Heirs: hello high school

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Visual Whiplash:
Lee Min-ho = yes ; Ugly Sweater = no

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!

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“How did she see past my cunning disguise?”

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.

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Another ugly sweater… though this one grew on me…

(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.)

won in love photo woninlove_zps3b3492c4.jpgI 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…

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…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.

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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. hallway photo hallway_zps2b9e8577.jpgEverything 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.  photo badyoungdo_zps177f3403.jpgHe’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. yoonkiss photo yoonkiss_zps654fbda3.jpgNot 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

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…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!)


28 thoughts on “Heirs: hello high school

  1. I wanted Eun Sung to raise voice against all the bullying and everything but what the drama showed was only natural…she is a teenager, who has the inferiority complex of being poor (yay that she’s not perfect) and that leaves a lot of room for growth….and she is new in that school….

    Same goes for Tan…I felt sad that he remained indifferent towards bullying and even advised ES to stay out of it…but that goes with his basic nature and I’m hoping that both him and ES will improve for the better..

    • Yeah, we’re seeing things at their worst right now. (At least, I hope that’s what we’re seeing!) Tan and Eun-sang are at their most powerless. Though — to Eun-sang’s credit she stepped forward a few times, but Tan consistently cut her off. So she obviously wants to help. And you can tell Tan’s not happy about the status quo either.

      So I’m hoping right along with you that improvements are coming! 🙂

  2. We’re definitely supposed to hate the school structure. That way, when people start standing up for themselves, it will mean more.

    Won totally needs to ally himself with Tan! They’d be great together. I’m still not convinced that Won isn’t just being a caring older brother by trying to keep Tan away from the corporate world because he knows how tough it is. But then, maybe I’m giving Won too much credit. Who knows.

    • That… makes total, blissful sense. Because I really, really want people to stand up. And of course the drama wants it be dramatic when they do. Oh! Sudden thought! Eun-sang’s joining the Journalism Club, right? Maybe that’ll be good place to start the standing up.

      Hmm… You could be right about Won. I definitely feel like he’s a good guy — not just pushing Tan away out of selfishness and greed. And Tan himself admitted to bad behavior in the past, so Won may well be looking for signs of change before looking at him as an ally. And, for that matter, may well think the corporate world is not a place Tan would do well in — emotionally as well as practically. (I am so enjoying the story of these two brothers. I hope we get more scenes of them together.)

  3. I know what you mean by whiplash! I was mostly frustrated with Ep 6’s repetition–the wall-as-barrier, the laundry-as-barrier (Ok, we geddit show!), ES being literally caught in the middle. I’m not sure how I expected Kim Tan to react to the schoolyard politics but him wanting to stay out of it fits his character, and I know he and ES are going to shake up the system. Hopefully together, and not him being all, I’m going to protect my woman. The Kim bros definitely need to team up and take on daddy and shake up that system too. In fact, I do hope this is where the drama is heading–revolution! All the Sleeping Beauties in this show need to wake up and revolt ;D!

    • The sleepers must awaken!! 😀 (Always a good day when you can use a Dune quote. ;))

      Unless Eun-sang gets a total drama-lobotomy (always something to brace for, though I’ve not seen any prickling signs) even if Tan starts off shaking things up just to protect her, Eun-sang will demand she be a part of it or for him to just walk away. Once she’s over her first-day jitters I really am expecting her to get her no-nonsense on.

      (I think Ep. 6 might have overdone the “setting the scene” stuff. But if it means we’re heading into well paced action for the following episodes, I’ll forgive it. I’m easy like that. :P)

      • Yes, and they must not fear, fear is the mind-killer… ;D

        Oh I do hope she really gets it on, in a major way, especially with Young Do! And if you think about it, we’re still in an extended prologue phase because the drama is 20 episodes long. So I’m happy to let this one slide.

        • Eee! Fellow Dune watcher! 😀 (If they walk without rhythm, they won’t attract the worm. Until, of course, they’re ready to ride that bad-boy right into the enemy’s front yard. ;))

          And that is very true about the 20 episode length. We had the lovely dream-interlude. Now we’re seeing harsh, cold reality. Their reactions will come later.

        • And one more thing–I’m really getting a sense that a play within a play scenario might really be possible via the broadcasting club, since Eun Sang is joining as PD (?). Hyo Shin seems charmed by her gumption too. Hah. I hope to see more of him!

