, Young-do does come rushing to Tan’s rescue when he most needs it, and I don’t think it was because of Eun-sang either. Helping Tan rebel against his father only helps Tan step closer to Eun-sang, so I think when Young-do helps him he does it for Tan alone.
He makes a big deal about a favour being owed but I think really he just likes Tan. It is as simple as that.
Some totally random notes:
- Why does Tan have to wear such awful stuff? That blue fuzzy turtle neck sweater thing was really disturbing, though it did look like a pretty comfortable and warm woolly hug for Eun-sang. I could barely see either of them for all the fuzzy wool that was floating around in that scene.
- Can you imagine how crap it would be to be employed as one of these silly self-important highschool kid’s chauffeurs? You would have to wait around for hours outside random girl’s houses as your employer pines over them, and then follow them sneakily (in a huge car!) as the girl walks slowly around the streets doing nothing, or even get up at dawn to wait around and take said random girl to school. I don’t get it…all these boys can drive, so why don’t they just drive their own cars around? Surely that is cooler…?
- I hate Tan’s father. I want to punch him in the face.
- That is all!
And then we come to the Noble Sacrifice.
So Tan finds out that Eun-sang has agreed to leave Tan and go overseas, and frankly he is rightfully pissed.
Yes I know she has been threatened but I just don’t get why she has to do what this old Chairman is telling her? Why is she forced to choose one of these two stupid options he is laying out for her? Am I missing something?
Yes I know he is scary and rich or whatever, but I still don’t get why Eun-sang is being forced to do what he wants. It frustrates the absolute hell out of me that she truly seems to believe she is doing it for Tan’s own good. She is not. She is scared and feeling threatened and that is it.
So Tan is quietly sitting in his room like a prisoner until Secretary Yoon turns up to let him know Eun-sang is off to study overseas. And Tan totally flips out, some of it good and some of it bad.
First he marches right into his stupid dad’s office wearing his school uniform and reclaims his phone. He calls his pretend mum to come pick him up and because he is now a major shareholder the stupid woman comes running (though she does mention he now owes her favor…geez these people!).
So Tan makes his first move, and he is no longer messing around. No one touches his Eun-sang!
But the problem is that underneath all his smooth decisive action, Tan is really badly hurt that Eun-sang would plan to go along with his dad’s plan and not even bother to tell him about it.
To him it shows that she doesn’t trust him, she doesn’t believe he can help her or look after her, which makes him feel inadequate.
And I kind of agree with him in this case, I can understand why he is so furious. It makes him feel like he is all alone in their relationship, doing everything he can to make it work whilst the other person he is doing it for doesn’t even believe in a shared future together.
I think his words…
‘Do you even like me?’
…pretty much sums up his feelings in this. And I felt pretty sorry for him in this scene. It was a betrayal of sorts in my opinion and Eun-sang failed her first real test.
But then Tan has to go get all massively possessive about her, stealing her passport so she can’t leave and yelling at her to basically do everything he says.
Its not very romantic, but I also feel like Tan gets this way because he has no control over his life, because he feels like everything is slipping through his fingers, and also because he is a stupid teenage boy who has no real power.
Personally getting yelled at is not really a turn on for me, but I try not to hold it against Tan, first because it would be harder to enjoy this fun drama if I did, and secondly because I don’t think this possessive controlling side of Tan is really who he wants to be.
Obviously it is no excuse for his behaviour, but I think if Tan hadn’t been driven into this corner he wouldn’t have lashed out. I think he wants to be better than that, but because he is still young and has no clue what he is doing he can’t help himself.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t see Tan continuing on this possessive controlling path forever, I can’t see him for example turning out like Young-do’s crazy dad when he gets older, I rather see this side of Tan dying down with age as he becomes milder and better at handling himself in stressful situations.
I dunno, maybe that is just my way of explaining away some unsavoury behaviour but it is how I am reading this situation.
So that brings us to the kiss, which had a pretty aggressive beginning on Tan’s side being at the climax of an argument filled with anger and frustration, and I am not even sure if Eun-sang is struggling at the beginning or just passionately going for it.
I know she certainly gets into it before the end. Her and Tan have been dancing around eachother for months and months now, surely any normal teenage girl would have been dying to share a passionate kiss with the boy she is crazy about.
