Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I’ve got this shot headlining our post today, because I do love the sweet angst of the scene. Yes, in this case at least, I do seem to be a sucker for punishment, heh. 😁
SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:
ZERO SPOILER POLICY
1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.
We don’t want to spoil anyone’s watch experience with spoilers. The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD. ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).
This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.
We need to protect the innocent! 😉
2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
Oh man. This episode, Sabu steps in to save Jung Hoo, and ends up sacrificing his life, in order to do so. Gurgle. I did not see that coming. 😭😭 This is not ok. I am not ok. 😩
I find Sabu such a paradox. Sometimes, he comes across as heartless and cruel, like in the way he’d left Jung Hoo on his birthday, without so much as a heads-up. But at other times, he puts his entire life on the line, for those he cares about.
He put his life on hold for years, while taking care of Jung Hoo, and getting him ready to face life on his own. That’s pretty huge, even though his manner in doing so, was gruff and tough.
And then this episode, he put his life on the line, when he tells Moon Sik that he is going to protect the baby bears (namely, Jung Hoo and Young Shin), because he’s the friend of the papa bears.
I feel like Sabu had an inkling that it would be dangerous to pit himself against Moon Sik, since, as he points out, Moon Sik’s killed at least two people, and those two people had been his friends.
I feel like Sabu knew that there was risk, that by making a stand that he would protect the baby bears, that Moon Sik would make that 3 friends, instead of 2.
Still, it’s utterly tragic to see Sabu realize that he’s been poisoned, and then make the split decision to roll with it, by using whatever time he had left, to confess to being Healer, and giving Detective Yoon information about the last job that Healer had done for Moon Sik.
Gah. Was there no chance of Sabu surviving the poison, if he’d chosen to get help? Hrm..
Perhaps not.. I guess Secretary Oh’s hired assassin dude would have put a lethal dose in Sabu’s soup, in order to ensure that it would be effective, even if Sabu didn’t eat the whole bowl.
And, I’m guessing that Sabu knew enough, to know that it would have been pointless to get help, and had calculated, in that split second, that the best use of his remaining time, would be to protect Jung Hoo to the maximum.
AUGH. TEARS. 😭😭
Through this whole thing, I can’t help but be struck by the fact that Ahjumma had complete faith in Sabu to get out of there unscathed. Even when Jung Hoo had asked if he should go in there and get Sabu out, she’d stopped him.
..Is this an example of our good guys underestimating our bad guys?
Speaking of whom, I actually wonder if Moon Sik really gave the order to get rid of Sabu. Would he really be that heartless? Or, could it have been another one of Secretary Oh’s, er, proactive ideas?
However, from the way Moon Sik reacts darkly to Myung Hee pulling away from him and refusing to take her medicine, and the way he decides to break that glass, almost as if to see what it feels like, to destroy something, it makes me think that it’s Moon Sik who’d ordered Sabu’s poisoning. Gah.
Another thing that strikes me this episode, which I really didn’t give a lot of thought to in my previous watches, is the whole thing about Jung Hoo’s mom’s remarriage.
I’d always assumed that Mom had left Jung Hoo in order to remarry, with the added catalyst of Moon Sik’s threat adding pressure on her to not keep in active touch with Jung Hoo.
And this episode, we do see some of that coming into play, where Mom nervously tells Secretary Oh that she hasn’t been in touch with Jung Hoo for years.
What I don’t really get, is the flashback where teenaged Jung Hoo had gone to see Mom, and Mom had cried a lot, and then Mom’s new husband had apologized to Jung Hoo, saying that Mom had been unwilling to remarry, but he’d forced the matter.
I don’t.. get that?
The way New Husband plays it, it’s as if it’s his fault that Jung Hoo’s separated from Mom. But.. if that’s true, then why hadn’t New Husband told Mom that she could bring Jung Hoo with her, to make a new family with him?
I mean, I know it’s reasonably common for mothers to leave their children from their first marriage behind when remarrying, but there are also cases where they take their children with them (see Five Enough, as an example).
So, if New Husband had been so adamant, and Mom had been so unwilling, why hadn’t they taken Jung Hoo in? If not at the point of remarriage, they could have done so at the point when teenaged Jung Hoo had shown up? He didn’t have to walk away on his own?
