Heirs: Episode 12
So, this is crazy, but STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS. I know. I wouldn’t believe me either, so I wrote it down just in case. Eun-sang makes a decision, Young-do actually begins to feel feelings (I think), and Tan takes a stand for something. I wish I could tell you that this changes everything, but let’s not look a plot horse in the mouth, eh?
SONG OF THE DAY
Moon Myung-jin – “또 운다 (Cry Again)” for The Heirs OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
This time our love triangle plays Come With Me, No With ME in the middle of what must be the longest red light crosswalk known to man. Either that or obeying traffic signals is for the little people.
Tan sticks out his hand and asks Eun-sang to turn metaphor into reality (or is it the other way around) and take his hand to go forward with their relationship. (I didn’t promise it’d be a deep metaphor, did I?)
Eun-sang slowly raises her hand up to his, but Tan can tell this isn’t her reaching out to him—it’s a goodbye. He yells at her not to do this, but she says they’ve come a long way already, and they can’t go any farther.
With that she lets go, forces a smile through her tears, and gives a casual “I’ll see you around” before walking off. Young-do says rather sincerely at Tan: “You’re still always making people leave you.”
Young-do catches up to Eun-sang and quizzically examines her tear-stained face, as if trying to compute what leaky ailment has possessed her. He complains that people will think he kidnapped her (well, you’re not wrong), and when she bursts into a full sob, his response is: “I want to party. Why are you crying?” Pfft. This right here is why you suck at human role-play.
He asks if she wants to ditch first period and party, and even through her sobs she manages to throw a barb his way: “Ninety-eighth place would say that.” He watches her go with a long face, sighing to himself that she refuses to be caught.
Okay, so I died laughing to discover that after all the dramatics in the intersection, Tan and Eun-sang share first period gym. I guess “see you around” meant see you in twenty. He walks into class and stares moony-eyed at her, which she doesn’t notice until Chan-young and Bo-na walk in.
Bo-na runs over to Eun-sang and asks where she ran off to so early, and from the other side of the gym, Tan asks Chan-young if he housed Eun-sang for the night. Chan-young knows nothing about Eun-sang sleeping elsewhere last night, which only freaks Tan out more. The clues are tipping in Young-do’s direction—she’s been to his hotel room before, and he found them together this morning looking awfully chummy.
He runs into Young-do in the locker room and asks if Eun-sang cried a lot this morning, and Young-do refuses to answer his questions, which is maybe the first thing he’s done that I actually like. Tan tells him plainly not to think of this as an opportunity to win Eun-sang over: “This opportunity—it’s mine.”
Young-do doesn’t say anything in response, but then sits around googling Eun-sang all afternoon. Bo-na and Myung-soo rifle through the photos from their camping trip, and come across a telltale pattern—Young-do gazing at Eun-sang over and over again in every picture.
They both whirl around and exclaim, “Do you like Cha Eun-sang for real?” Young-do looks at the pictures and smiles to realize that’s what he looks like when he’s looking at Eun-sang. Myung-soo can’t understand why of all the girls in the world that’s his first love, and Bo-na can’t believe it’s taken him this long to have a first love.
Tan comes home to a nagging Madam Han who interrogates him about having any more contact with Eun-sang. He asks his mom if she’s genuinely happy living this way—never being introduced to anyone as his mother—and she answers honestly that it makes her sad, but it’s all worth it for his future.
He points out that if he marries Rachel and all that comes with it, he may never get to introduce his mother as his mother. But despite her feelings, she doesn’t budge on her stance about his future and about Eun-sang. He lets it go for now, and asks her give back the bunny socks she’s been wearing all this time, saying that they’re his. Ha.
Eun-sang spends her afternoon apartment hunting and calls Mom to bring her a change of clothes.
Tan calls Hyo-shin out and casually drops the bomb in his lap that Director Jung isn’t his biological mother. Hyo-shin thinks it’s a joke at first, but Tan says he’s testing out the confession, to see how it feels. He admits he’s shaking, and decides to run another lap to sort out his thoughts.
Won now has his guard up around Manager Yoon, not knowing what kind of things they can even talk about anymore. Manager Yoon doesn’t pretend to be on Won’s side, but tries to soften the blow when showing him the article that’s going to be published tomorrow, of Hyun-joo’s new position at Jeguk, courtesy of the lifetime commitment to charity on behalf of his family.
