Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 5
Get ready for a softer side of Se-gi this episode, who appears ready to sacrifice any and all shreds of self-respect in order to woo Ri-jin. Is it really a love triangle if two of the competing males are personalities inhabiting the same body? I have no idea, but I’m willing to put aside questions of geometry and focus instead on the magic that happens any time Ri-jin and Do-hyun get too close. For a guy who’s trying to keep Ri-jin at arm’s length, Do-hyun certainly does seem to run into her a lot—not, of course, that I’d want it any other way.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
In the hospital parking lot, Se-gi pulls Ri-jin over to his car, telling her that he doesn’t have much time… “yet.” He baldly states his intention to take over complete control from Do-hyun, and threatens to keep Do-hyun submerged forever if Ri-jin doesn’t come with him.
That brings us to where the last episode left off, with Ri-jin shrieking like a banshee as Se-gi burns rubber down the highway. He tosses her phone and his out the window, saying that anything that interrupts their limited time together is best dispensed with.
Dr. Seok tells Chief Ahn that Se-gi may have kidnapped Ri-jin. They are both worried for her safety, but Chief Ahn also wants to protect his boss’s secrets, so he asks for more time to analyze the situation.
Meanwhile, Se-gi pulls up outside of a hotel, where Ri-jin is understandably a bit freaked. Se-gi asks her to choose between him and Do-hyun—he’s willing to allow her the choice, he says, but she can only have one or the other. He also doesn’t allow her to leave, threatening to kill himself along with Do-hyun if Ri-jin doesn’t go with him into the hotel. “Aren’t you curious,” he asks, leaning in, “what will happen in a place like this?”
Chief Ahn reminds Dr. Seok that Se-gi has never harmed women or children, and then receives a call from the people he has tasked with keeping Do-hyun’s personalities in check. They’ve tracked the car to a hotel. Chief Ahn reminds them that their first priority is Ri-jin’s safety, though they should also take the utmost care not to hurt Do-hyun when they restrain him.
Inside the hotel room, Ri-jin looks on in horror at a stuffed bear, surrounded by festive balloons and ribbons. She’s wonders why the heck he’s presenting her with this, and he replies, “You used to like them. Is this not right?” So he tries again, presenting her with a model train next, and a poster from Beauty and the Beast. At her continued confusion, he wonders, “Is this wrong too?”
Ri-jin asks if he’s trying to be funny, causing Se-gi to ask, “You think this is funny?!” Like it’s a surprise that a grown woman wouldn’t fall for a 7-year-old’s idea of romance. Ri-jin does her best to go with the flow, even clapping along with a maniacal clapping monkey toy to keep Se-gi from feeling offended.
After unveiling the last of his presents (who remembers Ring Pops?!), Se-gi asks Ri-jin once again to choose him over Do-hyun. Ri-jin cracks me up when she says: “You’re both so freaking charming, so give me some time to think it over, all right?” Then he makes a ludicrous hairstyle change to look more like Do-hyun, asking if that will do it for her.
Se-gi pulls her out of the hotel room, leading her to an outdoor clothing vendor, noting that her hospital gown looks cold. He carelessly tosses items around, rejecting them as too thin for the winter chill. Then he looks up at the vendor, who is wearing a jacket with a fur-lined hood: “That looks warm.”
Now wrapped in her snug new jacket, Ri-jin hurries after Se-gi to scold him for threatening the vendor. He retorts that he paid three times market price, which only leads Ri-jin to scold him again for wasting the money that Do-hyun earned. “Don’t you feel sorry?” she asks.
But Se-gi says they each have their different capabilities and that without him, the fragile Do-hyun would already be dead. Ri-jin is quick to apologize, not wanting to antagonize the volatile Se-gi, who warns her not to speak about Do-hyun in front of him again. He reaches towards her, triggering Ri-jin’s Scream Reflex, only to brush the hair away from her eyes and zip up her jacket for maximum warmth.
Se-gi leads Ri-jin to a fake carriage where they can watch a fireworks display. When Ri-jin asks how he knew she liked fireworks, Se-gi replies that she said she wanted to see them a long time ago. Remembering how Do-hyun asked if she had ever met Se-gi before, Ri-jin starts to wonder.
Ri-jin asks if Se-gi liked Winter Sonata, and if she by any chance resembles his deceased first love. “She’s not dead,” Se-gi replies, holding her gaze. “Thankfully.” He goes on to ask her if she can’t “put Do-hyun to sleep,” so they can be together forever. Ri-jin refuses, but Se-gi promises to persuade her.
