Healer: Feeding Feels

Healer ep 12 Young Shin and Bong Sook eat

I’m pretty sure this drama is out to kill me. Because at this point I’m so madly in love with Young Shin and Jung Hoo that the slightest touch or look sends me over the edge.

I spend my days mulling over scenes, imagining possibilities, and come Monday and Tuesday I skip to work and back thrilled to know that I will get to see them. I get goosebumps seeing their gifs on tumblr. I break out into random, possibly maniacal looking grins. My chest constricts. My heart races.

This is love, right? Should the hubs be jealous? I know I sound like a crazy person. And maybe that’s because I AM A CRAZY PERSON. But I can’t help it.

I’m not going to talk about their hands. Or the fact that they’re so devastatingly beautiful that I find it almost intolerable. Or the fact that I almost can’t bear to re-watch scenes because the Feels cause physical pain sometimes.

And just when I dared not hope for more epic Feels, in episode 12, Song Ji Na whips out one of those K-drama staples that almost always gets to me–The Feeding Scene.

Healer ep 12 Young Shin's meal

You know what I’m talking about, right? When lovers, friends, family gather around the table and share a meal. In K-drama food is never really just about food. Whether it’s a humble pot of ramyun or a spread of a dozen side dishes, the food is a vehicle for the giving and receiving of love. It’s communion with one another. Preparing a meal for someone is an expression of love, and welcoming them to the table is opening not just your home but your heart.  To offer someone something to eat is the most basic of human kindnesses, a small gesture that can mean the entire world. It’s sustenance not just for bodies but also for souls.

No wonder the person on the receiving end of that meal is often shaken to the core. Most often it’s the lonely and vulnerable, the empty and sad, the castaways, the drifters, the angry and vengeful, who are most affected by the kindness they don’t expect to receive at the table. It’s the shock of feeling valued, of your presence being worthy of company, of your body being worth nourishing for no other reason than just you being there. Such unconditional generosity is humbling.

These are the Feeding Scenes that move me the most.

So here we have Jung Hoo, lonely and needy and vulnerable, madly, recklessly in love with Young Shin, harbouring the dark secret of his hidden identity and their shared tortured history, sitting at the table being fed a meal that he helped prepare (rather hilariously) and that she cooked for him.

They play as they prep. And it’s usually in rom-coms that this kinda thing is a bonafide mating ritual, filled with sexual tension. But here, while it’s totally squee-worthy and comic, it also tugs at your heartstrings.

Healer ep 12 Bong Sook tries to peel an onion

Healer ep 12 Bong Sook tries to peel an onion

He can break into Fort Knox but peeling an onion mystifies him. Why? Because the boy has never prepared a proper meal, much less eaten one with real people, in so long. The closest he gets to company is ahjumma’s phone calls, which despite saying the contrary, he deeply welcomes while tucking into his staple meal: take-away fried chicken.

It’s a far cry from the last time we saw him at this very same table in episode 5. He was so unnerved by the simple comfort of a shared home-cooked meal that he could barely swallow. The words “I will eat well”, a phrase that gives reverence for the meal and the people who made it, stick in his throat. When was the last time he had a chance to say thank you to anyone other than a delivery boy?

The others chat happily, at first oblivious to his discomfort at being surrounded by such warmth. But then Young Shin’s dad does the caring parent thing of asking why he’s not eating, and he can barely stomach it, a painful reminder of his own isolation and loneliness.

Healer ep  5 Bong Sook sits sadly at the dinner table

And then he says this perfect line:

Healer ep 5 Bong Sook says there are too many dishes to choose from

It’s the god-honest truth, the depth of its meaning only known to him. It’s a simple meal, but it’s a feast to him.

But what a difference falling in love makes! When he sits down to eat in episode 12, he still isn’t used to saying “I will eat well”. But he’s so happy just to be there that he radiates joy. He even teases her, preying on every cook’s need to want their meal to be liked. (Of course, Young Shin doesn’t know that he’d swallow dog food for her.)

