Welcome to the first round of Healer check-ins with my buddy Sarah from DramAdrenaline! where we’ll be thoroughly talking about our feels for this show.
Let me warn you that with us being new to this joint-posting thingy, and this being the first post when the show’s already halfway through, this will be a long one! Because we have feels see, lots of feels, and it was hard to contain them.
On top of that, episode 10 landed while we were
crushing on writing about episode 9, and detonated a mega-tonne feels-bomb on our laps. Which is why the latter half of this post takes a sharp turn and becomes pretty much a shrine to episode 10.
TL;DR: Park Min Young + Ji Chang Wook = ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ , OTP = ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥, Hacker ahjumma = ♥ ♥ ♥, everything else = MEH.
That was until episode 10 came along and totally changed everything. If you reach the end of this post, you’ll know why 🙂
So let’s get started, shall we?
[Beware of spoilers through to episode 10]
DDee: Healer wasn’t on my watch list. But a little after New Years, I found myself in bed drugged up on cold meds and nursing a Misaeng withdrawal which is how I decided to randomly click on something which turned out to be Healer. I wasn’t immediately sold, mainly because of flashbacks to the past which I groaned at and went, oh no, not another massively complicated, completely overcooked back story involving people I don’t care about but who I guess I have to care about now since they are apparently going to have everything to do with the people I do care about! Ugh! Why do dramas do that?
But anyway, eight hours later, I saw the light. No literally, it was daylight because I marathoned this sucker the whole damn night. Not everything in this drama works for me, but the parts I love give me such massive feels that I’m willing to overlook the parts that don’t.
Sarah: I am right there with you on this one. I started watching Healer because there was a picture of a guy dressed in head to toe black getting ready to book it off a building. Done deal. And then I saw Park Min Young was in it and that was just gravy. And I was excited, because action-packed, suspenseful pining-ey, hidden identity romance dramas are my jam. And we got shirtless action in the first scene! HELLO. That got me where I live.
But it took me a few more tries than I should probably admit to understand what in the world was going on in Episode 1. I don’t know how many dramas I’ve had to drop because the backstory has gone completely off the reservation. But I stuck with it because I love PMY, and I mean. You’ve seen Ji Chang Wook. I really was not intending to watch all 8 episodes this last weekend. But once those two got on screen together my heart was on lockdown.
DDee: First the feels. I have massive Ji Chang Wook feels. Mostly of the inappropriate kind. Especially when he does his thing in that hoodie and the black leather. I just cannot. The styling in this show! Please give cordi-noona a medal. PRAISE HER. Because whoever thought to put Ji Chang Wook in all black and give Park Min Young a hair cut deserves all the things.
Sarah: FEELS. How to even begin to explain the feels. So, you know in the beginning when Jung Hoo walks past the picture wall and gazes longingly at his island? That was it right there. I got feelings, and I thought to myself, “Oh no, I am NOT ready for this.” Like I just knew this man was about to be an obsession. It’s like he is a human biological imperative. He exists, therefore you must pine for him. And it’s only gotten worse as time has passed.
DDee: Speaking of Park Min Young and her hair! She gets her fair share of flack and I don’t quite understand why. She and Park Shin Hye have somehow angered the fandom overlords. But to me, she has a face that lights up the screen. A New Leaf didn’t do anything for her, but Young Shin is the perfect vehicle for her natural spark and vibrancy. She’s never looked better and I can hardly take my eyes off her. I’ve decided she’s like reverse Samson–cut hair, gain powers.
And I like the clothes they put her in. It feels right for her character–she’s not in flouncy skirts, but she also isn’t in generic “regular girl” clothes either. This girl has character, and this is a show that lets character dictate appearance instead of whatever’s fashionable or trendy.
Sarah: Me and coordi-noona need to have a talk. As in, she needs to give me 5 minutes of her time so I can give her a major award and hold a parade in her honor. The clothes, and the hair…and the clothes. And the hair. Ok, as I have stated previously, I have an odd fascination with the standard K-drama “shady guy” hat. If a villain is wearing it, it’s whatever. It’s just your standard villain in the standard hat. But put the hero in that hat and have him skulk around saving people and being important and I’m done.
But it wasn’t just the hat! There’s the leathers and the jacket and the high collar and all the buckles! And PMY’s hair is adorable! It makes her look so soft and feminine, but at the same time she’s spunky and independent and funny, and I just love this character. I didn’t realize people don’t like Park Min Young, I guess I don’t pay enough attention. I didn’t see A New Leaf though, so maybe that’s why. Why don’t people like her? Park Shin Hye grates on me sometimes, but that’s neither here nor there.
