Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 2
Kill Me, Heal Me‘s premise had so much potential to go very wrong, so I’m glad that it’s taken the path of thoughtful pathos rather than cheap laughs and overwrought melo. By packing some emotional heft into the characters, even the much-used battlefield of corporate takeovers can be refreshed.
Fighter Se-gi provides a strong counterpoint to good-guy Do-hyun, living with the urgency of someone who knows he’s on borrowed time, while on the heroine’s side, Ri-jin’s competence as a doctor and no-BS attitude doesn’t take away her sensitivity to others, giving us an idea why she’s the healing half of the equation. Overall, the character treatment and plot direction makes me hopeful so far. Of course, it’s too early to tell, but… I like to err on the side of optimism.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Se-gi thrusts Ri-jin out of harm’s way and dives into his fight with the partier whose jacket he stole. Ri-jin’s soundtrack of screams punctuates his flying kicks while the party goes on inside. Dispatching the man, he comes back for her, but she screams a warning to him — a moment too late, as his opponent gives him a hard crack on the head and he goes down…
…only to pop up again. He knocks the man out, so he can turn his attention back to Ri-jin. She asks him why he’s doing this, and he tells her, “You called me. You’ve been calling me since a really long time ago.” Edging away, she counters that she didn’t even know him a long time ago. Unfazed, he replies that it’s fine since she knows him now.
Her edging away turns into him backing her up, and he asks her to play. She wards him off with feet-stamps and screaming entreaties, and like a magic spell, it works. She orders him to turn around, and he does, as if hypnotized. Telling him to stay right there, she makes a break for it, and facing away from her, Se-gi’s grin turns sharkish.
Ri-jin leaps into a taxi, heading for her hospital, finally relieved to escape, but a motorcycle gives chase. To her horror, it’s Se-gi (of course). He pulls up alongside and her attempts to hide are met with a wink, bringing a full-on bout of screaming. Girl’s got some lungs, man.
She’s dropped off at Kanghan Hospital, and Se-gi parks right behind her. She tries the hypnosis thing again, but it doesn’t work, so she runs instead. He grabs her and tells her it’s not fun playing pets anymore. Since he played with her, it’s her turn to play with him. He doesn’t have much time — unlike her, he doesn’t know when he’ll appear.
Ri-jin asks if he’s a prison escapee. Se-gi tells her it’s a place that’s even harder to escape, and way more cramped. While he speaks, he puts a helmet on her and tells her to hop on. But she’s had enough — she really has to be in the hospital now, and pushes man and helmet away.
He tries again, but she really loses her patience now and throws him off. However, when she looks at him properly, she notices the cut on his head and the lost look on his face, and softens. This time, she takes his arm and drags him inside.
Doctor Ri-jin tells him to take off his clothes so she can tend to his injuries. It seems our Se-gi is quite literal-minded because he totally strips, bringing on another horrified screamfest from Ri-jin.
Hilariously, her colleagues have their ears pressed to the door and they conclude from the tone of her screams that she isn’t hating it — they might not be wrong, since between screams, she keeps taking peeks.
Civilized (= clothed) again, Se-gi notes that she’s a psychiatrist, which isn’t good. “You and I could have a bad fate,” he tells her, and she snarks at him all, “Omona! You don’t say!” Ha, I like her.
Snatching her phone, he programs his number into it, and makes sure she knows his name. He warns her that the person with his face and a different name is fake — there’s only one Shin Se-gi, “So you must never forget my eyes.”
After a charged moment, Ri-jin breaks away from him and exits, and runs into her senior, Dr. Park. He scolds her for losing her patient, but right behind her, Se-gi slams Dr. Park into the wall, only releasing him once he says Ri-jin is allowed out with him. Dr. Park even barks at her to dress up and look pretty.
While the doctors go off, Se-gi gets a call from Chief Ahn. He tells him he’s found Dr. Seok — and he’s right here in Kanghan Hospital. Se-gi takes the call pretending to be Do-hyun.
Dr. Seok plays Do-hyun’s old interview reels in his office, where he describes his violent Se-gi alter. A knock at the door admits the devil himself, but Dr. Seok mistakes him for gentle Do-hyun and greets him like an old friend. Se-gi-as-Do-hyun (is that confusing yet?) asks the doctor if he’s really pleased to see him, “Since you tried to kill me so many ways,” he adds, discarding his façade.