I guess I would have preferred a more romantic kiss not stemming from an argument/lecture, definitely still passionate and sexy but perhaps a little bit more loving and little less like proving a point.
I think Tan has a hard time this episode.
For one thing he is a lot busier than usual which leaves Young-do to step up and fill his shoes with Eun-sang.
I really liked that Tan trusts Young-do with this, despite his past behaviour and I can really see these two guys patching things up and becoming close again. I liked the scene where Young-do plans on staying longer alone at the noodlebar where he once missed seeing his mum, and Tan just quietly tells him he shouldn’t sit in that place alone.
It is such obvious concern about Young-do not wallowing in those awful memories that even Young-do is taken aback, realising that perhaps Eun-sang isn’t the only person who truly cares about him despite all the awful things he has done. Young-do is still someone that matters to Tan even after everything that has happened. He cares about him, another shock to Young-do as his world slightly shifts again. He is not as alone as he thinks himself to be.
Meanwhile Tan is off fighting his family in an attempt to protect Eun-sang. Everything he does stems from his need to keep her as part of his life, and it is so sad that he finally has to admit to himself just how truly stupid his family is. All this time he has been hanging onto the hope that at least Won would see reason, that maybe somewhere deep down his father does care for him as a son and not just as an investment to create discord with Won and further the company.
But finally Tan breaks.
He offers Won everything. And Won is such a fool that he can’t even see that by being so incessantly cruel and distrustful he is creating the exact type of enemy that he has always been trying to avoid. And you can see it unexpectedly hurts him too when he sees his kind sweet brother suddenly shift into a stranger that hates him, that it was never quite what he wanted to do to Tan, that his mistakes are now becoming clearer to him.
And about time!
Won is such an idiot that a good wallop to the head emotionally is just what he needs to wake up from his stupid paranoid complex. All he does is spend his time driving away the people who truly unconditionally love him, and when he finally realises that he needs them, he needs their love and support to survive, it will be far too late.
That scene where he visits tutor girl is quite heartbreaking, because it makes me think about just how awful it would be for her to be in love with Won.
There is nothing she can do to fall out of love with him, and he clearly does love her too, but he is unwilling to take the last step and have a real public relationship, he is too scared of losing what he has and doesn’t understand that in the process of protecting his position, he will lose the one thing that matters most.
And I think that is why he is so utterly blown away by Tan’s statement that absolutely everything Tan is doing is for Eun-sang, so they can be together in the future.
The way Tan tells Won never to scoff and say he is doing it ‘only’ for a girl really affects Won, because in this case he is seeing something in his younger brother that he has never seen in himself, the future he could have fought for if he had been willing to put his tutor girl before all the other things in his life. But he didn’t, so he is losing her.
It is sad because the pain in his face when he confronted her was real, the idea that she would stick around to watch his failure so unbearable to him that he tried to send her far away.
Just like Tan, Won isn’t right in the way he deals with this woman he loves, but it does stem from a sense of self-loathing and lack of self belief. It doesn’t make his actions better, but maybe I can try to understand him just a little.
Now Tan is doing everything he can to hold onto Eun-sang, he buys her an apartment in a very beautiful scene where he apologises for being bad at doing these things, for not knowing properly how to look after her. He promises seriously and quietly that he will get better at it and my heart just melts.
He is once again trying so hard for Eun-sang, to keep her beside him and hold onto her, to provide her with the sort of life he believes she deserves, he is doing everything within his power for her, perhaps clumsily and awkwardly and sometimes roughly, but he really is trying to do the right thing.
But Eun-sang is planning to bow to his father.
She is planning to leave.
And even worse is the fact that she seems to think she is doing it for Tan himself. Tan, who has put everything on the line for her, to be with her, is going to be left all alone.
I understand it is a lot of pressure for Eun-sang to think that Tan has broken away from his family and given up his future because of her, but she has to realise Tan was never happy before. In a sense he is doing all of this for Eun-sang, but really I think she has just given him the courage to do it all for himself.