          • I feel like the broadcasting club must play a role. (And I’ve realized I conflated it was a journalism club — but that’s not quite the same thing so…) It was the one light part of Eun-sang’s day. It’s got to be important! (More Hyo-shin = bonus. ;))

  4. Agree with everything you said.. 🙂
    The school’s social structure is indeed very wrong. It feels like it is everything that a school shouldn’t be. And it surprises me to see the adults in this school do nothing about the things that happen in there. And I’m saying that because it seems that this particular school should be better having the money to hire the best of the best.
    It teaches or allows the kids to believe(which is evident that the kids do believe that) that when you’re on the top everyone below them is needless/worthless which is not how things in reality work at all. Imagine having a hotel and no cleaners for example. So much for having money and power then. (I am thinking also about the scene with Young Do’s father, secretary Yoon and Won).
    As for Tan and Eun Sang, yes their behavior is not the best but let’s not forget that they are teenagers and they can’t always make the best decisions. Hopefully they’ll realise that you can’t just stand still, especially when you have the power to do something(talking about Tan here.).
    On a lighter mood, I continue to love all the interactions between Tan and Eun Sang when they are the two of them. They have a special connection which I adore.. 🙂

    • I think Young-do even had a line about his dad having a huge staff turnover recently, and how his dad never blames himself when that happens. Implying that his dad’s hotels have staffing issues. (Which is always a bad sign, in my book.) So in-show they’re showing that being a bad boss is, actually, a bad thing with consequences.

      Which! Makes me even more hopeful that they’ll create some kind of change at the school. It seems like Young-do is the strongest perpetrator of the bullying and that it’s something he and Tan setup. So maybe Tan can help destroy it? Or something? Because, yeah it seems like the school should be encouraging their students to be good leaders — giving back to society, helping the less fortunate, etc. Not that it would completely get rid of all the hierarchy and snobbiness — but at least have it be something that has to occur on the down-low because otherwise you’ll get in trouble.

      I still adore Eun-sang and Tan as well. Especially together. 🙂 They were pretty muted in Ep.6 but they were both facing the stark fact of their differences. Now that that’s done, hopefully we’ll get more interaction in the next eps.

  5. Well, reading the recap of ep 6 actually made angry. Enough so that I decided to steer clear of the recaps from now on.

    Having been on the receiving end of school bullying I have a very low tolerance of that sort of thing in fictitious forms, especally if it’s done in a manner that rubs me the wrong way and Heirs is doing just that. I’ve been trying to figure out why I wasn’t miffed by the same theme in School 2013 and I think it’s because in School it was never depected as… idk, acceptable? Besides, the bullies there were from a totally different social strata than the rich a-holes in Heirs and one could much better understand what made them tick. It’s disturbing how much raw animosity I feel for Young Do and I don’t want to feel that way about a tv show character! It kinda boggle me that there are so many viewers who think Young Do is the bee’s knees and so ‘hot’. I think he’s dangerous and not in any garden variety ‘bad boy’ way either. He has a serious cruel streak in there.

    One of the reasons I don’t like KES’ dramas is how she writes her heroines. They are often very annoying and/or tend to end up as rather limp no matter how gutsy they start out as. I’m alrady seeing singns of that in Eun Sang.

    The supporting characters are pretty much filler once again. Another thing that has started to bug me in kdramas. That is something TW- and C-dramas are usually way better at. *thinks fondly of Ghetto Justice 2* 🙂

    • Hmm… Well, I would never argue that the bullying here is anything other than bad. I found the bullying in The Queen’s Classroom more harrowing — but that’s because it was friends turning on each other and that really bothered me. In School 2013 there were teachers around and we saw things from their point of view where they were trying to stop things. There was a much stronger sense that these were kids in need of good parenting and that there was someone there trying to provide that guidance.

      In Heirs we barely glimpse a teacher and there are no adults around to witness the bullying we see. (Well — lunchroom servers, but they’re so far in the background it’s feasible they don’t see what’s going on.) So it feels like the onus is on fellow students to step up. (The students looking on seemed both disgusted by what was happening and also frightened. Which was interesting.) But Young-do is obviously terrifying and powerful and, thus far anyway, no one seems up to stopping him.

      This school is a definitely a world of either no parents or bad parents (with Secretary Yoon being the sole exception — with obvious good results). So I’m expecting the change is going to have to happen via the students. Eun-sang and Tan seem the obvious choice to get the ball rolling. Eun-sang was definitely (and realistically) unsettled during her first two days, but I am hopeful she regains her strength. (She does step forward each time to help, and both times Tan pulls her back.) I’ve only seen Secret Garden — but I loved that drama and its heroine so… there’s that. 🙂

      Young-do’s attractiveness is definitely down to how Kim Woo-bin is playing him. It’s as a full on “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” character — and that brings with it, its own disturbingly compelling charms. The way he smiles through all his threatenings… it hits you in a place where you know you should be repelled but you just cannot look away. (And by “you” I, of course, mean “me”. ;)) It’s an interesting twist because I was expecting a certain amount of “woobie” to shine through — especially with his abusive father — but that ain’t happening. So I’m eager to see what does happen.

      And! I don’t see the supporting characters as filler. Chan-young is definitely his own character. As is Bo-na. And even the more lightly used (but used well when he does appear) Hyo-shin.