Se-gi wrecks Dr. Seok’s office, and crushes his glasses beneath a booted heel. He picks up a scalpel and muses it would be a good gift for Yo-sup (the suicidal 17-year-old boy-alter). “Or I could use it on you first,” he threatens. The doctor asks what he wants, and Se-gi has a message for Do-hyun: to give up on treatment, and stop thinking about getting rid of them.
What if he doesn’t want to give up, the doctor asks — what then? Se-gi throws him back and gets right in his face: “Put Cha Do-hyun to sleep. Forever. So he never wakes up.” Dr. Seok says that’s impossible, since Do-hyun is the master-persona. The others are creations of his mind, existing via his defense mechanism. Dude! I don’t think it’s going to help to tell the violent guy he’s not real!
Furious, Se-gi chokes Dr. Seok, and avers that he is himself. Not Cha Do-hyun, but Shin Se-gi. If the doc insists on getting rid of him, or making Do-hyun remember his past, he threatens to use the knife on himself, because if they go down, they’ll damn well all go down together.
Dr. Seok is on the brink of losing consciousness when Se-gi spasms. He releases the doctor and his pupils dilate. The red tattoo on his neck fades out…and he’s Do-hyun again.
Both of them now recovered, Dr. Seok shares Se-gi’s words with Do-hyun, and his alter’s desire to be the master persona. Se-gi is stronger now — he speculates that it must be because he’s driven by some purpose. He also adds that Se-gi seems to have found his first love.
Do-hyun is shocked to find out the alters can love, but Dr. Seok warns that with a personality like Se-gi’s, it’s more likely to be obsession. If he’s unable to attain his object, he could flip to violence and the object of his affections would then be in danger. Suddenly afraid Se-gi’s found Chae-yeon, he starts running.
Ri-jin is still waiting for Se-gi in the hospital foyer. When she finally sees Do-hyun come barreling down, thinking it’s Se-gi, she puts out a nonchalant hand, but he just goes right past. She yells to get his attention, and then looks expectantly at him, while he’s all, Do I know you? She’s dumbfounded by his reception and he places her as Crazy Nightclub Lady.
He’s so pleased to get something right (and yet so wrong) and expresses relief that she’s safely back in hospital, but sorry, he has to run. “That’s all?” She asks.
Put upon, she explains that he pursued her, and Do-hyun is still factoring this up with Do-hyun’s encounters of her, remembering the airport episode where Ri-on declared that she was sick in the head. So he’s genuinely kind to her in his letdown, and tells her to be strong. He can’t apologize enough, and I am laughing my head off as he exits. Ri-jin: “Was I just rejected?”
Do-hyun runs out and is met by the timely arrival of Chief Ahn. He quickly explains that Se-gi roughed up Dr. Seok, and then appropriates the man’s car and drives off.
Furiously brushing her teeth in the ladies’ room, Ri-jin still can’t get over Se-gi with his cheesy-slick overtures, and then giving her the bizarre, apologetic brush-off just now.
Do-hyun arrives at Chae-yeon’s doorstep and she comes out to meet him. She’s pretty surprised nerdy Do-hyun seems to have gotten into a fight. As she reaches for his bandage, he clasps her hand and entreats, “If I surprise you with words and actions that are unlike me, ignore me.”
If he treats her badly or crosses the line, “Then it’s not me,” he tells her. He warns her to run away if someone with the same face but another name seeks her out. This is so close to a confession about his condition.
She wonders if he’s drunk, and suddenly Ki-joon’s voice calls out to her. She was having a glass of wine with him, she says, and invites Do-hyun to join. Caught off-guard, he declines.
But before he leaves, he turns back to her, and thanks her for calling him last Christmas: “Thanks to you, it was warm. I was happy.” His smile is so sad.
Inside her apartment, Ki-joon remarks at Chae-yeon’s boldness in going out to meet Do-hyun when he’s right there. She points out that he deliberately made his presence known, and Ki-joon admits he was marking his territory.