For the first time in his life he is acting the way he believes is right, he is trying to create a better future for himself that doesn’t involve either exile or constant manipulation from his father, and what does Eun-sang do? She walks away and leaves him isolated and alone, believing he can’t do anything right, he can’t protect anyone, he is useless and a fool.
He has finally accepted the fact that his brother doesn’t love him, that his father only wants to use him. And then on top of everything else Eun-sang just walks away, essentially choosing his father over him.
She lets him down.
And there is no one there to pick up the pieces as Tan breaks down alone in the empty apartment he tried to give her, a symbol of the uselessness of his love.
THE HEIRS ENDING
Episodes 17 and 18:
Well I am not really a fan of the enforced separation for no reason, or the Noble Sacrifice that dramas love to pull out towards the end of their runs, and really this week I was hard pressed to tell who was nobly sacrificing themselves for whom and why.
It was pretty redonkulous. B
Mmmh well this is the episode where we see Tan break, and its pretty depressing.
So I am going to admit I felt a level of annoyance with Eun-sang for the running away thing. I don’t like that she planned it all by herself and didn’t bother to let Tan know, as if she is somehow in the dark as to how he feels about her. And I think it brings me back to last week when Tan asked her, “do you even like me?”
Because, yeah, do you?
Cos you’re not being particularly thoughtful about all this!
I can see why Eun-sang is having a hard time, I really can, but she was the one who decided to take Tan’s hand, she was the one who agreed to fight for what she wanted, but then just like Young-do holding Eun-sang over the swimming pool and then letting her fall, Eun-sang lets go.
And you think she would know better!
I think its meant to be a noble sacrifice because she can see how difficult everything is becoming for Tan as he fights to be with her. But again like I have mentioned before Tan isn’t really doing it all for Eun-sang, she was just the cataclysmic event that gave him the courage to do what he wanted for himself.
Which means Eun-sang basically took a guy who, in order to protect himself, couldn’t care less about anything or anybody (except maybe his brother) and she woke him up, gave him air and a taste of the life he could lead if he was willing to fight for it, and then to protect him she walks away leaving him an utter mess.
I feel like what she did here was terrible, not the moving away bit exactly, but the way she blindsided him and let him believe he could help her, the fact that she didn’t tell him what was happening.
But then contrary to my own beliefs that Eun-sang has really screwed up, Tan is just angry with his father, and then finally with himself because he feels like he destroyed what little life Eun-sang scraped together.
Frankly I don’t think this is Tan’s fault.
Sure he can be an idiot but he has never lied and said being with him would he easy or a walk in the park….
So anyway Tan and Young-do are clearly going to leave school and join the police as detectives (although neither could realistically handle others ordering them around so maybe a private eye service instead? I would watch that drama!) because they both track down Eun-sang’s whereabouts in, like, two minutes.
Young-do barrels down there and forces himself into Eun-sang’s new life saying he will visit again. He gives her a seriously intense hug which makes it seem like:
A) they were actually dating before she left
B) she has been gone longer than two minutes
But it is very exciting so I like it anyway!
Tan also finds Eun-sang but because he now believes everything is his own fault he doesn’t visit her.
First he gives in to his brother and tells Won to look after Eun-sang (Won is clearly totally disturbed by this change of heart… I wish you hadn’t needed to see your brother break so realise you actually like him Won!) And then Tan goes to say goodbye to Eun-sang, also deciding to perform a noble sacrifice and leave her alone for her own good.
If all of this is for everyone’s own good then why does everyone looks so bloody sad!!
And during this exchange Tan just looks so heartbreakingly sad, and yet I can’t take him seriously because of his embarrassing snow-white coat, the latest in Tan’s trail of fashion blugs…..
Anyway, Eun-sang yells at him to leave her alone and that he has does nothing but bother her since they first met. Which is totally over the top and cruel.
And Tan believes her.
And then we see a montage where he sinks further and further downhill until he ends up a blubbering ruined drunk wreck on a street in town, with Young-do alternating between holding him back for Tan’s own good and smashing him in the face with his fist. Tan gets few good ones in too and they both end up sprawled on the road exhausted.
Tan is so clearly fucked that it is obvious even Young-do is pretty worried, but then Tan tells his (sort of) friend that he can have her, Young- do can have Eun-sang!
