Open Thread: Kill Me, Heal Me Episodes 17 & 18

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Yo Na’s headlining our post again today, because I just love her. 😍 Also, can you believe that we are almost at the end? Time really does fly!

I will be putting up the announcement post for our group watch brainstorm next Wednesday, so do look out for that!

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 17

Well, this episode was a total maelstrom of angst, reveals and more angst – which I find completely necessary to our story, and which I thought was pretty satisfying, narratively speaking.

The thing that impresses me the most, really, is how many fragments of our story actually make sense now, in the wider context of our story. Clearly, writer-nim had planned ahead, and all this time, had been dropping little recurring soundbites, like, “Don’t go; play with me,” “What’s your name?,” “I’m sorry, please don’t hurt me,” that now take on a deeper meaning, once we get the reveal of what had really happened to Do Hyun and Ri Jin as children. It’s really well done.

I have to say, as the picture of the past becomes clearer in all of its nuances and details, my heart breaks for our characters, even more than before.

How terrifying it must have been for Ri Jin, to have been shut in that basement, all by herself, all lonely, cold and hungry, desperate for the relief that Do Hyun’s visits brought, only to be beaten, whenever Do Hyun was discovered in the basement with her. And what far cry from the happy lives they’d used to live, before all of this happened.

I’m curious to know where Min So Yeon was, in all of this, because there must have been a period of time, before she’d died in that accident, when Dad and Do Hyun had returned and Dad had insisted on Ri Jin being kept in the basement, right? I really would have liked to know how she’d responded to this.

After all, as Chairman Gramps had stated, Seung Jin Group needed her, and he’d brought her back to the family, for Seung Jin Group’s sake. So if Seung Jin Group needed her, wouldn’t she have had at least some bargaining power? How would she have not fought for her daughter to not be kept in the basement? I would have liked to see how that unfolded.

Also, as I watched the secrecy around Ri Jin being kept in the basement, I had to wonder what Dad’s long-term plan was? If he had no plans to reveal her to the world, ever, then did he plan to just.. let her eventually die in there? 😳 It’s horrifying to think about.

The kicker in all of this, to me, is how Dad is a completely different person when he’s back in the Seung Jin household, compared to when he’d been living incognito as a carefree (though unemployed) fishing dude.

It makes me ask questions about Dad’s true personality, as in, had he always been this cruel and violent, and living in the countryside, away from Seung Jin had made those qualities dormant? Or had the realization that his father had cornered him into staying in a marriage that he’d thought he’d ended, bring out those qualities in him?

Beyond that, this startling change makes me think of Do Hyun (at the time, Joon Young). What a frightening change this must have been for him, given how carefree he’d used to be, and what a happy relationship he and Dad used to share.

Without all the other terrible happenings, this alone would be enough to mess up a child, wouldn’t it? To suddenly have his entire surroundings changed – and the parent he’s trusted so implicitly, and been so comfortable with, now changed as well, such that said parent is now a source of fear, where before he’d been a source of comfort. It’s terrible. 💔

Also, what a neat reveal, that Do Hyun had once promised to buy Dad a boat, and that boat was to have been named Perry Park! No wonder one of Do Hyun’s alters is named Perry Park, and no wonder Perry’s big dream is to own a boat!

It’s a lot to take in, both for Do Hyun and Ri Jin, and I’m glad that at least Ri Jin has her family around her, to remind her that she’s not alone, and that she’s loved.

Mom’s distress at seeing Ri Jin struggle, is so raw and poignant. Mom is such a hero, not only for having saved Ri Jin from that fire, but for having given her so much love and comfort, all this time.

I found Ri On’s treatment of Ri Jin, where he scolds her and tells her he won’t be her brother anymore, pretty highhanded, but I rationalize that he’s just that frustrated and upset, at seeing Ri jin suffer like this. I was actually quite horrified at first, to see him add more stress to Ri Jin, who’s already struggling to cope, but once I realize that all he wants, is for Ri Jin to agree to eat her meals, and tell him if she’s having a hard time, I felt a lot better about it.

I thought that voiceover conversation between Ri Jin and Ri On, while they take that walk together, was quite lovely. It’s all unspoken, of course, but I love the idea that even without giving voice to the words, they know. Ri On knows that Ri Jin is grateful, and he knows that she loves him – and she knows that he’s grateful for that love. It’s sweet.

Chae Yeon’s delusional, in the way she approaches Chairman Gran to make a deal that would benefit her relationship with Do Hyun. I mean, does Do Hyun even think that he’s in a relationship with you? Her obsession has really reached bizarre heights.

Importantly, Chairman Gran seeks out Do Hyun and offers to tell him the truth about what had happened that day of the fire, in exchange for him agreeing to return to Seung Jin Group. Well, now. It would have been helpful, wouldn’t it, if Chairman Gran had had the foresight to not kick Do Hyun out in the first place? I mean, if she’d just left him alone, he would’ve been right where she needed him, when she needed him. 😏

What an interesting question, of whether that car accident that had killed Min Seo Yeon and Chairman Gramps, had actually been an accident. Would Gran have killed her own husband, in order to make her son Chairman? My brain is possibly affected by the various sageuks I’ve watched; in those drama worlds, a Queen just might poison the King, in order to give her son the throne, after all.

