This episode steps it up on the humor front, which is a welcome turn because oh my god the mopey angst. Who has the patience for that? Not that angst has gone anywhere today, but at least it’s taking a bit of a backseat while characters step it up with confessions, decisions, and acts of teenage rebellion. Okay, maybe not all of those things are steps up in a traditional sense. But steps forward are nothing to sniff at, especially when they’re so few and far between.
Wow, Heirs took a huge jump in the ratings this week (Secret just ended), and took home a 20.9% rating. Pretty Man premiered with a lowish 6.3%, which is still better than the languishing Medical Top Team at 5.7% (which, believe it or not, is a big jump up from its 3.6% last week).
SONG OF THE DAY
Papercut Project – “알고 싶어” (I Want To Know) [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
After outing the truth of his birth to his would-be in-laws, Tan comes to Eun-sang emotionally drained. Without knowing what’s going on, she senses his turmoil and mirrors his tears.
Tan repeats her words from California when she’d offered to take his hand and run away when he’s in danger, and he asks if those words are still valid here in Korea. She shakes her head no. He looks further crushed at that, but then Eun-sang steps close to envelop him in a hug.
Rachel and her mother go home in a temper—it’s an insult to them, and an engagement is out of the question now. Still, Rachel’s mother decides to hold off on breaking the engagement formally for a while, because the two Kim brothers are about to launch into a stock-buying spree in a race to push each other out. That will drive up the price of the stock, and Mama wants a piece of that action. How coldly practical.
Rachel berates Young-do for sitting on this important piece of information, but to her surprise he tells her to keep this secret: “It’s not a request, it’s a warning.” Rachel is understandably confused to find him protecting Tan and asks why. He replies, “Because it’s the best thing I’ve done till now. And also the thing I did most to hurt Tan.”
Tan brings Eun-sang to Myung-soo’s workshop and fiddles with the lock, saying they can spend the night here. He asks where she spent the last few nights, and I don’t understand why Eun-sang just doesn’t tell him she crashed with Bo-na. What’s with all the withholding?
Instead, she asks why he was crying, and they dodge each other’s questions for a while (he jokes that his tears are from global warming endangering the penguins). Someone tugs at the door, but Tan assures her that they’re in no danger of discovery, because he changed the passcode. Ha. So Myung-soo bangs and yells for a while, then goes away.
Tan grumbles to see Young-do calling her again and answers the phone, calling himself her boyfriend and dismissing Young-do. Then he complains to see the photos from the class trip showing Young-do and Eun-sang together, which gets her eye-rolling at his nagging.
Eun-sang takes out her books to study (making another dig at Tan’s last-place ranking that nettles his pride) and he sits watching her back for a long while. Finally he settles down to sleep, and as she watches him sh murmurs, “Dream nice dreams.” Only to have him reply right away, “I already am. You’re there, in front of me.”
They leave the workshop in the morning and are barraged with flash photos, paparazzi-style. Ha, so Myung-soo camped there all night, half-wild with hunger and cold, and crows that his pride wouldn’t let him go before he got his money shot.
They end up riding together to school, and Myung-soo stubbornly refuses to delete his photos. Tan readily admits they’re dating and mentions the hugging last night, to Eun-sang’s chagrin and Myung-soo’s glee.
They walk onto campus side by side, and today he offers her his hand and prods, “Let’s try having courage.” She hesitantly takes his hand, apologizing for taking so long to do so, causing jaws to drop as they pass.
They’re stopped by Young-do, and as usual Young-do tries to stop Eun-sang from leaving while Tan orders her to walk away. Ugh. I have no problem with Tan trying to spare her the drama, but I cringe every time he talks to her like she’s a puppy to direct: “Walk straight ahead.”
Young-do expresses disappointment over Tan revealing his birth secret himself, because he was looking forward to being the one to drop that bomb. Tan says that it’s not too late for Young-do to spread the words and tells him to go ahead; he doesn’t intend to swoop in with damage control, either, and will take everything that comes his way.
Rachel corners Eun-sang in the broadcasting room and calls Tan there to have it out with them. She slaps Tan, sneers at him for being illegitimate, then tells him he should be the one clinging to her. Eun-sang takes issue with Rachel’s general bitchiness, but Rachel says condescendingly that a classless nouveau riche like her can’t understand how bloodline is equivalent to a crown in their class.
Tan states firmly that he doesn’t want Rachel, and she brings up his mother as a last resort/threat. She wonders why Madam Han would pose as Eun-sang’s mother to the PTA and insinuates that she’ll be digging into the story, but Tan tells her to keep her nose out of his mother’s business, as well as Eun-sang’s and his own.
