Heirs: Episode 6
High school, man. It’s a minefield no matter where you go, but when your social classes consist of rich, richer, and richest, everything from picking an extracurricular activity to where you sit during lunch turns into a feat of diplomacy and a reevaluation of your net worth. Eun-sang goes to her new school to find more familiar faces than she bargained for, and gets quite literally stuck between the devil who used to run hell and the devil who runs it now. Guess there’s no such thing as nice guys in hell OR high school.
SONG OF THE DAY
Park Jang-hyun – “두 사람 (Two People)” for The Heirs OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Tan and Young-do start their school day with an alpha dog sniffing session (ew, not like that), tossing tense greetings back and forth, all the while sizing each other up for the war ahead.
Of course Eun-sang walks obliviously in between them, breaking the glaring contest and surprising both boys. Tan asks why she’s here without a uniform, while Young-do happily considers this a two-for-one deal. Before the tension swallows her up whole, Chan-young steps in to drag her away by the wrist. We’re gonna get an earful about that later from your girlfriend, aren’t we?
And then Rachel steps in to try and put a stop to things before they escalate, but Young-do just yanks her close and says they aren’t done yet—there wasn’t even a hug, or tears.
Tan yanks her back to his side by the wrist (UGH, seriously, are you two going to have your pissing contest by yanking girls around?) and tells Young-do he won’t be getting a hug, but he can comply by wringing tears if he likes.
Young-do feigns worry at all the tense mornings in store, so Tan tells him he’s free to transfer schools any time he wants. After all, Tan can’t go since his mother is the principal. Young-do: “Ah, so you’re differentiating between mother and mommy now? Oops, was that going too far for our first day?”
Young-do walks away and Rachel takes Tan aside, leaving Bo-na to explain to her friend that that was Satan—her first love. Ha.
Rachel complains about having to hear about Tan’s return through the rumor mill, but he doesn’t seem concerned about her feelings, not that he ever was. He answers honestly that Eun-sang’s transfer was a decision made by his parents, as is everything in his life, “just like my engagement.” Not that I feel sorry for her, but ouch.
Chan-young sighs that Eun-sang should’ve called him so they could walk into school together, while she wonders why he didn’t tell her that Tan was Jeguk’s second son. Chan-young thought it was the least of her problems given that she and her mom have nowhere else to go at the moment (and to be fair, it’s not like he imagined Tan would return).
He turns her focus toward surviving here at Jeguk High, and tells her that there’s a strict class system here. Of course there is. First class: heirs to business conglomerates. These are your chaebol sons and daughters—Young-do, Rachel, et al.
Second class: stockholder heirs. They won’t end up running entire companies, but come with lives fully loaded and pre-paved, like Bo-na for instance. Third class: reputation heirs. These are the children of congressmen, generals, and other powerful people, and include Hyo-shin and Myung-soo.
And then the fourth and final class is where Chan-young and Eun-sang belong: the charity class. She sees how she might fit there, since she is here by the benevolence of others, but is surprised to learn that as the son of a secretary, Chan-young is a nobody here too.
Eun-sang gapes, wondering where that leaves her. Chan-young tells her to perk up—she has at least one friend here, which is more than anyone else had when they started, including him.
Eun-sang gets called to the office to fill out general forms, and already she rubs up against having to list her mother’s occupation, and another student overhears the teacher pointing out that she’s a maid.
She goes to her first class, which she shares with both Tan and Young-do. She introduces herself, and another student asks how she got into this school, leading to a long awkward silence. Finally Tan breaks the moment by insisting he’s a transfer student too, and gets up to give his introduction, saving Eun-sang from having to answer the question. It doesn’t go unnoticed by Young-do.
At home, Madam Han finds Mom wearing a maid’s uniform and scrubbing the bathtub, like a scene straight out of The Housemaid. Hilariously, it turns out Mom is actually role-playing Jeon Do-yeon for funsies. Madam Han grumbles at her choice of movies. Ha.
Madam Han goes out to visit Madam Jung on purpose, like she’s just asking for trouble. These two only ever go in circles making threats and throwing fits, with no real progress.
Tan comes by the broadcast club to visit Hyo-shin, who greets him warmly (well, as warmly as anybody does in this icebox of a school). Bo-na walks in and despite Tan’s harmless and nice greeting, she runs off alarmed, convinced he’s looking for Chan-young to fight him because he’s still not over her. HAHAHA. I love her.
Myung-soo stops Eun-sang in the hallway to ask her what she is, explaining that when someone just shows up out of nowhere it means she’s either a charity case or nouveau riche. So which is she?
Eun-sang looks over at Bo-na, who doesn’t offer any help and tells her to answer it herself. She doesn’t, but it leaves everyone rather curious—who is she that on her first day she knows Tan, Young-do, Bo-na, Chan-young, and Rachel?
