Open Thread: Kill Me, Heal Me Episodes 7 & 8

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I love this shot of Do Hyun, and couldn’t resist letting him headline this post. I love the burgeoning emotion in his eyes. 🤩

Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 7

I feel like with this episode, we might finally be done with set-up, because this marks the point in our story where Do Hyun and Ri Jin start to work together, officially. It feels a little later than most kdramas, but because Show is a 20-episoder and not a 16-episoder, it makes sense that it would use a little more time to put its narrative pieces in place.

Suspension of disbelief is still a must with this show, but I do like the ideas of understanding, empathy and compassion that Show is serving up, so I’m happy to shrug and roll with it.

For example, it is a bit of a stretch that Ri Jin started her analysis of Yo Seob’s possible location, at a little art supplies shop, which turned out to be the correct starting point, which ultimately led her to Yo Seob’s location. However, I like the idea that she’s paying attention to details, both in terms of what she hears over the phone while speaking with Yo Seob, and also, in terms of what she’s heard about Yo Seob as a personality. And I like the idea that this heedfulness and mindfulness is a key quality that allows Ri Jin to be where Do Hyun needs her.

And, even though the scene where Ri Jin interacts with Yo Seob on the rooftop is very dramatic, with her getting injured and bleeding from the head, and screaming and sobbing from time to time, I like the idea that Ri Jin is so invested in Do Hyun’s survival.

She really puts her all into saving Do Hyun from Yo Seob’s suicide plan, and at a visceral sort of level, I find that touching.

I’m not sure if Ri Jin’s ability to call Do Hyun back to himself is rooted in her compassion for him, or if it has something to do with the childhood connection that Show keeps teasing us with, but I’d like to think that it’s more to do with Ri Jin’s deep sense of empathy for him. Where other people see a monster, a weirdo, or a problem, she sees.. just him. Cha Do Hyun, a man who’s suffering, and who needs help, and understanding.

Given all that we’ve seen Do Hyun go through, it makes sense that he would instinctively cleave to the idea of having Ri Jin by his side, ready to call him back to himself, whenever an alter takes over. That’s like a drowning man realizing that there’s such a thing as a buoy, in his suffocating, watery world.

..Which is why it feels like such a sacrifice on Do Hyun’s part, when he makes the decision to rescind his offer for her to be his secret doctor, and let Ri Jin go. He’s consciously cutting off the only lifeline he’s ever found, out of consideration for her. Do Hyun’s such a good person, seriously.

Although it takes a while for Ri Jin to come to her decision to help Do Hyun as his secret doctor, I do like the emotional realism this provides. It’s not an easy task, and she might be subjected to physical danger, while fulfilling the role. Plus, there’s that research training program which she would be giving up, as well. For these reasons, I think it makes narrative sense for Ri Jin to wrestle with herself, for some time, before committing herself to be Do Hyun’s doctor.

I like the idea that as part of Ri Jin’s process of figuring out what she wants to do, she revisits that rooftop, and the dying message that Yo Seob had written. It’s a nice touch, that she essentially changes the “Kill me” that Yo Seob had scrawled, to read “Heal me.” That effectively explains our drama title, while showing us Ri Jin’s desire, to help Do Hyun heal.

And now, more than ever, I feel like Do Hyun needs someone in his corner. It feels like so many people around him, aren’t for him, but against him.

Ok, Chairman Gran doesn’t seem exactly against him, in that she wants him to be ok until his father wakes up from his coma, but the manner in which she talks with Secretary Ahn about it, where she doesn’t deign to even want to know what’s going on with Do Hyun, and simply instructs Secretary Ahn to get it together, and keep Do Hyun’s secret a secret, in order to maintain the status quo, is startlingly cold.

On top of this, the stunt that Chae Yeon pulls, crashing Do Hyun’s blind date, is astoundingly rude. She’s clearly taking her frustrations out on Do Hyun by lashing out at him, but this strikes me as extremely selfish and immature. I mean, does she need a reminder, that she’d been the one to get engaged to someone else first? 🙄 I’m just glad that this blind date wasn’t actually important to Do Hyun, because Chae Yeon absolutely ruins it, with her terrible behavior. How presumptuous. Ugh.

