Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 15
Welcome to the episode in which no one is happy. Like, literally no one. In the midst of all this misery, Ri-on finally lays his cards on the table and Do-hyun struggles with the question of how best to protect the people he loves. But are there any good choices when your own family wants to destroy everything you hold dear?
EPISODE 15 RECAP
With blood smearing one cheek and tears coursing down the other, Do-hyun finally remembers that Ri-jin was with him in the basement. He struggles to stay conscious while his memories—not to mention Mom’s thugs—assault him, finally recalling the promise he made Ri-jin as a child: “Remember. 10:00pm—the time we promised to meet.” Overwhelmed, he sinks to his knees and then collapses on the ground.
Ri-jin is trapped inside the building, tormented by her own memories. Outside, Do-hyun forces himself to his feet once again, pushing himself past the limits of his battered body. He stumbles towards the thugs, but his attempts to fight are easily repulsed. The bad guys proceed to beat the shit out of him. Again.
Mom hears from her thugs about the guy who followed them, unaware that it’s her precious son. She tells them to retreat for now, to avoid getting caught by the police. The leader relays the orders to his henchmen, who are busy repeatedly kicking a prone Do-hyun in the ribs. Ouch.
Ri-jin struggles with the locked door, which triggers recollections of being trapped in the basement. She starts to hyperventilate and rummages through the shelves for a plastic bag, showing great presence of mind in the midst of her panic attack.
The door opens, and Ri-jin’s mind jumps immediately to when Do-hyun’s father would enter the basement. She runs to a pile of boxes and huddles behind them, burying her head in her arms. In voiceover we hear Do-hyun as a child, apologizing for being late.
Ri-jin turns around to look, and sure enough it’s Cha Do-hyun who enters the kitchen, looking like he’s been through a war zone. Ri-jin rushes over to him, asking about his injuries. “I’m sorry… I’m late,” Do-hyun says, echoing the words he spoke as a child. He collapses once more (is that three times in eight minutes? Poor guy).
Ri-on and Chief Ahn arrive at the hideout at the same time. Chief Ahn grabs Ri-on by the collar, demanding to know who he really is, but their confrontation is interrupted by Ri-jin’s distressed cries. They hurry inside, where Ri-jin tells them to call an ambulance.
Ri-jin stays by Do-hyun’s side as paramedics rush him to the emergency room, even giving orders to the other doctor. He’s all like, “Wait… aren’t you supposed to be at Johns Hopkins?”, but Ri-jin is in no mood for chitchat.
Ri-on finds his sister waiting in the hall for news of Do-hyun’s condition. He hands her a restorative drink and tries to get her to rest at home, but Ri-jin won’t budge until Do-hyun regains his senses. Ri-on gets upset because Ri-jin only worries about Do-hyun, ignoring his concern for her. He chucks his drink in the trash and storms off.
In the hallway, Chief Ahn learns that the villa where Ri-jin was taken is registered under “that person’s” name, and orders his informant to find the leader of the kidnappers. Ri-on overhears the call and demands to know who owns the villa, but Chief Ahn says that he can’t share information that isn’t confirmed.
“Then I’ll confirm it for myself,” Ri-on replies. “But if it’s who I think it is, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.” He leaves Chief Ahn with that warning and calls his friend on the police force to ask him to investigate.
Ri-jin is waiting by Do-hyun’s hospital bed when Dr. Seok comes looking for her. He reminds her of her promise to have a consultation with him, and takes Ri-jin away while Do-hyun sleeps. But Do-hyun wakes seconds after they leave the room.
Ri-jin relates her feeling of déjà vu while trapped in the villa. She’s now certain that she plays a part in Do-hyun’s repressed memories, and she’s determined to regain her own forgotten past to help him heal.
Dr. Seok confirms that Ri-jin is really doing this for Do-hyun’s sake and not her own, and the camera pans to show us Do-hyun listening outside the office door. He hears Ri-jin say how they promised to fight together from now on, whether it was a fear of basements or anything else.
Do-hyun goes to the roof of the hospital and looks out over the city, the picture of Ri-jin as a child clasped in his hand. Ri-jin sees him and assumes it’s Yo-sub trying to kill himself again, so she pulls him away from the edge and scolds him for breaking the promise he made her.
“If you want to die, then die,” Ri-jin says. “But die tomorrow.” And if tomorrow he still wants to die, she says, then push it to the next day, and the next and the next. A day will come when he’ll be glad he held on. Do-hyun promises her he won’t die, because there’s something he has to do first—someone he has to protect.
Ri-jin hugs Do-hyun tightly, sobbing that this is the first time she realized how reassuring the words “I won’t die” actually are. With the picture of child Ri-jin still in his hand, Do-hyun can’t bring himself to return Ri-jin’s embrace.
