Healer: Episode 19
Only one more episode left! Are we all going to be okay tomorrow? Heck, are we all okay today? Today’s episode is, in true Healer style, is full of both setbacks as well as successes, mixing in the payoffs with new threats to carry us into the finale. We’re delivered into, out of, and into new troubles—and while the immediate future remains a question mark, I leave this episode feeling hopeful and optimistic. Don’t crush my hopes, Healer!
(I love the interplay of black and white in this top image, and the framing of their bodies—while possibly unintentional, the interlinked arms makes me think of yin and yang, its two halves balanced with and against each other.)
SONG OF THE DAY
Son Seung-yeon – “보이지 않아도” (Even if you can’t see it) [ Download ]
EPISODE 19 RECAP
When Jung-hoo realizes that Moon-ho’s been kidnapped, he heads off immediately to find him, leaving Young-shin behind to wait in the apartment. Unfortunately, she’s got a visitor, and he comes with bodyguards.
Jung-hoo arrives at the empty Someday office, where the sound of a ringing cell phone draws him to the studio. He answers.
The voice at the other end addresses him by name and as the Healer—it’s Jeil’s Manager Ahn, who has taken over the Double S Guard control room, and he watches Jung-hoo via the cameras in the studio. Manager Ahn states his intention to hire the Healer, which Jung-hoo flatly rejects.
He hangs up and heads out the door, but stops in his tracks when the TV screen flicks on, showing live footage of an unconscious Moon-ho in a locked room. The cell phone rings again.
Jung-hoo’s first impulse is to chuck the damn phone in anger, but he holds it together and answers. Manager Ahn tells him to hand over all the informant tips that have come in to Someday from Russia. Clock’s ticking.
Young-shin, meanwhile, finds herself cornered by Secretary Oh and his henchmen. He sits her down in Moon-ho’s apartment and waits while holding a small case. Young-shin tries to engage him in chitchat, which goes rebuffed, then casually touches her necklace and turns on the tracker.
Jung-hoo links ajumma to an office computer and asks her to find the relevant information. She points out that it won’t be there, because those computers were already confiscated—they must not have found what they were looking for. Hence this trap.
Ajumma informs him that Young-shin just turned on her tracker, but he’s not worried because they’d agreed she would wait in Moon-ho’s apartment. Ack! He assumes it’s nothing.
Then he remembers that one phone tip that came in, which Young-shin answered when he was too sleepy to take proper note. He thinks back to that call, and while the caller spoke Korean, now he recognizes that there was Russian in the background. He finds the device that recorded the calls in a desk drawer, returning to the cameras to show Manager Ahn.
He plays just the beginning to confirm this is what they wanted, and Manager Ahn replies that he’s passed the test. He assigns him to a second mission and sends him a text, to be read on camera. Jung-hoo reads it and laughs mirthlessly.
On the other screen, he sees Moon-ho stirring awake. Jung-hoo calls Manager Ahn crazy and tells Moon-ho that he can’t comply with the threat, and that Moon-ho will have to secure his own release. He heads for the exit.
But then, Manager Ahn plays a different feed—it’s Young-shin with Secretary Oh, and Jung-hoo’s gaze sharpens as Secretary Oh opens his case and takes out its contents: a glass vial and syringe. Agh! They planned this one out pretty cleverly.
Ajumma tells him to stall, because Dae-yong and her backup guys are on the way. But Manager Ahn only gives him ten seconds to decide, and Jung-hoo grits out his assent. He takes out that message and starts reading: “My name is Seo Jung-hoo.” Ah, crap, it’s a fake confession, isn’t it?
Manager Ahn stops him to direct the scene, making it so it doesn’t look like Jung-hoo’s being fed words over the phone. Gotta look natural, you know. Then he orders him to begin again, and Jung-hoo complies, raging on the inside while he confesses to killing ex-detective Park Dong-chul behind the church.
Mid-confession, the laptop turns on in Moon-ho’s room, and he watches Jung-hoo taking the rap.
Once that’s done, Jung-hoo demands that they follow through with Young-shin’s release. She’s been confused this whole while, and is further perplexed when Secretary Oh just packs up, excuses himself, and leaves with his henchmen in tow.
Jung-hoo demands to know what they’re after, and his screen switches yet again, this time connecting him to the Elder. The old man congratulates him on a job well done, and gives him the new deal: Jung-hoo will work for him, and the Elder will care of the people he loves. The confession he recorded will never have to see the light of day if Jung-hoo goes along with this.
