Drama Check-In: Healer-ya!Saturday, January 17, 2015
As you all might have noticed, Healer is taking the blogosphere (and Twitter) by storm. And although I wasn't going to post anything drama-related before my year-end reviews are up, I couldn't help but get caught up in the Healer-madness like everyone else.
So heads up, this is going to be a Healer-dedicated post, reminiscent of character-centric first impressions posts that I used to do. But I do give a small update on other dramas I'm watching at the bottom of the page, so you may check that out as well.
Anyways, let's talk Healer. (SPOILERS for episodes 1-12)
What's interesting about this drama is that it really isn't ground-breakingly good or new or anything. We've seen similar stuff before. Take City Hunter, for example, which basically has the same premise: Clark Kent type of hero who goes disguises himself as a masked vigilante of sorts, hiding his true identity from the girl he loves. Not to mention, the girl is played by the same actress in both dramas, which is kinda funny.
But I guess every once in a while a drama comes along that makes everything work, which definitely is the case with Healer. It just pulls you in.
Of course, most of the show's charm comes from a surprisingly compelling leading couple. And I say surprisingly because it's my first time seeing Ji Chang Wook in anything (boy, have I've been missing out) and I've never been a huge fan of Park Min Young, so I wasn't expecting them to click so well as an onscreen couple. But they do. There's that wonderful romantic chemistry which makes every interaction between the OTP so adorable and exciting and...well, just plain squee-worthy.
Besides, I do love the way Jung Hoo and Young Shin compliment each other's personalities, making me believe that they are truly right for each other. But most of all, the main reason why I enjoy the main couple so much is because I like both characters individually, something that actually doesn't happen that often for me.
As I am always drawn to the lonely outcasts of society, the solitude of Jung Hoo's character speaks a lot to me.
Having been abandoned by most people in his life, he isolates himself from others and pretends to not care for human connection, yet it's the very thing he needs and yearns for the most. He was clearly affected by his father's death as a teenager, causing him end up in juvie and afterwards finding himself alone when his grandmother dies and mother remarries. Then Teacher takes him under his wing and trains him, and Jung Hoo slowly starts to open up, only to be crushed yet again when out of thin air Teacher just leaves on his birthday. With that much abandonment, I'm not surprised Jung Hoo is afraid to form relationships with anyone ever again.
But then he meets Young Shin, who's so warm, caring and open with him that he can't help but let her in and fall in love with her. Yet I can wholly understand his inner struggle of wanting to reveal his real self to her, while also feeling discouraged and scared that she might not accept him if she knew he's been lying to her. And that's exactly the stuff that gets me.
Young Shin has also experienced her share of abandonment in the past, although she is yet to learn the truth about her real parents which is going to be even more devastating for her. However, differently from Jung Hoo, Young Shin maintains a positive outlook on life and isn't afraid to let people in. The way she accepts Jung Hoo's reporter alter-ego Bong Soo from the get-go is so heartwarming, especially because we know what it means to Jung Hoo.
Of course, Young Shin isn't completely unaffected by her past as she still suffers from panic attacks. Nevertheless, Young Shin actively deals with conquering her fears, whether it's by singing out loud to relieve stress or by putting on a brave face in scary situations. She's not one to wallow in self-pity. It's quite evident it is thanks to her adoptive family, who took good care of her and taught her to trust people again (how much I love her crazy private dance parties with dad), that she's doing so well. Jung Hoo unfortunately wasn't so lucky, but meeting Young Shin is definitely changing that.
While I do love the main couple to bits, I do think that the show's charm does not only come from a compelling OTP, but also from interesting supporting characters who keep the backstory from becoming tedious.
By this I mainly mean Moon Ho, played by the wonderful Yoo Ji Tae, who I didn't expect to like so much. It's funny because usually male second leads exist to give us terrible second lead syndromes for being so perfect. Moon Ho, on the other hand, is far from perfect. He is a flawed character, who keep you on your toes because you don't know how he might act or for which team he plays for in the next round.
