Brilliant Legacy

I may normally not be a fan of Korean drama but Brilliant Legacy actually took my attention because it was showing how wrong decisions can lead to disasters.  So what's the real point?  Although set in South Korea but it does show how pampering destroys the family.  So first meet the Sun Woo family.  Jang Sak Ja as charitable as she is, however has two pampered grandchildren namely Sun Woo Hwan (the anti-hero whose character is far more complex than the main character Go Eun Sung, acted by Han Hyo Joo) and Sun Woo Jung (who for me is extremely annoying that I could imagine her do more damage than Hwan ever did).  So how it happened may be because Jang Sak Ja committed the mistake of not dealing with their mistakes way earlier than she should causing her to make extremely difficult decisions later.  Typical grandma complex if you ask me.  Man seriously do have to wait until your grandson punches your company manager or you realize he's turning into a parasite before you do anything to scold him?  I mean that well-deserved slap should have been done YEARS ago.  Also I just hate to think that the two grandchildren (and their mother) don't realize that every last won they are spending comes from the seaolleongtang that the matriarch sells.  Worse by calling it "embarrassing" they are insulting not only their matriarch but also every patron to the company.  Oh they also insult me who's become a fan of the dish!  If they want to inherit the company WORK for it! It just shows how ungrateful people can be these days!  Of course consider the morons they really are- do they really know Korean inheritance laws?!

So the heroine- Go Eun Sung is somewhat like Cinderella.  After her father is supposedly dead (but he turns out to be still alive, he was mistaken to have died), her stepmother Baek Sung Hee and her stepsister Seung Mi (both the not so monstrous antagonists) do something despicable.  Baek Sung Hee is determined to make sure Seung Mi marries Hwan (bad idea as he is a spoiled brat).  Eun Sung and her younger brother Go Eun Woo were kicked out while their stepmother takes the falsely claimed insurance money.  The worst is that Sung Hee (the only mother figure Eun Woo knows) abandons her stepson (who calls her mother and embraces her like she's his biological mother as his mom died when he was too young to remember her).  And so she becomes so interesting because after Jang Sak Ja temporarily suffers amnesia (she fled from home to think things over thanks to her grandson's extreme callousness, she does it as a penance) she is later named the heir to the company.  Why?  Well she has a hardworking nature and a heart of gold proving that Grandma has a way different view than most entrepreneurs- she's character-centered over being profit-centered.  That makes her different from Lawyer Park who really thinks that business is all about just money.  Yes money is needed but it's NOT the main focus!  What's worse for Lawyer Park is that his son Park Jun Se (acted by Bae Soo Bin) is in love with Eun Sung (something that gradually wears away) while Jung also has a crush on him.  Lawyer Park is what I'd call a bad father who doesn't neglect his son's needs but is still a bad father nonetheless because he basically treats his son like TRASH.

So it does get into conflict because she decides to give ALL her assets to Eun Sung.  To the grandchildren, inheritance is all about money while to her, it's her life principles as she wants to keep 1,173 people alive who work for her.  After all, leave the company with a unchanged Hwan and a lot of people will most likely LOSE their livelihood by being unjustly fired.  Talk about different views.  To really make up for all her years of pampering, she says, "Work!  Just work!  No work, no money!  Just leave the house!" which leads to a series of events that changes her and Hwan throughout.  Well Eun Sung does manage to beat Hwan's previous nature while he previously hated her because of the estate issues.  While Eun Sung happens to be the heir, she has little or no intention not to share the estate with the useless leeches Grandma wants to learn to be independent from her support which can be seen when she said, "Hwan will still get his inheritance." to her wicked stepmother.  And of course, Hwan's relationship with people he's battered up (the manager who he punched, the supervisor who he disrespectfully called "old woman") starts to go for the better especially with the manager.  The main branch manager who can be seen previously doubtful of Hwan (I mean he's caused too much trouble, can't blame him for his actions for a good employee whose concern is to do what he has to do) later sees a newer Hwan.  He does deserve to get credit because I mean it was only by really being serious about firing Hwan (who was still part time) for his rather poor behavior that everything changed.  For me, I find the whole giving the inheritance to Eun Sung somewhat stupid.  I mean Eun Sung is just a stranger out there, she could have found somebody in her company who'd handle it well.  But if it wasn't for that mistake she made, Hwan would have not changed for the better.  That mistake was meant to move things forward especially for Hwan.  For Eun Sung, glad she doesn't intend to throw away the wastrels out of the house especially when she said that Hwan will still get his share which however, Seung Mi doesn't get Hwan.  To Grandma, she wants more on character than knowledge to run her company.

