The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Healer

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

Healer is that special snowflake of a drama that manages to combine action, romance, and some nice spots of comedy, all in one tight little show. And it’s a mighty successful combination too, I might add.

Sure, the backstory runs a little bit melo and may not appeal to everyone, but the blend of adrenaline-pumping thrills, a truly sparky, heartfelt OTP, a deeply melty – yet flawed and believable – hero, and a courageous, strong heroine, makes for an exhilaratingly heady combination of feels that just sends my heart in multiple directions all at once.

Add on Show’s highly polished camera work and its very effective, very immersive OST, and it’s a combination that’s pretty darn hard to beat.

Specimen A: One Seriously Melty Hero. Swoon.

Healer OST – 힐러

THE LONG VERDICT:

There is no such thing as a perfect kdrama, but Healer checks so many of the right boxes that it’s not only easy to forgive its flaws, but it’s also really easy to lose your heart to it. I know I lost my heart to this one, and really fast too.

For the record, I acknowledge that not everyone loved this show. In fact, Show received rather low ratings when it aired in Korea (sniffle). But those of us who loved this show, loved it dearly, and I count myself among this show’s fans. Unabashedly. Unreservedly. And wholeheartedly. ❤

This show is consistently cracky, and hits so many right notes all the way through that I couldn’t help but be hooked. It’s fast-paced, tells a solid story, and manages to be very engaging while it does so. The people feel real, the feelings feel real, and therefore the squee feels real, too. Plus, there’s superhero-flavored cool on top of everything else, and in generous helpings to boot. Eee!

Yes, there would be flaws to be found if you looked for them, but why would you want to, really? (Ok, fine, I will list some of those flaws in this review, but still. I maintain that Healer’s fab in spite of them. 😉 )

OVERALL STORYTELLING AND VIBE

The thing that strikes me about Healer, is that it gets cracky real fast.

Right away, we are quickly immersed in Show’s drama world via its cinematic, stylish, fast-paced introduction, complete with tracking shots and dolly zooms that throw us headlong into the unfamiliar, disorientating world of Healer.

With its thrills, spills, and bits of comedy interspersed in between, Show manages to be a snazzy, polished beast that’s shiny and action-packed on the outside, while possessing an extremely keen and sensitive heart on the inside.

Immediately, from the very beginning of the show, I loved that characters and their existing relationships are fleshed out in nicely measured stages. People are put in one another’s orbits in plausible, narratively cohesive ways, and there’s a backstory mystery that offers up its truth, one little obtuse nugget at a time.

Additionally, I love a hero who’s a superhero, and to have our story’s hero literally leaping off tall buildings and being completely, awesomely kickass, just makes my day, really. Honestly, every time Ji Chang Wook parkoured off a building, I swooned. ❤

So. Bad. Ass.

Spazz.

It all comes together to make this show feel like a fantastic mashup of action, mystery, romance, and superhero origin story, all in one. Sorta like City Hunter, in a way, but cooler, edgier, more grown-up, and bringing way more feels. In my opinion, anyway. 😉

Perhaps best of all, is how Show confidently drives the story forward. Show is densely packed and for the most part, moves along at a pace where I feel like it’s dragging me along, arms flailing, whether my heart is ready or not. Through Show’s run, I consistently felt like I was teetering on the edge of my seat, and usually on multiple levels, too. Show kept going in directions that I didn’t quite expect, and consistently took our story further than I expected it to, sooner than I expected it to.

Not only that, Show even lives up to the cliffhangers that it builds for itself, a feat that I don’t take lightly. So often, I’ve felt cheated by dramas that resolve their cliffhangers with a fakeout in the following episode. Not so Healer. This show consistently stands up to the cliffhangers that it builds for itself, thereby proving itself to be a confident beast that knows where it’s going. Not only does it stand up to the expectations left by its cliffhangers, it often even surpasses them, effectively blowing me away.

Watching this drama, I often felt like my heart was about to implode. Or explode. Or both. Which, basically, is a very, very, very good thing.

OVERALL PREMISE

There’s an overarching backstory that drives everything forward, and I’ll admit that on my first watch of the show, I wasn’t terribly interested in the story behind this photograph; a photograph which, in my opinion, showed up far more frequently in the show than I was interested to see.

Additionally, the fragmented nature of the information we do get, confused me as well. It was hard to keep up with the mental jigsaw that was necessary, in order to at least try to keep all the little bits of information halfway straight in my head.

In spite of my relative lack of interest in the backstory of our characters during my first watch, I did manage to love the show to pieces, thanks to the interesting characters and their wonderfully engaging relationships.

To be fair to writer-nim, though, I must say that during my second watch, I had a much better appreciation for the backstory, and how it affected my beloved characters. For the record, the fragmented pieces of information actually do fit together neatly, so working to keep them straight in your head would not be a futile exercise (as it sometimes is, with other dramas).

Also for the record, this show was just as cracky – if not crackier – on my second watch. That’s No Small Deal, especially given the fact that I’ve watched way more kdrama than most people would consider healthy. 😛

CHARACTERS

Despite this show possessing a fairly dense story, with lots of action to drive it forward, it’s really the characters and their relationships that ground everything and give the show heart.

I particularly love how writer-nim treats the characterizations and relationships, in the sense that everything and everyone (well, everyone that mattered to me, anyway) feels organic and interesting, without feeling like too little is served up, or too much.

In this section, I’ll be talking about the main characters, including special spotlights on my favorites.

Healer OST – 눈이 하는 말

Ji Chang Wook as Jung Hoo

Thanks to my lack of interest in any of his prior projects, this was my introduction to Ji Chang Wook, and what an introduction that turned out to be! Let’s just say that my fangirl appreciation rocketed from zero to well, ..about a thousand, within just a few episodes. (Pure Pretty post is here!)

Firstly, I was super taken with the matter-of-fact badassery. Jung Hoo’s ability to kick ass, often on a many-to-one sort of scale, is just so freaking cool. Plus, all the cool parkour sequences just took everything to a whole other level. Altogether, our quick-thinking, swift-footed hero had me weak-kneed and squee-ready, pretty much at all times.

Secondly, and more importantly, Jung Hoo turns out to be a faceted character with layers of angst that are not immediately apparent. I found the bit-by-bit reveal of who he is, and what he’s all about as a person, fascinating and completely engaging. As I learned more about Jung Hoo’s inner angst and vulnerabilities, my heart couldn’t help but go out to him.

In both the badassery and the deeper nuances of Jung Hoo’s person, Ji Chang Wook delivers so solidly and believably, that I legit wondered where he’d been all my kdrama life, even as I fell headlong in love with Jung Hoo as a character.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I have to give serious props to writer-nim for creating such a faceted character in Jung Hoo, and equally serious props to Ji Chang Wook, for capably showing us all of those facets, in a way that I found completely compelling.

There are literally so many different sides to Jung Hoo, that I find it difficult to condense them all into this section. But because I find Jung Hoo to be such an absorbing character, I’m gonna attempt to flesh him out, at least a little bit.

Badass Healer

I freaking love Badass Healer. The way he offhandedly infiltrates tight security and leaps off tall buildings is just so breathtakingly cool.

Jung Hoo’s daring badassery regularly had me dropping my jaw and swooning into a puddle, often at the same time. I mean, the way he deftly enters a room while people are in it, and slips in and out unnoticed, is the stuff of legends. Of course, it stretches the believability a little, but well, Healer is supposed to be a legend. And the amazing parkour moves make Healer seem like a sageuk assassin-warrior come to life, except he’s plugged into high tech wizardry that no sageuk warrior ever had.

From small moments – like him kicking a can just so in episode 2, in order to engineer the collision of the bicycle with the fruit stand – to the big dramatic moments, Badass Healer had my heart in his easy grasp. In terms of the more dramatic moments, I love the scene in episode 3, of Jung Hoo leaping off rooftops and chasing Moon Ho’s (Yoo Ji Tae) car on foot, ON ROOFTOPS. It literally gave me shivers; it was just all so thrilling.

And I love too, the scene in episode 4, when Jung Hoo goes back to save Young Shin (Park Min Young), and fights off a whole bunch of his contemporaries. I found that detail extra impressive, coz as his contemporaries in the same business, those guys ought to have a solid level of skills too, but Jung Hoo takes them all down, and pretty easily too.

Later, when Jung Hoo goes undercover as dorky Bong Soo, I love that he has to be extra smart with how he intervenes, so that he can save the day without blowing his dorky cover.

All in all, I love that Jung Hoo is this good at what he does. I mean, I always love a man who’s good at what he does, but when what he does involves badass ass-kickery and amazing-yet-effortless parkour wizardry, it just takes it all to a whole other swoonier-than-swoony level. ❤

Socially awkward Bong Soo

I found Jung Hoo endlessly amusing as an undercover dork, since it felt so dissonant with his uber-cool Healer persona.

Seeing Jung Hoo’s hilarious and believable cover as the nervous, socially awkward Bong Soo was my first inkling of Ji Chang Wook’s excellent acting chops. I mean, it’s one thing to pull off Cool Badass, and it’s another thing to pull off Nerdy Nervous Dork, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to pull off both, while regularly morphing from one into the other, as the situation calls for it. That’s skillz.

Over time, we come to see that Bong Soo’s bumbly awkwardness isn’t just a cover, but is another part of who Jung Hoo is, as a person. It felt somewhat revelational, to realize that our Badass Healer was, deep down, lonely and socially awkward.

Lonely loner primal wildcat in a man-cave

As early as episode 1, we see that Jung Hoo has a fixation with animal wildlife, and over time, we get to see how Jung Hoo is like a wildcat himself; isolated from other people, and spending large amounts of time alone in his cave.

From the beginning of the show, Jung Hoo talks about humans with a distinct air of distance and removal, as if he isn’t one of them, and as if he would like to be removed from the entire world, if possible. In episode 3, Jung Hoo says that he’s never been that into life, all this time, and has been living it, pretty much only because he was born. I found it so sad to hear him say that, and it felt like such a pity, really, that such an amazing superhero-esque person would have this much disdain for life – and by inference, himself as well. *Heart. Break.*

Over the course of the show, we witness Jung Hoo learning to have an interest in and embrace life, and it’s a slow but gratifying journey. I appreciate that Show doesn’t wave a magic wand and make his wildcat tendencies disappear just because he finds the love of his life. His wildcat leanings continue to show themselves, like in how he struggles with adjusting to life as a regular person at a regular job, and then, particularly in how he responds to tragedy: he literally retreats from the world and checks out, and just goes to sleep.

There’s something very real and raw about Jung Hoo’s wildcat disposition that appealed to me. It felt like I was looking at the truest, most.. primal side of him, and I liked feeling like we had access to his core, in that sense.

A tenderheart who cares, in spite of himself

In spite of Jung Hoo’s badass exterior and lonely inner wildcat, we see relatively quickly that he is capable of caring for others, and in fact, loves in a profound manner, when he does love.

With his mom:

The first inkling we get of this, is how Jung Hoo maintains a sweet, warm sort of relationship with his mother (Lee Kyung Shim), even though their lives are kept separate. I love the little detail, that he orders patbingsu for them to share, and then gives her all the red beans even though he likes them too. I love how matter-of-factly he demonstrates care and consideration for his mom. Melt.

We see the depth of Jung Hoo’s love for his mom in episode 12 & 13, in his response to his mom’s abduction by Secretary Oh (Jung Gyu Soo). He walks willingly into the trap, knowing that his own life is at risk, and basically fights to the death in the process.

Once he’s discharged from the hospital, Jung Hoo is so furious that he wants to literally kill Moon Shik (Park Sang Won) and nothing Ahjumma (Kim Mi Kyung) says seems to make a dent in his resolve; he’s like a crazed dog with a bone. Until Ahjumma reminds him that Young Shin’s mother (Do Ji Won) lives in that house. So he holds back the rage that is practically bursting out of him, for Young Shin.

With Young Shin:

For all his badass Healer professionalism, Jung Hoo can’t help but start to care for Young Shin, and we first see evidence of this in episode 4, when he goes back to save her from the Double S thugs.

Over time, we also see him begin to use his skills on the more personal front. Like in episode 7, teaching President Hwang (Jung Hae Kyun) a lesson is personal; giving the video evidence to Young Shin, also personal; confronting Moon Shik with an ultimatum, most definitely personal.

On a slight tangent, as things get personal, it ups the ante. The vibe of the show becomes more intense, because it’s no longer just business. Healer’s invested now, and while that might take away a little, from his cool, detached badassery, it more than makes up for it with the added emotional depth that we get access to.

As Jung Hoo becomes more acquainted with Young Shin, he gets more exposed to what family warmth is like, and it’s heartbreakingly poignant. Like in episode 5, when Jung Hoo sits gingerly at the breakfast table at Young Shin’s house. Without saying anything much at all, Ji Chang Wook manages to convey so much emotion in Jung Hoo: unfamiliarity, hesitance, wonder, surreality.

Beneath his aloof and distant exterior, Healer actually is hungry for human connection.

With Teacher:

We also see Jung Hoo’s desire for human connection in his ultimatum to Teacher (Oh Kwang Rok): Show yourself by sunset, or else. Despite the crappy sort of manner in which Teacher had left him to fend for himself, he’s still the only family Jung Hoo ever had, and he is clearly unwilling to lose that connection. In spite of everything, he loves Teacher, and deeply too.

That depth of love is clearest in episode 14, in Jung Hoo’s reaction when he realizes that Teacher had died; it’s so guttural, and so primal, almost. He can’t think straight, and can only think to charge over to Moon Shik and kill him.

Jung Hoo’s wildcat instincts and intense love come together in this moment, and manifest themselves in a crazed, superhuman kind of strength; we see him flinging people away from him – at the police station grounds, and at the morgue – and it’s both breathtaking and alarming to behold.

The rebel

As Jung Hoo gets clues to his past, his impulsive, rebellious, hot-headed streak shows itself, as he defies both Moon Ho and Ahjumma in their efforts to reason with him. It makes him feel very human, in spite of his practically superhuman abilities to scale tall buildings like spiderman.

Against my better judgment, I actually feel quite drawn to Jung Hoo’s rebellious streak. In his rebellious moments, I found him to be.. daring and ballsy, and that upped the cool, in my (admittedly smitten) eyes.

The boy falling in love, for the first time

I’ve got a whole other section planned for the OTP, but I just wanted to focus here for a bit, on this facet of Jung Hoo; of the innocent boy, falling in love for the very first time.

As Jung Hoo’s feelings for Young Shin grow and solidify, the way he looks at her gets more intense, and I found it all very mesmerizing indeed. There’s an underlying conflictedness about that intensity which just makes it land with even more poignancy. Every time he gets That Look on his face now, it looks like he’s been hit in the gut, the emotions are hitting him so hard. And when he looks like that, I feel like I just got hit in the gut.

I love the layered manner that Show treats Jung Hoo’s growing feelings for Young Shin. Just as his wildcat core comes into play in the way that he loves others in his life, they come to the fore in the way that he cares about Young Shin as well. Like in episode 9 when Jung Hoo trails Young Shin as Healer, and walks with her as she leaves Moon Ho’s apartment; it’s just so superhero swoony.

In the midst of all this, the little beats make it really pop. His amusement at her singing, where he starts to bop along for a bit before catching himself. And his long gazes of conflicted intensity as he walks alongside her on the rooftop, several levels above her. And those continued hit-in-the-gut gazes as he watches her intently as they speak on the phone. Love it. So much. ❤

Young Shin talking about Healer to Jung Hoo always seems to hit him deeply. In this episode, she calls him (as Bong Soo) and admits shyly that she’s waiting and hoping to see Healer. Her confession clearly messes with his brain, and you can practically see the cogs in Jung Hoo’s brain go into overdrive as he processes what it all means.

It’s so poignant, really, that an Amazing Almost Superhero kind of person like him, is basically stunned into silence at the thought that someone like Young Shin could, well, actually like him.

That sense of uncertainty continues to show itself even in the later episodes, when our OTP is cemented. Like in episode 18, when Young Shin informs a cuddles-focused, window-climbing Jung Hoo that he ought to come in through the door like a regular person and introduce himself to her dad (Park Sang Myun), he does just that. And it’s hilarious because Jung Hoo as himself is all nervous, darty-eyed and literally about to jump out of his skin. There’s just something so adorable and yet poignant, about Badass Healer being so skittish in front of his girlfriend’s Dad. ❤

His growth journey

In episode 15, Jung Hoo says to Ahjumma, “The real me? What is that? Does that exist?”

