Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 10
This is Se-gi’s episode. Snappy wardrobe improvement aside, things are getting seriouser and seriouser. We already knew there was pain at the root of Se-gi’s existence, but the catalyst of Ri-jin’s proximity and the recent events around Do-hyun bring the locked-up memories back to the surface.
With the thickening plot, a light is cast on the sins of the past, revealing more than one hand in covering them up. Se-gi’s endgame is more than just getting the girl, but while his desires are simple, are they also impossible?
EPISODE 10 RECAP
In Do-hyun’s dream, his child-self huddles in the basement playroom, but he smiles when a hand reaches towards him. Adult Do-hyun realizes that someone else was in the basement with him, and asks who it is. Child Do-hyun grips the hand and beseeches the figure not to go, to stay and play with him. They fall asleep together, hands clasped.
In the present, mirroring his dream, sleeping Do-hyun grips Ri-jin’s hand, and murmurs the same words.
They wake up facing each other, and Ri-jin asks him if he’s okay. Then her eyes widen, and she asks, “Shin Se-gi?” In a moment, he’s on top of her, demanding to know why she’s in Do-hyun’s bedroom. Trapped beneath him, she tells him about becoming Do-hyun’s secret doctor. Se-gi jumps to the conclusion that her job is to get rid of him.
He drags her out by the wrist, determined not to leave her at Do-hyun’s side, but she argues that she’s here as an arbiter so he and Do-hyun can work things out. Temper flaring, he says that this can only end if one of them disappears, and she can’t choose them both. “Would you like me to disappear?” he asks her. Cupping her hands over his, she says it’s not her choice to make.
“You’ve completely fallen for Cha Do-hyun,” he says. Does she really believe his intentions are innocent? Se-gi leaves her with the laptop containing his video message to Do-hyun.
She follows Se-gi instead, and he tells her that since Do-hyun broke the “rule,” he’ll have to punish him. He explains that Ri-jin is Do-hyun’s hostage, so he can both protect his woman, and threaten Se-gi. It’s funny that he’s not exactly wrong.
He sweeps out and Ri-jin chases him down and slips. On her knees, she begs him to tell her what he’s planning. He cryptically replies that he’s going to ruin Do-hyun’s world — so much that he can never clean it up: “So that he’ll hide and never come back, I’m thinking of punishing him thoroughly.”
He turns away, and Ri-jin clutches him in a hug. “Let’s go together,” she tries. He breaks out of her grip. “If you’re not going to have me, don’t touch me,” he tells her. He locks her in and leaves in the red Ferrari.
Ri-jin returns to the laptop, and gasps at the video of Se-gi warning Do-hyun not to mess with his woman. Ri-jin looks up Chae-yeon’s address, and Chief Ahn arrives. Ri-jin assigns the chief to stay at the apartment in case of Se-gi’s return. She takes to the road, with a good idea of where he went.
Chae-yeon’s reception of her engagement ring from Ki-joon is subdued. He sweetly apologizes for his reaction to the rumors, and for putting his reputation before her feelings. He puts the ring on her finger with a happy smile.
Later, she walks Ki-joon to his car. He spots the red Ferrari but doesn’t see Se-gi. Immersed in the shadows, Se-gi watches Chae-yeon go inside.
Chae-yeon’s phone rings, and she eventually answers what she thinks is Do-hyun’s call. She tells him she’s engaged to Ki-joon and he shouldn’t call again. Undeterred, Se-gi pulls her strings, telling her he misses her and wants to meet. She continues to be brusque, but is freaked out when he notes that she’s alone, since Ki-joon just left.
Her doorbell rings and Se-gi goads her to open it — it might be Ki-joon. Although she can’t see anyone, she opens the door anyway, only to be greeted by Se-gi. Note to readers: Don’t try this at home, seriously.
She tells him to leave, and reminds him of his (i.e. Do-hyun’s) warning to avoid him if he crossed the line. Se-gi is mildly impressed by Do-hyun’s forethought. Seeing her engagement ring, he muses that he wanted to put it on her, and Chae-yeon wears a caught expression.
He barges his way in in the name of wine, and the door clicks shut behind them.