Then he parks himself out of the girl’s bathroom, having seen Eun-sang go in and worrying that she’s crying. Bo-na protests when he shoos her away, calling herself Eun-sang’s savior for hosting her. Tan lights up in relief and gives her an unexpected high-five, and Bo-na freaks out and goes running to Chan-young. I love how she always makes everything about herself, in a cutely misguided way.
Eun-sang isn’t in a flood of tears (thank goodness), but worries for Tan’s sake. She asks if there’s really nothing she can do to protect him. There isn’t, but the question makes his day.
Ye-sol snipes at Bo-na to watch make sure Eun-sang doesn’t steal her boyfriend, and manages to get in a dig at everyone: at Eun-sang for being a man-stealer, at Chan-young for being a nobody’s son, and at Rachel for getting dumped by her fiancé. Ye-sol really is the worst type of mean girl, terrorizing the weak and sucking up to the strong, enjoying seeing people being torn down.
She looks nervous when Rachel overhears her comments but sticks to her bravado, sneering that Rachel’s family is heading for ruin. She all but calls Rachel’s mother a gold-digger, and that gets Rachel fired up. So I’m not even sympathetic when Rachel asks loudly, “What were you thinking when you hid the fact that your mother is a room salon madam?” The hallway of students immediately starts buzzing, while Rachel invites Bo-na to lunch together. Uh-oh. Lunch is never just about lunch in this school.
Thus Ye-sol finds herself facing the victim’s seat, fearful of sitting down and sealing her fate as new target. Rachel takes Young-do’s place as the menacing bully perfectly, but Bo-na looks uncomfortable and guilty, especially when Chan-young arrives and sees what’s going on. Bo-na says defensively that there’s a valid reason for this, but it’s a pretty lame-sounding excuse.
Tan arrives and sizes up the situation, then makes a show of grabbing a plate and taking that seat for himself. He plays obtuse as he pretends this is just a normal lunch, upsetting the social order and discomfiting everybody.
Then Young-do arrives and says Tan’s breaking the rules—to demonstrate what that seat means, he dumps a plate of curry on him. Tan replies that he’s the one who made the rules, and these things can be changed. He flings his dirty jacket in Young-do’s face and orders him to have it cleaned.
Eun-sang pulls Tan away, and Chan-young takes Bo-na aside. The crowd disperses and the two almost-siblings stew in their thwarted violence. Poor babies.
Eun-sang chides Tan for stirring up more antagonism with Young-do, which he argues was unavoidable given what was unfolding. At the same time, Chan-young tells Bo-na that she was stooping to Ye-sol’s level by retaliating, and that he’s disappointed in her. Bo-na argues that Ye-sol had denigrated him as a secretary’s son, but he says that if Bo-na was angered by that, it means she was ashamed (and therefore agreed), which is not logic that makes any sense to me. Bo-na gets offended right back and stomps off.
Tan returns home to a furious father and nervous mother and faces his punishment. Chairman Dad isn’t in a forgiving mood and kicks Tan out of the house, ordering him to turn in his phone, credit cards, even the coat off his back. Yeesh. Calling the engagement Tan’s insurance for a smooth life, Dad barks that he has no need for the idiot who’d throw that away.
Tan just complies without complaint, merely asking to take his school uniform—and paying Dad back for its price later. He says, “I know that Rachel was insurance for my life, but insurance shouldn’t become my life.”
Mom pleads with him not to go, wanting him to beg Dad to change his mind. But Tan walks out, and heads straight to Eun-sang’s cafe… where he asks her to pay his taxi fare. Haha.
Eun-sang thwacks him for taking a taxi when he’s broke, which is a totally valid complaint, and gives him a glass of water instead of a fancy beverage he can’t pay for. Tan says “I’ll pay you back later” with the nonchalance of somebody who’s never been poor, and I have to laugh at how he states that he’ll just work hard and make his own fortune, like it’s just a matter of deciding to do that.
Thinking to borrow funds, he calls together the gang—Chan-young, Hyo-shin, Bo-na, and Myung-soo—asks expectantly who will house him, feed him, or give him rides. LOL. Oh, princess. He’s met with a wall of silence and blank faces. But even then he turns down Hyo-shin’s offer to stay with him, because his mother is scary. Well yes, she is, but beggars can’t be choosers, no? Looks like somebody could stand to suffer a little more.
Hyo-shin’s scary mother lives up to her name by informing him of his admissions interview tomorrow, which he’d purposely skipped the last time. He’s stunned to learn she pulled strings to get him that interview—and a faked medical note. It’s enough to make him snap, and he breaks down, asking how far she’s going to go: “Do I have to die for it to end?”
