[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 14
By William Schwartz | Published on
The ostentatious displays by our lead characters have managed to get really nauseating. I knew when I started watching "The Heirs" that this was going to be a drama about the extremely rich and well-connected. What I liked about the early episodes was that there was this clear indication that being rich and well-connected is not necessarily a good thing for a person with lousy emotional attachments. The picturesque cityscape of beautiful Los Angeles was consistently tempered by the dark side of life there.
But that sense of ambivalence about wealth and visibility is basically gone now. The main setpiece of this episode is a rich kid party that doesn't even look particularly expensive, yet clearly appears to be an unironic endorsement of a commercialist lifestyle. That would be forgivable on its own, except that this party coincides with an immensely awkward and stilted level up in the Kim Tan / Eun-Sang relationship.
I don't get why the other teen characters in this show are putting up with such a high degree of drama from these two, especially celebrating it. The party has a clearly defined purpose which has absolutely nothing to do with either Kim Tan or Eun-Sang. I'm not even sure Kim Tan was technically invited. And as for Eun-Sang, her apparent unwillingness to stick up for herself is immensely frustrating here, since she knew exactly what she was getting into and apparently had no actual plan for getting out of it.
The weirdest part is just how sorry I feel for Rachel Yoo. I'm genuinely not even sure whether she's supposed to be a villain. Yeah, she puts on a sneaky deceptive face for the visit with Kim Tan's mom- but that's her being diplomatic about something she obviously does not want to do, yet does anyway for the sake of her family and social position. I get that Kim Tan is supposed to be a maverick who doesn't care about that stuff, but it's horrifically inconsiderate of him (and Eun-Sang) to act in a way that indirectly humiliates Rachel Yoo and then be surprised that she's angry about it.
That's really the only difference between our heroic and villainous characters here, is that our heroes damage the villains indirectly, whereas the villains attack the heroes directly. It's a pretty lousy moral statement. Kim Tan's temper blares this episode are frankly frightening, and simply not justified by the situation. I'm getting the sense at this point that these are actually supposed to be positive character traits- which really sours the entire experience of the drama. "The Heirs" is heading in a really lousy direction right now.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.