9 November 2013

HEIRS: EPISODE 9 & 10 REVIEW

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: THE HEIRS

Well I really enjoyed this week's offering of Heirs, even if it was basically just a big lesson in what not to do when wooing the girl of your dreams, hosted for us by the shining examples of cluelessness, Tan and Young-do. So come join us and enjoy, as these two idiotic boys crash their way blindly through teen romance.





Episode 9:
This episode was very interesting,  peppered with romance, hilarious yet awesome mothers, terrible (terrible terrible) fashion, and actual genuine feelings..... all starring two boys who couldn't act any dumber if they tried!

So we begin with the forced kiss and I feel that Lee Min-ho was having trouble with the frozen peck idea because the whole thing looked rather awkward, like if he had his way he would prefer to be moving his mouth like a normal person. And I am pretty sure Eun-sang (and every other viewer out there ever) would also have preferred to see him moving his mouth..... but alas it was just not to be.
I can only hope a frozen kiss this early on in the narrative will open the doors for a few steamy ones later. (Shh, don't burst my bubble).

So anyway back to the kiss. It was forced and not exactly done for any romantic reason. And to be honest I don't think even Tan looked all that pleased or satisfied with it himself. I feel like he is trying so hard to do the right thing and that he does know somewhere inside that forced kisses and shouty orders aren't really the correct way to go about expressing his feelings, but I also feel that he is sort of in way over his head with this stuff and can't manage to stop himself from doing them anyway. When you think about it, it's not like he has any great examples to follow in the relationship department and even though he is quite a caring and sensitive guy it still doesn't automatically mean he knows how to go about expressing his love in a normal way. Basically he is blazing this trail himself with no one around him sane enough to ask for advice or to lead by example. So when you think about it that way, I can find the sweetness and tenderness and well meaning intentions behind his shouty declarations and physical grabbyhands. Because seriously, this boy has no idea what he is doing, but no one can deny that he isn't trying hard!

And, it seems Eun-sang understands this too because for the first time (well at least the first time in front of Tan) we see her resolve finally falter. Even during that less than romantic forced kiss we see her drop her phone and relax her hands, and it didn't look to me like it was because she was shocked or surprised.  More like because she was moved, affected by his proximity and his mouth against hers.
I feel like this is a bit of a turning point for Eun-sang as finally she admits to herself that yes she does have feelings for Tan, yes she does like him. Not that it makes any real difference to her situation of course but realistically it is true that accepting how she feels won't make her life any easier, and this is the exact reason she has indeed fought it for so long.

And that is another refreshing thing about this drama, the characters have this amazing capacity to be honest which I just so hugely appreciate.  Tan immediately recognises how he feels about Eun-sang and he tells her outright. And now that Eun-sang has also admitted her feelings to herself she is totally upfront about it to Tan as well. No stupid unnecessary misunderstandings for this couple, just cold hard reality. Because these two have enough obstacles in their path to happiness without also adding themselves to the list.


So after the forced kiss, Eun-sang runs away in a tizzy leaving Tan alone to answer Young-do's phone call. And now we get around to confused and totally clueless bachelor number two. I really started to see some sort of hint at vulnerability in Young-do last week, but the whole 'tripping Eun-sang in the lunch room' thing really made me lose any sympathy I had going until.... this episode. Here we see Young-do display all his usual vileness, yet it is easy to spot something else also simmering below the surface. Basically this dude has 'little lost boy' syndrome and no matter how much I want to keep hating him I can already feel myself caving, because what could be more effective than taking a boy who is so completely menacingly confident of himself and his attitude and then turning him upside down and inside out.

When Eun-sang runs down the stairs to get away from Tan after their kiss, Young-do tries to physically grab her but she is seriously having none of it. She gives him this really intense angry/hurt stare before walking away and leaving him literally lost for words. I think that in this moment, for the very first time in his entire life, Young-do actually cares that someone hates him.
Now this doesn't automatically make him a better person or nicer, but it is an important moment nonetheless, and when we hear his friend ask him why he tripped Eun-sang on purpose (interestingly he apparently doesn't normally pick on girls) he answers in a quiet almost shocked voice that he was curious as to what he would feel if he did it. 
And sucked in, you giant douchebag! You feel terrible!
And that my friends is a welcome start in Young-do's quest to become a real human boy!