Ah, then he uses familiar words: that all Jung-hoo has to do is “close his eyes once,” which is what he’d said to Moon-shik on their first meeting. Now I wonder if he’s got additional blackmail on Moon-shik, in case the initial threat to Myung-hee weren’t enough.
Moon-ho is allowed out of his locked room and led to a gathering of media bigwigs, over which his brother presides. Moon-ho asks if this is all Moon-shik’s doing, and gets back the reply that this happened because Moon-ho pushed too hard: “Do you know how hard I had to work to save you guys?” Hm, I wonder if there’s some truth in that, and this was the alternative to having them all die. Or maybe he’s being delusional again.
The VIPs raise a toast to Moon-shik becoming mayor and Moon-ho being given Jeil Newspaper to run. Hyung advises his brother to smile, “if only for Jung-hoo’s sake.” Moon-ho is livid, but can’t do anything about it.
Jung-hoo rushes to Moon-ho’s apartment, by now secured by Dae-yong and her team, and finds Young-shin inside. He holds out his arms, and she charges into them, sniffling.
He can only get out a ragged, “If you’d been hurt…” and she realizes that he was more scared than she was. He makes sure she’s unhurt, then sits her down to say that he’ll be unable to continue in his normal-guy life for the time being. I’m so worried he’s going to take this burden on alone, but thank god he tells her everything—that he was blackmailed into a false murder confession, and that he has to join the Elder.
She’s outraged, and realizes that she was the source of the blackmail—now her encounter with Secretary Oh makes sense. She cries that he shouldn’t have made the confession, but he just holds her close, then promises that he can’t work for the Elder. She threatens, “Don’t you dare. I’ll go in and drag you out.”
But that means he needs to go on the run and stay away from Young-shin for now. She wants to do this together, but he isn’t willing to make her an accessory and a fugitive.
She asks, “But… how can I see you?” They both know she can’t, and he holds her consolingly.
The brothers retire to Moon-shik’s study, and Moon-ho pleads with his brother to let Jung-hoo go—he isn’t someone who can be ordered around, and he fears that Jung-hoo will end up hurt. Moon-shik chuckles that Jung-hoo will be taken care of by the Elder, and that this is actually good fortune, because the Elder will cover up everything for him and lavish him with things he couldn’t dream of having on his own. “Like you?” Moon-ho asks.
Moon-shik smiles, “If he turns out like me, he’d be a massive success.” That smile slips when Moon-ho points out that betrayal and murder were part of the process, and Moon-shik says defensively that he didn’t kill his friends. Maybe, but Moon-ho counters that he made them die miserably all the same—and also made Moon-ho lie for him.
That makes Moon-shik glance uneasily at this bugged photo frame—ah, so he does know of Myung-hee’s spying—and he warns Moon-ho not to go too far. Moon-ho’s face twists as he explains that he still has that nightmare, where he told the detectives that Gil-han and Joon-seok fought often over money.
Moon-shik tries to end the conversation here, but Moon-ho continues: “What about Ji-an? What did you do to her? How could you say a living child was dead—”
Moon-shik grabs that photo frame and rips off the bug.
Myung-hee opens her eyes in bed. Next to her is a laptop computer, and her eyes fill with tears. Yay, she knows!
Min-ja finally identifies Manager Ahn, recalling that he was involved in the last case she worked as a detective. As Jung-hoo follows him around town, Min-ja fills him in on Jeil’s “special investigation team” and how they’re involved in fishy activities. His thugs were the ones who attacked him at the church, and they’re working with Double S at the moment.
Jung-hoo follows Manager Ahn to an unknown building and slips inside his car, swiping his black box chip. He supposes this may be Ahn’s secondary home base and, by way of confirmation, kicks every car in the parking lot to set off their alarms, sending the owners hurrying out to check on their vehicles. A few familiar henchmen are among them, and now he knows which van to sneak into, swiping more black box memory chips.
Min-ja tells Moon-ho that Jung-hoo’s goal is to find the true killers in order to render Elder’s blackmail invalid, but he’ll have to act quickly before the Elder catches on. He’s also left a message for Moon-ho, requesting that he keep Young-shin busy at work.
Young-shin is doing just that, keeping her chipper attitude in place, and Moon-ho passes along the message that Jung-hoo’s fine. She asks if Moon-ho will take the offer to run Jeil, and he says that he’s tempted to—he could bring along the Someday staff with him, even.
