And… I’m suffering from emotional whiplash. Episode 5 was filled up full with the cute and the funny. But episode 6 made me dangerously grumpy. I’m hoping there’s some changes afoot because if this is the world we’re expected to soak in for the foreseeable future my grumpiness will only grow.
But let’s talk about the good stuff first: [Spoilers below]
I loved Tan’s game of hide-and-seek with Eun-sang. That he came this close to hiding under the table. And that he actually pulled a “plastered-to-wall / you can’t see me!” move. So adorable!
But then he did finally reveal himself as the household’s second-son, and in his own way… I admired his willingness to move quickly so he could tell Eun-sang gently.
(And I admired the drama for treating their stark social differences as a barrier. Because, unless you’re living in a fairytale world, it is.)
I loved the continued mirroring of Won and Tan. That they’re both attracted to the same kind of girl. And — the not-as-pleasant mirroring — that they’re both being spied on by their dad. I’m hoping that, at some point, the two of them will realize they’re stronger together. (I think it will need to be Won’s epiphany since Tan’s already wearing his “Hyung’s #1!” t-shirt. Of course, as we learn in grumpy-episode 6, Bad-Daddy Kim has been using Tan as a way to threaten Won, so…
…Won has his reasons. I would really like to see him cut Bad-Daddy’s puppet-strings though. Embracing Tan as an ally might be the first step.)
I was intrigued by Tan having to transform into a giant ass as soon as he appeared at school. That he had to mask himself to make sure he got slotted into the right power position (the top) was interesting. And that he had to be a jerk to achieve it was… disturbing. Not a place he can just skate through.
And then there was his standoff with Young-do coupled with Eun-sang’s visual illustration of the dangers of texting while walking. A thrilling ending that had me beyond eager for the next episode.
Unfortunately… I wasn’t as thrilled by the next episode. I really, really hate the school’s social structure. I mean, it seriously gets under my skin in a very not fun way. (It breaks all the basic social rules I was raised with — like a place that encourages students to beat up the elderly or something. Everything cruel and society-destroying, not to mention rude and gauche, is going on at that high school.)
One big saving grace is I think we’re supposed to be disgusted and disturbed by the way this school is run. (I hope so, anyway!) The top dogs are this close to being full on monsters. Tan is obviously unhappy about the world he’s reentering, and unhappy about his role in creating that kind of brutal pecking order. Characters we’re expected to like (Eun-sang, Chan-young) are being hurt by it. Characters we’re supposed to not like (Rachel, Young-do), are taking advantage of it.
Another grace (though I’m not sure that’s best the word here): I’m highly intrigued by the direction Young-do is taking. He’s a much more disturbing character than I’d expected him to be. Which means I can’t predict his trajectory. He might actually end up killing a kitten before we’re done. I’m enjoying the uncertainty.
I’m hoping Eun-sang’s joining the Journalism Club gives her some social cover and she gets some of her mojo back. Not that her mojo completely left. She still manages to wrong-foot both Tan and Young-do and I loves her for it. But I like Eun-sang best when she’s determined and confident so I’d like to see her get on more solid ground where she can be her true strong self.
It’s for that reason I totally adore Secretary Yoon. Not only is he an excellent dad (completely showing up Bad-Daddy Kim who should be embarrassed in front of his private eye because he is a failed father) but he doesn’t let the social hierarchy he moves through define him. He’s wooing* Rachel’s mom on his terms and he’s not intimidated by Young-do’s dad (who is such an ass) or even, I think, Chairman Kim. (I feel like he’s just waiting for Won to make full use of him. But, again, it has to be Won’s decision. I guess now we’re waiting for Won to wakeup?)
And total random aside: I adored the shout-out to The Housemaid…
…which is a bizarrely dark movie but pretty much how I see the obscenely wealthy in S. Korea, now. (What? I’m easily influenced by the media I consume.) Being a tv drama, Heirs can’t go quite that dark, but… I think they’re doing their best to show the extremely wealthy as very near that twisted.
*I suppose I should be bothered by the infidelity involved. Usually that’s a deal-breaker for me. But, just like Rachel and Tan’s engagement, the tie between Rachel’s mom and Young-do’s dad seems so shallow and lie-based (it’s not love; it’s business) that I don’t see it as the type of “engagement” that actually requires fidelity. And I think the best thing Rachel’s mom could do would be to drop the fake marriage and go with her heart. (She needs to wakeup, too!)