I know, I know. It’s all in service of our story, because if teenaged Jung Hoo hadn’t been on his own, he wouldn’t have become Healer, and we would have no story. Still, narratively speaking, I did feel like this was kind of weak.
More important than either of those things, though, is the fact that this episode, Young Shin figures it all out. Now she knows that Bong Soo is Healer and Healer is Bong Soo, and that is so important and momentous. Ahhh!!
I love that we can see the gears in her head churning, as she turns over each piece of information in her head.
There are so many things that give her pause: the doctor saying that Bong Soo’s very muscular, so the laceration isn’t very deep; the way Bong Soo grips her hand, which reminds her of the way Healer had gripped her wrist, back at the movie theater.
The way Bong Soo had known that she needed two pills, to help with her anxiety, which is something that she’d told Healer; the fact that Bong Soo has that paper star that she’d folded, in a case in his car.
It all comes together in one big confronting conclusion, that Bong Soo is really Healer in disguise.
Even as I get a thrill from the fact that Young Shin does kinda-sorta know Healer by his hand, what I appreciate more, is how she processes this new realization.
In a fairytale sort of world, Young Shin might go starry-eyed at the thought that Healer, the person whom she likes so much, is right there next to her.
But in this drama world, Young Shin angsts over how Bong Soo’s lied to her from the start, and yet, she can’t confront him about it, because the moment she lets on that she knows, she’s afraid that he’ll leave and she’ll never see him again.
Guh. That feels so REAL, y’all.
That emotional reaction, which vibes so nuanced and realistic, is the thing that lends weight to this (on paper) manhwa-esque romance, between a girl and a mysterious superhero-esque night courier.
I do love that she has Dad to talk to, and that Dad manages to console her so well, with a hug and warm milk, and a listening ear.
That beat, where Dad talks about waiting for Young Shin to come to him first, at the orphanage, strikes me as good food for thought for Young Shin. It didn’t occur to me in previous watches, but now, I’m thinking that that’s good advice for Young Shin, to use with Healer.
Wait, and let him come to her first.
The way Young Shin proceeds to studiously avoid eye contact with Bong Soo at work, feels so relatable to me. I feel like if I were in her shoes, I’d find it hard to look Bong Soo in the eye as well.
After all, now she knows his secret, and she doesn’t really know what to do about it. She’s feeling so conflicted about it. She wants to talk with him about it, but she’s afraid that she’ll end up driving him away. I totally get her avoidance.
At the same time, the way that avoidance lands with Jung Hoo, is low-key amusing. I mean, his angst is written all over his face. The more Young Shin acts normal around him, while avoiding eye contact with him, the angstier he gets.
I kinda love it. I can’t deny that it’s a little bit fun, to see Jung Hoo be so antsy. 😅
At the same time, I really did love the conversation that Young Shin and Jung Hoo have at the cafe that night.
(Also, I don’t know what it is, but now that Young Shin knows that Bong Soo is Healer, Bong Soo starts looking really large to me, onscreen. It’s as if I’m suddenly noticing how broad his shoulders are, and how tiny Young Shin looks, next to him.
It’s perfect, but also, quite curious. How did they do that?)
The way Jung Hoo immediately says that he wants to change his choice, when he hears that if he’d picked “West,” Young Shin would’ve hugged him for 10 seconds, is so cute.
He really is turning out to be a very tactile sort of person. I feel like his love language is probably touch, and he’s been so starved of it all these years, that now that he loves Young Shin, he just can’t get enough of any sort of touch, when it comes to her.
The way the conversation turns into them talking in code, kind of thrills me. It’s definitely a case of “I know that you know that I know, but let’s not talk about that” sort of a thing.
Out of the entire conversation, I liked most, the bit where he tells her that there must be a reason that Healer isn’t coming, and she agrees, but says that Healer’s still a jerk – and Jung Hoo mumbles his agreement. Heh.
I do love that they manage to come to some sort of understanding, even without directly addressing the elephant in the room.
Last but not least, though, I’m kind of worried for Jung Hoo, as he realizes Sabu’s fate, upon making his way to the police station the next day.
That has got to be the most horrible thing, for Jung Hoo. Not only is this Sabu, the father figure whom he has a love-hate relationship with, it’s gotta hit really hard, that Sabu was only in this position, because he’d taken Jung Hoo’s place, in order to save him.