Chae-yeon seems to like the idea that the two men should be at odds over her — she even reckons Do-hyun will be more interested if he finds out she’s a fox, because “childhood friend” is so passé. Ah, so it’s like that.
Driving home, Do-hyun is haunted by Dr. Seok’s words. Overwhelmed, he stops the car and pulls his rearview mirror towards him. Looking into his own eyes, he says, “Listen up, Shin Se-gi. You touch a single one of my people and you’re dead.”
Gaining heat and feeling, he continues, “I would die to get rid of you — if I don’t exist, you don’t exist. If you become stronger, I will become stronger. Are you listening to me, you bastard?”
Chief Ahn waits for him at home. Do-hyun instructs him to prepare everything necessary for him to do his job right at ID Entertainment (which is a subsidiary of Seung Jin Group). He can’t run back to the U.S., since Se-gi would simply put him on a plane back, so the only way to beat him at his game is to play the game, head-on.
Their short-term objective is the board meeting in three months. Until then, nothing untoward is allowed to happen. To that end, he’ll put himself under strict CCTV surveillance, and other monitoring and security measures.
By controlling his emotions and physical condition, Do-hyun thinks they can prevent Se-gi’s resurgence. Lastly, he needs a doctor who can treat him in secret. Since Dr. Seok’s safety has been compromised, it has to be someone else.
While interrogating her escapee patient, Ri-jin is subject to Heo Suk-hui’s cackling that although the doc lacks style, she appears to have the talent of bagging a man — even if she got dumped within two hours. Jokes about her “booking” (and immediate de-booking) follow her around the hospital all day and hothead Ri-jin loses it pretty quickly.
Just then, Se-gi’s (stolen) leather jacket is delivered to her, which fires her up even more and she throws it away immediately… only to fish it out of the bin a moment later. The label shows it is Italian-made which gives her pause.
She tries to call Se-gi, but Do-hyun is busy with meditation exercises and it goes unanswered. She bins the jacket again.
Ri-jin drives up to her parents’ house… with the jacket stuffed in a bag on her backseat. She tells herself it’s nothing to do with expectation or feelings — it’s only because it’s leather and made in Italy. Uh-huh.
Her dad surprises her and discovers the jacket, which he thinks is his present. She protests, but he’s already zipped himself into it, thoroughly pleased. Just as she insists it’s too small for him, her mom comes out, and mother and daughter are so happy to see each other, aww, it’s adorable. When dad wants them to admire his jacket, both women yell at him, expressions identical.
Ri-jin and Mom chat together over barbecue prep, and Mom tells her Dad is as childish as ever, and they laugh at oppa Ri-on who keeps giving himself nightmares because of his own writing.
Ri-jin looks for her brother in his room, but it’s empty. She’s about to leave when a large panel catches her eye. Juuust as she’s about to open it — and we can see a picture of football-playing Do-hyun peeking out — Ri-on leaps in and blocks her.
The twins join Mom and they have a cute conversation about how many people he’s killed lately. Mom worries about their jobs hurting them, and jokingly tells Ri-jin to treat her brother.
Ri-jin’s cheesy proclamation about family being the best therapy gives Ri-on his cue to start up a silly laugh-session, and both women join in until it’s a party of loons on loon tablets, and that’s how dad finds them.
The family enjoy a winter barbecue, and later, Ri-on joins his sister for night-time coffee on the veranda. Although her tone is brusque, she’s concerned he’s getting too caught up in his fictions, and warns him to separate reality and imagination, otherwise he’ll get hurt.
He reassures her he’ll be fine, and explains how he has cover in his multiple personas. Since Omega is the mystery writer, Oh Ri-on is free as a star (…I see what you did there!) to be himself. He reveals a third persona, Oh Hui, the ladies’ man (Ri-jin: “When did you become three??”).
By separating himself into three people, his life is safe and comfortable: “You’re right… like Jekyll and Hyde.” She asks him if it’s fun to live like that, and he tells her it’s more of a defensive strategy against a cruel world.
His talk of multiple personalities makes something click in Ri-jin’s head about her Se-gi/Do-hyun encounters, and she turns them over and over in her mind. She realizes they’re different — it’s in the eyes.