That being said, I don't see Moon Ho as a villainous character because his main goal is still to protect Young Shin and help her reunite with her real mother Myung Hee. He is driven by intense guilt and clearly wants to redeem himself for not revealing the truth earlier. However, I am worried whether this war against Moon Shik will take a toll on him and make him lose the good in himself. Already we see him falling more into darkness. When he admitted to Moon Shik that they are indeed alike and that to fight evil, he must become evil to an extent, it made me worry that things might not end well for him in the end.
Yet there are moments where we see Moon Ho's tender side, mostly around Myung Hee or Young Shin. But I was pleasantly surprised that he showed genuine concern for Jung Hoo as well when he learned about his Healer identity. And I loved that moment in episode 11, where Moon Ho looks at Jung Hoo as he's walking away and imagines Jung Hoo's father walking beside him, recognizing the similarities in their mannerisms.
Unfortunately, Moon Ho chose to lie to Jung Hoo about Ji An, which was not really the right approach to take with a guy who has trouble trusting anyone as it is. But I hope they resolve their issues soon because reporter Moon Ho and Healer are the perfect team to fight Moon Shik.
Speaking about Moon Shik, I am glad that he's turned out to be a relatively interesting villain. Despite the fact that Moon Ho despises him, so far Moon Shik hasn't shown to be evil enough to physically hurt his own baby brother right back (though we can't be sure he won't decide to do that in the future). And while he ultimately betrayed his friends and lied about Ji An, the flashbacks involving the Elder suggest that he didn't plan the murder of his friend himself. It rather seems that he might have gone along with it, upon realizing that he could ensure himself a good life with Myung Hee if he sells his soul to Elder. It's hard to say whether he feels any guilt or regret over betraying his friends as we are yet to learn the full story, but I do hope the drama gives us more insight into him eventually.
We can say for sure, however, that things are going to get tough for him because Myung Hee no longer blindly believes him. Whether the loss of Myung Hee's trust is going to push him to do the right thing or more wrong things, I guess we will see that soon enough.
And lastly, did anyone else freak out when episode 12 ended on a cliffhanger and realized that we need to wait for a whole week to see what's going to happen to Jung Hoo and whether Young Shin finally learns that Bong Soo and Healer are the same guy. AGH, this show...I love it that it did that, but at the same time I hate iiiiiit.
So to relieve some of that excruciating anticipation, let's have a quick ride down the memory lane with...
SOME OF MY FAVOURITE HEALER MOMENTS SO FAR:
Episode 2: Dance like nobody's watching.
Episode 3: Just like old times.
Episode 5: That little smile. *swoon*
Episode 7: The way he looks at her.
Episode 8: The kiss!
Episode 9: Looking gorgeous together.
Episode 10: Oof, that expression.
Episode 10: The almost kiss.
Episode 10: Young Shin and Bong Sookie having a good time.
Episode 10: Jung Hoo don't go breaking my heart :(
Episode 11: They're holding hands! Omgigdfhsfdjangglafk!
OTHER DRAMA UPDATES:
- Finishing up Misaeng and Bad Guys. Absolutely ADORE Misaeng, probably my favourite drama of 2014, though I've found it hard to watch more than two episodes in a row because of the episode length. Bad Guys is really cool. But as I am not a fan of crime-shows, I'm mostly watching it for the characters.
- Also watching Pinocchio. Or at least I was, but I didn't have time for it during Christmas-time and New Years, so now I'm lagging behind. Besides now that I'm all over Healer, I haven't felt like watching Pinocchio that much.
- Checked out the first episodes of Itazura Na Kiss: Love in Tokyo season 2. Glad to see Kotoko and Naoki again, though I wish the plot would move faster into the part where they start attending medical school.
- Trying to watch Liar Game, but somehow it's just doesn't grab me. I don't know what it is, because I don't have any specific complaints about it. Maybe I grow more into it as I pass the half-mark.
- Also watching Pride & Prejudice (because of Choi, obviously), but the legal stuff is still kinda boring for me, which is why I haven't progressed at all.
- Gave Kill Me, Heal Me a go. It was weird, both in tone and in the story. Too soon to say if I like it or not. I do love Se Gi and his craziness, but Hwang Jung Eum Jung annoys me to no end with her screaming.