This was the strangest episode of Heirs/The Inheritors to date. Compared to yesterday’s slow as molasses, filler-heavy flashback scenes, and emotional overkill with nothing substantive happening, this episode 18 was a veritable dump truck full of action. That’s good, right? I asked for that, right? Yeah I did, so I’m not going to complain about things happening finally other than to point out that nothing made sense. People suddenly just did things and there were no consequences, except the same reasons exist which kept them from doing it earlier. I can’t explain so you have to just watch. The crux of the matter is that Tan and Eun Sang’s obstacles to being together are exactly the same as its always been (Chairman Daddy), except in the span of mere minutes Eun Sang went from “no, I can’t be with Tan” to being “what the heck, I’ll take it a day at a time with him.” The brain part of my head hurts a lot thanks to Eun Sang’s whiplash decision making, which is actually pretty consistent since she really is that girl who says no but really wants to say yes. I think she’s going to fall towards the bottom of the barrel in terms of the pantheon of Kim Eun Sook leading lady characters after all. She comes across like she will say or do whatever based on the story need at that moment.
Tan needs to have a breakdown? Eun Sang decides Chairman Daddy is a genuine threat and leaves. Tan needs to get his act together? Eun Sang decides she’ll go right back to him because……. I don’t have an answer to the second part of the because since I don’t think even she knows. On the upside this was a much more entertaining episode, with Young Do again shining like the sole relatable character left in the main bunch. If his story ends here, I would actually feel satisfied because I saw him grow and change, and in the end he actually got to resolve the most painful experience in his life in losing his mom and actually get closure. Then he proceeds to let Eun Sang go with jaunty honesty and walk away with his heart hurting and his head held high. It doesn’t negate his sheer awfulness in the early episodes, which always felt like Kim Eun Sook piling on to make his character as terrible as possible, but at least I saw his character take a meaningfully plotted journey before our eyes. Tan? I honestly dunno. A guy who spends episodes moping and pining for a girl, no matter how rich and handsome he is, how devoted and cool he can be, in the end Tan just comes across like a clueless kid with no greater capacity to take control of his life. He’s all talk and even now the return of Eun Sang is something he didn’t bring about but others made happen. If he’s going to win me back on his ship, he’s going to have to step up majorly in the last two episodes.
Episode 18 recap:
Young Do finally stops Tan’s self-destructive bender by laying him low with a punch. He tells Tan to go see Eun Sang if he misses her so much, but Tan instead says he won’t go see her anymore and he’ll give her to Young Do. Instead of being happy, Young Do is actually pissed off and pulls Tan up to ask what the hell he just said? He asks if Tan wants to die? Tan has no right to give up. Tan admits he has no right but he can’t handle it anymore, Young Do-ya. Tan starts crying and basically is just a mess so much that even Young Do just gets up and leaves him sprawled there.
Won goes home and informs Chairman Daddy that he’s promoted Secretary Yoon to VP of Construction. Dad sneers at the limits of where Secretary Yoon aspired to climb. Without Lu Bu, that famous steed in Chinese history would just be a beast. Won admits that the steed got famous under Lu Bu’s use, but it was Guan Yu who used it in more battles. Dad tells Won he can leave now but turns out Won did not come to see his dad.
Tan staggers home all beaten up and bypasses everyone in the living room and goes up to his room. Won actually looks shocked while Ki Ae is upset, but Chairman Daddy just sneers and screams that Tan is such a weakling. He yells how much longer Tan will do this to garner sympathy!
Won goes up to Tan’s room and tells him to get up and go to the hospital. Tan wants him to leave but Won reminds him that they are in the middle of negotiations and Tan said he would do whatever Won told him. Tan keeps screaming at Won to leave. Won tells him that this will change nothing in this house and Tan knows it! Tan just cries and asks when he’s being sent to the US. He feels like he’s going to die, so please send him away and save him. Not sure why the pain will go away any better in the US. It’s either going away with time or not. Won actually looks sad and hurt to see Tan so broken.
Won goes back to his hotel and passes Young Do, noticing a cut on his lip and stopping to ask if he fought with Tan. Young Do admits it and says Tan deserved it. Won asks why Young Do hit his younger brother and Young Do correctly points out that he ought to know not to hit people with older brothers but he dang forgot Tan had an older brother since Tan never talks about his hyung. Nice dig. Won throws back that Tan doesn’t seem to have any friends either. Ouch. These people, so f-cked up. Won tells Young Do to put on some medicine and then walks away.