Tan walks up calling her “overnight riches,” which Myung-soo takes at face value. Tan wants to chat, but Eun-sang snubs him squarely and turns the other way.
She walks outside, where Young-do is lying in wait and sticks his foot out to trip her, just to save her with a hand-grab. Wow, is everything you do that double-sided? Oh wait, yes it is. He says he’s going to trip her often, and asks her again what her relationship to Tan is.
She points out that if he’s so interested in Tan he should go to the source, and Young-do wonders why she isn’t more afraid of him. Young-do: “Oh, I forgot to introduce you. You’re mine.”
He hardly means it in the romantic sense, though he totally enjoys letting her think that for a frightening two seconds, before explaining that the other kids call it a shuttle (as in, a lackey to go fetch things).
He continues with his characteristic faux-romance speak: “Now that you know my feelings, what is your relationship to Tan?” But Tan walks up to say he should ask him directly, and sighs at Eun-sang for running away when he wanted to talk.
He gives her an out which she gladly takes, and Young-do glowers at Tan for ruining his chance to make friends with the transfer student. Tan: “Having no friends suits you better. You’re going to throw them away in an instant, so why bother making any?” Buuurn.
Tan finally gets a chance to talk to Eun-sang, and promises he wasn’t trying to hide the truth from her. She points out that it doesn’t matter, because she feels exposed regardless. His response just kills me: “Did you… cry?”
She changes the subject and asks why he turned her into an overnight millionaire, worried that living a lie is just going to make things harder. He tells her that sticking by his side will quell any doubt on that matter, and tells her to stay close, and avoid Young-do.
But Eun-sang says she’s interested in having a regular school life, and she’s already figured out that the person she ought to avoid isn’t Young-do. So far all the unwanted attention she’s receiving is because of Tan, and she asks him to pretend they don’t know each other.
Tan calls Chan-young to meet, and warns him not to tell anyone about Eun-sang living at his house as the daughter of his family’s maid. Chan-young scoffs that he’s asking Eun-sang’s best friend to keep his mouth shut as if it even needs to be said, but Tan points out (perhaps from experience?) that often the oldest friends can end up bringing you down because they know too much.
The best part is that Bo-na arrives, sees the two boys talking, and immediately gets on her phone and whirls around like she didn’t just see them together. Tan says it seems like Bo-na’s still into him, and Chan-young wonders why anyone would have lingering feelings over a rundown car (literally “poop car”). Tan: “Poop car?” Their playful rivalry is cute.
Eun-sang comes home and asks Mom if they can’t find some way to leave this house—she’ll work extra jobs, and Mom can work elsewhere, right? But Mom has been fired from enough jobs for her disability to know that no job beats this one. Eun-sang cries that it’s unfair, but Mom points out that it’s unfair to her too, even as her heart breaks.
Eun-sang heads down to the wine cellar for some peace and quiet, and Tan hides out of view again. She looks up used Jeguk uniforms online but finds no hits, and sits back with some music, not realizing that Tan is sitting on the other side of the wall.
He asks her to meet, so she asks where he is, which is when he pops out in person and scares the daylights out of her. She wonders if he’s been here before, and he cops to it, guessing that her worry is to do with some secret wine cellar bad girl behavior.
He takes her hand and leans in like he’s going to kiss it… and then declares that it isn’t smoking. “Was it cursing my name?” He tells her to eat lunch with him tomorrow at school, and explains her that her options are basically to transfer back to her old school or play the nouveau riche girl who’s friends with him. Those options suck.
The next day Eun-sang sits down alone with her lunch, when Joon-young (the kid who was being harassed by Young-do when we first met him) tells her that this is his seat.
He tells her in a low voice that he overheard her mother’s occupation in the teacher’s office, and tells her not to think of outing herself. Oh, this conversation is not going where I thought it was going.
He warns her to keep her head down to survive, and nearly pushes her out of the way repeating that this is his seat. Moments later we see why, as Young-do and his gang arrive at the table to harass him. Aw, he just saved her, didn’t he?
She sees them terrorize the poor guy, and opens her mouth to confront Young-do. Eep. I totally want her to, but I also equally want her to hide. But Tan swoops in to remind her pointedly that they were supposed to eat lunch together and pulls her aside.
She realizes now that this is why Tan insisted on the lunch date, because he anticipated her hazing. She asks how he knew. Tan: “Because those are the rules I made.” So… the Satan thing wasn’t really an exaggeration then.
Young-do plops his plate down next to hers and joins them for lunch. He doesn’t let her leave, so she figures to hell with it and just eats anyway. I don’t know how she can even swallow her food with Young-do breathing down her neck and Tan playing goalie, but she does.