Won’s face hardens to realize this is why Manager Yoon was meeting with her, and then he basically implodes to find out it was all his father’s doing. Ah, so this is her equivalent of the envelope of money sliding across the table. She gets the big dream job in exchange for leaving Won.
He storms home and opens the door to Dad’s study, to find Hyun-joo sitting there waiting for him. Dad points out that this is all Won’s doing, and if he had taken care of his love life properly, Dad wouldn’t have to step in like this.
Chairman Dad says in no uncertain terms that Hyun-joo spat in the face of his generosity by daring to date his son, and Won does nothing while she says she understands and walks out. You deserve to lose her.
She leaves the house crying (Why is this the norm around here?) and runs into Tan. He stops to ask if she’s okay, and she recognizes him right away. She just asks that he holds his brother back, and leaves him wondering who she is.
Won steps out, and Tan tells hyung where the girl went and that he’s supposed to hold him back. He asks what’s going on, and of course Won doesn’t tell him, though he does add a tip that he should be careful because Dad’s hired people to spy on them. Nothing like scary invasive fathers to bring estranged brothers together, eh? This family.
After seeing Won zoom off with no intention of going after the girl, Tan feels compelled to go find her. He finds her at the bus stop and sits down next to her, and conveys the message that hyung isn’t coming.
He asks if she’s his brother’s girlfriend and how she recognized him earlier—does hyung ever talk about him? Hyun-joo says he did, and repeats Won’s words: “My little brother is affectionate, honest, he’s grown very tall, and his eyes are just like mine.” Aw, did he really say those things?
They sit there in silence, and Tan remains there long after Hyun-joo has gone.
Mom gets dressed to go meet Eun-sang, and tells Madam Han that she’ll work until the end of the month, after which she’ll have to hire new help. Madam Han is hilariously broken up about it but trying not to let it show, and freaks out when she thinks Mom is leaving the house right this instant.
I’m pretty sure she would’ve cried, but Mom says she’s just going out on an errand, and Madam Han calms down. How will you live without her?
Mom waits for Eun-sang outside the convenience store, where Young-do happens to plop down at the table next to hers. He calls Eun-sang for a date and gets rejected, only when she arrives to meet Mom, Young-do is there in plain sight.
Thinking quickly, she calls him back and agrees to eat with him, making him meet her elsewhere. She ducks out of sight until he’s gone and meets with Mom to tell her that she’s looking for a place and sleeping at a friend’s house.
She goes to meet Young-do, who notes that she’s coming from the direction of the convenience store, and then he sees the shopping bag in her hand that Mom had. A light bulb goes off in his head and he tells her to wait here and rides off. Uh-oh.
He waits at Tan’s front gate, and sure enough, Mom arrives home after meeting with Eun-sang. He’s suddenly all sweet and polite as he asks if Eun-sang is home and if she’s her mom, and after getting away with a nod here and there, Mom finally has to type a reply into her phone that Eun-sang is at work.
He passes by Tan on the way out, but remains cryptic about his reason for being here. Seconds later, Tan gets a text from Won that they’re playing golf tomorrow with Young-do and his father. Wait, we’re putting metal clubs into their hands? Who thought this was a good idea?
Young-do finds Eun-sang long gone, but he waits anyway and she gets a text from Mom that her friend on a motorcycle came to see her. She runs back in a panic, and as Young-do watches her approach, he says to himself that it’s Explanation 6 (for why she lives at Tan’s house): daughter of housekeeper, with a disability.
She knows that he’s figured out the whole story now, and asks what he’s going to do, not caring if he wants to tell everyone or harass her for it—she just asks what she should prepare herself for. He doesn’t seem very interested in lording the secret over her head, but she’s fixated on what new brand of torture he’s cooking up, and demands a response.
Young-do blurts that he has no idea: “I don’t even know what to do about my own scars! What am I going to do with yours?! I was just sad when you weren’t here, and I’m happy that you’re back, and your secret is heavy, and that’s it.”
She still doesn’t believe he won’t do something to her, and points out that that’s what he does to others, to her. But he says that’s why he can’t do anything to her now, and decides they’ll have to eat together another time and rides away.
The golf date rolls around and both Won and Young-do’s father remind each of the boys that a business deal is at stake. They remain civil enough for a while, until Young-do asks nonchalantly if the kids at school would be more shocked to hear about Tan being the son of a concubine or Eun-sang being the daughter of a housekeeper.
