Healer Episode 12: One of the finest hours of television ever


Wow – if there’s such a thing as a perfect hour of television, this would be it. Where do I even begin? Words fail to convey how good this episode is, but I’ll try.

Within the span of one hour, we have emotional revelations, highly charged confrontations, growing affection, heartfelt conversations and suspenseful engagements. It’s beautiful to see how the show juggles all the different storylines as well as past and present so skilfully, bringing everything together so coherently and satisfyingly. I really love how the scenes concurrently advance several storylines, giving the show a good sense of energy and pace. For example, the early scene with Young Shin pitching to Moon-ho to explore the suicide of President Hwang builds on the storyline of her growing confidence as a reporter, yet also adds to the growing romance between Young-Shin and Healer and the narrative of Moon-ho protecting her from danger (both physical and emotional).

I really love how the interactions are so layered because we know one or more characters are hiding something from the other. Yet beyond the secrecy, there’s also something very raw and heartfelt about all the interactions. The most memorable ones in this episode were those between Myung-Hee and Jung-hoo and subsequently Jung-hoo and Moon-ho. Myung-Hee generally wears her heart on her sleeve and she’s never one for hiding her emotions and while she tries to act calm when Moon-shik first introduces her to Jung-hoo, she gradually breaks down once he goes straight for the jugular and asks about his father’s murder. It’s touching to see how she tries to hold herself together for Jung-hoo, but eventually can’t and goes into a panic attack. What’s also great is that while Jung-hoo is not told that Ji-Ahn is still alive, he pieces things together after seeing some photographs and the truth dawns upon him devastatingly.

I really, really enjoyed the interactions between Moon-ho and Jung-hoo in the previous episode, particularly at the junk  yard, but this episode just takes it up several notches – big props to both actors for conveying their emotions so powerfully. Ji Chang Wook is really amazing in the confrontation scene, where he simultaneously displays bravado and vulnerability. While putting on a strong front, we see it crumbling as he holds back his tears and heart-breakingly tells Moon-ho not to interfere in his life with Ji-Ahn. There’s a mix of betrayal, anger, disappointment and pain in his portrayal. Yo Ji-tae also puts up an impressive performance and his face just tells it all. Moon-ho doesn’t fight back, even opening his arms to Jung-hoo, because he knows immediately what has happened. He has no satisfactory answer for Jung-hoo, yet he also knows that he has to do what’s necessary to protect both him and Young Shin/Ji Ahn.

And this leads us nicely to the scenes between Bong Soo and Young Shin, which are always so delightful and fun and provide us with much needed levity in the midst of a heavy-going episode. Loved so many things here – how Young Shin kicked Bong So away when he tries to go in for another hug, how she ridiculed him for his fear of bugs and said he’s not a man, her tricking him into touching his eyes and him pretending that her food is terrible. In the midst of these, we have a moment of affection where Young-Shin wipes the foam off Bong So’s mouth and also an all-too-familiar feeling when their hands brush against each other.  Underlying all the romance is also Jung-Hoo’s realisation of who Young Shin really is and while him seeking her out is certainly because he likes her, it’s also about him seeking his past and attempting to be close to her because he knows she’s in possible danger.

I could go on and on about all the scenes in this episode, but I’ll just mention one final scene which was unexpectedly heartfelt and touching. While Jung-hoo’s pursuit of truth regarding his dad has left him even more pained, he finds comfort and parental love in Min-Ja, who is somewhat like a father-like figure to him – protecting him, managing his finances, giving him advice. It was so moving to hear him confess to her “I like Chae Young-Shin” and while she’s been trying her utmost best to keep them apart, she finally gives her stamp of approval the end of the episode and calls upon Young-Shin to rescue Jung-Hoo/Healer/Bong So.

In the midst of handling these big pieces, the episode still manages to advance the smaller storylines like Young Shin’s growing confidence as a journalist, the emerging reputation of Some Day, Detective Yoon’s pursuit of Healer and Moon-shik being nominated as the next mayoral candidate. I said I’ll stop talking about the scenes in the episode, but I certainly can’t end off the review without at least mentioning the interactions between Moon-Shik and Moon-Ho in this episode which were so intense. Moon-Ho displays such contempt for Moon-Shik, yet his contempt also leads to a sense of self-loathing as he realises he’s no better than Moon-Shik.

At the end of the episode, all the storylines have progressed signficantly yet we’re left intrigued by what’s going to happen next. Will Young Shin find out Healer’s true identity and more importantly, how will she respond when she realises that everyone’s been hiding the truth from her? What exactly happened to Myung-Hee and what role did Moon-shik have to play? How did Jung-Hoo’s father get accused of murder? What does Moon-ho mean when he says that Ji-Ahn/Young Shin will truly lose her mother if she realises the truth?

At the heart of it all, Healer is a masterful piece of storytelling. It does not rely on any gimmicks – no over-the-top action sequences (yes, I am thinking of the K2 here), no mind-blowing plot twists and no bewildering supernatural elements. What it does is simply tell the stories of three intertwined lives in such a competent, compelling and compassionate manner. No doubt, Healer is a show in a league of its own and this episode is a truly a classic.