A little later, Young-do makes a big show of finding Tan and making everyone clear the room, and Tan asks if they’re supposed to throw punches or something. Young-do laughs that they’re not eight anymore, and says it boils down to this: they can’t possibly go to the same school. You always say that, but then it always ends with this.
Young-do tells him to transfer, “Before ‘son of a concubine’ comes out of my mouth.” Tan gets up at that, countering that at eighteen he’s still too young to fully grasp the losing-is-winning concept (yeah eighteen-year-olds don’t really say that, but okay).
Tan figures that playing nice is down the toilet, and Young-do adds that it’s too late for avoidance. They get closer… and closer… and then we cut. Huh? Well either they kiss or they stare and then walk away. Hey if you leave it to me, my brain’s gonna fill in the blanks however I please!
After school, Young-do is busy getting his bike tuned when Eun-sang runs in to make a chicken delivery to the shop. This time he recognizes her, and soon she’s back for a second delivery. The employees say it isn’t their order, so she calls the customer’s number.
Young-do picks up and shows up right behind her. He pays for his chicken, laughing at the hoops he’s jumping through to get her phone number (though it is funny that his way is faster and smarter than Tan’s, which on second thought is scary) and tells her to save his number.
She refuses, but he warns that if she doesn’t, he’ll start asking questions, like why an overnight millionaire’s daughter is making chicken deliveries. Stop smiling at her! It’s confusing.
Tan comes home and points out to Dad that one son’s return has led to the other son’s disappearance, and Dad tells him to keep tomorrow free so they can go visit hyung.
Won is still staying at the hotel, and the next morning Hyun-joo comes with porridge for him because he’s feeling sick. But one phone call from work sends him off with a curt non-explanation, and Hyun-joo leaves, clearly having experienced this kind of brush-off before.
Tan stops in his tracks when he realizes Dad’s idea of “go see hyung” is to go to the office, and judging by his reaction it’s basically like stepping foot inside the palace walls. Tan tries to get out of it, but Dad orders him inside, saying that this isn’t for either of the sons, but for Dad.
The chairman has no qualms about calling the emergency meeting on a Saturday, and the employees rush in. Won gets held up in traffic and comes in late, which is when Dad stops the meeting to introduce Tan as his second son to the company for the first time. If looks could kill, we’d have a Cain and Abel situation right there on the conference room floor.
Everyone else clears the room, and Tan tells hyung that he didn’t come here intentionally—Dad sprung it on him, and he wouldn’t have come if he had known they were coming here.
Won sneers that he never does anything on purpose, but he should know what happens as a direct result of his movements, whether intentional or not. Tan doesn’t disagree, but feels slighted anyway—what is he supposed to do when his very existence is the thorn in his brother’s side?
Madam Han is overjoyed at the news that Tan was taken to work, and her barrage of questions sends Tan fleeing. He finds Eun-sang hanging the sheets out to dry in the sun, and stays out of view as she sighs to herself that she’s a millionaire by day and a maid by night.
She falls asleep in her chair, and Tan sits watching her sleep for a little while, and fixes the band-aid on her hand. When she wakes up, she finds the dreamcatcher hanging above her.
Rachel’s mom and Chan-young’s dad have another run-in at the hotel, where she gets pissy about him not calling her. She manages to belittle his social standing while seeming desperate for his attention all at once, and I’m beginning to see why Rachel is the way she is.
Eun-sang is still walking around school without a uniform, and she asks her teacher if there’s a chance she can get a scholarship for her tuition. The teacher doesn’t think she has a chance in hell to compete with students who have been prepping for the ivy league their whole lives, and then adds more to her plate by reminding her that she has to pick a sport between tennis, golf, and horseback riding, the equipment for which she needs to pay for. Eesh.
But she passes by a sign in the hallway looking to fill a broadcast club PD position, the payment for which is a scholarship. Ding! She goes to see Hyo-shin right away and asks about the scholarship, admitting that she needs cash for a uniform. He wonders why if she’s rich, and she hurriedly says she blew her allowance on a new purse and doesn’t want to get in trouble.
He doesn’t seem to think that’s weird, though he’s not exactly quick to believe her pitch that she’s really hardworking. But she butters him up as best she can and asks to at least apply for the job.
She comes back out to find the rest of the students crowded around Young-do terrorizing Joon-young again, this time getting violent and even scarier, if that’s possible. Notably, Tan is standing right there just a few feet away, doing absolutely nothing.
Eun-sang makes her way to the front of the crowd, just itching to say something and put a stop to it. But just as she’s about to, this time Joon-young stands up for himself and fights back, flinging his backpack and scraping Young-do’s face, drawing blood. Oh noes.
