Analysing k-drama has helped me realise how much work goes into these shows and appreciate them so much more. Having written over 200 blog entries, I would like to share my approach on how to analyse k-dramas so as to enjoy them so much more. I have a degree and Masters in English and will be applying literary and film analysis techniques in the webinar.
I will be launching a webinar very soon titled “Unlocking the Keys to K-drama” soon. The webinar will cover my Genre, Characterisation, Technical Details approachusing dramas like Healer, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin, Suspicious Partner, Hotel Del Luna and The World of the Married. If you are interested to sign up, please indicate your interest by clicking this link and you will be placed on a mailing list to be notified once the webinar is up. Spaces will be limited since it is my first run. Thank you!
Expectations are always high for finales, especially for this showwhich has displayed such masterful storytelling and characterisation throughout. I won’t deny being a tad disappointed because there were certain resolutions and back-stories I would have liked fleshed out more. Honestly, this is one show that certainly justifies being extended for at least two more episodes and that’s truly to its credit because it has built such a compelling world with characters that are so well fleshed out and relatable that there’s just so much more we want to know about them.
The experience of Healer was definitely one of a kind, where the viewing experience went beyond just watching a TV show to being immersed in its world each week. As someone who loves good writing, there was such joy to witness a story being so gracefully and purposefully developed across the span of 20 episodes, with never a moment wasted. Well, enough of gushing, and on to what happens in the finale!
The Final Showdown
As hinted at in the previous episode, Jung Hoo takes proactive steps in the war with Healer, embarking on a mission that is fraught with uncertainty and danger. He steps into Elder’s territory and deceives him into believing that he has shifted his loyalties. By doing so, he gradually leads Elder and his team into a trap that he’s thoughtfully set up. It’s a well-crafted, intelligent, risky plan that’s certainly a joy to watch unfolding. Most importantly, it’s a plan that Jung Hoo cannot execute on his own, which is a nice contrast to the first episode where we saw him being similarly sharp and smooth, but working on his own with ahjumma.
The airport becomes a tense battleground, where we see Jung Hoo trying to convince Double S that he’s on their side while also executing sneaky moves beneath their very eyes to shift the ball to his court. Someday News plays a prominent role again as Young Shin cordons off a toilet and converts it into an interview room for Kim Jae-yoon, while Moon-ho simultaneously coordinates with the team back in office to begin a live feed. They begin to expose the footage of the village in health crisis, cutting to the interview with Jae-yoon. Even before she says much, Jung Hoo jumps in to stage a capture of her, dragging her out while also instructing her to scream. As he pulls her out, he passes the fake vial of bacteria over to Manager Ahn while she flees, unaware that another assassin is waiting to plunge a syringe into her. Jung-hoo aims his gun at the assassin and the police force led by Detective Yoon enter. A gun-shot is fired and we initially have no idea who’s shot, but we finally see that it’s Jung-Hoo, who collapses to the ground. This creates enough distraction for the assassin and allows the police to apprehend all the forces of Double S.
We quickly learn that the whole shooting was staged through a funny sequence of Jung Hoo rehearsing how he would fall after being shot and then Moon-ho and him smiling to Detective Yoon as he lies down in a pool of blood. Through ajumma’s genius manipulation, the whole incident is framed as the death of Bong Soo, who was assigned by Omega Holdings to kill Jae-yoon. The video of Elder talking to Russian scientists is also exposed and with that, Elder is finally taken down.
It’s such an elaborate plan with so many moving parts, yet it never feels confusing or difficult to follow. What’s impressive also is how the show inserts little sweet moments within this entire sequence, the first being Jung Hoo calling Moon-Ho “Uncle”. Moon-ho is evidently overjoyed at this acknowledgement, but he hides his smile, so as not to expose the entire plan. After ahjumma announces that the flight has arrived, she starts humming to herself, which leads to adoring reactions from both Jung Hoo and Young Shin, especially Young Shin who smiles to herself as she sets up her interview room. The final sweet moment was Young-Shin’s quiet expression of concern to Jung Hoo when he barges into the toilet, asking him quietly to stop. He doesn’t say anything, but just looks at her with determination in his eyes and she relents. We see in the four of them not just a team, but a close group of friends who understand each other and care deeply for each other.