Bo Na and Chan Young are studying in the playroom and he keeps looking at his phone when Bo Na reads English and Chan Young translates into Korean. She sees that he’s on Eun Sang’s SNS account waiting for her to contact him. Bo Na flips through it and reads all of Eun Sang’s posts, including the weird convos with Tan in the past.
Eun Sang is also reading it and remembering all her time with Tan. She reads a post that Tan will come find her no matter where she is. When she turns around he’ll be behind her. Eun Sang deletes all her SNS posts as she cries. Tan is on her SNS account as well and sees her deleting everything in real time.
Tan is meeting with Hyo Shin and of course its at the same cafe and of course Hyo Shin has to specifically bring him a drink that he says is the most delicious here. Tan says Eun Sang always brought him this drink as well. Hyo Shin points out Tan’s pretty face is all messed up and warns him that hospital food is bad. Tan says he’s not going to die so don’t worry. Hyo Shin says acting out sometimes is enough to release the stress.
Young Do goes to Eun Sang’s new home by the sea but she’s not home though he does run into Mom. She initially gestures for him to leave but notices his sadly lonely puppy face and brings him home for a meal.
Young Do is almost in tears eating a mother’s home cooked meal. Mom explains that Eun Sang went to Seoul to return something to school. Mom keeps pushing dishes closer to Young Do for him to eat. He says the food is so good. Eun Sang’s mom asks if he’s Eun Sang’s classmate friend but Young Do says he likes Eun Sang. Mom must be thinking she’s raising a man magnet.
Eun Sang is in Seoul meeting with Chairman Daddy who says she moved to a nice place by the sea. But why did she still see Tan? Eun Sang says it was by accident but Chairman Daddy says that is why he wanted to send to her the opposite corner of the Earth. Eun Sang says Tan is warm and good and that is why she likes him. Dad calls her shameless for taking his money and daring to like his son.
Eun Sang promises to return his money and Dad asks if she plans to start with Tan after she returns all the money. She is truly a shameless girl! Eun Sang says she really likes Tan and nothing will change that even if he threatens her. She won’t see Tan if he doesn’t want her to, so please don’t ask her to come meet him again.
Tan walks to the dreamcatcher store and actually runs into Eun Sang outside. They both stop and stare at each other, before walking forward and passing by without stopping or any other gestures. Eun Sang is very sad and keeps walking. Tan stops and circles back but she’s gone already. He runs to the bus station and manages to get on the bus she’s taking back to the seaside town. He sits down on the same row as her and she sees him but neither talk to each other.
Tan follows Eun Sang home from a distance and she knows it. Once she enters her house, she sits there for a few minutes before running back out to look for him. She looks around but thinks he’s left.
Of course Tan hasn’t left yet and asks why she came back out to find him if she told him to stay away? Eun Sang tells him not to talk to her and stay away. Tan gives Eun Sang a back hug. Tan says that he can’t let her go so what can he do? Eun Sang cries and gets out of arms and walks away. These two, aish.
Back at the Kim house of Chairman Dictator, he’s in the process of chewing out Ki Ae and Tan. He says like mother, like child – she was just a lady at the front desk and yet she dared to enter the door of the Chairman. That hot blooded temperament she passed to her son. Ki Ae asks why he is saying this but the Chairman thinks she and Tan have been coddled living the good life for too long that they want everything and don’t know when to stop.
Ki Ae points out that it was the Chairman who told her to come, who told her she could come. He told her that his office was at the very top. The Chairman says that is how he got himself into this mess, being attracted to something shiny and cheap and making his family into a laughingstock. THE FUCK IS THIS BASTARD!?! Ki Ae is crying by now and the Chairman continues by saying he should have taught Tan to always pick the most expensive item even if something cheap is shinier and more alluring. If Tan learned to have taste he wouldn’t have ended up like his father. Ki Ae asks what she means to him and the Chairman says he just told her, what more does he need to say.
Ki Ae goes to her room and sits down at her dresser. She cries as she takes off all her jewelry.
Rachel is at the bridal salon canceling all the wedding items and Young Do arrives to do the same for his side of the wedding party. Young Do is a bit sad he lost a sexy younger sister and she promises to stay sexy to make him less sad in the future. She asks him to have dinner to celebrate the scuttled wedding but he’s already got plans.