Jung Hoo, in wanting to offer Young Shin the real him, realizes that he’s not even sure who the real him is. He’s been taking on so many identities, and keeping his real identity hidden for so long, that he’s lost sight of who the real him is. In a manner of speaking, the entire show is about Jung Hoo’s journey towards finding and learning about himself.

Even though, when we first meet Jung Hoo, he’s all Badass Almost Superhuman Healer leaping from rooftops, over time, the focus shifts to something a little more personal. His conflictedness – about his feelings towards Young Shin, about his undercover mission, and about his own past – starts to show up, and he starts to betray more emotion than ever before, which all comes together to remind us that Healer isn’t a classic superhero; he’s human too.

Beyond the growth that is sparked by his personal relationships, we eventually start to see that there is another layer at play too that’s larger; that’s about feeling like he’s part of something, where everyone’s working together towards a common goal. That sense of community, as he begins to work with the team that Moon Ho has assembled, is something that’s been missing from Jung Hoo’s entire life, and it’s gratifying to see him working hard so as not to let the team down.

Jung Hoo’s growth-in-degrees, from being a lonely wounded wildcat to finally finding himself, and allowing himself to be happy, and allowing himself to have a community, is a journey that I found compelling, heartrending, and hand-on-my-heart absolutely well worth taking.

[END SPOILER]

Healer OST – When You Hold Me Tight

Park Min Young as Young Shin

I just have to say, this is my favorite role of Park Min Young, hands-down. Before Healer, I’d seen her in just a handful of dramas – namely, Unstoppable High Kick, Sungkyunkwan Scandal and City Hunter – and had always had pretty much the same impression of her: very pretty and possessing a winsome smile, but nothing to shout about in terms of her acting chops.

I take it all back now, coz Park Min Young as Young Shin is wonderful.

There’s a simple matter-of-fact quality in the way she plays Young Shin, and there is absolutely no vanity in her delivery. I literally watched this entire show without feeling like Park Min Young’s prettiness was the first thing to hit me. Instead, it was always consistently Young Shin’s realness that hit me first – and stayed with me. Park Min Young makes Young Shin come alive in a highly relatable way that made me not only feel like Young Shin was a real person, but someone that I really really wanted to be friends with.

Like Jung Hoo, there are many dimensions to Young Shin. She’s bright, sassy, a touch vulnerable, good-natured, and hard-to-get-down. At the same time, she’s full of big talk, ballsy and brave even when she’s feeling scared on the inside, and also, a little oblivious at times, to top it off.

Add on the fact that she’s the kind of girl who throws herself into singing in her jammies and rocking out with her dad, and I just can’t help but love her. Add on the other fact that Young Shin is all of this, having survived an extremely painful childhood, and I can’t help but love her even more.

I literally have not enjoyed Park Min Young more, in a role.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Again, I feel like it’s impossible the contain all of Young Shin’s facets within a single section and be able to talk about them properly, but here are a handful of highlights.

She’s strong and sassy

I love that Young Shin is a girl with a dream, and that dream has nothing to do with meeting a chaebol, or snagging a husband, or seeking revenge. It’s to be a reporter who does meaningful things. Which already sets her apart from so many other kdrama heroines. Plus, I do like the detail, that she’s an equal opportunity sort of gal, who has a male and a female role model.

I also love the fact that despite Jung Hoo’s amazing skills as Healer, that Young Shin’s no easy assignment. I find it quite impressive – and very cute – that Young Shin’s training in petty crime from her “friends” comes in handy to make her a difficult target for Jung Hoo.

The fact that she seriously contemplated suicide when she was just a little kid, just makes her strength in her adulthood all the more worthy of respect. And yet, beneath the strength, when she talks about her suicidal moments like she does in episode 2, the pain feels raw, and the wounds, open. There’s something very moving about how she chooses strength, when she has every excuse to choose self-pity. I just can’t help but love that about her.

She cares

Throughout the show, we see evidence that Young Shin is someone who cares, and cares deeply. Here are just a few times when that caring streak in her captured my heart.

1. The time in episode 2 when she trades her long-awaited scoop to look into someone else who seems to be in trouble. And I appreciate the moment that she hesitates over it; it makes her feel human.

2. When Young Shin promptly takes Bong Soo under her wing at work, and starts mothering him, even dragging him along the road by the wrist, like he’s a little kid who might run off if she didn’t hold on tight. Hee. I love Young Shin’s protective mama hen kind of attitude towards Bong Soo. Not like she really can protect him from anything, but she seems to fiercely believe that she can, and she does it consistently. Like in episode 5, right after the police get to her, after Healer saves her from the Double S guys. One of her first thoughts is Bong Soo’s safety. Aw.

3. I love that that nurturing attitude isn’t limited to those whom she feels can’t protect themselves, but also extends to Healer, whom she completely looks up to, and is fully aware that he’s a highly skilled kick-ass individual. Yet in episode 9, when Moon Ho holds a stammering post-rescue Young Shin, all she can fixate on is that Healer almost got killed because of her. That is the one thing that seems to haunt her, not the fact that she herself nearly got killed.

Plus, there’s the time in episode 13, when Young Shin chooses to pretend to buy Jung Hoo’s very unconvincing cover story. She later says it’s because she’s afraid that he’ll leave, but at the same time, doesn’t this show that top of her mind is also the fact that Healer can’t have his identity known? I believe that she held back as much to protect him, as to keep him nearby.

I love that Young Shin’s such a nurturing, protective person.

She’s brave, even when she’s scared

Perhaps James Neil Hollingworth put it best when he wrote, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear.”

That’s exactly that quality in Young Shin that I find particularly endearing; she’s brave even when she’s scared half to death. Like in episode 5, in the way that she chooses to face President Hwang; she’s clearly at a disadvantage, but even when she’s heaving for breath and he’s glowering down at her threateningly, she won’t back down. Or the time in episode 10, when Young Shin forges ahead with her mission despite her nerves.

Whenever Young Shin is faced with a scary situation, she consistently takes courage in the face of fear. She consistently judges that something – or someone – else is more important than her own fear, and pushes herself forward anyway. There’s just something really admirable about that.

She’s quick to forgive

Perhaps my most favorite thing about Young Shin, is how she is so quick to forgive. She doesn’t harbor grudges, and the fact that she’s grown up so well-adjusted in spite of her traumatic childhood, is itself evidence of that quality about her.

The time that we see this trait in Young Shin come to the fore, is in episode 16. After having multiple bombshells dropped on her about the truth of her own identity – and by extension, Myung Hee’s identity as her bio mom, as well as Jung Hoo’s identity as the son of the man who supposedly killed her father – she huddles and hides for a time. But it isn’t very long before she reaches out to call Jung Hoo, and it isn’t very long after that, before we see her going to Moon Ho with coffee, cake and smiles, and asking curious questions about everything.

I love that about her, that she can’t stay mad for long. And I love the wonder with which she takes in all the information that Moon Ho gives her in response to her questions. Her delight that Jung Hoo’s her oppa by just one month, is so cute. How can one not love her, right? ❤

[END SPOILER]

Yoo Ji Tae as Moon Ho

I will admit that Moon Ho was a character that I found difficult to connect with, for most of Show’s run. To Show’s credit, though, this was clearly a deliberate choice, and not, say, a fault with the writing or execution.

Moon Ho is, by design, a character that’s hard to pin down. He’s mysterious, and his motivations are kept ambiguous to us for a long stretch. As I watched the show, so many questions about Moon Ho flooded my mind. [SPOILERS] Is he really as noble and for-the-people as he claims to be? Is he addicted to his fame and popularity as one-time quasi-girlfriend Min Jae (Woo Hee Jin) claims he is? Why is he at odds with his brother? Why is he searching for Young Shin? Why is he engaging night courier services? [END SPOILERS] What’s behind that cryptic smile?

So many questions, and, for the most part, not many answers, when it came to Moon Ho.

It was really only after watching the show that I came to appreciate how a skilled actor like Yoo Ji Tae was really needed to do justice to the role. Moon Ho is a character with many facets and layers. There’s the smiling facade that is bemusingly hard to read, but it occasionally cracks to reveal layers of complex angst within him.

While my personal understanding of Moon Ho as a character felt slow and therefore occasionally frustrating, I must admit that Yoo Ji Tae does an amazing job of delivering him. He comes across as intriguing right off the bat, and is masterful at the wordless, complicated gaze that Moon Ho often wears.

I came way from this show thoroughly impressed by Yoo Ji Tae as an actor (and yes, this show was my introduction to him too, since I don’t watch all that many k-movies and that’s where he spends most of his time).

[SPOILER ALERT]

When I found him dark & dubious

For a good half of Show’s run, there were distinct occasions when I found Moon Ho’s character rather disturbing. The more disturbing I found him, the harder I found it to like him. In fact, sometimes I wasn’t even sure I was supposed to like him.

Here’s a quick list of some of those moments where I found Moon Ho’s behavior disturbing.

1. When Moon Ho tests the waters with Myung Hee in episode 5 and asks her, “What if Ji An were alive?”

The entire scene seemed cruel to my then-uninformed-eyes, because it seemed to me that he tested the waters knowing that it would bring on a fit. Not telling Myung Hee about Ji An also seemed cruel to me, because it was clear that Myung Hee was deeply heartbroken over Ji An’s death.

2. There’s a moment in episode 6 when Moon Ho’s expression becomes dark, hard and almost foreboding, during his phone conversation with Young Shin about the exposé in her hands. Given that Young Shin is clearly our heroine, and that Moon Ho’s expression as he lays out the facts about the industry to her, is anything but friendly, I found him distinctly unlikable in this moment. I found him two-faced and opaque.

3. In episode 8, Young Shin confronts Moon Ho about why he would be receiving emails from Healer. Moon Ho lies quickly on his feet, and manages a reasonable and convincing cover story. Which demonstrates how smart he is, but also shows us how natural the darker side comes to him.

4. In episode 9, Moon Ho says that Healer has no morals and no goodwill, but in the end, he’s the one who seems to skirt the boundaries of morality. Moon Ho requests Healer to give him a warning if the other side were to engage his services, and yet, he gives Healer no such benefit when he uses Healer’s information to get the cooperation of the detective. That’s a clear double standard. And the look on Moon Ho’s face as he offers up Healer to the detective, is deliberate, with a bit of dark, and a bit of relish as well.

All of this added up to make Moon Ho a very interesting character, but also a second lead that I didn’t trust.

When I found him sympathetic

Mixed in with Moon Ho’s darker behaviors, there are other moments that hint of the complexity of his hidden angst, sprinkled throughout the show.

Here’s a quick list of some of the moments where I felt his sincerity, at least in some measure.

1. In episode 2, when he receives news that Young Shin’s DNA sample is a confirmed match for the niece that he’s been searching for, his expression looks almost pained. That was the first hint, for me, that Moon Ho’s backstory and emotions were a lot less straightforward than most.

2. In episode 3, we see that Moon Ho has been having nightmares, all because he believes that he’s committed a sin, by keeping silent.

3. In episode 4, when Moon Ho asks Young Shin to leave the story to him, she takes it the wrong way, but he’s totally right about her not understanding just how precarious her situation is. In this moment, I believed that Moon Ho didn’t mean to steal her thunder, but to shield her.

4. In episode 7, there is a moment when we see Moon Ho’s eyes brimming with tears and emotion while looking at Young Shin during his flashback to the past. We see a similar moment in episode 11, when Moon Ho watches Jung Hoo walk away, and, with tears in his eyes, imagines Jung Hoo walking side by side with his father, displaying the exact mannerisms. In those moments of privacy when no one else is watching, the fact that Moon Ho’s eyes fill with tears, said so much to me, about his core of sincerity.

5. In episode 11, Moon Ho admits to Jung Hoo that he’d tipped off the police about Healer. I like that he came clean with that information without being prompted.

In these moments, I wanted to believe in the good in Moon Ho, because it was in these flashes of honesty and emotion, that I felt like I had glimpsed his truth.

My final takeaway

Because Moon Ho’s behavior dances back and forth on, around and between the line that divides the good and bad, and the moral and amoral (or even immoral), he effectively comes across as quite the mystery, for much of the show.

Yoo Ji Tae plays that moral ambiguity so very well too. When Moon Ho’s being nice, he’s got a boy-next-door quality to him, but when he’s allowing more of his dark side to show, he can look positively intimidating. Because of that, I felt conflicted about Moon Ho for a long time.

By episode 12, however, a piece clicked into place for me, that helped to shed quite a bit of light into Moon Ho as a character. He says to his brother Moon Shik that he’d always thought that he was a better person than his brother, but, “I’m becoming just like you.” It’s a sobering realization, and in that moment, I felt like there is a measure of self-loathing in Moon Ho’s voice.

He wants to think of himself as a better person, but deep down, he realizes that he isn’t really that good of a person. Perhaps Min Jae put it best, when she says to Moon Ho in episode 14, “Honestly, you have a lot of fear… Others say that you’re brave. But, no. You only fight enough, so you don’t get hurt.”

To Moon Ho’s credit, by the end of the show, he makes some tough decisions in favor of being the kind of person he would like to be. In episode 19, as Moon Ho watches Young Shin interact with Myung Hee, his smile shows how pleased he is, in the moment. It’s clear that he’s wanted this for a long time, even though he hasn’t made the bravest choices along that way.

It’s not like Moon Ho ever fully overcomes his weakness of character, but by Show’s end, it’s clear that while he may be weak and dubious at times, deep down, he does have a conscience and sincerely wants to do what’s right. Which is such a human, relatable thing, really – and is eventually what endeared him to me.

[END SPOILER]

Healer OST – 지켜줄게 (Ji Chang Wook)

 

Kim Mi Kyung as Ahjumma

OMG I freaking LUFF Kim Mi Kyung as Hacker Ahjumma! ❤

First of all, I love what a master hacker Ahjumma is. It totally breaks the mold of what one might expect a hacker to look like, and completely raises the bar for all other drama writers in terms of how not to pigeonhole women of a certain age. I just adore how amazing Ahjumma is at what she does; just watching her fingers flying over the keyboard gives me a buzz (hey! That rhymes! Whaddya know, Ahjumma brings out my inner poet! She IS amazing).

Second of all, I love her sass. She’s witty and smart-mouthed, and consistently unleashes her sauciness while wearing the most droll, deadpan expression. So cute.

Thirdly, I love that even though she ribs Jung Hoo, and flippantly interrupts his meals as a matter of habit and entertainment, yet, she always, always has his back. She’s caring and loyal underneath the droll insolence, and it’s awesome.

As an essential aside, I can’t help but give a shout-out to her adorable kimbap obsession and her fondness for knitting, even while she keeps a hawk eye on her multiple computer screens. Guh. I lurve Ahjumma! ❤

[SPOILER ALERT]

As we get deeper into the show, we learn more about Ahjumma, and I have to say, her backstory completely gutted me.

I mean, to have lost her son – and thereafter her husband too; effectively, her entire family – because of her dedication to her job, but then to be told to cover up the very case that cost her everything? Augh. What a price to pay, for a job that wasn’t even worth it. It’s no wonder she went guerrilla, and now looks at most things with an air of cynicism.

Despite her painful past, Ahjumma cares deeply for Jung Hoo, and I love that. We see this most in episode 14, when Ahjumma gets all dressed up and goes to the cafe to talk with Young Shin, all for Jung Hoo’s sake. For his sake, she’s coming out of her lair; for his sake, she’s harnessing Young Shin’s help; for his sake, she’s checking Young Shin’s gaze, to make sure that it’s ok to tell her.

Aw. So much love, right there. You just can’t not love Ahjumma. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Park Sang Won as Moon Shik

Moon Shik is one of Show’s major antagonists, and Park Sang Won plays him with a smug, almost serene sense of self-righteousness that I found suitably aggravating, particularly as we got into the later stretch of the show.

To Show’s credit, Moon Shik is one of the more complex antagonists that I’ve seen in dramaland, and Show makes efforts to unveil his layers of angst and humanize him, even while his behavior remained inexcusable.

I never actually felt sympathetic to his character, but by Show’s end, I felt like I could understand how a person in his situation might have made the decisions he did.

[SPOILER ALERT]

One of the things that I found most despicable about Moon Shik, is how he seemed to genuinely believe that he was innocent of wrongdoing, in spite of doing many things that were Very Bad Indeed.

Just for the record, here are just a handful of times when I was appalled by Moon Shik’s behavior.