Where our characters are at
As with all episodes of Healer, there’s always that perfect balance between action-packed sequences and wonderful character moments. This episode certainly wasn’t short of them and to do full justice to the finale, I’ll go through this character by character, talking about what I liked but also what I would have liked to see.
Moon-Shik: We only spend a brief moment with him, but we see that Myung-Hee’s departure has left him in depression and he spends the evenings drunk and hallucinating, talking to an imaginary Gil-han. It’s a creepy, haunting sequence, but somewhat befitting of what we’ve learnt of him so far that he has a distorted view of reality. With Myung Hee’s departure, he continues to live in delusion, exalting himself once again as he tells Gilhan that he has loved for twenty to thirty years and his ten years is nothing compared to his. I would have liked to see more closure between him and Elder, following Myung-Hee’s departure, but what we see provides us with sufficient balance of giving him the comeuppance he deserves, while also allowing us to sympathise with him, just a little bit.
Myung-Hee: While we never get to actually hear Young Shin call Myung-Hee “Mum” or for her to call Young Shin “Ji-Ahn”, what we get in this episode is equally powerfully. She holds Young Shin’s hands tightly as she arrives at the cafe and looks at her knowingly. It’s amazing how often the characters in the show speak through just their eyes and this is one of those moments where you know that she already knows the truth. What follows is a sweet and heartwarming sequence of Myung-Hee flipping through past photo albums, which Young Shin’s dad talks about with such love and pride. An actual mother-daughter reunion would have been nice, but honestly, all the scenes between the two of them have been so powerful and emotional in the past few episodes, that I’m satisfied with where the finale left us off at. It would also have been nice to have Young Shin bring Jung Hoo to meet Myung Hee.
Chi-Soo (Young Shin’s adoptive father): Besides the scene with Myung-Hee, he also continues to delight with his protectiveness over Young Shin. You would have expected him to be impressed after Jung Hoo frees him from the kidnappers, but his reaction is “How can I trust someone whose name keeps changing?”. It was also hilarious to watch Jung-Hoo hug Young-Shin for five seconds as the dad watched on, with his assistant counting down. His cafe eventually becomes the hideout for our good guys, which is somewhat apt given his protective presence over Young Shin’s life throughout. He may not have been part of the emotional core of the series, but I really enjoyed every scene with him and you know he’ll always be there for Young Shin.
Ahjumma: She had many lovely quirky moments in this episode, including her reprimand of Moon-ho at the car park and her irritation with him when she’s trying to work. Her scene with Detective Yoon in the toilet was just laugh out loud funny when she teased him about his fly. Just like Jung-Hoo, she’s spent most of her life in the shadows and it was nice to see her enjoying ice-cream with Detective Yoon and we’re pretty certain there’ll be a happy ending to their story. As for her story, I would have liked to know how she got co-opted into being the behind-the-scenes woman and actually, how the whole premise of night-couriers and having “Healers” began in the first place. Nonetheless, this is just a point of interest and not critical for her characterisation.
She’s been such a joy to watch for the entire series with all her quirks and tough love for Jung Hoo. Having lost faith in the police force, she eventually relies on it through Detective Yoon to close the case that she left the force without solving. We had earlier seen how she was accused by her husband of being a bad mum. However, having seen Jung-Hoo mature and take leadership in this episode, I’m certain she’s proud for having “raised” him and happy that he’s now found someone he loves.
Moon-ho: He’s been such an amazing character to watch from the start, all credit to Yoo Ji-tae’s fantastic portrayal. From the start, we’ve seen him tormented with guilt as he watches his sister-in-law Myung Hee suffering as a result of his and his brother’s actions. His journey of redemption has certainly not been smooth, but we’ve seen him emerge from the person who simply works in the background to someone who’s now not afraid to be at the forefront even in the face of danger. His decision to do a live broadcast of a potential crime scene is certainly a bold one that displays his growth.