I think PMY is great at playing dynamic characters that younger viewers can look up to. I mean take Chae Young Shin. She’s got this great balance of vulnerability and courage. She struggles in stressful situations, but she doesn’t get herself in trouble for no reason like so many female leads do. She’s independent and driven, but she doesn’t over correct the aegyo thing and get hostile either. And her wardrobe is awesome. It’s like you said…an extension of who her character is. Also I love that at the end of Episode 8 she and Healer are wearing matching fuzzy sweaters. Have I told you how I feel about a man in a (non-ridiculous) fuzzy sweater?
DDee: Yes you have mentioned your fuzzy sweater fetish before. Is it just any man though? Or that it’s JCW in a fuzzy sweater?
Sarah: Well not any man. Just, you know, any man with Adonis-like bone structure and a deep voice and piercing ultra expressive eyes and a sexy pouty mouth and a nice body. So yeah…I would say JCW works 😉 Also it has to be a stylish fuzzy sweater. Items in Kim Tan’s wardrobe need not apply.
DDee: Since we’re talking clothes, lordy, that episode 9 makeover! I loved that he wasn’t all Bong Sook there, and that bits of the real Jung Hoo peeked through. And how great was it that she totally was non-plussed?! And her attempt at a wolf-whistle and the heel wobble LOL. I like how they used a makeover trope here not as some kind of benevolent gift of transformation like it usually is but they remain their dorky, awkward, fabulous selves throughout.
And hello, Healer guns! We haven’t seen those since Ep 4!
Sarah: I think my favorite part of the makeover was their little montage/phone conversation. I tell you what, the whole drama could just be the two of them talking to each other for twenty hours and I would be just fine with that.
DDee: OMG. I said the exact same thing on twitter. How are you in my head?
Sarah: This scene did bring up something for me though. I’m trying to figure out how much of Bong Sook’s awkward mannerisms are Jung Hoo putting on an act, and how much is actually Jung Hoo himself. I mean, he doesn’t get out much. And he doesn’t really get any social interaction when he’s out of character. Plus he’s got this whole sad abandoned puppy thing going on. Obviously a large part of the makeover scene was him hamming it up. But I wonder sometimes if he really does feel that socially awkward on the inside. It’s so CUTE.
DDee: You know the part at the end of the makeover when he’s pulling at his collar and is a little uncomfortable with Mr Stylist’s fawning? That’s all Jung Hoo.
And speaking of Jung Hoo, I LOVE that Healer gets testy with Ahjumma and makes as if he wants her off his back but then misses her phone calls. I LOVE that he’s a character who could so easily be a generic uber spy dude but instead is kinda vulnerable and lost. I LOVE that he’s so into Young Shin that it hurts. And I LOVE we totally understand because she rocks! She’s not carbon copy Candy and PMY doesn’t have to do that earnest/plucky/ aegyo crap which can so easily grate.
On the other hand, his aegyo is pretty fabulous 🙂
Sarah: Oh my goodness, what to say about Jung Hoo. I have seen a lot of generic uber spy characters, and can I just say I am super excited that this one has a pulse? I mean, I love me an ultra masculine dark and silent lead when called for, but it’s so nice to watch a male lead who isn’t always aloof and snarky to his female lead. I didn’t know how much I needed this character in my life until now. He’s NICE to her. I mean, that’s a big deal for me. And he isn’t unkind to anyone, and he’s not up his own butt all the time, which I appreciate.
DDee: THIS. He could so easily be a dick right? Standard SOP for a K-drama male after all. Having said that, I would be very disappointed if the show makes him go that route in the future. Because you know she’s gonna put two and two together any minute now.
Sarah: Yeah, I’m getting worried about that too. I mean, it seems like we’re headed for one of those classic drama situations where:
1. Guy and girl are thrown together while guy is embroiled in a big deception
2. Guy and girl fall in love, but guy can’t tell girl who he really is because majorly important reasons involving her safety
3. Guy’s cover is blown
4. Guy claims he never loved girl and was only using her (because of course he loves her and her safety is still an issue)
5. I start throwing things
6. Girl is heartbroken
7. Guy pines for girl as he continues to watch over her under cover of darkness
8. I continue to throw things
They wouldn’t do that to me would they? I love Jung Hoo the way he is! Can’t we just break the mold on this one? Maybe she does find out and they decide to take on the baddies together!
DDee: I’m forming a prayer circle right now.