What a reveal, that Do Hyun had actually planned to run away with Ri Jin, on the day of the party, and had even told her that they’d take a train together. Ahh. No wonder there’s this recurring motif of a train. In their eyes, it had represented freedom from the hellish lives they’d been living.

And how very awful, that Dad had shut Do Hyun out of the basement, while he’d beaten Ri Jin. It’s no wonder Do Hyun loses it, in this moment; by this time, there’s just so much pain, guilt and distress crushing him, that I’m not surprised this is the point at which he creates Shin Se Gi, to deal with the situation. It’s no wonder Shin Se Gi keeps saying the he’d been the one to save the child from the fire.

Ahhh. Now we know where Shin Se Gi gets his name from, as well. The matchbox that we see him hold, bears the name “New Century” – and that’s what Shin Se Gi means.

It’s a horrifying memory to resurface, because now Do Hyun needs to deal with the realization that he’d been the reason for the fire which had put his own father in a coma for so many years. Perhaps that’s why, at the end of the episode, Shin Se Gi makes an appearance again.

Episode 18

I actually really like how the various alters come out this episode, giving Ri Jin the chance to talk with each of them. This gives her – and us! – insights that feel important, but which I think would have been unlikely to have come out, but for the alters trusting Ri Jin enough, to open up to her.

The biggest thing that I get from Ri Jin’s conversation with Se Gi, is that Do Hyun taking her name, had been accidental instead of intentional. I’d had it in my head that Dad had purposely kept Ri Jin in the basement, in order to give his own son her name, but this episode, it seems that Dad had been preparing to introduce his son to the world, by his given name Joon Young.

It had been Do Hyun himself, who had mistakenly remembered that Do Hyun was his name, after the onset of his DID. This is what he’d meant in an earlier episode, when he said that there’d been a mistake, when his memories were pieced together.

He’d wished so hard to be in Do Hyun’s place, when Dad had been hitting her, that he literally believed his name to be Do Hyun, when he came to himself, and lost his memories of what had actually happened. And, in a desperate bid to sweep everything under the carpet and move on with a normal life, the adults had allowed him to keep the name Do Hyun – and that’s why the gender associated with the name Do Hyun, on the family register, was changed to male.

Dang, that’s heartbreaking. 😭 It’s way too much for a little kid to endure; I can see why his mind couldn’t withstand it.

On that note, I thought it might be helpful to mention that the word 마음 (ma-eum), is translated by my subs as “heart” but it is more accurately translated to include the mind as well. So rather than Do Hyun’s heart being shattered, which is what my subs keep saying, it’s more accurate to translate the dialogue as saying that his mind shattered into pieces.

Also, I thought that it deserves a mention, that Dad did go back to save Ri Jin from the fire. And it was his effort to save her, that eventually put him in a coma. How erroneous and unfair, that all these years, Gran’s been telling blaming Do Hyun, by telling him that Dad ended up like this, because he’d saved Do Hyun from the fire.

..Although, I guess I can understand Gran’s hatred towards Do Hyun. She’d seen him with that container of gasoline, after all, and knew that he’d been the one to start the fire. But, in order to not talk about that, nor about the existence of Ri Jin, Gran morphed her blame by giving it a slightly different backstory. The hatred stayed the same; the assigned reason just looked a little different.

While I didn’t love the confrontation scene with Alex (I mean, he’d seriously reduce his blackmail amount by $500,000, if Ri Jin would be willing to get cozy with him? That seems unlikely to me), I love the fact that when Ri Jin screams Do Hyun’s name, Do Hyun really comes to the fore.

And I love the conversation they then have in the car. I love that when Do Hyun expresses that he’s sorry for taking her name, she gives him a completely different perspective of things. The way he sees it, it’s all his fault, that Ri Jin suffered as she did.

However, from Ri Jin’s perspective, he’d been her source of hope, in a very dark time. And what she says is probably true; the reason that she didn’t lose her mind, is likely because Do Hyun had been there for her. He’d effectively shouldered the crushing mental weight of the terrible experience, by being her source of strength and hope. From Ri Jin’s point of view, his mind had shattered, because of her.

I love that Ri Jin now sets him free from the guilt of taking on her name, by giving him the name Do Hyun as a gift. Augh, that’s beautiful. 😭 I love that because of her gesture, Do Hyun will never have to feel guilty ever again, when he says that name.

I’m also amused and quite pleased, by the fact that Do Hyun’s alters take turns getting him into the right space, with Ri Jin.

I mean, Ri Jin does offer up a medical explanation (that because the main personality is wavering, therefore the alter egos are acting out more), but it feels like writer-nim is going more with Ri On’s explanation, that the alters are coming to hang around Ri Jin on purpose, to help her reunite with Do Hyun. And how tongue-in-cheek and self-aware, that Show has Ri On frame his opinion as a writer’s point of view. Ha.

It was great to see Perry Park again; I’ve missed him! He’s such a bright ray of sunshine, with his cheeky smile and cheerful Satoori.