1. In episode 12, I was shocked at Moon Shik’s ability to smile at Young Shin and make jovial small talk, when he was the one who had allowed her to stay lost and therefore, by omission, was the one who had abandoned her.

2. In the same episode, Moon Shik uses Jung Hoo’s mom to lure Healer. I mean, that’s someone whom he knows, the wife of the friend that he ostensibly killed, and all he has to say about it is, “It’s too bad. I didn’t want to go this far.” His phrasing is especially telling; it absolves him of responsibility. He’s basically saying that Healer’s non-response is forcing his hand. Ugh.

3. We see in episode 15, in Moon Shik’s conversation with Moon Ho, that Moon Shik seems to honestly believe that he’s done nothing wrong, because Secretary Oh has done all the dirty work. Which is so delusional.

4. The fact that Moon Shik demands the best for Teacher’s funeral, when he’s the one who ordered him killed, is just sick.

5. I cannot believe how cold and calculated Moon Shik is, when in episode 16, he doesn’t even hesitate when his men ask if push comes to shove, where his priorities lie. He’d choose the tape over Jung Hoo’s life. And yet, he thinks he’s a good person. Just, how?

Intermittently, we see evidence of Moon Shik’s mental instability, in the form of his hallucinations of his dead friends. And while I do feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have control of his right mind, I absolutely don’t excuse any of Moon Shik’s lies and crimes. For the record, I do think Show let him off rather easily (more on that later).

[END SPOILER]

Special Shout-outs

Park Sang Myun as Young Shin’s Dad

Awwww. Dadddd. ❤

Young Shin’s Dad is one of my favorite secondary characters in this show. He’s literally one of the sweetest, most awesome dads I’ve seen in dramaland. He’s patient, supportive, caring, and loving, and manages to be protective while being an enabler. Plus, through it all, he’s completely present in his daughter’s life, while possessing a sense of humor.

Altogether, that about makes him a thousand times better than the average kdrama dad, right?

[SPOILER ALERT]

The thing that moved me most about Dad, is how he chose Young Shin at the orphanage, when she’d been a scrawny kid who wouldn’t eat nor play. I love that flashback of Dad coaxing a distrusting Young Shin out of her shell. It’s terribly sad, that Young Shin suffered so much as a child, but Dad is so kind and so awesome, in how he starts to build a connection with her. He didn’t force anything on Young Shin then, frightened and suspicious as she was; he simply waited for her, and then loved her.

Sweet Dad really is her savior, and I love him, So Much, for how well he’s loved Young Shin to wholeness. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Do Ji Won as Myung Hee

Even though Myung Hee is a relatively minor character who doesn’t get as much screen time as some of our other characters, Do Ji Won does such a good job in the role that I couldn’t help but feel impressed anyway.

I love the sweet energy that Do Ji Won gives Myung Hee, who comes across as infinitely graceful and warm in spite of her disability. I love that Myung Hee gets a growth arc of her own, and that we get to witness it.

[SPOILER ALERT]

First of all, I just have to give a shout-out to Do Ji Won’s delivery of Myung Hee’s seizures. Each of the fits felt completely real, and I found them utterly unnerving to watch; she was so good.

I was also very impressed with her delivery of Myung Hee’s growing troubled-ness over suspicions of what was really going on with her husband. It was all very convincingly played, and given that Myung Hee often broods alone, very impressively conveyed indeed.

One of my favorite Myung Hee moments is when Myung Hee takes it upon herself to find out the truth. Her inner reporter came gloriously to the surface as she planted bugs and kept tabs on her husband, and alerted Moon Ho to her findings. I like that in the process, she regains some personal agency, and demonstrates her steely inner core.

I also love the way Myung Hee leaves Moon Shik in episode 19. She’s got tears in her eyes, but she’s not having a seizure, and she’s not assigning blame. She just doesn’t trust him, and has better things to do with her life now than be his trophy wife. She’s going to find her own daughter, whether he likes it or not, and I want to give her a standing ovation, not only for what she does, but also, the matter-of-fact, steely manner in which she does it. So good.

[END SPOILER]

Oh Kwang Rok as Teacher

I have a big ol’ soft spot for Oh Kwang Rok, coz he so often plays sweet underdog types, like his Sweet Dad role in High School King. I love that here, as Teacher, he gets to show off a bit of badassery, while still lending the role his signature brand of sweet.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The thing that lingers most with me, with Teacher, is how he’s essentially very selfless, in spite of Jung Hoo’s accusations of abandonment.

It’s true that Ahjusshi left Jung Hoo in a terribly insensitive and abrupt manner, but it’s also true that Ahjusshi had literally put his own life on hold for years, to train Jung Hoo. That’s more than most of us would do, so I’m unwilling to judge him too harshly.

Plus, in spite of it all, Ahjusshi cares deeply about Jung Hoo. We see this in episode 13, when he jumps in to save Jung Hoo without hesitation. It only hints at what is to come, that Teacher dies to save Jung Hoo. When he felt the poison in his body, he didn’t even attempt to ask for help. He simply plowed on, and made the best he could out of the situation. You can almost hear him thinking, “Ah. I’ve been poisoned. I should make the best of my time and create a cover for Jung Hoo.” Tears. Teach showed tough love to Jung Hoo all the way, and sometimes, didn’t even seem to really care. But in this one moment, we see that Teach really does care. He cares enough to die for Jung Hoo. Oof.

On top of it all, Teacher’s last message to Jung Hoo is so kind. He even smiles for the camera as he tells Jung Hoo, “Give it up. Go live with the woman you love, raising two kids, a dog, two cats, a few goldfish. I should have.”

Augh. Just so, so kind. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Jang Sung Bum as Jong Soo

Heh. I couldn’t help a lightning-quick spotlight on Jong Soo. I found him funny, and I love that even though he was consistently at Moon Ho’s mercy, he was always, always loyal.

Healer OST – You

 

RELATIONSHIPS

There are so many relationships worth talking about in this show – which is evidence of some excellent writing – but it’s pretty much impossible to talk about them all. I’m gonna just zoom in on some of the more interesting relationships, with (quite a bit of) special attention on my favorite – the OTP. ❤

Jung Hoo and Young Shin

Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young share a fantastic, crackling chemistry as our OTP. Whether Jung Hoo and Young Shin are in a romantic space in their relationship or not, their interactions feel completely natural and organic. They are just so comfortable with each other. There is no stiffness between them whatsoever, and the result is an OTP that is amazingly easy to lose oneself in.

I lost my heart to this OTP completely, and I felt along with them, and held my breath with them, and flailed along with them, all the way to the very end. ❤

These two are among my all-time favorite OTPs, ever.

I.. realize that I have so much that I’d like to say about this OTP that I’m not even sure how to cover it all. So I’m gonna break this section up into 3 parts, to make it easier for me to keep things straight in my head, and also, to make it easier for you guys to navigate (if you prefer to skip ahead): 1. The road to romance, 2. Why this OTP works so well, for me, and 3. Squee-worthy moments.

1. The road to romance

One of the things that Show does so well, is tease out the development of the OTP relationship in a way that feels natural and organic, in spite of the slightly fantastical premise.

More often than I’d like, dramas tend to fast-track the development of the OTP relationship using several key incidents, along with a hearty helping of tropes and romantic shorthand, to get the OTP to go from strangers at their meet-cute, to a couple that’s madly in love with each other.

Not with this show, not with this writer, and not with this OTP – and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Along with a journey of several milestones, writer-nim takes care to tease out our OTP’s feelings and develop them in a believable fashion, while imbuing their connection with meaning. Love that.

Here, I’m just going to highlight some the key milestones in Jung Hoo’s evolving feelings towards Young Shin. Because Young Shin is written as a girl who’s sunny and who reaches out easily to connect with others, and also because Young Shin already has a strong interest in Healer when we first meet her, Jung Hoo is the harder sell, and where Show chooses to focus, at least at first.

[SPOILER ALERT]

(1) There’s curiosity

I love Jung Hoo’s responses to Young Shin, as his curiosity about her grows. It’s quite thrilling to see his bemusement evolve into a genuine curiosity about her, which then builds upon itself until he’s fascinated by her – and eventually can’t help but care about her.

While all this is going on, Young Shin continues to be her cheery, quirky, likable self, and I found myself falling for her, right along with Jung Hoo.

My favorite Curious Jung Hoo moment is in episode 3, when Jung Hoo hides under Young Shin’s bed while she talks to herself and then starts singing and dancing. I love the bemused incredulous faces that Jung Hoo flashes as he hides under the bed (priceless), particularly when Young Shin starts changing her clothes and kicks her pajama pants over his face. So funny!

(2) There’s growing care

Along with the curiosity arc, we see Jung Hoo starting to care about Young Shin, in spite of himself. I found this easy to believe, since all the time that he spends observing her is time we’ve spent observing her too. I found myself caring about her, right along with Jung Hoo. Which means that when Jung Hoo showed flashes of care towards Young Shin, I cheered.

Like in episode 5, when Jung Hoo asks Ahjumma whether the Double S guys would torture or hurt Young Shin. And in episode 8, when Young Shin falls asleep in the car, and Jung Hoo drives with her head in his hand.

These are small beats interspersed in the curiosity arc, and these small beats really add up. On their own, they’re already rather melty, but added up, they build up really nicely towards the bigger, more dramatic moments. I loved watching Jung Hoo’s flickers of care for Young Shin as he softened towards her, in spite of himself.

(3) Bouts of jealousy

Jealousy is a great catalyst when it’s used well, and I must say, it’s put to judicious, savvy use by writer-nim.

Just when Jung Hoo’s becoming more hyper-aware of Young Shin, there’s occasion for him to feel peevish – like in episode 10, when he overhears Young Shin’s giddy, enthusiastic phone call with Moon Ho. Jung Hoo’s displeasure is clear as day; he hates that Young Shin is this affected by Moon Ho. Even funnier, Jung Hoo gets to be jealous of himself too, since Young Shin’s other crush is on Healer – but sees him as nerdy Bong Soo.

I found Jealous Jung Hoo endlessly amusing. And while I loved the fun of watching him squirm, there was also that added thrill of what it all meant: growing feeeelings. Eee!

(4) The desire to be honest

The evolution of Jung Hoo’s feelings towards Young Shin culminates in that Moment in episode 11, when Jung Hoo tells Ahjumma that he wants to tell Young Shin about himself, to come clean.

Squee. Swoon. Flail.

Plus, I love the fact that Jung Hoo homes in on the fact that he feels safe with Young Shin. Augh, that’s the stuff of warm fuzzies. On top of it all, the look on his face, as he says this, is so full. There’s a lot of burgeoning emotion behind the expression: caution, yet wistfulness; hope, and a warming in his heart, and I love it. ❤

2. Why this couple works so well, for me

Beyond the swoon of cracky chemistry and growing feelings, there are deeper things about this OTP connection that move me.

There’s shared empathy

I appreciate that even though Show gives Jung Hoo and Young Shin a childhood past, that this doesn’t come off with a Fated First Love sort of vibe. Instead, the vibe it gives off is that of shared experience, matter-of-fact and poignant in one. Both Jung Hoo and Young Shin have painful childhoods, and bear the scars to go with, and neither of them actually talks about that past much at all.

Yet, this painful commonality is something that enables them to identify with each other, at a very fundamental level.

In episode 2, when Jung Hoo listens to (and films) Young Shin talking about her own past to help Suicidal Unni off the ledge of the building, he refuses to record the shared tears following after. Which makes me feel that Young Shin’s sharing about her painful childhood resonated with him on a pretty deep level.

In episode 5, Jung Hoo compares Young Shin with the leopard in the documentary who wouldn’t back down, even when it knew it had no chance of survival. It’s a point on which he can identify with Young Shin, since Jung Hoo shares that style and attitude, of not backing down just because the situation doesn’t appear favorable.

Because both Jung Hoo and Young Shin are survivors who have come through the fire with steely won’t-back-down attitudes in spite of their scars, I feel like they can truly understand each other in ways that others can’t.

He calms her and makes her feel safe

There’s just something about Jung Hoo that calms Young Shin, who suffers violence-triggered panic attacks as a result of her childhood trauma.

Young Shin may not know it yet (at the time), but she just seems drawn to Jung Hoo. Whether she’s half asleep, or hyperventilating in the office, or in the elevator – and whether Jung Hoo is Healer or Bong Soo – she’s automatically calmed each time she reaches for Jung Hoo’s hand. And oh man, the Look in Jung Hoo’s eyes each time, as she clings to his arm, is so full of heart.

I just love that she feels safe with him.

She makes him want to live and connect

I love that Young Shin makes Jung Hoo want to connect. When we first meet him, he’s determined to buy and move to his own island and leave the world behind. And yet, spending time with Young Shin makes Jung Hoo want differently. Eventually, we see him wanting to find a way to live in this world, with Young Shin, as the real him.

I believe a big part of it, is coming to terms with the fact that he can be loved, and that he can receive love. In episode 10, we see that Jung Hoo is hit hard, by knowing that Young Shin cares about him (as Healer).

Essentially, every time he looks like that in the show, is when she shows him that she cares for him and understands him. It kills me a little, that Jung Hoo hasn’t had any of that all his life, and that’s pretty much why it hits him this hard. There’s an unfamiliarity to it, which is part of his stunned vibe.

I love that Young Shin is the one who shows him that he’s precious, and that he is worthy to be loved. And I love that this basically helps him to see life in a whole new way.

Giving space

I’m coming to realize that a guy manhandling his female lead is one of my pet drama peeves. All too often, this manhandling is portrayed as romantic and desirable (like in recently-wrapped drama Beautiful Gong Shim, for example), and even though I used to swoon along with everyone else in my early drama-watching days, I find that it really bothers me now.

In a show like this, where Badass Healer really does manhandle Young Shin in the earlier episodes (like when he was on assignment getting her DNA sample, or rescuing her), I appreciate all the more, the care that is taken to show us that this isn’t how Jung Hoo relates with Young Shin romantically.

In episode 19, after Jung Hoo and Young Shin are reunited after the kidnapping arc, I love that Jung Hoo doesn’t impose his hug on her, but opens his arms, and she is the one who delves into them with so much need and relief.

Melt.

Connection, on every level

With this OTP, connection is a recurring (& very meaningful) theme.

Jung Hoo’s always been isolated from the world at large, and he’s never been one to make connections with others. But when Young Shin comes into his life, she’s the one who starts reaching out for him, on a regular basis. When he trails her as Healer and takes her bag, she chases him down. When he shows up at work as Park Bong Soo, she grabs his wrist on his first day, and walks with him like that. On the roof, she reaches for, and touches his chest.

Eventually, he reaches out too, like the time he’s instructed by Moon Ho via Ahjumma not to have any contact with Young Shin, and he willfully reaches out and touches her on the forehead, to make contact.

She reaches out to him first, and that’s how he learns to reach out too. I love that.

Healer OST – Eternal Love

 

3. Squee-worthy scenes

There are so many OTP scenes that I find memorable and special, that I simply could not pick just a few favorites. So here’re more than just a few of my favorites. 😉

Slo-mo dash

I love this slo-mo dash in episode 5, where Young Shin thinks she’s protecting Bong Soo by grabbing his hand and running out of the fray. That alone is super cute, but what makes me swoon into a puddle is the way Jung Hoo steals a satisfied, amused, affectionate smirk at Young Shin.

Squee!!

Phone conversation

I love this phone conversation between Young Shin and Jung Hoo in episode 6.

On the one hand, we see him being Badass Healer, leaping off a tall building without even betraying a change in his breathing pattern, while on the phone with Young Shin. Eee! So. Breathtaking. On the other hand, it’s sweet, coz the whole reason he’s leaping off the building, is so that he can see Young Shin’s face while she talks to him. I love how he gets as close to her as possible. ❤

Even more, I love the look on Jung Hoo’s face when Young Shin admits that she’s got a crush on a night courier, and the realization starts to hit. The stunned shock. The disbelief. The look in his eyes, and the softest hint of the sheen of tears, like he can’t believe someone feels anything for him. Oof.

I also love the opposite confessions, that she’s got a crush on Healer, and feels like Bong Soo is her sister. Jung Hoo’s face at both confessions is priceless. His stunned shock to realize she’s talking about having a crush on him (as Healer), followed quickly by a quick flash of amused pleasure on his face at her confession that she feels comfortable with him (as Bong Soo), then followed by completely incredulous bemusement at her estimation that it feels like they’re sisters. Ha!