Healer ep 12 Young Shin looks at Bong Sook with expectation

Healer ep 12 Bong Sook makes a face

Healer ep 12 Bong Sook's naughty face

Our boy has slowly come into his own, letting his love for another person lead him to where he can be fed and nourished properly.

And then he let’s out that awesome, delicious chuckle. And they play footsies under the table.

(Shut up, they totally did.)

Healer ep 12 Young Shin and Bong Sook at dinner

And then we all know what happens next, right?? But I won’t go there.

Let’s save that for when Sarah and I return for our Feels discussions. For now, I’m off to dinner 🙂







24 thoughts on “Healer: Feeding Feels

  1. This was an awesome read and SO TRUE!

    Eating/Feeding scenes get me EVERY SINGLE TIME ( I stil tear up thinking of the potato scene in Gaksital which basically broke me :P). From the very first episode on I wanted to cook Jung Hoo a proper meal because… Well the stuff he eats is just not healthy^^ And then when he first ate with them. It’s scenes like these were you truly see how lonely Jung Hoo has been all his life and it hurts 😦

    But thanks to Young Shin he’s finally getting out of his isolation and I loved everything about their cooking/eating scene. Jung Hoo’s hapless tries to help her had me cackling and Young Shin making him rub his eye with the onion infested finger? That was so hilariously evil xD Then he barely can say ‘Thanks for the food’ and then… their feet! My squee must’ve been heard all over the world xD

    Alos I love it how we all have gone crazy over this couple 😀


    • Aww thanks, glad you enjoyed this. Yunno, I haven’t seen Gaksital (shock, horror) but I can imagine knowing what I do about the story. The drama that immediately came to my mind was in Me Too Flower where the OTP have their first home-cooked dinner together and she says a prayer of thanks. Gutted me, but in a good way 🙂

      Ji Chang Wook really knocks it out of the park when he does the thing, you know when his eyes turn sad and forlorn, and the way his whole body sinks, GUUUH KILL ME!

      I loved that Young Shin teased him too and cackled. And then he got his payback LOL. I really missed Bong Sookie & Young Shin together this week but their goofing around in the kitchen made up for everything!!


      • DDee, I immediately thought of Me Too Flower too! Their eating-together scene was totally tear inducing. It was a good drama, that sadly didn’t get the attention it deserved.

        That Eating scene in Healer – the first and the second – just hit me where it hurts. He is essentially a lost lonely little boy, and nowhere is that more evident than the Eating Together scenes. Makes me tear up all over again.


      • Right?! Me Too Flower is one of my faaaavvourite dramas. I love it to bits, despite it’s flaws, or maybe even because of them. Can’t explain it! Yeah, eating gets me all choked up too, and Ji Chang Wook just gets it so right. His face there just breaks my heart! Sigh.


  2. Nicely done!! Thanks for the insights that help me enjoy the show more, again.

    Wow! In the context of “family meal time” that makes so much sense about her interruptions:
    “which despite saying the contrary, he deeply welcomes while tucking into his staple meal: take-away fried chicken.”

    Cause Ahjumma also calls him when she eats, or prepares and she shares her kimbap rolling woes. I would love for that pair to make kimbap together one day.

    PMY was really beautiful with the soft focus during their meal.


    • As always, thanks for reading Jomo dear :). Ahjumma is lonely too! What would ahjumma’s day be like if she didn’t talk to him?? I want them to have a proper meal together!

      Urgh PMY so sickeningly gorgeous, I can’t. It’s blinding!


  3. ohhhhhhh!! I LOVE this post so much!! I loved the feeding scene in E5 when SJH is beside himself with the act of eating whilst being surrounded by familial warmth. It was suffocating to him – JCW played it excellently. I mean by now I expect that from him but I was very impressed with the way he acted that scene when I wasn’t puking unicorn and rainbows at the mere mention of the show (all thanks to the OTP). I couldn’t handle the cuteness in E12. It was just GAHHHHHHH!! By E12 I can tell I have fallen head over heels for Ji Chang-woooooook!! It hurts… it does – he’s SO good!! *sobs*


    • Suffocating! That’s the word for it, yes. And yes, JCW’s face right? Now that you mention it I too was taken aback by how well he performed that scene in ep 5. But it was early on in the series when I was only mildly paying attention :). Now I hang on to every move of his, and hers! LOL


      • Hahaha! I completely laughed out loud! I must cook that for my family now too! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that in the first place.