Scary Mom turns to him with a stone face to say that making threats using himself no longer work on her: “I won’t allow you to give up on yourself.”
Madam Han comes to Eun-sang’s cafe looking for Tan, and chides her for being stubborn and not coming home herself. I guess all the parents just kick out their kids as threats, and it makes them look bad when the kids manage just fine on their own. Still, Madam Han seems to feel genuinely bad about it, and wants Eun-sang to come back for her own sake as much as it is to also set the example for Tan.
When Tan shows up, Madam Han urges him to go home with her so they can beg his father to relent. He’s feeling no such urgency and declines, and therefore Eun-sang decides that Madam Han has a point and agrees to return to the house. Tan gapes while his mother beams, and it’s really cute how Madam Han immediately switches sides to link arms with sensible Eun-sang.
Even so, Tan isn’t changing his mind and merely asks his mother to take care of his girlfriend.
He heads to hyung’s hotel room, and gets the door shut in his face. Aw. But then Won opens the door, perhaps feeling too sorry now that Tan doesn’t actually have anyplace to go. AW. This alone makes it all worth it.
Tan happily eats dinner while Won works, and there’s something about Tan’s uncertain hopefulness around his brother that emphasizes his youth. Won takes a call from Manager Yoon about the recent (secret) transfer of Jeguk stocks, and how they’re being moved to back Tan.
Tan freezes to hear that brief conversation and asks if this involves him. Won tosses a credit card at him and tells him to get his own room.
But to his surprise, Tan is denied a room by the clerk—he may be Jeguk royalty, but the hotel is Young-do’s domain. He has provided a sketch of Tan’s face as persona non grata and labeled it “KIM TAN kekeke.” And of course Tan’s first complaint is “Is this what I look like?”
Young-do pops by to gloat in his face and tells him he’ll have to go back to his hyung, the source of so much pain. But Tan realizes he likes that idea better and thanks Young-do for his help, which takes that smile off his face.
Tan ends up on his brother’s couch after all, and tries to strike up a conversation. Won pretends to sleep to avoid talking, but Tan muses aloud anyway, saying that he has so many things he wants to ask his brother.
Won drops him off at school in the morning, and Tan briefly tries pressing his luck by asking for a pick-up later before deciding against it. Ha. He sends hyung off with a cheery wave… and Won catches a glimpse of a familiar face walking toward the school: Hyun-joo, taking her new job as teacher here. Won has to stop himself from going after her.
Chairman Dad calls in Manager Yoon regarding the upcoming sale and transfer of stocks, ordering him to officially put in Tan’s name the shares that were bought under borrowed names. And if there is any indication of shareholders selling, he is to buy them at a higher price. Rachel’s mother is a key figure in this, because she holds such a large amount.
Last but not least, Chairman Dad orders him to make the study abroad preparations for Eun-sang, because merely sending her to Jeguk High didn’t have the intended effect of separating them.
At school, Eun-sang asks how Tan’s night was, knowing immediately that he’s lying about lightheartedly chatting with his brother. She urges him to come home and offers him some pastries, and he lurches forward to eat from the other end of the one in her mouth. He muses, “I’ve been thinking about it, and our progress has really been too slow.” IS WHAT I’M SAYIN’.
She blusters that they’re going fast enough, what with their rooftop kiss, and that makes him perk up: “Have we decided to go ahead and do that now?” Lol.
Hyo-shin ends up going to his admissions interview, though he’s far from compliant about it—he scoffs at the story that he collapsed before the last interview and states plainly that he never applied.
Madam Jung calls Tan in to rip into him for breaking the engagement, saying that Chairman Dad had to fight his own brothers and nephews to claim his spot, and that there are ongoing lawsuits with all of them. Yeesh. With Won only recently becoming president and Tan’s birth secret at risk of disclosure, he risks not only his place but is all but inviting more warfare.
Eun-sang’s boss informs her that the cafe will be closed to a private party for two hours, and who should walk in but Young-do, having resorted to this to get her attention. She refuses to join him, though, and studiously ignores him as she goes about her duties anyway, leaving him to sit around alone and bored.
Finally he pours out half his drink onto the floor to get her to react, which at least does the trick. Gah. Young-do is so the epitome of a spiteful cat, only with more destructive power. Don’t do it, don’t join him! Don’t reward bad behavior!