With fireworks shooting in the background, Se-gi lowers Ri-jin’s hood and leans in ever so slowly to kiss her. Their lips meet, and a single tear rolls down Se-gi’s cheek. Then Se-gi’s neck tattoo fades away, signaling Cha Do-hyun’s return to his body. Well, this is awkward!
Do-hyun runs after Ri-jin to ask what happened. She explains about the fake text Se-gi sent, but that doesn’t explain why she didn’t ignore the text like Do-hyun had asked her to do. “Were you just treating my words like trash?” he demands—only to be cut off when Chief Ahn’s emergency response team tackles him.
Ri-jin reports back to the hospital once she knows Chief Ahn and Do-hyun have everything in hand. She promises to avoid Do-hyun from now on, but Dr. Seok knows it won’t be that simple: Se-gi’s obsession with her might get worse that way. Still, he recommends that she go home for the moment, until they figure out what to do.
In their respective rooms, Ri-jin and Do-hyun both think back to their kiss. “Just who was I kissing?” Ri-jin demands. “And who is my heart pounding for?!” Staring into his mirror at home, Do-hyun raises his hands to his lips in mute wonder.
Do-hyun meets secretly with Dr. Seok. He has figured out that Ri-jin is Se-gi’s first love, since Se-gi has never before confessed to liking anyone. He even suspects that Ri-jin may be the reason for his personality switching (the “origin,” as it were), because most of his recent personality switches happened when she was nearby. Whether that’s true or not, Se-gi is unquestionably growing stronger.
A little later, a mountain of paperwork arrives for Do-hyun from Ki-joon’s secretary. It’s mere busywork, not suited to his level of responsibility, and Do-hyun goes to his cousin’s office to confront him. But Ki-joon responds bluntly that he has no reason to trust Do-hyun: “I look into all my employees, to see if they’re fit enough to perform the tasks I entrust to them… and if they are in the right state of mind to do so.” With such a direct challenge, Do-hyun has no way to reply save to do the work assigned to him.
Ri-jin is plagued by visions of Do-hyun and Se-gi, which disperse at the interjections of her very irritated Dad and Ri-on. They want to know what she’s thinking about that’s made her lose her appetite. In an effort to tempt Ri-jin’s appetite, Mom sends the menfolk out to catch and cook a duck. Dad drags Ri-on out the door, complaining the whole way, to cut some wood for a fire.
Back at home, Do-hyun carefully sorts through the items that Se-gi had prepared for Ri-jin. He cuts up the adorable teddy bear searching for drugs or other contraband, and gives himself a fright with the jack-in-the-box. But it is Ri-jin’s coat that gives him pause, as he remembers waking up to their kiss and feels his heart pounding.
Do-hyun hangs the coat up in the closet, telling himself that it would be a waste to burn it… it’s definitely not because he wants to see her again! Yeah… keep telling yourself that, buddy. Do-hyun closes the closet door, but then we see Perry Park looking back at him from the mirror.
Outside the family restaurant, we see that it’s actually Ri-jin who ends up splitting firewood, while Ri-on messes around with his guitar. Ri-jin needs a drink, and invites Ri-on to walk to the store and buy some liquor. Ri-on badgers her for more details about what happened to her, but Ri-jin insists that it doesn’t matter because there’s no way she’ll see that crazy guy again.
Right on cue, Perry Park pulls up to the family restaurant, though it seems he’s better at sailing than driving. He takes out a business card, which must be how he knew where to find the restaurant in the first place. As he walks towards the entrance, however, he clutches his head in pain. “Already?” he wails. “I wanted to play a bit more!” He collapses to the ground, and Do-hyun is back.
Ri-on and Ri-jin are walking back from the store, carrying the alcohol that they mean to hide from their father. Then they come across Do-hyun’s car, which is shaking in a very suspicious manner.
Ri-on’s face lights up mischievously, and he sneaks over to the car to see who’s inside. Do-hyun is busy changing out of Perry Park’s attire, and he rolls down the window when Ri-on knocks.
Do-hyun and Ri-jin reel back in shock when they recognize each other. But that’s not all: “Perry Park?” Ri-on exclaims. “You’re Perry Park, right?”
Once a bewildered Do-hyun is seated at the family table, Ri-on begins his explanation of how he first became friends with the enigmatic Perry Park. He describes how Perry seemed cool and aloof at first, then took a video of himself as the plane was taking off (this, in case you don’t remember, was Se-gi).