Do-hyun reports to Chief Ahn that all’s quiet on the Se-gi front, and they prepare for the board meeting that will be his formal introduction to the company. They accompany Grandma Seo and have a tense meeting with Ki-joon and his father in front of the elevators.
Do-hyun greets his uncle, and the elders exchange barbs. It’s clear there’s no love lost between them and they take separate elevators. Grandma warns Do-hyun not to be taken in by Uncle’s false benevolence, as it’s a calculated ploy to further his own ambitions.
An ajumma hits a pretty putt on a golf course and is fawned over by her friends. This is Ki-joon’s mom, YOON JA-KYUNG. Her mood is spoiled when she overhears Madam Shin (Do-hyun’s mom), who’s just arrived, bragging on the phone that her son is now VP of ID Entertainment. She catches sight of Madam Yoon and calls after her, addressing her as sister-in-law, but the woman completely blanks her and drives away.
Madam Shin catches up with Madam Yoon in the café, though, as the latter complains into her phone about the other woman’s crassness. Do-hyun’s mom wants to talk, and continues to call Madam Yoon “sister-in-law” which needles her into snapping that Madam Shin isn’t even in the family registry.
She retorts that there’s not a soul who doesn’t know she’s Cha Jun-pyo’s wife, but Madam Yoon’s cutting words push her into a fury of hair-pulling, and she spits that with her husband still living and her son sole heir to Seung Jin, she’ll dream what she damn well wants.
Do-hyun gets a visit from Ki-joon in his new office. He greets him warmly, and although Ki-joon’s face and tone are also warm, his words have an aggressive undercurrent: They’re at war now.
Ki-joon adds that he saw him at the club: “You were dressed like a completely different person.” Do-hyun plays it off as a party stunt, but Ki-joon warns him to be careful — all eyes are on him now.
Ri-jin parks her car at work, and enjoys Dad’s text squeeing about the jacket, when someone calls her name.
The next thing we know, Do-hyun receives a call from Ri-jin’s phone, and a man asks for Shin Se-gi. It’s Jacket Guy, who wants his jacket back, and everything had better be in it (like your drugs?), or his girl dies — he’s got one hour. Now we see Ri-jin, tied up and gagged, and Do-hyun hears her whimpering.
But Do-hyun has a meeting to prepare for, and goes back to his papers… for all of ten seconds. Heading out, he meets Chief Ahn on the way, who tries to stop him from leaving. The meeting is much too important to abandon, he worries.
Heedless, Do-hyun raids his apartment, tearing through bags and boxes to find the jacket, while Ahn frets. Do-hyun argues that somebody’s in danger because of Se-gi, and the aide points out that Do-hyun-as-Do-hyun has no idea how to fix it.
And… this makes sense, prompting the idea to ask Chief Ahn to hit him, to bring out Se-gi. But Ahn refuses to hit his boss until Do-hyun begs him, so after a few false starts, he finally gives him a good thump, and Do-hyun goes down.
The switch is induced — this time his irises turn gold — and when he gets up, he breaks out a big grin and a load of saturi. This guy isn’t Shin Se-gi. Ha, his every mannerism screams “ajusshi,” and so we meet the latest alter: Perry Park.
I know it’s only the second episode, but it feels like there are enough layers to peel back and talk about already. Although the show has comedic elements, both writing and directing seem to be taking a more sensitive approach, and I hope that holds.
I realized the montage at the beginning of Episode 1 is actually Ri-on and his info-board (which feels freaky because it reminds me of the beginning of Special Affairs Team: TEN). It also tells us that Ri-on is interested in the entire case of the Seung Jin Group family (with a yet-to-be-revealed personal stake, I think), and it’s not just a creepy obsession with Do-hyun. A mystery writer looking into a mystery means… there is a mystery, right?
I’m not sure how well I like how the show transitions the alters; it seems a little muddled. Consistency is better, and I don’t think it should come off as supernatural. Like, I don’t know if Se-gi’s neck tattoo is actually there, or if it’s symbolic (either way, physiology doesn’t work like that!). I understand the metaphor the eyes suggest — because if they’re the window to the soul, then guyliner aside, you would theoretically be able to know who it is by their eyes, but it feels heavy-handed. Similarly, Se-gi’s finger-tapping is unsubtle, a weird gesture that doesn’t feel natural in the situations he uses it.