Sarah: And as for him and Ahjumma, I need her to be a more central character. I feel like they just throw her in when they need something hacked, but I really like their relationship, and I’d like to see it developed more. Also I want to know how she’s connected to Teacher and the Underground Journalists. But yes, the fact that he complains about Min Ja all the time, but then they flirt and play nice and she knows all of his patterns and he misses her when she doesn’t call, I mean, it’s just precious.
DDee: Can we talk about the freakin’ crazy levels of chemistry here? I feel like a huge part of why Young Shin and Jung Hoo’s connection feels genuine when it could so easily veer into hackneyed eye-rolling territory is because of Park Min Young and Ji Chang Wook. I am this close to going full-on delulu and shipping them in RL.
Sarah: I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s not something you can manufacture with swelling ballads and a well-written script. It’s something intangible about the pair of them together. I mean look at the phone conversation (THE one) for example. I have watched it probably five times now, and I can’t get over how natural they sound when they talk to each other on the phone. Like at the end when they split the screen and she was crying into her scarf. That was masterful. Just that look on his face, and the way she spoke and her mannerisms, it felt like I was creepering on a really intimate moment. Was that just me?
DDee: That scarf moment was masterful! It’s moments like those that made me fall in love with K-dramas in the first place. And no, you most certainly cannot manufacture that kind of magic. I sometimes feel like the word gets thrown around a bit too casually, and I know a certain amount of that is subjective, but there are some universal truths in this world, and this pair’s chemistry is ridiculous is one of them.
Crying into her scarf like a little lost lamb felt so Young Shin, I wanted to wrap baby girl up in blankets! And the longing in his face–his beautiful, expressive face–was so palpable. I liked that he was far above this time too, instead of sitting on bench like the last convo. It felt like he was deliberately trying to distance himself but yet reaching out to her still. God I love this kind of secret pining from afar! And this show gets it so right.
Sarah: So shoot. Things you don’t like.
DDee: You mentioned wanting to see more of Ahjumma. I’m so with you on this one. I wish we got see more of Team Healer–Ahjumma, Jung Hoo and minion (I don’t know her name! See? Need more of her!) in action. The Healer/Young Shin part of the drama is flat out fantastic, but everything that’s not them feels drab. It’s like I’m watching two different dramas–the zingy action-spy-romance drama and the dry family/corporate melodrama featuring generic corrupt Evils plotting world domination.
Since Moon Ho falls squarely in between, I’m ambivalent about him. But I do like that he’s not positioned as straight forward challenger for her heart but he complicates things for the them nonetheless in more ways than one.
I wondered if the show even needs a Moon Ho-Moon Shik antagonism that ties back to the Underground Journos. Talk about over-complicating things. They could just be two brothers on opposite sides using Healer for their own ends. Then we can spend more time on the people I want to see more of–Team Healer, Young Shin’s dad and the cafe ex-cons, even detective dude. Like, maybe the show could even have taken a procedural route involving her dad, Team Healer, and detective who eventually all get embroiled in a mega case with Evil Elder/Evil Bro. This is me just thinking of ways to axe the parts that bore me, which are basically the parts where the drama takes itself far too seriously for my tastes.
Sarah: Ok so I feel like the only way to even begin to respond to this is to talk about Episode 10. Only you’re gonna have to hold the f#@k on with me here cos I’m just gonna word vomit this all out, okay? Ok.
DDee: Right?! Episode 10!! Like, shit just got real. Jung Hoo even made his shit just got real face.
Sarah: See DDee I thought I was fine. Like I knew I was about that OTP. I knew that Healer had me hooked. But I guess it’s just because the only thing this drama really has going for it was the OTP, and they were still in the relatively early stages that I was passionate, but functioning. And then this episode happened. And now I can’t. What are words? How do you form them?
He’s so beautiful DDee. They are so beautiful.
DDee: So beautiful it’s DISGUSTING. I can’t. Just…
Sarah: I mean we got the makeover in Episode 9, but I still had no idea what I was in for. And then they jaunt all up in there like a 1940’s golden Hollywood dynamic duo and Young Shin went all regal ice queen and leaned her head on Bong Sook’s shoulder and called him “Oppa” and I had this panic moment. Because I knew, I truly knew that I was headed for my doom.
DDee: DOOOOM WE ARE ALL DOOMED. I told you right? I had to pause at that moment because there were people around me. I literally had to stop the computer, and run away to the toilet because I was close to just collapsing in public.
Sarah: The funny thing is that I think I’m as much in love with Young Shin (in a different way obviously) as I am with Jung Hoo. I mean when she got ignored by the might-be mayor and she ripped that trench coat off. I just sat there with my mouth open. Here was a woman who in any other drama would have had to rely on happenstance or someone else’s intervention to get those questions out. And she just stood there in the center of the action like the president of the world and wiped the floor with that sleazebag. Yes please and thank you very much.