She asks if he’d be able to continue the work they’ve been doing here, covering the 1992 story, and he says it’s unlikely. So she asks if he can finish this story before leaving, because she promised Jung-hoo to cover his share in covering the story. She adds hesitantly, hopefully, “If we do this, wouldn’t the Elder—that crazy old man—fear us just a little? I’d like if he did.”
He asks if she isn’t scared after being targeted by them, and she admits that she is: “But those people are like zombies. So we have to fight. If we just stay put, we might get bitten and turned into zombies too.” She makes a cute zombie gesture that makes Moon-ho laugh.
Her comments revitalize him, and he gets back to work planning the next broadcast. He tells the team that it won’t be an entertaining report, but it’ll make the Elder hurt by digging into how he earned his money. At the crux of that issue is the 1992 anti-rust paint incident.
Moon-shik isn’t pleased to hear that Moon-ho’s staying put at Someday and that Jung-hoo is on the run, since that means they’re still resisting. He has Manager Ahn wait one more day, after which they’ll hand over the confession to the police. He sighs that it’s a waste of Jung-hoo, for whom the Elder had hopes.
Jung-hoo gets to work identifying the Ahn’s henchmen, starting with their fingerprints. Dressed as a pizza delivery guy, Jung-hoo follows one thug into the bathroom and purposely bumps him so that he touches the mirror. He drops a soda can in front of another guy, who helpfully picks it up for him. Their prints don’t match any in the police database, but Jung-hoo recalls with certainty that Park Dong-chul’s killer swung a pipe with his bare hands. Those prints should be in police files, which means he hasn’t gotten the right guy’s prints yet.
Ajumma asks where he’s been sleeping at night, and he answers that he doesn’t like being alone because it spurs him to think too much. So he’s been going to places surrounded by people.
That night, Young-shin tries calling Bong-soo’s number, but finds that it no longer exists. Hoping that perhaps he’s out there watching, she peers out her window and deflates in disappointment to see nobody around. Turns out he’s at a PC room, watching Young-shin’s videos on the Someday site.
Moon-shik sits down to breakfast in a great mood and compliments Myung-hee’s cooking. She thanks him for always eating her food happily, and for taking care of her these past twenty years. There’s something in her tone that takes the smile off his face, and she reminds him of what she said when she agreed to marry him—that she couldn’t be his woman, but he’d said all he wanted was for her to be next to him. She thanks him for that, too, because she had nowhere to go and he made a place for her.
She tells him Moon-ho’s on his way to pick her up, and that she’ll be staying with him for now. Moon-shik asks with difficulty whether he did anything wrong, which is laughable to the point of pathetic. He prods her to tell him what she means to do, and she says, “My daughter Ji-an must be alive. I have to find her.”
She declines his offer of help, telling him she’s sorry: “I can’t trust you.” He protests feebly, and Myung-hee asks outright why he lied that Ji-an died. He stammers that she died—that everyone said she died.
Struggling over her tears, Myung-hee says, “I understand now. All this time, I tried really hard. But I understand now why I couldn’t love you.”
He begs her to hear him out, that she’ll understand when he explains. But Moon-ho walks in now, and Myung-hee asks him to take her away. Moon-shik crouches before her wheelchair pleadingly, and she takes his hands and removes them from hers.
Moon-ho brings Myung-hee to the Someday office for her interview as a former pirate broadcaster. The staff greets her with a hero’s welcome, and they thrill in excitement when she calls herself a huge Someday fan. Myung-hee asks Young-shin if her boyfriend is here, and Young-shin confides that he’s not here because he’s fighting the Elder. She complains, “That crazy old man likes my boyfriend—he wants him to work for him! He was totally low about it too, blackmailing him!”
Myung-hee asks if she means fighting literally, and Young-shin defends her boyfriend using his fists, ’cause he certainly can’t just sit there and let the old fart hit him, can he? She speaks animatedly and makes cute fist-fighting gestures, and through the window, Moon-ho smiles to watch them chatting.
Jung-hoo lets a couple of Manager Ahn’s henchmen “capture” him, and they bring him inside to the others. Jung-hoo says that he figured picking them off one by one would have taken too long, and this way he can take down all five at once. With that, he launches himself at the goons, and while he takes a few hits, he manages to dispatch them all.
Ha, then while they sprawl on the ground in pain, he goes around collecting thumbprints from the guys he hasn’t gotten to yet. That’s a telltale sign, though, alerting the baddies that he’s out to track down the killers instead of merely being on the run. Manager Ahn suggests that taming Jung-hoo isn’t likely, preferring the option of sending him to prison. He also reports that Healer’s hacker partner “seems to have taken the bait.” Wait what? Noooo, ajumma!