Young Do goes back to the dokbokggi store and eats by himself. This time he notices a writing on the wall, it’s from his mom and asks “Are you living well, Young Do?”
In the most random scene ever, Won and Hyun Joo are in bed chatting. Not sure if this is post-coital, completely chaste, where the heck did it come from, no clue. Won asks if Hyun Joo has a wish and he’ll make it come true. She says she has none. He wonders if its getting married but she says that’s dull. Hyun Joo realizes Won feels really guilty about going on the matseon date. He wonders why she’s not asking all about that date girl? Hyun Joo says she can compete on looks though she wonders from which rich family she’s from?
Won wonders if they would be different now if he behaved like Tan, throwing a fit and getting into fights until his face has been re-arranged. Hyun Joo knows him well and says Won would have never behaved that way. Hyun Joo points out that Won wanted to be on top of the world whereas all Tan ever wanted was Eun Sang to be his entire world. Hyun Joo understands that which is why she won’t be an obstacle and will instead help Won get what he wants. He promises to get to the top soon and asks her to be patient and wait.
Eun Sang reads a passage from a book about holding hands in the crowd and that was like they were everything to each other in the love their shared. Everything was for the sole purpose of not letting go of each other’s hand.
Won goes to meet Eun Sang and asks if Tan came by. Can’t she see what a mess Tan is in these days? What does she want? Stay here or go back to school? Doesn’t she miss Tan? Is she enduring or has she forgotten Tan? Won tells Eun Sang to answer him. Eun Sang plans not to see Tan and is trying to forget him. Isn’t that enough? Won asks when she plans to return to her own life. It’s their dad’s fault for what happened to her so does she want to fix things. She needs to think about what she wants to do tomorrow, and tomorrow she can think about what to do the day after. If she doesn’t know what to do about Tan, how about going back to school to take the test? If she doesn’t have the courage, then she can use an excuse to allow herself to do something.
Won finds Tan moping down in the wine cellar with his wounds healed magically fast. Won reminds Tan that he promised to do what Won wanted and Tan asks when he’s off to the US then. Won says the first thing is to do well on the finals. If he dares to get last place again…….. Won sees something wedged between two bottles of Won’s mother’s wine and pulls out a folded note. He knows Eun Sang left it there on purpose for Won to find it and give it to Tan. Won saw it earlier but didn’t give it to Tan because it would give Tan a reason to live. Didn’t Tan ask Won to save him?
Tan reads the note from Eun Sang “Kim Tan: two seasons have passed since the Summer that we met which feels as hazy as a dream. In a place where its hot during the day and cold at night, I liked you so much. We were mesmerized by each other’s eyes, it was too hot and too cold, so can I forget it? Sorry for running away, for promising to be home but leaving. My fortunate Kim Tan, now I am really going to disappear like last night’s dream. In that dream, I’m so happy to have met you, Kim Tan.”
Tan is sitting on the school bench when Eun Sang walks up and sits down like it’s totally normal she’s there. He stares at her like she’s not real. She asks if he’s been studying because she’s worried since she hasn’t been studying. She asks what happened to his face and what he’s been up to. Tan says it was because she left. Eun sang is back now and won’t run away anymore. Now she will take the test first. Then she will find other reasons to be here. She will stay by his side.
Tan hugs Eun Sang tightly.
Young Do hears from the other students that Eun Sang is back. He sees her in the hallway and ignores her because he knows why she’s back.
Eun Sang is happily greeted by Bo Na and Chan Young and gives Bo Na her new phone number. Bo Na warns Eun Sang never to leave again because the broadcast club is a mess. Eun Sang says she plans to come back for good.
The kids take their final exams. Myung Soo is quite determined and Rachel gives Tan a side glance as he just sits there. Then Tan starts writing in earnest. We see Eun Sang, Chan Young, and Bo Na are also seriously taking the test. Young Do sits there and then writes his name and starts taking the test seriously this time around.
Young Do finds Eun Sang and takes her to have noodles at last. He asks why she’s back and gets to the point asking if she has decided to walk that road? Eun Sang says she wants to try. Young Do says to give up if her battle with the Chairman gets to hard, then he’ll laugh at her for trying.
