Shining Inheritance Episode 20 Recap and Review

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(credit for screencap to sodahands at Livejournal)

You know, Shining Inheritance just keeps getting better:) This episode was particularly satisfying because the romance/shippiness between Eun-seung and Hwan has heated up to “simmering” now – below boiling but above warm.

Synopsis:

As Eun-seung leaves the house, Hwan runs after and demands why she’s not saying anything, then practically begs her to defend herself. Eun-seung cries back, “If I did, would you believe me?…You wouldn’t believe me anyway” and leaves. Eun-seung goes to stay with Hye-Ri. Hye-Ri, being much less forgiving than her friend, rails at everyone involved and wants to go tell the family the truth. Eun-seung refuses, and next day goes to tender her resignation to grandmother. She, having a spine of steel and unable to believe Eun-seung is all bad, refuses the resignation and tells her no matter what her involvment is in what Seung-mi and her mother said, she should complete her remaining time at Branch 2 and prove to her that she can make it successful. Eun-seung agrees but tells her that she’s absolutely refusing the inheritance now. Eun-seung has a tense confrontation with Seung-mi(can’t remember if this was before or after the conversation with grandmother) and challenges her with “What if Hwan likes me?” and “Are you sure that he promised to marry you?”.

Back at work, she and Hwan have a brief conversation in which she tells him that she won’t take the inheritance anymore and asks him if he’s seen her necklace(her mother’s which she’s lost). Hwan gets his first paycheck and asks Eun-seung to help him pick out a present for grandmother. The two go shopping together and buy her wildflowers and woolen underwear for winter. Hwan, at home, looks everywhere for Eun-seung’s necklace but can’t find it. He finds out Eun-seung’s address and secretly delivers her bike there along with a necklace and a note which says, “I couldn’t find your necklace. What kind of girl only has one necklace?”. Eun-seung, finding it, realizes that he alone of all the family trusts her and is incredibly touched. Hye-Ri, however, lectures her about not liking him because of Seung-mi, and Eun-seung agrees. Left alone, however, she breaks down and sobs over the necklace and card, clearly struggling with feelings for him. She goes to work not wearing the necklace, as Hwan notices as soon as she arrives. Seung-mi calls Hwan wanting to eat but instead he ends up going to drink with Eun-seung at her invitation, where both share a little about their fathers. Eun-seung then returns the necklace to him and says, “You’re not someone who should be in my life”, then leaves. Hwan gets drunk and doesn’t pick up when Seung-mi calls him. He ends up stumbling to Eun-seung’s house and banging on her door, calling her name; when she opens the door, he practically falls on her and the two stumble backward and fall on her bed with him on top.

Thoughts:

You know, I’m excessively tired of Seung-mi’s character. She was mildly interesting when she was still torn between the better and worse impulses of her heart, but now that she’s definitively shifted over to the “evil scheming” side, all of her actions are very predictable; we can count on everything she does to stem from her selfishness and deceit, and so now even the (already mild to begin with) interest I had in her while she was still vacillating is gone. I’m also impatient with her because, unlike her mother, she could so easily have chosen to be a “good” person, and unlike her mother, her evilness stems rather from weakness of character than from deliberateness of choice. Her mother, while a through and through bad and selfish person, at least has the strength of character to deliberately choose her path, follow through on it, and make no apologies for it. Seung-mi, on the other hand, is drawn into evil by her own selfishness, by the influence of her mother, and by her inability to perceive how to get what she wants any other way. She’s ineffective, incapable of making things turn out the way she wants, and so she turns to deceit(and falls into her mother’s plans) in order to make them turn out how what wants. I’m not sure whether to blame Moon Chae Won or not for how utterly one-dimenionsal(now that she’s turned to evil) and boring I find her character, but I do think that another actress could have brought more subtlety to an admittedly increasingly limited character.  But one quibble I’ve had with this drama overall is that in my opinion far too much time is spent on the bad guys; I’m really not very interested in finding out all the inner workings, thoughts, and fears that Seung-mi and her mother ever suffer, particularly as so much of it is just more of the same – more scheming, more horror at something unexpected that Eun-seung or Hwan’s grandmother does, more impotent mother-battle daughters…

