Heirs tells the story of Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) who is the rich heir to the Empire Group. While attending school in the United States, Tan meets Go Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye) who came to the states to live with her sister in hopes of a better life. But when things go badly with her sister, Eun Sang ends up stranded with no where to go and is taken in by Tan. But neither of them are aware that Eun Sang’s mother is a housekeeper in Tan’s home in Korea.
My first recommendation when it comes to Heirs is to just embrace it for what it is. It’s teen angst and melodrama delivered in a fun package. I was pretty concerned going into this drama. I knew it was insanely popular in 2013, but it seems like a lot of the blogosphere really disliked it. But I was hopeful! And I actually really enjoyed Heirs!
I happened to really like the first few episodes which were set in the United States. Okay, there are a lot of scenes with terrible American acting, but I thought it was hilarious. Lots of American stereotypes too. You just kind of have to go with it. And I must say the scene where Tan first meets Eun Sang is quite intense. He basically witnesses her at such a low moment in her life. You can see his heart breaks for her. I can’t recall a meeting quite like it.
I also loved the forced cohabitation of our main couple and a little road trip they embark on. I just liked the different vibe of a kdrama being set in America.
Once we return to Korea, our couple is in for a surprise when they end up living in the same house. This household certainly has its problems. Tan’s mother (Kim Sung Ryung) is actually his father’s mistress, so Tan is an illegitimate son. Technically, his father is still married to his first wife and they also have a son, Tan’s half brother, Kim Won (Choi Jin Hyuk). But they all pretend that Tan is a legitimate son which causes all sorts of problems and tensions. It’s pretty crazy.
I really felt bad for Tan. He was treated like a second class son by everyone but his mother. He also really liked his elder brother, but Won always shut him out because of his fears that Tan would try to take over the company. It’s just sad to see Tan only want his brother’s acceptance, and it be such a hard fought battle to get it.
A little side story I really enjoyed involved Tan’s mom and Eun Sang’s mom (Kim Mi Kyung). It’s a rare occasion where two drama mothers hit it off fairly quickly. I really got a kick out of these two ladies and really loved their back and forth exchanges. They cracked me up.
Thanks to Tan’s father, Eun Sang soon ends up going to his school. Eun Sang then has to pretend she is “new money” so that the other students don’t find out she is really poor. More secrets!
Of course, trouble pops up in the form of Tan’s “fiancé”, Yoo Rachel (Kim Ji Won). The marriage was arranged by their parents, and Tan really doesn’t want any part of it. She’s your classic troublemaker.
Another big issue comes from Tan’s former friend, Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin), who has a rocky history with Tan. They immediately get into it and get in each other’s way. Of course, Young Do also takes a liking to Eun Sang. I’m not a fan of Kim Woo Bin, so I didn’t find his taunting and cocky attitude appealing. But if you are a fan, you will probably really enjoy his cocky bad boy character.
Young Do and Tan have a complicated relationship throughout the drama. There is a lot of tension, but there is also an attachment they feel between each other because of their history. It was an interesting relationship.
A little heads up: Heirs may just have the most wrist grabs I have ever seen in a drama. Eun Sang is constantly getting dragged around by Tan and Young Do. She is also outright bullied by Young Do. If that sort of thing really bothers you, brace yourself, there’s a lot of it. This comes from the same writer of Secret Garden which I realized also has a fair amount of man handling of the woman. Be prepared.
Also, there’s a lot of those longing gazes between all of our characters. You know, long music montages that show our characters gazing out windows and such. And almost every episode ends with some intense stare downs. I actually found the endings quite hilarious. It’s like they showed the ending stare downs a bit too long with numerous camera cuts between the motionless gazing faces of our trio. I loved it, but I laughed every time.
I really enjoyed the romance between Tan and Eun Sang. Eun Sang is reluctantly thrown into the world of the rich. She tries to avoid it, but Tan just keeps pulling her back in. He falls for her quick and hard. He is also ready to be her protector, if only she would let him. They definitely fit the definition of star crossed lovers.
Towards the latter third of the drama, things come to a head with secrets being revealed, power plays by Tan’s father, and company politics.
The episode where Eun Sang disappears and goes into hiding was heartbreaking. She leaves behind a completely distraught Tan who falls into a self-destructive depression. For me, Lee Min Ho’s best acting came during this period. The pain he was feeling was tangible, and I felt the loss he was feeling right along with him.
But our couple is finally reunited, and they make a final stand against Tan’s father. This time there would be no separating them.
I particularly liked the ending of the drama. A few of our supporting characters didn’t get a perfect ending, but most ended happy. Tan and Eun Sang have a lovely little ‘flash forward’ of what they hope the future is like in 10 years. It reveals all of our characters having grown through their trials and becoming better people. They all celebrate together at a party at Tan’s house. It was a wonderful site to see. I choose to believe this is the real future for our characters. A beautiful ending.
Overall, I really enjoyed Heirs. I like teen dramas that don’t focus so much on school and grades, but rather the characters and their lives outside of school. Heirs was exactly like that. A lot of people compare it to Boys Over Flowers. Boys Over Flowers has a very distinct flavor to it, and I don’t think Heirs is quite like it, but they are similar in that they are rich kid melodramas that focus on relationships. I loved them both!
Heirs will certainly not be to everyone’s liking, but if you just go in knowing what type of drama it is and don’t take it to seriously, there is a lot of fun to be had. Give it a try!
My Rating: 8.5/10
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