Ri-jin parks up behind Se-gi’s car, and catches him coming out of Chae-yeon’s house. He doesn’t tell her what happened. Shrugging off her grip again, he heads to his car. She points him to her car — no, not the driver’s seat — and he complies with the enthusiasm of a sullen teenager.
She demands to know what happened with Chae-yeon. His answer, to use her imagination according to how much she trusts him, frustrates her. But he’s made his point. He tells her that the mad curiosity she feels about not knowing what he’s been doing is exactly how he feels about her and Do-hyun. And she betrayed his trust, he adds. I just noticed how much lower Se-gi’s voice is than Do-hyun’s.
Ri-jin is tired of his games, and asks him what it will take him to stop. Looking her in the eye, he says, “Instead of me, kill Cha Do-hyun.” She doesn’t even have that level of ability, she replies.
They’re met at home by an anxious Chief Ahn, and Se-gi chides him for not recognizing him. Chief Ahn suggests Ri-jin stay elsewhere for the night, but she declines — she and Se-gi have things to talk about.
Pouring himself some wine, Se-gi tells her that if she stayed in the hope of Do-hyun returning, she’ll be disappointed. “That jerk is never coming back. The seal to his memory has been broken,” he elaborates. Ri-jin asks if he knows about the year’s worth of missing memory. “Of course,” he replies, “because I was born to cope with them.”
Following a hunch, she asks if she is in them. He promises to tell her only if she chooses him. Ri-jin explodes. Is he stupid? She already told him she doesn’t have that ability, but he replies that the longer she delays in choosing him, the more he will ravage Do-hyun’s world.
She sleeps on Do-hyun’s couch, and a blanket is drawn over her. She opens her eyes, and asks, “Cha-gun?” He responds, “Yes, I’m Cha Do-hyun.” Oh no, this is too suspicious. That look in his eyes is too calculating. She was worried he was gone, and she tells him she can’t handle Se-gi. He thanks her for what she’s done so far.
The next morning, Se-gi pulls up at Chae-yeon’s house as she comes out. She’s startled by his full Se-gi glory, all sharp wardrobe and styled hair. But he’s only here to collect his car, and tells her he’ll be back tomorrow for the other one.
At the company, Ki-joon is disturbed to see Se-gi come out of the same car he saw outside Chae-yeon’s house the night before.
Se-gi’s edgy look turns heads all morning, and he plucks hearts left and right, while captions (“an uncommonly handsome man”) follow him. Hahahaha. He makes himself comfortable in Grandma Seo’s office, and greets dead Grandpa’s portrait from her chair, a cynical smile on his face.
Secretary Ri-jin and Chief Ahn scour the company looking for Do-hyun. A run-in with Ki-joon’s secretary makes them realize that it’s Se-gi in the driver’s seat, not Do-hyun.
Se-gi flips boredly through a presentation, legs resting on the table…in the middle of a staff meeting. Lol. Ri-jin and Chief Ahn burst in, and since Se-gi won’t leave quietly, they end up wheeling the recalcitrant VP out by the chair.
In the corridor, Se-gi fumes. He throws off Ri-jin’s arms, telling her not to touch him. Annoyed with his repeated anti-touch tirades, she puts her hands aaalllll over him while he flails, but Chief Ahn restrains her with the reminder that they’re at the office.
This puts Se-gi back in control. He points out that here, he is VP Cha Do-hyun, and he has a meeting to attend. He wheels himself back in. He’s such a teenager, ha. Chief Ahn tells her Se-gi’s right — the meeting is mandatory so he has to attend. He’s interrupted by a call from Do-hyun’s mom, inquiring after Ri-jin.
The staff meeting is properly under way, headed by Ki-joon. Se-gi is so focused on making notes that he doesn’t notice Ki-joon addressing him. Chief Ahn, hovering nearby, looks over Se-gi’s shoulder, and LOL his “notes” are variations on “Oh Ri-jin ♥ Shin Se-gi" and cusses against his cousin. Hahaha. Chief Ahn hurriedly disposes of it.
Ki-joon asks Se-gi if he's found Omega. Se-gi has no idea what that means ("Do I even have to catch tuna for you now?"), but Chief Ahn interjects that the film rights have been secured, and signed off on by the mystery writer himself.