“Such beautiful narcissism!” Ri-on cries. “Now, whenever my heart grows weak, I take a video of myself!” Back on the plane, though, Ri-on woke up to find Perry Park sneaking his bottle of wine.
The two bonded instantly, as we might expect, and Ri-on told Perry to visit the family restaurant if he ever got a chance, to sample the beer of Korea’s best brewmaster (cue adorable secret handshake between Ri-on and Dad).
After hearing that, Dad sends Ri-jin to the cellar to bring up a special brew, while Ri-on steps out to take a call from his editor. Mom asks more about Do-hyun’s past in America (though they think he’s Perry), and then Do-hyun gets a text from Ri-jin telling him to meet her outside. Dad’s a step ahead of her and lets Do-hyun go outside, but insists on holding on to his cell phones.
Ri-jin brings Do-hyun to the cellar where they can talk, wedging a piece of wood to keep the door from closing all the way. She thinks that Ri-on doesn’t know about Do-hyun’s disease, even though he’s met some of his personalities.
Ri-jin then asks if Do-hyun really came to visit her brother, or if he came to see her. Do-hyun retorts that it was Perry Park, and that he didn’t even know where she lived. Do-hyun removes the wood to close the door, not knowing that the door only opens from the outside. Great… now the guy with traumatic memories of being locked in a cellar is locked in a cellar.
In the restaurant, Mom and Dad talk about Do-hyun, and whether he’s good for Ri-jin. Dad admits to taking the cell phone so he could snoop a bit, while Mom says that Do-hyun looks like a nice boy with good manners.
Do-hyun’s mother comes back to her house to find Grandma Seo waiting for her. They trade barbed words, building on their previous argument when Do-hyun’s mother threatened to tell a secret that would destroy the chairwoman. This time, Grandma Seo warns her that the secret she knows isn’t a way to help her son, but a knife poised at his throat. That seems to unsettle Do-hyun’s mother, although Grandma Seo is far from composed herself.
Ki-joon’s mother talks to her husband about the rumor Do-hyun’s mother hinted at, wondering what it could be. Ki-joon’s father wonders if it has anything to do with the rumor about a hidden child. There’s a brief but complicated bit of backstory here, which I’ll try to keep to the essentials.
Do-hyun’s father was married to a woman named Min Seo-yeon, who was favored by Do-hyun’s grandfather so much that she was appointed president instead of the son with the blood claim. We learn that Do-hyun’s father once left the house after a quarrel with Grandpa, and Seo-yeon went to America. She was persuaded back by Grandpa, and may have returned with a child in tow. She and Grandpa later died in the car crash. Ki-joon’s father speculates that the house fire may have been used as a cover-up, swapping out the servants who might have known about the child. Following along? Good.
As Ki-joon’s father talks about the possibility of a hidden child, the camera cuts significantly to Ri-on working in his basement office. He sends a draft of his latest novel to his editor, then calls to say that he will be returning to an old idea for a novel that he had abandoned. When he pushes back a screen, we see a meticulous breakdown of the Seungjin Group family, from Do-hyun’s grandfather all the way to Do-hyun himself.
Trapped in the basement, Do-hyun tries and fails to open the door while Ri-jin drinks from the restaurant’s stores of alcohol. She explains that while she doesn’t have any clinical fear of enclosed spaces or anything like that, she has always been afraid of fire and basements—just like Do-hyun, which he notes to himself. She used to ask her brother to come with her but he was scared too, which she attributes to their being twins.
Now thoroughly buzzed, Ri-jin calls Do-hyun “Cha-gun,” explaining that she promised not to call his name in front of Se-gi (“-gun” is a suffix that can be attached to male names). She will think of them as the “nice Cha-gun” and the “rough Shin-gun.”
Ri-jin falls backward for a moment, and Do-hyun lets slip a genuine laugh as he pulls her back up. Their eyes meet, and their hearts start pounding. “Are you… Shin Se-gi?” she asks. “Are you still confused about me and Se-gi?” Do-hyun demands. “Shall I make it so you aren’t confused?” He leans in. Ri-jin waits, closing her eyes as his lips draw ever closer.
Yes. So much yes.
Let’s start with the wacky, by which of course I mean Se-gi’s first attempt at dating. The scene where Se-gi takes Ri-jin to the hotel was utterly ridiculous, oddly moving, and deeply informative all at the same time.
First and foremost, this scene gave us valuable insight into Se-gi’s motivations. He was created out of need, born of violence and fear, and he fixates on Ri-jin as the one thing in his existence that is good, pure, and worth preserving. Such a fixation could easily turn into a dark obsession, especially if she doesn’t return his feelings, but it can also bring out the best in Se-gi. We were lucky this time that it only results in a choo-choo train, some candy, and the world’s creepiest monkey.