But she reluctantly takes a seat across him and demands to know what he wants from her. He replies, “For you to answer your own phone. For you to reply when I talk to you. For you to say hi when our eyes meet.” It’s a tragically simple list of desires. If only he hadn’t pissed away the right to ask those things by being such a royal ass, which is why Young-do’s such a sad character, being his own enemy and all.
Eun-sang acknowledges his feelings of her and apologizes for avoiding him, and says that there’s only one thing left for her to do: “Reject your feelings. I’m sorry.”
That’s a genuine blow to Young-do, who struggles to find the glib facade he uses as defensive shield. “I really got rejected,” he says. “Can I get revenge on you?” She says that it would be nice if he didn’t, “But if that’s your level then I’ll have to accept that as part and parcel of being the rejecter.”
But Young-do admits, “I can’t harass you anymore, because it hurts my heart.” Annnnd just as you think he’s turned around a bend, he adds, “So I’m going to torment everyone except for you.” Insert eyeroll here.
Young-do broods with his hurt feelings for a bit, and then heads to the broadcasting room to take over the PA system. Broadcasting to the whole school, he offers up an interesting story about Jeguk’s second son, and as he builds up curiosity, our main players realize what he’s about to do: Rachel’s eyes widen, Eun-sang races through the corridors, and Tan… just walks slow and surely, toward Young-do perhaps.
Young-do teases his audience with a lengthy intro and a quote: “Your enemy is not the one who faces you with knife in hand, but the one who hides his knife behind his back and stands at your side.” Uh, are you the enemy in this scenario, backstabbing former friend?
In any case, Young-do talks until Eun-sang bursts into the room and turns down the mic, and he adds after the fact, “Ah, the person I’ve been waiting for.” Is this another “Look at me” tactic?
She shoves him toward the door, but he grabs her arm and refuses to let go: “I’ll have to let go soon enough anyway, so I won’t let go now.” Then he shoves her against the door, just in time to lock the door before Tan can open it. The boys see each other through the window and it’s enough to get Tan beating on the door in a rage.
Young-do references the “everyone else” he intends to torment, “which includes Tan. And also myself.”
Oy, Young-do. He really needs to learn basic communication skills, which is ironic given how quippy and smooth-talking he can be. But yunno, sometimes the substance of what you say is a lot more important than the style with which you say it, which is also a lesson I think our dear writer could stand to learn.
It’s too bad that he’s a character who takes ten steps back with every step forward, because I feel like there’s such wasted potential for his character. I won’t say that he’s making zero progress, but it’s just so unsatisfying how he undoes any bit of progress he’s on the verge of making. I can relate to Eun-sang in this regard, where every time he says something mature I harbor hope that this is a turning point… and then he negates that with the very next thing.
I almost felt for him a few times today, and I no longer doubt that he is, in fact, able to feel human emotions. But was there ever a more stupidly sad character with such pointlessly nihilistic tendencies? You can’t even call him tragic because it’s not like Fate his screwed him over or that he is at the whims of stronger powers—he IS the stronger power, and yet he’s actively making himself a victim. Of himself. Yes, he has a terrible father, but that’s not an excuse to be a dick. He’s just screwing himself over in his need to act out at the world, and I have little patience for that. Even worse, little sympathy.
I got a few laughs out of Tan’s exile from home, and I sincerely hope it lasts a while. For one, the upstairs-downstairs stuff Chez Kim hasn’t been as exciting as it could’ve been, and for another, we could use a change of pace. But most of all, it gives the Kim bros a chance to spend some time together, however awkwardly, and it’s been such a crying shame that we haven’t had more scenes with them thus far.
Won is such a wasted character, in that there’s an inherent richness of conflict between the setup putting the two brothers at odds with each other, only we haven’t been given sufficient information to understand Won. Thus his extreme hostility toward his kid brother was beginning to be aggravating rather than sympathy-inducing. With Tan kicked out of the house, Won sort of has to step it up and play the part of the hyung in a way he shunned before.
As we’ve noted previously, Jeguk is being treated much more as a faux royalty setup rather than simply chaebols, because the obsession with bloodline purity and succession doesn’t really make sense in a strictly modern-business sense. I take it with a grain of salt because the monarchy/crown motif is clearly intended, but even so I don’t think it’s entirely successful because every episode I’m about to lose patience with all the sneering at bastardy and inheritance rights. Given that it isn’t an actual monarchy, who cares about bloodline when we’re talking stocks and cold hard cash? Speaking of which, I don’t really care about the stock wars on the horizon (hopefully those don’t take too much screentime because yawn), but if we can at least build some brotherly bridges before they kick in, maybe there’ll be hope for Jeguk after all.