Ki-joon grudgingly acknowledges his efforts, but tells him the production will now be turned over to someone else. “How cheap,” Se-gi shoots. He accuses Ki-joon of using him, and asks if he isn't ashamed to openly cast him off like this, now that he's got what he wants.
The rest of the employees gape, but Ki-joon doesn’t rise to it. He simply repeats that the other manager will now head the production. But Chief Ahn reports that Omega’s contract condition was that Do-hyun remain in charge of it.
But in his office later, Ki-joon loses his temper with his secretary (who’s impressed by Do-hyun’s puppy-to-hyena transformation) and has a fit of fury on his own.
Se-gi wonders to Chief Ahn how Do-hyun can be such a fool as to take being put down all the time. Chief Ahn schools him on “responsibility” — unlike him, Do-hyun endures what he must to take care of what he has to protect. Se-gi snarks that the chief and Do-hyun sure are a match made in heaven, but it’s a shame since Do-hyun’s never coming back.
Se-gi notes that he hasn’t seen Ri-jin for a while, and Chief Ahn says she’s meeting with his mom. The news causes Se-gi to seize the chief by the lapels, furiously demanding to know where she is and what the hell he was thinking in putting them together. He storms away after her.
At a restaurant, Do-hyun’s mom gifts Ri-jin a handbag. Although she doesn’t want to accept it, Mom makes her snip the label off and forces her to keep it. She admits it was a bribe, and asks after her son.
Remembering Do-hyun’s nightmares, Ri-jin asks Mom about his year of missing memories, and whether anything bad happened to him then. Mom shifts in her seat and says nothing happened.
Ri-jin then asks if he had a close friend his age when he was younger, and now Mom is really rattled. But she’s saved (or not) by Se-gi’s arrival. He barks at Ri-jin to get up, and before he drags her out, turns to Mom in warning, “Don’t call her out again.” After he leaves, Mom panics at the thought that he might have remembered everything.
Se-gi deposits Ri-jin in his car. She can’t understand why he’s so angry, and tells him his mom must be lonely and in pain. Se-gi, his voice rough with his own pain, spits back, “In pain? Lonely?” Should he take off her mask, he asks, and reveal what kind of woman she is?
“At the scene of abuse, where a person’s soul was being fragmented, there are three types of people. Victim, assailant…and bystander. If just one of those three were absent, the bad thing wouldn’t have happened.”
Ri-jin processes the confession of abuse with horror, while Se-gi continues. “That woman was a bystander. Using that [knowledge] as a weapon, she has survived in Seungjin. Even now, she orders them around under its threat. But could I love that woman?” he asks Ri-jin, struggling to contain his feelings.
Ri-on does some indoor rock-climbing with his editor, but his mind is elsewhere. He puts together all the pieces of his research, along with his encounters with Do-hyun and his various alters, until he figures something out. Ri-jin echoes in his head: “What if it happens against his will?” Her connection to Do-hyun, her job as his private doctor…a man she likes — it all resolves into a picture he doesn’t like at all.
Se-gi and Ri-jin arrive back at his apartment, and he orders her to pack up — they’re leaving. But she asks him why he keeps quiet, when he knows what the missing memories are. He’s slow to answer, and without meeting her eyes, he says, “That bastard can’t handle it.”
Ri-jin disagrees — Do-hyun can handle it. “Then we will die!” Se-gi shouts, “We were made to take his pain for him. If his pain goes away, all of us die.” His ultimatum to Ri-jin finally makes sense: Either Do-hyun carries on living like he has been, or Se-gi lives instead of him. It can only be one or the other.
She repeats her earlier question to him. The memories which he has, that Do-hyun doesn’t — is she in them? He doesn’t answer.
The doorbell rings, and Ri-jin is surprised that it’s Ri-on. Taking her by the hand, he tells her they’re going home. Ignoring her objections, he sticks her into his car and threatens to tell everyone at ID Entertainment that Do-hyun has DID if she leaves it. She’s shocked that he knows. He tells her that now he knows about the dangerous situation, he can’t leave her there, so she should just do as she’s told.
“Are you even her real brother?” Se-gi asks, arriving on the scene. “Cha Do-hyun?” Ri-on asks. The two men face off, and Ri-on clocks that this isn’t Do-hyun. Se-gi wonders how many people have caught on to their secret.