      In conclusion!! 😀 These are all my views of Heirs, obviously, and I’m certainly not arguing that you should keep reading recaps. In fact, if they make you angry, I think it’s wise to stop. (I should have heeded those warning signs with “Gu Family Book”.) I’m more… trying to explain why I’m still on board the drama, if that makes sense.

      • That’s probably it, Heirs’ school world doesn’t (seem to) have any adults worth a meniton to step up and maybe the teachers are just as scared of the bullies as the students. Seems feasable as they too are ‘just hired help’. Young Do…. I do get it that it’s the Woobie effect but as I’m not that enamored with the actor, I see the character in a different way. 🙂

        For the story’s sake let’s hope that Eun Sang gets her groove back and Tan wakes up. Potentially they could be a pair to shake up things and maybe initiate change.

        Bad Kdrama Parent is a trope I could live without, thxb.

        Oh, I did not mean the main supporting characters (though that group certainly has people who have been very underutilised, if at all). I ment the tertiaries that kdramas hardly ever use in any meaningful way.

        Yup, what you get from the shows you watch is very subjective. We all have our triggers, pet peeves and likes and those affect how we see/feel the stories. Often times I’m hard pressed to express why I like one show and can’t stand another. I just do.

        • I think there really is this sense that, especially the children of the more powerful families, are untouchable. And we’re seeing that it leads to rotten kids. It’s interesting because Tan obviously did something and was exiled by his brother (who seems much more a father-figure than his actual father). Tan’s definitely grown from the experience. He’s different from who he was. Now he has to show that to everyone around him.

          And Eun-sang actually has a good and involved mom. (Who she pushes against, but that’s part of what kids do as they’re growing.) So I think they’re both in good positions to cause change.

          Who would you define as the tertiaries? Like, the hotel staff or school staff, etc? *is curious* 🙂

          It’s fascinating to me how the same story can hit people so differently. I love figuring out the who’s and why’s of it — part of the reason I started blogging. That’s a huge reason why I actually enjoy hearing from people with different views from mine. It makes me think about why something does/doesn’t work for me.

          • Tertiary characters as I see it are those who are not any of the mains or the close (usually very small) cluster orbiting them. They may flit in and out of the story but always have some sort of effect or something meaningfull to tell/inform/make the more important characters see etc. And I don’t mean exposition fairies but real characters with a proper place in the story. Not sure I’m making any sense, LOL!

          • I totally learned something today! 😀 You do makes sense, and then I googled “tertiary characters” (which gave me much more helpful answers then when I looked up the word “tertiary” ;))

            I’m trying to think if there are any in Heirs… I think the bullying victim leaned towards being one, but pushed into higher importance when he interacted with Eun-sang. (If this is the last we see of him, he might qualify.) The two boys who serve as Young-do’s bullying minions better qualify — but I think they’ll be around, if largely line-less. Maybe the second maid at the Kim family household? Though again, she may have too much interaction to truly qualify.

            But it’s definitely slim pickings. I almost feel like you get stronger tertiary characters in more episodic shows, where the audience is more primed for someone to flit into the story and then flit right back out, not to be seen again. From my very (very!) limited J-drama watching, I think they tend to have more of them.

  6. Love is feeling ~~~

    heh. I’m going to be that annoying voice in the fandom that’ll keep bad-mouthing this show if I keep watching. So I’ll stop. Sigh. This show. This fandom. Guineabee and I FF through eps 5 and 6. We’ve officially checked out. Not that I ever checked in.

    Is this trying to be a half-assed Lord of the Flies? Emphasis on half-assed. “The monster is in y’all. Unleash it.” And notice how every love-line is triangly? Sets of triangles overlapping each other. Starting with the Polygamous Patriarch with his 3 “wives” and possible 3 sons?

    The plot seems to be: Whom should I lust after? vs. Whom should I bully? ‘Cause love is violence? Ugh.

    Sorry for venting in your blog, Betsy, but needed to get that off my chest. Maybe the show’ll miraculously salvage itself. But I have doubts. Fandom, don’t crucify me. I’m just a solo voice in all the din.

    • Oh — you’re definitely not alone! Heirs might be the biggest buzz in drama-land, but it’s not all hearts and flowers out there. 🙂

      I will say, as a huge fan of Lord of the Flies — this story isn’t anything close. (I’d say White Christmas was much more alike in the themes explored and the dire and isolated circumstances.) Tan has already moved away from might makes right, and I’m expecting Young-do will either be similarly changed (my hope) or successfully fought against.

      I’d say that Tan is on the path to learning that might brings responsibility (“with great power comes great responsibility” Spiderman quote! my nerdy fangirl’s heart runneth over! :P) and I’m suspecting that’ll be the overarching theme. I think that with both him and his brother loving women that don’t bring them the “excepted” power-boost, there maybe a theme of love being greater than financial power, as well.

      So anyway — the drama is still working for me. 🙂 But I don’t need it to work for everyone so no worries on your venting. I do understand the need for a good vent now and again. 😀

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