On the family front, he’s finally able to provide for Myung-Hee by giving her a home, emerging also from under his older brother’s shadows. Young Shin’s acceptance of him as her uncle was never difficult, perhaps because she had idolised him from young. While Jung Hoo struggled initially, he has in recent episodes displayed his acceptance of Moon-ho too, enlisting his help to watch out for Young Shin when he’s unable to. Even though this episode was the first time we heard Jung Hoo call Moon-ho “Uncle”, he has already acknowledged him as that long before. It’s a pity that we never got to see that scene of three of them enjoying beers and it would have once again been nice, but not necessary, to see the three of them reminiscing on all the lost memories over the years.
I’m very glad that Song Ji-na did not take the route of establishing a love triangle between him, Jung Hoo and Young Shin. Moon-ho’s character was one that never really needed a romantic angle and him walking off happily with Min-jae at the end is simply icing on the cake, that additional sweetness to the ending of his very compelling and satisfying story.
Young-Shin: If I had to summarise her character with one line, it would be what Jung Hoo says of her in episode 5, and what draws her to him in the first place:
She is like a leopard I saw in a documentary once. The leopard had a broken leg and had run into a hyena. The leopard was hurt and it was clear there was no chance. The leopard attacked first. The leopard did not back down. She’s like that too. It’s not that she’s brave because she doesn’t know any better. She is brave despite knowing how scary it is.
I’ve always appreciated that mix of vulnerability and courage in Young Shin, whether it’s in her job or in her relationships. Young Shin has grown so much throughout the series as a journalist and as a person. She may have lots of fears, but she puts them aside when there’s a greater cause at hand, whether it’s for the sake of truth or for her loved ones and that’s what makes her admirable. When we see her at the end driving a car, partnering with Jung Hoo in pursuit of the truth, it’s a moment worth celebrating as we see her overcoming her fears, while continuing the legacy of her parents with the man she loves. She gets her wish of finally getting an interview with Healer, as we realise the scenes of Jung Hoo speaking into a video camera are directed at her. This “interview” was a really intelligent way of the show bringing back previous sweet scenes and memories without doing what most shows do of having a montage that appears out of nowhere. We don’t ultimately see what the video is used for, but it’s presumably an interview that Jung Hoo prepared in case the mission didn’t go smoothly.
Huge props to Park Min Young for playing the character of Young Shin so lovingly and convincingly; she really took on the character and made it her own. I cannot imagine any other actress playing her.
Jung Hoo: We witness Jung Hoo reaching a milestone in his journey of self-discovery. The death of Bong Soo is symbolic of him, finally deciding that he no longer needs a disguise to be in a real world and bringing his “real” self. This comes out immediately in the scene where he reveals himself to Young Shin’s dad while taking down the attacker. While he’s comfortable when needing to take physical action, he still stumbles in conversation as evident when he tries to explain the situation to Young Shin’s dad. Young Shin jumps in and Jung Hoo can only offer short replies in agreement to her story (which was so hilarious). He subsequently hugs her confidently in front of her dad and comes back intending to kiss her, only to retreat and tell her to take care of herself – yet another LOL moment. Compared to his previous behaviour with her dad where he was cowering in fear and stammering, this was a huge leap ahead, but we know he still has room for improvement.
When he sneaks into Someday’s office to take the recording, even the colleagues there can sense that there’s something different about him and he no longer hides behind the Bong Soo identity, emerging more confident and even pinches Jong-soo’s cheek on his way out. While this is eventually not told to us, my sense is that he eventually continues on at Someday as Jung-Hoo, while still playing his role as a night courier/Healer when the need calls for it. He has finally found a balance between being in society and outside of society as its saviour and we can’t help but be happy for him.