Plus, there’s how Ki Joon’s digging around and trying to find out Do Hyun’s secret, so that he’ll have Do Hyun’s weakness in his grasp. Not only does he attempt to pull a bluff with Professor Seok, he’s actively looking for Ri Jin as well. Sigh. I get that Ki Joon’s designed to be a bit of an antagonist, but the way Oh Min Suk’s playing him, with that smug sort of smirk, makes me want to slap him – even though, as I’ve mentioned, I have a soft spot for Oh Min Suk. How confusing! 😅

And then we have the birth secret thing, where Do Hyun’s mother is trying to find Do Hyun’s secret half-sibling – if said half-sibling exists. Ri On seems to think that this is Ri Jin, but it’s also interesting, that every time this secret child is brought up in our story, the camera consistently pans to Ri On in the very next scene.

It’s interesting to me, that as Ri Jin muses in voiceover (about Do Hyun), “I have a lot of people I love. But to him… Even if he loves somebody, he can’t ask them to stay,” it’s Ri On that the camera pans to. We see him brooding on his own, watching the skyline, after Ri Jin’s supposed departure. In this moment, it occurs to me that Ri Jin’s words very much apply to Ri On too. Show has given us a clear indication that Ri On has romantic feelings for Ri Jin, but we see that because of their official sibling relationship, he can’t ask her to stay, even if he wants to.

On this point, I thought it might be useful to look at things from Ri On’s perspective, on the matter of his feelings for Ri Jin. Some of you have expressed how this is very weird and rather gross, considering their sibling relationship. However, from his point of view, it seems that he was old enough to remember when Ri Jin had joined the family, and thus, he’s had the chance to decide whether or not to look upon Ri Jin as his sister. While his feelings for Ri Jin might be gross to Ri Jin, since she 100% believes that they are biological twins, it wouldn’t be gross to him, since it looks like he’s never looked upon her as his sister.

I like the concept of Ri Jin pretending to have left for the research training program, because this makes her acceptance of Do Hyun’s offer completely secret. And I do like how moved Do Hyun is, that she chose to help him, when she could have chosen to run away from him.

However, I do find the hard handshake thing, and the subsequent arm-twisting a bit whiplashy. I think Show’s trying to balance out the heartfelt moment, with its chosen general tone of a farcical bizarre pantomime, but I personally would have liked to have ended on the note of warmth that we got, right before the handshake landed.

Episode 8

Ohh-kay. So the reason Show made that sharp left turn into aggressive comedy at the end of the last episode, appears to have been because it wanted to play with the idea that, with Ri Jin around, Do Hyun is able to express anger and annoyance, without having to tap on Shin Se Gi. At least, I think that’s the idea that Show is playing with.

Personally, I think it’s a dubious honor, for Ri Jin to be the one person who’s annoying enough, to make the usually uber good-tempered Do Hyun lose his patience. I do think that Ri Jin’s whole schtick, is that even if she’s not a very good doctor, and even though she can be really weirdly annoying sometimes, her deep sense of understanding and compassion trumps all.

And while the details of Ri Jin’s contract are played for comedy, I do like the idea of her being contractually bound to looking out for Do Hyun 24 hours a day. For one thing, it’s true that Do Hyun is vulnerable to being taken over by his alters at any time; it’s not like they only agree to take over during office hours, right? And for another, forced proximity is a trope that I do tend to enjoy in my dramas, because of the accelerated understanding and hyperawareness that it tends to foster.

Of course, this also means that we’re going to have to get used to the idea that there’s going to be a loveline between Do Hyun and Ri Jin, even though she’s kinda-sorta supposed to be his doctor. On this point, I do think it’s helpful that Ri Jin’s stated upfront that she doesn’t have a very versatile skillset and her main aim in accepting Do Hyun’s offer, is to help him communicate and negotiate among the various alters. Plus, Do Hyun himself has said that he’s not seeking actual treatment from Ri Jin. That helps to mitigate the problematic doctor-patient factor, somewhat.

This episode, I feel quite surprised at the indication that Chairman Gran may not be as clueless about Do Hyun’s secret as she’d let on previously, and also, that she may not be as heartless towards him as she’d appeared to be, as well. I don’t know, there’s a softer touch to her general expression, this episode, as she speaks with Secretary Ahn, and tells him not to take up any offer that Uncle’s side may offer, but to stay by Do Hyun’s side. Innteresting. Maybe Chairman Gran isn’t as cold and cruel as I’d thought?