I honestly worry for Jung Hoo, coz this is such a huge blow to him. Because if I’m not ok, how could Jung Hoo possibly be ok? 😩💔
As expected, Jung Hoo is NOT ok this episode, and man, it really hurt to see him struggle. My heart went out to him, so much. 🥺
From the very beginning, Show’s introduced Jung Hoo to us as someone who’s more animalistic than human, in some ways, and this episode, as Dae Yong and that group of guys (whom I can only assume to be colleagues that I never knew Healer had) try and fail to stop him, that animalistic quality of Jung Hoo’s really comes through.
In this moment, he vibes somewhat like a wounded leopard, to my eyes; angry, hurting, weakened, confused, and anxious.
From the moment Jung Hoo realizes that it’s Sabu on that stretcher, and that something’s happened, and Sabu didn’t make it, he’s basically so beside himself that he’s out of control. No one can talk him down from his wild need to do something – not even himself.
It feels like his mind is going everywhere.
From needing to see Sabu’s body for himself, to wanting to confront Moon Sik and just kill him, it feels like Jung Hoo’s moving in a blind rage, kinda like a grizzly bear in attack mode, swiping at annoying nuisances with his giant paw – and probably hurting people more than he expects to.
While it’s not nice to see Jung Hoo just kick and incapacitate anyone who gets in his way of getting to Sabu’s body, I rationalize that he’s not thinking very straight – or at all – right now. He’s just overcome by so much anguish, grief and bewilderment, at what’s just happened.
And with his baser, animalistic instincts at the reins, and with him in possession of so much skill and physical power, it’s understandable – though still not great – to see him act in this way.
It’s actually really poignant to see that mixed in with all his grief, is regret. That scene, where Jung Hoo cries in front of Moon Ho, and bemoans the fact that he’d been so busy feeling angry at Sabu, that he hadn’t even eaten a meal with him, is so heartbreaking.
Augh. I really feel for Jung Hoo.
There’s got to be so much guilt at play in him, because what he said is true; he’s the one who’d demanded Sabu to appear, and he’s the reason Sabu had returned. In his shoes, it’d be hard not to engage in self-blame, for asking Sabu to return in the first place.
This episode, we also get Ahjumma’s backstory, and it’s such a tragic one.
From a bystander’s point of view, it’s easy to say that she should have forsaken her work in order to care for her child, but as with most things, I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated from where she’s standing.
As a cyber detective, she probably felt a great deal of responsibility, to bring cyber criminals to justice. And I’m sure that as a mom, she did want to be with her child.
I’m sure she felt extremely conflicted, having to choose between one or the other, since both likely felt important.
I’m also guessing that she probably felt helpless in her child’s situation, where she couldn’t actively do anything to improve his chances for recovery, whereas, with work, she at least felt like there was something that she could do, and she at least felt some measure of control.
It reminds me of how Jung Hoo demands that Moon Ho tell him something that he can do, right away, instead of just wait. In the midst of his agony, Jung Hoo felt that it would have helped him, to be able to do something.
I’m extending that thought to Ahjumma, and imagining that, perhaps, when her child was so sick in the hospital and she felt most helpless, it gave her a small measure of consolation, to focus herself on something where she felt she had some control.
Of course, that all falls apart, and not only does her son die, the case that she’d sacrificed her personal life for, gets covered up. It’s a completely debilitating situation, and I can see why Ahjumma would have withdrawn to live the hermit life, as she does now.
Augh. I can only imagine how much regret still lingers with Ahjumma, when she thinks upon her son. 😭
It makes me wonder whether Ahjumma kind of treats Jung Hoo like a son – even though she denies it vehemently, when Young Shin asks about it, later in the episode.
The way Ahjumma’s protective over Jung Hoo, underneath her gruff and prickly exterior, definitely makes me feel that she’s got a motherly soft spot for him.
That’s.. precious, especially considering how Jung Hoo doesn’t really have a true mother figure in his life, given his very pared down relationship with his mom.
I’m glad that Ahjumma succeeds in her hacking showdown with Detective Yoon and his team, and manages to get a copy of Sabu’s final video, from the interrogation room, to Jung Hoo.
