I have no problem admitting I’m a romantic sap. I’m one of those people who likes the way romantic Kdramas focus in on handholding and longing glances and back hugs. It’s adorable. And I melt into a puddle at the sight of a passionate Kdrama kiss. So, I was in Kdrama heaven with Healer. Let’s start with the premise of the story.
A Brief Word About the Premise….
Ji Chang Wook is “Healer”, a night courier/errand boy who (for an appropriate price) will complete any task, as long as it’s not connected with murder. Healer is a superhero of sorts, so there is definitely some action in this show, as well as romance. Only a couple people know Healer’s real identity – his teacher, Ki Yeong Jae (played by Oh Gwang Rok) and his partner, a genius hacker he calls “ahjumma” (aka Kim Mi Kyung). However, there are organizations that are “out to get him” either for what he knows or for what he’s done. One of the tasks he is hired for puts him in contact with Chae Young Shin (played by Park Min Young), a young girl who is a tabloid reporter. This show tells the story of their relationship and how they discover their common past, including a mystery about their parents and the friends of their parents.
Warning – Mild Spoilers Ahead
For those of you who have yet to watch Healer and don’t want to read any spoilers, stop reading this review now. Or at least be warned – there will be a few mild spoilers but nothing to ruin watching the show for you. If anything, I think they’ll just serve to whet your appetite – much like these photos of Ji Chang Wook as Healer in the first episode. 🙂
So, let’s start with the plot. The character of Healer intrigued me. He and his work are rather mysterious, and I wanted to find out more about him. The plot regarding the family murder mystery started out okay, and then it started to drag a bit for me. I wanted to like it more but frankly found it a bit bland – especially toward the middle to end of the show. The story involves both Healer’s (his character’s real name is Seo Jung Hoo) and Young Shin’s parents and their friends. Spoiler alert! Yoo Ji Tae who plays the famous investigative reporter (and second lead), Kim Moon Ho, did a good job at driving me nuts. He’s a great actor, and his character was incredibly frustrating. Moon Ho knows Young Shin (even grew up with her, although she doesn’t realize that until the end). He takes over her tabloid paper, Someday News, in order to have an avenue through which he can expose his family’s corruption. There comes a point in time in which Moon Ho realizes Young Shin’s life is in danger because of a story they’re working on involving their families (again, she doesn’t realize her connection to him until nearly the end of the show). Does he tell her she’s in danger? No – he doesn’t want to worry her (i.e. he’s actually a coward). Because of this, she unknowingly walks into dangerous situations. I really wanted to smack him a few times. As for the “bad guys”, they play their parts in the story, but unfortunately, I just wasn’t as engaged with this part of the storyline.
Two characters I loved, though, were Healer’s teacher, Ki Yeong Jae and Healer’s hacker partner, “Ahjumma” or Jo Min Ja. Both characters lightened the lackluster plot with some fun and interest. They certainly brightened up the screen whenever they were on it. In particular, Ahjumma is one of the coolest women characters in all of Kdrama; I aspire to be her – she’s just that cool. Seriously, I watched this show for her and for the OTP. Speaking of which…..
The OTP (One True Pairing)
My favorite part of this show – the OTP. From the moment Healer and Young Shin meet onscreen, their chemistry is palpable. I chalk up it up to the trifecta – great acting, great writing and great directing. (Side note: I wish we’d seen more of this in the “family mystery” part of the plot.) Both actors are so committed to their characters – they give 110 percent. Their interactions seemed so natural that I forgot for moments at a time that I was watching actors in a Kdrama. They manage to deliver memorable lines with just the right emotion. Ji Chang Wook’s face is amazing – not just that he’s beautiful (he so is!), but that emotions flicker over his features so easily. The way he looks at Young Shin is mesmerizing – so transparent is the love, which grows in intensity each episode. Then there’s Park Min Young, who is so engaging as Young Shin. She’s like a breath of fresh air; her character is appealing and so brave. It makes complete sense why Healer falls so hard for her. It’s clear they are each other’s “safe space.” I could write chapters on all the ways these two interact and support each other – how they are there for each other in big ways and small.
Those interactions were displayed well through great direction – the focus on those amazing little gestures. There’s one scene in episode 10 in which Young Shin walks by Healer, and their hands brush. The way his hand turns toward hers and then reaches out for her as she walks away is so fraught with longing. Honestly, I re-watched that scene five times (okay – maybe more). 🙂
The writing – oh, the writing. Okay – major spoiler alert! One of my favorite scenes – the confession in episode 10 – just takes my breath away. He (in the guise of cowardly reporter Park Bong Soo) looks at Young Shin with his heart in his eyes and says, “I could live the way you wanted me to. As long as I could, being very careful, be next to you like this.” Of course, she thinks Bong Soo is confessing to her not Healer, and she is already in love with Healer. So, she responds, “I can’t right now. I have no room right here.” She points to her heart and continues, “Because of him. I’m sorry.” Healer recognizes it’s him she cares for, and so this scene just melts my heart. This is one of many unforgettable OTP scenes in this Kdrama. By episode 5, I was re-watching parts of every single episode. I’ve never done this for any other drama; I just found these two so mesmerizing and memorable.
As I mentioned before, I’m a sucker for romance. (It’s a bit of a disorder, really.) I will likely not watch a Kdrama if I know it won’t end reasonably well. I’m okay with open endings, as long as there’s hope! But I’m most satisfied with a happy ending – all those pesky little strings tied up in a neat little bow. Real life doesn’t often give us those, so I get my fix through Kdramas. What I’m trying to say is that Healer gave me what I most hope for in a Kdrama – not just hope at the end but the feeling that true love trumped it all.
The last episode is just blissful. We’re rooting for the two adorable love birds to end up happy together, and they do. Others might be more frustrated by what the plot lacked, but for a hopeless romantic like me, seeing those two together and imagining their happily ever after was more than enough. I’d re-watch this Kdrama in a heartbeat.