Which is a pretty bloody low moment really.
I don’t really get it because this episode Won goes to visit Eun-sang in her new seaside town and he tells her that she should use her upcoming exams as an excuse to go back to school in Seoul, meaning she gets to stay beside Tan.
if she could just head back to Seoul whenever she wanted what was she doing saying cruel words to Tan to get him to back off and being so intimidated by his father that she had to run away?
I mean, what has changed in that situation that makes it suddenly different and okay for her to return? Because Won gave her permission? Because she realised she was destroying Tan? Because she just wanted to?
Maybe I am missing something here but I feel if the situation was so incredibly bad that she felt she needed to run away and leave Tan hanging and emotionally wrecked, then it should have been a little more than just a change of heart that brought her back.
Because really nothing is different about her and Tan’s situation at all, except now she has let him down severely when he needed her and also she has to commute for hours to get to school each day.
Personally if I was Tan I would have been a little pissy when she just turns up again without any explanation or apology, yes I would have been happy too, but also very pissy.
But Tan is apparently not as petty as me and is just relieved Eun-sang has returned. His words to her are: “You left.” Spoken in such a matter of fact but wounded way really broke my heart. But soon enough they are playing happy couples again and preparing themselves for the big fight ahead with Tan’s dumb dad….. which is basically what they were doing before Eun-sang decided to run away.
I kind of wish they had gone with a nice time jump here, so we could catch up with all the characters after highschool and discover what is next for them all but oh well, it was not meant to be. And at least for our young couples sake, their separation was short lived.
I liked Young-do very much in this episode. It is like all the years of squashing down his emotions and pain and vulnerability are finally coming to a head, with everything, every little regret all bubbling back up to the surface at once.
My favorite scenes this episode were the quiet Young-do ones, moments that really broke my heart:
- The scene where he eats a meal made with love by Eun-sang’s mum, fighting back tears as he feels a mothers care and concern for the first time in years.
- That moment when he first sees Eun-sang at school again and he just walks right by her without a word, knowing without a doubt that the reason she has come back is not him.
- The scene where he takes Eun-sang to fulfill her promise of eating noodles with him, understanding that he is using his one last reason to be beside her and that after this they are done. The way he jokes he is breaking up with her but really he is so hurt and only trying to preserve what little strength he has left by requesting they not speak anymore. He doesn’t say it in a cruel way, more like he is trying to hold himself together.
- And finally, the way he addresses Tan’s mum when she comes to look for her son at the school, that mixture of embarrassment and regret, trying now to be as polite as possible to awkwardly make up for his former cruelness.
Frankly it was all very sad, like Young-do is only holding on by his fingernails, set to he swept away at any moment.
Episodes 19 and 20 (Final):
Well there you go, the end.
Bring on the cuteness! !
So it turns out all Tan really had to do was go public with Eun-sang in front of everyone, giving his father no real choice but to grudgingly accept them.
Pretty freaking simple but also pretty effective.
And on a side note I must say I liked the way Won was staring at them during the party, shocked by his brother’s daring actions for sure, but I am guessing more than a little impressed too. And maybe he can see in Tan what he should have been doing all along himself.
Tan has always been braver than Won, in the way he deals with their father, in the way he goes after what he wants and even in the way he was so loving to Won all those years even in the face of such cruelty.
It takes a special kind of bravery to risk your heart and it is something that Won clearly does not possess.
After this it is all just cute couple stuff, Eun-sang and Tan making up for lost time and being super adorable.
It’s interesting because I enjoy watching all the cute adorable stuff so much but I can never find much to write about it, except that it is totally awesome!!
Young-do is really a changed man now, standing up for Rachel in the cafeteria and finally beating his dad without cheating, which I guess signifies he now understands he doesn’t necessarily want to be like his father and will therefore go his own way.
Good thing too because it looks like his father’s empire is falling apart.
That scene where Young-do asks his dad where his mother is, is really just so sad. He seriously looks like he is about to cry.
But then luckily he manages to get her address out of thin air anyway so its all good….
I think Young-do’s journey has really all been for this one moment, meeting his mother again. Can you imagine if he had gone to see her acting like he used to? He probably would have said some truly cutting and cruel words to her which would only have damaged them both.