And, I’m glad too, that even though it means turning her business upside down, she is quick to want to honor Sabu’s final wish, which is that Jung Hoo retire early as Healer, and live a normal life with the woman whom he loves.
At the same time, I can see why Jung Hoo would be so adamant, about keeping Young Shin at arm’s length. With all that’s happened, I can understand why he would feel that being around him would be dangerous for anyone.
With that thought center of mind, I can see why Jung Hoo would choose to just sleep. When your world comes crashing down, it’s a very natural instinct, to want to withdraw from it all.
I don’t think Jung Hoo himself has any idea how long he wants to withdraw from it all; I believe that he doesn’t think that far. All he knows, is that he can’t do anything, and can’t afford to let anyone near, and the best thing to do, is just bury himself and sleep it all away.
In the meantime, I appreciate that we get to see how Young Shin’s attitude towards Jung Hoo’s disappearance evolves as the days go by.
From being casual and noncommittal, she gets angry and belligerent – and then she becomes pensive and tentative, wondering if the reason Jung Hoo’s staying away, is because of something she’d done or said.
That evolution of feeling makes so much sense, and I love how that also gives us a sense of how time is passing, even as Jung Hoo continues to sleep.
I also appreciate that while Young Shin’s feeling all these feelings, she’s continuing to do things, on the work front. She’s still actively working on the feature on Moon Sik, and she even manages to make a positive impression on Myung Hee, whom she wants to interview.
I like that detail, that Young Shin cares deeply about Healer, but isn’t paralyzed by her feelings, even when he’s off the grid and she’s very concerned.
It makes so much sense to me, that when Ahjumma’s worried enough for Jung Hoo, to send someone to his place to check on him, she chooses Young Shin.
What Ahjumma says is true; Young Shin basically stands the highest chance of drawing Healer out of his lair.
That moment, when Young Shin understands what Ahjumma is saying, and her eyes immediately fill with anxious, fearful tears, is so touching, really.
When Ahjumma says that she needed to see Young Shin’s eyes, I completely understand what she means. Ahjumma had wanted to verify for herself, that Young Shin cares as much for Jung Hoo, as Jung Hoo cares about her. And those tears say it all. 🥲
I do love that Young Shin’s dark-side skills, which she’s picked up from all her con-artist ahjusshi friends, now come in useful, as she tracks Jung Hoo’s location, and works to find the entrance to his cave.
It makes me think that this must be the key reason that writer-nim made Dad a lawyer with lots of ex-cons in his vicinity in the first place. Young Shin needed to have those skills taught to her from a young age, for such a time as this. I do love the forward planning, heh. 😁
It’s honestly kinda surreal to see Young Shin in Healer’s lair like this, so it makes perfect sense to me, that when Jung Hoo opens his eyes, his first reaction is a groggy assumption that he’s dreaming.
I love that Young Shin’s first instinct is to care for Jung Hoo, from cradling him in her arms to warm him up, to cooking him a warm meal. That feels so needful for Jung Hoo, right now. The way he curls up so instinctively in Young Shin’s arms, is heart-pinching yet lovely, at the same time.
At the same time, I completely believe that because Jung Hoo cares about Young Shin’s safety, he pushes her away all the more – even though he does love her, and even though I’m sure he actually wants to spend time with her.
The experience of losing Sabu has caused a deep wound in Jung Hoo, and I totally believe that he thinks pushing Young Shin away from himself, is the best way to keep her safe.
I love that Young Shin somehow senses that there’s more going on with Jung Hoo than he lets on, and I love that she refuses to allow his brusque words to push her away.
I do love that the thing that finally manages to crack Jung Hoo’s resolve, is Young Shin’s gentle request, that he not send her away.
I love that even though Young Shin resists Jung Hoo’s efforts to lead her away from him, she responds with a persistence that is heavily flavored with gentleness.
The way she draws him into a hug, and plaintively asks him not to send her away, finally breaks down Jung Hoo’s defenses, and it is really poignant, to see him break down in tears like that.
It feels like those tears are coming from a deep, dark, unspoken place, and I’m glad that Young Shin’s there to just hold him.
I love how tenderly she wipes away his tears with her fingers, and then kisses him. Without words, she’s showing him that she accepts him, just as he is, and loves him, just as he is. Ahhhh. It’s all so very heady and swoony.
Melt. Flail. Swoon. ❤️