13 October 2013

HEIRS: EPISODE 1 & 2 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: THE HEIRS



Thanks goodness! I was totally terrified this show wouldn't live up to the massive hype surrounding it's release but the first episode was So Much Fun!

We get a tantalising view into the world this drama is going to be creating, think super rich kids with nothing but fake friends..... and their totally dysfunctional parents, all hinting at the kind of sly and manipulative drama that 'Gossip Girl' became famous for. I think that side of the story will really come into play once our characters all return to Korea, but for now we are gifted 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.


Episode 1:
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 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 Pretty resent in this drama. Seriously this cast is practically my dream cast, with all three main leads appearing in my favourite actors list.  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, like oh my gosh!  Not to mention the added loveliness that is Choi Jin-hyuk, what a seriously gorgeous man! 
So basically what I am trying to say here is...SWOON!

Well not so much in his picture though....


Episode 2:
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!

















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