Instead of the heroine, Hwan is the only person to get my attention instead of the usual good girl image of Eun Sung.  I've mentioned a LOT about Hwan.  So what makes him so interesting also is that aside from his change, we do know what he did to himself that turned him into an ill-tempered brat.  Well it's something for children to be traumatized because they are afraid to talk about it.  He saw his own father die before his very eyes.  He never told his grandmother the whole story thus causing the drift between them which is a VERY stupid move.  Also it's interesting he does fall for Eun Sung, maybe a twist perhaps?  Regardless, he starts to think of others especially with all the circumstances that happen.  However he does become too attached to Eun Sung that the manager who had upgraded him to full time and changed from loathing him to respecting him (well he always exerts authority out of duty and never his personal feelings), calls Eun Sung the "driving force" to Hwan's change.  Later he who hated the smell of seaolleongtang, he who refused to go to work later becomes the most desirable heir for the company.  Yes he did change Grandma's mind even if she had previously given up hope on him.  Grandma had her flaws but glad she also was portrayed as such, she really decides to correct things before it's too late.

What's also so sweet was when the conspiracy took place.  I could really say I wanted to KILL the wicked stepmother, Seung Mi (who knew of the manipulations but didn't tell Hwan) and of course Lawyer Park.  When Grandma gets ill, hwan realizes more that it could be too late.  Yet Grandma looks to Hwan in much approval, saying he's changed a lot and has already grown up from his bratty days.  With her in a critical state, much conspiracy happens especially when the stepmother decides to reveal Grandma's will.  I know it sounds stupid to me that Grandma decides to give ALL she has to an outsider to run her company when she dies (Eun Sung has NO corporate experience in that area) but all I can say is the wicked stepmother now realizes something.  First, she's losing Hwan as her possible son-in-law and two, if Hwan marries Eun Sung, the last will and testament will be legalized due to Hwan being the rightful heir by any means which is bad news for her- no questions asked!  Because that means, Hwan marries Eun Sung, Eun Sung becomes a legal heir too which she does in the end!  Not willing for that to happen, if I can't have it NOBODY WILL.  Along the way, Grandma recovers, she goes to a state where she's better off dead (because she's seeing a lot of horrid stuff happening and a conspiracy against her is hitting her).  Along the way, Hwan manages to be a hero AGAIN when he gathers all the factory employees, admit he's the big jerk and all and tells them that's why Grandma gave up on HIM and chose THEM (the employees) instead because they are family too.  Manager Lee reveals an even much sweeter side than just your typical store manager- he reveals that he's the man who Hwan mistreated in the past and it's all in the past, that's the sweetest part because it's never easy to forgive isn't it?  At first, he was just an angry guy who had every right to be angry because of all the problems he suffered, now he's revealed to be a strict manager with a heart of gold.  And the conspiracy falls down toppling down the witches.

Now that gets the wicked stepmother even angrier.  So while she conspires to get rid of Eun Sung and her brother Eun Woo (now that Hwan has found Eun Woo was really Eun Sung's brother, his short attention span must have prevented him from realizing the pictures!), her supposed dead father who's really alive shows up.  Then the drama gets scarier as Grandma gets everything done.  Hwan manages to be a hero again, even Jun Se who loses the love triangle for Eun Sung helps out because they can always be friends.  What's pretty nice with it is that, even if the wicked stepmother got caught and all, she still finds the path of redemption realizing riches aren't everything.  For Hwan, he does make the right decision to handle the company.  For Eun Sung, well she's still going to get the inheritance after all since she and Hwan will be together.  For Grandma, well she's now ready to die anytime after seeing her late intervention did wonders to Hwan after all and she was wrong to give up hope on him, now she's ready to pass on to the next life.
All I can say is it's pretty enjoyable, just watch it and oh yeah a little spoiler- it's not like a typical tragedy but rather while dramatic delivers a good ending without being brutal to the antagonists (who weren't so bitchy either compared to Stairway to Heaven).  That is of course Hwan and Eun Sung find true happiness.

My rating?  8/10.  I'd just say the only thing that got me startled was to how it took a LONG time for Grandma to realize her problems.  She should have acted immediately on Hwan before he grew up beyond 18 years old or two, Hwan should have told his grandmother how his father died because it really ruined their relationship big time.

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