But all his personal growth is quickly nipped in the bud, because suddenly some pretty manly epic guitar shredding begins and Tan turns up with a totally not-subtle flykick to Young-do's chest, sending him flying. So..... who ever knew watching two hot dudes bash each other up could be so damn fun? I certainly didn't! They literally roll around on the floor until both have bloody faces and Eun-sang comes running to the rescue (as well as Tan's fake mum) meaning all too soon the guitar shredding/floor wrestling is all over.

Eun-sang doesn't turn up to school the next day and her absence is felt by everyone, even Young-do. But it is Tan who goes to find her and this is when the story takes another surprising step forward, because right to Tan's face Eun-sang admits she likes him. Tan doesn't say a word, and initially I thought it was because he was so floored by her confession. But he just continues to silently listen to her as she tells him that it doesn't matter what she feels, it changes nothing. Eun-sang begins to cry and then Tan just walks away without a single word. I guess he just isn't ready to hear all the reasons they can't be together from her as well as everyone else, so I think this reaction stems from hurt more than anything else.


And the next day when she is being harassed by some nasty girls who don't believe she is really 'new money' Tan actually does what she asks and stays out of her business. .... until they start going too far and he opens his mouth to say protect her only to be cut to the chase by Young-do!
I am quite liking this reversal in Young-do and thought the scene where he turns up to 'save' Eun-sang from some overly handsy school boys in the coffee shop was great fun, ranging from hilariously embarrassing to kind of genuinely affecting. 
Hilarious - 'the police are here!', unnecessary flykick to the head. 
Affecting - 'I like you. But you don't like me', quietly and awkwardly said by a Young-do unable to look Eun-sang in the eyes.
All very interesting developments.


I might also mention quickly Tan's mum who I am beginning to love, and also her weird relationship with Eun-sang's mother. These two make such a great pair and I have got to say I was alternatively laughing and cheering throughout all the scenes at the parent teacher meeting. Truly awesome stuff!
And lastly for this episode, how much does Won totally deserve a smack upside the head from his pink sweater wearing, affectionate sweetie of a younger brother? I feel that he still thinks the world revolves entirely around him, even if he does still spend all his time being bitter because he doesn't get everything he wants. All he cares about is himself and how hard his life is, never even thinking that perhaps it isn't easy for Tan in that huge suffocating house either. That maybe Tan also doesn't have the best relationship with their dad. That actually Tan could be struggling just as badly as him.
What a selfish bratface!


Episode 10:
So basically Young-do turns up at Tan's house to stir trouble by using Tan's family and his knowledge of Tan's biological mum as his trump card. It is a pretty low move because it involves humiliating the Madame just to show he can. Young-do is presumably spurred on by Tan daring him last episode to just go ahead and  try using his knowledge about Tan's mum to his advantage and that it wouldn't work. But when on top of everything else, Eun-sang also turns up to create more Young-do awkwardness and mindgames, Tan finally cracks. So what does he do? He marches right into Young-do's father's office and pleasantly apologises for smacking Young-do in the face..... twice.  And then he swaggers right back out of there with a smirk on his face, having totally dominated Young-do into submission so that he will never try involving their families in this private feud again.


But despite me obviously cheering Tan on for winning one over his totally backstabbing former friend, I still can't help but be devastated for Young-do at the results of Tan's meddling. His father is a terrifying man, and despite his short stature compared to his son who towers over him, it is completely clear who holds all the power in this relationship. There is no concern from Young-do's father about his son being involved in a fight, there is only a terrible and dangerous anger that Young-do didn't win. How could he be so weak as to let himself be bested by Tan twice? And this is not just disappointment over a son's silly mistake, this is absolute pure disgust that his son is not, in his eyes, as strong as he perceives himself to be.
I don't enjoy Young-do's bullying ways and I certainly feel that he has some large lessons to live through and learn from, but seriously it is hard not to empathise with him when he walks away from his father blinking back tears, both at the conversation they shared and also the memories flooding his mind of the way his father treated his mother, someone who it seems has long since abandoned them both.