Rooftop handhold

I love this scene in episode 7. The chest-touching and handholding is fleeting, but crackling intensity fills the moment. OMG the way he looks at her, it’s so intense. And the way he walks up close to her and leans in. Oof.

And the hands. It’s the first time their hands meet like this. She, reaching out to touch him, and he, reaching up to hold her hand briefly, on the necessary pretext of putting it away from him. Plus, the sexy lower registers of his voice, so alluringly sexy.

Flail.

The Look

The way Jung Hoo looks at Young Shin is one of my favorite things in this show, because it always feels like there’s so much emotion there.

Like this moment in episode 8, when a rather despondent Young Shin confesses why she’s upset & therefore preening for the camera:

Hello everyone. You are looking at a woman who has been rejected by her Crushes 1 and 2 simultaneously, who is here with clear mind to report all the same.” … “Number 1 called this woman a human shield, and Number 2 thinks of her as a delusional attention seeker. However, let us forget this readily. Like a sad dream conjured in the middle of the night, which goes like darkness at the light of dawn. Let us forget. Let us pretend it never happen-“

Throughout Young Shin’s rambling, Jung Hoo just looks at her, and the way he looks at her is intense. He’s mesmerized and yet the brave face that she puts on seems to touch him and twist him up inside, all at once. Augh.

The elevator shaft rescue + rooftop kiss

I love-love-love the combination of the elevator shaft rescue with the rooftop kiss in episode 8.

The way Healer rescues Young Shin is swift, daring and so badass. He moves so quickly and decisively, and his rescue is so confident and precise. Swoon. I love that Young Shin tearfully yells at Healer afterwards, for putting himself in danger over her, a mere paycheck. Aw, it shows that beyond the mortification, she really cares.

This is the turning point for Jung Hoo, coz at this point, his description of himself is all in the past tense:

“After becoming alone, up till now, I hadn’t wished for anything from another person. And so, I was fine.” … “I didn’t care at all whether anyone understood or misunderstood me. I was like that.”

…Which means that now with Young Shin, he does wish for something from her, he does care that she understands. And that’s probably why he kisses her. And it’s such a gentle, tender kiss, when she feels most vulnerable. Importantly, he takes off his gloves before he does; it’s not business, it’s personal. And then there’s the way he pauses and just looks at her, before tentatively, gently, moving in for the kiss. Swoon.

I love the after-kiss moments just as much. The way he looks at her is actually hotter than the kiss itself; he’s smoldering with so much unspoken emotion. And OMG it occurs to me that because of Healer’s loner tendencies all these years, that was probably his first kiss, ever.

To make a perfect scene even more perfect, I love that Healer’s legs give way under him, and his vital signs go into overdrive, post-kiss. So heart-tuggingly adorable. I was worried for a second, thinking that maybe he’d fractured his leg in the process of the rescue and was feeling it only now, but then I realized that this was his body reacting post-adrenaline, and it’s just really sweet to know that Young Shin affects him that much. Healer, who, as per Ahjumma’s description, wouldn’t fall even if someone threw him down, actually went soft in the legs and tripped, because of Young Shin. Aw.

The rooftop confession

I love how Jung Hoo leans in meaningfully, wanting to lay a kiss on Young Shin’s forehead. Though he doesn’t get to do it, that intent in his eyes and the slow way he leans in, is full of meaning and tension, and it definitely brings the feels. So swoony.

My heart completely melted at Jung Hoo’s confession, and his offer to stay by her side, living the way she wants him to; so earnest, serious and sincere. I really felt like this is Jung Hoo ready to give up his entire existence as Healer, to be Bong Soo by her side. Forever.

Wow. That’s a very big offer, and it blows me away that Jung Hoo wants to be with Young Shin this much. It’s almost like Superman offering to give up being Superman. The magnitude of his offer, made so unassumingly, simply takes my breath away.

Incognito date

OMG the date. It’s so swoon-worthy, though it borders a touch on creepy, having a date with someone whose face you can’t see. Suspension of disbelief is required, but I suspended it willingly for the sake of the OTP awesome.

Young Shin not turning around to look at him, but being so very aware of his presence, lifts the romantic tension quite a few notches. It makes me feel like she can feel him in the room, even though she can’t see him. And that moment when he reaches out to grab her hand: Eee!!! He doesn’t want her to go, isn’t ready for her to go. And reckless as it is, he reaches for her, touches her.

That tender touching of their hands, isn’t just a regular hand-hold. It’s the summation of their feelings for each other, spilling out and being expressed in that one single touch. Tenderness, wistfulness, the whole sentiment of I-want-more, and I-wish-I-could-give-more, coming together in such a burgeoning, full, shared moment, where their hands linger for as long as possible, and they each savor the moment, as much as possible.

Oof. So good. ❤

Her hand remembers

It’s so great that it’s the handhold that clues Young Shin to Bong Soo’s real identity. I love how she pieces the clues together in her mind. They say that muscle memory is a powerful thing, and I love that even when Young Shin’s brain doesn’t register that Bong Soo is Healer, her hand remembers him. Swoon.

The folded paper star is such a sweet touch too. In that one item, she knows that he was there with her when she was waiting for him, and that he came, and that he cared enough to save that star as a keepsake. And I love how she now realizes what Bong Soo had meant on the rooftop, about living the way she wanted, and staying next to her, if she’d let him. She knows that he was willing to give up being Healer, for her. Wow.

The realization’s aftermath

I love the conversation that Young Shin has with Jung Soo in episode 13, as a result of him choosing east instead of west.

First, I love that when he realizes that west would’ve been a hug, he immediately says that he wants to change his choice. Cuteness! Second, I love everything that is said, in all its sideways hidden forms. Young Shin, telling him that she’d holding back because she wants to hug him, and kiss him, and hold his hand. That must totally mess with his mind! And how he says that that person must have a reason, and Young Shin says she knows, and that she’s waiting. Such important messages from both of them to each other.

Third, I love how he tries to react and respond to her, but fails. How she leans her head momentarily on his shoulder, and how he tries to touch her hair but fails coz she moves away, and how their hands brush ever so lightly together as she starts to leave, and how he tries to reach for her in that same moment, but she’s moved away. So well played, the timing is so perfect, and that movement, so reminiscent of the back to back handholding we had at the theatre.

Lastly, I love how Jung Hoo suddenly seems to tower over her. He suddenly appears so large and tall and broad and manly, and I swoon.

Connecting in the cave

I just have to say it: I love everything about this scene in the cave, in episode 14.

First, Jung Hoo thinking that Young Shin is a dream, and pronouncing it “daebak” despite his weakened condition. Really cute. And then how she climbs into bed to hold him, when he says he’s cold; so sweet. What totally gets me is how he snuggles into her. He finds comfort in her embrace, and it shows, and I love it.

That whole scene, of Jung Hoo trying to get Young Shin to leave, and Young Shin refusing to, is so great. I love that she’s not afraid of him, even though he’s being cold and surly, and almost threatening. Plus, Jung Hoo post-Healer-reveal, has consistently looked really tall and broad, and so with the surly demeanor, he does actually look a little threatening. But Young Shin, completely unafraid of him, refusing to leave his side, just breaks through his defenses.

The way he crumples into her and starts to cry – oof – my heart broke for him, that he was in so much pain. But my heart also welled up for him, that he was able to release some of that pain in the arms of the one he loves.

And then there’s the way she wipes the tears from his eyes, and how she leans in to kiss him, and how his lips lock on hers to kiss her right back. OMG. So swoony, and so very tender. ❤

A sort-of tangent in defense of writer-nim

The issue of them sleeping together at this point, before he’s told her everything, before she knows his name even, was a sore point with quite a number of my dramaland friends. It felt like too much too soon for a lot of people, and I can understand that point of view.

At the same time, I do get where writer-nim is coming from, with this narrative choice.

Why sleep together now, at this point? Because, in Jung Hoo’s very raw state of pain, besides grieving Teacher’s death, he’s also grieving the loss of a connection. Jung Hoo has so few connections in the world. In shutting himself down and cutting himself off from the world, he disconnected with everything and everyone. And in this moment, Young Shin is connecting with him in the most profound way a human being can connect with another human being. Making love to him is the deepest, most complete way she can connect with him. Not with words, but going beyond words, to the heart and emotion and love that comes directly from her heart, that defy full expression in words.

Also, Jung Hoo’s been portrayed as socially awkward to some extent, because of how isolated he’s been for years, from the world at large. In his anger and hurt, he’s like an injured wildcat. Words can only do so much. She speaks to him in a language much more basic and fundamental, that reaches beyond his fears. It’s a primal, right-down-to-your-essence sort of connection, and Jung Hoo responds to it, sinks into it, clings to it.

We see him clinging to it in the way he keeps reaching for Young Shin the next day. He’s not “putting the moves on her.” He’s reaching for her, seeking to connect to her, in every possible moment, in any possible way, even if it’s just to drape himself over her as she prepares breakfast.

And Jung Hoo’s expression as he connects to her, is so multi-textured, and delivered so masterfully by Ji Chang Wook. I can feel Jung Hoo’s wonder, his need, his hunger, his comfort, and his pleasure as he cleaves to her. It’s just so, so beautiful, and fulfilling, and so gratifying to witness.

I love how he keeps reaching for her, like how he pulls her towards him even while she’s asleep. And when she wakes and thinks he’s not there, he’s right there just drinking in the sight of her, as much as his eyes can fill. In fact, in every moment that he reaches for her, touches her and kisses her, it feels like he’s just soaking her in, drinking of her presence. She’s like his life source right now, and he’s partaking of her presence like he’s parched. And so he should be, after being so isolated for so long.

To me, it all felt real and genuine; organic. This is the real him. Meeting the real her. And this is the new them. ❤

She jumps into spy-mode

I think it’s adorable and all kinds of cool that Young Shin actively participates in Healer operations, and that she and Jung Hoo are able to work together so well.

I love the little moment when she listens in on Jung Hoo’s conversation with Ahjumma about the operation at hand, and gets this goofy grin on her face as she swoons at her boyfriend’s coolness. And I love the way Jung Hoo gets all wrapped up over the word “boyfriend” – it’s adorable. His face has that mix of wonder, pleasure, awkwardness and unfamiliarity all meshed into one, and it’s melty goodness.

There’s another little moment in episode 17, when Jung Hoo and Young Shin are in the car and Young Shin’s all in spy-mode and tsk-ing at the car on their tail. I love that Jung Hoo looks over at her with a stifled expression that’s a mix of amusement, pride, and how-can-my-girl-be-this-cool? LOVE.

“Even if you don’t find it, come back”

In episode 16, when Young Shin is unable to accept Jung Hoo’s efforts to connect, he respects her space and leaves quietly, promising to find evidence to prove that his father didn’t kill hers. I love that Young Shin takes only moments – moments! – to fly after him, and I love her earnest request, “You have to find it and come back.” And even better, “Even if you don’t find it, come back.” YES.

I love how she promises that she will look for that evidence too. She doesn’t just put it all on Jung Hoo. I love how she repeats her request, that he come back even if he can’t find it, and how she tells him he’s a good person. I love that she’s the one who pulls him in for a hug, coz this is her, reaching right back. Eee!

The scene is just full of raw, burgeoning emotion, and it’s just so beautifully played, especially in how Jung Hoo strokes her face before leaving …And then, comes right back for a deeply tender kiss.

Guh. Flail. Puddle.

Dad and Ahjusshi reacting in shock at everything is just icing on the cake.

[END SPOILER]

Jung Hoo and Ahjumma

The relationship between Jung Hoo and Ahjumma is one of my favorite things in this show. I love how well they work together; he trusts her completely, and she’s always got his back.

More than anything, I love how well they know each other, and how deeply they care, even if it’s all gruff words and sarcastic barbs on the surface. Show demonstrates that intimate understanding in a myriad of small throwaway moments, which I love. [MINOR SPOILER] Like in episode 12, when Ahjumma starts talking to Jung Hoo about how reckless he’s being while waving a spatula around, and he immediately surmises, without even needing to be there, that she must be hungry coz she’s starting to nag. So cute! [END MINOR SPOILER]

[SPOILER ALERT]

Hands-down my favorite moment of this relationship, is when Jung Hoo and Ahjuma finally meet in person in episode 19. I love how he saves her, and I love how she gruffly apologizes about leaving his evidence behind. Better yet, I love how Jung Hoo doesn’t even seem to notice it, and just keeps looking at her, as if to check if she’s real.

He’s got this thrilled little boy vibe about him, and I feel like he’s loving the fact that he finally gets to meet his virtual mother who’s nagged him for years, and loved him and protected him, in her own gruff way. And it’s just like her to feel uncomfortable about him gazing at her in his amused, sorta adoring way. Hee.

It’s so perfect that his proposal to her isn’t based on money, but on fun. And I love that even though she always says that she only does stuff for money, that she buys in anyway.

These two. So awesome. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Jung Hoo and Teacher

Jung Hoo and Teacher don’t share a whole lot of screen time, but they go back such a long way, and their relationship runs so deep, that thinking about it still moves me.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Even though Teacher raised Jung Hoo with tough love that seemed unreasonably unsympathetic, Show demonstrates just how much these two mean to each other. I cried a river when Teacher willingly put his own life on the line to save Jung Hoo – and lost it. Jung Hoo’s violent, guttural grief at Teacher’s passing was completely heartbreaking as well.

I do love where we eventually leave these two, though. In episode 15, when Jung Hoo takes Teacher’s ashes home, it felt like a fitting and satisfying sort of closure. Since Jung Hoo hadn’t gotten to spend a lot of time with Teacher before, I find it oddly sweet that Teacher will now be spending a lot of time in Jung Hoo’s home.

I love the little detail, of Jung Hoo having Teacher’s ashes right in front of the screen when the broadcast of the exposé airs, and that Young Shin is there with him. It feels like Jung Hoo is finally at home, surrounded by the people who love him.

[END SPOILER]

Young Shin and Dad

This father-daughter relationship warmed my heart, so much. I just love that they’re the kind of father-daughter pair that sits around making kimchi together, and dance together like no one’s watching, and talk & share so openly with each other.

There are lots of lovely father-daughter moments peppered throughout the show, which gives us a warm flavor for their close relationship.

[MINOR SPOILER ALERT] 

One of my favorites is a little moment in episode 18, when Young Shin nicks one of Myung Hee’s cookies and takes it home to share with Dad. It’s so cute how they treat the cookie so preciously, and it’s really sweet how Dad savors the cookie as much as Young Shin does. He’s literally experiencing the moment with her, as she gets to know her mother just that little bit better.

Just, so much warm-fuzzy awesome. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Moon Ho and Myung Hee

I wanted to give this relationship a quick shout-out because there really is a sweet bond between Myung Hee and Moon Ho. They care about each other deeply, and it dates back to when Moon Ho was a little kid who needed to be told that it was ok to cry over spilt milk.

I do love that they have a bond that is separate from Myung Hee’s marriage with Moon Shik. I get the feeling that whether or not Myung Hee ever married Moon Shik, that she would’ve been Moon Ho’s noona, regardless, and there’s something very endearing about that.

Moon Ho and Jung Hoo

Oh, these two. They spend much of the series apart, but once they get properly into each others’ orbits, they seem to affect each other in fairly subtle yet important ways.

[SPOILER ALERT]

For a season, Jung Hoo bristles at Moon Ho’s efforts to be chummy and familiar with him; a dynamic that I found quite enjoyable. Moon Ho definitely rubs him the wrong way, for a variety of reasons, and I love that Jung Hoo either can’t hide it, or doesn’t bother to. To Moon Ho’s credit, Moon Ho does show Jung Hoo consistent gentleness, despite Jung Hoo’s brusqueness.

Over time, these two start to challenge each other with their different ways of thinking, which not only forces some relationship development, but also drives our story forward. I do really like that ultimately, they come together to work towards a common goal. That shared goal unites them in spite of their differences, which is a detail that I liked a lot.

[END SPOILER]

Moon Ho and Moon Shik

The deeply dysfunctional relationship between this pair of brothers is something that I was curious about right off the bat. Everything’s cordial on the surface but beneath the surface, there is a lot of bad blood, and they are on opposite sides.

The unveiling of what was really going on between them, hidden in the myriad of riddles in which they spoke, was something that intrigued me all series long.

Healer OST – Love And Pain

SHOW’S WEAKNESSES

Right. I did say that I would mention a couple of Show’s weaknesses, didn’t I?

