After a more light hearted tone in episode 15, we return to the intense and emotional tone of the previous episodes as our characters continue to work through the past and seek much needed answers.
While it was only a matter of time before Young Shin found out that her mum was still alive, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to come so early in the episode and as Moon Ho said, not in a car park. Throughout the series, Healer has ways been one step ahead of the viewers, reaching key points in the story earlier than expected, giving more time to explore the implications within the same episode itself. This was also the case with Moon-Ho’s discovery that Bong Soo was Healer. When the episode ended with Moon-Ho discovering the phone, I was expecting that we would have to wait at least an episode or more while Moon-Ho tries to confirm his suspicions before Jung Hoo finally reveals himself. However, I was pleasantly surprised that within minutes of the next episode, Jung Hoo stepped forward to Moon Ho and revealed the true identity of Healer and we got to see them relating to each other with this renewed dynamic. This brisk style of storytelling continually makes Healer such an enjoyable viewing experience.
What I also appreciate greatly is that these moments of revelation are not overly milked for emotional impact with the characters extensively dwelling on their pain and taking drastic actions. Instead we get to see our characters handling their emotions maturely, working through them and finally overcoming them. I was concerned that Young Shin’s distrust of Moon Ho after knowing the truth would lead to extensive moping around and her deciding not to work with him any more. However, the whole story line is handled very well, which also leads us to admire Young Shin’s hardiness even more.
She is certainly shocked and in denial when she first learns the truth. She walks away and tells that her name is Young Shin, not Ji Ahn. Yet after having some time alone and processing what Moon Ho told her, she chooses not to dwell on it, but returns to his office, eager to find out more about the past. Moon Ho’s joy when he sees her is so evident and what follows is a genuine and heart-warming conversation as Moon Ho shares with her that her birthday is the next day and her mum always prepares a huge feast on that day. Young Shin smiles when she finally knows her real birthday. We also get a funny moment of Moon-ho telling her that Jung Hoo is her oppa by one month. It’s a really beautiful scene
In between the two scenes mentioned above, we see Young Shin also grappling with trusting Jung Hoo. Moon Shik attempts to instil distrust and fear in Young Shin by telling her that Healer is a killer and that his dad killed her dad. This leads Young Shin to distance herself from Jung Hoo when he comes to see her and she’s unable to hug him or even touch him initially. He tells her that he’s to uncover the truth and walks off in pursuit of it. Just before he walks out of the cafe, Young Shin stops him and asks him to come back, even if he doesn’t find the truth. Park Min Young is truly the star of this episode as she plays Young Shin’s conflicted state so well. She’s fearful and distant because she’s still processing what she’s heard about Jung Hoo’s dad murdering her dad. She knows instinctively it’s not true, yet without evidence, it’s hard to grapple with it. However, she’s also battling her emotions and deep down, she can’t let him go because he means so much to her, even more so now that she knows their childhood connection.
While the episode has certainly explored Young Shin’s initial reactions to the revelation of her past well, I do hope this continues to be explored in future episodes with more scenes of her talking to Moon-ho about the past and understanding more about her biological parents.
The above emotionally heavy-going scenes are interspersed with scenes of Jung Hoo getting closer to the truth of what happened to his dad as he discovers that Park Dong-Chul has taped his dad’s statement from twenty years ago. Of course, things are not so straightforward as Moon-Shik is already onto this, with his guys tailing closely behind Jung Hoo, ready to take him down in the church. It was a nice touch to get Myung-hee also involved in the conflict and it is her who alerts Moon-ho that Jung-hoo is in trouble. They arrive in the scene just in time to see Dong-Chul dead and Jung-hoo covered in blood, which causes Young Shin to recoil in fear once again. This whole storyline is relatively standard action series material and while there’s nothing unpredictable or particularly exciting about it, it does show our main characters gradually rallying together to work as a team to look out for one another in order to defeat Moon-Shik and Elder.
To close on a more superficial note, I really have to say that I love the song “Eternal Love” from the OST. I’ve read quite a few commenters or blogs mention that they don’t like it because it’s so dated or even cheesy. It certainly has a boy-band vibe but I like it exactly because it has a certain nostalgic sweetness to it. Of course, my enjoyment of the song is now further enhanced by its association with Jung Hoo and Young Shin’s relationship.