Healer: Mid-season thoughts 

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This is a truly solid series all round.

While one can argue that the storylines of Jung-Hoo, Young-Shin and Moon-ho intertwine too neatly, the writing of this show is precisely so solid because it melds the stories of three lives and their histories so artfully and meaning. Their backstory centres around a photograph of five individuals and remains largely a mystery that is unveiled bit by bit, to add the right amount of understanding of present day events and emotional weight to our characters’ predicament.

At the mid way point of the series, we’ve had plenty of revelations and our characters have progressed significantly in their relationships but there is still a lot to keep us intrigued and engaged, especially now that Moon-ho has discovered the identity of Healer. The pacing of the series is top notch as it steadily advances the different storylines simultaneously within each episode.

It’s in its character work that the show truly excels too. We have three very fascinating, complex characters who are competent in their own fields, yet also display vulnerabilities arising from their past. The star of the show really is Yoo Ji-tae who plays the role of Moon-ho with such maturity, confidence and subtlety. In his professional role as a reporter, he’s suave, sharp and shrewd, yet when exploring the past, he displays much tender-heartedness and remorse, especially when relating to Myung-hee. His interactions with his brother Moon-Sik are layered and tense, a mixture of contempt, anger and mystery. Clearly Moon-Sik is the “villain” of the show, yet we are also privy to the guilt that entraps him as well as his entanglement with Elder from the past.

Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young put up very strong performances too. Their romance is cute, quirky, fun to watch and ultimately convincing because they have also been given a lot of quality material to work with. Their romance functions as a natural extension of their own personal search for identity, family and ultimately a place in this world. After watching this show, I realise Ji Chang Wook has really been shortchanged in K2, where he plays an action hero who’s relatively straightforward in terms of characterisation and motivations. In this series, he arguably plays three roles – Bong-So, Healer and Jung Hoo and he switches amongst the roles with such aplomb it’s almost amazing. There are scenes where he switches between Bong-so and Healer “mode” and it’s all done through his eyes and facial expression.

In terms of the romance, we see it developing through the interplay of two sets of interactions between Young-Shin and Bong-So as well as her and Healer. With Bong-So, Young-Shin finds a confidant and someone whom she can just talk for hours with. With Healer, she finds a protector – someone who’s always watching out for her and will put himself in danger for her sake. The dual roles that Jung Hoo takes on also adds such an interesting dimension to their interactions, more so in recent episodes where we see him almost deciding to shed his “Healer” identity for a more public one. I really liked the scene where Bong So brought Young shin to his secret place on top of a building and confessed his feelings for her. His reaction to Young Shin’s rejection of him due to her feelings for Healer points to bigger decisions he needs to make. In that scene, he switches to “Healer” mode when he tells he can live as she wants to. It’s truly to the credit of the show that it can balance such weighty moments with light-hearted fun as the scene ends off with cute bantering between them as Young Shin asks Bong-So when he started liking her. I also liked their recent movie date “together”. While they are seated apart, there’s such connectedness between them and that holding of hands at the last moment was just beautiful. I like that Young shin does not go on a pursuit of Healer’s identity, but plays by his rules and respects his need to keep his identity a secret.

Besides getting all the big pieces done well, the show also handles the so-called smaller areas well. It has a fascinating ensemble of supporting cast, who are sufficiently fleshed out to make you care for them. My favorites have to be Min Ja and Teacher who are so quirky and entertaining to watch. Young-Shin’s father is also hilarious in how protective he is over Young-Shin. Another area would be the music for the series. I often find the music in Korea drama over-bearing and it’s almost as if they are on cue to tell you how you should be feeling in a particular scene. However, for Healer, this is not the case and most of the tunes are subtle enough to gently complement the emotions on screen.

As icing on the cake, watching this series also makes one feel happy and positive. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true! There are many solid dramas out there, but their viewing experience differs – some may be solid because they make you feel a sense of intrigue and suspense (e.g. Signal); others may you feel amazed and blow your mind because of the plot twists (e.g. W Two Worlds). However, for Healer, there’s such as bubbly, lively energy to the series that makes it so likeable and relatable. It’s such a joy to watch this show, which is really a huge plus point. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series unfolds and from what I’ve seen so far, I’m confident it’s going to be great!