Just for the record, here are a couple of them:

1. The fragmented nature of the backstory reveal can get confusing, especially since, including our leads, there are 9 characters whose younger selves show up at various times during flashbacks. When you’re in the early episodes, it’s often easy to get some of them mixed up, and therefore not really figure out what’s really going on.

To make it even harder, flashbacks are interspersed throughout the episodes, revealing only bits and pieces of information to us. With each flashback, our fragmented understanding of the past continues to build, but it’s really easy to lose track of the little details. Which means that it’s very possible to end up quite confused, if you haven’t been paying close attention.

2. Very occasionally, a character or plot point might not be treated in a way that I felt was organic.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Like in episode 10, when Jung Hoo wants to spend some alone-time with Young Shin, the way he gets the other car off their tail, and then Young Shin out of the car, is so not Bong Soo-like that I’d be totally confused if I were Jong Soo or Young Shin. That’s one time that I felt Healer’s cover as Bong Soo didn’t work so well.

For an operation so high-level and longstanding as the Elder’s, I’m surprised that they would engineer President Hwang’s death (episode 10) in a way that was so neat that it’d arouse the suspicion of the detectives. That doesn’t feel in character with the cold, efficient, hard-to-beat organization that we’d come to know.

[END SPOILER]

Yes, this is a very short list, heh.

THEMES & MOTIFS

Show’s actually pretty rich in terms of the themes and motifs that are woven into our story. Here’s a quick rundown of the main ones.

  • The influence that our environment has on us, shown in both Young Shin and Jung Hoo.
  • The cornered leopard who wouldn’t back down; being brave even when you’re scared. Facing your fears head-on and not running away.
  • Motif of the animal kingdom.
  • Motif of hands. It’s the most basic way that Jung Hoo and Young Shin connect. From the time they were children, to the present, when they don’t even know they have a shared past. She holds his arm for comfort. And on the roof, he holds her hand. Then when he rescues her, he takes off his gloves before kissing her. And the whole hand-gasm date.
  • Of needing people. Others’ care, attention and understanding. Even a rooftop-leaping superhero needs people.
  • Of family, whether biological family or gained family. Jung Hoo is like Ahjumma’s new son. Dad is both Young Shin’s father and mother. Teacher is like Jung Hoo’s dad.
  • Coldness = isolation. That’s why Jung Hoo always feels cold, because he’s isolated.
  • Healer’s cave, a metaphor for how he’s cut himself off from the world, and Young Shin picking her way in, is exactly how she finds her way to his heart.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING

All in all, I thought that Healer ended on a satisfying note. Yes, there were some things that I wished for, but by and large, the finale left me feeling content, with a big smile on my face, and that’s what’s important.

I love that it was Team Healer that took down the baddies, and I love – like, really love! – that we get to see them working together. Jung Hoo being a double agent was also satisfying to watch. The twist of Jung Hoo’s fake death was admittedly rather stressful to watch, but thankfully Show didn’t keep us in suspense for too long.

I freaking loved the twin looks of shock on Ahjusshi’s and Dad’s faces as they watched “timid Bong Soo” basically kick ass like a pro. The immediate respect on Ahjusshi’s face is priceless. The call-back to Jung Hoo coming back for a kiss is bonus, and really cute. It’s too bad we didn’t actually get to see any, since he decided against it, but more shocked looks from Ahjusshi and Dad would’ve been great. 😉

I really enjoyed the beat of Dae Yong (Tae Mi) kicking ass to save Moon Ho and the fabricated incriminating evidence. *fist pump* I love that small-framed Dae Yong basically drags the guy by his collar like he’s a hapless cat that’s been caught by the scruff of his neck.

One of the finale highlights, for me, is the look on Myung Hee’s face as she faces Young Shin, after Moon Ho presumably tells her that Young Shin is Ji An. Everything about Myung Hee in that moment, is so well-deliverd. Her expression is so full, that we pretty much just know, even though no one has said anything, that she knows. Do Ji Won is fantastic, seriously.

As a bonus, the small beat where Moon Ho crouches over Jung Hoo’s body and keeps calling his name, and Jung Hoo opens his eyes to look around, causing Moon Ho to cover Jung Hoo’s eyes while he desperately keeps on acting, is so funny! I nearly bust a gut, I was so tickled – and relieved.

While I would’ve liked to have seen Moon Ho actually talking to Min Jae and probably apologizing properly to her, I did like the unspoken reconciliation that we did get to see. In a way, it feels like these two go back such a long way, that they didn’t need words to make their peace with each other.

THINGS I WISH WE COULD’VE SEEN

1. Moon Ho actually telling Myung Hee about Young Shin being her daughter. That was something I’d been looking forward to all series long, so for that to have been done off-screen (if at all, since Young Shin’s voiceover implied that maybe Myung Hee didn’t know), made me feel a little cheated.

2. More of Myung Hee’s post-revelation interaction with Young Shin. I mean, it’s great to see Dad showing her Young Shin’s photos, and to see Mom being so grateful to him for how he’s loved and brought up Young Shin. But I wanted more mother-daughter screentime.

3. More of what happened to Team Healer and Ahjumma post-mission. Does Ahjumma join Some Day? I hope she did!

4. Moon Shik actually facing formal punishment from the long arm of the law. Yes, we see that his mental health is in question, with the scene of him drunkenly thinking that he’s Gil Han, but I would’ve liked justice to have been served in a formal way.

5. More of Moon Ho actually talking to Min Jae. Not just showing up with coffee and getting to put his arm around her.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Ultimately, the thing I loved most about the finale, is that in the end, we get to see that Jung Hoo and Young Shin are still on adventures together, and Jung Hoo’s using all his spy know-how, to partner Young Shin in unveiling the truth.

That they are both following in the steps of their parents in their pursuit of truth, no longer driven by the ghost of lost memories, but because it’s genuinely something that they believe in and a passion that makes their hearts race, is very, very cool. That Jung Hoo becomes a photographer just like his dad, is just icing on the cake.

Sure, there are still bad guys out there that didn’t get taken down this time, but we have the assurance that Jung Hoo and Young Shin will keep on relentlessly pursuing the truth, and that they will bring those bad guys to justice, one exposé at a time.

Plus, in my imagination, there’s totally the option of having Jung Hoo occasionally step out as superhero Healer. Simply coz Healer’s just too cool to be retired, y’know? ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Cracktastic. Fantastic. And so full of feels.

FINAL GRADE: A+

TEASERS:

EXTENDED TRAILER:

If you haven’t seen the show and aren’t afraid of minor spoilers, this is a fantastic extended trailer that will give you taste of not only the show’s brand of cool, but also a flavor for our main characters as well.

MVs:

#FINDMYTRIBE!

Can’t get enough of Healer? You might be interested to check out my Healer shirt!

Forget the Cape

Inspired by how effortlessly cool Ji Chang Wook looks in the drama poster, and to celebrate the superhero cool of Healer.

Click on the image below to shop this shirt! And, please help to spread the word to other Healer fans too! Thankies ❤

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

112 thoughts on “Review: Healer

  1. Woohoo!! So excited to see Healer up!
    Thank you, Fangirl

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Ahhhh, this is bringing back all the Healer feels! I love that show so much! (It’s funny, I started the first episode right after watching City Hunter and thought, “This is boring and that guy isn’t even cute.” HAHAHA famous last words – when I tried it again a month or so later I was hooked.) Much as I love Lee Min Ho I think Healer wins over City Hunter for me because the romance isn’t just dropped for the last few episodes in favor of more Main Plot – they weave it all together better and we still get plenty of swoony moments right up to the end.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, glad this brought back the feels for ya, Emma! Working on this review totally brought back the feels for me too. And I absolutely prefer this one over City Hunter. I loved City Hunter when I watched it, but you hit the nail on the head – City Hunter dropped the loveline pretty much when it mattered most, whereas Healer managed to tie everything together for an ending that was largely satisfying on most counts. Plus, the OTP chemistry here just works, for me. Love this OTP, so much. ❤

      Like

  11. Dear Kfangurl,
    Wow, that’s the most heartfelt review I’ve ever read on Healer! It’s so full of all the emotions had during this (most wonderful) show, I was really touched. It felt like re experiencing the whole show in a way, and I felt really connected as I read. This review is really amazing. I’m feeling all warm, fuzzy and giddy right now^^ I absolutely loved Healer and reading this feels like the icing on the cake.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you for enjoying the review, titesilve! 😀 Healer totally brings on the feels for me, every time. The feels were strong for me, both times I watched it, and also, while I worked on this review. There’s just something about this show that just gets me right in the heart. I’m so glad this review helped you relive some of the Healer awesome! ❤

      Like

  12. That was a long but really engaging and well-written review! You definitely showed how much you love this show haha. I haven’t exactly been a fan of Ji Chang Wook so hmmm. But Healer seems to be well-loved by many, including you, so I wouldn’t mind giving this drama a try. 🙂

    Like

    • Hee, I guess when you write 15,000 words on something, the love that drives it kinda shows through, eh? 😄 I’ve checked out a couple of Ji Chang Wook’s other projects since I first watched Healer, and I must say, I love him most in this one. I do hope you’ll give this show a chance, I feel like there’s so much to love in it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post! Seriously, there is so much ‘stuff’!! It must have taken you ages to get all that together.

    I’m probably one of two people who didn’t get the Healer Feaver. It just didn’t resonate with me so I dropped it around midpoint when things that had felt iffy to begin with started to annoy me even more. I was actually much more interested in the past storyline than what happened in the ‘here and now’.

    Reading your post I realised there was preciously little I actually remembered of the parts of Healer I did watch. Things that I do remember are liking Park Min Young a lot in this role, Young Shin’s warm and lovely realtionship with her dad and Awesome Hacker Ahjumma. That’s about it. The romance didn’t do much for me, alas. 🙂

    Like

    • Lol. YES. This review took me ages and ages. As in, I worked on it in spurts. After my first watch, I was too overcome with a combination of Healer feels and Real Life demands, and had to shelve the review. I then went back to it briefly after a second watch many months later, but only got about a third of the way with the writing. This week, a sudden urge to finish the review hit, and I wrote furiously for about 4-5 days to finish this. 😛 It’s an insane amount of time and effort to write a monster review like this, but I love this show so much that it all feels worthwhile ❤

      ..Which brings me to your other point – I'm bummed that you didn't like this one. :/ I know it's a little on the "manufactured" side in that it's quite fantastical and therefore far from say, realistic, but I genuinely enjoyed the characters and their relationships. It’s too bad this one just didn’t sit well with you. Park Min Young IS lovely in this; it felt revelational watching here as Young Shin, since this was the first time I’d seen her being this good. I love that she found an acting breakthrough. 😀

      Like

      • I went back to my posts on Healer and lo and behold, evidently I DID watch all of it! o_O Seems my feelings were lukewarm to begin with and I got more and more disinterested and disappointed as the episodes went by. Yup, wasn’t impressed at all as I seem to have thought it was too predictable and cookie cutter. I also found the excessive adoration of diehard fans (and their penchant of trying to force feed it to everyone) off-putting which probably didn’t help any.

        Not the first time I didn’t get the hype and not the last time either, I’m sure. I’ve noticed that the dramas that are super popular hardly ever appeal to me. Just not my cup of tea.

        Like

        • Lol! If you watched it all but didn’t remember that you did, this show definitely was on the underwhelming side for you! 😄 Aw, I hate when fan wars affect the watch experience.. I actually consciously stay away from most comment threads because from the little that I’ve seen, it can get rather unpleasant and borderline nasty, with people arguing over what they like or don’t like.

          I don’t always jive with highly hyped dramas (I was only very mildly on the DotS train, and mostly for SJK & the second lead couple), but this is one that definitely hit all the right notes for me. Maybe coz I’m a sucker for a well-delivered romance? I know I fell for this OTP, on top of being charmed by JCW as Healer. ❤ And I know romance often isn't your thing, except for the very rare occasion. ^^

          Like

  14. Kfangirl! Sabina here 😀 I would’ve posted from my usual account but I don’t have it registered on this laptop and I forgot the password for WordPress but I assure you it is still me (my younger sis in the pic with me) :)))))

    Soooo, right down to business! This review simply rocks! All my Healer feelz returned in a rush, wave, or actually a freakin’ tsunami :)))) I think I might just watch it again…

    I just loved that you took your time and mentioned everyone that had an active part in the plot, though I wished you would’ve also mentioned the gang of friendly thugs Young Shin had around her (not only her Ahjusshi), Jung Hoo’s reaction to seeing them swarm around the cafe and the dumbfounded face he put on when he saw Young Shin jump right into their open arms :)))))

    I have to admit I cried a bit when the review was over and I’ll pick up the show again just to cry like a freakin’ dam broke behind my eyes, like I did the last time I watched it (which was the fourth or the fifth in a couple of weeks, but who’s counting, right? :))) )

    Excellently written, wonderfully ballanced and made all them feels come back (of course I’m talking about the review 😉 ) You actually put into words everything (or close to everything anyway) I was feeling! You have a special way with words and as I’ve probably mentioned before, I really just choose my dramas based on your reviews and recommendations.

    I missed reading your reviews and I miss a good trip to DramaLand but I can’t seem to find the time (dammit!) for it. I am still trying to finish Princess’ Man, if you can believe it!! I think I’ll finally be able to finish it when I take my New Years vacation (hopefully not that long though) :))))) It is partly because of my busy schedule (work, gym, piano and singing lessons and spending time with the family) but lately I’ve been into reading and I’ve been pretty much eating them books :))))

    I am rambling…again @.@ :))))) Loved the review, adored, LOVED the show and thank you for posting this!

    Kisses and hugs! :*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sabina!! 😀 SO GREAT to see you around here again – I’ve missed ya! ❤ You and your sister look beautiful. Love that red on you! (Red is one of my favorite colors!)

      I'm so, so pleased that you enjoyed this review like you did, and that it brought back all the Healer feels for you ❤ ❤ This show really is quite special, isn't it? There's just something about that just brings on the feels. All the feels came rushing back for me too, as I worked on this review. I feel like I'm in need of a proper rewatch myself, even though writing this felt like a rewatch in itself! 😉

      YES, you're right, I SHOULD have given a quick spotlight to Young Shin and her skilled ahjusshis! I loved that beat, of Jung Hoo getting all nervous about their presence, and how she just skipped right up to them with a big ol' smile. Aw. I love how loyal the bunch of them are, to Young Shin's dad, and how it's Dad's grace towards them that inspires that loyalty. So much goodness. ❤

      Bummer that you haven't had much time for dramas lately, but it sounds like you've got a lot of good stuff going on! I play the keyboard myself, and I love to sing, so I do know what a joy singing lessons can be. I hope you'll be able to enjoy dramaland again soon – you know I'm always ready to point you in the direction of potential dramas! 😉 Hope to see you again soon! SMOOCHES. ❤

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      • I already have my eyes set on Just You and Page Turner because your reviews were very positive about them both 😉 (Page Turner would definitely be the first one because piano :))) )

        I do have a lot on my plate lately but I love everything so much I don’t give myself time to surrender to the tiredness I’m feeling 😛 My singing teacher told me that if I work hard and have my heart set on singing I could become an opera singer. Heh! But I’m already used to being an engineer :))))

        I mentioned the Ahjusshis because I replayed that scene a couple of times, that’s how much I loved it ❤ :)))

        It is one of the loveliest, most "monstrous" reviews you posted ❤ You mentioned at some point that this will be a monster review, but only when I read it I saw what you meant 😀 I read it twice actually, just to remember every little thing you mentioned here that I had forgotten since my last watch (not many were forgotten, believe me :))) )

        Thank you so much for your compliments ❤ My sister is my sun and I love the heck out of her, so to speak :)))) Really love red too ❤ Since I can't really wear red all the time, my fingernails and my toenails are 90% of the time painted with red nail polish (would attach picture to show you, but I can't :))) )

        Thanks so much for the reply! Good to know you still remember me :)))) I've been away for so long 😛 and I'm afraid it'll take a while before I'm completely back 😛

        Hope to see you/hear from you again too! ❤

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        • Awww.. of COURSE I remember you, Sabina!! We’ve had so many fun conversations here on the blog, how could I forget?? 😄

          I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review this much, my dear.. It truly is THE most monstrous review on the blog to date, thanks to the overwhelming package of feels that this show adds up to. I just had to find a way to somewhat put those feels into words, even though I couldn’t cover everything. 😁

          I love that you’re enjoying singing lessons, and YAY that your singing teacher sees such strong potential in you! Maybe you could be the first engineer-opera-singer? Or do a Bong-Soo-Healer thing; engineer by day, opera singer by night? 😄 You go, girl!! And, I love that you wear red nail polish so much!! I hardly bother with my nails anymore, but I absolutely get how a pop of red just makes everything better 😉

          I’m confident that you’ll enjoy Page Turner, and can’t wait to hear how you like it! Just You is more the mindless fluff type of watch, so you might need to wait for the right mood for that one. It’s great to unwind to, though.. When you’re tired after a long day and your brain’s too wiped to tackle convoluted plot points, Just You is just the right kind of nonsensical romantic fluff to soothe the frazzle 😉

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          • Ok, so as I left you a comment on Witch’s Romance (loved it ❤ ) I saw that I also had a new comment from you here 😛

            Just You seems like the next drama for me 😀 As I mentioned in the other comment, apparently my brain requires fluff, unicorns, flowers, hearts and rainbows :)))) I am in no mood for heavy plots and lots of drama 😛

            Ya know, having a "double identity" so to speak, didn't cross my mind until now :))))) Who knows? Maybe I could make it work :)))))

            Oh, I absolutely loved your review ❤ ❤ ❤ And I rewatched my favourite scenes from Healer thanks to it ❤

            Keep up the awesome work ❤

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            • Lol, I just replied to your other comment on the WR review, Sabina! 😀 And yes, I did mention Just You as a possibility, along with a couple of other kdramas.