If he had even been able to get up the guts to go see her that is, something I actually highly doubt only because I think Young-do always had enough self-awareness to understand his mother wouldn’t have been proud of him or the way he used to act.
But now she can be, because he has changed so incredibly much.
I really liked that end scene with Young-do and Tan brooding on the roof. It’s so obvious these guys are so alike in so many ways. Don’t fight it guys!! Feel the love!!
And Tan’s stupid dad…. is it bad that I sort of felt it served him right to get a brain attack all by himself in his enormous house after driving everyone away? He is clearly going to finally realise that all these people he has been manipulating are all he’s got, and because he has been so busy playing them all off eachother he hasn’t seen the bigger picture, which is of course that the stupid chairwoman and her stupid fake long hair are attempting a take over.
Well here is the very last episode of Heirs.
I don’t know how I feel really except I think Won’s sad little ending really threw me as to be honest I was expecting some sort of redemption for him that would end with him being happy with his family again as well as getting the girl.
It seems to me to be a very heartbreaking ending if he can learn the value of his brother and family but still never choosing love over his business.
It is a difficult one because as a viewer we are never shown whether Won’s decision to marry the heiress comes from a real need to protect the company or not, so without all the details surrounding that situation it is hard to know if perhaps Won would have still won the vote even without going that far.
But it was the decision he thought necessary to make, so whether right or wrong it is what he chose.
And what he must now live with, which basically entails him alone in his office crying every night.
Oh my gosh, I feel so sad.
Actually I thought it was interesting that there were so many loose ends in this finale, though in another sense I suppose that is a more realistic portrayal of life. Usually things don’t end with a neat little bow so I can see why a lot of the kid’s stories are left open-ended and without real resolution.
I suppose in a way it is fitting.
Young-do is left in a terrible place with his father hauled off to prison but hopefully he is a better stronger person now and he will manage to endure whatever comes his way.
I really liked that he decided it was necessary to apologise to that kid he traumatised and I like even more that the kid didn’t accept it. It was again a very real moment with no easy answer and what Young-do did in many ways shouldn’t be forgiven and forgotten.
That kid will live with those scars for the rest of his life and so should Young-do too. It is only fair.
And yet the effort he made and the bravery it would have taken to go apologise was a huge moment for Young-do as he chooses a better path. You know he is going to be okay, that he can understand the difference between right and wrong now and build himself a better future.
I guess I liked the scene with Young-do’s mother but I felt annoyed at her that she worked somewhere in Seoul all those years and never bothered to look up her son, only seeing him when he happens to find her randomly. I think although Young-do wasn’t a good guy back then he still needed her and she wasn’t there.
I also thought their hug was weird because it was like she was taking all the comfort from him instead of giving it, and I think because she is the one who left and didn’t bother to contact him for years she should be giving him some motherly caring and love and not the other way around.
I think I am just being picky but I felt the dynamic was all wrong and I wanted her to hug Young-do and apologise and tell him everything would be alright.
Only Tan and Eun-sang really got a wrapped up ending but that is only appropriate as it was really their story all along.
I liked Tan’s little dream for the future, and I liked even more the fact that we will never know if it was real or not. Too be honest I don’t think it was, I think it’s the future he dreams of with everyone happy and getting along, his mum back home and his dad loving and alive.
None of it seems very likely but that is Tan for you, he is a dreamer.
And by being a dreamer he makes a future like the one he described with Eun-sang all the more possible, because he isn’t like Won and he won’t ever give up for anything.
I think he and Eun-sang at least will grow into that future vision of themselves and be together.
And that’s enough.
I can’t tell them to you because I am too exhausted from writing such a long review and recap!
So here are my questions for you:
- Did you hate or love Young Do?
- Do you agree that Kim Woobin’s eyebrows are quite exciting?
- Did you like the amazing cheesiness of the American scenes?
- Do you love Choi Jin-hyuk? (and if not, why on earth not!!??)
- What are your thoughts on the noble sacrifice trope?
Thank you for reading, please feel free to leave a comment below!
LEE EVIE is a podcaster, blogger and author of dark historical fiction set in old Korea. Discover Lee Evie’s historical fiction novels by clicking on the images below!