Young-do flips him over onto the ground and steps on him for effect, all the while staring right at Eun-sang. He says full of portent: “I look forward to all the things that’ll happen to you,” and leaves her shaking.
She runs up to Joon-young to ask if he’s okay, and only then does Tan step in to drag her away with the warning not to get involved in stuff like this. He asks her if anyone else is helping that kid, and she looks around. He tells her to never take the weak person’s side at this school, because that’ll seal her fate as one of them.
Rachel fumes to see them together again, and takes out Eun-sang’s customs card to call her. She tells her to bring her nametag and makes a whole show of abiding by the school’s caste system, believing that Eun-sang is beneath her for being new money.
She warns her to stay away from Tan, and Eun-sang says it’s what she wants too, and returns the nametag. Rachel lies that she threw away the customs card and takes out cash to tip her, and Eun-sang fights back tears.
Young-do buys another ramyun at the convenience store in Tan’s (and Myung-soo’s) neighborhood, where he spots Eun-sang in the same exact place he noticed her the first time.
He smiles and parks it across from her and eats silently. He kicks at the table to try and wake her, which is when we see that this time, she isn’t actually sleeping, and hoping desperately to get out of this situation somehow.
Young-do: “Why are you always sleeping in places like this? It makes me want to protect you.”
He’s interrupted by a call from Tan, and they get their spikes up, all You know my number, and You knew mine first.
Tan asks how his ramyun tastes, and Young-do looks up to see Tan staring at him from across the street, looking back and forth between him and Eun-sang.
I wish there was a little more to that last scene, because it ends like it’s some crazy charged moment, but it falls rather flat given the numerous other encounters they’ve had at school. Some context might’ve been nice, if jealousy or misunderstanding was the point. Though I suppose with a love triangle this antagonistic, just being seen together is supposed to be enough of a thing?
Anyway, I do like Young-do’s character (as a character, not so much as a human), because I can never tell what he means. Is he flirting or terrorizing? With the kid he bullies on a daily basis, the sweet talk masks the menacing meaning between the lines, but with Eun-sang it takes on an extra confusing layer because he’s overtly flirting while being scary. For now he’s clearly doing it to get a rise out of Tan, but he seems destined to go the way of Gu Jun-pyo—you know, that jerky ass-backwards thing of pulling on a girl’s pigtails like a child until you realize later that your interest in terrorizing her has turned into interest-interest.
And while I appreciate that in this drama the hero isn’t such a jerk, Tan clearly has a past as quite the epic hooligan, and it seems as though his current apathy is the only way he’s figured out how to be—if he turns everything off, he can ignore the problem instead of facing it. What a waste of a life to be so jaded at eighteen, though I suppose it leaves a lot of room for his growth.
I’m much more interested in Eun-sang if she’s the type of person to stand up for a bullied classmate, because for one, it gives her some other identity than just the poor girl, not to mention that it would make her pretty awesome as a person. So far she’s just teetering on the brink, so we’ll have to see how that develops, but if she’s the catalyst for getting Tan to start caring and standing up to Young-do, that’d be great too. He’s obviously not afraid to stand up for himself, but doing so for a classmate seems completely outside his concern. Young-do acting out and being a bully, I expected; Tan turning a blind eye and even stopping Eun-sang from being nice to the bullied kid was tragic. It makes him no better, especially when he has the power to do something about it.
I’ve been watching every episode with the feeling like I was waiting for the show to get going, but by now it seems that this is just the rhythm of this show. It’s always going to feel this way—a step or two behind anticipation, filled with so many lingering looks that I could swear half the episode was silent, and more weighted towards setup than payoff. I mean, I don’t know how long we’re going to have to watch the bulls circle each other with no showdown, and already I found myself wishing they’d just come to blows in this episode so they’d stop dancing and have a new dynamic to react to. While I find the tension between the boys interesting, I’m not impressed that their idea of asserting dominance is yanking girls around by the wrist. If Eun-sang’s position in this love triangle is going to be Bromance Bargaining Chip, well then BLERGH, I say. I’m putting faith in her no-nonsense demeanor that she won’t stand for that, but right now it feels like a shaky hope more than a grounded assumption.
That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the show, because it’s certainly easy to watch. It just requires a shift in expectation, because there’s very little plot here, and much more focus on micro events and a general mood. The mood, I like—it’s simultaneously jaded and dreamy, which sounds weird but is effective. And the writer’s style fits rather perfectly with children acting like adults. Overall I’m much happier now that we’re in school and everyone’s got a complicated web of overlapping relationships, and we’ve got a reason to watch all the different pairings interact. I think the characterizations are complex enough to keep me interested, though if we got a little plot up in here, I sure wouldn’t complain. Or yunno, some kisses.