2013/10/24 | 5924 views | | Permalink
Now that Kim Tan and Yeong-Do have finally met, and presumably we're going to get into an actual plotline instead of just metaphors, it occurs to me that the narrative structure of "The Heirs" isn't particularly strong. I'm not totally sure what any of these characters want, how they're going to get it, and what, to them, will constitute a happy ending. The drama being difficult to predict is normally a high point, but there needs to be some sort of baseline.
Still, "The Heirs" continue to hit all the tough emotional points about its characters. It's increasingly unclear what Kim Nam-Yoon's motive is in getting Eun-Sang enrolled at the high school. We find out this episode that financially, the situation is even worse than Eun-Sang had originally thought, especially considering the subterfuge she has to go through just to avoid being bullied. I found myself wondering last episode why the working class characters couldn't just ask Kim Nam-Yoon for the money to buy the uniform- but if he didn't even pay the tuition on his own (a trifling sum to a man this rich) the lack of charity is clearly an intentional one.
Eun-Sang's efforts to go unnoticed are continually frustrated by both Kim Tan and Yeong-Do, who appear to have turned her into the abstract representation that motivates their interpersonal conflict. In a particularly brutal scene, another student at the school manages to get himself caught in the crossfire just by offering Eun-Sang some friendly advice. It's a painful reminder to her that no matter what she does, her presence is going to inspire some nasty conflicts.
Kim Tan, for the first time, actually realizes just how his on-the-spot behavior is making Eun-Sang feel when he gets thrust into the same situation- clearly causing problems for other people when he just wants to make a better name for himself. This circumstance, also initiated by Kim Nam-Yoon, creates a clear parallel about the extent to which these youth are deliberately manipulated by their parents.
What makes this especially troubling is the context of past episodes, where we saw that Yeong-Do faces the worst degree of manipulation from the older generation. And he more than any other character this episode engages in explicitly nasty behavior. What kind of moral point "The Heirs" is planning on making of this I have no idea- but there are clear underpinnings of some sort of deliberate message here. Coupled with the strong performances, this drama gives off a sense of immediacy that's does an excellent job commanding viewer attention.
Review by William Schwartz
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"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 6"
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2015 51st PaekSang Arts Awards