Hierarchy – K-drama Episode 6 Recap & Review

An Arrow: To The Heart

Episode 6 of Hierarchy starts with more context behind the video of Ri-an and Jae-i together. They’re very much in love and Jae-hyuk films it round the corner. Ri-an sees the video and sighs.

Elsewhere, He-ra is not happy and threatens the new couple. She’s not going to let this go and promises that this isn’t the end and she won’t let them get away with this. She eventually gets dropped off with her father outside their new motel where they’ll be staying for the time being while this investigation is ongoing. It’s a massive step down from what she’s used to, and scoffs at the fact its been bought from H&M. Although to be fair they do nice clothes in there.

Meanwhile, Ri-an and Jae-i have a meal together, with the latter asking her new boyfriend to apologize to Kang Ha. He scoffs at the notion and reminds her they haven’t been together long and should stop all of this. Jae-i looks rather uncomfortable.

Woo-jin continues to give Mrs Han the cold shoulder. It’s obvious that he’s using her and the teacher falls for it hook, line and sinker. Han confirms that Woo-jin’s father is going to run and she believes he’ll manage it with the support of the Jaeyul Group. Why? Well, Mrs Han has images of Jae-i heading into a pregnancy clinic. She’s going to blackmail them into submission.

The thing is, she’s playing with fire given Jae-i senses that her homeroom teacher is hiding something too. She doesn’t outright say it to her, but she does confront Woo-jin about the “woman with the Hermes bag” while they talk about old times.

At school, Ju-won and Kang Ha orchestrate a coup. He wants to get the scholarship kids to team up together and hit back at the royalty. At the end of the day, there’s more of them but taking on the rich kids is not exactly an easy feat. However, with Ju-won’s intel and dirt on the rich kids, it may swing things in their favour.

After school, Kang Ha and Jae-i talk at the playground. They both reveal what they do for fun and riff on the innocence of youth. They discuss things they both enjoy, and Ha encourages her to find those things and protect them no matter what.

After this, Ha admits that he’s found the blackmailer but he’s biding his time so he can “expose the guilty”. Specifically, the crimes at Jooshin and to make sure everybody pays the price. After initially falling out, she explains that she fell pregnant and knew that her father would kick off so she had an abortion. She also broke things off with Ri-an on purpose to try and keep a distance between them. She couldn’t bear to even look at him and wanted to be free of everything. 

However, Kang Ha’s involvement here ruined her plan by encouraging her to face her fears. It awoke a feeling she didn’t know she had.

Kang-Ha next speaks to the Principal and tells her that he has evidence that could blow everything sky high. The trouble is, he doesn’t know that she’s Ju-won’s mother so there’s an interesting dynamic at play here. As they talk in the hallway, Jae-i overhears their conversation and is shocked to find out he’s the blackmailer.

Meanwhile, Mrs Han continues to do Woo-jin’s bidding, including getting his car fixed after the hit and run against In-han. He meets her outside the studio and as they head in together, they discuss this “secret” they have been keeping. Are they both involved in hurting In-han? It certainly seems that way doesn’t it? One thing’s for sure though, Woo-jin decides to stick by He-ra’s side and do right by her from now on.

After a big argument with Jae-i, where they talk about their friendship and whether the latter even cared, He-ra marches up to Ri-an and stirs the pot again, this time regarding the vacation house video. Ri-an marches down to the locker room and confronts Jae-heyok. After all, he nonchalantly told He-ra earlier about all this so now karma has come back to bite him.

Funnily enough though, it’s Kang Ha who shows and stops him from beating her brother further. He brings up the pain that Jae-i is in and how he has no idea how hurt she is. In fact, he tells Ri-an that he needs to be there for her and make sure she doesn’t “go through it alone”.

Jae-i shows to see He-ra and decides to set the record straight. She’s always seen He-ra as a best friend and thankfully, Jae-i manages to give her a safety raft by convincing her father to do a deal with He-ra’s. All of this though is with the terms of Jae-i leaving South Korea.

Ri-an confronts Jae-i that night about her secret and breaks down crying. Back at school, Ha speaks to Ju-won about his revenge and he’s blinded by it. He wants to destroy Jae-i, believing she won’t play fair now that he’s been exposed. Ha refuses though, pointing out that they need to get justice, not destroy people’s lives. In reply, Ju-won points out that they’re here to avenge In-han and he’s losing sight of that.

As the episode closes out, Ri-an heads over to see Woo-jin and he’s still crying. The thing is, Woo-jin is actually blackmailing the Chairman. He showed up in his office earlier on with the pictures of Jae-i pregnant. Woo-jin will drop the pictures in exchange for him getting rid of Jae-i and sending her out the country.

The Episode Review

Woo-jin, Ri-an, He-ra and Jae-i aren’t exactly great characters but yet we’ve seen so many montages of their friendship and romances that it feels completely ill-fitting. I don’t know about you guys but I genuinely could not care less about these people.

Why should we care about these guys when they’re all scheming and horrible to each other? The show feels like it’s stuck between being a conventional K-drama with familiar plot beats and a more sinister drama like Elite where there’s a balance of good and bad characters.

The ensuing result is a bit of a mess, and the dragged out scenes between Ri-an and Jae-i are a great example of this. It’s hard to care about their “romance” when the real crux of the issue should be finding what happened to In-han.

As we reach the finale, it’s clear that this experiment in Hierarchy hasn’t quite worked, which is a shame because the show does have a lot of potential but it’s been squandered.

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