That’s it, I’m over the sliver of hope that Heirs/The Inheritors will get better. Or even having a semblance of a drama with a beating heart, all tension and material events happening and a steady forward momentum. This is what we’ve been given, and I’ve decided to stick with it but won’t hesitate to have a little more fun recapping the hemming and hawing flow. What a major missed opportunity for everyone involved. A Kim Eun Seok high school drama turned out to be a pale washed out version of the things that made her works so effervescent at times, the witty dialogue and situations watered down to tepidness. Yet she crafted so much to dislike about her world, from the vast swath of horrible rich people with all their magnified non-issues, to a leading lady that personifies Candy plus all the doormat qualities of restraint, denial, and evasion. I neither hate nor love Heirs, but without either strong emotion watching this drama becomes a twice a week appointment with nothing compelling to look forward to, but not so terrible I want to call it quits. I’m having some fun upping the snark, and really there was so much room for it earlier but I refrained with the hopes that it would stop.
I can’t believe the pink lipstick craziness has continued with every single character wearing the exact same shade of pink lipstick, guys and girls included. Then everyone has visible under eye redness, which makes me wonder if it’s a new make up technique being pioneered in Korea? Tan’s outfits range from bizarrely hilarious to fugly, and Eun Sang spends 90% of every episode with a combination constipated and scared face. She sometimes even has the same face with either Tan and Young Do, despite the guys being night and day when they interact with her. You know what the worst part is? The worst part is that I actually can see through all this crap characterization and shoddy execution and understand what the story intends to tell and like it. I like Tan, I like his loneliness, I like that he likes Eun Sang because she’s a positive presence in his life with no strings attached, I like his half-smooth/half-awkward way around her. I love high school themed dramas normally but this one hasn’t even tried to show anything related to their school life other than hallway and cafeteria bullying. Eight episodes in and still nothing substantive has happened with anyone. At least Boys Before Flowers was so bad it was entertaining, Heirs is just there. With a lot of young and pretty people in the cast, and a narrative heart so hard to find I’m burrowing like a gopher digging my way to the center of the earth looking for the core of why I should care.
Episode 8 recap:
Tan is agitated that Eun Sang went to Young Do’s hotel to see him, and worried about what the future might hold. He gives Eun Sang two choices – to move out of his house (i.e. leave his scary world) or like him back because he’s already liking her. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt of being a teenager that you don’t know how to confess, Tan, because both those choices suck. Neither are a legit choice, geddit?
Eun Sang doesn’t want to answer, and I just want to shake her because being pretending to be mute and or stupid does not make Tan’s confession not exist. Tan says it again “I like you”, and at least that type of sincere direct confession I can get behind. But then he goes and says that he will actively interfere in her life and invade her privacy from now on. Grrrr, what a way to ruin the moment.
Tan gets a call from Chairman Daddy that he ignores, then Eun Sang gets a call from Ki Ae that she takes. But Tan grabs her phone and tells Mom that he’s with Eun Sang right now and they can’t talk. Aish, you are making things harder for her, boy!
He finally grabs Eung Sang for a hug as she cries. How she is not fired from her part-time job for being outside for so long is beyond me. Tan fairly begs her not to reject him outright and promise she’ll think about what he said.
Back at home, Tan and Eun Sang go see Chairman Daddy and Ki Ae respectively. Mom first asks Tan why he met Eun Sang and Tan lies that he needed to ask her to keep quiet about him punching out another student at school today
Chairman Daddy is there to chew out Tan for punching Young Do. Tan knows Ji Sook told Chairman Daddy and wonders why he suddenly cares when he never once cared what Tan did in the US. Good point. He says that Chairman Daddy can go back to making more money to give his kids rather than his attention.
Ki Ae chews out Eun Sang for meeting with Tan outside of the house, and warns her that if she oversteps her bounds she and her mom can’t live here anymore.
Tan runs into Eun Sang in the living room and she immediately tries to avoid him. I feel bad for her, even if she could like Tan back all this evading and being fearful just sucks as a way of living. Tan follows Eun Sang to the kitchen and tries teasing her to lighten the mood. There are times Tan is just like a giant puppy, and he loves following Eun Sang around and tells her so. That he loves her being in his house.
Tan goes to his room and looks at a book. Eun Sang tries to sleep but can’t and keeps thinking about Tan. She resets her alarm for 4:30 am to wake up even earlier to avoid him. Tan uploads a picture of the book cover on Eun Sang’s SNS but it now reads “Like We Are Sleeping In the Same Place”, along with a goodnight.