Walking through the hospital lobby, Do-hyun asks Ri-jin to stop trying to recover her memories. She is living well and has many people who love her—Do-hyun doesn’t want her to suffer just to help him.
Ri-jin reminds him that it’s likely she was Se-gi’s first love, which means she could be Do-hyun’s as well. There could be wonderful memories that Ri-jin would recover along with the bad ones, and Do-hyun shouldn’t give up just because he’s scared.
But Do-hyun knows exactly how not-wonderful Ri-jin’s memories would be, and he can’t hold back his tears. He pulls Ri-jin into a hug, leaving her confused about what she said exactly that affected him so much.
Ri-jin’s mother visits a Buddhist temple, the final resting place of her old friend Min Seo-yeon (Ri-jin’s biological mother). A flashback shows Seo-yeon calling Mom twenty-one years ago, begging her to save her daughter. She promised to pick Ri-jin up in a few days, but must have died in the car crash before she could. In the present, Mom scolds Seo-yeon gently for passing on without keeping her promise. She tears up as she says how well Ri-jin has grown up.
Just outside the temple entrance is a thug in a suit, who calls Ki-joon’s dad to confirm that he’s discovered the identity of the person who raised Seo-yeon’s child. Dad reminds him to move carefully, and Ki-joon observes that something big must be happening if Dad is mobilizing his troops. Dad says he’s simply aiming for his opponent’s weakness, which he must take advantage of before his own is exposed.
Ki-joon’s mother takes Chae-yeon out to lunch to scold her (politely, of course) for being seen drunk in public with Cha Do-hyun. She doesn’t make a big deal out of it, saying that she trusts Chae-yeon not to make another mistake like this. “How can you trust me when I don’t trust myself?” Chae-yeon asks. She stands up, pays her respects, and excuses herself like a boss.
Chae-yeon’s mother gets a call from Ki-joon’s mother, who is not happy about what just went down. But Chae-yeon’s mom fires back, saying her daughter is every bit as great as Ki-joon and they should just break off the engagement.
Chae-yeon returns her engagement ring to Ki-joon. She says there is someone else she wants to have, and it’s wrong to play with Ki-joon’s heart like this. He demands to know why she’s started worrying about him now, and Chae-yeon only apologizes and takes her leave. Ki-joon chucks the ring away, cursing Do-hyun.
Ri-on brings some things to Ri-jin at the hospital, but she’s already on her way to Do-hyun’s house. Then Ri-on gets a call from his detective friend, who has discovered the owner of the villa where Ri-jin’s kidnappers went.
Do-hyun hears from Chief Ahn, who has also confirmed without a doubt that it was Do-hyun’s mom who orchestrated the kidnapping. He wants to confront her immediately, but on his way to check out of the hospital he gets a call from Ri-on.
They meet in the hallway, and Ri-on grabs Do-hyun by collar and slams him against the wall. Ri-on is near the limits of his self-control, screaming that Do-hyun should never have created more ties with Ri-jin. Do-hyun remembers what Ri-on told Se-gi, about having no right to be with Ri-jin because he’s a son of Seungjin Group. Tears spring to Do-hyun’s eyes. “Why did you ignore my warning?” Ri-on cries. “Why? Why? WHY?”
Ri-jin stops by Do-hyun’s apartment to pick up some of his clothes. She finds the box of toys that Se-gi bought for their date, including the pop-up clown and the evil dancing monkey. She smiles as she recalls how Se-gi tried so hard to impress her.
The toy train sparks a different set of memories—Ri-jin hears a child’s voice promising to meet her every day at the same time. Ri-jin stares at the empty room and sees a child playing with a toy train, though it’s not yet clear to her that it’s an actual memory.
A call comes from Dad who wants Ri-jin to stop by the restaurant to check on Mom. She overworked on the weekend, but she doesn’t want to go to the hospital, so Dad asks Ri-jin to swing by and give her an IV. Ri-jin leaves at once.
Ri-on meets with Do-hyun and explains everything about his past with Ri-jin. He always tried to allay her fears and explain away her nightmares, but now Ri-jin is seeing flashes of her past more frequently after meeting Do-hyun.
Ri-jin will be in danger from people who fear her existence, and her memories will make her miserable if she discovers them. For those reasons, Ri-on asks Do-hyun to send Ri-jin away. She won’t listen to her brother anymore, but she might listen to Do-hyun.
With his head bowed, Ri-on begs Do-hyun to help. Do-hyun agrees, but asks for a single favor in return.