Speaking of which, I liked how some of the toys had a definite creepy vibe, pointing to the fact that Se-gi’s love for Ri-jin, while hilariously childish (especially compared to what Ri-jin was probably expecting), certainly has a darker side to it. Dr. Seok points that out later to Do-hyun, saying that if Se-gi’s love is thwarted, it could easily turn into obsession—and if you’ve seen Fatal Attraction, you know how scary that can be.
It was a lovely choice to show how Se-gi, the violent personality who oozes charm (along with hair gel), nevertheless hasn’t the faintest clue how to woo his first love as an adult. All he has to go on are his recollections from when he knew her as a child. The emotional heart of this episode for me wasn’t even the kiss (that kiss, though… hot damn), but rather the disconnection between Ri-jin, who has grown and moved on, and Se-gi, who is trapped in the past as surely as he is trapped in Do-hyun’s body. With just a few well-chosen toys, Kill Me, Heal Me managed to subvert our expectations, shine some light on Se-gi’s inner self, hint at the darker undertones to his seemingly innocent first love, and still let Ri-jin show off her clapping monkey dance. Not bad, show. Not bad at all.
Se-gi’s attempts at romance are as fumbling as the Beast’s attempt to make Beauty feel at home in his castle, which made the choice of the Beauty and the Beast poster appropriate, if a bit heavy-handed. I think the writer must be as much a fan of classic Disney as I am, because the first kiss also seemed like a clear reference to Cinderella. The carriage they kissed in may not have been a pumpkin, but Se-gi’s time, like Cinderella’s, is strictly limited. It seems that, instead of glass slippers, carriages and a party dress, Se-gi transformation relies on trendy jackets, sports cars and a questionable tattoo.
Kill Me, Heal Me plays on our expectations, subverts drama tropes, and knows when not to take itself too seriously; its campiness, as some commenters have mentioned, is one of its most distinctive assets. Se-gi’s ostentatious costume-change in the hotel was absolutely ridiculous, just as the warehouse a few episodes ago that blew up one window at a time was ridiculous, but both add to the wacky awesomeness that is this drama.
The short scene with Perry Park was great, even though—or maybe because—it left me wanting more. It felt like the show was teasing me, dangling a scene with such wonderful comedic potential and then taking it away at the last second. As Perry himself says, “I wanted to play a little longer!” But what we got instead, the flashback of Do-hyun’s personality changes on the plane with Ri-on, was every bit as satisfying and a good deal more relevant to filling in missing details and establishing character relationships.
The more we see of Ri-on, the more I like him—which is, I know, dangerous with a character who has such a high potential creep-factor. Even his Wall of Stalkery pales in comparison to the not-quite-brotherly attitude he has for Ri-jin. Still, I can’t help liking someone who uses phrases like “beautiful narcissism” and thinks taking videos of yourself is a good way to cheer up. I’m also going to adopt his phrase describing somaek, the “mixture of God’s tears and the devil’s piss,” whenever I introduce people to soju—it sums it up beautifully. I hope Ri-on doesn’t get a lot darker as we go on, because I like him too much to want to let go.
I’m starting to believe that no matter what happens down the road, I can trust this show to remain self-aware. Even the silliest of jokes can carry deeper meaning here, and even the most serious of situations can give way to hilarity. It’s a difficult balance to find and an even harder one to maintain, but Kill Me, Heal Me is making it look easy so far.
My only fear is that when the drama passes the halfway point and starts to dole out its carefully-hoarded secrets, all of the wonderfully mixed elements we’ve seen so far—the romance, the humor, the quirky self-awareness, the emotional resonance—will be sacrificed to the angsty angstfest that is the history of Do-hyun’s family. Of course that history is important, to the extent that Do-hyun’s past must resurface if he is ever to come to terms with it; still, I would hate to see his past overwhelm the endlessly satisfying blend that this drama manages to be in the here-and-now. We’ll see what happens down the road, but as of now I’m still very optimistic.
In conclusion, I want to point out that based on the events of this episode, it is possible that Ri-jin has hit upon a foolproof method for making Do-hyun switch personalities: kisses! If it works like that every time, it would be difficult to have a quality make-out session—but on the flip side, it would be a handy way to get rid of Do-hyun’s more unmanageable personalities… not to mention the best excuse for skinship since the ghost-dispelling powers of Master’s Sun. Smooching as psychiatric therapy? Yes, please!