And with that, this ends my reviewing journey for Healer too. It is somewhat neat for my blogging journey as this entry (which was also coincidentally my longest entry) marks the 50th entry for my blog, which WordPress has nicely notified me of:
I’d like to thank all those who’ve followed my entries, encouraging me with your kind words and also offering your opinions. Healer has certainly been the best drama I’ve written about so far and the viewing journey has definitely been enhanced by writing and talking about it. Am eagerly awaiting the next drama that can make me as excited and engaged as this!
I’ve also read lots of good stuff on the Healer on the finale and would like to share a few sites that I enjoyed a lot:
Dramabean’s recap and comments on the Healer finale: Dramabeans has always been my companion through all k-dramas and javabeans manages to capture the beauty and brilliance of the series so well in the review. The comments section also serve as a wonderful read as there are always so many differing and enlightening opinions.
Couch Kimchi’s review: This is a more balanced take on the finale, pointing out some of its flaws but overall still recognising it as one of the better finales. I always love their critical and humorous take on dramas.
Dramapenchant’s series’ review of Healer: This is a review of the series, rather than just the finale but it contains a lot of very insightful analysis and great lines – loved the one about UNESCO needing to preserve Ji Chang Wook’s smile!
Healer continues to shine in its penultimate episode, where there is no shortage of exciting plot developments, solid character interactions and deep exploration of issues of identity. This is a longer entry than usual, but do indulge me as I’d like to give full credit to all the great work that’s being done in this episode. To make it easier to follow, I’ll break up this entry into sections.
The war with Elder
The war between Elder and our good guys continues to fascinate me and it was delightful to watch how the ball kept shifting from the baddie’s court to the good guy’s court throughout. This kept the tension, suspense and excitement at a high!
We start off with the victory clearly in Elder’s team, as they’ve captured both Moon-Ho and Young Shin in order to get what they want through a very well-coordinated plan. I continue to be impressed with how the writer makes both our good guys and bad guys very credible opponents for each other. Manager Ahn, who has only been introduced recently, is certainly intelligent, scheming and quick-thinking. While I’m on the side of our good guys, I did enjoy watching him gradually corner Jung Hoo through many different tactics.
In order to save Young Shin, Jung Hoo finally confesses and agrees to be hired by Elder. However, he quickly regains the advantage by going into hiding and working with Min-ja to expose the four who were involved in Dong Chul’s killing. He manages to break into their hide-out to obtain all their finger-prints, which Min-ja sends to Detective Yoon. In addition, he also gains entry into the Double S security headquarters. Just as things are looking good for our good guys, we see that Manager Ahn’s team has identified Min-ja’s hiding location and sent a team to take her out, which Jung-Hoo only realises at the last minute. He runs to her rescue and they manage to escape in the nick of time and all of this leads Jung Hoo to realise he needs to up his offensive and really take out Elder. This continually shifting power is fun and engaging to watch and keeps the energy level high till the end, when we finally see the four good guys walking together, ready for war – which was such an amazing scene by the way!
In the midst of the ongoing war, there’s still plenty of very solid interactions between our characters and it’s great that all the key characters have an important role to play in this war.
Underlying the ongoing war between Elder and the good guys is the tension between Moon-ho and Moon-shik, which has always been well handled. Here, we see Moon-Shik’s attempt to protect his brother from further harm by Elder by making him the head of Jaeil Newspaper. We know that Elder had plans to eradicate Moon Ho, hence I was actually convinced that Moon-Shik had intervened to save his brother. When they retire into the study, we once again see Moon-Shik’s delusion as he genuinely believes that Jung-hoo’s hiring by Elder will be good for him. However, Moon-Shik’s confident demeanour shatters when Moon-ho talks about how he has been tormented by the lies he had to tell and eventually exposes the truth about Ji-Ahn. Yoo Ji-tae is always excellent and he really conveys Moon-ho’s state of tormented guilt very powerfully. This revelation that Ji-Ahn is still alive leads Moon-Shik to become anxious – a rare sight, indeed – and he immediately rips away the bug that Myung Hee has planted behind the photo frame. But it’s too late as Myung Hee finally realises the truth!