Ri-on informs him that he’s taking his sister back, but Se-gi demands to know on what authority he’s doing so. “As her brother,” he replies. Se-gi threatens to take his eyes out if he carries on claiming a brother’s rights while looking at her with the eyes of a man. Ri-on remains unruffled. He tells Se-gi that he has even less right. In his ear, he finishes, “Because you are Seungjin Group’s son.”
His words root Se-gi to the spot. As they drive away, his eyes well up and his face contorts with pain.
In the car, Ri-jin asks what he said to Se-gi to make him look so sad. Ri-on is too angry to engage in their usual camaraderie. Arriving home, he instructs his sister to ask their parents’ forgiveness. He also tells her not to mention either Do-hyun’s name or Seungjin’s.
The family have company already. Dr. Seok regales the parents with proud stories of their daughter, who comes in right on cue.
After her confession, Ri-jin is all contrition. But her parents are still disappointed that she lied to them (and Mom tries to beat her with a pineapple, LOL), and even more shocked to find that Dr. Seok also knew. They deplore her for not trusting them, but Dr. Seok explains that it was because she had to keep the patient’s secret. He tells them that he’s ashamed of trying to dissuade her, when she followed her conscience as a doctor, and asks them to forgive her this time.
Ri-on burns the midnight oil looking through his Cha family scrapbook. He sighs that Do-hyun hasn’t, in fact, been living happily all this time, “Seeing how your heart has been broken to pieces.”
Ri-jin joins Dr. Seok for late-night snacks and thanks him for his support earlier. He asks about Do-hyun not coming back. She tells him that Se-gi said he went into hiding when the seal to his memory broke, but Dr. Seok doesn’t know what it means either. Ri-jin thinks the key to the memory is in the last nightmare he had.
She worries that he really might not return. Dr. Seok thinks there’s a possibility that when the seal broke, there was some kind of exchange between them. Either Do-hyun will come back stronger, or Se-gi will overpower him and stay in control.
Se-gi watches himself in the mirror, and Dr. Seok continues in voiceover: The most important thing for Do-hyun is how he’ll deal with the pain of his memories. “All we can do is trust him and wait,” he finishes.
“Are you there, Cha Do-hyun?” Se-gi asks his reflection. It’s time to deal with the past, he tells him. The people who made him into a monster can’t be let off. “Shall I do it, or will you? If you want to do it, come out. You can’t?” This scene is cut so hauntingly. If he can’t, then he should just stay crumpled up and never come back, he tells his distorted image. But a tear rolls out, belying his angry words.
He leaves the bathroom, and all that remains is an empty reflection.
Grandma Seo enters her dark office and is shocked by Se-gi’s presence. Se-gi tells her he was only doing what she said, “Like a night robber, making no sound. Living quietly as if I didn’t exist.” She’s suddenly fearful, and with that sharp smile, he asks if she remembers. He muses that everyone thinks he’s lost his memories — as if they hoped for it.
She asks him what he wants. Seungjin Group, he says. “Give it to me, Grandmother.” He tells her that waiting for her son to wake up is futile, and picks up his portrait. Grandma is frantic to retrieve her precious picture from him and they scuffle.
He purposely drops it, and to her distress, it shatters. Her usual ire returns and she raises her hand to hit him, but he blocks her easily. Se-gi offers to end her lingering attachment for her, and fear fills her face.
Se-gi drives furiously, and arrives at his father’s bedside. All we can see is Se-gi’s twisted reflection until he settles by his father.
Stroking his face, he tells him he shouldn’t have saved him back then, seeing how he’s in a coma now. “I became a monster because of you, father. Should I…let you rest peacefully?” His hand moves ominously towards a valve.
From deep inside, a disembodied voice asks why he’s being disturbed: “I’ve suffered so much.” Is Do-hyun back? With tears on his face, his hand touches his father’s cheek. “Father…” he sighs.
Was seeing his assailant’s face the trigger Do-hyun needed to wake up?