              Yay that you enjoyed the review, and that it helped you soak up more Healer feels. In my opinion, there can never be enough Healer feels, hee! 😍😍😍

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  15. Yay!!! Thank you so much!!! I’m not done reading yet though. But I can’t wait to say “thank you” to you for this review!!!

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  16. Chaebol!!! Omo… omo, omo, omo!!!!!!!! I watched Healer because of your suggestion, and boy oh boy am I glad that I did!! You write amazingly! I’m serious, I wish that I could accomplish reviews like you do! This review is a monster hehe, I knew that it would be just to encompass your love for this show! Honestly, I don’t think a smaller review could have done it justice or properly expressed the FEELS that this show gave us. Yes and yes and yes to everything in this review!!!!!! I loved this show to bits and pieces. The chemistry between the OTP and well the entire cast was phenomenal. The writing was brilliant and gave little sneak peeks into the story, revealing truths bit by bit. The puzzle pieces of story fit together snugly and left very few holes. The characters!!! They were deep and well defined which just added a whole other level of wonderfulness to the entire drama. Thank you so much for writing this! It says everything that is in my heart about this drama and says it so much better than I would ever be able to!

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    • Jaime! It’s so great to see you around here again! 😀 I’m just so pleased that life is settling well for you, and that you’re so much more able to be around these days 🙂

      I’m SO pleased that you loved Healer like I did, and I’m so happy that you enjoyed this review! 😀 You’re right, it couldn’t have been anything BUT a monster review, given how many feels this show inspires. I got a good flood of the feels just working on this review, and now I sort of feel like a rewatch is due. Which would be my 3rd watch, if I do! But, I’m trying to reason with myself that I need to give other dramas a chance to charm me too. And that I should let some of these details fade from my brain a little, before Watch #3. 😛

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      • Thank you Chaebol!!! It is so amazing to be back and productive again! And back in the blogging swing too! I really-really-really did love this review! I honestly couldn’t have done it half as well and you clearly hit on all the things I loved about this drama! I got a flood of feels just reading this! I’m trying to convince the hubs to watch this with me… I think I’m almost there!

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        • Ooh! I hope your hubs will watch this one with you! I do think Healer is the kind of show that would appeal to both women and men, generally speaking, and I feel like you guys would have a blast watching it together! Fingers crossed that he says yes soon! 😄

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  17. Ahhh the feeeeeeels! I’m glad you *finally* found closure (or something resembling it!) Just took about a year and a half ;D

    But joking aside, this was a great review and any reader can tell just how much you loved Healer. Great read and really brought back great memories of fangirling and crazy levels of drama addiction! 😀

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    • Awww, thanks for the encouraging words, Vy! 😀 It means a lot coming from a serious Healer fan like yourself! I still remember your epic review fondly, twas such a treat to read. I did take a really long time with this one, didn’t I?! I’ve been procrastinating because this felt like such a mammoth task, to do this show any measure of justice, but thankfully readers have been prodding me every now and again with gentle reminders like, “I’m still waiting for your Healer review, just so you know” – heh! That totally worked, since I felt like I couldn’t let everyone down! 😄

      And y’know, you were right. Writing this didn’t actually help me gain real closure with Healer.. I now actually feel like watching it again, lol! Thanks for reliving the feels with me.. this really is a special show with special characters, one of my favorites of all time. ❤

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  18. kfangurl you’ve really outdone yourself! This is one of the best, most comprehensive and most engaging reviews on Healer that I’ve come across. Loved everything you said and the style in which you said it. Thank you so much. Your writing is a gift, thank you for sharing it with us!

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    • Aw, thank you, GB! 😀 I’m so glad that you enjoyed this review; thanks for reliving the feels with me! And thanks too, for the encouragement with the writing. It’s always lovely to know that the posts are being enjoyed, and your comment is duly going into the ol’ mental treasure box. ❤

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  19. You did it again girl! An epic review for an epic drama!

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    • This is, I think, the longest, most epic review on the site to date 😛 Like you said, only the epic dramas are worthy of the epic treatment, and this one was definitely worth it ❤ Glad you enjoyed the review, kaiaraia! 🙂

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      • Yes I think it’s even longer than your review for Chuno. :p I’ve been a lurker on this blog for quite a while now, and this is my first time to comment because Healer!

        You really took your time on this review. At first I understood because there really are so much feels for this show and you’d want to them justice. Then months rolled in and I was beginning to worry that you’d forget all the feels and might go “meh on hindsight maybe I was just on an emotional high it’s not really that good.” Then some more months passed, and *I* was beginning to think that maybe *I* was just on an emotional high. But now finally, here’s your review, and yes! [I’m tempted to add “a thousand times yes” but that will ruin my manly image ;)]

        Healer clinched my respect for Korean Dramas, and my respect grew into wonder and amazement. All the talent and effort pooled in and poured out to tell a story – it’s magical; like the stories that they make; like Healer. Thank you for putting the effort to really capture the magic. Now I have the words to convince my girlfriend to watch it with me. 😛

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        • Hi there, Eyre! Thanks for delurking for Healer! It’s great to meet you, and I’m sorry I kept you guys waiting for so long, for this review! You’re right, this one ignited so many feels that it felt like a daunting mammoth task to try to do this show justice. 😛 Plus, Real Life responsibilities, and a desire to also keep up with reviewing the more recent shows added to my procrastination on this. I’m so glad I finally came back to complete this review, coz writing this has brought back all the Healer feels for me, and I’m happy to see, for you guys too. ❤ I'm so pleased that you found this worth the wait, and I really hope your girlfriend will join you for a watch of this – or several. 😉

          PS: You're so right, this IS longer than my Chuno review! If memory serves, Chuno was about 13,000 words, and this one, 15,000. My friend joked that I should just write a book. HA!

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  20. Ohheemmmggeee! I love love this show! I didn’t even read through the review (mianhae) , staring at the pictures is enough for my Healer feels to go berserk! hahaha!

    I only get to watch this drama this year because where was I in 2014 when this was airing? I don’t know. But I’m glad I did and I appreciate it more now that the hype was over. Thanks for this kfangurl!

    Now going to save those beautiful screenshots because it’s too beautiful not to. 🙂

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    • OMG Xia.. does that mean that in future I shouldn’t even bother with the writing and just put up screen shots? 😄 Lol. Glad you’re enjoying the screenshots nonetheless, and that they’re re-igniting those Healer feels. Hope that you recover your composure enough to come back to read the review sometime! 😉

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      • Lol! That sounds plausible kfangirl. 😀

        No worries I will definitely read the review when real life gets a lil breezy, it’s just crazy busy nowadays . That’s what fangrils are for! 🙂 Will give my two cents as well when my system’s up and running again.

        Keep it up!!

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        • Aw, I hope Real Life eases up for you soon.. Crazy busy just isn’t a sustainable state of affairs, in my opinion. 😉 Hope you get more breathing room – and drama time! – sooner rather than later. And, I’d love to hear your two cents, whenever that might be. Hugs!

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  21. Is this your longer review so far? So thoughtful and so detailed.

    Me after reading each sentence: yas. yas. YAS! I felt what you felt. You felt what I felt. I knew this review would be A++

    As for Moon Ho, I believe the dark ambiguity was meant to be and I also feel he got the short end of the stick when it comes to character development, but in the meantime, it worked because of the character itself. I mean the mysterious side of him was not wasted and never felt unecessary.

    However, it might also be because the writer didn’t know at first if there would be a love triangle between Moon Ho, Jung Hoo and Young Shin… And I’m so glad she decided not to. A love triangle would have made Drama lose its originality. Every time I want to describe “Healer”, I say it’s the mix between the comedy action genre you can see in western tv shows and the melo sweetness you can see in K-dramas. Like you pointed out in your detailed review. None of the characters rely only on the usual stereotypes. More like each character goes beyond its cliché background. Like Jung Hoo cares for Young Shin and he always treats her with respect and doesn’t invade her personal space for no reason. So the fact that he knows about her violent past kind of “helps” him to figure out how to behave in the way for her to feel safe. In the meantime, even without her tragic background, I want to believe Jung Hoo would have still behaved in this respectful manner in their relationship… Young Shin was such a cool character because, again like you said, she gets brave, she gets scared and even when she gets scared, she doesn’t back down, but she doesn’t back down in a “i’mma kick ur ass one way or another” way and not in a stupid move that would put other people in danger.

    Speaking of their relationship, I had no idea people didn’t like the fact they slept together. But then again, could it be that the rejection comes partly because it happened in a non K-Drama way? K-Dramas characters usually don’t sleep together. And when they do, they’re not filmed in bed and certainly not being playful like this. I mean, sex in K-dramas is… still a bit taboo? It’s mostly used as comic relief or as something no one should talk about. It’s all about kisses. Which I find very refreshing compared to US shows where characters seem obsessed with sex and don’t take time to show affection through gentle touches. “Healer”, like you said, really goes through each stage of a healthy relationship… as healthy as it can be when one of the two parties hides his identity. * cough * But speaking of technicality: when they sleep together, she knows he’s Healer, although he didn’t say it himself, right? And am I the only one who wondered if he was a virgin? I mean, Show went very far to convince us that Jung Hoo only interacts with people for work-related reasons, so when would he have… Never mind, it’s not important.

    My Healer feels… We should have a live tweet marathon or something during Xmas. Twitter would be filled with Healer love; ♥♥ Thanks for this awesome review.

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    • let me add that i think Ji Chang Wook and Hu Ge would be great partners on a screen. They could portray brothers or enemies. It could be a modern drama or sageuk. I just feel they have this similar intensity in their acting that would work well.

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    • Awww! Thanks dear Sunny, I’m really pleased that you enjoyed this review, enough to give it an A++! 😄 And you’re right, this IS my longest review to date. Which seems fitting, since this show stirred up so many feels in my flailing fangirl heart that I didn’t think a single post would be able to contain it all. 😛 I’m also pretty thrilled that we feel so similarly about the show! Yes to everything you said – this does have that melo sweetness, without actually becoming melo. I love how action is blended with the romance, without sacrificing either one, all the way through to the end. That consistency and narrative integrity is so rare in dramaland that I find it quite remarkable that Healer managed to pull it off, without being pre-produced, AND while receiving low ratings in Korea. I’m SO THANKFUL, I tell ya!

      OMG I’m so glad that there was no hint of a love triangle with Moon Ho! I mean, he’s her uncle after all? That would have made it too weird and altogether quite creepy, for me. I mean, he’s not her biological uncle, so it’s technically not impossible for writer-nim to have taken that route. But I’m still so glad we didn’t go there. 😛

      Yes, a good number of my dramaland friends were upset with the fact that Jung Hoo and Young Shin slept together at the point that they did. A lot of them were gathering over a series of joint posts that DDee hosted on her blog, and most of them felt that it was just too much too soon. Not quite in the “that’s not kdrama” sense of things, but because she didn’t even know his name, at the time. And he hadn’t given her any kind of explanation for his undercover deception yet, either. With those things still unresolved between them, the general sentiment among those friends of mine, is that the two of them should have waited; that they should have resolved those things first, and then moved forward in their relationship. Which I feel is a valid point of view, when look at it from that perspective. It’s just that I could also see where writer-nim was coming from, and it made narrative sense to me, so it wasn’t an issue for me. 🙂

      Also, I do think you’re right. I mean, because of the same thought – that Healer’s been too much of a loner before Young Shin – I surmised that their kiss on the rooftop was his first kiss, ever. Which means that everything with Young Shin – including the consummation of the relationship – was likely a first for him. That just adds a whole other level of meaning to everything, doesn’t it?

      Y’know, with Ji Chang Wook venturing into China, your wish for him to share the screen with Hu Ge might just come true one of these days! If that happens, I’ll definitely be tuning in to check out the awesome. Hu Ge is AMAZING in NIF, and JCW’s AMAZING in Healer.. it can only get better from here on out, right? 😀

      PS: Healer love on twitter can be any time, my dear.. No reason we should limit to Christmas only, right? 😉

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      • Tbqh I feel the drama was badly promoted. I mean, Ji Chang Wook was still relatively not mainstream yet for people to tune in to watch him as the lead man. In the meantime, Yoo Ji Tae’s name was barely used for promo… Like when I see how he was used for mediaplay for The Good Wife, despite him being a “second” lead and Jeon Do Yeon getting so much attention for being the lead… KBS just dropped the ball and treated “Healer” as a drama they didn’t know how to sell to the audience. That’s how I felt.

        Ah, I understand now why some fans didn’t feel Jung Hoo and Young Shin shouldn’t have been intimate this early. Your explanation the second time around made it perfectly clear 🙂 Thank you! And I understand this point of view too, but just like you, I don’t mind the writer’s choice. Given the circumstances, the moment was built for them to be in the need for human contact and to just take a break from the world, from their lives. I mean, I didn’t feel their connection in this particular moment was about “the relationship as a potential couple”. To me, it was about the need to slow down the urgency they felt in every other aspect of their lives… And with this OTP, some of their silent convos or convos through touches spoke volumes. NOW with that said, I do get the preference for an open discussion, maybe even an apology.

        Back to the low ratings, I’d like to add that I feelt that it wasn’t just about the lack of interest from the channel. Even while the drama was airing, it didn’t grab the attention of drama journalists until they realized how hot the reactions were from the small yet loyal fandom. And toward the end of the drama, Ji Chang Wook’s popularity in China was starting to grow faster, so journalists started paying attention. But 2015 wasn’t really a good year for ratings overall. I was checking a yearly recap… The majority of dramas that aired in the first semester struggled to pass 10%. With that said, a part of me thinks it’s a good thing “Healer” wasn’t an instant hit, though. Jung Hoo’s character is very rare to come across in dramaland and Ji Chang Wook got the opportunity to portray a character to show his acting range early in his career. Regardless of what he will play from now on, he has Jung Hoo to prove “yes, I can be cute” or “yes, I can be badass”, “yes I can do action scenes”, “yes I can do intimate scenes”… He won’t be stuck like Kim Woo Bin or Lee Soo Hyuk were early in their career. With their latest projects, they’re both working really hard to break away from the stereotypes and prejudices against them (Kim Woo Bin = rebel, can’t be cute ; Lee Soo Hyuk = cool, charismatic, tortured soul, can’t be cute)

        How do you pronounce Hu Ge? I’m so hoping to see them on the same screen one day. Christmas is one of the rare times when people get free time and can be online at the same time despite living in different geographical area ^^ i want to spazz live with people. haha. Last time I was so excited about a drama was for “Bridal Mask”, I think. So a decade by k-drama standards xD

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        • Wow, that’s a great insight, Sunny! You’re much more in tune with the promotion and interview circuit than I am, and you’re very right – if the show wasn’t promoted right, I can see how that would’ve had an effect on ratings. There are many things I dislike about the live shoot system, and one of the things, is how the ratings can interfere with story integrity. I’m relieved that Healer’s low ratings didn’t cause the network to cut the series short, or amp up certain arcs to try to drum up ratings. I’m also relieved that Healer didn’t get high enough ratings to make the network executives want to milk the show for all it was worth, with things like extensions, excessive PPL or amping up of certain arcs to push the ratings limits. I’m just glad we got Healer in its entirety, the way it was meant to be – and that’s such a rare feat in dramaland that I’m now marveling that we got what we got at all!