Young Do says he’s done and tells her to go well because they aren’t going to see each other anymore. He’s dumping her. Eun Sang asks if they can’t be friends? Young Do can’t do that because she’s a woman to him, in the past and now. And in the future, she’ll become his first love. If they run into each other, don’t say hello or ask how things are. Don’t smile when thinking about the past and how things could have been. Young Do thanks her for the noodles and walks out.
Young Do leaves and Eun Sang walks out on the street and just watches his departing back.
Bo Na was supposed to let Eun Sang stay over for the night but she blows her off and ends up with Tan in the playroom. He asks who she was with earlier and Eun Sang says she saw a friend who doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Tan says Eun Sang is so obedient today. Eun Sang says she’s staying here tonight because she has nowhere to go. She asks Tan to make up an excuse as well. Tan says he likes her and he misses her. Eun Sang thinks the excuse should be smaller. Tan says he felt like dying, thinking he couldn’t cry or breath or love someone, all because of his fate.
Tan tells Eun Sang not to leave him anymore, understood. She nods and they hold hands just staring at each other.
The next morning they head to school and he complains about her staying up all night studying. Eun Sang feels bad about staying at Myung Soo’s because they don’t pay him rent. Tan feels worse because he’s underage and can’t do anything with all those feelings he has. The phone rings and its from Tan’s mom worried about where he was last night. She wants to know when he’s coming home and says she might not be here. She tells him to do well on the exam before hanging up.
Ki Ae goes to talk with the Chairman and asks to end their relationship. The Chairman thinks she’s been drinking but Ki Ae wants to live in the open from now on. Ki Ae wanted Tan to stay and have Empire stock but if he doesn’t want it then she won’t force him. She’ll leave and if Tan leaves then there won’t be any inheritance battles. She says goodbye and says that she really did love him when it started.
Ki Ae stands in the living room and says she realized today that they never took a picture together. Ki Ae will try to explain things to Tan but the Chairman says he doesn’t understand what she is doing. He tells his minion to take her to the airport. Ki Ae can enter but she can’t leave that easily. He’s sending her to the US to think things through. Ki Ae says she doesn’t even speak English why go to the US. The Chairman says not to contact Tan since he’s already in his own mess. Ki Ae screams at him calling Chairman, Chairman, until she finally screams out “Ya, Kim Nam Yoon!”
Ki Ae is being taken to the airport when a taxi drives by and she escapes by hopping inside. Ki Ae is outside Empire High looking for Tan when Young Do sees her and goes to see what she needs. In an exact redux of Young Do’s mom leaving, Ki Ae asks Young Do to find Tan for her since she doesn’t have much time. Young Do puts Ki Ae in his car and runs through the school looking for Tan.
Young Do finds Tan and tells him that his mother is outside school right now and he needs to hurry up and go. Tan actually goes and Young Do runs out with him. The car pulls up and Tan gets inside with his mom, thanking Young Do before the car drives off. The Chairman’s minions arrive at school a moment later and the men get out to find Ki Ae.
Young Do stands there and sees his mother asking all the students if they’ve seen Young Do. He goes back to the restaurant and sees his mother’s note asking if he’s lived well? Young Do responds that he hasn’t lived well. It appears that he’s done it all wrong.
Tan asks if his mom has really broken up with his dad? Mom says it happened and of course his dad tried to stop her. She thinks they don’t love each other anymore. Tan says nonsense, if his dad didn’t love her then why chase after her. He puts her in his car and sends her to Young Do’s hotel.
Tan goes home and says he saw his mom and it was dad’s responsibility to take care of his woman. Dad says they didn’t break up he was just sending her somewhere to clear her mind. Tan says he will take care of his mom from now on, he will leave this house and his only parent is his mom now. He will not ask for his dad’s consent. Tan thanks his dad for giving birth to him.
The Chairman is in the hospital faking an illness and the only one visiting is Ji Sook. She asks where Won, Tan, and the woman he spent 18 years with is. The Chairman says they will come and asks Ji Sook to plan Tan’s 18th birthday as lavishly as Won’s. He wants it to be big news.
Tan goes to see Won who asks if he heard their dad is in the hospital? Tan didn’t know but Won says don’t go visit. He heard Tan’s mom left the house and he’s cleared a villa for her to stay since he knows he was also part of the reason. Tan used to like hyung a lot because he was Tan’s only source of comfort before his mom moved into the house. He’s sorry for causing him added pressure. Won brings up Tan’s 18th birthday being a huge bash at Zeus Hotel tonight. Tan says he’ll go and tells Won to come as well. As Tan leaves, Won curtly wishes him a happy birthday. Tan pauses and turns to look at Won with a small smile.