Realising that Moon-Shik has been hiding the truth from her all this while leads her to finally take decisive actions to leave him and I found that scene so brutal and powerful. We often see Moon-Shik and Myung Hee at the dining table, with Moon-Shik enjoying the spread prepared by her, hence the dining table was the perfect location for their parting to happen. The whole moment just sneaks upon Moon-Shik as Myung Hee thanks him for eating her food and for taking care of her all these years. The tone of what she says immediately causes Moon-Shik’s expression to change and he expresses such a tenderness and vulnerability that almost made me sympathise with him. We learn that Moon-Shik agreed to marry Myung Hee even after she told him that she couldn’t be his woman and also that she had struggled to love him all these years. It’s so sad to hear this as it shows how starved of affection and love Moon-Shik has been all this while, but he did bring all this upon himself. Moon-ho then steps in and Myung Hee decides to go off immediately, not giving Moon-Shik a chance to explain further as she goes to find her daughter. While the scene was certainly sad, there was also some satisfaction gained to see Moon-Shik finally get his comeuppance for all his deception.
I honestly felt genuinely happy for Myung-Hee when she entered the Someday office and was smiling all the way when the Someday team received her and especially when Young Shin started talking to her. We still don’t get the mother-daughter reunion, but that’s alright because their interactions are so delightful and charming to watch. Loved it when Young Shin snuck over to close the office door, then started to talk about her boyfriend with Myung-Hee. Park Min-Young once again nails it, putting in such a hilarious and adorable performance. Do Ji-won really plays Myung-Hee so perfectly, with such a radiant and nurturing presence. Myung-Hee also contributes to the ongoing war with Elder through an interview with Moon-Ho, where she exposes the truth about Omega Holdings which Moon-ho then links to Elder. Myung Hee has really been through such a hard time for most of this series, with little opportunity for happiness and I was really glad to see her finally experience joy and victory in this episode.
While things are going well for Young Shin in office and with her mum, things are less happy and cheery between her and Jung Hoo. While I did enjoy seeing them interact over the past few episodes, it was also good to have them apart for most of this episode, so that there’s space for both characters, particularly Jung Hoo, to pursue their own part in this battle with Elder. As Young Shin learns that she was used to manipulate Jung Hoo into partnering with Elder, she too knows that their temporary parting is for her own safety, but she can’t let go and asks to fight together with him. When she asks Jung Hoo when she will next see him, he has no answer for her, but can only hold her in his arms tightly. It’s such a moving scene, with so much emotions conveyed through both what is said and unsaid. While she is unable to be there by his side, Young Shin continues to play her part to support him, telling Moon-Ho that she wants to complete the 1992 story and will cover Jung Hoo’s part too. When asked if she’s afraid after being targeted by Elder, she uses a very cute analogy of zombies, where staying put is worse than fighting, because staying put means you’ll become a zombie too. She’s courageous not because she’s by nature fearless, but because that’s the only right response at this moment, in order to defend the truth and the man that she loves. Even while she’s apart from Jung Hoo, he still remains her confidante and she talks to him in her thoughts, asking him whether she should tell Myung Hee that she’s her daughter. The connection between both her and Jung Hoo remains strong, even as they are physically apart.
It was great to also see Min-ja being thrown into the battlefield this time as she becomes a target and the meeting between her and Jung-Hoo is truly humourous and fun. When he sees her running away, his first response is not that of anxiety, but to ask her, “You’re ajumma?” and even ask whether she wears that attire to meet people. It’s such a tense moment, but played so well for humour. Her subsequent interactions with Jung-hoo in the car are also such a delight to watch as she keeps looking away from him, but he keeps looking at her teasingly. I also loved that we got cute moments between her and Detective Yoon, whose crush on her is so evident in this episode and so charming. In the bigger scheme of things, the storyline of her leaving the police force and their investigations into the Omega holdings also becomes part of this war with Elder and it’s great to see all the different storylines just being pulled together. There’s a happy ending in sight for ajumma, not just in terms of her mission with Healer, but for her own personal journey and it’s really to the show’s credit that her journey was steadily developed over the series.