DDee: Like, here’s a show that knows how to let a heroine have her moment you know? And oh what a moment it was! And it wasn’t that she was all gung-ho and fearless (like we’d expect any other Candy to be) but she’s totally scared shitless but she works through her fears. That’s true courage.
Sarah: And then she fell off her shoes and landed on the camera. Classic. Can I just say how much I hate it when they make over a character in a drama who has clearly never worn heels before, and yet the minute she’s all made up she’s rockin’ them things like she clomped around the nursery in Baby Louboutins. That ain’t how that works. And that’s what I love about her! She’s smart and witty and brave and beautiful and everything every girl wants to be. And she can’t wear high heels or open cans.
DDee: THAT FACEPLANT! Just in case you forgot that Young Shin’s still good ol’ Young Shin LOL. And did you see what she what she did in the parking lot after when he gave her the boots? She’s like all damn Bong Soo you devil you, I’ve taught you well! She kills me.
Sarah: Holy heart palpitations Batman! When they were on that elevator and he reached over to give her his hand like she might reject it and she just grabbed it like she needed to hold hands and that’s all there was to it, and he got that look on his face like he just was not READY. And then he put his big boy britches on and leaned over to kiss her…
How many times can I DIE?!
DDee: OH GOD HOLD ME WHILE I FAINT. HIS FACE. IT WAS ALL OVER HIS FACE. I wrote about that scene already cos I couldn’t keep it inside. The feels overwhelmed me.
Sarah: And then that rooftop confession. All the best things happen on rooftops apparently. Can we talk about the way he looks at her for a second? It’s like every move she makes is poetry.
And then he up and said, “So how about we give it a go? Cuz I just want to be near you all the time.” And his face did that thing and he was just so straightforward and sincere and I almost blacked out. And even the way she rejected him was perfect. She didn’t make it personal. It was just, “I wish I could but there’s this other guy that kind of sounds like you and looks like you and also likes to hang out on rooftops…and I am just full on into him right now.”
DDee: THE THING, HE DID THE THING! His face! How many times do I need to say it? Ji Chang Wook and his FAAAACE. At first I was like, whoa WTF? And then he said I could just be next to you, WITH THAT FACE ON, my heart, it stopped beating.
Sarah: And he was all, “Sad day, she doesn’t love me. Because she loves ME. Yay she loves me! But also sadness because I’d really like to make out on this rooftop right now.”
DDee: And he tears up!! With both joy and sadness! You could feel those emotions behind those eyes. It was just exquisite. And you know he was dying inside, right? Because that was Jung Hoo talking, not Bong Soo or Healer. And he was so happy that he got to shed the pretence and show himself to her for a moment even if she didn’t know it.
The intimacy of that whole scene brings me to my knees. Their body language, the way his hand was on her knee, the way they looked at each other… (I’m dying again just writing this and reliving the moment in my mind.)
And she was just pure perfection. Really. She was upfront and unpatronising, and wasn’t at all awkward about it.
The only thing that wasn’t perfect about this scene was the lighting. The lighting on this show as a whole isn’t my favourite but eh, whatever. I quibble.
And did you see his face when she picks the lock? It’s like he can’t believe she’s even more awesome that he thought! I love that he’s constantly blown away by her and the show keeps giving her new ways to impress him. And we see it all on his is freakin’ beautiful beautiful face! Every. Single. Time.
Sarah: And he is completely in support of the fact that she is a badass too. In fact I’m pretty sure he’d like her to be in control all the time… Scratch that. I am not about to go down that road. I mean but…right?
DDee: Oh please let’s! Can we? If you won’t say it I will: He likes a woman on top.
And did you notice that the one time he takes the lead is because he so desperately wanted to show her his special secret place? He’s probably wanted to take her for awhile and he just jumped at the chance like an excited puppy.
Sarah: But then I mean that raises the question, who does she love? Because she doesn’t really know Healer. He’s just a theoretical hero who assaulted her manicure, saved her twice and kissed her on a roof. Bong Sook’s the one she spends all her time with. And Lord knows the body is one and the same. So does that mean Healer + Bong Sook = Jung Hoo? Or is there some magical ingredient that makes a Jung Hoo that she hasn’t discovered yet?