Eun Sang arrives at Empire High before sunrise but Tan is already there waiting for her. He leaves her to her breakfast, relieved that she’s at school, which surprises her that he would think she would avoid school. He doesn’t know what to think, but he’s happy she’s here. He musses up her hair as usual and tells her to look for him between class and be a good student.
Yawn-inducing Empire Group management update where Secretary Yoon goes to see Won with an update about their latest mega mall construction in Jeju that hit a kink because the partner hotel wants to back out and invest instead. So they need to find another hotel to open there. Young Do’s dad wanted to have breakfast with Won but he’s playing hard to get and wants to keep Zeus Hotel on edge.
Now comes the obligatory random Ki Ae and Eun Sang’s mom scene from inside the house. Ki Ae has a hangover and Eun Sang’s mom initially wanted to write for her to drink less but thinks better of it. Ki Ae tries to grab the pad to read it anyway, and in the tussle the two of them rip a feather pillow and feathers fly everywhere. Turns out its cheap chicken instead of plush down. Discuss the symbolism yourself.
Tan and Eun Sang run into each other outside the broadcast club room, where inside Bo Na is reading a poem over the intercom. He wonders if she’s been accepted yet and asks if she’s still considering his offer to her.
Bo Na comes up and runs into her two least favorite peeps, but thankfully Chan Young ambles up bearing as a present the ubiquitous energy drink this drama keeps hawking. I will never ever drink it because it annoys me so. Bo Na accepts the drink while Eun Sang ducks Tan’s attempt to block her from leaving and gets Chan Young to extricate her with the excuse of studying.
Bo Na, who keeps seeing her boyfriend toddle off with his girl bestie, takes out her annoyance on Tan. She keeps insisting he still harbors feelings for her and follows her around, this time Tan teases that he still likes her and she is still cute. Bo Na says she has a boyfriend and Tan needs to forget about her!
Chan Young and Eun Sang sit outside for some bestie chat and he points out that she is actively avoiding Tan. Eun Sang says it’s normal since he’s the young master of the house and she’s the housekeeper’s daughter.
Chan Young’s dad asked about Eun Sang’s wellbeing these days and how she’s fitting in here. Turns out Chan Young was the rich kid in their junior high since his dad worked for Empire, but he learned the hard way when he got to Empire High that his dad may work for the company, but his classmate’s dad owns the company. Eun Sang wants to come clean about her charity case status but Chan Young counsels her not to, especially now that Joon Young is transferring.
Eun Sang runs to find Joon Young before he leaves and sees him walking out of the campus. She hears other kids wish for all the charity cases to leave the school.
Eun Sang is at her locker when Young Do calls and she naturally doesn’t answer. But he’s right there and notices his number is saved as “Don’t Answer” and presses forward wanting to hang out with Eun Sang despite her aversion to him. He brings up Tan and how she saved his number in the phone and Eun Sang changes his number to his name. Young Do points out that he always needs to mention Tan to get anywhere with Eun Sang.
Eun Sang finds out from Young Do that her name is on the school bulletin and she rushes there to see that an announcement went up that she made the broadcast club. Bo Na tears it down and underneath is her note left for Tan at his school in the US. Turns out he did see it.
Eun Sang goes to return it to him and he asks why she would leave a note but not call him back. Eun Sang wonders what he wanted to talk to her about? Tan says a litany of where are you, who are you with, don’t go, stay with me, I miss you. Tan admits she was one reason he came back to Korea. Eun Sang gets all flustered and runs off to class, heading the wrong way until Tan corrects her.
This scene is of course witnessed by Rachel, and also Hyo Shin. He wonders if she’s upset but she’s taking it in stride. Tan sees Rachel and calls out for her to stay right there.
Tan tells Rachel that he likes Eun Sang and he intends to keep going forward. Rachel says Tan will end up with a rich girl in the end even if it’s not her. Tan knows the obstacles he faces which is why he wants one less obstacle in Rachel and asks that they become friends again. Rachel tells Tan that she gets his teen urge to do what his heart desires, but he was wrong in thinking she doesn’t care. She feels hurt right now.
Secretary Yoon goes to see Chairman Daddy, who hands him an envelope containing Hyun Joo’s information and tells him to deal with this girl by the end of the month. Chairman Daddy probes about Eun Sang’s family – her parents ran a food stand and were nice people, but dad died, and now there is still hospital debt that needs to be paid back. Secretary Yoon asks why Chairman Daddy helped Eun Sang enter Empire High? Chairman Daddy says she will learn in that environment from everyone around her that she cannot be close to Tan.
Secretary Yoon processes that information, and when he runs into Esther at Empire High, he brings it up their break up years ago. He always needed to hear from others why they can’t be, yet she never said it herself? Secretary Yoon gets a call from Hyun Joo making plans to meet up later. Esther gets jealous hearing its another woman.