Despite that quibble, I’m generally satisfied with the handling and exposition of Do-hyun’s condition (for a documented medical case, I recommend reading about artist Kim Noble), and the role suits Ji Sung’s maturity. Displaying a wide range isn’t necessarily impressive by itself, but condense it into one show and seven characters, and you think… good luck with that. He’s definitely sold Se-gi and Do-hyun to me.
Do-hyun’s misunderstanding with Ri-jin in the hospital lobby is funny and sad at the same time. In a multiple-personalities setup, the comedy is inherent, but if you strip it away, at its core, it is a tragedy, and in that small scene, we can sum up the tragedy of his life. Loneliness is forced on Do-hyun. He can’t make lasting connections or relationships, and not just with other people — because of his disorder, it’s also impossible for him to have a cohesive, continuous sense of self and personal history. His missing time means missing memory, which takes away the possibility of having a basic sense of anchorage in his own life. Nevertheless, his condition doesn’t make Do-hyun a shut-in — he has people he cares about, and that is his whole motivation behind setting himself up in opposition to Se-gi.
The saddest moment is Do-hyun’s rearview-mirror outburst against himself, in the futility of the gesture, yet the need to do it. Because he can never meet the alters in real time, his only way to face them is in his reflection, and the show is using this conceit as another driving metaphor.
His position — at once both tenuous and too powerful — makes trusting people and coming out not an option. With only two people in the world he can trust, he has the added pain of not being known. Who he is, who he contains, only Dr. Seok, and more recently, Chief Ahn know, and although both are loyal, neither are people he can meet on an equal footing, in unmitigated friendship.
This is what I most look forward to in this story, and I can even see there’s a certain necessity in Ri-jin being a psychiatrist, because letting all those alters unfold and taking it in your stride isn’t something just anyone is equipped to do, especially if you have the choice to run away. I find her reactions to Se-gi’s cheesy (yet seriously delivered) lines hysterical, because of course that’s how you’re MEANT to react in the real world, even though we (sort of used to?) enjoy them as romantic in Dramaland. So I’m all for inverting clichés and embracing trends that say, “It’s creepy that you watch me sleep.”
That said, though, I also liked that she was willing to take a calculated emotional risk — not in accepting Se-gi’s proposition that night (which she didn’t — because it was crazy and possibly dangerous, Dramaland notwithstanding, what were you thinking, Dr Park?), but when later, she chooses to contact him. My hope for Ri-jin’s character is that she retains her prickliness and heightened sense of the ridiculous, however melo the circumstances.
Her family moments were really lovely, and you can read how connected they are by how fast and willingly they pick up each other’s jokes and run, but in the next moment flip to heartfelt concern without dropping a beat. The whole family is offbeat but tight-knit, and sets up an even starker contrast to Do-hyun’s isolation created by his mental illness. However, although Grandma is cold to Do-hyun, she does support him. Heir or not, she wants him to earn his place, which sounds sensible to me. I wonder if she’s keeping dad Jun-pyo hidden for his own safety.
Se-gi’s remark that he was in a place more cramped than prison strikes another sad chord, because it brings into sharp relief how much all of them are living partial, incomplete lives, a plight which makes even violently-inclined Se-gi more pitiful. Between him and Do-hyun, he seems the more eager to live, and to take something away from life instead of let life take away from him. As the alter who rises in reaction to pain or extreme distress, it makes sense that he would be the one with the most intense feelings and desires, but also who expresses them most desperately.
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 1
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- Park Seo-joon and Hwang Jung-eum as Kill Me, Heal Me’s rowdy twins
- Kill Me Heal Me secures leads and supporting cast
- Ji Sung the latest leading man in contention for Kill Me, Heal Me
- Lee Seung-gi, Im Ji-yeon drop Kill Me, Heal Me
- Rookie actress Im Ji-yeon to romance Lee Seung-gi in Kill Me Heal Me
- Lee Seung-gi in talks to headline Kill Me, Heal Me
- Park Seo-joon courted for MBC drama Kill Me, Heal Me