10 thoughts on “Healer: Mid-season thoughts 

  1. Mary Bethany November 2, 2016 / 9:58 am

    Hi, saw your post at dramabeans, in case where you do NOT know of this site, welcome you to join us and drool over Changmin couple. the fact that we still exist after almost 2 yrs, means that Changmin (Changwook and Minyoung) has mesmerized us beyond the usual KD OTP norms on screen, their chemistry off this realm whether is it in reel or in real, if you are enchanted by his Junghoo and Youngshin on screen, wait till you watch their Changwook and Minyoung off screen. then you compare with the past 6 weeks what you witnessed as so call ‘chemistry’ (Not).
    welcome to:
    http://forums.soompi.com/en/topic/345014-official-ji-chang-wook-%E2%9D%A4-park-min-young-changmin-~healer-couple~/

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 2, 2016 / 10:18 am

      Thanks Mary for recommending the site. I just joined soompi as a member and am impressed at the level of discussions there! Shall check out the forum thread you mentioned 🙂

  2. young@heart November 2, 2016 / 2:00 pm

    Wow! Well written, healer is in a class of its own. I completely agree with your analysis, I keep watching healer over and over again. The writer is so smart showcasing a topic that could have been be boring like the LA video clip in the first episode and made it so interesting at the last episode. I believe that was some serious ethical issues in society that she discussed without focusing too much on it. She is a brilliant writer

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 2, 2016 / 4:41 pm

      Yes young@heart – totally agree that she’s a brilliant writer and I’ll be looking out for her other dramas to follow after completing Healer!

  3. Mary Bethany November 2, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    the photo you chosen atop.. has some special meaning for me, and it touch certain strings as always.. i felt its much easy for a man to declare he can die for you,,, so grand huh… but, for someone to say he will live for you, even change his life style for you, live in the image you want, quietly just contented to be beside you.. i cannot help but being touched to my core. this OTP has many moments that move you, and they are not just moments of kissing and hugging as in most OTP swooning… this OTP has many lines that inspire you, or set you thinking deep.. in fact above all the special quotes i loved, i guess i specially loved this confession of Love toward Youngshin,… i have some thoughts… in fact say if Seo Junghoo decided to buried the identity of Healer and forever just be Bong sookie beside her, i guess in some times future, she will still come to fall in love with him, in fact she has already being stirred by him, cared for him, worried for him, happy for him to be saved, pour unto him things she never ever told another soul… in fact in the end, he did took on Bong sookie’s life, and stay contented beside her… selflessly.

    a good writer.. wrote excellent words that move hearts, need not be cheesy, just this ep alone.. there are tons of good lines.. and well. sometimes the best lines are the unspoken words that writer wrote in… those silent slow intense moments inside the lift, when Youngshin was struggled with her lift- phoebia , and Junghoo trying to smile her… while not much were said at that moments… i loved the introduction of that lift scenes and the rooftop confession.. very sincere, very touching.

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 2, 2016 / 4:43 pm

      Hi Mary, yes – that scene was really so well-written and so well-acted; one of the most memorable scenes thus far. Agreed with you too that there’s a lot in the drama conveyed through what is unsaid, like the life phobia or those moments where Jung Hoo just looks at Young Shin longingly when she calls Bong So. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the drama. Makes me even more excited to watch on and complete the series!

  4. poetryandnook
    poetryandnook November 4, 2016 / 4:03 am

    Hi Hero on the beach (i love your name) thank you for this! It made me realized that Healer indeed is soon to be one of those classic drama of all times as many like you has been added to its million of fans around the globe! I have followed your blogsite amd I am ready to read all your kd drama analysis of other dramas.
    Much to say, welcome to the wonderful world of Healer, looking forward to your next analysis! Happy watching and witing!

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 4, 2016 / 4:49 am

      Thanks poetryandnook for your support and your kind words! Yes Healer is truly in a world of its own. I am preparing an entry on episode 12 now, which just blew my mind!

      • poetryandnook
        poetryandnook November 4, 2016 / 7:06 am

        Ahahaha ep12 is just daebak! I am excited to read your writings! I cant help but read anything about Healer…I perhaps is stuck for too long already!

      • heroonthebeach
        heroonthebeach November 4, 2016 / 7:14 am

        Haha posted it already !

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