Jung Hoo & his search for identity
I’ve saved the best for last in this review and that would certainly be Jung Hoo’s journey. In the previous episode, we watched him struggle with adapting to the “normal” life. As he decides to take on the Bong Soo identity full-time, he becomes meek, socially awkward and continually tired. However, as he switches back to Healer mode in this episode, we see him sharp, energised and at ease with himself. The scenes of him trying different means to obtain the fingerprints were a nice reminder of how fun it was to watch Healer at work. I also loved seeing him breeze through the corridors of the headquarters of Double S security and finally just sit comfortably beside the guy monitoring what happened. It’s clear the normal life is not for him, or rather, that he can only fully be himself when doing what Healer does.
After passing the evidence to Dae Young at the river, he reflects on what’s going on and expresses his confusion. Even as he has learnt how to win, he does not know who he’s fighting against. Witnessing Min-ja being attacked makes him realise that he can no longer be reactive and simply take instructions from those who commission him. He realises that he needs to take ownership and leadership in this war. Following Teacher’s death, Moon-ho had told Jung-hoo to let him take action, because the issues with Moon-Shik and Elder were too complex for him. However, at this point, when Elder has threatened the lives of Moon-Ho, Young Shin and Min-Ja, Jung-Hoo realises that he can no longer just take instructions anymore. When he tells Min-ja at the end “I’m the Healer. Try trusting me”, it’s a great moment of victory and confidence for him as he is now giving direction to her, after having taken instructions from her all his life. I just read an interview with Song Ji-na and she responds to the question of what Jung-Hoo discovers with a quotation that she liked: “I can’t be free if the people around me aren’t free. Therefore, I fight for their freedom so that I may be free.”
The episode ends with our four good guys, walking resolutely ahead ready for battle and we know that whatever the plan that unfolds has been developed by Jung Hoo. What an exciting and rewarding journey it has been to watch our hero grow through both the trials and the victories in his life! Compared to other shows where we enter the finale uncertain of whether we’ll get a happy or sad ending, I’m 100% sure that the ending of Healer will be a happy one. Our characters certainly deserve that happy ending after all they’ve been through. Can’t wait to watch the finale!
After the victory of the good guys in Episode 17, Elder and his forces strike back with a vengeance, putting our key protagonists’ reputation and lives in jeopardy. It’s always satisfying when the good and bad guys are equally matched, keeping us as viewers on our edge as they continue to outwit and outsmart each other. We know that the good guys will eventually emerge victorious, but the characters of Elder and Moon Shik have been sufficiently built up such that we know they are forces to be reckoned with.
Several episodes earlier, I spoke about how Moon Shik seems to be numbed to the evil that he does when he cremates Teacher’s ashes and talks about how he needs to help Jung-hoo and Young-Shin socialise. In this episode, we witness the process of his downfall, which starts off with an unfortunate incident with The Farmers, that results in Gil-han being murdered by them. Following that, Moon-Shik falls into the hands of Elder’s men and they gradually brainwash him into accusing Joon-seok of the murder. The sequence of him gradually being brainwashed is brilliantly acted by Son Seong-won. He initially starts off trembling and afraid, then becomes compliant and listless, but by the end, he’s alert and sharp, falsely accusing Joon-seok of the murder with such conviction and clarity. This is even more brilliantly juxtaposed with a scene of Moon-shik reading a book as he remembers what happened, completely unshaken by that memory as he picks up a biscuit crumb. It’s such a brief scene, but so chilling and scary as we see how far Moon-shik has fallen. When he lies to Myung-Hee about suspecting Joon-seok all this while and being glad that Moon-ho’s broadcast clarified it all, he says it without even batting an eye-lid. His soul has become so corrupt and perverted that he can no longer distinguish truth from lies.