10 thoughts on “Healer Episode 12: One of the finest hours of television ever

  1. poetryandnook
    poetryandnook November 4, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Hi wow what can I say, this is probablynthe best episode review (for ep12) that i have read! Very good insight, i love how you put all together the nice words in the best scenes in this ep. This is one of my fave ep of Healer as all the various layers of emotions are fitted in one single episode! I like how you give meaning to all the characters in this ep. It is just I am re-watching ep12 all over again (note: this is I guess my most watched ep ahihihi).

    I love reading your comments and insights! Congratulations! I am an instant fan!

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 5, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks poetryandnook for your very encouraging words! Wow how many times have you rewatched Healer? I am sure there’s something new you spot each time you rewatch it!

      • poetryandnook
        poetryandnook November 6, 2016 / 12:32 am

        I have lost count on how many times I have re-watched Healer already! But i know that on a weekly basis I will rewatch an episode or two ahahaha! It has been my drama binge the whole time. And yeah you are correct everytime I watched it there will always be new realization or new spot of gems that I am introduced to. The re-watch value of Healer is I think one of its innate beauty!
        Looking forward to your next writing. 😊

  2. Young@heart November 4, 2016 / 10:42 am

    Wow! Another great analysis, I have read anyone written this so expertly. Yeah love all the scenes too especially SJH confession to ajumma about youngshin. I am waiting for your next episode. Great 👍

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 5, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Thanks young@heart for your encouraging words! 🙂 it’s such a joy to write about good dramas! Helps me relive my enjoyment of them again.. haha

  3. Mary Bethany November 4, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    one thing i noticed about your ‘thoughts’ is that, you are objective, and this set of Healer thoughtsw does NOT exist or generated out of just pure ‘fangirling’ over a very mesmerizing JCW. that said, you spend a good amount of times analysising most of the Key characters in the story: Moon-ho, Myung-Hee, Min-Ja… befire dive unto the very classic scenes of Healer, the cinema intervined hand (which at one point dramabeans’ beanies actually called it “Hand-porn”)… you see, a top notch acting and real chemistry which coupled with excellent character crafting (on the Script writer’s part) makes simple scene like intertwined hands felt so ‘sexy’ and ‘inspired lots of thoughts”.. a good script writer don’t just write good OTP characters, but also wrote interesting and touching supporting roles, and weaved them well around the OTP.

    loved the quiet unspoken moments spoke million words between both (yes, am talking about the ‘hand-porn’),.. that moment both hang on to each other in unspoken promises and comfort, when One simply cannot give anything since AHjumah just told him to leave that girl alone, and let her find a worthy guy that can pamper her all he can… yet he dare to dream that one fine day, he can cleared his dad’s name, and come clean and able to love her just like any guy dreamt to love his true love. that hand-fold is also Youngshin’s very eagle moments to prove to him that, she is contented and fine to take things slowly and wait… given if any other Kdrama’s female lead character, that character will be wilfill enough to demand to look at his face at least, or demand a hug more, a kiss more… but she is willing to on a date witout having touch him, spoke to him, or even just look at him thru some super dim light… she absolutely want nothing from him, and she wants him to know that and goes on to do what he must do, until that day when he is ready to face her and reveal himself.
    this is so selfless on her part… compare this female lead character and that of the present drama that he is acting in, and tell me… is it really “sour grapes syndrome” that we are hanging on to, to keep comparing or not willing to let go of Changmin (or Junghoo/youngshini) in our heart?
    Here, Chae Youngshin is none the stereotype “Pretty, Young, Funny, Popular” female lead. although she is still nonetheless pretty, young and funny . but while she is pretty, she does not goes round roaming in white satin silky robe and emphaized on her prettiness, which means “beauty” is never what attract BOngsookie to her. While she is indeed young, she is much more mature than peers of her own age, tragic past has make her into a fighting leopard than a whinning lamb. Yes, she is cheerful most of the time, because she knows those who loved her, like her dad and her ahjushi and the minions gangsters, all will be affected by her beaming smiles or the lack of it. She needs to be happy and strong to be encouraging the Big Family that has accepting her and loved her. on top of the “pretty, Young, funny, popular” characteriestics she has, she is also Patient, kind, brave, fighting hard, persevered, trusting….

    can Ji Chang wook himself not see that? and i am not talking just about Seo Junghoo, but Ji Changwook himself not admire this kind of girl, yes. in an interview, he did mentioned that he liked the character of Chae Youngshin… i believed in comparison to even the present projects he is taking on, there is none female lead like unto Chae Young shin.

    sorry, ‘hero otb’ i yak too much, once i start talking Healer, its just never ends…. (after almost 2 yrs, still works like that.)

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach November 5, 2016 / 9:08 pm

      Hey Mary Bethany, haha.. yup my style is more objective.. as my site title says “analysis”! I really enjoying reading your thoughts especially on how unconventional Young shin is as a heroine and I do agree! It’s amazing that the show has retained such great following even until now. I am very excited to watch the rest of the series…

      • heroonthebeach
        heroonthebeach November 6, 2016 / 8:30 pm

        I am trying to prolong my viewing of Healer by watching one episode every day instead of finishing all within 1 to 2 days.. so that I can truly savour and enjoy each episode 🙂

  4. hatedots (@GhantieLang) November 6, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    Yeah, that’s what Im doing too.. Healer a day, makes my worries away… plus the playlsts, every day at work, home and in the car…

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