        But I LOVE this article and I’m so glad I found this. I’m so deep into Healer it’s mind blowing. I need a life 😉


  4. “(Shut up, they totally did.)”
    *BRB rolling on the floor laughing*

    Ahem. This is SUCH a lovely and meaningful write-up about the symbolism/staple of food in Kdramas 🙂


  5. “When was the last time he had a chance to say thank you to anyone other than a delivery boy?”
    Ooof. MY BABY.

    Also I completely missed out on the nuance of Ahjumma always calling during mealtimes to make sure Jung-hoo isn’t going to be eating alone with nothing but his leopard documentary for company. You DO care, Ahjumma, YOU CARE.

    And I was trying to think of other feeding/eating scenes we’ve seen in the show so far and what came to mind first was Jung-hoo’s meal (if you can call it that) with his mom. And just the way it was set up immediately tells you what an odd and sad arrangement this is between mother and son. He approaches her in the shadows, waits for her other son to be sent off to night school (his own half-brother, the son he could have been). He takes care to remain only in the periphery of her life and of her space – he probably has never stepped foot in her home to eat a meal she has cooked herself, and he probably never expects that invitation. And, as we find out later, the last mom-cooked meal he ate was the night she left him, after all. The dinner he could barely swallow (MY BABY). So they go out to eat, and it’s not even a full meal we see them partaking in, but a red bean shaved ice dessert thing. But they ARE sharing it, which is something. And I’m probably reading too much into it, but what Jung-hoo does here (pushing all the red beans to his mom’s side of the bowl) is such a … such a MOM thing to do? It’s an act of love and nurturing and selflessness, and so mom-ish in the sense that it’s always your mother giving you extra helpings of a dish or ingredient while pretending they’re already full or they don’t like it that much (when you KNOW they actually really love it but they’re just being such MOMS about it). And while eating he asks her about her life, and her son, and the new family she has created without him. And that, coupled with the act of sharing a bowl of dessert, goes such a long way to show that there is no resentment here, no judgement, no hate. But they’re also not sharing a full home-cooked meal, they’re not in mom’s house, Jung-hoo is and might always be the son in the shadows, a piece of his own mother’s past that has no place in her present. And if secretly eating red beans with her is one way of sticking around (he never leaves anybody, does he? he never leaves. MY BABY) then he will take it.
    And the only time we see Jung-hoo prepare a meal (ramen for two) his teacher leaves him. I wouldn’t blame the kid for having a complex about sharing mealtimes, people seem to keep abandoning him in the middle of dinner.

    Also wasn’t it in the 1st episode where we see Myung-hee going to great lengths to prepare a fancy dinner for Ji-ahn’s death anniversary (?) – that ritual of preparing your dead daughter’s favourite foods every year, still hanging on to a way to keep her and your deceased friends as a part of your life. And Myung-hee perpetually sending Moon-ho home with leftovers – another isolated, lonely man who probably doesn’t get much of a chance at a sit-down meal with family.

    (And yes they totally played footsies under the table, nobody can take that away from me, NOBODY).


    • Once again, an epic comment! Thanks for that GORGEOUS reminder of that scene with his mum, which never quite sat right for me at the time, because I was expecting him to be the typical mysterious loner archetype and him meeting his mother seemed odd. But of course now I see the light cos the show needed to establish some kind of connection with her because…well we know what happens at the end of ep 12 and it wouldn’t make any sense if he didn’t know her (smarts, this show has some!). Coz he loves his mama! And the only way he’s been able to keep that love without resenting her is by actively making a chose to do so. WHICH IS WHY I LUFF HIM!

      OMG he definitely has a complex bout meals, right?!


  6. There are so many to choose from.

    That scene got my heart so bad! I love how you pointed it here.
    His eyes in that scene have so much of loneliness in them!


  7. Pingback: Team Feels Flatlines for “Healer” Episode 11-12 | DramAdrenaline!

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