When he later on decides to change the script completely for the broadcast with Min-jae, it completely throws Moon-ho off his game because Someday will no longer be able to counter his responses through their broadcast. Moon-shik manages to twist the whole story of the illegal broadcast station to his benefit and honestly, it’s such an intelligent and cunning move because it manages to portray himself as a defender of free press while also completely discrediting everything that Moon-ho and Someday has claimed. With all the tapes in Moon-Shik’s hands, Moon-ho is also left without any counter-attack and can only express his rage and frustration.
All the intensity and excitement of the battle between Moon-ho and Moon-shik is nicely contrasted with the light-hearted and fun storyline of Jung-hoo’s adjustment to living as a “normal person”. This leads to many funny scenes that are too numerous to list, the best ones being his encounter with Young-Shin in her room where she tells him what a normal boyfriend will do, and his subsequent encounter with Young-Shin’s dad which Young Shin listens on to while eating ice-cream. I loved also how the whole Someday team rallied around Jung-hoo and cheered him on for a job well done, because it represents the first time he’s ever had a community affirming his work. Having personally loved Bong-Soo’s character, I was glad to see the return of “Bong-Soo” in this episode too as he awkwardly responds to all the warmth shown by the Someday team and also cowers in fear in response to Young-Shin’s dad.
Underlying all the humour and fun is a serious exploration of identity, which began in episode 15 when he asked Min-ja who the real him was and whether it even exists. When observing Bong-soo’s acceptance by the Someday team, Moon-ho tells Young-shin that living like a normal person is hard, to which Young-shin responses that “I think living like other people means not knowing what you’re doing. What’s so great about that?”, which is so true. Previously as Healer, Jung-hoo’s life was clear and straightforward – all he needed to do was to take instructions from Min-ja, with the ultimate goal to earn enough money to buy himself an island. As a “normal person”, he now needs to understand the rules of society and live by them. It means getting able to win people over not just by completing missions, but by being savvy in human relationships and engaging people.
Jung-Hoo reverts to “Healer” mode when he sees Moon-ho’s reaction to Moon-shik’s broadcast, proposing to steal the tapes for him, but Moon-ho tells him instead that he has so much more to tell him and Young Shin and just have beer together. Jung-hoo may have given up the job of Healer, but the Healer instincts still remain in him and cannot be ignored. At the end of the episode, when he sees the camera in the carpark of Moon Ho’s place, he immediately swings into action, switching into “Healer” mode with such ease and comfort. I foresee the eventual path that Young Shin and Jung-hoo settle down on has to be a balance between the “normal life” and “Healer life” because truly, being “Healer” has been Jung Hoo’s “normal” mode for so long already. More importantly, Young Shin was also initially drawn to both Jung Hoo’s “Bong-soo” and “Healer” identity, hence he will need to find a balance between both.
While Jung-hoo’s juggling of multiple identities is a more extreme case, it certainly isn’t unrealistic and is a common challenge that all of us face in real life. We all hold multiple identities as well, whether it’s at work, at home, or in other settings. At some point in our lives, most of us would have asked ourselves which of these identities are our “real selves”, or perhaps it’s something deeper that underlies all these different “selves”. Jung Hoo’s journey is thus something that we all can relate to.
Beyond all that has already been mentioned, I also enjoyed very much the Jung-hoo and Moon-ho scenes in this episode because it shows the growing camaraderie and relationship between them. I hope we get more scenes between Moon-Ho, Jung-hoo and Young Shin in the final two episodes, especially them sharing beers and Moon-ho relating childhood stories to them. I also liked that Myung-Hee and Young Shin have such an natural chemistry, even without knowing Myung-Hee knowing that Young Shin is her daughter. Nonetheless, I hope that Myung-Hee comes to know the truth next episode (oh my, we only have 2 more episodes!), so that we’ll have more time in the series to see her genuinely happy because she’s really been so miserable and downcast for most of the series.
What a ride it has been and we’re moving in nicely towards our finale with just the right amounts of delight, excitement and warmth.