On the other hand, Chae Yeon really is as bratty as she’d appeared, last episode. I find her behavior petty and spiteful, when Ki Joon tries to get her to apologize to Ji Sun, to whom she had admittedly been extremely rude, when she’d crashed the blind date.

I mean, I get that she’s angry at the realization that Ki Joon’s only marrying her for her family’s shares, but that doesn’t at all justify her terrible behavior. Where does she come off acting so self-righteous, when it’s completely true that she was totally out of line when she’d crashed the blind date and said all those things? Pfft. I think in Dramaland, they call this a Princess Complex.

While I do think that Ki Joon has a right to be angry at the rumor that’s started because of the stunt that Chae Yeon’s pulled, I also feel a sense of satisfaction at Chae Yeon informing him that she won’t get engaged to him before the stockholder’s meeting.

Yes, my feelings about this couple are.. complicated. 😆 In short, though, I do think that they deserve each other.

I can hardly believe that Chae Yeon marches right up to Do Hyun’s front door, and demands to know why he’s changed, when he’d said that she was his first love. Oh my. This woman is delusional. Yes, Do Hyun might have feelings for her, but what right does that give her, as a woman who’s literally sleeping with someone else and getting ready to be engaged, to ask Do Hyun why he’s making her the female lead in a makjang drama (that’s literally what she says, even though my subs translate it as “making her so pathetic”)?

Even though Do Hyun uses Ri Jin’s presence to give Chae Yeon the wrong idea, I do believe that he still has feelings for her. After all, he is unsettled enough to feel unable to continue with the study session he’d been in the middle of, with Ri Jin. Plus, Do Hyun’s the endlessly decent type, so I kind of expect him to be unable to let go of his feelings for Chae Yeon so quickly, even though he claims to have gotten over it.

I’m definitely suspicious of what Ri On knows, and what his real agenda is. He claims that he’s doing all this research for the purpose of using the data for his novel, but it sure seems like he has a more personal investment in this. Judging from the story that he tells his editor, it seems that his belief is that Ri Jin is the secret child that Do Hyun’s mother had. Plus, what does he know about Do Hyun’s basement phobia stemming from his childhood? Did he tell Do Hyun that story on purpose, to test him, or was that genuinely just Ri On telling Do Hyun the plot of his book?

Either way, I can’t help being quite amused by the arrival of Yo Na on the scene, with her fascination with hair clips, lip gloss and Oppa~! 😆 She’s hilarious, and Ji Sung’s blithe interpretation of Yo Na running towards her Oppas with wild abandon, is quite brilliant.

I do also like how we’re shown what Do Hyun looks like to the rest of the world, vs. what Yo Na looks like in her mind’s eye. That’s a handy little device, and it does help us to re-organize many of the little details that we’ve seen with Do Hyun’s other alters. It’s quite possible that instead of an actual wardrobe change, what we were seeing was how they looked to themselves.

Ri Jin fighting Yo Na in public is loud, OTT and more violent than I would personally prefer, but I do appreciate that when everything’s over, Ri Jin gives Do Hyun time to rest, and then asks what had bothered him so much, that Yo Na had come out to bear his pain. Again, her compassion for Do Hyun smooths over the bits of Ri Jin’s character that don’t sit as well with me.

It’s heartening to see that Do Hyun starts to open up to Ri Jin as a result; it feels healthy for him to be able to talk about everything, without fear of being judged.

I’m rather surprised by the kiss on which we end the episode, mostly because it feels quite early, in their interactions. However, it does feel like Do Hyun is so touched by Ri Jin’s words, which are warm, accepting and full of hope, that he’s moved to kiss her. With that context, I feel like it’s reasonably believable, that Ri Jin’s warmth touches him in a way that surprises even Do Hyun himself, since Do Hyun’s faced so much rejection all his life.

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j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

I also enjoyed a couple of things about the reading. First of all, how enraptured Do Hyun was – was that actual joy on his face? Secondly, I loved how all Ri On greeted all of the “regulars” with funny chemistry nicknames (“hey, beta-limonine!”).

beez
1 month ago

@eda harris @kfg – I watched ep1 of Rise of the Phoenixes and this actor, Chen Kun(?) freaked me out to the point where I was wondering if I’m going to continue watching. His drunk acting looks like a zombie. Luckily, a strange thing happened – I actually like the female lead. (I usually don’t care about the FL one way or the other.)

beez
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

And oh! So much storyline similar to NIF so far.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  beez