Tan meanwhile runs off to find Eun-sang to get their story right about them dating so as to throw Young-do off the scent that Eun-sang is actually living at his house. Which basically translates into him asking her to date for real (or more accurately telling her...sigh). But Eun-sang isn't having any of it. Doesn't he understand what that means for her if they date? That her and her mum will be thrown out on the street if Tan's mum finds out? That when Tan gets too tired from all the trouble she will bring to his life and dumps her, he can return to his perfect life and forget about her but she will be left all alone with nothing?
She has a very real point here, and I totally understand what she is worried about, because if they do date it is Tan that will have the power. He will be the one to dictate how long they go out, he is the one who will need to protect her and make a place for her in his world, not the other way around, meaning that Eun-sang agreeing to date him is basically putting her entire future into Tan's hands. She would be relying on him to an extreme level, which is a pretty scary thing to do. It means she would be leaping into a total unknown just for love.

But Tan is only hurt by her fear and her reservations, which his following words reflect;

'I showed courage for you. But you have done nothing for me. I thought you were a good dream, Cha Eun-sang. But you were only a bad one.'

And when he walks away, Eun-sang begins to cry because despite her words, Tan leaving her is perhaps not really exactly what she wants.


I actually felt a little bit annoyed at Eun-sang this episode, even though I do understand how terrifying it is for a girl with such a hard and realistic view of the world to make a life choice based only on love.
Eun-sang just has this capacity to be an awesome heroine, seen from her easy handling of the handsy school boys hitting on her in the coffee shop and also the way she began to stand up to Young-do at camp, but in regards to the romance I think things can get a little too stagnant and repetitive on her side.

So basically Eun-sang admitted straight out to Tan that she liked him, but also that she wanted him to leave her alone because it will never be possible for them to be together anyway. But when he does exactly what she says, it is immediately clear that she is having second thoughts. Tan stops following her around, he stops listening to her and liking her unconditionally and basically doing everything he can to make her happy. And this, as it turns out, doesn't make her any happier.


Now this part I liked! Eun-sang doesn't let Tan ignore her. She follows him up the staircase into the area of the house clearly not meant to be visited by people as lowly as she, and then she pauses right outside his door, warring with herself whether she is really ready to take that last step. It seems to me that her walking into his room, her following him and chasing him, is really just her deciding to forget about the consequences that their romance might create, and instead to just follow her heart. An idea I really enjoy.
Tan hasn't the patience to wait for Eun-sang to enter his room though, and he caves first in their little game of reversals, returning back to his old possessive self. At which point Eun-sang also immediately reverts back into her former mind-set, namely she starts harping on about how there are certain doors in this world that she just cannot ever cross, like for instance his bedroom door.... which she just crossed two seconds ago....

Now, I loved seeing that more proactive, more courageous and braver side of Eun-sang. I loved seeing her decide for herself what she wanted and going for it directly and making it happen for herself.


Basically though, they both revert back (at least for now) into the same groove we have been watching for quite a few episodes already now, with Tan being the chaser and Eun-sang the chased. Though when Eun-sang goes off to school camp things change again because when she has to deal with all the stupid idiots that she attends school with alone, she begins to miss Tan (just as he planned). But Young-do isn't going to make anything easy for them, claiming Eun-sang as his own and alternating between tormenting her and sending her these long lingering sad glances so that I just cannot comprehend what he is about at all.
And so I guess Eun-sang is finally driven to make her decision and she calls Tan..... which of course ends in another stand off between our two main boys. Not that I am complaining.

So.... I think in some ways the story has gone a little downhill since we got into all the bullying and school stuff, though in other ways I am so completely loving it I couldn't care less. I think all it means is that 'Heirs' isn't going to be one of the most fantastic dramas of all time, but rather a total guilty pleasure, filled with gorgeous actors and actresses and enough fun, emotion and romance to get me completely hooked and obsessed!












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