Jung-hoo makes his way to the riverbank, wincing in pain while he tends to his swollen ankle. He wonders what Young-shin is doing, while she wonders the same from the safety of the office. She tries Bong-soo’s number again, and gets the same message.
Addressing him in her thoughts, she tells him of her mother coming to the paper and how she’ll have to introduce him to her sometime. “No, do I have to introduce myself to Mom first?”
Dae-yong arrives at the river to collect the evidence from him. Jung-hoo addresses Young-shin in his thoughts too, saying, “I’m a little confused. I can fight as much as necessary, and the more I fight, I learn how to win. But Young-shin, right now I’m not sure who I’m fighting against.”
Moon-shik is alerted to Moon-ho’s latest live broadcast, which picks up the story from the 1992 deaths. Moon-ho reports on that fake paint, which was designed to do the opposite of its stated purpose: Rather than prevent rusting and corrosion, it sped it up. They air Young-shin’s interview with the foreman of a construction crew, who mentions a bridge he worked on—he’d applied that paint to it, and it collapsed before it even opened.
That construction company had been on the verge of bankruptcy, and was then acquired by a different company for a dirt-cheap price—a company whose majority shareholder was Omega Investors. Myung-hee interviews about investigating them with her fellow reporters, describing how there were suspicions that Omega would purposely ruin companies with accidents or rumors, and then an Omega affiliate would buy it up.
Moon-ho explains that the head of Omega Holdings was recently featured on their broadcast, and goes as far as to identify the Elder by name: CEO Park Jung-dae.
Detective Yoon returns to his car and finds the door ajar and a laptop open in the passenger seat. He turns it on, and ajumma logs on to greet him. Aw, does he actually have a crush on her? (She grumps that he’s probably still single and he perks up, saying she must’ve been thinking of him all these years.) But she’s got important business to discuss, and sends him a photo of Manager Ahn, asking if he remembers the guy.
Detective Yoon recalls the case: They’d been investigating allegations of Omega Holdings laundering money, and there’d been a genius-level hacker kid there (Ahn). Ajumma informs Yoon of the fingerprints she’s left for him, which belong to Park Dong-chul’s real murderer—the current suspect is a frame job.
Detective Yoon keeps trying to interject sentimental comments about how long it’s been and how they should meet in person, but ajumma briskly moves the conversation along. She tells him that if they’d wrapped up that case properly then (I’m recalling the order she was given to cover up the investigation), at least four lives would have been saved: Go Sung-chul, President Hwang Jae-gook, Teacher, and Park Dong-chul. She directs him to cross-check the prints with the pipe and tells him to call if he needs to contact her, having left a phone for him.
He sputters ineffectually when she hangs up abruptly, but cheers up to see the phone next to him. You big doof. But it’s understandable, since ajumma’s awesome and I’d totally have a crush on her too.
While ajumma gets to work on the black box footage, Jung-hoo parks outside Double S headquarters explaining that his ideal scenario is to track down the confession tape and erase it, starting with searching this office. Of course, charging in to grab crucial blackmail material is hardly wise, and ajumma grumbles more colorful epithets describing what she thinks of the plan (the words “puppy fart” are used). But he knows it’s rash, and resigns himself to waiting.
But as ajumma copies the data from the memory chips, one of them triggers a signal in Ahn’s headquarters. Crap, that must be the bait. He works on tracking the signal and orders all available guards to go after ajumma.
Jung-hoo sees the small army of guards rushing out and tells ajumma that he’s going into the office while it’s empty. He easily evades the stray guards in the building, arriving at the control room undetected.
Jung-hoo just leans over the guard’s shoulder, then sits right down next to him and plugs in his phone to link in ajumma, leaving the guard totally stunned. He asks the guy where everyone went running to, threatening to deliver pain if he doesn’t talk.
The guy says, “Hacker Healer.” Alarmed, Jung-hoo calls out to ajumma and reads the address on the tracking map, asking if that’s where she is. She gapes, “How’d you know?”
Jung-hoo tears out of the building and drives off like a madman, while ajumma packs up her station hastily. She grabs the necessary hardware first, then pauses to see all the sentimental knickknacks hanging there. Nooo, just runnnnn! You can knit more when you’re safe!
Manager Ahn’s troop arrives outside her building as ajumma’s heading out—and at the last second she disguises herself in layers of clothes to look like a harmless hobo. The guards run right past her, but one knocks into her and a hard drive falls out of her bag. Crap crap crap. She keeps walking, but Yo-Yo sees the drive, senses something weird, and chases after her.