This episode, we arrive at the inherent contradiction of their existence — the Harry Potter dilemma, “neither can live while the other survives.” The consequence of Do-hyun dealing with his pain and achieving wholeness is an automatic death sentence to the alters, the way Se-gi sees it. He can only survive if he maintains the status quo: Though they all live half-lives, at least they live. It makes sense that this affects Se-gi the most deeply, because as we’ve seen before, his desire to live — to exist — is the most intense. While abstract arguments can be used that they’ll live on in Do-hyun’s heart, to Se-gi, those are only euphemisms for oblivion and the end of his external existence.
What is striking and unexpected is how profoundly Se-gi is affected by the contradiction, because he wants both things — not only his survival, but also Do-hyun’s healing. It’s a conflict Do-hyun doesn’t experience, because he sees the alters as little more than symptoms — secondary existences that cause problems in his real world, where he is the primary agent. While it’s not unnatural that he sees it that way, it makes him unable to really engage with Se-gi or understand his anguish.
In the mirror scene near the end, Se-gi’s battle of hope and despair against Do-hyun is stark and powerful. He wants him to come out and fight his fight, he dares him. Mixed in with the anger, there’s a thread of hope, but it’s overpowered by precedent. Do-hyun has never stayed to fight. But you get the feeling that if only he would, Se-gi would be his first cheerleader, even when it comes at the risk of his own existence. What he can’t bear is (what he considers) Do-hyun’s weakness.
Ri-on brought home to Se-gi how trapped he is in Do-hyun’s life. Even if Do-hyun ceased to exist, Se-gi has to live in his world using his name. And his inescapable fate in Cha Do-hyun’s body is with Seungjin and those responsible for their abuse — principally Grandma Seo and his mom. I’m not surprised by Grandma’s role, especially given her unhealthy obsession with her son, but I was surprised that Mom was also an enabler. Both are unforgivable, but Mom’s betrayal is worse. Circumstances seem to point to his dad as the main perpetrator, and, ugh, that’s so… chilling and sad. But from a writing point of view, it’s a little odd that neither Ri-jin nor Dr. Seok would have suspected childhood abuse already, as it’s one of the key causes of dissociative disorders. But I guess this is dramaland, so let’s go with it.
Like Ri-jin, I believe that present Do-hyun can deal with his past. His main obstacle is that his subconscious mechanism to dissociate kicks in reflexively, faster than he can consciously work through his distress. We’ve had some small glimpses of him holding on to his consciousness for short periods, so it’s possible, but he’ll have to pull out all the fire and determination he can muster if he wants to stay present.
But Se-gi’s not actually bad. He’s reckless and immature, and Ri-jin brings out all his sides. He goes from debonair to dangerous in a flash, but he’s much more innocent (and breakable) than he pretends — that glass of wine with Chae-yeon was probably exactly that. There’s a childlike aspect to the way he leads Ri-jin along by the hand all episode. Instead of dominance, it felt more like it was about reassurance. By the same token, he lacks a useful working knowledge of how to live (and work) as a functional adult, which makes him as inexperienced at life as Yo-na or Yo-sub. He’s Do-hyun’s mirror and opposite: emotionally tough, but not emotionally mature. It’s also reflected in his tendency to see the world in black and white: with me or against me, hurting me or helping, and his assumption that his view is the only view.
I missed crazy Ri-on this episode, but since half of it is hyperbole anyway, it’s not bad to see him shed it and step up as the deadly serious brother. I feel like his parting words to Se-gi carry a double edge, implying that either there is some kind of taboo family relationship (unlikely to be a blood one, though), or that the Seungjin family is responsible for the forgotten trauma in Ri-jin’s past, or indeed both. Se-gi’s reaction — his sense of guilt — and the mounting evidence that she is the other child in his basement, says that he isn’t wrong.
I hope Ri-on’s tacit admission of unbrotherly feeling doesn’t force him into the second-lead role (especially when he doesn’t have a chance). It would add an unnecessary layer of angst and drag the show to mediocrity. This show excels in focusing on interesting conflicts, and it’s much more interesting for the story and his character to maintain the current tension. But it feels like Hwang Jung-eum is beginning to overdo things. The needless exaggeration detracts from the natural gravitas she brings to Ri-jin’s serious side, which is more fundamental to her character, so I hope she tones it down a bit.
Ah, but I can’t choose between them either, because this week I missed Do-hyun. Can’t we keep both of them? Or… all of them?