DDee: I think she’s in love with the idea of Healer, but Jung Hoo’s let the best parts of him show through Bong Sook so it’s not like she doesn’t know Jung Hoo at all in my mind. She just doesn’t know that she knows. I can’t wait for her to find out, and for Jung Hoo to take off the mask and to own his past and his pain just like she has! She’ll lead the way, just like she always does 🙂
Sarah: Does he need to take his shirt off again? Yes. Yes he does. That’s the missing link.
DDee: He needs to take off the mask and his shirt. We need a sweaty shirtless kickass training session. A real one. Not that fake tennis nonsense.
Sarah: And now we gotta move on to another topic for a second because Episode 10 completely blew the lid off my theory that the backstory sucks.
DDee: Right?? It’s like I got the payoff for tolerating all those endless flashbacks and Evil Elder/Evil Bro shenanigans. It was all laying the groundwork for what’s to come. Now that everything’s place, and it’s personal now for Jung Hoo, I’m fully on board. I just wish we got here sooner.
Sarah: Here’s some things that still suck:
1. Not enough Ahjumma
2. What is the point of minion?
3. For a former Underground Journo, Myung Hee isn’t very curious
4. Elder needs to turn the heat on in his TV pavilion. I hate it when you’re watching an interior scene in a K-drama and you can see everyone’s breath. I’m like, “Hello, these people are celebrities! Someone turn on the radiator!” I always feel really bad for them.
DDee: Minion’s into him right? She’s just like us? She’s our stand-in?? Go easy on Myung Hee, she’s on meds. And can I add Michael Learns to Rock to your list? Sorry, never gonna like it no matter how many times the show plays it.
Sarah: But we actually really got somewhere during this episode! I loved watching Healer’s Genesis. I wondered when they were gonna get around to telling me how he became a super hero. And we found out how he was introduced to Ahjumma and got into the night courier game.
But that part when Teacher left! I wanted to hurt someone, for real. JCW kills me with that face. All the feelings hit it, pure and unadulterated. And when he said that it was his birthday and he made ramen for two…I don’t really even like ramen and I just wanted to jump in that screen and hug him and cook him some fried eggs to put on it. Poor thing. Why does everyone leave him?!
DDee: First, How can you not like ramen??!
Second, yes poor puppy Jung Hoo and his ramen gutted me too. That was cold, man. And as an aside, Healer’s Genesis is a lot like Kenshin’s (of Rurouni Kenshin, my other current obsession. When two obsessions collide: how often does this happen?!). Kenshin has this whole tough love thing going on with his sensei too. Ok I’ll stop now.
Sarah: And we sure got to know a lot more about the Moon Shik/Elder/Jung Hoo’s dad situation. But I mean to be honest my brain was not in a place at that point to take it all in. So this is where I need your help. Please explain to me what you know about the backstory.
DDee: I haven’t really paid close attention since I never cared for this plotline so I’ll hazard that Underground Journos were somehow a threat to Evil Elder, who manipulates Moon Shik into either directly causing the accident that killed Young Shin’s dad and crippled Myung Hee, or keeping silent about it. Then there’s Jung Hoo’s dad who was framed and then killed by Moon Shik/Evil Elder. As to why he had to kill Ji Ahn, I have no idea. I’m guessing Ji Ahn witnessed the real killer at work which was the cause of her trauma. Does that make sense?
Sarah: In closing…my girl just requested a meeting! And I’m confused…was Moon Ho creeping on Healer’s email, or was he looking at something else on the computer? I don’t know, but I tell you what. I didn’t get a trailer, I have to wait until Tuesday to watch the next episode, I didn’t get a TRAILER, and that does not make me a happy Sarah.
DDee: I think Moon Ho was looking at something else. It was just edited awkwardly. Now the question is what will Moon Ho do with that information? And the other thing I’m glad we find out is why he’s called Healer. And it ties into the back story neatly just like it should.
You know it’s kinda funny we haven’t talked about the kiss since that’s like the pinnacle of a K-drama romance right? That kiss was pretty terrific, but the elevator hand-holding and the rooftop confession and even their phone conversations just make that kiss seem like child’s play to me. I’ll take intimacy and vulnerability any day over swirly-cam tonsil tennis. Wait what am I saying? Can I have both?
And just a stray thought to close. You know how every time Young Shin playfully punches Bong Sook or grabs him by the arm he flinches? I used to think he was just hamming it up as Bong Sook but I think that’s Jung Hoo being totally not used to so much physical contact with another human being.
And here’s the trailer for Episode 11 and it looks like she gets all dressed up girly girl to meet Healer! EEEEP! And like, more HAND-HOLDING! (The English translations can be found on Couch Kimchi)
That’s it for round 1! Check back with us next week over on Sarah’s blog for the next instalment 🙂