          You’re right about the stereotyping.. I just watched Lucky Romance, and whenever Lee Soo Hyuk was required to be cute, I cringed. I don’t know. I’m not even enjoying Woob much in UF so far. Maybe it’s to do with the stereotyping thing?

          It’s hard to explain how to pronounce Hu Ge, since Mandarin is a tonal language. Syllables-wise, it sounds something like “hoo guh” but if you want to hear the tones, I suggest you paste 胡歌 into Google Translate and have the Google Translate lady read it to ya. 😉

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          • “It’s hard to explain how to pronounce Hu Ge, since Mandarin is a tonal language. Syllables-wise, it sounds something like “hoo guh” one of the reasons I chose Korean over Mandarin to learn an Asian language. I felt too old to train my ears to make such subtle distinctions 😀

            “I’m just glad we got Healer in its entirety, the way it was meant to be – and that’s such a rare feat in dramaland that I’m now marveling that we got what we got at all”! THIS!!! “Healer” has become one of this very few dramas that I feel will stay with in my memories until the end. And when I get disappointed about a drama, I can go now “yeah, but at least I have Healer I can go back to” 😀

            * sigh * I’ve been so busy these past few months, so I really couldn’t keep up with KWB’s and LSH’s work… But maybe I kind of used as an excuse too because the clips I watched didn’t feel like they were being challenged as actors. I mean, they work with what they have and mostly with what they’re offered. But I don’t know… their latest roles didn’t give me thrills. oh well… They can live without me being thrilled ha!

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            • WELL. I for one am grateful that you chose to study Korean instead of Mandarin, since that gives us access to all of those Korean interviews that you so sweetly translate for us! Everything for a reason, y’know. 😉

              Yeah, whenever I start to feel jaded with dramas and wonder if I’ve just watched too many, often it’s a solid drama like Healer (or some other favorite) that will bring back my feels and convince me that it’s not me; it’s just dramaland in general. 😉

              I’ve been somewhat keeping up, and have felt pretty meh about both Lee Soo Hyuk’s outing in Lucky Romance, and Woob in UF (so far anyway. I’m only in the middle of E4 as I type this). In my opinion, you’re not missing much, at least in terms of those two shows. I’ve heard fab things about W so far, so I’m curious to start on that one. 🙂

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              • Well, yeah everything happens for a reason * wink wink *

                I’m also back to my telenovelas ways too.haha they’re so over the top, I luff it! and so much eye candy!!

                i really don’t know how i feel about a love story between ji chang wook and yoona if she accepts the lead role of “K2”. Howeverrrr, in tvN, I trust. Even the tvN dramas I find so-so are still better than the big channels dramas I find so-so, SO… * waiting for K2 *

                “W” is on my never-ending to-watch list too!

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                • Hehe.. I’ve never watched a proper telenovela, but I watched S1 of Jane the Virgin, and that gave me a good flavor for the OTT cracktastic flavor they generally serve up! 😄

                  I’m not sure what to think about Yoona’s potential casting, but well, idol actresses have surprised us before, so here’s hoping! 😀 Fingers crossed for W too, coz it sounds like everyone’s loving it!

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  22. Love your re-cap. It isn’t a perfect drama but it comes pretty darn close. I watched this in the slow painful week by week way, and I do remember getting a little confused about the picture and the different people so I always warn people who have heard all the hoopla to stick with it for a few episodes so it can start coming together. The danger in a drama like this is there is so much buzz and then people don’t see what the big deal is about. I don’t even remember myself when I realized this is freaking awesome; I would say episode 4 to 5. The last two weeks I was actually nervous starting the show wondering how the writer would or could blow it.

    Healer was the start of seeing a nice guy first lead. I had watched so many arrogant so and sos and it was getting old. The writer of Healer also wrote Faith and while at first glance they might not seem similar, Choi Young is actually the historical Healer in some ways and certainly in personality and world view. The writer also stayed away from the love triangle in both dramas leading me to believe, she’s sick of it as well. The moment I realized Healer wasn’t going that way, I was so happy.

    I also hadn’t heard complaints about the culmination of the relationship. It seemed so well done and true to these characters…this was their I Love You which never had to be said. Soulmates. While I would have been fine if it hadn’t gone there and stopped at the kiss, it seemed to fit PMY’s character to not let it stop there. It seemed so true to who she was that it didn’t seem forced or out of place.

    I give up on Korean ratings. While I know Healer wasn’t a hit, I don’t think it was a total dud…just perhaps lackluster…maybe that’s my wishful thinking. I hope they know they have a lot of international love. I am interested in the ratings, but as in any country they mean nothing when it comes to quality. Once in a while a good show gets a lotta love and that’s great but good dramas get missed all the time.

    Glad for the re-cap. I rarely re-watch dramas, but this is one that I will view again.

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    • Aw, yay for more Healer love! 😀 Yes, I rarely rewatch dramas these days, especially with keeping up with the currently airing shows and tending to the blog, but this is one which I watched a second time in full. And I do see myself reaching for this one again, too. It’s just that full of feels. ❤

      I think I fell in serious like with this show right away, quite possibly from the first time we see Healer leap off a rooftop. I don't know, I guess I've got a weakness for superheroes. 😄 You're absolutely right; there's this danger of its hype actually turning potential viewers off the show, instead of drawing people to it.

      The unhappiness I saw over the consummation of the relationship, was mainly in DDee's joint posts that followed Healer as it aired live. She and a couple of other Healer lovers put together some lovely posts digging into insights with each week's episodes, and when it was the week of the consummation, the writers and many of the readers of their posts expressed a great degree of discomfort with the narrative choice. Coz at that point, she didn't even know his name, and he hadn't explained his undercover deception, and there was just so much that hadn't been worked through, that it seemed premature for them to skip right through to sexytimes. I can totally see their point of view, and it's a valid point, from that perspective. But I didn't have a similar struggle and I felt like I understood the narrative decision around it. So I thought it'd be good to put it in the review, to maybe help anyone else who might've found the story direction bemusing.

      As for Korean ratings.. I am coming to the conclusion that Korean audiences have a very different sensibility than international viewers, and that's probably why shows that international audiences seem to love often suffer from low ratings in Korea. Given my now-deeper understanding of how k-ent works, I am SO GRATEFUL that Healer didn't get cut short due to the low ratings, and was allowed to finish telling the story it set out to tell. Coz I would’ve been seriously heartbroken if this show had suffered an episode cut. 😛

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  23. Aaah…talking about walking down the memory lane! I found myself nodding and smiling and squealing with you while reading your entire review. The feeeeeeeelllsss!! A show full of feels like Healer really deserve a review full of feels like yours. Really impressive, kfangurl!

    Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to rewatch some of my favorite scenes, and I said some because my favorites are everything with JCW in it which is basically almost the entire drama! LOL 😀

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    • Aww.. thankies, pastmidnite!! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this review and that it brought back all the Healer feels for you, coz this is one special drama indeed. ❤ And I totally understand the need to rewatch at least your favorite scenes.. Writing this review brought back all of MY Healer feels, and just made me want to rewatch the entire drama, lol.

      Like

  24. Hi Kfangirl!

    Again another outstanding review. Since finding this site, I have come back to read many of your posts,]. I do this because so far many of the ratings that you have given dramas I have agreed with. I actually will go here first to see if there is anything that you rated highly and watch that before jumping on latest ‘hot’ drama. Again, adding the music brings your reviews up many notches because I respond to the music and I remember the drama.

    I also loved Healer – very much – and I really love Kim Mi Kyung. I love everything about her. First found her in Faith and and my appreciation for her acting has only increased each time I see her. She anchors each drama she appears in. Totally believable and so talented.

    Reading this review may just make me watch this drama again, and that is saying something because as a rule I do not re-watch dramas – KMHM being the only exception.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this – we all appreciate it!

    Like

    • Aw, thanks for all your lovely encouragement about the reviews, phl! I’m so glad you’re finding the reviews helpful! And yes, sometimes a solidly good, slightly older drama can be so much more satisfying than a currently airing hyped drama. I so feel you on that!

      Yay that you loved Healer, this is literally one of my all-time faves, it’s just that good of a watch. And Kim Mi Kyung is wonderful. I used to just see her as just another one of the veteran actresses, but lately – and particularly with Healer – I’ve come to appreciate how awesome she is. She’s such a chameleon, and she grounds every character she takes on and makes her come alive. Respect.

      I can vouch for Healer’s rewatchability – I watched this a second time (many months after my first watch), and found it as enjoyable as the first time, if not more enjoyable, since I now understood the backstory. I even now feel like watching Healer a 3rd time – an urge I get with only the very special dramas. 🙂 And speaking of KMHM.. I think I need to work on that review too, soonish. Now that Healer’s been posted, I’ve been getting requests for KMHM 😛 I know, I’m so backlogged! 😄

      Like

  25. Bookmarking this so I can avoid spoilers. Haha! This has been on my to-watch list for a while now…..

    Like

  26. Review is epic. Really really epic. You must have put so much time and effort into this one, and I am happy to say it was worth it. A joy to read and a joy to relive the good times I had watching Healer. Congratulations on getting this one out!

    Some things you might be interested in:
    1. The Soompi forum went crazy too – and collated stuff (fanfics, videos, appreciation posts, book) for the Healer production team here: http://morumoruisland.blogspot.sg/
    2. This writer, Song Ji Na also wrote Story of a Man and Faith. On the advice of my kdrama pals, I watched SOAM too and it is an absolute classic. Same deft writing, but in a different context. I would cautiously recommend it because I attempted FAITH and didn’t enjoy it, but I found SOAM and Healer fantastic.

    Like

    • Eee! I’m so pleased you enjoyed this one, Webby!! Coz Healer’s so special, it took me forever to gather myself together to work on it. And I kept getting sidetracked by other things: work, other RL demands, other shows that I wanted to review.. Technically this one’s been in the works since Healer finished airing its last episode – just, with lots of procrastination in between actual writing sessions! 😄 Last week I finally had a specific urge to complete this, and 5 days of intense focus later, this most epic of my reviews was done. Phew. 😛 I’m so pleased that it’s now done though, and that everyone is enjoying reliving the feels. ❤ ❤

      Thanks for sharing the Soompi off-shoot site! I took a peek at the morumoruisland website, and right away I love the name! OMG it's so perfect! Of COURSE that's what serious fans would name their fansite! 😄 Looks like a treasure trove of Healer stuff, I will definitely poke around and explore the island 😉

      I watched Story of a Man way early in my kdrama journey and came away puzzled at why everyone loved it so. 😛 I think I might be able to appreciate it better now, so perhaps I ought to at least dip my toes again, one of these days. Just to see if I can finally appreciate the awesome that I keep hearing about. Coz I'm a die-hard curious cat that way 😉

      PS: I completely agree on Faith. I couldn't get into it either. We do have very similar taste! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well then double, no triple thank yous for putting the work in. What I like about your reviews is the precision of thought and the trouble you take to be as thorough as you can be. It ends up being an entity of its own, interestingly separate from the source drama, because it’s a tribute to a fangirl’s response, rather than a regurgitation of the drama itself.
        Did you know that the contents of MoruMoru Island is more or less what went into a book that was sent to the producers? Apparently Song Ji Na and PD-nim both thanked the fans for it, and said they’d make sure to show it to the stars. It’s another example of how the fans themselves become producers of content.
        And yes, we do have similar tastes! So I’m going to recommend Task Force 38 to you now! I hope you’re watching, but if you haven’t started it, then you might want to give it till ep 4. I took a while to love the ensemble cast, even though Ma Dong Seok caught me right from the start with his Manager Oh aura (Misaeng). But once I loved it, I LOVED IT. It has plot holes, but it’s still got all that is good from a strong ensemble cast involved in twisty hijinks.

        Like

        • Awww!!! THANK YOU for the affirmation and encouragement dearest Webby!!! 😍😍😍 Coming from a writer like you, particularly with your keen appreciation for words, substance and story, that is high praise indeed. This is totally going in the ol’ mental treasure box. I’m super glad you enjoy this review, as well other ones on the blog.. It definitely adds to my motivation to keep writing ’em! 😉

          Ah, I’m so glad to know that writer-nim, PD-nim and the cast got to taste and feel the fans’ love and appreciation for their work!! It must’ve been disappointing for them all, that Show didn’t enjoy the ratings that it deserved. I hope they’re comforted to know that the international audience loved their show and tuned in ravenously, even if we couldn’t affect the ratings.

          I’ve been recommended TF38, but have yet to start on it. I do have a big soft spot for Ma Dong Seok though! He’s such an adorable big ol’ teddy bear. 😍 With your endorsement, I feel like all the more I need to check it out! Thankies!! 😘

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  27. I watched this show after peeking at your rating for it, and I didn’t the entire review until after I finished it. I have to say, this was a slow burn for me. I only felt invested after the 3rd or 4th episode, frankly because I didn’t have the hots for JCW 😛 I still don’t. But I got hooked by how well the story flowed, and how unconventionally gallant the male lead was. No violent backhugs, wrist grabs, etc. I like!

    I chuckled when you said that people got in a snit because the OTP had sexytimes before Young Shin even knew Bong Soo’s real name. C’mon, we live in the age of Tinder and casual hookups… At least she knew where he lived! 😀 Just kidding. I think the writer was just being realistic about human relationships; people fall in love or fall in lust, and not always conventionally. Not everything happens in a neatly chronological and socially acceptable sequence; it would be a pretty boring show otherwise!

    Great review as always. I liked the show for the feels, although not as much as you do 😉

    Like

    • Aw, I’m a little sad that you don’t love Healer as much as I do, but I’m glad you enjoyed the show despite not falling under JCW’s spell! That’s the mark of a well-written, well-executed show, in my books. You don’t need to be in love with the male lead to enjoy it fully as a story, and I love that Healer stands up to that test!

      As for the sexytimes happening when they did.. yeah, I agree that not everyone falls in love in a conventional manner and it doesn’t always happen in a socially acceptable sequence. More importantly, when I watched it, I felt like I could understand the thought behind the narrative choice. Writer-nim, in choosing that, wasn’t gunning for ratings. It actually made sense to our characters, and I appreciated that a lot. 🙂

      Like

      • Don’t get me wrong, JCW is very easy on the eyes, but he doesn’t bring the feels for me. I tend to favor actors who let it all hang out (emotionally) like YAI and SJK. I do agree the show was very enjoyable, well-written and well-produced, totally worth the time. I’m trying to start My Love from the Star now and it’s harder to get into than Healer, despite similar circumstances (I don’t fancy the male lead, it’s a fantasy-romance, and it’s my first KSH drama). I’m on ep2 and already I feel like giving up.

        Anyway, thanks to your review I got to enjoy a few hours of pure escapism through Healer 🙂

        Like

        • Aw. It’s perfectly understandable, of course.. I’ve realized that one drama fan’s crack drama can totally be someone else’s meh. I’m glad you did enjoy Healer, even though it was in a much more moderate fashion than me! 😉

          How did your watch of YFAS go? Did you end up sticking with it, or did you drop it? YFAS is another drama that polarized viewers.. those who loved it, loved it unreservedly, and those who didn’t love it, found it overrated and pretty meh. Kim Soo Hyun did very well in YFAS, I thought. Even though his character is supposed to be impassive a lot of the time, I thought he did well in showing flickers of emotion even when he was supposed to remain inscrutable. 😊

          Like

          • Oh I just posted on another page asking if you’ve seen Empress Ki or planning to see it hehe… JCW is in it, but I’m watching it because so many people said it’s great. I’m on episode 1 and it seems pretty good, but I’d like to know your take on it before I invest 51 hours (without YAI) on it.

            YFAS… Yes I finished it. It was better than I expected. I still don’t fancy KSH but now I have a total girl crush on Jun Ji Hyun, she’s so funny and unafraid to look dorky hehe… Next on my list is The Thieves 🙂

            Like

            • Oh my, yes, Jun Ji Hyun is FABULOUS in YFAS! I loved her in that, So Much. 😍😍 I totally get why you’d want to see her again in The Thieves. That was an ok movie.. I liked the first half much better than the second half. But the chemistry that she shared with Kim Soo Hyun in there was pretty crackling, even though it was rather fleeting. 😁

              Like

              • I’m still on Empress Ki but The Thieves is next! So many things on my list to watch right now, I don’t know how much more sleep I can sacrifice 😉

                Like

                • Welcome to the world of Neverending Drama Choices!! 😂 I’ve long decided that sleep is more important, but I totally feel you on having so much to watch that you feel like you can’t keep on top of it all!