Tan recites his usual stay-away-from-Eun-sang line, but this time Young-do turns it around to say that he’s not threatening Eun-sang with what he knows; he’s threatening Tan with it. He says that if Tan stops protecting Eun-sang, Young-do will protect them all, and keep their secrets. Dude, even when you’re doing the good thing, why must you find the most evil reason to do it?
Tan says he’s been trying his best not to live like his past self, but threatens to return to that if he has to beat Young-do. He takes out his claws and says he’ll retaliate as Jeguk Group’s second son, and go after his father, his father’s company, and everything he owns. Young-do scoffs that it’s big talk for an illegitimate child, but Tan points out that he’s still his father’s son.
Another flashback to their past brings us to the moment Tan had warned Young-do he’d regret it for the rest of his life. Present Young-do says he should’ve come sooner, but Tan says he was mad at him, and held it against him for all of five minutes…
But those five minutes turn out to be the last chance Young-do had to eat a meal with his mother before she left him. The boys run in to find a table set for two, and his mother long gone.
Tan says now that Young-do is the one who lost the chance to see his mother because he was so stubbornly trying to win against Tan. He warns him again not to touch Eun-sang, and pleads with him to let this fight go: “I don’t have the time to fight with you because I’m preparing for a bigger battle.”
At school the next day, Eun-sang can’t help but be disappointed when Tan walks by her locker without acknowledging her. She meets Bo-na in the broadcast room and sees the mound of presents for Hyo-shin from his fangirls (he won a student short film contest). Bo-na tells her that Young-do likes her thinking it’s a big secret, and Eun-sang awkwardly pretends to be surprised.
Tan comes by to congratulate Hyo-shin on the film contest, which is obviously an excuse to be in the room. But my favorite part is Bo-na’s firm belief that he’s here to see her, which she says out loud to everyone. HA.
Hyo-shin chitchats with him and asks why he really came by, and Tan just stops with his back turned to the room to say it’s because he missed her, without the “her.”
Tan goes to Director Jung to apologize about ruining brunch with Rachel’s family last time, and asks her to invite them to dinner so he can fix things. Meanwhile Rachel attends one of her mother’s work parties, and learns the shocking tidbit that Ye-sol’s mom is a room salon madam.
Director Jung finds the in-law dinner a perfect excuse to put Madam Han in her place, and invites everyone over to the house on purpose. Madam Han comes out to find her hanging a family picture in the living room, and is brought to tears when she’s told that Tan is the one who set this dinner up.
While that’s going on at home, Tan is waiting for Eun-sang to arrive at work, and asks, “Are you happy now that you moved out? Are you happy now that you don’t see me? Are you happy now that you’ve let go of my hand?”
She deflects and tells him to go home, and he kisses her instead. He says he’s not really one to listen to her (yeah no kidding) and pouts about how she left him standing in that dangerous intersection and didn’t even call to check on him, when she obviously missed him too.
She denies it, so he kisses her again, daring her to lie one more time. He finally tells her what he came here to say—not to come home tonight, no matter who calls.
Back at the House of Two Moms, Madam Han stubbornly stands her ground in the hallway, refusing to leave. But Madam Jung knows to call her bluff, and tells the maid to open the door and let the guests in, and of course Madam Han has no choice but to run to her room in tears.
Mom comes in to comfort her and gives her updates on the dinner, which she’s grateful for. Downstairs, the family goes through their usual round of pleasantries over dinner, and Tan shows up late with apologies.
He asks to show Rachel his room, and once he has her alone he apologizes in advance for what he’s about to do. He says he’s going to show her what it is that Young-do saw when he came over.
Madam Jung comes in to rub the whole thing in the mistress’s face, and notes that she’s seen her look the same way eighteen years ago when she caught her sneaking around with her husband. She throws a glass of water in her face for emphasis, and Tan comes in to see his mother get crushed yet again.
He steps in to wipe the water from her face sweetly, and even Madam Jung can’t hide her jealousy at that. Tan takes his mother’s hand and asks her not to let go, and then leads her out of the room. Omo.
He takes her out to the living room, and Rachel’s mom recognizes her as Eun-sang’s mother. Tan says she’s mistaken, and announces in plain words that this is his biological mother, and he is an illegitimate child.