@beez I really enjoyed the first four-fifths (ish) of The Rise of Phoenixes – and I mean LOVED it. The costumes! The locations! The direction! I heart all the actors – so well acted. And, yep, Ni Ni is excellent throughout – she can literally cry even more convincingly than Jang Hyuk’s Daegil! I was very fond of Chen Kun. Maybe he’ll grow on you. Their chemistry together is 😍
Ah, as I’m watching Nirvana in Fire after The Rise of Phoenixes, I agree there are similarities, especially with all the princely in-fighting and scheming. But one thing that TROP so far tops NIF (for me) is the romance bit. I’m missing Nihuang in NIF – though can see it has the whole bromance thing instead. However, I imagine NIF is going to finish more satisfyingly than TROP. The end of TROP – as a warning – is a disaster. But, ah, I did enjoy the ride.

beez
1 month ago

@kfg @Everyone – is it wrong that I took such perverse joy at Yo-na telling Screechy that she’s “annoying and too loud”??? 😆

beez
1 month ago

Ep.8 is when my interest in this show picked up during my first watch. Thank you Yo-na!

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

I also agree that showing each alter as it would be viewed by themselves is a useful device – thanks for pointing that out. It also explains why Se Ge gets the new tattoo thingie when he’s on board.

Last edited 1 month ago by j3ffc
eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago

i actually started watching it the very first day it was suggested by kfangirl, and as it progressed i couldn’t tear away from it in order to follow with the group watching. sorry. and then i was reluctant to post anything for fear to give away future “secrets”.
but one thing i must say, it gets better and better, not that it’s not good from the start. and everything will come together and will be explained, the monkey and all. so just continue.
now the drama.
for an actor to go from one character/personality to a totally different one (incredibly difficult) within a split of a second is not just amazing, his acting is as close to perfection as it can be, in the true sense of this word. the whole drama is worth watching just for the acting of ji sung. to me he is the korean tom cruise, not less, not more, but spectacular, impressive, touching, intelligent in his own right. (by the way, tom cruise is not my most favorite actor, it’s just somehow ji sung reminds me of him).
The drama as a whole has problems, as most dramas do. The female character would actually be good if not for her intense hysteria, screeching and overdramatizing (it might be the fault of the writer, or director, or? her own interpretation?) Also, the gazillion flashbacks get on your nerves. (this part gets worse, unfortunately as the drama progresses) but definitely worth watching. very engaging.
and this is not related to kmhm, but i would like to ask kfangirl to bring up the drama “lost in 1949” with chen kun playing simultaneously both twin brothers with completely different personalities, different lives. and when the two brothers interact – it’s hilarious. after the rise of the phoenixes, i am totally into chen kun, i watched almost all his works, what i could find, including interviews, songs and so on. from the very young actor till now, it is always CHEN KUNish, with the seriousness and depth that you rarely find. anyway, why don’t we start the lost in 1949?! please.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

“Yes, Do Hyun might have feelings for her, but what right does that give her, as a woman who’s literally sleeping with someone else and getting ready to be engaged, to ask Do Hyun why he’s making her the female lead in a makjang drama (that’s literally what she says, even though my subs translate it as “making her so pathetic”)?”

Thanks for pointing these things out, kfangurl. (1) Show is nothing if not self-aware. Was it Yo-sub (sorry, the different alters confuse me) that complained about Ri Jin being too loud? And this is the second time where a character has wondered about what kind of drama she is in… And (2) despite all of the inaccuracies and unrealistic depictions of sometimes very serious subjects in this drama, at least we have adult characters who are in adult (if not entirely healthy) relationships.

Last edited 1 month ago by j3ffc
Ele Nash
1 month ago

Oh, kfangurl, I left a reply but everything seems to have glitched again – for me anyway!

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Ah, looks perfectly good now! What are these caches?! Are they like emotional baggage?! 🤨

Ele Nash
1 month ago

Aw, good summary, kfangurl – I LOVE you for saying this: “Where other people see a monster, a weirdo, or a problem, she sees.. just him.” Ah, very good.

I am much more dubious about the whole Ri On’s “feelings” for Ri Jin. They don’t sit comfortably with me on the basis that they did grow up together from age seven as brother-sister, were treated by everyone as such, and Ri Jin appears to believe they are. It just seems a bit weird he’d feel anything less than brotherly affection for her.

Yo Na 😆 He doesn’t hold anything back, does he?! I was dying. “Oppa!”