Ri-jin hooks up an IV for her mother and scolds her for not taking care of herself. Ri-jin boasts that she doesn’t make house calls for just anyone, so Mom had better listen. Mom jokes back, wondering where Ri-jin inherited her looks and poise, but the oblique reference to Ri-jin’s real parents turns the mood somber.
“Aren’t you curious about your real family?” Ri-jin’s mom asks. But Ri-jin says that she is content to find out later. Ri-on overhears from the doorway, and in voiceover he asks Do-hyun not to take away Ri-jin or his family’s happiness.
Speaking of taking away happiness, Do-hyun’s mom arrives at his apartment. She asks Chief Ahn why Do-hyun called her out, and the chief replies that it’s probably for the exact reason she fears.
Mom apologizes to Do-hyun, saying that she went too far. She insists that she wasn’t really kidnapping Ri-jin, just investigating to figure out why she approached Do-hyun.
Do-hyun reveals that Ri-jin has no memories of her past, so Mom’s attempts to find out how much she knows are useless. Mom is instantly relieved, which disgusts Do-hyun even further. “Are you even human?!” he demands. He asks if she has the right to call herself someone’s mother after acting this way.
Grandma Seo sits next to Joon-pyo’s bed and scolds him for running away for six years, then staying in a coma for the next twenty. She thinks back to twenty-one years ago, when Joon-pyo finally returned to the house with Do-hyun in tow.
In the past, Grandma Seo greets Joon-pyo just like a mother happy to be reunited with her son (and not the Mistress of Evil we know her to be), but she is put off when Joon-pyo requests that his son be added to the family register. Then Seo-yeon appears, with a daughter that Joon-pyo doesn’t recognize. The adults are tense and wary, but the children share shy smiles.
Back in the present, Grandma Seo reflects that if only her husband hadn’t brought Seo-yeon back to the house, if only “that child” had really been Joon-pyo’s, this whole tragedy would never have happened. Now she doesn’t know where to begin to start straightening things out (unplugging Joon-pyo’s respirator might be a good place to start, honestly).
Do-hyun gives his mother one last chance to atone for her greed: She can pack everything and leave for America with him. Mom isn’t even willing to consider giving up now, when they’re so close to the finish line.
Do-hyun explains that he can never be Seungjin Group’s successor, because he has D.I.D. He tries to get his mother to understand how her greed, her sins and her husband’s, made him this way. Mom’s only thought is that he can’t let anyone know, or else he’ll lose his chance to own Seungjin Group.
“I’ve finally figured out how to end your insatiable greed,” Do-hyun says. He’s going to reveal his illness to Seungjin Group, to the whole world, thereby ending all possibility of Mom gaining prestige through her son. Do-hyun asks Mom once again if she’s willing to leave for America with him.
Ri-on drives Ri-jin to Do-hyun’s apartment. He suggests that Mom’s sickness is because of her shock that Ri-jin knows she was adopted, and asks why Ri-jin is suddenly so determined to recover her memories.
Ri-jin says that she thinks it is the right time, and she is strong enough to look back on her past without crumbling. Ri-on wants to know if her new determination is because of Do-hyun, and Ri-jin says it’s possible, but she won’t say for sure.
They see Do-hyun waiting in front of his apartment, sitting in a folding chair and looking morose. Ri-jin wonders what he’s doing here when he should still be in the hospital.
Ri-jin asks Do-hyun if he was waiting for her, laughing that her dog Ri-na does the same thing. She holds out her hand like she would for her dog, and pets Do-hyun’s head. He plays along, but he looks like he’s on the edge of tears.
We see a flashback of Do-hyun’s conversation with Ri-on, when he promised to send Ri-jin away. His condition was that he spend one final day with her—Do-hyun wants to make Ri-jin smile brightly just once, since he’s always been the one relying on her.
Do-hyun asks Ri-jin if she will go with him on the Snowflake Train, since he wants to make up for cancelling their trip before. Ri-jin immediately agrees and starts dancing for joy, seemingly unaware of Do-hyun’s inner turmoil.
Once more we cut back to Do-hyun and Ri-on’s conversation, with both men crying buckets. “Far in the future,” Do-hyun tells Ri-on, “when Ri-jin doesn’t feel anything even if she thinks of me, and if she happens to be hurt by her past, tell her this: It’s not because you did something wrong, or because you don’t have the right to be loved, that you were abused.”
Ri-jin does have the right to be loved, Do-hyun insists. So she should forget about the past that’s never done her any good, and live her life while being loved. In the present, Ri-jin beams happily at Do-hyun, and he smiles sadly back.