The kids are discussing Tan’s big 18th party tonight. Hyo Shin says he’ll go since he has nothing to do and he can go cause a ruckus. That annoys Bo Na and she asks if he plans to play kissy-kissy with Rachel at this party as well? Yi Seul asks if Hyo Shin is dating Rachel but Bo Na vows never to let Rachel take away another one of her people. Chan Young asks if that’s happened before and Bo Na changes the subject. Chan Young warns her not to go to Kim Tan’s party and everyone marvels at his display of playful jealousy.
Eun Sang is brought to get the requisite makeover and be Tan’s date for his big 18th birthday party. She comes out all dressed in a pretty red dress. They are very happy to go together and both promise to be brave for tonight.
Tan arrives at the party to a gathered media. He opens Eun Sang’s car door and she steps out. They stand face-to-face as the cameras all go off. He asks if she’s nervous and she is a little. He tells her that it will get harder but they just have to go forward.
Thoughts of Mine:
Let me just ask whether anyone has a logical explanation for why Eun Sang did her sudden about turn mid-way through the episode. Mind you, this came after she was just chewed out yet again by Chairman Daddy for being a shameless hussy and she kept insisting she won’t see Tan anymore. Then one talk with Won and she’s like “okay, back to square one we go!” My problem with this is that Eun Sang sorta did it already when she tried to be with Tan a few episodes ago and Chairman Daddy then gave her the ultimatum. The same threat is still on the table, so was Won’s implied assistance all she needed to get up the courage to breach all obstacles to be with Tan? That feels like such a random reason, not to mention this whole drama is headed towards a cop-out ending if ever I see one. Chairman Daddy has been a fire-breathing dragon all drama long and I see him either getting sick to the point of suddenly becoming a decent human being since he doesn’t have much time left, or even worse deciding to just let go of his machinations and see where the deck falls when his two sons have to handle things on their own. This whole thing is just one big puppet dance for a man who has money and control issues. His conversation with Ki Ae was heartbreaking and absolutely the one emotional moment in this whole episode that really made an impact. All of Tan and Eun Sang’s moping was frankly beyond repetitive to the point of me being desensitized to it now. Ki Ae and her suffering finally gets some airtime and I’m thrilled she chose to stand up for herself after being so thoroughly debased. That Tan continues to stand up for his mom to his dad is one of the things I still like about him despite most of his personality going into the dumpster once Eun Sang left and he fell apart. At the grand ole age of 18 he’s already hit bottom because of a girl? Puhlease.
I always thought Young Do was interesting but due to Tan’s descent into love-focused self-absorption it was Young Do that seized the opportunity to win my affection. He’s still got to atone for his sociopathic past but at least he’s taken the first steps towards being a self-aware human being. Every scene with him in this episode was wonderful. His meal with Eun Sang’s mom was lovely, his noodle break up with Eun Sang was absolutely perfect, and the redux of the scene with the leaving mom looking for her son was the one repeat scene in this drama that felt moving rather than pointless. This episode magically allowed Tan and Eun Sang to be together, but it also sensibly moved Young Do along in his own personal journey outside of his love triangle with Eun Sang and Tan which was pointless from the start. Even Rachel seems to have returned to her haughty but sane self, while Bo Na and Chan Young have firmly been placed into easy to watch friend scenes without the drama ever really sharing any of their story. I can’t even discuss the inexplicable bed scene with Won and Hyun Joo not to mention their lame conversation. No wonder their romance, or lack thereof, in this drama has been such a chemistry drain. These two can’t even show each other their love, much less show the audience. If they get their magical happy ending at the end of episode 20, it would feel like watching strangers wander on set to kiss and get married without any context. At the end of the day, Heirs its heading into its finale week primed for lots of happily ever afters and no tension left to milk. I still don’t know what the whole point of the story was, other than to assemble a big pretty cast to shill lots of product placements, which was out of control in this episode with the Kakao talk, the cell phone features, the mango drinks, it was everywhere. There were times this drama showed nuggets of sincerity in every episode but its always buried under the excess. I hope the ending at least ups the genuine satisfaction level so I can walk away feeling decently entertained through a long drama ride.
Click here to watch Heirs.