His mom cowers in fear the entire time, but he refuses to let go of her hand. He apologizes for the lies, and breaks the engagement knowing that it’ll now be mutual on both sides. Rachel’s mom fumes in indignation and hauls Rachel out, and Madam Jung chases after them.
Dad is livid and gets up to slap Tan across the face. Twice. Mom cries that it was all her fault and she put him up to it, but Tan doesn’t let her take the fall for him, and tells his father that he’s not sorry. He says he’ll apologize if he ever comes to regret his actions today, but he’s fairly confident he won’t regret them.
He challenges Dad to kick him to the curb if he likes, “But Mom is your woman, so you take responsibility for her.” He finally lets out the breath he’s been holding all this time, and Mom cries, asking how he could drop a bomb like this.
She continues sobbing up in his room, and asks why he did it when she endured so much to give him this life. He apologizes sincerely for thinking differently and just sits at her feet as she cries.
Eun-sang is distracted all evening at work, knowing that something is up with Tan. When she goes out to throw away the trash, she finds him standing outside waiting for her. As soon as he sees her, his eyes well up with tears and he starts to cry, and without knowing why, Eun-sang mirrors his tears and cries too.
Okay, so I’m just resigned to the fact that I’m never going to understand why in this world, Eun-sang saying goodbye means Come by and kiss me whenever you please, because in MY world, when a girl says goodbye, she means goodbye. I don’t even blame Tan as the only culprit here, because this writer likes to have her heroines say the opposite of what they’re feeling, thinking it romantic when a man refuses to listen to her words because he can see through to “what she really means.” Why it doesn’t occur to her that this is a slippery slope and a dangerous game (Uh, no means no, anyone?) is beyond me, but I feel like I’ve just got that fundamental block with her and I’m just never going to get over it.
I’m not trying to harp on it, but in all honesty it’s just a thing that keeps me from engaging with the romance emotionally, because Eun-sang is clearly acting like a person who wants to be with Tan, but saying things to keep him at arm’s length. It makes me frustrated with both of them—him for not listening to her and her for constantly giving him the misdirects in the first place—when all I really want to do is just root for a couple who wants to be together. Running away once because you’re scared, okay fine. Running away twelve times gives me the impression that you don’t want to be with him, so if you DO want to be with him, stop being so confusing. A stalker’s resilience is not a thing I want cultivated in my hero. Just sayin’.
The same can be said of Young-do, really, whose behavior does so many cartwheels of assiness to hide the vulnerability that he doesn’t want exposed, that by the time we FINALLY get to some human emotions and signs of a soft underbelly, I’m too far gone (and so is Eun-sang) that his nice behavior is circumspect. I do believe that he likes her, and if she really is the first girl he’s ever liked, okay, I even understand that it’s the first time he’s trying out foreign feelings, and why he ends up blurting emotional vomit at her like a boy who’s angry at the girl he likes for being pretty. You’re new. Fine. But you don’t get extra points for that. That’s just your bad. I’m sorry you’re at an emotional disadvantage because of your militant cyborg upbringing, but you know what would be impressive? Maybe you overcome said disadvantage and be a good person anyway.
I was disappointed that the boys just returned to their same cyclical dynamic when it seemed like there might be a glimmer of hope once Young-do had real feelings for Eun-sang and a vested interest in winning her over after she rejected Tan. But they continue to make this all about them, and that just makes me continue to roll my eyes. At least Tan DOES something in this episode, which is sadly such a rare occurrence around here that I was shocked. The mom reveal was a rather sweet mother-son moment, and I was happy that he at least stood his ground for one relationship in his life. In that respect he really is better than Won, who simply stood by as the love of his life was crushed and ousted from his life without even getting to confess how he really felt. Talk about a pitiful character.
I really liked Tan’s brush with Hyun-joo in this episode, because they’re strangers and yet so similar in that moment. I just liked their silent connection at the bus stop, both hurt by the same person and both wanting to be loved by the same person, knowing he’s not coming for either of them. I would hope that witnessing his hyung’s sad romance go down like that might make Tan a little more proactive so that history doesn’t repeat itself with Eun-sang. I’m just hoping Tan’s apathy and inaction is officially a thing of the past. Action Tan, are you here to stay? And while you’re at it, could you maybe get Says What She Means Eun-sang and Soft Underbelly Young-do to come visit more often? I so do like it when they come to play.