I feel like I’m watching a completely different drama than the one that has been exceeding all my expectations for the past two months, and I want to trade it back. Much of what I love about Kill Me, Heal Me is its ability to find humor even—or especially—during moments that are supposed to be serious. This episode was nothing like that—it was just pure, unabated misery. For everyone. And while this unrelenting misery certainly makes sense given recent events, it doesn’t always make for a pleasant viewing experience.
Do-hyun’s alters used to allow the show to mine comedy from any situation, without losing sight of the emotional trauma our hero suffers. Now we have all the suffering you could shake a stick at, and instead of Yo-na or Perry Park to lighten the mood, we get flashbacks on flashbacks.
Intellectually, I think I understand why the opening scene featured over six minutes of flashbacks, interspersed with Do-hyun fighting a losing battle against Mom’s thugs. That moment was the culmination of Do-hyun’s nightmares—twenty-one years of confusion were cleared up in an instant, and the truth was every bit as awful as he feared.
In that sense, the flashbacks added to the weight—or maybe density–of the moment, going through Do-hyun’s mind and crystallizing in a single, horrible eureka moment. The problem is that for us, watching repetition after repetition, those memories streeeetch out until it’s hard for us to fully inhabit Do-hyun’s emotions, to feel as he feels.
On a positive note, I’d like to applaud both Chae-yeon and her mom, who carried themselves with some serious class this episode. Chae-yeon finally acted on her feelings, mustering the courage to admit to Ki-joon that he doesn’t own her heart, and that it would be wrong to string him along. Chae-yeon’s mother’s scene was possibly my favorite of the episode—she is a minor character, but it was still a lovely moment to have her stand up to Ki-joon’s mom when she was badmouthing Chae-yeon. Chae-yeon’s happiness comes first for Mom, even before the wealth and prestige of Seungjin Group. I think Do-hyun’s mother and grandmother ought to be taking notes.
The biggest reason why I’ve come to dislike the frequent flashbacks so much is that they take away time that could be devoted to more scenes like this one—scenes that flesh out characters who are rarely in the spotlight. Chae-yeon in particular could have benefited from a few more scenes over the last four or so episodes, which would in turn improve the show overall.
I am—to put it bluntly—seriously pissed off at Do-hyun. The way he acted this episode made me question his intelligence, his judgment, and even his love for Ri-jin. Essentially, I think he’s taking the Noble Idiocy train to Asshole City, and the reasons he gives for pushing Ri-jin away don’t hold water.
Here are Do-hyun’s two objectives: 1) To keep Ri-jin from remembering a past that would make her unhappy; and 2) To keep Ri-jin safe from all of the factions fighting for control of Seungjin Group. Sending Ri-jin away does not make her safer, not in any rational universe. Whether Ri-jin recovers her memory or not, she will always be a threat to Ki-joon and his father, Grandma Seo, and Do-hyun’s mom. All of them are threatened by her existence, and Do-hyun has already seen how they deal with threats. The kidnapping attempt alone should have been enough to convince Do-hyun that his mother is not in her right mind, and attempting to give her an ultimatum is like backing a rabid dog into a corner: Someone’s going to get bitten.
All Do-hyun accomplishes by sending Ri-jin away is to make her more vulnerable to her enemies, without warning her that she will be a target. If he really wants Ri-jin to be safe, he should be offering to run away to America with her, not his bat-shit crazy mother.
As for wanting Ri-jin to be happy, in Do-hyun’s mind that apparently means keeping the truth from her. That, pardon my French, is bullshit. If Ri-jin is strong enough to be Do-hyun’s supporter, physician, and ally, then she’s strong enough to decide for herself if she wants to learn about her past. Of course her memories won’t be pleasant, and it’s insulting to Ri-jin to suggest that she thinks they will be. Children don’t repress years of memories or develop a crippling fear of basements because they had good experiences. As a psychiatrist, Ri-jin has definitely dealt with patients who were victims of abuse, and now that Ri-jin knows her own memories have been suppressed, the possibility that she was abused is going to be top on her list of explanations—anything else would be absurd.
Given that Ri-jin frequently states her desire to find the truth in spite of her fear, the Do-hyun that I thought had developed over the last fourteen episodes would honor his promise to support Ri-jin the way she’s always supported him. What he’s doing instead seems like cowardice to me; and worse, it seems like he’s treating Ri-jin as a fragile doll who can’t be trusted to make her own decisions. I can only hope that when Do-hyun tries to send her away, Ri-jin will tell him to get his head out of his arse and work with her—only then will Do-hyun be able to do something constructive for a change.
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 14
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 13
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 12
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 11
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 10
- Kolorful Palette: Split [Kill Me, Heal Me]
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 9
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 8
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 7
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 6
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 5
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 4
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 3
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 2
- Kill Me, Heal Me: Episode 1