Hyun Joo is grabbing a ramyun at the convenience store and Hyo Shin sees her so delays their tutoring session to give her more time. He tries to flirt with her during the session but she’s completely oblivious and uninterested.
Young Do and his dad have another sparring match and Young Do wants the family photo cancelled if he wins. He naturally loses yet again, though this time his dad broke the rules by choking Young Do. Dad’s lesson – there are no fair rules, only winning matters.
Eun Sang is at her café job when Young Do calls, and it turns out he’s sitting right there. She thinks he’s there to torment her some more but he calmly says he came because he was lonely. Young Do confirms he cancelled the charges against Joon Young.
Tan arrives and sits down across from Young Do, who makes it clear he knows all about Eun Sang’s part time jobs. Tan tries to say he knows Young Do works in the hotel kitchen too but that doesn’t fly. Young Do asks how Tan knows where Eun Sang works, and Tan sasses back that he’s always one step ahead of Young Do. Young Do asks if Tan and Eun Sang are dating and he jokes that they look good together. But then Tan gets serious and tells Young Do not to bother Eun Sang anymore. Young Do is curious why Tan is resorting to direct warnings now.
Their dick waving contest is broken up by the store manager, who announces drinks for each of them courtesy of Eun Sang, who left already. LOL.
They walk out sipping their sippy fruity drinks. Young Do sees that his bike has been towed, which brings Tan endless glee.
Won is waiting for Hyun Joo outside her apartment and sees her getting out of a guy’s car. She leans in to tell him that she will consider the offer. Won rushes up and looks in to see Secretary Yoon, who promises he didn’t see anything and has nothing to report (to Chairman Daddy). Hyun Joo tries to explain there is nothing between her and Won but Won pulls her close and tells Secretary Yoon to leave.
Won wants to know why she met Secretary Yoon and she lies that she was giving him tutoring advice for Chan Young. She tells him not to come by anymore in case his dad finds out. Won teases that she can support him with her tutoring but she doesn’t make enough.
Won asks if he can sleep over since he moved out of the house. Hyun Joo is worried but Won doesn’t want her to berate him, he lives everyday like people are yelling at him. Won pouts that Hyun Joo never lets him stay over.
Tan and Eun Sang are talking in the kitchen when Ki Ae comes looking so they go hide in the pantry closet. Cue excuse for almost kiss, with Tan leaning in and Eun Sang frozen and ducking like a zombie was about to start snacking on her face.
Tan doesn’t kiss her and let her go when Ki Ae leaves and they can exit the pantry. Eun Sang stomps on his foot for good measure as she heads out.
Tan follows Eun Sang to the wine cellar, which isn’t a bad place for their dates. She’s doing homework here so her mom can sleep. Tan asks why she left the café back there and Eun Sang says it was because of Tan rather than Young Do. He wants to know their conversation and Eun Sang just reveals that Young Do said he came because he was lonely. Tan realizes that Young Do is not bothering Eun Sang to get back to him, but because he wants to see her.
Young Do lays in Myung Soo’s playroom and thinks back to all his interactions with Eun Sang. He wonders out loud why he’s thinking of her.
Family picture day rolls around and Young Do manages to ruin it by bringing one of his dad’s ex-girlfriends to the shoot, which pisses off Esther and she storms off. Rachel is pleased while Young Do tosses back to his dad that there are no fair rules and only winning matters.
Rachel asks Young Do what he wants for pulling it off and he wants Eun Sang’s re-entry card. Rachel reveals that Tan has admitted he likes Eun Sang so she needs Young Do to deal with her.
Eun Sang and Tan banter at school over the almost kiss.
Eun Sang is at lunch, and hasn’t the girl learned by now to avoid that hell cafeteria? Young Do grabs her plate and forces her to sit with him. This is NOT how you woo a girl, Young Do. Eun Sang naturally thinks she’s the replacement for Joon Young as the object of his bullying. Bo Na sees this and wonders where Tan or Chan Young are to stop this.
Eun Sang asks Young Do what he wants and he just wants to eat with her. Tan comes storming up and yells for Eun Sang to get up. She does and Young Do throws his utensils on the table and stands up to confront Tan. He pulls Eun Sang away saying she already had plans with him.
Young Do trips Eun Sang (what are you, six years old?) and she goes flying with the food all over her. Tan jerks back to punch Young Do but Eun Sang restrains him, begging for him to stop. Young Do says he made Eun Sang gets on her knees instead of Tan. Eun Sang begs Tan to take her away from here and he does.
Rachel sees all of this, all the more galling to her pride when Tan literally walks right past her pulling Eun Sang behind him in front of the entire cafeteria. She hands over Eun Sang’s re-entry card to Young Do. She was happy Eun Sang got on her knees, too bad Tan was holding on to her wrist.