I did love the little interlude that we get with Yo Seob, because this is the first time we get to hear how and why Yo Seob was formed. It’s really sad to hear that Do Hyun had first attempted suicide in high school, and that’s when Do Hyun had been given the baptismal name Yo Seob (which I think is an approximation of Joseph, which is usually romanized as Yo Seb).

I love the detail, that Yo Seob actually seems low-key pleased to see Ri Jin again. And how bittersweet, that Yo Seob talks about the likelihood of him disappearing, because Do Hyun is no longer suicidal. I find it really poignant, that he actually wants the chance to say goodbye to Ri Jin. And what a huge deal it is, for introverted Yo Seob to give Ri Jin a kiss on the cheek, too. Aw.

I’m glad that Yo Na got a chance to come out and see her Oppa for a bit, but mostly, I feel like Yo Na’s role was to get Do Hyun the right to sleep in Ri Jin’s bedroom, which is how we get that lovely, honest confession from Do Hyun, as he looks into Ri Jin’s eyes. (I’m choosing to ignore the literal impossibility of Ri Jin sleeping through her own fall from the bed, ha! 🙄)

What a lovely sentiment, that even though they’ve been apart for all this time, he’s had her name on his lips the whole time, and was thus still somehow connected to her. I’m glad that Do Hyun confesses that he finds it too hard to be apart from Ri Jin, and asks her to stay with him. Isn’t that such a perfect callback to that recurring phrase, “Don’t go”?

We’ve only got 2 episodes left, and as we end off this episode, I’m stoked to see that, 1, Do Hyun’s back at Seung Jin, with a whole lotta swag – and without Shin Se Gi at the helm, yay him!, 2, Do Hyun’s made things clear with Gran, that he’s going to do things the way he sees fit, ie, he’s not there to be her puppet, yay him again!, and 3, Ri Jin’s back at Do Hyun’s side, as they work out a new contract, where they promise to stick together regardless of any hardships. Ahhh. All good things!

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Ele Nash
1 month ago

Well, to give the show its due, it knows how to twist and wriggle in ways I’d sort of got but hadn’t actually got. The huge surprise that it was Do Hyun – gah, another name! Joon Young! Why had that been so cleanly swiped from his memory? – actually took our Do Hyun’s – gah, Oh Ri Jin’s – name. It wasn’t forced upon him by Dad after all. I didn’t know how to feel about this. It kind of felt weird. I like the way you saw it, kfangurl, as him retaining his girl, Do Hyun, and keeping her with him but it felt to me a bit… wrong. I don’t like that he’s keeping it either. I think merging all the personalities – and letting go of the less than functioning Do Hyun he’s been these past years – to become whole and become Joon Young might have been stronger. Maybe it will still happen. And, oh, thanks for the clarification on Shin Se Gi’s name. Just coincidence then it was the same Shin as Mum.

I did like that the clues and backstories tie into everything we’ve seen and heard, as you say. I absolutely LOVED little Do Hyun (Joon Young) – though deeply, deeply disturbing – becoming Shin Se Gi. The look on the boy actor’s face exactly mimicking our adult behind. Brilliantly twisted.

But, yah, why didn’t Granny STOP boy Joon Young / Shin Se Gi carrying that gasoline???!!! I literally couldn’t work out why she didn’t wrestle it from him! Erm, since when was it OK for a child to rattle around the house with highly flammable liquid??!!

Yeah, I wonder about Dad and his motives. I think maybe he was suffering from disassociation too. It was such a change in his character. But then, maybe he was in full faculties, to go back and try to rescue Do Hyun (Ri Jin).

Anyway, like , I am finally on board with Do Hyun and Ri Jin in a way I haven’t really been up til now. I am rooting for them as a couple – whereas before I was only rooting for them as individuals.

And, might I just add, Ri Jin and Ri On’s mum is so brilliant and kind and patient and brave. If you have to be trapped in a basement, beaten, and imminently burned to death, you really couldn’t do better than be saved by her 😆

merij1
merij1
1 month ago

Yes, a show where the ending brings everything together in a way that is satisfying. This was definitely the emotional melodrama segment of our viewing pleasure.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

It does feel as though the show is bringing us to the conclusion by introducing the re-integration of the various alters, both in terms of them coming together in Do Hyun’s characters (I was also touched by Yo Seob’s apparent farewell) and by explaining the various origin stories (all related to the experience with Oh Ri Jin…is that really a deliberate pun on the part of writer-nim?). Given that the basement backstory is so horrific to begin with, and gets worse the more we know about it, it is such a high-wire act to incorporate it into a show with comedic/popular culture aspirations. Ultimately, it’s not surprising that the clash of tone is so jarring to some of us.

The whole episode with Alex was just goofy. It’s like those horror movies where you just want to scream at the screen “DON’T GO IN THE WAREHOUSE ALONE!!!” Oh, Ri Jin, whaat is UP with you?

This was the pair of shows where I finally got comfortable with the idea that Do Hyun and Ri Jin are really sort of a nice OTP and hope that the new contract does not involve medical treatment…

Two more eps to go and one thing that I like is that I think I know where they’re going to end up but have no idea as to how they’ll get there.