Welcome to another Korean drama review! I watched The Heirs AGES ago but I’ve been crawling through these reviews so this is pretty late.
I had heard a lot about this drama but wasn’t really interested in watching it. Finally, a friend of mine watched it and loved it so much that she made me watch it too.
what is The Heirs about?
We mainly follow three characters—Cha Eun-Sang, Kim Tan and Choi Young-Do, three high school students at Jejuk High School which is a wealthy school for “the heirs” or the rich kids.
Che Eun-Sang is the daughter of the maid who works at Kim Tan’s home, and she got in through a scholarship because of her grades.
We see a love triangle involving the main three characters, struggles of Eun-Sang being a poor kid amongst rich and spoilt brats and associated dynamics. A major part of the show is also about the lives of “the heirs” and how their lives are not as flowery and easy as it may seem.
my thoughts on the drama
the main plot
- I honestly do not know how I lasted through 20 episodes.
- My friend liked it but I found the show average right from the start. I also don’t understand why the show is widely loved, other than having a good main cast.
- The main actors were really good. Park Shin-Hye, Lee Min-Ho and Kim Woo-Bin took over their roles very well.
- I’m very partial to Kim Woo-Bin’s character, Choi Young-Do. There was a major second-lead syndrome during this drama.
- OR maybe I just did NOT like Kim Tan and Cha Eun-Sang.
- I contemplated discontinuing the show but my friend had told me that it gets better. And it did, but only in Choi Young-Do.
- Honestly, if Tan and Eun-Sang disappeared halfway through the show, I wouldn’t have cared.
- The one thing I kinda liked was the portrayal of how if you want the throne, you should give up something for it. That’s true, a person cannot have everything. This was very realistic.
The one who wants to wear the crown, must bear the weight.
- The show’s main focus was on the rich families, particularly “the heirs”, and it got E X H A U S T I N G. All most of them did was bully the poorer kids and people. It depicts real life but was extremely boring as the main plot.
- There was so much useless drama.
- The show is a HUGE cliché with the rich guy + poor girl romance. In high school.
- Both Tan and Eun-Sang were spineless where it mattered for a large part of the show. I hated that.
- I HATED the “I like you but oh I’m poor and I’m not supposed to be with you” consistent monologue of Eun-Sang. It was exhausting to watch.
- On the other hand, Kim Tan did not care about her situation or worries and just wanted to date her. Could he get more cliché?
I like you so you should date me.I KID YOU NOT, THAT WAS LITERALLY WHAT HE SAID.
- Wow, no consideration of her feelings whatsoever. If I was Eun-Sang, I’d put it into mild harassment category. But then she was in like with him too so.. he can do no wrong.
- I’m sure there were good parts in the romance but I couldn’t get on the train.
the love triangle
- I hate love triangles anywhere and I especially hated it in this drama. I legit shipped Kim Tan and Cha Eun-Sang just because I thought Choi Young-So was too pure and deserved better, even though that would mean him getting his heartbroken.
- The territorial contest between Tan and Young-Do over Eun-Sang was annoying. Tan wanted her to himself but also disregarded her position and pride, could not gather the courage to tell his parents that he liked her and Y E T, he said he deserves her more than Young-Do. Boy, at least Young-Do does what he says and has a backbone.
- I would have loved the show more if the main focus was Tan and Young-Do’s complicated relationship. They were best friends turned sworn enemies who ended up falling for the same girl. It was also way more than that, which we saw as the show went on.
- I loved finding out their past, why they fought, and just all the feels and everything related to their frenemies dynamic. More friendship focus, please. I couldn’t care less about the romance here.
- Oh and! I can’t believe I forgot about this until now.
- Kim Tam’s biological mother and Eun-sang’s mother were a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. They were one of the best parts of the show. They start out as mistress and maid but their relationship progresses to an unlikely friendship and I was ALL FOR IT.
- It also gave us some funny parts so that was nice.
- I liked the “gang” that Young-Do along with a few others were and the subtle progression—from how they used to be to how they are and also speculations of the future. We saw them together and individually, with their struggles and achievements and dreams.
- The one thing I truly enjoyed seeing was the infrastructure of their school. I mean, LOOK AT IT.
Cha Eun-Sang, played by Park Shin-Hye, studied a lot, had two part-time jobs and worked hard at everything she did. But I didn’t find her to have an actual personality, besides being weak and slightly stubborn. She was just a “damsel in distress”. I also didn’t find her having a dream. She just worked hard for now, with no dreams of what she wants to become.
Kim Tan, played by Lee Min-Ho, struggles with being a bastard son and cares a lot about his biological mother who can’t be his mum in public. He does not care about the inheritance he has a chance to receive, but spends lavishly and takes money for granted.
Tan also does not have a dream. He doesn’t care about the future. He does not even try in school. Having the last position in his batch which is an achievement in itself considering most of the students are foolish, rich and spoilt kids.
His character was a contradiction. I did not understand how the writers meant him to be. He was confident and then weak, spoke strong and didn’t act on his words. He cared about many things and wanted change but did not actively go for it. Tan is stubborn, wanted what he wanted but also did not have the guts to fight for it.
Choi Young-Do, acted by Kim Woo-Bin, had depth, character growth and progression. He faces abuse at home, is reckless and a bully in school. He actually tries to become a person worthy of Eun-sang!!! Good role model right here, y’all. I loved seeing him throughout the drama
The only character with true depth was Choi Young-do. That’s all. Everyone else was meh.
Rachel Yoo was the most shallow character. I disliked her so much that I ended up disliking the actress Kim Ji-Won as well which was A SHAME. I only liked the actress later when I saw her in Descendants of the Sun. This character was so annoying.
She’s spoilt and is a petty bully.
Lee Bo-Na and Yoon Chan-Young
They DEALT WITH THEIR UPPER/MIDDLE-CLASS DIFFERENCES in a healthy manner and stayed in a relationship together throughout the drama. At least we had one positive representation.
Kim Won, played by Choi Jin-Hyuk, was meant to be important but I couldn’t care less about him. He is Kim Tan’s elder brother and he was also spineless like Tan when it came to his romance. In fact, their romance stories went almost the same, only with different choices in the end.
Kim Won also had a lot of problem with Kim Tan, and I still don’t really know why. Logically, he shouldn’t hate Tan but he did. It’s one of the bigger minor plots. I didn’t think that it was carried out well.
Lee Hyo-Shin, played by Kang Ha-Neul, is the one character who deserved more screen time and plot than he got. He was a calm and collected senior that the other students looked up to. I liked him.
He was also relatable because he had a dream of being a film-maker and his family pressured him into law to follow in their footsteps. We saw the struggle of choosing between his dream and his family + the lifestyle he’s grown up in. I would have rather seen plotlines like this than the romance where both of them are annoying.
I didn’t like the show. It had a few good parts but not enough for me.
I wouldn’t recommend it. The drama IS pretty popular and widely-liked, though. Many Kdrama aficionados start with The Heirs and love it. So, maybe it’s just me and you’d like it? Who knows.