He grabs hold of her, just as Jung-hoo flies in, thank god. Ajumma pepper-sprays Yo-Yo while the other guards hear the commotion and head their way. Jung-hoo shuts the doors on them and looks at ajumma for the first time in surprise: “You’re ajumma?” Haha. What a way to meet.
They run off together, and make it safely away, phew. Jung-hoo drives them to the river, where he casts such curious looks at her that she threatens to tear out his hair if he looks at her again.
He offers to take her home, while she apologizes for leaving behind the black box chips. Aw, it breaks my heart a little every time somebody tries to talk normally to her and she just brushes it aside to focus on work. Jung-hoo just tells her that he’s figured out now who he’s fighting, and says that it was so boring just going around collection minion fingerprints. He turns to her and asks, “Wanna do something more fun with me?”
She scoffs that she won’t do anything without pay, but he tells her it’ll be really fun: “I’m the Healer. Try trusting me.”
The next day, Young-shin arrives at the airport carrying a bag, and both Jung-hoo and Moon-ho join her, looking equally travel-ready. Then Ajumma joins them too, completing Team Healer, and the four of them strut off together.
Woohoo! I sense a clever plot in action, and anything that gets our team united and purposeful gets me excited. If tomorrow were any episode but the finale I would be very worried, because I recall the last time Team Healer came together and executed an awesome plan, which was swiftly followed by a hefty counterattack. But I actually think that because we’re so close to the end, and because of the nature of our story at this point, it doesn’t make sense to go out sadly. When the drama started I could see it going either way (happily or tragically), but based on where we’ve come thus far, tragedy doesn’t make sense. Purely from a narrative standpoint there isn’t the time to do that kind of emotion justice.
I’m not saying that Healer must end on a happily-ever-after note with perfect conclusions for everyone, but it’s a well-written show that must end satisfactorily. Thinking of how deeply Teacher’s death affected everyone, I can’t imagine treating anybody else’s death with cursory concern. We can’t dive off the deep end with one episode left and resolve everything satisfactorily, right?
See, so logically, dramatically, practically even scientifically, the story just dictates that we have to get a happy ending. Right? I’m totally not clutching at straws, right?
True, there were definitely hints of unease running throughout the episode, which were too purposeful to be throwaway details (and this writer doesn’t do pointless details)—like Jung-hoo’s injured ankle, or the references to Jung-hoo’s inherent untameability, which make me think of his affinity for nature documentaries and the reference to him being like a wild cat. Oh wait, now I’m remembering that the leopard went down fighting with a broken leg. Crap! Now I wish I hadn’t remembered that. Is it too much to hope that was a coincidence?
I did love Myung-hee’s reaction to finding out about her daughter, because it proved (as we’ve all felt) that she would be strong enough to handle the news. I don’t think the brothers’ concern was exaggerated and I can see why they wanted to veer on the safe side, but it’s gratifying to see her accept the truth and resolve to deal with matters. I even really respected the dignified way she said goodbye to Moon-shik, which may be the best way to send off his character. I’ve felt torn about him all drama long, because while he is definitely in the villain column in my book, and doesn’t deserve to have excuses made for him, he was such a humanized villain. His rationales, while often twisted or misguided, had an internal logic that I could follow even when I disagreed.
And while keeping a woman essentially hostage and treating her like an extravagant toy is hardly the kind of love that’s healthy or desirable, it is a form of love that Myung-hee acknowledges, and I believed her when she said she was thankful to him for all that he did for her. She could have railed on him with all the fury in the world and have been justified, but her generosity even in leaving him gives me satisfaction—not for him, but for her future, that she’ll go on to have a happy and healthy life free of bitterness.
Most of all I love Young-shin’s zombie analogy, which was both cute and entirely fitting to the occasion. Moon-shik took the “if you can’t fight them, join them” approach, deciding that it’s okay to slide down a slippery slope as long as you don’t fall all the way to the bottom. So what if you give up a little bit along the way? It’s better than fighting painfully every step of the way not to give up an inch, isn’t it? Yet calling the opposition zombies is an efficient way of illustrating the all-or-nothingness of integrity: You’re a zombie or you aren’t, but there’s no going halfsies about it. And if I have to die at a zombie’s hand, I certainly want it to be while fighting life and limb every second, rather than lying there in despair, waiting to be devoured, trying to console myself with the thought that zombie life isn’t really all that bad.
So we fight, because the alternative is no alternative. And if you have an awesome team of friends with whom to fight alongside, all the better.
Bring it on, finale!
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