It suddenly hit me this episode that "The Heirs" is a drama, not about ambitious young adults, but high school students. This would seem obvious, given how much of the action lately takes place at a high school. The trappings of wealth, however, consistently give the misleading impression that these characters have clearly defined goals and a coherent narrative trajectory. In reality, they're impulsive, selfish, and resentful.
Kim Tan, for example, is now explicitly trying to manipulate EunSang emotionally in very childish ways. It's incredibly immature- yet perfectly in keeping for a young man whose life to date has given him everything he could possibly want except genuine love. His behavior is creepy- and yet at the same time rather pitiful. Kim Tam is both beaten down by his father emotionally yet unconsciously imitating the man. It will not be pleasant when he finally figures this out for himself.
Really, the theme of this episode is how terrible everyone's parents are. It's ironic that even though "The Heirs" all live in absolute financial luxury and security, Kim Tan and Yeong-Do do not trust their parents at all. There's a very awkward confrontation between Yeong-Do and his father, where the the older man's attempt to lay down the law with his rebellious son are badly undercut when a disgusted Yeong-Do makes a discovery that makes it impossible to take his disciplinarian dad seriously.
The other heirs aren't quite as bad off as these two, but the situation still isn't a particularly good one. An uncomfortable parallel comes up between Rachel Yoo and her mother, that goes a bit of the way to explaining why the daughter is so impatient and hostile. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the mother probably has a pretty good idea how she's modeling behavior that doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in her parenting abilities. But then, that's the question. Is it more important ot have good business or good personal relationship sense?
The remaining high school students don't seem to have any problems in this regard- and we never even get to see their parents, except when they show up as extras in scenes where the class trip is discussed. But it's still fairly clear that in day-to-day life, it's perfectly possible for teenagers to be both rich and socially functional- even have a bit of fun that doesn't involve humiliating other people somehow. This realization is a nice reprieve, given that the next episode will almost certainly feature more drama typical along the lines "The Heirs" has currently staked out.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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