Tan and Eun Sang are on the roof and she’s crying and won’t let him near her, saying that she’s dirty. Tan tries to calm her down which is when Young Do calls. Eun Sang wants to answer thinking he’ll escalate things but Tan yells at her not to answer.
Eun Sang answers the phone which is when Tan kisses her into silence.
Thoughts of Mine:
Can I just make fun of this kiss and get it out of the way first? Because what incompetent PD would end the episode literally 3 seconds after the kiss on a freeze frame of Eun Sang looking frightened out of her wits. Poor Park Shin Hye will need some major hot kissing in the rest of the drama to live this one down, and honestly I can see she’s just acting like the PD told her to. Look scared and stunned and forget deer in headlights shut your eyes tight! I get the context but the execution is all wrong. For 8 episodes Eun Sang and Tan have been doing a very tentative yet pretty straight forward dance of interest. He hasn’t been shy from the beginning, and recently upped it all by pursuing her outright prefaced by as clear a confession as it can get. I like you. Do you like me? Could you like me? Eun Sang hasn’t said “no, get the fuck away from me”, she’s done the silly thing of trying to ignore him as if hoping that will make things go away. But then not really ignoring him, because she does like spending time with him. Just not all the time, and some times more than others. It’s all so confusing, thankfully Tan bypasses all the mixed signals and just keeps going. Not that I think he has a right to, but she could do better with being as direct with him as he’s been with her. Clearly she likes him back but doesn’t want to and doesn’t think she’s allowed to. Usual poor girl falls in love with rich guy angst. But the kiss? However freaked out she was by the confrontation with Young Do in the cafeteria, could her body language have been less of a frozen stiff and more just taken off guard? I would rather the drama have no kissing if we get kisses like this.
The horrible human being characters in this K-drama continue to show up and bedevil me with their unwelcome presence. Seeing bad people in a drama usually means building up to their comeuppance which is supposed to give us great glee. See them suffer in the end like they heaped suffering on others. Here I don’t having a flying fig what happens to people like the parents in the Kim family, Young Do’s dad and Rachel’s mom, and I especially don’t care what happens to Young Do and Rachel. They are just terribly written characters masquerading with a shred of inner pain but their actions don’t provide them the justification so that the audience can give them the benefit of the doubt. Their redemption or inevitable downfall matters not because they have no credible presence as three dimensional characters. It hurts that all we ever see of them is when they are plotting something or looking resentful. That’s true of all the characters in this drama aside from Eun Sang and Tan, their screen time is devoid of any personal value and instead they function to move forward other plot lines. If I jump ahead to episode 20, what is the final grand resolution or happy ending we can expect? Remember most of these characters are teens in high school. Tan and Won make up, with Won realizing their company is big enough to divide up between then and still have leftovers to run a small island nation? Tan and Eun Sang get the green light to date? Hyun Joo lets Won sleep over and Chairman Daddy lets him marry her? Rachel finds a rich boyfriend who loves her and unthaws her frozen ass? Young Do finds his own poor girl Eun Sang to heal his lonely heart? Bo Na and Chan Young date through college and realize how lucky they were to find compatible opposites attract in each other? The unholy marriage of Zeus and RS International goes through, or not, who cares? Hyo Shin stops puking and maybe gets a life outside of being hot for teacher? Myung Soo stops clubbing? Does seeing any of that make us feel satisfied? Aside from Tan maybe being less miserable with his family, right now nothing I can see down the road has been crafted to make me care when we get there.
I can say now that at least the chemistry is good in this drama, good without anything being great. Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye both could have done an adult drama together and that would’ve tried their talents more and be better served. They have this oddball tension where it’s playful without being sexual, self-aware without being coquettish. It’s like they know their fans have been wanting them to do a drama together and they are trying their best, but it’s acting in a fish bowl with the sensation of being watched. Lee Min Ho and Kim Woo Bin are doing their best to sell the former best friends antagonism and rivalry, but I need to care about both characters to wish for some sort of resolution. Right now I wish Young Do right off a cliff. Choi Jin Hyuk and Im Joo Eun are the most wasted so far, IMO, with their relationship being completely underdeveloped and their characters one-note. Won is just an uptight prick and a needy boy all rolled into one, and there is no context around Hyun Joo so I have nothing to go on with her. I don’t know if Won and her are true love that must overcome evil Chairman Daddy. At least I have something to go on with respect to Eun Sang and Tan. The drama has shown me why he likes her, what she brings to his life, what he brings to her life, and why I should care if they get a chance to make it work. Everyone else can go pound sand, especially Young Do.