Another(minor) quibble I have is how much Eun-seung cries in this drama. Now, I’m all for drama heroines going through a lot of suffering – it’s what happens to you if you have the unfortunate fate of being in a drama(no worries however – you’re almost sure to come out happy, healthy, and wealthy in the end – in romantic comedies at any rate) – and it adds necessary emotional depth to romcoms which would otherwise be too fluffy – but seriously. Han Hyo-Joo, at this point, is crying – not just a few tears but out-and-out sobbing, breaking down, at least twice an episode lately, not to mention the multiple other times during the course of the drama that she’s cried, and the routine is starting to get old. I want my tears and angst to be handled well so that when they happen my heartstrings are pulled effortlessly and I can really feel sympathy for her. But it happens too often now – it I were to feel her pain every time she breaks down, I’d walk around a teary disaster. The angst at this point is getting a bit repetitive and forced, and also, I’m starting to wonder if the way Eun-seung handles everything is by not standing up for herself, getting weepy, and then deciding to pick herself up and keep going – but without ever handling the actual situation/people involved. The girl is saint-like almost to the point of being a pushover. Thank God, every time I’m about to give up on her as actually being a pushover, the drama lets her tough, gutsy, no-holds-barred side out(as in that confrontation with Eun-seung in which she demands, “What if Hwan likes me?”), and saves her from being a passive saint. We like our heroines admirable. But as much as I love Eun-seung and her forthright, courageous integrity, I also love the tough, strong, truthful side of her, and I don’t want her to be a Mother Teresa. Fortunately, the drama at this point, while slipping too far over occasionally, is still redeeming her overall as a strong person.

The best parts of this episode, definitely, were the Hwan/Eun-seung scenes(the actors are amping up their characters’ chemistry nicely); I thought Hwan’s meeeting with Seung-mi, in which he says “You know I hate complicated things…I’m simple-minded but that doesn’t mean I don’t have common sense” and tells her that, no matter what the details are, he still believes in Eun-seung based on his interactions with her, was brilliant, really capturing the best part of Hwan’s character. Once he sets his mind to something, he follows through, no matter what it is(initially it was opposing Eun-seung, now it’s supporting her). The boy has grown up, in a few episodes, into an absolutely delightful man:) As for Eun-seung, I’m delighted that they’re definitely showing her as falling in love/in love with Hwan even though she really has no logical reason to do so; Eun-seung, most of the time, is such a focused, dedicated person, who chooses her paths and follows them ignoring everything else(i.e. with her work) that it’s nice to see her swayed in spite of herself.

My favorite scene, however, would have to be the all-too-brief one with Eun-woo; this is such a completely amazing and delicate and perfect addition to the drama – that the man who is in love with Eun-seung, and with whom she is fast falling in love with, would befriend and grow to love her autistic brother and vice versa, without ever knowing who he is. I also like it because it allows an aspect of Hwan’s personality to come out which he doesn’t show to anyone else, a natural, charming, easygoing and sensitive side. Even with Eun-seung, he’s always so tense, so torn by conflicting emotions and/or unable to express or articulate or act on his emotions that he’s rather withdrawn and awkward. With Eun-woo he smiles and laughs easily, focusing all his attention on this autistic stranger and easily drawing him out, and I love that Eun-woo is quite quickly and naturally drawn to him, “choosing” him as the case may be. And only with him, of all the people in the world, is Hwan completely honest; it’s very refreshing to see a drama hero so in touch with his emotions and so straightfoward about his heart, even though he’s understandably torn at this point over which to follow – his head or his heart. Yes, I would say that the Hwan/Eun-woo scenes are not just a brilliant plot device but they’re also great at showing us the true Hwan.

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