                  Like

                  • JCW in The K2 is ripped and mostly in tank tops… I finally see what the fuss is all about 😍😍 The face still isn’t my jam but the bod, wow!

                    Like

                    • Lol. I haven’t started on The K2 myself, but I’ve seen the trailers and stills, and yes, JCW is VERY ripped in it! I enjoyed him most in Healer so far, and for me, it wasn’t the face nor the bod, but more of how he became the character. I completely believed him as Jung Hoo in all of his layers and facets. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was completely badass with the fight moves and casual parkour 😍😍😍

                      Like

  28. Healer has been on my list for couple of months as I heard it’s THAT great. But somehow I watched other Show and keep this one for later. Really, the rating was not so good when it’s aired, but WHY????!

    I’ve started watching it right after I found out you posted the review and boy, it is addictive and soooo good! I’m a helpless romantist and thought baddasery is not my cup of tea but this one really just make it even much much better. It’s like having a huge dose of Shin Se Gi with an exciting skill, task and environment. A super treat indeed.

    And as always, your review is thorough and top notch! Thank you!!

    Like

    • I’m so pleased you finally checked out Healer, Andechii!! And, that you loved it! 😀 Isn’t it such a fun and fabulous watch, even when badassery isn’t your usual thing? It’s just all very well done, and I loved it both times that I watched it. Wouldn’t even mind going for a 3rd watch sometime, I love it that much. 😁

      It’s sad that K-audiences didn’t love it as much as the international audience did, but as Sunny shared above, it could also be partly because of the way the show was marketed, that affected its ability to capture the K-audience. I’m just thankful the show didn’t suffer any cuts due to low ratings, coz this show is such cracky goodness.

      Thanks for enjoying this review!! 😀

      Like

      • Healer fans, which mostly international it seems, was indeed very lucky. Jang Hyuk’s Beautiful Mind was cut short while some mystery solved in a rush. And yessss, Ji Chang Wook is such an eye candy we swarm to watch whirlwind girl 2 and can’t wait for his TvN drama in September.
        Reading many fanfic also confirm the love of many fans for both JCW and PMY. You has accurately describe the richness of PMY’s acting in Healer very well. Lots and lots of good thing from this Show!!

        Like

        • Oh yes, knowing how networks tend to be quick to cut dramas that aren’t performing well in the ratings, I’m just SO relieved that Healer was allowed to be what it needed to be! I will forever love Ji Chang Wook as Healer; he just completely swept me off my feet. 😍😍 And thank you, for enjoying this review of a show that is absolutely so full of goodies. I have not loved Park Min Young more than in this show, literally. ❤

          PS: I’ve dipped my toes into Whirlwind Girl 2, but haven’t finished E1. I watch it in small tiny doses coz I’m challenging myself to watch it without subs. It’s one of my personal goals to improve my Mandarin, is why 😁 I’ve no opinion on the story yet since I’ve seen so little of it, but it sure is nice to see JCW rocking the martial arts moves 😉

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  29. I had to stop reading your review because I am currently listening to the show’s OST (finished the series last night!!!) because this is not good for my heart. Haha. And I’m in the office and I can’t bawl like a baby. Like what I’ve told you before, you make the most amazing and in-depth reviews. I seriously tear up while reading your posts. 😦

    Like

    • Aw wow.. that is so awesome, that you find the reviews that immersive, Yani! Thanks for telling me that, it totally motivates the writer in me, to keep on writing! 😁

      PS: I really hope you managed to finish reading the review at some point!! 😆

      Like

  30. -_- Did I mention just how much I don’t like the posters? Some shows have awesome posters, but these ones give away no thrill… i can’t blame people for not wanting to watch it. random thought was random.

    Like

  31. Hi !!
    I don’t know where to start because it’s actually my first time leaving a comment on a blog but woah, thanks for this perfect review. You made me want to watch the show again even though I finished it like 3 hours ago.
    I don’t watch a lot of dramas (I discover them in 2012 and I haven’t seen more than 10 since then) but I always have trouble moving on when I love a drama. That’s why I find myself reading recaps and reviews aha. I’ve been to your blog a few time already, your recaps are my fav. They’re always so on point and complete. It’s a nice way to re experience the drama. I’ve never felt the need to react though but Healer oh my. I have to.
    I hesitated for a long time before deciding to watch Healer and what actually convinced me to give it a shot was Ji Chang Wook in Running Man. I fell in love with him on the show I swear. So charmingly sweet, funny, dorky and insanely handsome. And so innocent haha he’s actually a lot like Park Bong Soo in real life.

    Aaah the drama is over now and so is my life. I don’t know how I will recover.
    What I like the most about Healer is that it goes against most Kdrama clichés. There aren’t any unnecessary angst or stupid misunderstanding due to lack of communication. The girl is told something about the guy but chooses to trust him instead of the bad guys. There’s no “I blame you for what your parents did” or “I blame you for lying to me even though I don’t know the context”. Everything happens for a reason and not because it’s convenient for the scenario. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that the cops are still very stupid but hey what’s new. At least it was funny.

    I love your description of Jong Hoo. Ji Chang Wook did an impressive job of playing all these characters. Healer and Bong Soo’s characters are so different he could’ve fallen into the exaggeration trap but Ji Chang Wook’s acting was so subtle that those characters mixed really well together even though they’re completely in contradiction. Those personas don’t come out of nowhere. As we’re progressing in the show, we learn more about Jong Hoo and we can see that he’s actually a mix of those two which makes complete sense thanks to the way Chang Wook portrayed them. Aaah. I love every version of him. (It makes me think of that scene when Young Shin is whining over Bong Soo. She couldn’t shut up about Healer when Bong Soo was here but when Jong Hoo was on full Healer mode she just missed Bong Soo. I feel you Young Shin.)

    Speaking of, the OTP killed me. The chemistry was mind-blowing. Not only because of the two actors but also because Young Shin and Jong Hoo characters fit. They were so comfortable with each other. Everything felt natural. Even when Young Sin didn’t know about Bong Soo, they would talk on the phone all the time. The ”being sisters” part was funny but it means that Jong Hoo’s the one person she’s in love with AND considers a confident. Aw. Also can we talk about the fact that it’s my first drama without any “wide opened eyes kiss”. Yay !
    Another thing that goes against clichés : no love triangle. I first thought Moon Ho would be the rival second lead. What a relief to see he wasn’t. It wouldn’t have made any sense given the friendship-family tree but I know how fond of it Kdramas are. Instead of a love triangle between our three protagonists, the drama offered us the most touching relationship ever. And Moon Ho actually rooting for the main couple was the sweetest thing and it made all the jealous Bong Soo scenes even funnier.

    I really wanted to see all the scenes you listed at the end. As for the big revelation about Ji An being alive, I really wanted to see that scene as well but in hindsight, I’m not disappointed with the path the writers decided to take. Do Ji Won’s eyes convey so much emotions, I could totally imagine how Myung Hee might have felt when Moon Ho told her everything. And I think he did. But I would’ve been way more frustrated if it wasn’t for the brilliant acting.
    I would also add Dae Yang in the list. I love the idea of Ahjumma joining Some Day but I kinda picture her going back to business with Dae Yang as the new Healer.

    Anyway thanks so much for the review. You brought out all the feels in a perfect yet painful manner and I think whenever I miss the show I will either watch an episode or just go back to your review haha. I’m impressed with how well you managed to express your thoughts. I always want to do that after finishing a drama or a book or even a fanfic but I’m so bad with words it just lives me frustrated. I’m glad that I can read what I’m not able to write when I come here.

    I’m so sorry this is way too long and badly written. Arrgh.

    Like

    • Hi there kina!! Wow, thank you for leaving such a heartfelt comment on this review!!! ❤❤ Don’t apologize for length, and no, this was not badly written – I could sense your feels even as I read your comment, and that’s evidence that it’s not badly written at all! Also, thanks for all the encouragement on the reviews – this review in particular – it really adds to my motivation to keep on writing these reviews 😊

      I’m so glad that you eventually checked out Healer, coz this truly is a lovely show, and it would’ve been such a pity if you’d missed it. I absolutely agree that this one bucked kdrama conventions in quite a few ways. Not only is there communication and trust between our OTP, there isn’t a traditional love triangle or quadrangle, AND there’re even a few amazing father figures in there! And I am so with you on this OTP.. they are just lovely together 😍😍😍 I loved the easy cozy they shared, whether they were friends, colleagues or lovers.

      I really like your idea of Ahjumma starting over with Dae Yang as the next Healer.. Can we have it all? Can they all join Some Day, with Ahjumma being in charge of stealth missions and sending out Jung Hoo and Dae Yang to uncover the truth for the next expose? 😄 Augh. I’d love that.

      When you’re ready for your next kdrama, I’d be happy to give you some suggestions, kina! I recently really liked Oh Hae Young Again for the lovely OTP. It’s not Healer levels of love, but I thoroughly enjoyed the OTP chemistry, and there are some very nice kisses in there, as evidence of their excellent chemistry 😉 You can check out my review here, if it helps.

      Like

      • Oh I love what you’re suggesting here. Some Day would become a fully-fledged organization that fights for justice. They have the computer genius, the journalists and the fighters. Winning team in da place. I love the short format of kdramas but right now I really wish for season two.

        I agree with you for the brilliant father figure especially Young Shin’s dad. This drama did a great job portraying parent-child relationships whether or not it was biological (but you’ve alreayd pointed that out in your review).

        And thanks for the suggestion I’ll check it out! I’m still at step “Healer was so good, I will never appreciate another drama, they will all seem dull” but I’m like this pretty much all the time haha. It took me ages to decide to give Healer a shot because the last one I had watched was Answer Me 1997 and I loved it so much, I wanted to make sure the next one was near perfect so I could appreciate it and move on from the previous one. Yeah I give myself a headache on a daily basis.

        I didn’t see any review in your blog so I was wondering if you have seen City Hunter? I saw a lot of people comparing those two.

        Like

        • Sorry for this delayed reply kina, life’s been unexpectedly hectic! I agree you should totally take your time when it comes to moving on from dramas.. Some dramas are so special that moving on too soon would just ruin other dramas for you. 🙂

          To answer your question, I have seen City Hunter, but because I watched it long before I started writing reviews, I don’t have a review on the blog for it. I liked it a lot, even though I found the ending a little underwhelming. It’s definitely my favorite outing of Lee Min Ho’s to date, but Park Min Young is way, WAY better in Healer. 😉 And I find Healer a more solidly all-rounded story, with a much more compelling hero. Still a good watch though.

          Like

  32. I really enjoyed this review. Now I want to rewatch it the third time! It was a great read, thanks a lot!

    Like

    • Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed this monster review, Nesley! 🙂 And yes, Healer is definitely a rewatch-worthy show! I know I felt like watching it a third time myself, while writing this review! 😉

      Like

  33. Thanks so much for your well written review of Healer. I probably would not have chosen to watch it if not for your review. It took me until around the 3rd or 4th episode when the main characters started having more of a relationship for me to really get into the story, but once i did. I was hooked and could not stop pressing play no matter how late it was and how early I had to get up the next day. It may be my favorite drama that I have watched so far – so romantic! cute, good action, plot and pacing. There were no scenes or sub plots that I felt like skipping over as I do with almost every other drama I’ve watched. My favorite things: I love the 2 main characters together – both their friendship and their romance. I loved watching the bumbling Bong Soo character. I love that the main characters have a lot of fun and romantic scenes together compared to other dramas where there is a contrived tension and the couple is kept apart for most of the time because one of them is being mean to the other. That drives me crazy. I was thankful that they didn’t do that in this drama. The characters were straightforward about how they felt about each other and it still there was plenty of good plot to keep it exciting. Min Ja character was so funny and her relationship with healer was touching. The father daughter dance in the beginning was so cute and funny. The acting was really great. I had no feelings for the 2 lead actors just from watching trailers and looking at photos, but after seeing them play out their parts I love both of them.

    Like

    • Ah, I’m so glad you decided to give Healer a chance, Slink!! Considering how much you ended up enjoying this one, it would’ve been a pity to have missed it. I loved this show a lot (heh, can you tell?), and even on the second watch, I didn’t feel bored or jaded with it. I must agree that our leads are two big highlights in this show. Everything else is well-done and well-executed too, and that’s great, but it’s these two that really suck me into their story and their world. LOVE. ❤ I definitely see myself reaching for this one again!

      Like

  34. Whoa. That was the longest review of a drama I’ve ever read, but OH SO WORTH IT. (can’t believe it took me 2 months to find it!)

    You are a gift, kfangurl. Reading this brought back sooooo many fond and crazy memories of my Healer-frenzy days. You have all my thanks. Man, I want to watch this show agai. For like the 4th time. ;___;

    Like

    • Awww, that is one of the sweetest comments, evar. Thank you, Omomo! 😀 I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review, which was possible only because Healer really IS that cracktastic and fantastic. I can see myself watching this one again too, and I’ve seen it twice in its entirety and loved it both times. So.. I’m thinking a 4th watch would be pretty fab too 😉

      Like

  35. This may sound off topic but I I need some kind of confirmation. I feel as though, Kim Moon Ho was supposed to betray the two lovers, just like his brother did before. I don’t know if it was just me, but the fact that Moon Ho was romantically interested in Young Shin was strongly implied for me. I still can’t get over the fact that he referred to her as the woman he liked when the news team were about to enter the house.

    To sum it up, I think the script was changed mid-series for Moon Ho, from an evil character progression to a compassionate one. Even the poster portrays the three of them. Signaling a love triangle.

    Then again, who knows.

    Like

    • That’s an interesting theory you’ve got there 🙂 I honestly can’t tell if Moon Ho’s character was switched up halfway through the show. I thought that the vaguely dark presentation of him in the earlier episodes was just to keep the audience guessing about him as a character, ie, is he good or bad, what is his agenda etc. In that sense, I didn’t feel any jerkiness when Show revealed him to be more good than bad in the end. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I watched this show once last year and a 2nd time in the summer… and after reading (part of) your review today, I juuuust might go watch it a 3rd time, just to relive how GREAT this show and the OTP were ! ❤

    Like

    • Tee hee. I’m honored that this review has ignited possibly your 3rd Healer watch! It really is a show that I loved from start to finish, and I loved it just as much the second time I watched it. And I definitely can see myself watching this one a 3rd time too. Just, maybe not as soon as you’d probably watch it a 3rd time! 😉

      Like

    • I watched this show again immediately after the first time..well maybe not immediately, like 2 days after😄😍

      Like

  37. hi. i enjoyes your review a lot. i was skeptical on how the ending would work as the show only has 15 mins left but it was done very well. i am a sucker for happy endings… and iam with you with the things we wish to see on the ending.. but you know, it is just like that… their lives will go on and there is no perfect happy ending…they are happy in the closing parts and we just have to assume that the writers intend that we just imagine what we want to imagine after the last clip.

    anyhows… i actually read your review while watching Healer in marathon. it was fun… keep up your good works!! happy blogging girl.

    and i think you should watch smile donghae and empress ki if you havent watched them… they are great works…

    Like

    • Glad you enjoyed the show, and this review, ana!! 🙂 I’ve heard good things about Smile Dong Hae and Empress Ki, but haven’t gotten around to checking them out yet. Too many dramas, and not enough time! Thanks for the recommendation though, I’ll keep it in mind! 🙂

      Like

  38. Pingback: Flash Review: Seven First Kisses | The Fangirl Verdict

  39. So hard to find something half as satisfying as Healer..I can’t seem to move on from it😍😍Watched it twice in a row now. Suggestions?

    Like

  40. And btw, great review. Totally agree with everything said. Great job!

    Like

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the review, Ann! And yes, it’s really hard to find something as satisfying to watch as Healer indeed. Healer is ❤.

      What exactly are you looking for, in drama to move on from Healer? Specifically something with action? Or just a fabulous OTP with great chemistry? Coz if action and mystery are not a must, then Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo has a fantastic OTP that I love. And they share a similar amazing chemistry and believable skinship that we get in Healer. I hope that helps! 😊

      Like

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